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I wanted to know if anyone with a 53 HP Yanmar diesel engine (model # 4JH4-ESD40) had a Balmar 100 amp alternator upgrade (includes regulator). Were there any long term problems with the upgrade that affected motor or electric systems? It is a costly upgrade and wanted to get some feedback before I make the change.
 

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Chesapeake Sailor
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I wanted to know if anyone with a 53 HP Yanmar diesel engine (model # 4JH4-ESD40) had a Balmar 100 amp alternator upgrade (includes regulator).
I have a 55HP Volvo D2-55 that has a 100A Balmar. The Balmar alternator and ARS-5 regulator have been working "as advertised" for 6-years without incident.
 

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Why not try a Leece-Neville (Prestolite) 90 amp marine alternator instead? Much cheaper (~$170). You could add a Balmar external regulator if you must. They are very good quality. They make alternators for ambulances & fire trucks. Marine quality & won't break the bank.
 

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I sent an email query to Balmar asking about adding an external regulator to my existing Motorola alternator. [I believe the Leece-Neville alternator is equivalent to the Motorola, which is no longer manufactured.] In their reply, Balmar made a comment which is relevant here: they pointed out that automotive alternators are designed to give a specific output at 2- to 3- times the RPM we cruise at in our sailboats, so they will never give the kind of performance we expect, trying to charge the house battery running the engine an hour or so each day.
 

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Many of the LN alternators are LARGE FRAME and simply won't fit in a marine engine bay.

As to speeds, any alternator can run at any speed regardless of engine speed--if the pulley sizes are matched up. A custom pulley will run about $100 from a machine shop, half that in the boonies, half more in the city.

As Balamr surely must have said, somewhere around 100A you start to get a lot of slippage on any single V-belt. If you can't change to a ribbed belt, at least make sure the belt size your engine is set up for, can handle that 100A load.
 

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I sent an email query to Balmar asking about adding an external regulator to my existing Motorola alternator. [I believe the Leece-Neville alternator is equivalent to the Motorola, which is no longer manufactured.] In their reply, Balmar made a comment which is relevant here: they pointed out that automotive alternators are designed to give a specific output at 2- to 3- times the RPM we cruise at in our sailboats, so they will never give the kind of performance we expect, trying to charge the house battery running the engine an hour or so each day.
The Motorola is a 55 amp unit & the Leece-Neville is 90 amps in a marine, not autoversion. They are not equivalent. I believe it will perform every bit as well as a comparable Balmar that costs 4X as much. The L-N is a small frame unit so it is much easier to install. The Balmar will likely need a new bracket & perhaps a new crankshaft pulley, but the L-N won't. Maine Sail has a nice write up about the installation which I used as a reference when I did the job.

I didn't realize they make the alternators for Balmar, though.
 

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Doesn't running two alternators at once rob your engine of power that supposed to be turning the prop? It seems like it would be nice to have a second, massive alternator on a clutch for use only when you need it. Does anybody do that?
 

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Soulfinger-There are a few things working for your advantage. First is the prop uses more hp per rpm the faster the engine turns. In other words unless your going to use full throttle most engines have enough reserve hp to overcome the alternator. A hundred amp alternator uses about 5hp, and that can be about 10% of a 54hp engine.

The other thing is when using an engine to charge batteries you want some load to keep the cylinder walls from glazing, so it's a good thing to have the extra load.

Nobody uses a big clutch, but they do control the load on the alternator by virture of the field current. The one time you might want to do this is if you ever wanted full throttle directly after start up, like if you arrived at a boat dragging anchor. You would want to start up and give full throttle and have all the power go to the prop, not the battery charge. To do this many people put a toggle switch on the field of the alternators so they can switch off the load if needed.

Cheers
Scott

EDIT: Yachtwork is a marine vendor.
 

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The real cheap way out of the charge issue is to use a Delco large frame alternator that charges at 160 amps for 130 USD (from ebay) and the Yachtwork.com second alternator kit for 450. This is what the Moorings charter boats have gone to. Less than 800USD and the boat is charging at over 200 amps.
Scott,

Unless you have a MASSIVE bank (800+ah's) or AGM's that can accept MASSIVE current, most battery banks on boats below 42 feet or so can not accept 200 amps and even if they do they won't do that for long because as the charge level rises the amps accepted by the batteries diminishes. Many, many, many boats out there are way over alternatored and not using nearly the capacity that they spent the money for & I see it all the time..

A 1000 amp alternator will not charge a 200ah wet cell bank any faster than a 100 amp alt as you can only force so much in at a time unless the bank is AGM. The average wet cell lead acid battery will accept 25% of it's 20 ah rating in the bulk phase so in order to use or accept 200 amps you'd need close to an 800 ah bank completely discharged.

