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-   -   Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily) (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f14/cruising-without-alternator-temporarily-219123.html)

RaymondR 06-06-2019 01:00

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
1 Attachment(s)
Do you have this Balmar document?

Rumpi 06-06-2019 01:15

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Let's try to make it dead simple. You need: one positive wire + multimeter (or lamp) + metallic magnetic object. Take a wire long enough to reach from battery positive to the back of the alternator. Measure voltage at battery terminals, write it down.

1. With the wire connected to battey positive post measure between this wire and the negative terminal on the back of the alternator (not the case, the alt is not grounded to the case). You should see the same 12.xx voltage as measured between battery posts. If this is not the case then you have ground problems and you need to keep cleaning contacts until this happens. If all contacts are clean and this still does not happen you have a bad cable. If the voltage is the same as on battery posts you have good ground and can proceed to step 2.

2. Identify the blue cable coming from the regulator. It connects to the alternator either by a ring terminal or trough a plastic connector combining two wires one blue one white (series 9 alt should have a rectangular grey plastic connector). Disconnect blue wire and connect in place 12V positive from battery (if plastic connector is used you need to put a female spade terminal on the wire first and identify the correct spade). Check with multimeter to see if you still got 12.xxV between this wire and alt ground post (jumper cable may have disconnected). Now you should have strong magnetism on the bolt holding the pulley. Check with metallic object. If no magnetism present it means the brushes are not contacting and you need to take the alt out and at least clean if not replace them.

Sailmonkey 06-06-2019 04:10

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boatyarddog (Post 2903105)
I'd use my genset to charge underway if needed.

What? No genset?

Needed item for all cruisers.

Cheers

SV Cloud Duster



Hmmmm......I’m not sure what we’d do with a genset. We don’t have a battery charger!!!

a64pilot 06-06-2019 05:51

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903173)
One wire sounds amazingly simple. I’ll keep an eye out. Is it internally regulated then?



Yes, and I believe very common. It’s not the best of course as it’s not three stage, but as a back up they are good, just connect directly to the battery bank of course.
In case you don’t have the time to trouble shoot and carry a spare regulator etc.

theway 06-06-2019 07:14

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RaymondR (Post 2903187)
Do you have this Balmar document?



I have many Balmar PDFs now, but I didn’t have this one thank you.

:)

Boatyarddog 06-06-2019 07:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey (Post 2903244)
Hmmmm......I’m not sure what we’d do with a genset. We don’t have a battery charger!!!

All gensets would have their own built in charger.
As these portable generators use gasoline and spark, some even there own starters. They provide power for their electrical system.
Battery chargers are built in to these units.
My Honda1000, incorporates a 10 amp charger, and can be paralleled with another Honda.
It's a nessessary item for any offshore extended cruising.
It avoids the issue of Dead Batteries

theway 06-06-2019 07:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey (Post 2903244)
Hmmmm......I’m not sure what we’d do with a genset. We don’t have a battery charger!!!



The one I have actually has little battery charger outlet and cables.

Boatyarddog 06-06-2019 07:23

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey (Post 2903244)
Hmmmm......I’m not sure what we’d do with a genset. We don’t have a battery charger!!!

Oh, wait, your being coy.
Lol:thumb:

Boatyarddog 06-06-2019 07:27

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903343)
The one I have actually has little battery charger outlet and cables.

That's the way they are.
You could plug it into your shore pwr. Outlet and you'd be then using your battery charger for your boat, easy Peasy.
Cheers,
SV Cloud Duster

Sailmonkey 06-06-2019 07:34

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boatyarddog (Post 2903342)
All gensets would have their own built in charger.
As these portable generators use gasoline and spark, some even there own starters. They provide power for their electrical system.
Battery chargers are built in to these units.
My Honda1000, incorporates a 10 amp charger, and can be paralleled with another Honda.
It's a nessessary item for any offshore extended cruising.
It avoids the issue of Dead Batteries


I’ve got solar panels that can provide more power than that. Your “requirement” for a generator still isn’t viable.

If we had a bigger boat, I’d carry one as a supplement to the solar and wind power. But it’s just not a requirement.

Not to mention using a 1000 watt generator to use a 10 amp “battery charger” is insanely inefficient. Those engines don’t even use that generated DC power to support ignition.

capn_billl 06-06-2019 07:34

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nwdiver (Post 2902445)
Lots of buses in Indo......get a used bus alternator, or even a car alternator for the short term...also they repair EVERYTHING in SEA.....cost to repair may be cheaper than a used one.

I don't think you want to be anywhere near the busiest shipping lanes in the world without the ability to start your engine, just my opinion.

I'm with this. Get someone to rewind the one you have, or find any thing that looks like an alternator, and use temporarily.

theway 06-06-2019 07:38

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903193)
Let's try to make it dead simple. You need: one positive wire + multimeter (or lamp) + metallic magnetic object. Take a wire long enough to reach from battery positive to the back of the alternator. Measure voltage at battery terminals, write it down.

1. With the wire connected to battey positive post measure between this wire and the negative terminal on the back of the alternator (not the case, the alt is not grounded to the case). You should see the same 12.xx voltage as measured between battery posts. If this is not the case then you have ground problems and you need to keep cleaning contacts until this happens. If all contacts are clean and this still does not happen you have a bad cable. If the voltage is the same as on battery posts you have good ground and can proceed to step 2.

