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

theway 04-06-2019 18:22

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
My alternator recently died and was wondering how long a starter battery can last if only used for cranking the engine? I have the Bluetop D34M. Iím curious about two situations...

1: (Curiosity) If the starter battery was only used for cranking and never charged. How many cranks could it do?

2: (Actual) If the starter battery was charged some from 2 - 100watt solar panels.... I have 2 House banks fed by 2 - 100watt solar panels (one per bank). That power can also be sent to the starter battery when the starter battery switch is on. My general power needs are low and easily met with the solar, my concern is starter battery draw from each crank.

(Iím in Indonesia and would like to make it to Singapore if possible, but that would be about 1,000 miles and about 60 days. A few moments ago I created a separate thread about trying to source a Balmar Alternator in Indonesia. )

Thanks,
austin

:)

GILow 04-06-2019 18:36

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Depends on a few variables, such as how easy the engine is to start. So on paper, I'd say ten or more times for a healthy battery and engine in your warm climate.

HOWEVER, most engines still draw current from the battery when running to power the fuel solenoid/shutoff system, the instruments, maybe the blower fan.

Also, needless to say, as the charge gets lower you risk damaging the battery by leaving it discharged, somewhere around 50% seems to be the critical point.

In your situation, I'd invest in an extra small panel and regulator, another 100 watts would be good if possible, and leave it connected.

Or see if you can get your hands on a battery to battery charger, though I think a "real" one would cost more than the panel and regulator. Simply connecting the battery banks is rarely as effective as we'd like. (I learned this the hard way.)

nwdiver 04-06-2019 18:39

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
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.

GILow 04-06-2019 18:43

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Another thought... maybe just a solar regulator that handles twin battery systems.

My Votronic regulators have an extra output for the engine bank that keeps it topped up but gives priority to the house bank first. Of course I can't actually use the circuit because the engine is 24 volts while the house bank is 12. But it's nice to know it is there as I can chop the engine bank to charge one battery from each regulator if I need to.

smac999 04-06-2019 18:45

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
The battery also powers gauges, fuel pumps. Etc.

I would not run an engine or move a boat without an working alt. It is very important. Fix it.

theway 04-06-2019 18:51

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Alrighty, all good responses. Thank you. Looks like Iím staying here until I find a replacement. Or at least spend more time to see what my options are.

Sailmonkey 04-06-2019 18:52

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smac999 (Post 2902451)
The battery also powers gauges, fuel pumps. Etc.

I would not run an engine or move a boat without an working alt. It is very important. Fix it.



Thatís a little extreme.

If I was in the OPís shoes, Iíd probably pull all of the gauge backlights, and carry on like normal with the house charging the start battery. No biggie.

theway 04-06-2019 19:00

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailmonkey (Post 2902456)
Thatís a little extreme.

If I was in the OPís shoes, Iíd probably pull all of the gauge backlights, and carry on like normal with the house charging the start battery. No biggie.



Now youíre giving me confidence. The gauge lights are all on a switch and rarely use because I mostly travel by day.

I have started the engine 4-5 times now to diagnosing the problem and the voltage on the starter battery is at 100% about 12.8 on the meter.

Iíll see what my options are maybe delay a few days to see what I can find, if not Iíll carry on.

I do have a gas generator for a charge if it would come to that.

theway 04-06-2019 19:10

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Maybe worth noting that my 2 house banks consist of 2 FullRiver dc224-6v (224 AH). The CCA on those batteries is 900. Which is actually more than my BlueTop.

Jim Cate 04-06-2019 19:12

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
You say the alternator "died". What really happened? Most alternator ails are repairable, many quite easily, and as mentioned above, finding able repairers is usually pretty easy in third world areas such as Indo. That might well be the quickest and surely the cheapest alternative.

Meanwhile, do some simple maths: Most healthy small diesels start with < 5 seconds cranking. So, if the starter draws the nominal 200 amps (conservative), it will consume 5/3600x200=~0,25 amp-hours per start. Should give you an idea how many repetitions your battery will be good for.

Jim

Dsanduril 04-06-2019 19:14

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
You didn't specify the engine. Most older diesel engines don't require electricity to run. If you can live without the instruments you can possibly disconnect the battery once the engine is running, it does depend on if you have a stop or fuel solenoid that requires power or an electric fuel pump somewhere in the system. Even our new Volvo/Perkins engines will run without electricity, so it becomes a risk question (how likely are you to miss a low oil pressure alarm?). Personally I'd be comfortable with that scenario for the voyage you mention, YMMV.

