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Author Topic: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another  (Read 17765 times)

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Steve Wormsbecher

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Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« on: March 19, 2014, 02:21:23 PM »

Okay all you smart guys out there.  I think Iíve read all of Electrical 101 (thanks to everyone who contributed, great information).  Some of the stuff is a few years old, so thought I'd ask....

Wondering if anyone would care to comment on my next upgrade.  I do a good number of weekend trips and run refrigeration so I like the idea of a bigger house bank than I have now.  Start Battery is completely sorted out.

Time to replace my old Group 27 batteries and install a Battery Monitor.  Also concerned about my original 25 year old alternator that ran pretty hot last year, so Iíd like to upgrade that as well, and I think an external regulator may be in order.

I suspect a 90-100 amp alternator fused after my ProIsoCharger with 125 amp fuses would be correct?

Please see the information below, attached schematic and let me know what you think!

Shore Charger
I already have the Xantrex XC3012.  No intention of replacing it.

Combiner
I already have the ProIsoCharger 120 1-3.  No intention of replacing it.

House Batteries
Four Trojan brand Model T105 or similar, rated at 225 Amp hours each so the four in a series-parallel arrangement 450 Amp hours
  • By comparison....
    12 V Group 24 batteries apparently have 105 Amp hours each.
    12 V Group 27, (Interstate SRM27 I have) apparently has 96 or 100 Amp Hours.

Alternator Options
Not to overtax my little 25XP, Iím thinking 90 or 100 Amps and then run at Belt-Manager 2 or 3 (as MaineSail mentioned here at the bottom) http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/alternator_conversion&page=2

I like the inexpensive option of the Leece-Neville; wondering if they sell the appropriate one already set up for external regulation?

External Smart Regulator Options
In all honesty, I may be one of those people who do not actually require an External Smart Regulator, but I am very concerned about overheating my alternator and if that is the only way to protect it, I feel it would be worth the money.

Balmar  http://www.balmar.net/regulators.html
  • Either the ARS-5-H (includes wiring harness), or
    The Max Charge MC-614-H (includes wiring harness)
Or
Xantrex
http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/power-accessories/alternator-regulator.aspx
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Xantrex-84-2006-01-12V-DC-Multi-Stage-Alternator-Regulator-/141184324415
Ample Power (looks expensive)
http://www.amplepower.com/products/sarv3/
Sterling
?

Any insights are greatly appreciated.
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 07:01:58 PM »

Steve,

Nice diagram, well done.

1.  Since you have a combiner, there is no need to run a separate positive from the shorepower charger to the reserve bank, let the combiner do that.  Check that your charger doesn't need a jumper for a single output.

2.  The (+) to the starter solenoid should come from the C post of the 1-2-B switch, NOT the 1 (or 2) post of the switch.  Suggest you label them on your diagram.

3.  The alternator output (AO) should go to the house bank, not to the combiner.  The combiner simply connects the house and reserve banks.

4.  Alternator Options

a.  90 or 100A will work just fine

b.  Belt Manager is one of two ways to utilize your external regulator.  Since you said you've read the Electrical 101 Topic, then you must have read the SMALL ENGINE MODE discussion.  You might want to re-read that.  Belt Manager requires programming, while SEM simply requires a toggle switch.

c.  Talk to Bob at ASM about the alternator selection.  IIRC, the selection should be:  Leece Neville  ASE 110-602 plus Kit 1070 #114-307.  There is NO need to spend the $$ on a Balmar, ever, they're made by Leece and have a 300% markup - geez...

d.  Blue Circle --- Why not pick up the phone and call Harvey?  Don't know if he's still in business, he was ill when I last talked to him a year or two ago.  NO MODIFICATIONS are needed to this alternator (I have NO idea why you'd think so given the Tech wiki material), and it comes with a Ford plug to link into the external regulator.  I have two of them, recently rebuilt by a local alternator shop. Not bad stuff for the price.

