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

Rumpi 07-06-2019 01:45

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Your digital voltmeter is decalibrated, please refer to it's manual for recalibration. The analog one is correct, 13.2V should be full battery just of the charger (presumably solar was recently connected). For us it does not matter you have sucesfully established good ground. Now proceed to test #2. Test results can be:

A) If magnetism present with outside 12V but not with jumpered blue wire (as per manual) test blue wire for continuity and clean connector (the one that goes on the alternator). If the blue wire is broken (you can not get voltage on the alternator connector) it needs replacement.

B) If no magnetism present with outside 12V on blue wire terminal remove alternator from engine, and replace brushes. (If you have no ideea on how to do that please ask here. We might require a few pictures of your alternator to walk you trough it).

Dockhead 07-06-2019 02:29

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903751)
. . . 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? . . .


Why would you be limited to a 30hp main engine for taking off 15kW? That's a healthy load for any main engine I think any of us have.


If you've got a 15kW alternator and batteries which can absorb 15kW, or even 6kW probably, that's a perfectly reasonable use for the main engine of any size put into pleasure boats.


My 100hp Yanmar is only putting out 15hp at 2000 RPM (on the propeller curve, not the maximum possibly output at 2000 RPM), a perfectly healthy regime.




Now it's healthy IF you're not under way at the same time. If you want to generate power and get propulsion at the same time, you need to take care not to overload the engine.

masonc 07-06-2019 04:25

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

:)

If it is your external regulator that died, you can charge the battery by exciting the field with a resistor. 12v will give you 100% output, which you don't want. Try a lightbulb in series. If you get 20 - 30 amps or so, you can charge the batteries. Put a switch in and charge your batteries then turn off. Find a higher resistance and you can trickle charge.

Rumpi 07-06-2019 05:39

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dockhead (Post 2903848)
Why would you be limited to a 30hp main engine for taking off 15kW? That's a healthy load for any main engine I think any of us have.


If you've got a 15kW alternator and batteries which can absorb 15kW, or even 6kW probably, that's a perfectly reasonable use for the main engine of any size put into pleasure boats.


My 100hp Yanmar is only putting out 15hp at 2000 RPM (on the propeller curve, not the maximum possibly output at 2000 RPM), a perfectly healthy regime.




Now it's healthy IF you're not under way at the same time. If you want to generate power and get propulsion at the same time, you need to take care not to overload the engine.

Generating 15kW of electricity needs about 23kW (30HP) of engine. I am not limiting anything but operating a diesel engine under 70% load is not healthy or fuel effective. A gasoline engine is different in this respect.

Your 100HP Yanmar is healthy because you got your units mixed up. First at 2000RPM it generates almost 80HP at the crankshaft. Second, on a propeller curve with a 2.5 factor this translates to 30HP. This then translates to around 6l/h fuel consumption. Those are Yanmar literature numbers for the 4JH4-HTE if you are wondering, your engine might be different but not by much.

Fact is small loads kill big diesel engines and gasoline engines are not wanted. OTOH the price of installing enough lithium and retrofitting the engine with enough generator capacity can buy the genset and keep it fueled for it's lifetime.

a64pilot 07-06-2019 05:55

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Where does this itís not healthy to operate a Diesel under 70% load come from?
Which ďexpertĒ is spouting this? I ask as almost all Diesels are operated well under 70% load, and the longest lasting ones are operated well below that number.
Dockheadís engine being a 100 HP makes the Math easy, at 2000 RPM, an RPM many of us operate at, its at 15% load.
You need enough load to fully warm it up is all, and an occasional blowing it out isnít bad for it, but running the snot out of it continuously is.

Aircraft Piston engines are the only ones I know of that are operated at 75% power often and usually donít last 2000 hours, and they arenít junk motors made from inferior parts, they wear out so fast because they are run so hard.

Engines like DDís run very conservatively can last, well almost forever, run them hard and they donít, they have been around forever, that has been known forever.

theway 07-06-2019 06:24

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
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.