Option B is to find a cheap automobile alternator that fits, and carry that as a spare once you get the Balmar fixed/replaced (we carry a stock 35A alternator with the same foot/pulley setup as a spare).

RaymondR 04-06-2019 19:27

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Cate (Post 2902472)
You say the alternator "died". What really happened? Most alternator ails are repairable, many quite easily, and as mentioned above, finding able repairers is usually pretty easy in third world areas such as Indo. That might well be the quickest and surely the cheapest alternative.

Meanwhile, do some simple maths: Most healthy small diesels start with < 5 seconds cranking. So, if the starter draws the nominal 200 amps (conservative), it will consume 5/3600x200=~0,25 amp-hours per start. Should give you an idea how many repetitions your battery will be good for.

Jim

:thumb::thumb:

And the only two warning indicators you really need are the oil pressure and water temperature and they will only come on if there is a problem.

If your diesel has a mechanical engine mounted lift pump rather than electric the engine should not pull any electrical power when running.

Unless you actually burned it out, in which case there should be soot everywhere in the engine box, the most likely culprit for a non producing alternator is a bad regulator.

Some rergulators have brushes on them and you can run a wire from one of the brushes either to the battery or to ground through a resistor and get the alternator to charge. I have used 12V light bulbs for this but you need a volt meter on the battery and watch to ensure the battery voltage does not go above about 14.5 V.

theway 04-06-2019 19:37

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Cate (Post 2902472)
You say the alternator "died". What really happened? Most alternator ails are repairable, many quite easily, and as mentioned above, finding able repairers is usually pretty easy in third world areas such as Indo. That might well be the quickest and surely the cheapest alternative.

Meanwhile, do some simple maths: Most healthy small diesels start with < 5 seconds cranking. So, if the starter draws the nominal 200 amps (conservative), it will consume 5/3600x200=~0,25 amp-hours per start. Should give you an idea how many repetitions your battery will be good for.

Jim



The alternator is an old Balmar 9 series and based on the photos I sent to Balmar to help asses the problem, he suggested that itís 20+ years old. More accurately he said it went out of production 20 years ago.

The story is: I left the boat for 4 months and on return it would not charge the batteries. The readings at the regulator are accurate which suggests wiring is fine, so I did the test to see if any magnetism comes from the pulley bolt/nut and got nothing. It seems like a good time to replace it.

As for the math, thanks.
What is the 3600 in the equation?

(And for the record the engine usually starts right away, definitely less than 5 seconds)

theway 04-06-2019 19:46

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dsanduril (Post 2902474)
You didn't specify the engine. Most older diesel engines don't require electricity to run. If you can live without the instruments you can possibly disconnect the battery once the engine is running, it does depend on if you have a stop or fuel solenoid that requires power or an electric fuel pump somewhere in the system. Even our new Volvo/Perkins engines will run without electricity, so it becomes a risk question (how likely are you to miss a low oil pressure alarm?). Personally I'd be comfortable with that scenario for the voyage you mention, YMMV.

Option B is to find a cheap automobile alternator that fits, and carry that as a spare once you get the Balmar fixed/replaced (we carry a stock 35A alternator with the same foot/pulley setup as a spare).



Very good points, thanks for the input.

The engine is a Yanmar 3GM30F (mechanical fuel pump unless Iím mistaken). I do have the ability to turn off the starter battery completely with a switch. Iíll definitely run some test to make sure nothing is drawing from it and monitor it often.

Iíll spend a few days looking and see whatís available, but Iíd definitely prefer putting the replacement Balmar in as my hopes are the wiring is very similar if not identical vs making changes that Iíll have to undo/modify later. Iím also not the best electrician so it would be nice to be somewhere with possible help.

Wotname 04-06-2019 19:48

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902481)
......
What is the 3600 in the equation?

Converts seconds to hours (i.e. 60*60=3600)

theway 04-06-2019 19:52

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wotname (Post 2902487)
Converts seconds to hours (i.e. 60*60=3600)



(Thumbs up)

Wotname 04-06-2019 19:56

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902485)
Very good points, thanks for the input.

