Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-11-2016 Thread Starter
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Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

We have had this regulator on one engine for almost 5yrs. Recently, I added a serpentine belt conversion and reprogrammed the regulator to be appropriate for the new Lithium battery bank.

Everything works fine with it, except that now the charge light and alarm on the engine panel is on continuously. The alternator/regulator charges perfectly, the regulator senses the battery voltage accurately and all connections seem good and on the appropriate terminals (both alt and reg).

I'm sure I've messed something up putting everything back together and reprogramming the regulator, but I just can't figure it out after many attempts at going back to ground zero and starting over again.

Any suggestions? I guess it is always a possibility that the charge light circuit on the engine panel is bad, but that is an epoxied potted thing that isn't fixable.

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-11-2016
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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

Get rid of the idiot light. Put in a proper gauge.


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post #3 of 7 Old 11-11-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

Well, we have proper gauges for oil pressure and coolant temp. There really isn't a need for an engine panel charging gauge because we have a bazillion devices telling us in a bazillion ways what each of the charging systems are doing at all times.

And that wouldn't even solve the problem because the idiot light and alarm would still be going off on the panel, even if I added a gauge.

I have disconnected the alarm because I don't find it useful.

I have a feeling I'm missing a ground somewhere for that idiot light...

Mark
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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

Are the fuses for the MC614 good?
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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

There are two fuses on the MC-614 - one for the +12V power and the other for the sense wire. Both are fine.

The alternator and regulator are working perfectly. They provide the expected amperage at the expected voltage for the expected time and the tach output is correct. It is just the charging idiot light and alarm on the engine panel that won't turn off.

Although not necessarily correlated, this issue only occurred after installing the serpentine belt and changing the regulator parameters to a different charging profile.

Mark

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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
There are two fuses on the MC-614 - one for the +12V power and the other for the sense wire. Both are fine.

The alternator and regulator are working perfectly. They provide the expected amperage at the expected voltage for the expected time and the tach output is correct. It is just the charging idiot light and alarm on the engine panel that won't turn off.

Although not necessarily correlated, this issue only occurred after installing the serpentine belt and changing the regulator parameters to a different charging profile.

Mark

Check the voltage the idiot light circuit is seeing and confirm whether it is in-line with the manual specs.. Often it is easiest to just bypass the voltage warning circuit when you install an external reg.

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Re: Strange thing with Balmar MC-614 regulator

I didn't solve the problem, but I did get rid of the symptom. After lots of troubleshooting and comparing with the other engine/panel, here is what I think is wrong:

The idiot light/alarm system is potted in epoxy and I only have access to the basic wires going into it from the engine. Looking at a very crude schematic supplied with the engine, it appears that the charging alarm circuit is controlled by a transistor and some diodes. When the alternator is not charging, the panel current flows to ground through the charging idiot light and the base of the transistor. When the alternator is charging, the transistor allows current from the alternator D+ terminal to flow through the emitter/collector, which bypasses the idiot light circuit by causing the voltage to be the same on both sides of the light.

So I put a jumper wire between the external connectors that ultimately become the internal transistor emitter and collector - which essentially just shorts out the light electrically. Now the idiot light doesn't stay lit constantly, but then again, it will never light like this.

I don't think this will harm any of the rest of the alarm circuits (oil, temp, glow plugs) because they seem to be controlled only by internal diodes and external sensor switches. Even if it does harm, it won't really matter because we have actual gauges for oil and temp, and I disabled the audio alarm a long time ago.

Mark

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