Test 2 was done and still no magnetism. I didnít have a spade terminal but used a small alligator clamp, and tested the voltage many time to make sure it was 12V. Iím guessing nothing needed to be done with the white side terminal during the test.

My plan is to get to Singapore and take it off completely. Iíll take it to a shop and see what they think and then decide on a repair or replacement.

Thanks a lot for the help, if any other ideas come along please feel free to share.

Dockhead 07-06-2019 06:29

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

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903926)
Generating 15kW of electricity needs about 23kW (30HP) of engine. I am not limiting anything but operating a diesel engine under 70% load is not healthy or fuel effective. A gasoline engine is different in this respect.


This is really not true -- an old wives' tale. To keep a diesel engine healthy, you only need enough load to keep the cylinders warm, and provided the cylinders are warm enough, the less load, the longer the life, like any machinery.



And the minimum healthy load is not indeed a percentage of maximum power, which is really irrelevant if you don't at least consider what RPM you're running. The true measure is a certain power output per volume of air flowed by the engine. So smaller displacement turbocharged engines can run happily at smaller percentages of their maximum power, than large displacement naturally aspirated engines.


No cruising boat runs its main engine at 70% of maximum power. That would be achieved on my boat, and this would be typical, at only just below redline, and that is clearly a less healthy regime.




Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903926)
Your 100HP Yanmar is healthy because you got your units mixed up. First at 2000RPM it generates almost 80HP at the crankshaft. Second, on a propeller curve with a 2.5 factor this translates to 30HP.


No, it does not. Maximum possible power of my 4JH3 HTE at 2000 RPM is 42 HP. The power on the propeller curve is 15hp, as I wrote:


Attachment 193436


That's 15% of maximum, and a perfectly healthy load. It would be 30% of the maximum power of the naturally aspirated version of this engine, showing again the irrelevance of % of maximum power, in judging the health of any given load on a diesel engine.







Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903926)
. . .Fact is small loads kill big diesel engines . . .


Certainly this is true, but to be harmful, the load needs to be so small that the cylinders don't warm up. This is a lot less than 70% in all cases, and for most diesels it's less than 15%, and it also depends on RPM (again -- the point at which the load becomes harmful can't be expressed as a percentage of maximum power; some percentage of maximum power AT THAT RPM would be somewhat more relevant, but power produced per quantum of air flowed is the real measure of the health of the load).



The biggest underloading problems are with constant speed generators, because they don't modulate power output with RPM. That means that a lot of air can be pumped through with very little fuel burned, at that is what causes wet stacking and other damage.


My own 6.5kW generator, for example, has a 1500 RPM Yanmar 1000cc 3TNE74. In other forms, this engine produces 24 horsepower. The constant speed version is identical to this engine just with the governor set at 1500RPM. So even at full electrical load, this engine is at something like 40% of maximum power, and at 25% -- a specifically allowed regime -- it's 10%. But unlike my main engine, the RPM does not vary, so the amount of fuel injected per quantum of air falls much more sharply, so if you get much below 25% electrical load, you risk wet stacking and other damage, and Kohler forbid this. So with this kind of setup you have to be really careful -- running these all night for air conditioning while the a/c is mostly cycled off, notoriously kills them.

theway 07-06-2019 06:57

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
And since the talk of generators has come up prominently here I feel I should share my story....

I was entering Pago Pago, American Samoa. It was night and I felt ok about it. There were many lights and I could navigate it quite easily. However, since there were a few boats moving around in the bay entrance and the wind was dying, I decided to drop the mainsail and roll up the genoa. I rolled the genoa, started the engine, and set the tiller pilot. I looked around and then freed the main halyard. I stepped up on deck to the mast and began pulling down the mainsail. While I was up there the engine died. I didnít think much of it, but realized that my batteries were dead too. I turn on all my lights to be more visible and my nav lights are not LED, but usually no big deal while the engine is running.