The engine is a Yanmar 3GM30F. I do have the ability to turn off the starter battery completely with a switch. I’ll definitely run some test to make sure nothing is drawing from it and monitor it often.

...

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.

theway 04-06-2019 20:16

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.



Sounds like useful information (i donít exactly understand it all but Iíll look into it). The engine usually starts quick with out much effort, most times just a quick touch of the button. Even after the 4 months I was away.

Wotname 04-06-2019 22:30

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902498)
Sounds like useful information (i donít exactly understand it all but Iíll look into it). The engine usually starts quick with out much effort, most times just a quick touch of the button. Even after the 4 months I was away.

:thumb:
OK, well it sounds like the engine has good compression and starts easily (i.e. quickly).

IMO, it's good to know the alternative ways to start an engine that has decompression levers as the method can be helpful when you have a near flat battery or starter motor issues or wiring issues etc.

Dockhead 05-06-2019 02:09

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902462)
Now youíre giving me confidence. The gauge lights are all on a switch and rarely use because I mostly travel by day.

I have started the engine 4-5 times now to diagnosing the problem and the voltage on the starter battery is at 100% about 12.8 on the meter.

Iíll see what my options are maybe delay a few days to see what I can find, if not Iíll carry on.

I do have a gas generator for a charge if it would come to that.


If you have different ways to charge the start battery then you will be OK, but you need to keep a close eye on the voltage because you WILL be using up the start battery charge while running the main engine.



As others have mentioned, alternators are really simple devices and can usually be repaired and almost anywhere. There are auto electric shops in every third world town which can take apart, rewind, and cobble together some kind of solution for almost any alternator problem.


Also a wide variety of alternators can be adapted to fit.


So depending on how much time you have -- this should not be an overwhelming problem.


From a systems design point of view -- this case shows why it is undesirable to run house loads and engine systems off one alternator, usually a car-type alternator which is not designed for bulk power generation in the first place. It is vastly better to have separate alternators for the engine systems, and for house loads, the latter being a heavy duty large frame school bus type alternator which is designed for the duty. That's of little comfort to the OP, but note for the rest of us.

Rumpi 05-06-2019 04:18

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902481)

The story is: I left the boat for 4 months and on return it would not charge the batteries. The readings at the regulator are accurate which suggests wiring is fine, so I did the test to see if any magnetism comes from the pulley bolt/nut and got nothing. It seems like a good time to replace it.

I have to point out the obvious: alternators don't die from sitting around. If it was fine 4 months ago it's fine now. Your problem is corrosion. If you did the magnetism check correctly (ignition on) and don't get any it means your field is not getting current or the alternator can not complete the circuit to ground. You say the readings at the regulator are accurate, can you describe this?

Balmar series 9 are isolated ground so first thing is to check the ground wire. Disconnect, clean, reconnect and check continuity. Ideally the wire should go to the battery negative and be of the same gauge as the positive one. Now check again for magnetism. If no magnetism present connect 12V to the field wire (jumper). If you get magnetism the alternator is ok and the problem is on the regulator side. If not then the sliprings have a bad connection.

JimsCAL 05-06-2019 05:15

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
I have a Yanmar 3GM30F, and yes the fuel pump is mechanical as is the engine stop/fuel cutoff. So no electrical load there when running.


Sounds like with solar and a gas generator, you do have ways to charge the start battery. But attempting to have the Balmar repaired at least temporarily or getting an inexpensive internal regulated alternator would be good insurance.

Vartok 05-06-2019 06:17

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
While you may have a mechanical fuel pump, you do not have "mechanical" spark plugs. All engines require electrical power to run. With a working alternator you can run an engine without a battery using the power generated by the alternator/generator. If your alternator is not working, you can run the engine with out it, but you will continuously be draining the battery until it does not have enough power to ignite the spark plugs. Then you are dead in the water.


Could solar keep the batteries charged enough to run? Possibly, but personally I would not try it.

Sailmonkey 05-06-2019 06:24

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vartok (Post 2902642)
While you may have a mechanical fuel pump, you do not have "mechanical" spark plugs. All engines require electrical power to run. With a working alternator you can run an engine without a battery using the power generated by the alternator/generator. If your alternator is not working, you can run the engine with out it, but you will continuously be draining the battery until it does not have enough power to ignite the spark plugs. Then you are dead in the water.