5.  Regulator - Do not bother with the ARS 5, buy the MC-614, much more programmable for a few bucks more.  Do NOT buy anything from Xantrex except an echo charger.  Ample is good but more $$.  Same for Sterling.

Good job, nice idea to not reinvent the wheel.

PS - first pass, could have more later.
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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2014, 07:31:39 PM »

Eliminate the (+) wire from the starter solenoid to the (+) house bus bar.  The starter solenoid is grounded to the engine.  Do NOT install this wire, it is unnecessary and dangerous.  The ONLY wire to this should be from the C post of the switch and is already there on your boat.
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scotty

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 08:20:29 PM »

Thanks, Steve, for the excellent diagram, and Stu for your comments.  I'm in no position to offer any ideas (I am definately not one of the "smart guys"), however I've gotten to the point where with a bit of thought I think I understand what you guys are talking about!  While I am a ways off from doing some modifications on my system, I'm starting to get the idea of what I need to do.  Thanks for your help, all of you who have been posting on electrical 101 and other threads!
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mainesail

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2014, 08:25:04 AM »

There is NO need to spend the $$ on a Balmar, ever, they're made by Leece and have a 300% markup - geez...



Stu,

This was the case MANY years ago, it is no longer the case. Balmar learned their lesson using "adapted" Leece-Neville alts and trying to drive large loads with them. The AGM trend quickly put an end to that...

Now the very few Leece-Neville alts that are built for Balmar, by L-N, are specifically wound and built to Balmar's specs. These are mostly the large case products. Balmar now builds most of their own alternators including the six series and the new AT series. Their newer alts are now far better than the adapted automotive alts they used years ago such as the Model 81 which was discontinued long ago...

Yes, the 6 series is loosely based on the 130D Delco, as are the Mark Grasser and Electromaax alts, and the AT series is loosely based on a Nippondenso case. This is primarily for offset standardization, but they are completely custom right down to the, windings, diodes and bearing selection.

The 8MR Leece-Neville is a good alt, provided you current limit it, but it is not a Balmar 6 series, Mark Grasser or Electromaax equivalent. Personally I like the way Balmar and Mark Grasser execute these alts better than E-Maax but they are all pretty decent......

Disclaimer: I am a Balmar, Grasser, Sterling, and E-Maax dealer. I also have my own brand of custom hand built alternators. I also have a direct wholesale account with L-N largest distributor. (no one except master distributors or OEM's buys direct from L-N)



Steve,

#1 You have no isolation switch for the start bank....

#2 Shunt wiring incorrect. Consider a Balmar Smart Gauge if you don't already have a BM.

#3 I always go larger with the alt then "derate" it in Belt Manger. This allows it to run at what ever rate you choose, and do so all day long. It will last longer and run cooler. The 100A run at approx 70A is a good choice but you are losing about 30-40A of bulk charge ability at 70A. However, if you went to a 120A, and eventually added a serpentine kit, you could then run at 90A +/-. A 140A or 150A could be set to run at 100-110A all day long and maximize bulk charging.....


As a dealer for just about every brand out there I can say without a doubt there is only ONE regulator. The Balmar MC-614! The Xantrex XAR reg is made by Balmar but why by an "X" brand with its notable tech support history, when you can buy the real McCoy and get some of the best support in the industry.

Balmar does not like to do tech support for another OEM, and who can blame them they make a LOT less money selling to an OEM than a dealer. Unfortunately, in my direct experience, Xantrex really does not know or understand this product well and has the tech support to go along with that. With Balmar you get Dale, Rick, Rich etc. and they actually answer the phones and know the answers....

IMHO Ample used to be in the game, and builds a good product, but the product lacks user programing options to the level of the Balmar. I no longer install Ample products. They dropped tech support, unless you want to wait for an answer in their on-line forums, and have tried to distance themselves and isolate themselves from the customer.. Some have no issue with that, most of my customers do. When you do get an on-line answer owners often feel berated and insulted by them for asking such "silly" questions. I have now been on the end of multiple rants, by multiple customers, about Ample's product support. Still good solid products but it comes at a price.

