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Old 05-29-2012, 10:34 AM
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Balmar Alternator for A4

After a lot of thought, and a bunch of measurements over the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, I've decided to upgrade to a 3-stage external smart charger/regulator system for my alternator. I plan to do some offshore cruising, and my measured charge times and rates with the stock Mando 55A alternator will require just too many hours of engine runtime per day to make up our daily usage.

And based on the comments here about running the 55amp Mando at high currents for long periods of time causing it to run hot, I've decided to upgrade to a 100 A alternator instead of modifying the Mando. I know I still won't get more than about 40 or 50A out of it (due to the low RPMs in a normal A4 installation (sorry Hanley!)), but I expect it'll run much cooler.

So, after casting around, I found this:

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...6421&id=819457

It's a 110 A Balmar Alternator (712-110) with the ARS-5 smart regulator that I wanted. According to the Balmar selection guide, its 2" foot will fit the A4 mounting bracket. Has anyone here used the Balmar 712 alternator? Any issues with mounting it or belt size? The pulley is listed as a '2.7" deep V' pulley, but no width is specified. I know that Balmar normally specifies a 1/2" belt for 100A alternators, but since I'll only be pulling 40-50A out of it, I figure the 3/8" belt will be fine.

Can I use this pulley with the 3/8" belt, or will I have to find another pulley to fit? I'm down less than 3 weeks 'til we leave on a trip, and I'd like to get this installed before then, so I appreciate any help/info I can get.
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Last edited by edwardc; 05-29-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:53 AM
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I used to sell Balmars. I can't say anything bad about them except you could probably get 3 or 4 100A marine Delco alternators off of Fleabay for the same price and have some spares
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:56 AM
lhbradley lhbradley is offline
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Balmar Alternator for A4

I've got the older model Balmar - a 90 amp version - I forget the exact number, and I'm at home, not at the boat. I'm using the MaxCharge regulator.

It works just fine with a 3/8 belt. BUT use the best quality belt you can buy. I use a Gates 3VX250. It is a v-notch belt. And try to get the belt tension right - too loose and you will burn the belt. Been there, done that.

Running at about 1800 RPM, I can get 60 amps or so into my 450 AH bank.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbradley View Post
...It works just fine with a 3/8 belt. BUT use the best quality belt you can buy. I use a Gates 3VX250. ...
Thanks for the info. So you found that you had to go back to the 25" belt? With the 55A Mando, Don recommended going to a 26" belt, and that's what I run now. How is your adjustment range? Are you close to the stops at either end when tensioned properly? Any interference with the distributor? These are all problems I've heard hints of, but haven't seen any hard data.
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Last edited by edwardc; 05-29-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:42 PM
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Ed, As you know I have the 712 -110. It will come with a sheave that wants a 1/2" belt. You should upgrade your acc drive sheave at a machine shop or get the larger size from MM. Both sizes are available. You will not be happy with a 3/8" belt and that alternator.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
Ed, As you know I have the 712 -110. It will come with a sheave that wants a 1/2" belt. ...
But I believe it is listed as a "deep V" pulley, which should accept a smaller belt. It'll just ride lower in the V. Larry Bradley seems to indicate this works for him. Correct me if I'm wrong Larry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
You should upgrade your acc drive sheave at a machine shop or get the larger size from MM. Both sizes are available. You will not be happy with a 3/8" belt and that alternator.
Like I said, I don't really need anywhere near 100 Amps. The 712-110 will put out up to 60A at 2000 RPM, and almost 80A at around 2500 RPM, which is way more than I need. With my current 200 Amp-Hour house bank (gel cells), I can only bulk charge it at 40 A (20% of capacity or 0.2C) anyway. I'm expecting that a 3/8" belt will work fine for that.

I have plans in the future to go to a 300-400 Amp-Hour house bank, and and at that time I would probably need to upgrade to a 1/2" belt to handle the 60 - 80 A bulk charging currents needed. Balmar recommends a 1/2" for anything above 75 A.

Make sense?
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:50 PM
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I mounted a Balmer 100 amp to the flywheel end off a PTO. I use a half inch belt. The accessory drive powers the raw water pump.
When I was planning the job, I found that a 3/8 belt might not be enough. Since I had enough room, I did it this way.

I have posted 2 pictures, I hope.

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:01 PM
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Romantic Comedy, I am interested in your set up but could you resize those pics; it's hard to see stuff.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
Romantic Comedy, I am interested in your set up but could you resize those pics; it's hard to see stuff.
Right click->View Image helps.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:35 PM
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Ed,

If you're even thinking of a 1/2" belt you'd better get a replacement 1/2" auxiliary drive pulley on order mas rapido.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:05 PM
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I have the 105 amp alternator on my engine and a 3/8", 26" belt on the stock sheave. My battery bank is relatively small, but even so, when running the inverter at 1500-2000 watts (heat gun + small shop vac) I haven't had the slightest issue with the belt slipping.

I've concluded that I'm not running the alternator at anywhere near its max output so there isn't a need for a wider belt.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Ed,

If you're even thinking of a 1/2" belt you'd better get a replacement 1/2" auxiliary drive pulley on order mas rapido.
Neil,

Thanks for the warning. But I'm spoiled being almost local to MMI. I usually get parts in 1-2 days!

But based on all the inputs I've gotten here, plus other inputs off-list, I've pretty much concluded that I'd be foolish to rush this significant upgrade project at the last minute. Something is bound to not go smoothly and put our whole trip at risk, since we can't really slip it due to work constraints.

Guess I'll just have to put up with a lot of daily engine runtime this time.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:36 PM
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Question So.....Ed

What are you going to do with your old Mando when you replace it?
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:14 PM
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Ed, I agree. Something always goes wrong with a new system.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bold Rascal View Post
What are you going to do with your old Mando when you replace it?