Could solar keep the batteries charged enough to run? Possibly, but personally I would not try it.



Those pesky diesel spark plugs require frequent cleaning too.

Wotname 05-06-2019 06:43

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vartok (Post 2902642)
While you may have a mechanical fuel pump, you do not have "mechanical" spark plugs. All engines require electrical power to run. With a working alternator you can run an engine without a battery using the power generated by the alternator/generator. If your alternator is not working, you can run the engine with out it, but you will continuously be draining the battery until it does not have enough power to ignite the spark plugs. Then you are dead in the water.


Could solar keep the batteries charged enough to run? Possibly, but personally I would not try it.

Yes, you are correct. The OP does not have "mechanical" spark plugs on his engine. In fact he will be hard pressed to find any sort of spark plug on his engine. It seems these diesel engines have progressed to the point where they no longer fit spark plugs to diesel engines. The wonders of technology hey!

And FWIW, the 3gm30F does not have glow plugs either.

valhalla360 05-06-2019 07:10

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.

Unless there is a starting issue, it's unlikely this will save any significant amount. In fact if it starts in a second or two, it's likely going to eat up more amp-hr as the process is likely to require the starter to keep turning over the engine for longer.

JimsCAL 05-06-2019 07:18

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vartok (Post 2902642)
While you may have a mechanical fuel pump, you do not have "mechanical" spark plugs. All engines require electrical power to run. With a working alternator you can run an engine without a battery using the power generated by the alternator/generator. If your alternator is not working, you can run the engine with out it, but you will continuously be draining the battery until it does not have enough power to ignite the spark plugs. Then you are dead in the water.


Could solar keep the batteries charged enough to run? Possibly, but personally I would not try it.

Thanks Vartok. I needed a good laugh this morning. Hint: Read up on how diesel combustion works.

Wotname 05-06-2019 07:44

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by valhalla360 (Post 2902672)
Unless there is a starting issue, it's unlikely this will save any significant amount. In fact if it starts in a second or two, it's likely going to eat up more amp-hr as the process is likely to require the starter to keep turning over the engine for longer.

I beg to differ although I do agree that if the engine starts readily, not many amp hours are saved while the battery remains close to full charge. In the OP's instance, his start battery will discharge over time until it will struggle to turn the engine though compression fast enough to generate enough heat to fire. By starting decompressed, a near flat battery will easily start a 3GM30 (IME).

After the initial inrush current, the current draw of the starter motor rises sharply as each piston approaches TDC on the compression cycle. A discharged battery simply can not supply the necessary current to push the piston though compression. However decompressed, the starter motor requires much less current and what energy is supplied is essentially stored in the flywheel.

The current draw of a starter motor (which is always series wound) is directly proportional to the torque generated and inversely proportional to it's speed. Thus in a low torque and high application, the current is minimal. Decompression allows the starter motor to operate at lower torque and higher speed than a compressed engine.

theway 05-06-2019 07:49

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2902595)
I have to point out the obvious: alternators don't die from sitting around. If it was fine 4 months ago it's fine now. Your problem is corrosion. If you did the magnetism check correctly (ignition on) and don't get any it means your field is not getting current or the alternator can not complete the circuit to ground. You say the readings at the regulator are accurate, can you describe this?

Balmar series 9 are isolated ground so first thing is to check the ground wire. Disconnect, clean, reconnect and check continuity. Ideally the wire should go to the battery negative and be of the same gauge as the positive one. Now check again for magnetism. If no magnetism present connect 12V to the field wire (jumper). If you get magnetism the alternator is ok and the problem is on the regulator side. If not then the sliprings have a bad connection.


Thank you....
You make some very good points here and I think this is what caused my hesitation and passiveness towards the issue initially. I still now have thoughts that after a couple hours of motoring it will come back alive. I will however promote that by checking the contacts on the alternator for corrosion, maybe loosen and clean as good as I can and tighten them up again.

So the test I did for magnetism was detach plug from regulator and connect the red to the blue with a wire. Does that sound right? Iím pretty sure itís 12V coming from the red wire. Now, Does the black wire need to remain connected to regulator during that test? Iím guessing that might have been the problem if so.... checking now!

