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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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Telstar 28
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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.
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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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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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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Telstar 28
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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.
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. :rolleyes:

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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Telstar 28
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I believe 4Ds are closer to 200 amp-hours each.

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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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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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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Agree w/ Dog, batteries can only charge so fast regardless of how much power is available. Adding capacity will not only increase your charge rate, it'll also decrease your depth of discharge if your usage doesn't increase which will extend battery life, and the batteries will "hold more" because you are discharging them at a slower rate under the same load.
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for answering my questions. I feel better now and have a better understanding of my set-up. As always I learn a lot from this site.
Just to answer some of the questions here.
Dog- yes I did start from a full charge battery state before using 30/90 amp hours out of them. My current batteries are 4 years old with little use until the last year when I bought the boat. My number 1 battery is starting to show signs of going bad. The plan is to replace the battery bank with gels cell batteries next month. This is going to be a total redo on my part. I am going to move the batteries from the port cockpit lazzerette to under the aft berth. It will require me to build a new floor and a way to secure the batteries. Reason I am doing this is to get the weight in the center of the boat vs port side and free up some space in the lazzerette. The reason for gels is accessibility to check water level in the new location.
Again I must thank all from a earlier post on the Balmar/Leece-Neville note. I save about $300 from that advise alone. The box the alternator came in said Leece-Neville however the alternator is painted Blue and white just like the Balmar one is. It took a lot of research to find a dealer that carries this alternator that will fit my boat in my area. The dealer I bought mine from said he sometimes has found the Balmar plate when he opened the box. So again thank you one and all.
 

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Melrna—

Not using batteries, especially if they're not being charged properly, is just as bad for them as over using them. I wouldn't recommend going with gels, as they're far more sensitive to a number of issues like overcharging. In many ways gel chemistry batteries are the worst of AGM and wet-cell batteries combined. I would recommend going with AGMs instead, because they will also have a much higher charge acceptance rate than Gels.

I would also go up quite a bit on the wire size, since 4 AWG wire is pretty small for a battery bank of that size. Given the weight of batteries you're installing, 1/0 or 2/0 wire wouldn't be a bad idea, and relatively insignificant in terms of increased weight.

As for securing the batteries, you should have a battery box built for them... and then bolt the box to the floors of the boat in that area. The batteries should be held down with a cross bar inside the box.
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Melrna—

Not using batteries, especially if they're not being charged properly, is just as bad for them as over using them. I wouldn't recommend going with gels, as they're far more sensitive to a number of issues like overcharging. In many ways gel chemistry batteries are the worst of AGM and wet-cell batteries combined. I would recommend going with AGMs instead, because they will also have a much higher charge acceptance rate than Gels.

I would also go up quite a bit on the wire size, since 4 AWG wire is pretty small for a battery bank of that size. Given the weight of batteries you're installing, 1/0 or 2/0 wire wouldn't be a bad idea, and relatively insignificant in terms of increased weight.

As for securing the batteries, you should have a battery box built for them... and then bolt the box to the floors of the boat in that area. The batteries should be held down with a cross bar inside the box.
Already in the plan Dog on the new battery box. A friend of mine is building them for me. My current set-up already has the 1/0 battery wires from batteries to the main positive and negative buses. The 4 AWG wires I mention is a 2 foot run from the alternator to the starter/negative engine block post on the engine. The other main expenses in this, is upgrading the main fuses off the batteries. With the larger battery bank the 400amp fuses I believe are too small to handle the new battery bank.
As far as the gels, my thoughts are since I have a Balmar AV-5 and a Mastervolt shore charger, both has settings for gels, they should be able to keep the batteries happy. The AGM's are too expensive for my taste. If I can figure out a way to check the water levels I will go with golf type batteries. There is a new product out to do this that I saw in a sailing mag this month. Just have to find it again.
 

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Really? I see them listed at anywhere from 185ah to 210ah (depending on how the manufacturer chooses to lie).
Daniel...on the FLOODED side of the 4D batteries...I think the 155-165 range is much more commen. Wet 4D's as I understand it, came out of the commercial trucking business and do not typically have the same heavy plate structure as the 8D's. I am talking here about 4D's that have a weight of 95-100lbs. I know Exides are 160ah today and my old EastPenns were 155 but eastPenn does not even specify a 20ah rate for their wet 4D's today which says something too (same battery!). I know that lots of the AGM/Gel and PREMIUM wet cell 4D's have a/h ratings that are in the 200 range...I was assuming that Mel was using non-premium wets since she didn't specify anything more.