I left California a year and a half earlier with no generator. I definitely wanted one then, but couldnít justify the space, the weight, and the cost. I made it pretty far with out one. But that night, with all my batteries dead in the middle of Pago Pago harbor I damn sure had some justification. So, luckily a nice gentle breeze from the east blew in and filled my reopened genoa down toward the anchorage past the huge cargo ships. All were docked with bright lights and loud moaning engines . I could see boats shapes ahead deeper into the bay but many did not have anchor lights. I knew where I wanted to anchor from prior analysis and I knew I would only have one chance to set the hook. I turned south and slowly wound up the genoa as I came into the wind, cleated the furling line and hastily walked to the bow. I dropped the delta and drifted back. To my delight, the drifting was soon halted. I was anchored in Pago Pago. When I left two weeks later towards Tonga, I had a new starter battery and... a generator.

But maybe the funny part is that now two years later Iíve only used the generator ~5 times to charge my computer and drone batteries out of curiosity when I had extra gas/petrol. Go figure.


austin
:)

valhalla360 07-06-2019 07:14

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

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

Wait a sec...you have a generator?

Just charge up the battery bank with it occasionally...being careful of exhaust fumes.

wingssail 07-06-2019 07:37

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2902435)
(I’m 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. )

Get the alternator fixed, or replaced with an automotive type. There will be someone in the nearest moderate sized Indo town who repairs alternators including diodes, bearings, and rewinding. We had our Balmar rewired in Padang in a dirt floor workshop for about $20, over night.

Even if you can make it to Singapore without an alternator (you probably can, especially if you rewire your solar to continuously charge your starting battery), why do it? Without an alternator you only need one more thing to go wrong and you soon have a cascading series of problems which can put you in a bad spot without an engine. Have you considered navigating through Singapore waters without an engine? And by the way, Singapore does not allow sailing except in certain areas.

Finally, in Indo you will probably be motoring a lot. Even a small capacity alternator with internal regulator will keep your batteries up if you motor for a few hours.

Get it fixed or replaced.

Dockhead 07-06-2019 08:00

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 2903937)
Where does this it’s not healthy to operate a Diesel under 70% load come from?
Which “expert” is spouting this? I ask as almost all Diesels are operated well under 70% load, and the longest lasting ones are operated well below that number.
Dockhead’s engine being a 100 HP makes the Math easy, at 2000 RPM, an RPM many of us operate at, its at 15% load.
You need enough load to fully warm it up is all, and an occasional blowing it out isn’t bad for it, but running the snot out of it continuously is.

Aircraft Piston engines are the only ones I know of that are operated at 75% power often and usually don’t last 2000 hours, and they aren’t junk motors made from inferior parts, they wear out so fast because they are run so hard.

Engines like DD’s run very conservatively can last, well almost forever, run them hard and they don’t, they have been around forever, that has been known forever.


Yes, and those aircraft engines are very low specific power engines compared to car or boat engines -- the Continental O-300 in the Cessna 172 produces 26kW/l compared to 80kW/l from my Yanmar. Again, you can't really talk about % of maximum power output -- this is pretty meaningless -- you need to talk about power produced per liter of air flowed, to get a good idea of the real loads on the engine.



That diesel engines last longer when run at lower loads we know this also from power boats. Those that are run flat out (70% of maximum, more or less) last MUCH less long, than other use cases, often less than 1000 hours. And the same engines are rated differently for different power outputs, and you can be sure, that the higher the power output, the less hours they are rated to last.



Sailboat engines run at 10% or 15% of maximum -- which is typical -- last pretty much until they rust apart or get overheated or get killed by some other operator error.



All machines last longer, if you subject them to smaller forces. This is in the nature of mechanical things. The lower the power, the longer your diesel engine will last, provided only you don't run at such a low power output that the cylinders don't get warm enough to seal the rings and completely burn the fuel.


Bottom line -- there is no problem running your main engine to generate power, with a reasonable size alternator and a lithium bank which doesn't require an extended finish charge at very low C value. With lithium batts and my 100hp Yanmar, even my existing 2.5kW alternator would be enough load, if geared right and used at a low enough RPM. Get one of those Humvee alternators on a serpentine belt or a PTO and you've got no issue whatsoever, and this is a good way to eliminate one whole diesel engine on the boat, for considerable saving of cost and weight.

