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

mabowers 05-06-2019 09:31

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902485)
. 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.

Is there any chance that turning off that switch while the engine was running is the cause of your alternator failure in the 1st place ?

Rumpi 05-06-2019 09:38

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? 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

1. Your alternator is working somewhat, you can not have 13.5V at 1400RPM and 13V at 0 RPM othervise.
2. You have corrosion on the connections and it will not get better by simply running the engine.
3. Disconnect battery negative clean terminal and battery post. Follow the wire trough all connections to the alternator terminal cleaning every intermediate connection if present. Possible connections are starter motor, engine block, negative bus bar. Every one of this needs to have the bolts taken of, every surface (including the bolt and washers) wire brushed and sprayed with contact cleaner spray, reassembled and tighened then liberaly coated with dielectric grease (do not put the grease on first). Every auto parts store should have contact spray and dielectric grease.
4. Leaving the negative terminal disconnected repeat process for positive terminal and wires.
5. Your voltage regulator is working. Clean the connectors with spray anyway.
6. Tighten the alternator belt to spec, look for rust on the pulleys and remove if present.
7. Reconnect battery terminals, start the engine and measure voltage at battery. Report back.

Dockhead 05-06-2019 09:55

Re: 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.


:thumb:

Fuss 05-06-2019 10:53

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
fix alternator as mentioned etc but itís always good to have some sort of cheap backup so buy a 10ah motorbike charger and a small inverter to power it.

Sailmonkey 05-06-2019 11:14

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuss (Post 2902851)
fix alternator as mentioned etc but itís always good to have some sort of cheap backup so buy a 10ah motorbike charger and a small inverter to power it.

Are you suggesting to use the inverter to power a battery charger to charge the battery that the inverter is using to power the battery charger?

Fuss 05-06-2019 11:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
yes, why, do you see a problem with that!!! perpetual motion with no moving parts. sounds perfect to me..
Actually... what i meant was ... connect the inverter to the house bank and then charge the starter battery.

Sailmonkey 05-06-2019 11:34

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuss (Post 2902867)
yes, why, do you see a problem with that!!! perpetual motion with no moving parts. sounds perfect to me..
Actually... what i meant was ... connect the inverter to the house bank and then charge the starter battery.

I figured it would be far more efficient to parallel the house and start bank until the start battery is charged.:smile:

GordMay 05-06-2019 14:47

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NorthCoastJoe (Post 2902753)
If you can not get yours repaired you should be able to adapt a car alternator to your Yanmar ...

If you’re shopping for a temporary generic automotive alternator:
Yanmar uses the 3.15" Dual foot saddle mount (Hitachi style; Balmar Model 60) alternators. These are also used on: Mercruiser, Lehman, Perkins-Sabre, Westerbeke, and any Hitachi equipped engines
3.15" is the internal dimension between the two mounting feet.
https://www.balmar.net/wp-content/upl...SV-300x300.png

theway 05-06-2019 16:42

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smac999 (Post 2902772)
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.



This is with all connected. And yes it does look promising. I initially thought everything was fine and it wasnít charging because the batteries were simply full from the solar, but the regulator didnít show the green light which I believe is supposed to indicate full batteries. And I think there has only been one time in the past when they were that full, so I ran them down a bit but still no charging from the alternator.

I didnít test the the back of the alt because the engine room is small and access to alternator is through the cockpit locker. Even looking at and cleaning the connections is going to be tough, but hanging down inside that little space is not a good idea with the engine running.

Thanks again for the follow up.

peter57 05-06-2019 16:48

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
A set of jumper leads will suffice until you get to where you want to fix it, and leave them connected for an reasonable amount of time to charge the start battery so you do not destroy the Battery.

theway 05-06-2019 16:51

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mabowers (Post 2902791)
Is there any chance that turning off that switch while the engine was running is the cause of your alternator failure in the 1st place ?


Anything is possible....

But Iíve been doing it for 9 yrs. the charge load always goes to the starter and house banks, the switch just cuts the connection from the distribution panel to the starter battery. I also have a switch the letís me start from the house banks.

RaymondR 05-06-2019 19:02

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903052)
Anything is possible....

But I’ve been doing it for 9 yrs. the charge load always goes to the starter and house banks, the switch just cuts the connection from the distribution panel to the starter battery. I also have a switch the let’s me start from the house banks.

I seem to recall that the ignition switch connection to the alternator is just to provide a small amount of rotor current to initiate charging and once power generation is established it's no longer needed. I seem to recall it's generally routed through the charge warning lamp and when no longer needed and the current flow stops the lamp goes out.

theway 05-06-2019 19:15

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smac999 (Post 2902772)
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.