(I just checked keeping the black wire attached, I also tested the red wire and jumper for 12V, itís there, and when connected to the blue, still no magnetism - Iíll give the contacts on the back of the alternator and any other connections a look in the morning.)


The readings I got are here:
ó-
Measurements from the ARS-2. With engine at 1,400RPM, 1,000RPM, and only ignition on.

- 1,400RPM
RED - 13.51
BROWN - 13.32
BLUE - 13.30 and dropping

- 1,000RPM
RED - 12.92
BROWN - 12.78
BLUE - 12.89

- Ignition on only
RED - 13.01
BROWN - 12.58
BLUE - 12.89 and jumping around

lordgeoff 05-06-2019 08:01

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by small ac999 (Post 2902451)
The battery also powers gauges, fuel pumps. Etc.

I would not run an engine or move a boat without an working alt. It is very important. Fix it.

I have always had two alternators on my Perkins.
Solves all sorts of contingencies.

valhalla360 05-06-2019 08:06

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wotname (Post 2902693)
I beg to differ although I do agree that if the engine starts readily, not many amp hours are saved while the battery remains close to full charge. In the OP's instance, his start battery will discharge over time until it will struggle to turn the engine though compression fast enough to generate enough heat to fire. By starting decompressed, a near flat battery will easily start a 3GM30 (IME).

After the initial inrush current, the current draw of the starter motor rises sharply as each piston approaches TDC on the compression cycle. A discharged battery simply can not supply the necessary current to push the piston though compression. However decompressed, the starter motor requires much less current and what energy is supplied is essentially stored in the flywheel.

The current draw of a starter motor (which is always series wound) is directly proportional to the torque generated and inversely proportional to it's speed. Thus in a low torque and high application, the current is minimal. Decompression allows the starter motor to operate at lower torque and higher speed than a compressed engine.

If you are at the point the battery can't turn the motor over...yeah, it could help.

But if the battery is strong, it's a coin flip which will use more as the decompression method is typically going to require a longer run time for the stater negating the reduced current draw.

Another question for the OP: does the motor accommodate hand starting and if so, before heading out practice to see how it works.

theway 05-06-2019 08:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by valhalla360 (Post 2902716)
...

Another question for the OP: does the motor accommodate hand starting and if so, before heading out practice to see how it works.



The short answer is no.
:)

NorthCoastJoe 05-06-2019 08:30

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
If you can not get yours repaired you should be able to adapt a car alternator to your Yanmar. You will have to get creative with mounts and using 1/2 inch pipe and stacks of washers as spacers to get the pivot side right. Line up the belt pulley that way. Then set up the tension arm side with whatever you can make work. I have done this on several cars and tractors.

My Pearson's Yanmar 3gm30f has a car alternator on it and if I get over to the boat in the next few days I will get you a picture of the setup and type of alternator used.

Use the decompression levers as stated earlier, once it starts on one cylinder you should be good. It might be hand crankable, a Yanmar 2gm I once owned had the hand crank provision.

valhalla360 05-06-2019 08:41

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902735)
The short answer is no.
:)

If you aren't going to fix the alternator before heading out...the long answer may be worth while. Most small diesels can be hand started but not always easy. :flowers:

Used to have a 75hp evinrude...I figured out how to hand start it...it was a bear to do but it could be done.

Rumpi 05-06-2019 08:52

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Heareth oh unbelievers the words of the Church of The Electron:

The Monsun Demon has cast the curse of the Green and White Corrosion of Connections over the sacred generating device in question. According to the writings of Apostole Ohm the exorcism should be as follows:

1. Thou shalt remove any impurities from all connections by wielding the power of the Sacred Bristles of Bronze and the Holy Solvent of Cleanliness.
2. Thou shalt ward off the Curse of Corrosion by the power of the High Amulet of Dielectric Grease.
3. Thou shalt not take the names of the Saints Pixii, Faraday, Kelvin and Deri in vain for fear of the Revenge of The Black Smoke.
4. Thou shall observe the ways of the Profets Volt and Ampere to the letter.