Have you found any non-premium (i.e. rolls/surette) flooded 4D's being advertised with 200ah's? I would be interested in taking a look!
 

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Don Radcliffe
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There can be a few reasons why your alternator is not putting out rated amps:

1. The regulator has cut back the field (excitation) voltage to the alternator because the voltage sensed by the regulator has reached its set maximum. This is another way of saying your batteries can't take any more current. If you put a voltmeter between the field wire (blue) and ground while the engine is running, you will see 12-14 volts when the regulator is telling the alternator to run flat out, but only 6-9 volts if the regulator is starting to cut back on the excitation voltage. Another way of checking the alternator output is to momentarily run a jumper wire from the battery positive terminal or the alternator output to the field terminal on the alternator--this bypasses the regulator. In your case, the fact that the alternator amps go up with RPM indicates that the problem lies more with the alternator than the regulator, so you might worry about the second reason.

2. The alternator belt is slipping, because you are pushing the limits of what a half inch belt will drive, plus you went to a smaller pully on the alternator. Now is the time to get out that fancy temperature wand you just bought, and see if the alternator pully is hotter than the rest of the alternator. If you have installed a new belt with your new alternator, its time to tighten it again--3/8 to 1/2 inch depression in the middle of the longest stretch with moderate finger pressure--and see if that helps.

3. You have burned out some of the alternator diodes (unlikely)

4. Your measured amps are incorrrect.
 

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re charging

two things Ive found,start with a hydrometer, easily detects faulty cells. bad batteries are just ongoing trouble, get new ones. good batteries will charge up very quickly so you dont need a huge alternater. trying to fudge with charging circuits doesn"t fix the problem but just delays you deciding that the batteries are suspect. Ive taken old batteries that have sat uncharged home and they just wont pick up on a standard charger. Ive then conected them to my inverter arc welder which is clean DC and can adjust from 14.5 to 40 odd volts.Now I'm not suggesting this as normal practice but with this you can get some idea what applying 16v plus can acheive. this will get the battery going again but will not ever fix sulphated plates or in my opinion make them reliable. thats my rant for the day
 

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Mel,

Last year we installed an 800Ah house bank made up of Fullriver DC400-6 AGM batteries. Despite the typical Chinese reputation for quality, these are highly thought of in Europe, and the price is excellent. I got them from DC Battery in Miami in April 2008, and the price then was $355.50. Even with freight shipping all the way to the northeast, the total price for four DC400-6 and two 4D-type DC200-12 (for starting and windlass) was $2433.

Go over to cruisersforum.com and search for posts on AGM batteries by Rick, the resident battery expert over there.

Once nice thing about the Fullriver batteries is that their recommended charging profiles are very close to that of flooded wet cells - they can handle higher absorption and float voltages than gell cells.
 

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Alternator output at low engine RPMs

Hello Sailing Dog, you seem to be very knowledgeable regarding this subject so I would like to ask you a question.

I have a 35 amp alternator on my Yanmar diesel engine. I am trying to calculate approximate amp output at idle or low speeds so I can figure how long to run my engine while on a mooring to replace the day's usage.

The max engine rpm is 3200 so I assume the max alternator output would be near 35 amps at 3200 rpm. But is there a formula for calculating output at 500, 1000 or 1500 rpms?

I have meters that tell me how many amp hours have been used so I am just looking to figure approximately how long I need to run the engine to replace the day's use.

Thanks so much for your time

Neil
 

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Neil
the only partial RPM figures I have seen for altenator output come from my Moto Guzzi workshop manual, this is for a Magneti Marrelli 20 A altenator.
7000 RPM 20A
2100 RPM 10A
1300 RPM 5A
I would imagine that engine speeds and altenator outputs would all be proportionate and that the laws of phyisics would apply equally to all types of altenator, although I do know that my Moto Guzzi causes interference with TV reception whenever I pull into the driveway.:D
Regards
Ugly Dave
 
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