BTW My own custom built alts are made by the SAME US company that builds them for AMP**E PO**R..... There is no "secret sauce" in them. Are they good alts? Yes, absolutely, but most times I will opt for a Balmar, over my own brand (which I make more money on), because the Balmar cools better and performs better at low RPM. It also adapts to serpentine pulley kits which the old 10DN cases or Moto cases do not do well with the external fans.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 08:56:36 AM by mainesail »
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Steve Wormsbecher

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 09:05:38 AM »

Scotty, your welcome, hope it helps.

MaineSail, thanks as well, you posted while I was drafting, so I'll go over your stuff in a minute.

I was drafting...

Stu, you are awesome.

My apologies for not being more clear about a few things; my entries are always so long, Iím trying to cut them down as much as I can.

The ProIsoCharger 120 1-3 is not actually a Combiner.  It takes everything from the alternator and then distributes it without loss to all banks hooked up.  It does it in priority ofÖ Starter, then the 2 Individual House Banks I had earlier (now only one).  The start battery takes virtually nothing so as soon as the engine is started all banks take advantage of whatever the alternator has to offer.
I know that you and MaineSail arenít fond of these, however, it cost the same as an Echo Charger and fit my needs better back when.  It works awesome, and even in this set-up, without getting into it, I wouldnít change it to an Echo Charger.

That written, it might make more sense now that there isnít actually a connection from the 2 positive buss bars, (current does not pass through the ProIsoCharger) unless the 1-2-both switch is in both and the CB for the starter circuit is hot (1-2-both switch is virtually always selected to ď1Ē).  I know we donít need a CB or fuse for the starter motor, however, if my start battery is toast, I can open that CB (disengage), select ďbothĒ on my 1-2-both switch and not have a single electron diverted to the depleting start battery; everything from the House Bank goes to the starter.

Sorry about not being clear on the 1-2-both switch, that will help, attached is the set-up.

So from your pointsÖ..

1.
Because itís not a combiner, this wire just has me charging or more maintaining charge on my start battery while alongside.  Admittedly not a big concern, but I like it.

2.
Iím sure it makes more sense now with my 1-2-both amplification.  But in case it doesnítÖ..
I agree with you, Ron and MaineSail on 99.9% of the things you say, however, and Iíve been careful to not tread here earlier out of respect  :D.
I have a dedicated Start Battery, not a Reserve.  I bought a Lead Acid car battery designed to start an engine and from my understanding these are meant to be exercised.  I can think of no better way of exercising it than using it to start my engine every time I go sailing.  This also provides me the repeated comfort that it is there and I can hear it working as advertised every time I sail.  With a shorter wire-run and the appropriate type of battery for that operation, it works fabulously.  It is still there to work the radio or whatever if my House Bank fails for whatever reason.
If for whatever reason the Start Battery gets low I can go to ďbothĒ and get help from the House Bank; and as mentioned above, if itís dead, I can quickly and easily remove it from the system with the CB.
Iím not criticizing, saying itís better, or trying to convert anyone, just trying to explain my set-up.:)

3.
Should be more clear now as itís not a Combiner (that was my error by the way, sort of listing it as a Combiner, sorry)

Great advice as usual on the alternator and regulator, thanks.  I will take all of it and report back.

Super input Stu, thanks again.

I did receive an email from a great guy, Noah, who is in a similar situation and I expect will be posting sometime soon as well.  Heís done tonnes of stuff to his boat, and should have some excellent insights.

Thanks again to everyone, and Iím still all ears!

Steve
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Steve Wormsbecher

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2014, 09:30:10 AM »

More great stuff MaineSail, I appreciate it immensely.

1.
Hopefully my last entry clarifies things a bit.

2.
Admittedly I havenít looked very closely at the Battery Monitor yet, Iím debating a few issuesÖ. whether I should step up to a more complete monitor for tank levels and bilge pump cycling.  I may post again for further advice on that rather than overdoing topics in this thread.
The positioning of that was based on the attached installation document for the Victron BMV 600.  I will obviously need to look closer.