Rumpi 07-06-2019 09:51

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Theway, now that we have established brush failure it's clear it needs to be taken of and opened. If you don't want to do it yourself it's fine, but be asured it's not difficult. Any local shop can do it, no need to wait till Singapore. But if Singapore it is then my advice is: charge the house batteries regularly with the generator and once a day switch the battery combiner on for an hour or so every day to maintain the starter by solar.
If you start the engine, next time you charge by generator switch the combiner on.

Now back to diesels and generators. Please gents understand that the nameplate ratings on sailboat engines are "pleasure duty" ratings. That means no full power for hours, not even 80% power for hours. So yes by ISO approved magic the engine has 100HP. Now derate that for continuous duty generator or prime mover rating and see what you get. Motoring for hours at set RPM as cruisers often do we need to work with the appropiate ratings. Yes modern motors are much more elastic, especially turbo and common rail ones so 70% of continuous duty is probably to much, I admit that.

BTW Dockhead please be so kind and look at that graph you posted. On the left side you have a kW and on the right side a HP scale. So at 2000RPM your engine can do 60HP max. and the propeller loading is 20HP. Given your engine is about 105HP max it means you are at 19% loading from pleasure duty maximum and probably about 50% loading of continuous duty rating.
Wich probablty puts you right on the power/fuel consumption map sweet spot oval. Operating outside that range brings increased consumption and some other problems.

Dockhead 07-06-2019 11:31

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

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2904096)
. ..

Now back to diesels and generators. Please gents understand that the nameplate ratings on sailboat engines are "pleasure duty" ratings. That means no full power for hours, not even 80% power for hours. So yes by ISO approved magic the engine has 100HP. Now derate that for continuous duty generator or prime mover rating and see what you get. Motoring for hours at set RPM as cruisers often do we need to work with the appropiate ratings. Yes modern motors are much more elastic, especially turbo and common rail ones so 70% of continuous duty is probably to much, I admit that.

BTW Dockhead please be so kind and look at that graph you posted. On the left side you have a kW and on the right side a HP scale. So at 2000RPM your engine can do 60HP max. and the propeller loading is 20HP. Given your engine is about 105HP max it means you are at 19% loading from pleasure duty maximum and probably about 50% loading of continuous duty rating.
Wich probablty puts you right on the power/fuel consumption map sweet spot oval. Operating outside that range brings increased consumption and some other problems.


Yes, 20hp not 15hp -- thanks for the correction.


But that's 21.7%, not 50%, of the continuous duty rating of my engine, which is 92 horsepower:


Attachment 193464




You need to forget about % of maximum power as a measure of a healthy load. This is irrelevant. The healthy load will be some percentage of the maximum power AT THAT RPM.


Running the engine at 3500 RPM and taking only 20hp from it might be harmful. At 2000 RPM it is no problem.


That's why wet stacking and bore polishing are issues with constant speed

gensets, but almost never seen with sailboat main engines, even those used for hundreds of hours charging batteries near idle.

wingssail 07-06-2019 11:36

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2904096)
Theway, now that we have established brush failure

How do we know it is brushes? Could it not be a field winding failure?

theway 07-06-2019 16:43

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Iím going to take the alternator off and have it looked at in Mataram on Lombok. Any advice on this process...

Step 1: Unplug, Unbolt.
Step 2: Drop off, Pick up. (Any specific questions or tests I should observe or request done there, certain materials or repairs)
Step 3: Bolt on, Attach wires
Step 4: Test on boat

Does anyone happen to know a specific shop in Mataram? If not I have a friend here on Gili Gede that will help.

Stu Jackson 07-06-2019 16:50

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2904328)
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’m going to take the alternator off and have it looked at in Mataram on Lombok. Any advice on this process or just unplug, unbolt, and drop off....

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Glad to hear you decided to do the reasonable thing.


Think of the alternator shop as your doctor. Do you go into your doctor and just say: "Fix me." Or do you tell him the symptoms and why you are visiting him/her?


Unless it's painfully obvious, one usually can't tell by just looking at the alternator, so the more info you give them, the better they can help you.


