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Author Topic: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.  (Read 2003 times)

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SV Sand Pebble

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Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« on: March 02, 2022, 06:12:58 AM »

  Most often I'm just a reader here and not much of a poster. Yet I want to thank everyone here for all your contributions that has helped me to repair and upgrade my Catalina 34 during the last 2 1/2 years. I just installed 4 Trojan 105's and a new starting battery. I have installed Victron smart chargers, a DC to DC charger for battery isolation and charging and a Bluetooth shunt. My question is this: I seen that do to health the mainsail sight is no longer offering the parts to upgrade our alternators. Can anyone guide me to upgrading my alternator? I seen that Catalina direct offers a 105 amp alternator but does not offer a catalog number or a regulator kit. Does anyone have a good option and catalog numbers for both alternator and regulator, it would be deeply appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 06:14:42 AM by SV Sand Pebble »
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waughoo

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2022, 06:44:43 AM »

My suggestion if you plan to upgrade the alternator would be to head towards something like a balmar kit.  That is likely the lowest cost highest return solution.  If you wanted to get fancy you could look into Mark Grasser and a wake speed remote alternator.  Here are some links...

https://markgrasser.com/

http://www.wakespeed.com/

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2022, 07:52:33 AM »

What exactly is your desired end result?
Budget?  Tight or whatever’s necessary?
Which engine does she have. You can help us to help you by putting complete boat info in your profile or signature. (Hint: folks who put appropriate info in only the first post - not everyone reads threads from the beginning.)
The CD alternator is a drop in replacement (CD says, I have no knowledge about it) with internal regulator.
Do you need 105a (whats your goal/needs??) or just want to punch up a bit (say like 72a?)
Are you specifically looking for a top of the line (off the shelf since Rod isn’t building them YET, we hope) or happy with a ‘non marine’ alternator?
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Catalina007

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2022, 08:23:31 AM »

What engine do you have? If the M25 - have you done the alternator bracket upgrade?   
Rod was immensely helpful to so many folks and the best quality option, but in the best of times he did have a fairly long lead time for the alterrnator upgrade.  I hope at least he can come back as a  pay for pay consultant like he also did before 

Much of his website references are still available   https://marinehowto.com/external-alternator-regulation-conversion/
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 08:32:24 AM by Catalina007 »
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2022, 08:33:51 AM »

...
...

Can anyone guide me to upgrading my alternator? I seen that Catalina direct offers a 105 amp alternator but does not offer a catalog number or a regulator kit. Does anyone have a good option and catalog numbers for both alternator and regulator, it would be deeply appreciated.

Sand Pebbles,

Welcome.  Sounds like you have done your research and homework.

Most likely you have an M25 or maybe an M25XP based on your hull number.  As far as a replacement alternator is concerned, the engines are identical, although if you have the M25, please assure you have performed the alternator bracket upgrade.

As far as kloeber's questions are concerned, while potentially valid, it appears to me that having done your research and homework, you have already decided on a 105A externally regulated alternator.  Whatever reasons you have chosen to do so is your business, i.e., marina hopper or off-grid cruising.  So all you're asking for is a source for said equipment.

The CD 105A alternator is internally regulated, although it has an adjustable voltage setpoint.  Single voltage regulators are not the best for battery health in the long run.  My experience is that Balmar alternators are priced well beyond comparative alternates/options; I wouldn't spend my money on one.  Others do.

It has been awhile since I was in the market for an alternator, and I'm sure that this link may well be dated and others may chime in to help:  (Reply #1 has a link to ASE Supply)

Alternator Upgrade - a 2018 thread with input from Maine Sail
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,9773.0.html

This is the thread that most likely got you directed to Maine Sail in the first place.  Given he is not in production mode, an option for you is to try ASE and do an internal to external regulator swap, which is described in great detail in another link in the ES101 thread, also by Maine Sail:

Converting a Leece Neville Alternator to External Regulation  by Maine Sail
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4879.0.html

Alternator Sources by Maine Sail  (Reply #16)
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5686.15.html


I made a note in my boat inventory spreadsheet some time ago, don't know if it still works or not:
Another source from eherlihy:  http://www.spidermarine.com/ShowItem/105186%20New%20Motorola,%20Leece%20Neville%2012v%2090%20Amp%20Alternator.aspx

****************************************

If you've already read all those links and are simply asking for an alternator source, I apologize for not being able to be more up-to-date and helpful.