Haven't decided. Now that there's no (well, less) time pressure, I may take the longer approach of doing it in stages, first modifying the mando for an external regulator and getting the ARS-5 smart regulator installed & working.

Then, later, get a bigger alt and probably keep the Mando as a spare.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:01 PM
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There are ways to get more out of the alternator. Some people full field the alternator to get the full output. I have never done it, but is is not that hard to do.
I inherited a "thing" that would full field the alternator with a timer. I cant remember the name. I know that people used to do this a lot to get max charging. Of course the alternator is working very hard and will get hot.

Something to consider.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romantic comedy View Post
There are ways to get more out of the alternator. Some people full field the alternator to get the full output. I have never done it, but is is not that hard to do.
I inherited a "thing" that would full field the alternator with a timer. I cant remember the name. I know that people used to do this a lot to get max charging. Of course the alternator is working very hard and will get hot.

Something to consider.
And hot it will get. The 712 relies on dual internal fans for cooling and they like to run fast. One of the big problems with running a big alternator slow on an A4 is the low rpms coupled with big demands. The alternator will try to meet those demands because the regulator will indeed "full field" or close to it. FWIW
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:07 AM
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I think if i was in need of some high output charging with the original alternator, I would hook up a full field doo hickey. Then i would have a spare for when I fry it.

I still carry a spare with my Balmer. Have had good luck with the balmer though.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romantic comedy View Post
There are ways to get more out of the alternator. Some people full field the alternator to get the full output. I have never done it, but is is not that hard to do.
I inherited a "thing" that would full field the alternator with a timer. I cant remember the name. I know that people used to do this a lot to get max charging. Of course the alternator is working very hard and will get hot.

Something to consider.
I believe one such device was the "AutoMac", made by Spa Creek Electronics of Annapolis (now defunct).
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:39 AM
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That's is the name. Auto mac. I have one somewhere. It has a timer knob and an ammeter on a panel. I remember that the guy i got it from even gave ma an alternator that was wired for the auto mac.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:17 AM
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That's is the name. Auto mac. I have one somewhere. It has a timer knob and an ammeter on a panel. I remember that the guy i got it from even gave ma an alternator that was wired for the auto mac.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:50 AM
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Thumbs up OFF Subject, but IN Photo

Romantic Comedy,

With those HUGE photos, I could not help but notice your cabin sole--cork. I have a 1975 Tartan 27 with (I think) the same type sole as yours. What design is your S/V? I would like to find a similar or better quality sheets of cork to redo mine. Best I have found is bulletin board stuff, or cork tiles. I think the tiles would be too busy. But I do like the cork. How about you? Wonder if any currently built boats use cork.

Mary
HotFlash
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:47 AM
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Hi Hot Flash. I have a tartan 34. I too love t he cork. It seems that many people do also. The cork question comes up a lot. I dont have an answer for you though.

There is http://tartan34classic.org/ and another site or two where mostly Tartan 34 are discussed. The cork issue has been posted there somewhere. The site has changed from a different but very similar address.
Some day I hope to redo the cork too.

I have seen many different cork type products at boat shows. Some might work well for our boats.

If you end up finding a source let me know.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardc View Post
After a lot of thought, and a bunch of measurements over the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, I've decided to upgrade to a 3-stage external smart charger/regulator system for my alternator. I plan to do some offshore cruising, and my measured charge times and rates with the stock Mando 55A alternator will require just too many hours of engine runtime per day to make up our daily usage.

And based on the comments here about running the 55amp Mando at high currents for long periods of time causing it to run hot, I've decided to upgrade to a 100 A alternator instead of modifying the Mando. I know I still won't get more than about 40 or 50A out of it (due to the low RPMs in a normal A4 installation (sorry Hanley!)), but I expect it'll run much cooler.

So, after casting around, I found this:

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...6421&id=819457

It's a 110 A Balmar Alternator (712-110) with the ARS-5 smart regulator that I wanted. According to the Balmar selection guide, its 2" foot will fit the A4 mounting bracket. Has anyone here used the Balmar 712 alternator? Any issues with mounting it or belt size? The pulley is listed as a '2.7" deep V' pulley, but no width is specified. I know that Balmar normally specifies a 1/2" belt for 100A alternators, but since I'll only be pulling 40-50A out of it, I figure the 3/8" belt will be fine.

Can I use this pulley with the 3/8" belt, or will I have to find another pulley to fit? I'm down less than 3 weeks 'til we leave on a trip, and I'd like to get this installed before then, so I appreciate any help/info I can get.


Hi Ed, I am interested to see how yours works out,, I have started to finish my A4 Rebuild, and the PO was a Big Balmar Fan, Dual Output 95 Amp, I recently Upgraded to the ARS 5 Regulator.. the ARS 1 that hey had was toast. I will keep posted, As I am new to this type of Charging System.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTFLASH View Post
Romantic Comedy,

With those HUGE photos, I could not help but notice your cabin sole--cork. I have a 1975 Tartan 27 with (I think) the same type sole as yours. What design is your S/V? I would like to find a similar or better quality sheets of cork to redo mine. Best I have found is bulletin board stuff, or cork tiles. I think the tiles would be too busy. But I do like the cork. How about you? Wonder if any currently built boats use cork.

Mary
HotFlash

Mary,

I know it sounds weird, but check out Lumber Liquidators. They love their line of cork flooring.

I had them send me some samples (for home) and it did not do what I wanted it do for my application (I ended up with a maple laminate).

Anyway, they have lots of different styles/construction, that may suit your needs.

FYI, cork is environmentally responsible too..It is renewable because they only harvest the bark and the tree re-grows the bark in a few years and is not permanently damaged.
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