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  #1  
Old 08-27-2013
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Alternative to Balmar

I am about ready to toss my third Balmar series 95 alternator into the drink. The first one was DOA, the second one was dead after 7 months, and finally the current one is dieing after 3 very short months. This is a 210a model and it seems Balmar has the market cornered and I can't find an alternative. It is a J180 style mount.

Surprisingly, the competitors have seem to fallen off the face of the earth. AmplePower, I hear is down to a slim staff, not good. Neece Leville seems to be shotgunning their solutions across as many verticals as possible, they seem very thin in the marine industry.

Any ideas, Maine Sail?




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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

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Originally Posted by kellysails View Post
I am about ready to toss my third Balmar series 95 alternator into the drink. The first one was DOA, the second one was dead after 7 months, and finally the current one is dieing after 3 very short months. This is a 210a model and it seems Balmar has the market cornered and I can't find an alternative. It is a J180 style mount.

Surprisingly, the competitors have seem to fallen off the face of the earth. AmplePower, I hear is down to a slim staff, not good. Neece Leville seems to be shotgunning their solutions across as many verticals as possible, they seem very thin in the marine industry.

Any ideas, Maine Sail?




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Go talk to Ballard Auto Electric.... They set me up with a simple AC Delco 120 amp alternator, that has worked for years and years. They will have a good laugh about your Balmer POS.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

You know, I asked for a simple 120 -140 amp solution, and they (CSR) talked me into this POS. Not a happy camper at all! They did get back to me on the the second alternator issue, bad brush alignment during manufacturing. I think the Chinese dorked it up. Balmar is too popular and I think they went to China for manufacturing. I would bet dollars to donuts that this third alternator has the exact same issue.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

They (balmar) have made a simple product into a nightmare for a lot of folks. Alternators are simple devices....bearings and brushes going out? WOW! Got 4000 hours over-18 years out of the last one before the bearings started to go. Replaced it with the 150 buck alternator spare from Ballard Electric. Thanks AC Delco!
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

The price on those Balmar alternators is outrageous. I have an original 55a Yanmar for a spare and a 100a unit from one of the aftermarket companies. It's a Delco, as mentioned above. There seem to be lots of companies making replacements: Alternator Yanmar Marine 3gm 3GMD 3GMF 3GMFY 3HM 3JH2 3JH3 3TD 3TM Engine 105Amp | eBay This is not the one I got but I think I paid around $120. Spyder may have been the company.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

We commonly use a product called Leece Neville but it is actually manufactured by Prestolite.

I had mine overhauled back in 2007 and at the same time had it upgraded to go from 120 amps to 180 - the factory produces the same model range (4800) from 105 amps all the way up to 320 amps so at 185 it's more than capable of lasting.

Mine is still juicing the batteries at an easy 140 amps when they're really down. and no sign of any trouble. And if my engine room was as clean as yours I would expect perfect performance from an alt.
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

Maine Sail put together a custom Compass Marine Alternator with a Balmar 614H regulator that worked a treat on our last summer cruise. Great service and advice, of course, thrown in.

Send him a PM
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellysails View Post
I am about ready to toss my third Balmar series 95 alternator into the drink. The first one was DOA, the second one was dead after 7 months, and finally the current one is dieing after 3 very short months. This is a 210a model and it seems Balmar has the market cornered and I can't find an alternative. It is a J180 style mount.

Surprisingly, the competitors have seem to fallen off the face of the earth. AmplePower, I hear is down to a slim staff, not good. Neece Leville seems to be shotgunning their solutions across as many verticals as possible, they seem very thin in the marine industry.

Any ideas, Maine Sail?

This leaves more questions than answers. A brush failure is quite rare in that short of a time frame. The first one being DOA is even more rare with Balmar. (never had an alternator from Balmar DOA likely because they hot test them and give a performance chart).. This third failure is very odd.

*What is it this time that caused the failure?

*Has it been opened up yet?

*What is it doing /not doing?

These alts are quite robust and Balmar is a very good company to deal with. Please call Rick, Rich or Dale and discuss it with them. I am a Balmar dealer but also have my own line of custom alternators that I offer but sell Balmar's most often. I also sell Electromaax. Properly installed all of these alternators are very, very reliable.

You've already invested some good money in this one so I would not recommend buying another. The main difference between Balmar or other high performance marine alts, and truck or ambulance versions of this alternator case, is the way the stator and rotor are wound for low RPM performance. The diodes are also more robust as are the bearings and other items..

One needs to be careful using any old alternator re-build shop with HO alternators as the stators and rotors they often get are "off the shelf". I have seen numerous examples of alternators re-builds with horrendous low RPM performance compared to the original and this is because an off the shelf part was used in-place of the high performance part. Most of these failures were due to a lack of an alternator temp sensor when AGM banks were added and the alt simply cooked itself.

Some questions:

*How much air clearance around that alt when the engine cover is on?

*Where is the alternator temp sensor located, and where is it bolted on to the alternator?

*What are you charging for batteries in type such as AGM or GEL or Wet. How many Ah's..?

*Is the alternator mount bolted to the engine stringer or bolted directly to the engine?

*What are your engine compartment temps averaging?

*Are there any signs of belt dust?

*What regulator are you using?

*Where is the voltage being sensed?
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
The price on those Balmar alternators is outrageous. I have an original 55a Yanmar for a spare and a 100a unit from one of the aftermarket companies. It's a Delco, as mentioned above. There seem to be lots of companies making replacements: Alternator Yanmar Marine 3gm 3GMD 3GMF 3GMFY 3HM 3JH2 3JH3 3TD 3TM Engine 105Amp | eBay This is not the one I got but I think I paid around $120. Spyder may have been the company.
Price out a real Hitachi then compare it to a Chinese made knock off. I have piles of those knock offs that have failed. I physically have one on my bench that lasted the owner all of six weeks. Darn thing still looks brand new.

It was replaced with a Balmar 6 series and he just returned from over two months in NS, Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland. His brand new genset failed on him and he was left with only the Balmar for charging. Needless to say he was happy that the el-cheapo failed when it did...

The genuine Hitachi is a much more durable unit just like the Leece-Neville is a better built unit that the Chinese knock offs of the Motorola case... Many companies will lead you to believe you are getting a real Hitachi when you are really getting a bottom of the barrel Chinese made knock off "Hitachi Style" alternator.. Buyer beware. I would not recommend many of those knock offs, even as a spare..

To build a good high quality, high output marine alternator you can't even source the parts for what those Chinese units sell for... Hell the diode rack for my alternators alone costs more than those knock offs...
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  #10  
Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Alternative to Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
We commonly use a product called Leece Neville but it is actually manufactured by Prestolite.

I had mine overhauled back in 2007 and at the same time had it upgraded to go from 120 amps to 180 - the factory produces the same model range (4800) from 105 amps all the way up to 320 amps so at 185 it's more than capable of lasting.

Mine is still juicing the batteries at an easy 140 amps when they're really down. and no sign of any trouble. And if my engine room was as clean as yours I would expect perfect performance from an alt.
I am looking at Leece Neville right now. The LN BLD brushless series looks great, 180amp. Although they come with an integrated regulator but LN said it can easily be removed. The dimensions of the BLD looks to fit my existing AltMount setup. Ballard Electric seems to have the knowledge of their product line in the Seattle area. Balmar is scrambling to solve my problem right now but I am a less than willing participant.

I did notice that Balmar series 97 is a Leece Neville OEM product.
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