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  #11  
Old 02-18-2003
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Products that are NOT marinized or marine grade that work

One more thing - To validate what peterpan suggested there is a little story on this page.

http://home.maine.rr.com/halekai/alternator.htm

He said basically the same thing. But I strongly suggest a good 3 stage regulator , just as this person put on. BTW, it is NOT easy to wire up unless you really know what you are doing -- Thats why sometimes the "marine" alternator/regulator set-ups (already wired up) are better for most non-electrical people trying to upgrade their own charging system.
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Old 02-22-2003
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tsenator
I was wondering. Where did you get your information about automotive regulators? there are several different brands but only a few manufactures. i''ve never seen a simple 2 stage regulator since 1963. they were used on generators. mopar uses only 3 wires. delco are for the last 30 years been internal. motorcraft uses 4 wires which one is for an idiot light. there is nothing 2 stage or simple about any of these regulators. they all have state of the art technology and operate normally well within the needs of gel cells or common and deep cycle batteries. it is imposable for these regulators to over charge any battery if it is working as designed and not defective. there nominal range of output is between 13.5 and 14.2 volts. amperage is determined by the state of charge of the battery. the only other factor is temperature. gel cell batteries are still lead acid batteries and operate with nearly identical characteristics. there only real advantage is that they are virtually maintenance free unless you worry about rollover. it doesn''t get any better than that. i see no advantage to set staging for any reason. it cant change the amp output of the alternator at all. Only the battery state of charge determines that.
Jim
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Old 02-22-2003
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Well....there''s at least 2 people I''ll NEVER buy a boat from.

Dennis
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Old 02-23-2003
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Dennis, Which 2 people?
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2003
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I wish I had more time for an in depth response ...perhaps later.

First, I am not sure why you mentioned the number of wires that an alternator has, because it has nothing to do with whether a regulator is a basic 2-stage or smart 3 stage charger. It has to do with how an alternator is "excited". http://www.alternatorparts.com/what_is_a_self_exciting_alternator.htm

I do know my Mando alternator is a simple two stage (sometimes referred to as single stage by some manufacturers such as Balmar http://balmar.net/Page12-regulators.htm)


There are some 3-step (as Presolite calls them ) regulators for automobiles, but most that you find out there are not. On Presoltite you can tell its only a 2-stage (what they call "The Fully Adjustable Regulator"....lol) because it has a flat cover plate. The Three Step Regulator has a finned, curved cover plate. Here Presolite shows how to ''manually'' adjust the 2-stage and then talks about their 3-step.

http://www.prestolite.com/pgs_tech/trouble_shoot_1.html

I could go on and on, but Auto regulators are not true 3 stage regulators designed to charge deep cycle batteries, even the small amount of multistage regulators that might be out there are not optimized for boats, but rather for an automobile running the engine all the time. BIG difference

So I''m not saying that some Car Alternators have not been improved over the years, its just that they are not optimized for a typical sailboaters application (1 or two hours run time a day), in this case you really need an alternator to continue to put out high current for longer than a typical automobile alternator was designed for. Typically Car Alternators put out near max current for a few minutes and then ramp down rapidly after that. You typically want to get the most out of a marine alternator in the minimal amount of time and that has the match the battery chemistry precisely (take a look here http://www.amplepower.com/primer/full/index.html) . So remember in a car your load is typically being fed from a battery that has an alternator running right along with it, big difference in applications.

You typically would like a marine regulator to behave as described in this site http://www.amplepower.com/ps_reports/v2-2/index.html
Automobile regulators do not.

So, as I have shown, there are differences between automotive and specifically designed marine alternator/regulator set up. That is not to say an automotive alternator/regulator set up wont work, it will, as I alluded to above and the previous post. And for most boaters it will be fine, but it is not "optimized". For instance Rotor RPM (speed at which the alternator turns, not the engine.) An optimized alternator would take into account the RPM that the engine might want to run at for maximum output, many ''off-the-shelf'' alternators only put out max amps at higher RPM. Also the the regulation is different. Not saying that it won''t work, it will, its just not optimized to get the most "juice" back into your batteries in a certain amount of time. One feature some Marine Regulators also have is "Soft start" (low start up field current) increases belt and bearing life and not putting any load on the engine while you are trying to "crank her up". This can really help if you have a low or weaker battery condition, and it really helps save the starter from undo stress of the additional load of the alternator at start-up.