Gee, just like a boating forum! :smile::smile::smile:


When I had mine in for repair, they fixed what was wrong inside, then bench tested it and told me the max output in amps - always good to know. Tell them it's on a boat and what the boat rpms are so they can convert the alternator rpms based on the pulley sizes, so measure your crankshaft pulley, too. OTOH, I told them it was on a boat but they just bench tested it for amperage output without asking about the crankshaft pulley size. Could be some standard I don't know about, someone else here might.




Good luck, please let us know what happens.

wingssail 07-06-2019 16:53

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2904328)
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Iím going to take the alternator off and have it looked at in Mataram on Lombok. Any advice on this process...

Step 1: Unplug, Unbolt.
Step 2: Drop off, Pick up. (Any specific questions or tests I should observe or request done there, certain materials or repairs)
Step 3: Bolt on, Attach wires
Step 4: Test on boat

Does anyone happen to know a specific shop in Mataram? If not I have a friend here on Gili Gede that will help.

Just make sure you put a good wrapping of tape on the end of the output wire which is straight to the battery or you'll get some fireworks when it touches the engine block.

Be sure to specify that they use the exact size wire and number of windings, assuming that it has to be re-wound, or the output will be different.

theway 07-06-2019 17:03

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stu Jackson (Post 2904335)
Glad to hear you decided to do the reasonable thing.


Think of the alternator shop as your doctor. Do you go into your doctor and just say: "Fix me." Or do you tell him the symptoms and why you are visiting him/her?


Unless it's painfully obvious, one usually can't tell by just looking at the alternator, so the more info you give them, the better they can help you.

....


Ok, so itís not the kind of thing that is just rebuilt like a water pump, replacIng all of the worn parts and even some that arenít so worn but done anyway because itís opened and available for newer bits.

theway 07-06-2019 17:06

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wingssail (Post 2904337)
Just make sure you put a good wrapping of tape on the end of the output wire which is straight to the battery or you'll get some fireworks when it touches the engine block.



Be sure to specify that they use the exact size wire and number of windings, assuming that it has to be re-wound, or the output will be different.



Iíll definitely tape up the wire ends.

And same question from above:
So, itís not the kind of thing that is just rebuilt like a water pump, replacIng all of the worn parts and even some that arenít so worn but done so because itís opened and available for newer bits?

Wotname 07-06-2019 17:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
^^ there are only a few parts in an alternator, namely bearings, brushes, a diode pack and windings plus an internal regulator (if fitted).

The brushes are a wear item and need to be replaced when they get too short.
The bearings are like all simple bearings, replace if noisy.
The winding rarely fail and the burnt smell is usually obvious!
The diode pack can fail especially if the output has being disconnected while the alternator was producing significant current at the time. The pack is easily checked when the alternator is disassembled.

There is more to know but this is the basics of all alternators.

a64pilot 07-06-2019 17:36

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2904341)
Ok, so itís not the kind of thing that is just rebuilt like a water pump, replacIng all of the worn parts and even some that arenít so worn but done anyway because itís opened and available for newer bits.



It usually is, and quite often what your doing is giving them a rebuildable core, you get an already overhauled and tested unit.
Probably not with a Balmar though, and I doubt they can rewind that like Balmar did, with the flat wire and all.

nwdiver 07-06-2019 17:37

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2903474)
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.


This I totally understand.....

Electricity + Smoke = BAD

nwdiver 07-06-2019 17:40

Re: 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 cruvxising of any length.

Jim

I agree.......my gas SCUBA compressor is a necessity, not a gen set ;)

Stu Jackson 07-06-2019 18:20

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2904341)
Ok, so it’s not the kind of thing that is just rebuilt like a water pump, replacIng all of the worn parts and even some that aren’t so worn but done anyway because it’s opened and available for newer bits.


Pretty much, but what wotname and a64 said. It could be simple and usually the harder to fix parts are the parts that thankfully usually don't fail.


Again, another analogy: you're asking the doctor what's wrong before he even begins the examination.