As far as regulators go, the new MC618 would ber my preference over the ARS series.  ES101 does a comparison of them.

Happy hunting, good luck.  Please let us know what you end up doing.
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2022, 09:07:27 AM »

My suggestion if you plan to upgrade the alternator would be to head towards something like a balmar kit.  That is likely the lowest cost highest return solution.  If you wanted to get fancy you could look into Mark Grasser and a wake speed remote alternator. 

  Thank you very much for pointing out the above option. I will have to check to see if they have a small case alternator to fit my 25XP. I was hoping someone had a proven option with parts on the market but if not the above option maybe a go to.
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2022, 09:14:08 AM »

What exactly is your desired end result?
Budget?  Tight or whatever’s necessary?
Which engine does she have. You can help us to help you by putting complete boat info in your profile or signature. (Hint: folks who put appropriate info in only the first post - not everyone reads threads from the beginning.)
The CD alternator is a drop in replacement (CD says, I have no knowledge about it) with internal regulator.
Do you need 105a (whats your goal/needs??) or just want to punch up a bit (say like 72a?)
Are you specifically looking for a top of the line (off the shelf since Rod isn’t building them YET, we hope) or happy with a ‘non marine’ alternator?
  My engine is a  25XP my boat is a 1987. I will work on upgrading my profile. I was wondering if the Catalina direct unit was able to connect to an external regulator.
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2022, 09:16:33 AM »

What engine do you have? If the M25 - have you done the alternator bracket upgrade?   
Rod was immensely helpful to so many folks and the best quality option, but in the best of times he did have a fairly long lead time for the alterrnator upgrade.  I hope at least he can come back as a  pay for pay consultant like he also did before 

Much of his website references are still available   https://marinehowto.com/external-alternator-regulation-conversion/

  Yes thank you, I read and saved that link. I have the 25XP.
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2022, 09:31:24 AM »

...
...

Can anyone guide me to upgrading my alternator? I seen that Catalina direct offers a 105 amp alternator but does not offer a catalog number or a regulator kit. Does anyone have a good option and catalog numbers for both alternator and regulator, it would be deeply appreciated.

Sand Pebbles,

Welcome.  Sounds like you have done your research and homework.

Most likely you have an M25 or maybe an M25XP based on your hull number.  As far as a replacement alternator is concerned, the engines are identical, although if you have the M25, please assure you have performed the alternator bracket upgrade.

As far as kloeber's questions are concerned, while potentially valid, it appears to me that having done your research and homework, you have already decided on a 105A externally regulated alternator.  Whatever reasons you have chosen to do so is your business, i.e., marina hopper or off-grid cruising.  So all you're asking for is a source for said equipment.

The CD 105A alternator is internally regulated, although it has an adjustable voltage setpoint.  Single voltage regulators are not the best for battery health in the long run.  My experience is that Balmar alternators are priced well beyond comparative alternates/options; I wouldn't spend my money on one.  Others do.

It has been awhile since I was in the market for an alternator, and I'm sure that this link may well be dated and others may chime in to help:  (Reply #1 has a link to ASE Supply)

Alternator Upgrade - a 2018 thread with input from Maine Sail
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,9773.0.html

This is the thread that most likely got you directed to Maine Sail in the first place.  Given he is not in production mode, an option for you is to try ASE and do an internal to external regulator swap, which is described in great detail in another link in the ES101 thread, also by Maine Sail:

Converting a Leece Neville Alternator to External Regulation  by Maine Sail
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4879.0.html

Alternator Sources by Maine Sail  (Reply #16)
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5686.15.html


I made a note in my boat inventory spreadsheet some time ago, don't know if it still works or not:
Another source from eherlihy:  http://www.spidermarine.com/ShowItem/105186%20New%20Motorola,%20Leece%20Neville%2012v%2090%20Amp%20Alternator.aspx

****************************************

If you've already read all those links and are simply asking for an alternator source, I apologize for not being able to be more up-to-date and helpful.