I was able to get in there and test the alternator directly at idle speed around 1000rpms and saw 0.07V. With a multi-meter I put the red on the positive post and the black to the ground (tried both ground post and engine) Is that the correct test from the back?

Thanks again.
austin

:)

Boatyarddog 05-06-2019 19:19

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...

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

:)

I'd use my genset to charge underway if needed.
What? No genset?
Needed item for all cruisers.
Cheers
SV Cloud Duster

a64pilot 05-06-2019 19:25

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



No, he has one, heís said that in the beginning, which is why I have been kind of chuckling about most of the responses.
I assume he also has a shore power charger, if not get at least a car charger.

However Iíd want something. GM has for decades made a one wire alternator, just connect it to the battery bank and it will output about 14V continuously, not three stage, but certainly better than nothing.

Surely GM canít be alone in the world with a one wire alternator.

I put them on all of the farm equipment, nothing is simpler.

Stu Jackson 05-06-2019 21:27

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903104)
I was able to get in there and test the alternator directly at idle speed around 1000rpms and saw 0.07V. With a multi-meter I put the red on the positive post and the black to the ground (tried both ground post and engine) Is that the correct test from the back?

Thanks again.
austin

:)


Would that not either indicate your bank is full OR you do not have enough rpm to generate output? 1000 rpm is almost less than idle. Have you considered upping the rpms when you measure?

Dsanduril 05-06-2019 21:35

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2903104)
I was able to get in there and test the alternator directly at idle speed around 1000rpms and saw 0.07V. With a multi-meter I put the red on the positive post and the black to the ground (tried both ground post and engine) Is that the correct test from the back?

Thanks again.
austin

:)

0.07V indicates that the alternator is not connected to the battery. At the very least you should get the same voltage as the battery (12.x) at the back of the alternator (presuming you are measuring from the alternator output cable and a common). In fact, you should be able to measure 12.x V there even if the engine is shut down. The only exception would be if you have a diode isolator somewhere between the alternator and the battery. Otherwise the output post of an alternator is generally hot.

If you do have a diode isolator then your measurement indicates the alternator is not generating, there are several possible reasons.

If you have disconnected the battery after starting then the alternator voltage will be zero (as you found) because there is no field current to cause the alternator to start generation.

theway 05-06-2019 23:58

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 2903107)
No, he has one, heís said that in the beginning, which is why I have been kind of chuckling about most of the responses.
I assume he also has a shore power charger, if not get at least a car charger.

However Iíd want something. GM has for decades made a one wire alternator, just connect it to the battery bank and it will output about 14V continuously, not three stage, but certainly better than nothing.

Surely GM canít be alone in the world with a one wire alternator.

I put them on all of the farm equipment, nothing is simpler.



One wire sounds amazingly simple. Iíll keep an eye out. Is it internally regulated then?

theway 06-06-2019 00:03

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dsanduril (Post 2903140)
0.07V indicates that the alternator is not connected to the battery. At the very least you should get the same voltage as the battery (12.x) at the back of the alternator (presuming you are measuring from the alternator output cable and a common). In fact, you should be able to measure 12.x V there even if the engine is shut down. The only exception would be if you have a diode isolator somewhere between the alternator and the battery. Otherwise the output post of an alternator is generally hot.



If you do have a diode isolator then your measurement indicates the alternator is not generating, there are several possible reasons.



If you have disconnected the battery after starting then the alternator voltage will be zero (as you found) because there is no field current to cause the alternator to start generation.



Yup, there is an isolator. And yup thatís the measurement I got numerous times. It was tested right after I cleaned all contacts and connected ends with sand paper. I guess I could have went up to 1400rpm but 0.07 at 1000 doesnít seem good.

It just seems like it never kicks on as it used to after a minute... see my next post...

theway 06-06-2019 00:12

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
1 Attachment(s)
To add to this, discussion as a question. What is the trigger or mechanism that makes the charging kick in/start up. The regulator is designed to wait a little while for the engine to warm up before the load is asked of the engine, where would this be tested, because it seems that it just never kicks in after 1 min as it used to.

Does the alternator need to be told to start putting out power or is it always putting out power when spinning? And the regulator just decided how much power the alternator should make, or is it always making full power and regulator decides how much to send to the batteries? This would be helpful to know and just generally interesting.

Thanks.

See attached.

Attachment 193334

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......Iím not sure what weíd do with a genset. We donít 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. Iíll keep an eye out. Is it internally regulated then?



Yes, and I believe very common. Itís not the best of course as itís not three stage, but as a back up they are good, just connect directly to the battery bank of course.
In case you donít 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 didnít 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......Iím not sure what weíd do with a genset. We donít 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......Iím not sure what weíd do with a genset. We donít 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


Iíve got solar panels that can provide more power than that. Your ďrequirementĒ for a generator still isnít viable.