Do you have Calder's Boatowners Manual? Good description of what goes on inside. You could probably find the same info by doing a Google on "How do alternators work?" wikipedia could help too, and I'll bet there are YouTube videos on alternator repair.


While you may learn how to do it, theoretically via la internet, in your case, and in my own personal experience, I'd have "the pros" do it. Not really something I'd think you'd want to learn right now. But some folks choose to do so and I applaud them for that.


Just my impression from this thread and discussions that you, personally, would be wise to have them do it. Heck, they even might let you look over their shoulder while they do it. My alternator repair shop back in California, Oakland your old stomping grounds!!!:), taught me a lot although I wasn't there when they cracked my case.


Good luck happy learning.:peace:

RaymondR 07-06-2019 19:05

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

In my opinion the mains voltage AC genset aboard the smaller cruising sailing yacht should be a thing of the past. Fairly high capacity inverters are cheaply available and a small gas engine driven low voltage auto type alternator makes a far superior battery charger from both utility and safety viewpoints. Different matter with a floating gin palace with their high refrigeration,water making and air conditioning needs.

theway 07-06-2019 19:10

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stu Jackson (Post 2904399)
Pretty much, but what wotname and a64 said. It could be simple and usually the harder to fix parts are the parts that thankfully usually don't fail.


Again, another analogy: you're asking the doctor what's wrong before he even begins the examination.


Do you have Calder's Boatowners Manual? Good description of what goes on inside. You could probably find the same info by doing a Google on "How do alternators work?" wikipedia could help too, and I'll bet there are YouTube videos on alternator repair.


While you may learn how to do it, theoretically via la internet, in your case, and in my own personal experience, I'd have "the pros" do it. Not really something I'd think you'd want to learn right now. But some folks choose to do so and I applaud them for that.


Just my impression from this thread and discussions that you, personally, would be wise to have them do it. Heck, they even might let you look over their shoulder while they do it. My alternator repair shop back in California, Oakland your old stomping grounds!!!:), taught me a lot although I wasn't there when they cracked my case.


Good luck happy learning.:peace:



Cool, that all makes sense and yeah I carry the same sentiment - Let someone else do it and hopefully theyíll let me watch. And after watching enough times maybe attempt, but only with a pro nearby to help if need be.

I do have the Calder book and plan to study it more before I go.

And thanks again all, Iíll update as things progress. Removal tomorrow and up to Mataram on Monday.

Rumpi 07-06-2019 22:14

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wingssail (Post 2904157)
How do we know it is brushes? Could it not be a field winding failure?

Yes it could, but logic says to first supect the part that moves and wears out. Without smoke escaping one usually does not suspect the windings beforehand, but they get tested anyway when the case is open. I am curious to hear what it was after all.

Theway the one thing to watch out when rebuilding is the bearings. Now if they need replacing or you want to do it anyway be sure to buy some where you recognize the brand.
Basicly there are 3 steps: repair, refurbish, remanufacture. Repair means restoring function. Refurbish usually means renew all wear parts. Remanufacture means bringing everything back to factory spec, including the paint. An alternator is such a simple machine that repair and refurbish is hard to distinguish.

Wotname 07-06-2019 22:43

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2904480)
Yes it could, but logic says to first supect the part that moves and wears out. Without smoke escaping one usually does not suspect the windings beforehand, but they get tested anyway when the case is open. I am curious to hear what it was after all.
..................

Exactly :thumb::thumb:

Alternator brushes last a very long time (usually many thousand hours) and field windings outlast brushes by several orders of magnitude. They usually only fail due to abuse (high loads and compromised cooling).

At least that has been my experience - YMMV!

masonc 08-06-2019 03:55

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Isn it externally regulated or internally?

Rumpi 08-06-2019 04:13

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Externally regulated but with internal rectification. Probable identification as Balmar series 9.

Theway, can you take some photos once it is out?

masonc 08-06-2019 07:07

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Has he tried exciting it

theway 10-06-2019 08:06

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
I got the alternator off and had it looked at. He showed me the brushes and indicated that was the problem (they looked really short/worn).

I watched him go through a serious of tests with the meter connecting all different bits and seeing the needle jump. 20 minutes after he started it was done.

