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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 04-13-2009
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Alternator Output

Question: Why is my Balmar series 7 110 amp with AV-5 smart regulator only putting out 60 amps at max engine RPM?

I installed (myself) a new Leece-Nevelle (Balmar) alternator on my Yanmar 3YM30 engine last weekend. David at East Coast Batteries and Electrics in Ft Lauderdale built my system up to include the wire harness to plug and play into my existing engine set-up. We benched tested the system and it showed 110 amp output. He also programed the AV-5 for my battery system. His expertise and customer service was outstanding. He walked me step by step throughout the whole process. And his prices are the best I could find anywhere to boot.
I installed the system, triple checking all wire connections. This included the the new 4 Awg positive and negative wires to the engine starter and engine block ground. I had turned off the battery charger before starting the engine and use about 30 amps out the battery bank before testing the system. My XBM and the AV-5 only showed 40 amps going into to battery bank of 2X4D's flooded cells. I than went sailing for 7 hours draining an additional 90 amps out the batteries (I turned everything on). When I ran the engine at full power the most I saw was 60 amps coming out the alternator according to the AV-5 smart charger at 14 volts. At low idle - mid-range RPM I was only seeing 40-45 amps.
Before I start making phone calls my thoughts are seeing what you all have to say and if I have too compare it to what they are telling.

1. Is this normal?
2. Can the engine spin the alternator fast enough? I have 1/2 belt and the pulley on the new alternator is 2/1/2 inches vs 3 inches off the old one.
3. Since I don't have temp sensor for neither the battery or alternator does the AV-5 limit the alternator output?

Thanks for all replies
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Last edited by Melrna; 04-13-2009 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-13-2009
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What state of charge are the batteries at??? The more fully charged they are, the less amperage they will accept. Unless they're pretty low....they may not be able to take more than 60 amps. IIRC, TWO 4D batteries is about 400 amp-hours. If they're at 80% or better, I doubt they'll take more than 60 amps. BTW, if they're wet-cell 4D batteries, at most they'd take 80 amps... since most wet cell batteries have a charge acceptance maximum of about 20%. BTW, the suggest safe charging rate for two 4D wetcell batteries is only 50 amps, since the recommendation for wet cell batteries is usually the 20-hour amp-hour rate divided by EIGHT. 400/8=50.

IMHO, your alternator is too big for your batteries... It would probably be okay if you had AGMs, since AGMs have significantly higher charge acceptance rates compared to wet cell batteries.

Also, what length is the wiring run from the alternator to the batteries? 4 AWG wire sounds pretty small... for a 110 amp alternator. According to my calculations, a 110 amp load with a 3% voltage drop and 4 AWG wire is only going to be good for about 6' one way or 12' round trip. If the wire is any longer than 6' you're going to have some significant voltage drop due to wire resistance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
Question: Why is my Balmar series 7 110 amp with AV-5 smart regulator only putting out 60 amps at max engine RPM?

I installed (myself) a new Leece-Nevelle (Balmar) alternator on my Yanmar 3YM30 engine last weekend. David at East Coast Batteries and Electrics in Ft Lauderdale built my system up to include the wire harness to plug and play into my existing engine set-up. We benched tested the system and it showed 110 amp output. He also programed the AV-5 for my battery system. His expertise and customer service was outstanding. He walked me step by step throughout the whole process. And his prices are the best I could find anywhere to boot.
I installed the system, triple checking all wire connections. This included the the new 4 AGW positive and negative wires to the engine starter and engine block ground. I had turned off the battery charger before starting the engine and use about 30 amps out the battery bank before testing the system. My XBM and the AV-5 only showed 40 amps going into to battery bank of 2X4D's flooded cells. I than went sailing for 7 hours draining an additional 90 amps out the batteries (I turned everything on). When I ran the engine at full power the most I saw was 60 amps coming out the alternator according to the AV-5 smart charger at 14 volts. At low idle - mid-range RPM I was only seeing 40-45 amps.
Before I start making phone calls my thoughts are seeing what you all have to say and if I have too compare it to what they are telling.

1. Is this normal?
2. Can the engine spin the alternator fast enough? I have 1/2 belt and the pulley on the new alternator is 2/1/2 inches vs 3 inches off the old one.
3. Since I don't have temp sensor for neither the battery or alternator does the AV-5 limit the alternator output?

Thanks for all replies
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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-13-2009 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 04-13-2009
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Thanks for the reply saildog.. The questions you asked I answered in my write-up except for the wire size to the batteries which are 0 AWG. So please read my write-up. You always get mad at people who don't ask a question intelligently for which I think I did well. So please do the same when answering.. RTFQ!
1.What state of charge are the batteries at???
I used 30 amps the first time and 90 amps the second time.
2.Batteries are Flooded wet cells
3.As to the battery bank I plan on next month upgrading the house bank to over 500 amps, why the big alternator.
Having said that I believe you did answer my question about how many amps the flooded wet cells will take. It seems the AV-5 is smart enough to only allow 60 amps to the batteries so as not to ruin them. If that is the case than all is normal. Why I bought the smart charger to begin with. I have never had experience with such a set-up.
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Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
Question: Why is my Balmar series 7 110 amp with AV-5 smart regulator only putting out 60 amps at max engine RPM?