Also West Marine advisor has a nice brief write up here http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/WestAdvisorDisplayView?advisor=469.htm
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Old 02-23-2003
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The number of wires is only to demonstrate the simplicity of the circuit. The reason auto alternators ramp ( and that''s a very good analogy.) is because the regulator maintains the voltage output consistently regardless of rpm except when it goes below the minimum rpm of it''s capability and the need of the battery. All alternators will ramp. That includes boats and aircraft. Amp output is not regulated at all. It is the result of the batteries ability to absorb the charge and the external load applied. If the amp load exceeds the alternators ability, the voltage will drop and the alternator will overheat and burn up. As a battery charges it develops resistance. Resistance of the battery and the external load are the only factors directly related to the output of any alternator in relationship to the set voltage. I appreciate that you appear to be well studied on the subject however I''m applying 35 years as an automotive electronics ASE master technician. I have professionally worked on not only automotive systems but boat and aircraft as well. Iím more than just familiar with gel cell, standard, deep-cycle, no maintenance, low maintenance, as well as Ni Cad and lithium. Manufactures need to spin their products with technical hyperbole using impressive graphs and charts. They have to try to convince you that they have built a better mousetrap or you wonít buy their product. The only way to induce a higher rate of amp charge is to push the voltage higher. The laws of physics involved are really simple. Now, if you can show me that a marine regulator operates at a higher voltage for a longer period of time: that would be the only way it can maintain a higher rate of charge than an automotive regulator. Higher is exactly what destroys gel cells. They will overheat and create undesired gas bubbles on the plates, which decreases their efficiency. This effectively destroys the gel cell, as it has no way to dispose of the gas and it canít be reabsorbed. Your reference to rotor speed: there is no real physical difference between a marine alternator rotor and any other alternator. An automotive alternator will produce max output at about 1000 engine rpm. The exciting load that you referred to is not much more than a 35-watt light bulb and is insignificant. At cranking rpm the load of the rotor is insignificant and identical to a marine alternator. Prestolite is on the fringe and I consider it to be inferior to any automotive technology. Boat manufactures use it because itís cheaper. Itís USCG rating is only because it is ign. protected. To have three stages it would have three set resistances that were switched by an ic chip circuit or mechanical relays. It would simply switch as the voltage reached a predetermined increment. This is not very exotic. The electronic regulators used by cars uses a constant variable control by a solid state switching diode. It will provide a perfect curve charge rate. Late model alternators are far and above any marine alternator in quality and efficiency. Your argument as to long and short trips for boats or cars makes no sense.
Jim
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Old 02-24-2003
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" Now, if you can show me that a marine regulator operates at a higher voltage for a longer period of time: that would be the only way it can maintain a higher rate of charge than an automotive regulator. "

Exactly my point. A good "smart" regulator can be tweeked to do this as is shown in this website http://www.amplepower.com/ps_reports/v2-2/index.html

Look at the two different charts of output voltage and current over time. In the same time frame the "smart" Regulator returned 160 Ah to the batteries, the Other Regulator returned 110-115 Ah. This translates to a relative performance of only 69-72% of the "smart" Regulator performance.

"Higher is exactly what destroys gel cells. They will overheat and create undesired gas bubbles on the plates, which decreases their efficiency. This effectively destroys the gel cell, as it has no way to dispose of the gas and it canít be reabsorbed. "

Exactly A good "smart" regulator can be tweeked (or just set to the Gell-Setting) to do reduce the possibility of this happening

"Your reference to rotor speed: there is no real physical difference between a marine alternator rotor and any other alternator. An automotive alternator will produce max output at about 1000 engine rpm. ....... At cranking rpm the load of the rotor is insignificant and identical to a marine alternator."

Agreed, if you read my posts completely I never really said there were big differences (or really any other than maybe powder coating or ign protection) between alternators, I was pretty much discussing about "smart" regulators

"Your argument as to long and short trips for boats or cars makes no sense"

My point is there is a huge difference between the way a person using a car electrical system and the way a person uses a sailboat electrical system.

In a car, most of the time any load is used while the engine is running, but while on a sailboat most of the load is used while the engine is off. This predicates the need to get as much "juice" back into the batteries in the shortest amount of engine run time (at least that is the way I feel, I don''t like having my engine on, but would rather sail).

If you have the engine running all the time its easy to get the batteries full but to do it in the least amount of time requires an optimized charge profile in which
The Bulk phase, the Absorption phase, and the Float phase are maximized. (Please refer to all the references I have shown ......these are not all from marine regulator manufactures, but many battery industry experts)

http://www.cavediver.com/batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm

http://www.amplepower.com/primer/full/index.html

http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm#Battery Charging


"It will provide a perfect curve charge rate."


No it will not, at least not all the time. As you can see from these charts http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/dcfaq6.htm different batteries have different "optimized" charging curves. For you to allude to the fact that one single charging regimen (algorithm) from an automotive regulator is perfect for all batteries is not 100% accurate. Sure it will work fine, but it is not the best way to do things. I won''t even go into the fact that most good "smart" regulators can do an extra equalization phase which is critical to extended battery life. Why do you think most people replace their batteries every 2-3 years?


And not ever "regular" 3 stage regulator does that, it would need to be a bit smarter to be optimized, but for sure it would be much better than most of the 2-stage regulators you see out there.

The batteries on my boats last almost 2 times longer than most peoples and well past what normal is. (No I don''t have Trojan or Rolls batteries) And its not because I don''t use my batteries. I anchor out alot , have radar, TV/VCR, stereo and lights on & kids on board !! And its because of the charging regimen. Sure a auto alternator/regulator will work fine, but how often do these people need to get batteries every 2-3 years, when I get 6 out of lower end Excides? To say "one size fits all" does a disservice to people out there.
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Old 02-24-2003
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tsenator,
Excellant!You''ve obviously have done your homework and know what your talking about.
And let me add one thing...cars don''t have deep cycle batts.

Dennis
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peterpan2k,
I''m curious.What do you have for a DC system in your boat?

Dennis
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Old 02-24-2003
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Goodness windship....I think this is the first time you didn''t give me a hard time....even though I might sail a benhuntalina or whatever derogatory name they have .... When I research something I really research. BTW it turns out my Coastal Cruiser is"puurrrrfect" for my kind of sailing, cruising, relaxing, anchoring & partying so for now and where and how I sail, you couldn''t get me in another boat or into one of those "world cruisers". But then again I have one of the "good/classic" coastal cruisers.. But (when and if) the day I set sail over the horizon into the nasty unknown (not the Caribbean...thats easy) then I''m sure my priorities on the sailboat to own will change.

peterpan2k knows what he is talking about, but only in what he has been exposed to. He will not open his eyes, do some research outside of what he knows and actually really read what I have posted.. He challenged me to back up information....which I did "ad nauseam". And he''s basically right, automotive alternators aren''t really different from so called marine alternators and would work for most boaters. But the "devils in the details".

oh...and even though it doesn''t matter I have a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and understand this subject very well.
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