As far as regulators go, the new MC618 would ber my preference over the ARS series.  ES101 does a comparison of them.

Happy hunting, good luck.  Please let us know what you end up doing.

  Stu
  Thank you for pointing out the Balmar MC618 regulator. Now I just need to find out if it's practical and possible to add the MC618 regulator to the Catalina direct alternator. Maybe a call to Catalina direct will answer this question but I have my doubts. My engine is the 25XP and my budget is below $500.00 I just seen the Balmar MC618 is about $328.00 new budget is $650.00 :( My plan is to mostly do weekends and maybe about 6 two week trips a year.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 09:41:11 AM by SV Sand Pebble »
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Noah

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2022, 10:22:17 AM »

Have you read this?
https://marinehowto.com/external-alternator-regulation-conversion/

That is the route I went 5 years ago with a 90 amp. Alternator and Balmer 614 regulator. All bought online from Spyder Marine in Fl. Works fine to this day with my T105s.
Any bigger of an alternator would have probably involve throttling it back anyway for my XP engine and pulley set-up. 95A was a good easy inexpensive sweet spot for me. Might ask Jon W. Or Ron, I believe they have a 105 Amp?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 10:28:12 AM by Noah »
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2022, 12:12:41 PM »

.......
..........
Any bigger of an alternator would have probably involve throttling it back anyway for my XP engine and pulley set-up. 95A was a good easy inexpensive sweet spot for me. Might ask Jon W. Or Ron, I believe they have a 105 Amp?

Good to hear about your Spider, thx.

Yes, any alternator within reason that exceeds the acceptance of a nominal 400 ah bank should require a "dial-back" to avoid overheating the alternator which is, in the small case versions applicable to our engines, simply not made for continuous running at load.  That acceptance amount in amps has been recorded over the years to be between 50A and 75A, depending on the chemistry of the batteries being used and their SOC.

Two things:

1.  Buying a larger alternator and dialing it back is better than buying a smaller one and dialing it back.  Why? 'Cuz the bigger one will run cooler (with the identical load which is determined by the batteries).

2.  As noted in some of the links here, I use Small Engine Mode IN LIEU OF "dialing it back."  Why?  'Cuz it is easier: a simple toggle switch.  Yes, it requires physical management, but it is explained in detail in the SEM links in ES101, so I won't repeat them.

Your boat, your choice.  :D
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2022, 01:48:47 PM »

Have you read this?
https://marinehowto.com/external-alternator-regulation-conversion/

That is the route I went 5 years ago with a 90 amp. Alternator and Balmer 614 regulator. All bought online from Spyder Marine in Fl. Works fine to this day with my T105s.
Any bigger of an alternator would have probably involve throttling it back anyway for my XP engine and pulley set-up. 95A was a good easy inexpensive sweet spot for me. Might ask Jon W. Or Ron, I believe they have a 105 Amp?
  Thanks for the pointer yet Spider marine is now also closed. Here’s hoping Ron or someone can respond about the 105 amp or another known proven option. I do appreciate the responses and the attempts to help me.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2022, 03:04:13 PM »

Quote from: SV Sand Pebble

Can anyone guide me to upgrading my alternator? I seen that Catalina direct offers a 105 amp alternator but does not offer a catalog number or a regulator kit. Does anyone have a good option and catalog numbers for both alternator and regulator, it would be deeply appreciated.


Quote

you have already decided on a 105A externally regulated alternator.  Whatever reasons you have chosen to do so is your business, i.e., marina hopper or off-grid cruising.  So all you're asking for is a source for said equipment.
 

S/V SP:

"I know that you think you know what I said. But I'm not sure whether you understood that what you heard is what I meant."

Ok so I don't have other's crystal ball that tells me exactly what someone is thinking when the goal isn't absolutely crystal clear.

So therefore just "a source for said equipment" doesn't make sense (to me) because (1) you already have a source for the 105a L-N alternator and (2) we know from Rod that a conversion kit is unavailable, and (3) a pre-converted alternator (Balmer) is way beyond your budget.  I thought some knowledge might help, not just catalog numbers/sources.