I installed (myself) a new Leece-Nevelle (Balmar) alternator on my Yanmar 3YM30 engine last weekend. David at East Coast Batteries and Electrics in Ft Lauderdale built my system up to include the wire harness to plug and play into my existing engine set-up. We benched tested the system and it showed 110 amp output. He also programed the AV-5 for my battery system. His expertise and customer service was outstanding. He walked me step by step throughout the whole process. And his prices are the best I could find anywhere to boot.
I installed the system, triple checking all wire connections. This included the the new 4 Awg positive and negative wires to the engine starter and engine block ground. I had turned off the battery charger before starting the engine and use about 30 amps out the battery bank before testing the system. My XBM and the AV-5 only showed 40 amps going into to battery bank of 2X4D's flooded cells. I than went sailing for 7 hours draining an additional 90 amps out the batteries (I turned everything on). When I ran the engine at full power the most I saw was 60 amps coming out the alternator according to the AV-5 smart charger at 14 volts. At low idle - mid-range RPM I was only seeing 40-45 amps.
Before I start making phone calls my thoughts are seeing what you all have to say and if I have too compare it to what they are telling.

1. Is this normal?
2. Can the engine spin the alternator fast enough? I have 1/2 belt and the pulley on the new alternator is 2/1/2 inches vs 3 inches off the old one.
3. Since I don't have temp sensor for neither the battery or alternator does the AV-5 limit the alternator output?

Thanks for all replies
The most important part of the equation is time. Yanmar with alternator to charge up to a 125 amp hr battery - is still a six hour minimum. ) on the slack side).

What exactly is your question?
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Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
Thanks for the reply saildog.. The questions you asked I answered in my write-up except for the wire size to the batteries which are 0 AWG. So please read my write-up. You always get mad at people who don't ask a question intelligently for which I think I did well. So please do the same when answering.. RTFQ!
1.What state of charge are the batteries at???
I used 30 amps the first time and 90 amps the second time.
Did you start at fully charged batteries or somewhere lower than that... saying you used 30 amps and 90 amps doesn't mean jack, without knowing where you started from.

Quote:
2.Batteries are Flooded wet cells
3.As to the battery bank I plan on next month upgrading the house bank to over 500 amps, why the big alternator.
Having said that I believe you did answer my question about how many amps the flooded wet cells will take. It seems the AV-5 is smart enough to only allow 60 amps to the batteries so as not to ruin them. If that is the case than all is normal. Why I bought the smart charger to begin with. I have never had experience with such a set-up.
At 60 Amps... it is still very likely to damage the batteries if you're doing it for any extreme period of time.

Are you replacing the existing 4Ds or going to use them with the new batteries. Also, how old are the existing 4Ds?

BTW, I was trying to help you and having an attitude really isn't a good idea.
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The original post was not careful in keeping charge rate and charge usage straight (i.e. the difference between amps and amp-hours) so this involves some guessing on my part. As well as I can remember, a 4D battery is good for about 150 amp-hours at a 20 amp rate. So try drawing them down to half charge. I.e. draw 150 amp-hours out. This can be be done by drawing 10 amps for fifteen hours or 20 amps for 7 1/2 hours, or any other equivalent. Then see what your alternator does. It should initially charge at near the 110 amp rating, but fairly quickly drop down.
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I believe 4Ds are closer to 200 amp-hours each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gc1111 View Post
The original post was not careful in keeping charge rate and charge usage straight (i.e. the difference between amps and amp-hours) so this involves some guessing on my part. As well as I can remember, a 4D battery is good for about 150 amp-hours at a 20 amp rate. So try drawing them down to half charge. I.e. draw 150 amp-hours out. This can be be done by drawing 10 amps for fifteen hours or 20 amps for 7 1/2 hours, or any other equivalent. Then see what your alternator does. It should initially charge at near the 110 amp rating, but fairly quickly drop down.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-13-2009
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My 4D's were 155ah in the last boat and at roughly 300ah for two...you would hit the 60amp limit at 20% of capacity Mel.
I think the Dawg has it exactly right...it is a capacity issue...with a 500ah bank you will get close to 100amps at and won't need to run at 100% power to get it.
No worries....yet!
From the spec sheet it seems like you need around 4500rpms on the alternator to achieve full output...so you could check that but with only 1/2 output, I think the battery capacity is the limiting factor.
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Old 04-13-2009
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My 4D's were 155ah in the last boat ...
Really? I see them listed at anywhere from 185ah to 210ah (depending on how the manufacturer chooses to lie).
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Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
Thanks for the reply saildog.. The questions you asked I answered in my write-up except for the wire size to the batteries which are 0 AWG. So please read my write-up. You always get mad at people who don't ask a question intelligently for which I think I did well. So please do the same when answering.. RTFQ!
Wow! Tough crowd. Girl bites Dawg!

It seems as though it may very well be a capacity issue. It also could be that your monitor is off in terms of measuring how many amp hours you are down (those things are notoriously off because they are based on the inputs you gave it and math, rather than actual readings off of the batts' performance), so you may not have been down the 120 ah you thought, which might explain why you were not putting out to the extent you thought you should have been. Also be sure to take account of temperature, as alternators put out less as they heat up, so if you were motoring for a bit at high RPM, you probably got that sucker to heat up, and then it would not hit its rated output.

Just a few thoughts.
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