Now the question, Could the brushes be a reason I wasnít getting magnetism? Or is there something else I should have him test/look at?

(Iíll post some pics soon)

Rumpi 10-06-2019 09:40

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
The brushes carry the current from the voltage regulator to the rotor winding via the sliprings. If the brushes are stuck or worn there is no contact between brush and slipring, and no current reaches the rotor coil. No current = no magnetic field = no output. Solution is to replace the brushes. So has he replaced the brushes and is the alternator working?

I supose he did all the usual tests and found everything ok or he would have pointed at the defect and waved his hands and head in dismay. Beside worn brushes the other common defect is grooved sliprings.

theway 10-06-2019 10:19

Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumpi (Post 2905909)
The brushes carry the current from the voltage regulator to the rotor winding via the sliprings. If the brushes are stuck or worn there is no contact between brush and slipring, and no current reaches the rotor coil. No current = no magnetic field = no output. Solution is to replace the brushes. So has he replaced the brushes and is the alternator working?

I supose he did all the usual tests and found everything ok or he would have pointed at the defect and waved his hands and head in dismay. Beside worn brushes the other common defect is grooved sliprings.



Hey Rumpi... yup, he showed me the brushes and i could see how short they were, I gave the nod to fix and they were replaced. And yup he did a few test, one test he did a little out of my sight with a battery on the floor, guessing that might have tested magnetism... after that he gave the nod that it was good.

Thanks for the explanation, I was googling but nowhere explains that link between brushes and magnetism.

Iíll be a couple nights here in Mataram and then Iíll install Thursday or Friday.

theway 10-06-2019 10:39

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
3 Attachment(s)
Hereís some photos.

Before and after I cleaned it. As I mentioned I had an exhaust leak last year. Iíve cleaned up most things....

Model plate...

And some pics from the shop... Looks pretty old, but he didnít call attention to anything but the brushes.

Attachment 193661
Attachment 193663

Attachment 193662

lateral 10-06-2019 13:29

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
If you want a cheap drop in high amp spare alt that will fit a 3GM30f a bosch from a 944 porsche will fit if you grind a couple of mm of the rear foot and pack with acouple of washers on the front. Two min job.
Has the advantage of being able to swap out brushes in 5mins as there external and being able to externally regulate as the brush set and regulator are one piece. Non regulated brush sets are available.
ALSO comes with a cowl to supply external cool air.
MUST use gates green stripe belts if single.
$50-100 on ebay.
Pm me if anyone wants details.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/PORSCHE-944...MAAOSweX5cKBAn

I did fab up a custom tensioner as the hitachi one wont fit.

RaymondR 10-06-2019 13:32

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Easily detected fault with a simple test.

Like most of us I did not know a lot about alternators before I took up boating in remote places. I have the alternator subject pretty well covered now and am working on refrigeration.

theway 10-06-2019 21:42

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.

Can we back up to this for the sake of exploitation? Because this still seems like one of the most notable and valuable points. If I reinstall the alternator and everything is fine, and the problem was fixed by new brushes... How does that explain why it worked 4 months ago and not now?

Any guesses or logical conclusions based on experience?

(The engine wasnít running and the brushes wouldnít just wear themselves down)

Fore and Aft 10-06-2019 22:42

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Off subject a little bit but I had a 40 amp Victron battery charger mounted near my Smokey generator. One day it stopped working when I opened it up it was covered in carbon from the exhaust. I blew it down then cleaned it with WD40, moved its location and it has worked fine ever since.
Cheers

RaymondR 11-06-2019 00:23

Re: Cruising Without Alternator (Temporarily)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theway (Post 2906306)
Can we back up to this for the sake of exploitation? Because this still seems like one of the most notable and valuable points. If I reinstall the alternator and everything is fine, and the problem was fixed by new brushes... How does that explain why it worked 4 months ago and not now?

Any guesses or logical conclusions based on experience?

(The engine wasnít running and the brushes wouldnít just wear themselves down)

Worn brushes causing little spring force allowed brushes to become stuck in the brush holders.


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