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Old 24-01-2022, 17:17   #1
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Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Hello all,
I have a newly upgraded electrical system with 1400w of solar (4x350LG panels) on 2 mppt 100/50 victron that feed into 2 x multiplus 2000w inverters.
The alternators were retrofitted for lifepo4 and connected to mc614 Balmar voltage regulators and cyrix-li-ct to keep the lead acid starter batteries topped off.
Unfortunately since the upgrade I have been shredding belts one after the other and I can’t explain it. Does anyone have advice to get this working well and stop the belt massacre? Thank you in advance
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Old 24-01-2022, 17:33   #2
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Could be a misaligned pulley.
More likely, what do you mean retrofit? Are you still using a single v belt? The batteries you have now can draw a lot more current for a longer time. It could be that the belt is slipping and it wasn't designed for running that hard.
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Old 24-01-2022, 17:37   #3
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Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

My guess is, You're asking too much from a single v belt. Their is a "belt saver" feature in your regulator. You have to adjust it to a decent level,for your single v-belt. Typically around 80-90 amps if it's well aligned and tension is good. Lithium batteries have a very low internal resistance and will eat up anything you throw at them. So you have to control the output of your alternator.
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Old 24-01-2022, 17:57   #4
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

I thought that was what the max 614 were for. As for the belts they are serpentine and well tensioned and aligned.
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Old 24-01-2022, 18:02   #5
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

What do you mean by "The alternators were retrofitted for lifepo4"?
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Old 24-01-2022, 19:27   #6
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

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Originally Posted by BenCo View Post
I thought that was what the max 614 were for.
Yes it gives you the capability of limiting the current drawn by the bank. However you need to program the settings you think are appropriate for your setup
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Old 24-01-2022, 19:45   #7
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Yes and I even contacted both Balmar and Kilovault to ensure I had it setup exactly as best it can be…
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Old 24-01-2022, 20:02   #8
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Overdriving the alternator would overheat it. May, or may not, cause slipping. Do you get overtemp errors on the mc614? We have to run with FE-4 (75% limit I think) to keep our Balmar temp under control with the kilovault bank.

If you are using J10 belts, and alignment and tension are good, then maybe insufficient wrap is causing the slipping. But I'd double check the tension with a gauge.
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Old 24-01-2022, 21:52   #9
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

We know all about your solar setup, but nothing about the capacity of the lithium banks you're charging or the alternator outputs...
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Old 24-01-2022, 22:07   #10
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenCo View Post
Yes and I even contacted both Balmar and Kilovault to ensure I had it setup exactly as best it can be…
The alternator belt may be insufficient to transmit the mechanical drive required for high current charging to the alternator, or there may be a pulley alignment issue. If the newly installed alternator is much larger than the old one, the belt mechanism used to transfer mechanical power from the old engine pulley setup may be insufficient.

Here you should look for a way to make an improvement and use the maximum power of your alternator to charge your batteries as soon as possible. I hope you can reap the rewards of longevity and performance gains for these big expenses for your Lithium battery upgrade in the future.
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Old 24-01-2022, 23:19   #11
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Did you get a Balmar 98-series alternator? I'm just installing one (24v/220 amp) and I hope not to end up having to change belts.
I had a 80A alternator before with a 6-groove serpentine belt. The Balmar rep. said it would be sufficient but there are 8-groove belts as well.
How many grooves does your belt have and what's the rating of your Alternator?
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Old 25-01-2022, 05:22   #12
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Sounds like an alignment issue. Rent or buy a laser alignment tool. To confirm an alignment issue put a new belt on, briefly run it with a load the carefully inspect the "peaks" on the belt. If one side looks different from the other it's definitely an alignment issue. Also carefully check the pulleys to make sure there is no sharp edges. Another possibility is the quality of the belts. Try Dayco or Bando or Continental
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Old 25-01-2022, 06:17   #13
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

On a previous catamaran, I fitted a 200 A alternator to each engine. The alternator was driven with a second drive pulley, a duel belt system using "high power" belts by various manufacturers.

They all failed after about 200 hours. I think the alternator was demanding demanding more power than they could deliver - even though I had a slow-start Balmar regulator.

I just changed belts often - even after professional alignment checking, each time I accelerated the engine, the belt slipped until the alternator caught up.

The answer, I found years later, was a toothed high power belt. Change out the drive pulley, install a dedicated toothed drive pulley, and you won't eat any more belts.

BTW, both my 3GM35F engines failed after 5000 hours due to excessive heat. The extra power demands were more than the engine cooling would support. Even after the rebuilds, the setup was less costly than an auxiliary generator. And, it provided underway air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and ample power via 1200 Ah of flooded cells and a 3kW inverter.
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Old 25-01-2022, 06:36   #14
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by captstu View Post
On a previous catamaran, I fitted a 200 A alternator to each engine. The alternator was driven with a second drive pulley, a duel belt system using "high power" belts by various manufacturers.

They all failed after about 200 hours. I think the alternator was demanding demanding more power than they could deliver - even though I had a slow-start Balmar regulator.

I just changed belts often - even after professional alignment checking, each time I accelerated the engine, the belt slipped until the alternator caught up.

The answer, I found years later, was a toothed high power belt. Change out the drive pulley, install a dedicated toothed drive pulley, and you won't eat any more belts.

BTW, both my 3GM35F engines failed after 5000 hours due to excessive heat. The extra power demands were more than the engine cooling would support. Even after the rebuilds, the setup was less costly than an auxiliary generator. And, it provided underway air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and ample power via 1200 Ah of flooded cells and a 3kW inverter.
I thought the same...install a generator..

What model did you end up using on your boat??
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Old 25-01-2022, 07:02   #15
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Re: Shredded belts after lifepo4 upgrade

BenCo
I had the same problem because of having AGM batteries which accept a higher input load. The solution was to convert the belt drive on the alternator to Serpentine belts. Now the belt no longer produces all the black dust from wearing out from not being able to handle the friction load. There are kits that you can buy that have serpentine bell covers that slip over the existing belt drive. This is an easy fix unless you can't get an exact match for one of the pullies and then as I had to do replace the original pully on the motor with a different size pully and then put the new serpentine cover over it. Works Great. I replaced the 50amp Alternator with a 120ampBalmar and their regulator. With the larger alternator it will last longer as it won't have to run as hard. Good Luck! Irvin
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