So I'll try to provide some alternate detail here that might help you based on the additional info that you provided, rather than chasing links across the planet:

The CD L-N 105a alternator appears to be the 8MR2401U.  I can't confirm that 100% so no guarantee but I'm pretty sure that's the L-N model.  You can search for a better price like at NAPA but CD's is fair and includes your 1"/2" foot conversion.  Spider is long dead and ASE is typically high so I doubt those links will help much.  Beware of "replaces 8MR2401U" knock-off products in search results.

YES, the L-N alt from CD CAN BE converted to external regulation. 
HOWEVER the issue is NOT the alternator itself -- it's that the kit (L-N 114-307) does NOT exist anymore (well, except from Rod, if he has any left.)

My question to you re: the 105a size was, knowing that it would be very expensive (for my wallet) to get an externally regulated alternator ready-to-go (otherwise you'd just buy a Balmer.)  I thought possibly (without the benefit of said crystal ball) that a lower amp output with an external sense terminal might possibly satisfy your needs (of course not 3-stage externally regulated but 2-stage w/external sense is one step above the internal-sensed CD alternator.)

However, if you want to use that 105a L-N alt (again CD's is a fair price) then you might try the conversion w/o the L-N kit.
Caveat: I don't know your skill level or if possibly you have someone who could help do the conversation.  BUT (Rod and I have discussed this) the L-N kit is not magic; "all that it does" is pass through two field wires to outside of the new case and has terminals for those wires on the back. 

HOWEVER one of those terminals is absolutely unnecessary -- it gets jumpered to the B- (ground, NEG, Alt -, etc.) terminal on the alternator.  So, having that additional new terminal post on the back of the kit cover is simply redundant.  No magic there.  Additionally, the other field wire terminates on the second external post BUT that's also unnecessary -- any connector could be used on the field wire to connect it to the external regulator.  Granted, the arrangement wouldn't look as clean as the nice L-N conversation kit, but when you're "between a rock and a hard place...."  you do what you need to do. 

The reasoning why Rod can't simply do the conversion w/o L-N's kit is that he's concerned about spark protection where wires pass thru the case.  Well, wires already pass thru the existing regulator case so (it seems to me that with a little ingenuity) one could do the same pass-through w/ alternate wires.  Besides we are not using this alternator on a gasser, so we don't share Rod's concern about a stink boater installing it.

So in essence you need to:
Bring the two green wires in Rod's photo below to outside the case.
Terminate one wire onto the Alt NEG post.
Use a terminal of your choice on the other wire (direct to the regulator wire or to a terminal block.)



UNDERSTAND -- I'm not attempting to provide detailed how-to instructions but with wiring experience and proper tools one can turn the L-N internal reg alternator into external regulation w/o the out-of-existence L-N kit.  If one isn't comfortable w/ the work I'd chat w/ a local auto alt repair shop to see if they would do the very simple wiring to bypass the regulator.

-ken
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Kyle Ewing

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2022, 04:14:09 PM »

You can also try asking a local alternator shop for an externally regulated marine alternator then use a Balmar Ars-5 (about $275 with harnass) (https://balmar.net/product/regulator-ars-5/) with an alternator temperature sensor (about $40).  Take your old to match the case, pulley and mount.  That'll get you something close to your budget. 

Tell them you want a marine alternator rated for continuous output.  Read Maine Sail's article (https://marinehowto.com/automotive-alternators-vs-deep-cycle-batteries/) to understand what questions to ask.

Years ago I went with a Blue Circle alternator (search Blue Circle here) and have been happy.  Last season I experienced low output so I took it to a local shop.  He rebuilt it for way less than price of a new.

The temperature sensor is important.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 04:22:20 PM by Kyle Ewing »
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SV Sand Pebble

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Re: Alternator upgrade from Catalina direct.
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2022, 06:00:55 PM »

Quote from: SV Sand Pebble

Can anyone guide me to upgrading my alternator? I seen that Catalina direct offers a 105 amp alternator but does not offer a catalog number or a regulator kit. Does anyone have a good option and catalog numbers for both alternator and regulator, it would be deeply appreciated.


Quote

you have already decided on a 105A externally regulated alternator.  Whatever reasons you have chosen to do so is your business, i.e., marina hopper or off-grid cruising.  So all you're asking for is a source for said equipment.
 