We should also keep in mind that most boat owners are not drawing the bank beyond a 50% depth of discharge. So if you only draw 200 amp hours off a 400 amp hour bank the most you'll likely see going into the bank, in bulk phase, will be somewhere around 50 amps max.


In my experience the answer to more amps from a Yanmar is to add a second alternator kit. They only cost 450USD from [EDIT_JRP]

You may want to read the rules for vendors about full disclosure. I am guessing from your screen name, and the web site you suggested the OP buy from, that you are the vendor?
 

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I find the new 6 series 100 amp Balmar to be superb. This is the one with the internal (dumb) regulator and Ive elected to control it with an external MC612 smart regulator ... leaving the internal reg disconnected but 'ready as a backup' in case the MC612 fails. My old MC612 failed after 9+ years.
What Ive noticed is that the 6 series with double fans runs much cooler than the Balmar 90-100 that it replaced (bearings started to score the shaft so its now a 'backup')

This may be an expensive replacement/upgrade but the price of importing such components into foreign countries/islands is prohibitive so I now have all the onboard 'backup' that will insure an inexpensive remedy if needed. BTW the design of the MC612 supposedly has been upgraded in design and firmware (2003?) so it should be even more reliable.
 

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And what kind of external regulator co-ordinates two alternators charing up the same battery bank at the same time??

Personally I've never liked double v-belts. Even though they were standard on police/taxi packages in the US forever, seems like everyone called them a nightmare to keep evenly tensioned, so one didn't wind up killing the other.

I hadn't heard that ribbed belts had any side-loading problems IF the installation was set up properly. Here in the US, last time I went V-belt shopping was about 4 years ago, and let me tell you that it was damned hard to simply FIND v-belts, especially from any name brand, in any auto store. Much easier to replace a ribbed belt, or at least, to BUY the replacement belt.
 

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I find the new 6 series 100 amp Balmar to be superb. This is the one with the internal (dumb) regulator and Ive elected to control it with an external MC612 smart regulator ... leaving the internal reg disconnected but 'ready as a backup' in case the MC612 fails.
Balmar was thinking on this set up and I agree the six series is a very good small case alt. I always carry a spare external regulator (simple Ford) but I'd have to physically re-install it in the event an external regulator failed...
 

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There were several references on this thread to the Leece-Neville alternator. Does anybody know which one works on a Yanmar engine?

I actually have a Beta 28, but I think it's the same 3.15" saddle mount. If I can find the one that goes on the yanmar maybe that will get me closer.
 

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There were several references on this thread to the Leece-Neville alternator. Does anybody know which one works on a Yanmar engine?

I actually have a Beta 28, but I think it's the same 3.15" saddle mount. If I can find the one that goes on the yanmar maybe that will get me closer.
In the 3.5" "Hitachi" saddle mount the options are really rateher limited.

#1 Convert the wimpy automotive alt to external regulation and adjust the regulator so you don't burn it up.

#2 Balmar six series

#3 Mark Grasser DC Solutions

#4 Electromaax
 

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Thanks Maine Sail. Option 1 was sort of what I was looking at. I already have the MC-614. But I need a spare alternator, so I was looking for a 100a LN (or something) that I could do the mod that you describe on your blog. But as you say, and as I've discovered in quite a bit of research, my options are limited. I also have the problem that there may be a clearance issue with some of the saddle mounts.

Beta uses an Iskra, and has kindly offered to sell me one for the bargain price of only 3 times what I could by it for in the UK. So I'll either track one of those down on the street, or go with one of the other options you list.

Do you have any knowledge of, or an opinion on the Iskra?
 

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I would agree with RichH, I have a Yanmar 4JH4AE 54hp. with a Balmar 6 series alternator w/temp sensor, paired w/a MC612 smart regulator. They have performed very well since '09. It charges a 450 AH house battery bank. The one issue I have had is with the v belts wearing if tension is not checked often. I would like to add a serpentine belt for fewer maintenance issues at some point, or a Balmar belt tensioning jack on the mount would help.
 

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An alternator that is turned off, has no field current from a regulator, is no more load than a pulley. So a clutch is of no benefit.

Balmar alternators have nice white paint. That seems to be the only difference. The power is limited by frame size and cooling. They might change the windings to help with lower speeds, but like said above changing the pully sizes will accomplish the same thing. The temperature sensor option is vital if you want maximum power with an external regulator. Internal regulators are better in this regard. The belt upgrade greatly extends belt life with the high power charging....80 or more amps.
 
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