For all the above The Holy Church will reward you with the Blessing of The Free Flow of Electron.

roland stockham 05-06-2019 08:57

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Given that you alternator is an antique and may be very hard to find parts for I would find a standard car alternator that fits. If you take it to the shop they can normally match up the lugs and pulley. Fitting the extra lead for the external regulator is simple, while you have the cover off give the diode plate a spray with conformal coating. An 85a output is ideal for a bank of up to 400a/h and going bigger will not shorten charging times. Should be around $100US. I have always used car alternators and never had a problem. High output ones are a rip off price and for FLA,s never give a significant reduction in charge times.

smac999 05-06-2019 08:59

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902698)
Thank you....
You make some very good points here and I think this is what caused my hesitation and passiveness towards the issue initially. I still now have thoughts that after a couple hours of motoring it will come back alive. I will however promote that by checking the contacts on the alternator for corrosion, maybe loosen and clean as good as I can and tighten them up again.

So the test I did for magnetism was detach plug from regulator and connect the red to the blue with a wire. Does that sound right? I’m pretty sure it’s 12V coming from the red wire. Now, Does the black wire need to remain connected to regulator during that test? I’m guessing that might have been the problem if so.... checking now!

(I just checked keeping the black wire attached, I also tested the red wire and jumper for 12V, it’s there, and when connected to the blue, still no magnetism - I’ll give the contacts on the back of the alternator and any other connections a look in the morning.)


The readings I got are here:
—-
Measurements from the ARS-2. With engine at 1,400RPM, 1,000RPM, and only ignition on.

- 1,400RPM
RED - 13.51
BROWN - 13.32
BLUE - 13.30 and dropping

- 1,000RPM
RED - 12.92
BROWN - 12.78
BLUE - 12.89

- Ignition on only
RED - 13.01
BROWN - 12.58
BLUE - 12.89 and jumping around

Is this with everything plugged in? Or with stuff jumpered?

Sounds like Your alt is charging but is low. As it went from 13v to 13.5v. What is the voltage on the back of the alt at 1400?

Put a clamp meter on the alt pos cable with a discharged battery.

Q Xopa 05-06-2019 09:02

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902481)
The alternator is an old Balmar 9 series and based on the photos I sent to Balmar to help asses the problem, he suggested that itís 20+ years old. More accurately he said it went out of production 20 years ago.

The story is: I left the boat for 4 months and on return it would not charge the batteries. The readings at the regulator are accurate which suggests wiring is fine, so I did the test to see if any magnetism comes from the pulley bolt/nut and got nothing. It seems like a good time to replace it.

As for the math, thanks.
What is the 3600 in the equation?

(And for the record the engine usually starts right away, definitely less than 5 seconds)

3600 = 60secs x 60mins = 1 hour.

hamburking 05-06-2019 09:10

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
One time, not so long ago, spiders clogged the vent on my fuel tank, and the atomic 4 suddenly stopped running. Of course I didn't know about the spiders, and I began searching for the trouble...fuel, spark, air, etc. Over the next hour...I was out sailing, no wind situation, 2 kids aboard with me. I must have tried to start that A4 at least 20 times with a good long (5 seconds) crank each time. Finally, in desperation, I removed the deck filler cap to look down into the fuel tank...and presto...engine starts. For about 10 minutes, then vacuum again. But by this time I had figured it out, and manually vented the tank every 5 minutes until I go back to the dock for a proper fix (find the spiders).

The point of the story is that I cranked and cranked a huge amount. One starter battery (from canadian tire) and the crank speed never even slowed. I did leave lots of time between cranks to ensure the starter didn't overheat.

And this was about the worst thing that ever happened to me with an atomic 4 (had one on two different boats). On the other boat, the alternator died entirely. I took it up to "kingston starter and alternator" and they rebuilt it for a modest price in just a couple days. They never mentioned the age or model, just made it good as new.

cal40john 05-06-2019 09:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902435)
My alternator recently died and was wondering how long a starter battery can last if only used for cranking the engine? I have the Bluetop D34M. Iím curious about two situations...


2: (Actual) If the starter battery was charged some from 2 - 100watt solar panels.... I have 2 House banks fed by 2 - 100watt solar panels (one per bank). That power can also be sent to the starter battery when the starter battery switch is on. My general power needs are low and easily met with the solar, my concern is starter battery draw from each crank.


Thanks,
austin

:)

As others have pointed out the 3GM30 doesn't have electrical loads while running (well except the tach). The solar panels charging the starter battery should be more than adequate to make up energy used to start the engine.


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