If we had a bigger boat, Iíd carry one as a supplement to the solar and wind power. But itís just not a requirement.

Not to mention using a 1000 watt generator to use a 10 amp ďbattery chargerĒ is insanely inefficient. Those engines donít 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.



Iíll 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)
Iíve got solar panels that can provide more power than that. Your ďrequirementĒ for a generator still isnít viable.

If we had a bigger boat, Iíd carry one as a supplement to the solar and wind power. But itís just not a requirement.

Not to mention using a 1000 watt generator to use a 10 amp ďbattery chargerĒ is insanely inefficient. Those engines donít 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.

Sailmonkey 06-06-2019 13:58

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boatyarddog (Post 2903378)

So.. You see there are many reasons to have one on board.

Cheers,

SV Cloud Duster



Yes, there are many reasons to have one, but as required equipment? I think not.

For us, a 2000 is too large to store, a 1000 is too small to run our air conditioner (well, marginal at best) and we gain nothing by having it.

Jim Cate 06-06-2019 14:34

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

It's a nessessary item for any offshore extended cruising.
I'll be damned! I sure wish that you had told me that when we set out cruising in 1986, for it would have kept me from being unfit for offshore extended cruising for all these years! I'm sooo ashamed.

Seriously, a gen set of any size is a convenience, but far from a necessity for offshore cruising of any length.

Jim

a64pilot 06-06-2019 16:57

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Cate (Post 2903627)
I'll be damned! I sure wish that you had told me that when we set out cruising in 1986, for it would have kept me from being unfit for offshore extended cruising for all these years! I'm sooo ashamed.



Seriously, a gen set of any size is a convenience, but far from a necessity for offshore cruising of any length.



Jim



Iíd say that times have changed, to begin with in 1986 there was likely wasnít a generator worth having, they seemed to all be based on the Briggs and Stratton aluminum bore engines, and would wake the dead and were crap.
That had changed as I took a Honda 1000 with me to Desert Storm 1 in 1990. And it outlasted several of the Briggs and Stratton based ones, but I changed oil like every four days, and that may have been a lot of it.

But we or most of us are far more reliable on electric ďstuffĒ than we used to be with our Engel ice boxes and TVís and internet etc than used to be.
I could do without a generator, but why would I want to? In 1986, you may not have had a cell phone, and internet, but itís a different world now.
Itís like refrigeration, of course you donít need it, but itís nice to have.

Plus a lot of us have water makers now, and whether DC or AC they do take quite a lot of electricity.
I believe that a generator give us the some of the little luxuries that without them Iíd be hard pressed to talk the better half into going, like water and it being hot to.

Rumpi 06-06-2019 18:53

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
It's actually pretty clear why cruising boats carry generators: the main diesel engine is to big for the installed battery size and type. This will not change until we have batteries that match our ever increasing engines. Lithium is a step in the right direction but most LiFePO4 technology limits safe charging to +/-1C (there are exceptions like A123). Maybe LTO will change this, or A123 will become mainstream. Until then let's consider a good modern cruiser setup of 1000A chinese prismatic LiFePO4. To charge them of the main engine you need 15kW of generator. Now tell me how many boats you know of that actually might carry this much lithium have a main engine of only 30HP? A catamaran would be the most likley option, or a true racer/cruiser. For the same amount in Lead Acid one would only need 4.5kW of generator and even that only for a short time.

The fun fact is that while most of us would not consider switching to a gasoline main engine to the extent that there are no modern fuel injected small gasoline inboards on the market we are happy with our gasoline inverter generators.
Is a generator a must have? Surely not, it's a luxury, but let us be clear, so is the boat.

theway 06-06-2019 19:50

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
2 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.
....



Ok, thanks again for your continued help.
I just did test #1 twice and I got 15.98V and 15.73V... again to confirm I connected a wire to one house battery bank Positive and connected to Red on multimeter and touch the Black from multimeter to the Ground post on the back of alternator...

*Note the solar is disconnected, itís only a 100watt panel anyway.

This number obviously seems high so I tested at the battery red to positive post and black to negative post, Iím getting similar at 15.43V. And a step further I measure only one battery and it gave out 7.44V. (Bank is 2x6V)

On top of all that the volt meter inside the boat for that bank only reads 13V.

So Iím hoping all this makes sense, and gives you signs towards a next step :) It makes me think again that the alternator/regulator is sensing so much voltage that it never kicks on. Another side note is that before when I ran the batteries down a bit to see if the alternator would kick in, after it did not, the solar panels did and that charge was visible on the volt meter inside the boat showing close to 14V

And thanks again, much appreciated.

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