S/V SP:

"I know that you think you know what I said. But I'm not sure whether you understood that what you heard is what I meant."

Ok so I don't have other's crystal ball that tells me exactly what someone is thinking when the goal isn't absolutely crystal clear.

So therefore just "a source for said equipment" doesn't make sense (to me) because (1) you already have a source for the 105a L-N alternator and (2) we know from Rod that a conversion kit is unavailable, and (3) a pre-converted alternator (Balmer) is way beyond your budget.  I thought some knowledge might help, not just catalog numbers/sources.

So I'll try to provide some alternate detail here that might help you based on the additional info that you provided, rather than chasing links across the planet:

The CD L-N 105a alternator appears to be the 8MR2401U.  I can't confirm that 100% so no guarantee but I'm pretty sure that's the L-N model.  You can search for a better price like at NAPA but CD's is fair and includes your 1"/2" foot conversion.  Spider is long dead and ASE is typically high so I doubt those links will help much.  Beware of "replaces 8MR2401U" knock-off products in search results.

YES, the L-N alt from CD CAN BE converted to external regulation. 
HOWEVER the issue is NOT the alternator itself -- it's that the kit (L-N 114-307) does NOT exist anymore (well, except from Rod, if he has any left.)

My question to you re: the 105a size was, knowing that it would be very expensive (for my wallet) to get an externally regulated alternator ready-to-go (otherwise you'd just buy a Balmer.)  I thought possibly (without the benefit of said crystal ball) that a lower amp output with an external sense terminal might possibly satisfy your needs (of course not 3-stage externally regulated but 2-stage w/external sense is one step above the internal-sensed CD alternator.)

However, if you want to use that 105a L-N alt (again CD's is a fair price) then you might try the conversion w/o the L-N kit.
Caveat: I don't know your skill level or if possibly you have someone who could help do the conversation.  BUT (Rod and I have discussed this) the L-N kit is not magic; "all that it does" is pass through two field wires to outside of the new case and has terminals for those wires on the back. 

HOWEVER one of those terminals is absolutely unnecessary -- it gets jumpered to the B- (ground, NEG, Alt -, etc.) terminal on the alternator.  So, having that additional new terminal post on the back of the kit cover is simply redundant.  No magic there.  Additionally, the other field wire terminates on the second external post BUT that's also unnecessary -- any connector could be used on the field wire to connect it to the external regulator.  Granted, the arrangement wouldn't look as clean as the nice L-N conversation kit, but when you're "between a rock and a hard place...."  you do what you need to do. 

The reasoning why Rod can't simply do the conversion w/o L-N's kit is that he's concerned about spark protection where wires pass thru the case.  Well, wires already pass thru the existing regulator case so (it seems to me that with a little ingenuity) one could do the same pass-through w/ alternate wires.  Besides we are not using this alternator on a gasser, so we don't share Rod's concern about a stink boater installing it.

So in essence you need to:
Bring the two green wires in Rod's photo below to outside the case.
Terminate one wire onto the Alt NEG post.
Use a terminal of your choice on the other wire (direct to the regulator wire or to a terminal block.)



UNDERSTAND -- I'm not attempting to provide detailed how-to instructions but with wiring experience and proper tools one can turn the L-N internal reg alternator into external regulation w/o the out-of-existence L-N kit.  If one isn't comfortable w/ the work I'd chat w/ a local auto alt repair shop to see if they would do the very simple wiring to bypass the regulator.

-ken

  Your help has been awesome, I understand there are no guaranties yet between you and Stu I'm going to
Pull the trigger on the Catalina direct 105 and a  Balmar MC-618 regulator and grind through it to success. I am a industrial machine control contractor with up to now very light DC experience. I have spent $2500 already between batteries, wire and controls all tinned, $10,000 on radar, autopilot and sails, what's another $650.00 Lol. I guess I just had to bounce all this off you good people to nudge  Myself forward. I cannot tell you guys how valuable all your contributions are here. I will let you know how it all goes. I'm also in the middle of a windless complete I stall, I'm a gluten for punishment. Thanks again everyone.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 06:04:33 PM by SV Sand Pebble »
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