2. Identify the blue cable coming from the regulator. It connects to the alternator either by a ring terminal or trough a plastic connector combining two wires one blue one white (series 9 alt should have a rectangular grey plastic connector). Disconnect blue wire and connect in place 12V positive from battery (if plastic connector is used you need to put a female spade terminal on the wire first and identify the correct spade). Check with multimeter to see if you still got 12.xxV between this wire and alt ground post (jumper cable may have disconnected). Now you should have strong magnetism on the bolt holding the pulley. Check with metallic object. If no magnetism present it means the brushes are not contacting and you need to take the alt out and at least clean if not replace them.



I’ll give #1 a try, your simplicity makes it clearer. Will this work even with an isolator in place?

As for #2, this is basically the test I have done. (I think) The plugs that goes into the regulator has Red, Brown, and Blue wires (The Blue wire at the regulator end is coming directly from the plug in the back of the alternator). The Red measures about 13V, I simply connected the Red to the Blue with a jumper and that should cause the magnetism, which it does not. This is how the Balmar Tech explained and how they have it in the manual, but please let me know if your method is actually different some how. The goal is to basically get 12V to the Blue wire on back of the alternator.

Attachment 193359

capn_billl 06-06-2019 07:45

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wotname (Post 2902494)
Your engine has decompression levers so the easy way to reduce the electrical load on the starter battery is to use them when starting the engine. You will get a heap more starts from a battery by doing this.

1. decompress all 3 cylinders.
2. spin the engine over using the starter motor for say two seconds.
3. compress one cylinder and as soon as it fires, stop using the starter motor.
4. compress the next cylinder
5. compress the last cylinder

You may have to experiment a bit to get the timing right and the best throttle setting but I have found a throttle setting around the 1200 to 1800 rpm is a good starting point. It will depend a bit on how easy it starts normally.


I think my Kubota always starts that way. There is a small spring loaded lever on the side that kicks over when I start. There is a wooshing sound as the starter winds up, then the lever kicks back, and I hear the cylinders fire, and its running.

Boatyarddog 06-06-2019 07:57

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey (Post 2903355)
I’ve got solar panels that can provide more power than that. Your “requirement” for a generator still isn’t viable.

If we had a bigger boat, I’d carry one as a supplement to the solar and wind power. But it’s just not a requirement.

Not to mention using a 1000 watt generator to use a 10 amp “battery charger” is insanely inefficient. Those engines don’t even use that generated DC power to support ignition.

But you have room for those solar panels?
These generators, are inexpensive, your setup is not.
They can be moved from one place to another, yours cannot be moved.
They also can provide power for the systems on board, AC and DC.
Yours cannot without an inverter.
Hondas have a built in AC inverter, for those delicate electronics.
And yes they provide DC for ignition, it's built in.
Love solar as I have that too.
But for quick charging, you can use your boats charger for your banks, mine is 40 amp.
So.. You see there are many reasons to have one on board.
Cheers,
SV Cloud Duster

Rumpi 06-06-2019 10:09

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903358)
I’ll give #1 a try, your simplicity makes it clearer. Will this work even with an isolator in place?

As for #2, this is basically the test I have done. (I think) The plugs that goes into the regulator has Red, Brown, and Blue wires (The Blue wire at the regulator end is coming directly from the plug in the back of the alternator). The Red measures about 13V, I simply connected the Red to the Blue with a jumper and that should cause the magnetism, which it does not. This is how the Balmar Tech explained and how they have it in the manual, but please let me know if your method is actually different some how. The goal is to basically get 12V to the Blue wire on back of the alternator.

Attachment 193359

Look theway, the goal is not to get 12V to the blue wire, the goal is to test the alternators internal connections (the brushes) without first dismantling the alternator. For that test to work you need two things, faultless ground on the ground post and 12V on the field excitation post. Since you have an isolator on the red wire and are working upside down in a small space the simplest thing is to bring 12V positive into that space. So take a long enough piece of wire and clamp it to battery positive. The other end you put a spade or ring connector on and wrap in tape so you don't short anything by mistake.

The balmar manual troubleshooting starts with making shure you have good ground otherwise all tests are meningless. They also have a section for testing the blue wire continuity before testing for magnetism. That's because +12V in does not mean you always get +12V out (the cable or connectors may be bad). The test you did means nothing if you don't have good ground or the blue wire itself is bad.

You have measured 13.5V at 1400RPM so that means the alternator is working somewhat. Your problems can be:
1. Faulty ground somewhere, and a pain to diagnose. That is why Balmar wants you to have a cable of sufficient size directly between alternator and battery negative. That way you only have to clean two connections and inspect one wire. This is often ignored by installers who ground the alternator to the engine or some negative bus making your life a misery of chasing wire and cleaning every single connection. The brutal way to solve bad ground is to retrofit (or if present exchange) this cable (see balmar sizing chart). Still leaves you with bad ground in other parts of the instalation.
2. Sticky brushes. The brushes wear and the high humidity bakes the resulting powder. The spring can not press the brushes firmly and you get erratic connection while running (from engine vibration) and sometimes no connection at rest. Simply solved by cleaning or exchanging the brushes but in order to avoid demounting and dismantling the alternator for nothing you test for magnetism first.
3. Bad connections in the wiring harness to the regulator. This is easy to test for.
4. Bad voltage regulator.

Troubleshooting begins by establishing ground, then you have the choice. Balmar sequence is testing regulator, testing wire harness, testing magnetism.

Just another thing: an alternator is only really bad if smoke escapes from it, and even that can be repaired. The fact that it is old and out of production means nothing. Brushes come in standard sizes or can be ground to fit. Diode bridges are cheap and if a specific configuration is unavailable any electrician can convert to external rectification where you can use whatever diodes are available. Bearings are standard sizes also. The only part that is really alternator specific are the brush holders but even those can be adapted. Buying a new alternator is only warranted if you want more output.


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