3.
Great points and after reading much of your stuff thatís what I figured.  I donít think Iíll ever step up to the serpentine belt, so I thought 90-100 amps de-rated would do exactly as you said, run cooler and last longer Ė awesome!

Balmar MC-614 it is! Thanks.

Great stuff guys.

Steve
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 10:23:07 AM »

Steve, the diagram in your Reply #5 seems to be confusing the POSTS on the switch with the switch positions.

As mentioned any number of times before:

1.  There are 3 POSTS: 1, 2 and C

2.  There are four POSITIONS: Off, 1, 2 and BOTH.

You should label the the posts, 1, 2 and C, on your diagram.
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Steve Wormsbecher

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 10:47:21 AM »

Sorry about that Stu, it was meant as a graphic display not to coincide with numbers.  I'll look at that a little closer.

MaineSail, I think I got it now for the Battery Monitor?  I revisited your http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=125606
image attached.
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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 11:06:54 AM »

Steve, re: (+) bus bar, are you stacking the 125 and 150 fuses from the "combiner" and to the switch?  You seem to have an available post on the bus bar.  Unclear how the install will actually go.
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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 12:04:51 PM »

I haven't yet put it all together, but initial idea was to use these... Dual MRBF Terminal Fuse Block - 30 to 300A

Oh, and the reason I highlighted those items in yellow was because I wasn't really positive they are the correct amperage?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 12:12:22 PM by Steve Wormsbecher »
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mainesail

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 12:18:05 PM »

Sorry about that Stu, it was meant as a graphic display not to coincide with numbers.  I'll look at that a little closer.

MaineSail, I think I got it now for the Battery Monitor?  I revisited your http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=125606
image attached.

You still lack an ON/OFF switch for the starter battery. It is an ABYC requirement for a bank like yours and simply a very WISE idea to have one.... Ask me how many stuck starter buttons I have seen and the only way to kill the starter quickly was the start battery ON/OFF switch. Have you ever heard what it sounds like when the starter does not disengage? Throw some scrap metal in your clothes dryer and turn it on....... :D Better hope you don't ever hear that noise without an easily accessible ON/OFF switch for that bank..  :D

Nothing wrong with a "dedicated" start battery, the "exercise" thing is more internet lore though. One of those things like a locked prop is faster......

The only reason you ever need to use a reserve is to see if it is working. it is a good idea to test it every now and then. I have seen "reserve batteries" last 11+ years never having seen any use just getting properly charged. I have one customer who has been through two house banks and his reserve battery is still going strong.. I actually like a dedicated start battery, if it is easy to do, but it SHOULD have an isolation switch.

No fuse, direct wired is a recipe for a visit from our buddy Murphy.... :?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 12:22:46 PM by mainesail »
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Steve Wormsbecher

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 12:24:02 PM »

Okay, that sounds good.  I thought using the 150 Amp Circuit Breaker would do the same thing.

I like using that start battery everyday so I know it's working as advertised.

How's the Battery Monitor position now?

Is that Balmar Monitor that much better? I was considering the Victron.

Steve
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 06:23:05 AM by Steve Wormsbecher »
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mainesail

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 12:37:47 PM »

Steve,

If you do not yet have a battery monitor DEFINITELY consider the Balmar Smart Gauge. Soooooo much easier, and no shunt to wire.......

I just finished nearly four months of testing it.

Balmar Smart Gauge
http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/smart_gauge
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Steve Wormsbecher

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Re: Electrical Upgrade - Yet Another
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2014, 01:08:55 PM »

Great write-up on that Smart Gauge.  Although admittedly your testing is way over my head!   :D

In my infancy of research, I had no idea of the maintenance / update requirement for the shunt-type monitors, thank you for that too.

Given the Victron 602 is selling often over $200US I think this unit is worth the extra cash.

I'm guessing longevity will be good as well, given the manufacturer?
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