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post #11 of 13 Old 09-02-2015
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Charge Controller/Voltage Reg

I went through a similar thought process when I accidentally fried my OEM Hitachi alt. In the marine alternator world, there seems to be two options: cheap and crappy, or expensive and awesome. Not much in the middle.

I assume your plan includes a serpentine kit - where are you planning to source that?

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Re: Charge Controller/Voltage Reg

Maine, if you're going to go where no man has gone before and make up your own new system....just consider the heat transfer issue for a moment.

Do you know ANY device, other than a hundred year old coal boiler, that has the crude heat transfer surfaces of a modern regulator? Hell no, modern heat transfer ranges from simple fluting (on rifle barrels and auto oil pans alike) to finely made fins, in the heat transfer section of every air conditioner or hydronic heater installed in the last 50 years.

So...Why not start with an alternator frame that has been fluted, with a fairly large number of deep thin flutes, to quadruple the heat transfer area? Should be a simple machine shop operation with an immediate payback in performance.

Or for that matter, "liquid" cooling, not necessarily using water or antifreeze.

There are ways to move heat. Alternators just never seem to use them.
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-02-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Charge Controller/Voltage Reg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Balmar or Mark Grasser..

I get lots of comments on my website, from unhappy e-maax customers, for an article I did on installing a serpentine kit. This is the only article I have where the vendor draws a considerable number of negative comments. I have even considered pulling the article altogether but the serpentine kit is a real great product even if the company makes many unhappy customers.

That said you could go with either a 6-Series or the AT series or a Mark Grasser alt too. The AT series really are "all that" for a small case alt.... I have a number of these out there and they run hard and fast and require less "derating" (belt manager) to stay below 230F than an equally sized 6-Series alt does. These are really an ideal alternator for a 600Ah or larger bank of AGM or LiFePO4..

I do think the AT could be a tad more spendy than necessary for a 420Ah bank of AGM batteries as your time in bulk will be relatively short anyway. Assuming you are charging a healthy bank from 50% to 80% then you are only returning about 126Ah's in bulk. If we assume the AT will easily run at 130-140A hot, which it certainly can, you will be charging for less than 1 hour before you begin voltage limited charging, where current will decline rapidly. If the bank has lost capacity, which it undoubtedly has, or is sulfated, then you are returning even less Ah's in bulk mode and bulk mode will be even shorter..

In the real world the AT's will deliver an easy 100A at a typical Yanmar 4JH / 3JH etc. engine idle.... Balmar's specs are alternator shaft RPM, not engine....

The 6-series (or e-maax's version) will require more "derating" than the AT will so a 160A 6 series or e-maax and an AT are not performing similarly in the "real world".

I run a 160A custom built CS130D frame alt (same as 6-series and same as e-maax) which is about as tweaked and high performance as you can get yet I have it current limited to about 115A. This is the REALISTIC long term output this type of alt can handle.... The AT165 can easily do 130-145A....

My alt is just two years old and getting close to done for. Charging LiFePO4 is far harder than charging AGM's. My next creation is fully custom external rectification which should remove approx 60% of the heat from the alt allowing me to push my 160A alt to closer to 140A continuous...... I may also bump it up to 200A when I do this...

I would urge you to take a look at Mark Grasser DC Solutions alts too. Mark does my custom builds for me....

Mark has longer lead times but each alt is hand built one at a time with incredible attention to detail and superior components to the guys in Canada. Balmar builds a good product but with multiple levels of distribution, yes, they get expensive.
[quote=Maine Sail;3000530]Balmar or Mark Grasser..



I somehow missed your reply, will definitely look at the Mark Grasser. You are definitely an early adopter with the LiFePO4.... I would just be happy to have a healthy bank of AGM's, which is eluding me at the moment, I think they are toast, just like my Hitachi. I had no idea just how detrimental a partial state of charge was to Lead Acid or it's derivatives. They suck. I look at the price of a new boat, all of the gadgets, the cost of a decent battery bank, and then a wimpy charging system. Makes no sense.
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balmar , charge controller , electromaax , high output alternator , voltage regulator

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