Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-22-2015 Thread Starter
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Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

Howdy all. The last time I was at the boat I did a bad bad thing and I have lost charging from the engine. I have a balmar alternator and an external balmar regulator. Not sure where the problem lies, but the regulator is not lighting up and the battery monitor confirms that I do not have charge coming from the engine.

Here is what I know . . . I started the engine with the boat still plugged into shore power. I *may* have started it with the battery charger breaker in the "on" position as well. Don't know where the OFF/1/2/ALL switch was set.

I know, I know, massive brain cramp. But the boat is petty far away and it would be nice to a) have a sense of what this might be and b) have a diagnostic regimen worked out before I head to the boat next.

I am undereducated when it comes to boat electric but I figure it is either a blown regulator or a blown alternator. If it is the alternator, I imagine that it might or might not be repairable. Can anyone help me flesh out these possibilities and / or make suggestions regarding diagnosis and repair?

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post #2 of 22 Old 02-22-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

I start my boat all the time with the boat still plugged in at the shore power with the battery charger on, never had a problem.
If you started with the main switch in the off position, there's your problem.
Your alternator had no where to send its generated current. its probably just a fuse that has blown.

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post #3 of 22 Old 02-22-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

I almost always warm up the engine, while she is still plugged in, with the battery charger on.


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post #4 of 22 Old 02-22-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

"If you started with the main switch in the off position, there's your problem.
Your alternator had no where to send its generated current. its probably just a fuse that has blown. "

OK, someone will jump in here and explain how a fuse can blow when the circuit is open. Unless this is some sort of cascade failure mode. No load (switch is off) output voltage of alternator rises pass the point that the regulator is rated for so output regulating device fails due to over voltage condition?

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post #5 of 22 Old 02-22-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

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Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
Not sure where the problem lies, but the regulator is not lighting up
-Matt
-With key on check for 12V on brown reg wire = Should be 12V+

-With key off check for 12V on brown reg wire = Should be 0V

-Check for 12V on red wire at reg harness plug

-Check for continuity on reg ground

-Check in-line fuses

-If this is an MC-612 or 614 check for 12V on the red voltage sense wire at the reg.

You can't have alternator output without regulator output.. Check the egg first & then the chicken...

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 02-23-2015 at 08:24 AM.
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-22-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

A more common cause of failure is a voltage transient from opening the alternator output while under load. If you accidentally turn off the load from the alternator while it's running, it's very possible the output voltage could almost instantly but briefly high enough (about 25 volts) to short out the alternator diodes. West Marine used to carry a ZAPStop that prevents this as it goes by shunting off current at somewhere around 17 volts. It's small and easy to hook up. This may not apply to modern digital regulators. Recommend asking Balmar.
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

If the 1/2 /0 switch was in off ,what was shore charger connected to ?. How could you start engine?If switch was in 1/2 all should have been OK. unless you then disconnected in a flury of brainfarts. Then the diodes blow. A couple of jabs with a voltmeter on the back of the alternator may be enlightening. Maybe just another loose wire somewhere.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-23-2015
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Unfortunately, alternators can fail immediately without notice. Their windings fail and there's no output. Remove the alternator and have it tested. It can be rebuilt for a fraction of the cost of a new alternator.

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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

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Originally Posted by Gladrags1 View Post
Unfortunately, alternators can fail immediately without notice. Their windings fail and there's no output. Remove the alternator and have it tested. It can be rebuilt for a fraction of the cost of a new alternator.

Tod
He has no lights on his external regulator which means it is not working. You can't physically operate an externally regulated alternator without the external regulator working.....
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-23-2015
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Re: Electrical - I did a bad bad thing (alternator / regulator)

Occams razor Check for a bad connection between the alternator and the battery.

If you have the Balmar manual for the regulator it has an excellent fault finding section.
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