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hanschristian.org • View topic - Balmar alternator problem

Balmar alternator problem

Moderators: warmrain, mimoza

Balmar alternator problem

Postby floatingtom » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:08 pm

Hi

I have a problem with a 100amp balmar (model OE60-100-SR-IG) with a single belt operating via a Max charge regulator.

Regulator is set to lead acid to match batteries

2 banks of batteries one 570 amps and one 300 amps (& starter)

Balmar said it only needs onebelt up to the 110 model.
and there seems to be nothing on the market (ie off shelf) to convert to a dual belt system.
engine is a 2008 Yanmar 4JH4AE 56hp


the belt keeps shredding after every few hours,

first belt was original which came with engine and lasted 250hrs
now they all seem to heat up and break quickly

tried using tougher truck belts with no luck plus tighter & looser.

there arer no obvious alignment problems.

Balmar says doesnt need a double belt &
yanmar says not their problem, even though they supplied alternator.:evil:

I would appreciate and advice or being pointed in the right direction

regards
Tom
:D
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Postby straban » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:49 pm

Tom,

It has been my experience that when belts break it is often from a shock load given in tension. Most of the new regulators will give the engine a few moments before a field current is applied to the alternator ... presumably so that it is stabilized at idle. Anyway, I would suspect that your load is coming on abruptly when the engine is above idle as a result of a loose connection or perhaps a faulty regulator. Worth looking into, IMO.

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Postby mike » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:49 pm

Tom,

I had a similar problem with our alternator with the belts slipping & burning when under full load, initially to get over the problem I went up in dia on the pulley on the alternator but of course then the Amps dropped owing to the reduced speed. I eventually went back to the origal pulley & started using a standard 'V' toothed automotive belt on the plain pulleys. We're doing about 300- 400 hrs a year & haven't had to change the belt in 2 years.

The belt is a Gates Automaster 6477mc avx13 x 1175La . I believe they area available in the USA.

Mike
Last edited by mike on Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mimoza » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:42 am

What a timely topic! Everybody wants more power, including me. OK, well maybe not the Pardeys.

The slight delay (1 minute in most Balmar regulators) before coming online with the field current is not to prevent "shock loading" of the belt. It is to allow a freshly started engine to get its lubricating oil into all the oil passages. This is to prevent unnecessary wear on internal engine parts and to make sure the engine is ticking over nicely before putting a load on it. Plus one for Balmar.

There's a feature in the (Balmar) regulator which can reduce the maximum load on the belt by reducing the maximum field current in the alternator. Sorry I haven't got the manual in front of me. It's one of the extended menu optons. I had to do this to keep my belts from burning up when I got a new 110 amp Balmar. That model also came with a single pulley.

There are a few other things you might think about:
1) Have you changed the charging system in any way? New inverter/charger?
2) Did you change marinas? and is there a difference in the power available?
3) Are your batteries fully topped when you leave home port? If your alternator is running full tilt right out of the gate you run a lot higher chance of burnout.
4) Are you doing more overnighters? Charging at anchor more than you used to? That's usually when I have problems. The batteries are down and they want all the current the alternator can deliver. I have AGM batteries and they would accept several hundred amps if my alternator could deliver it.

If you want to pursue the two belt system, you may have to take the crank pulley off the engine and take it to a decent mechanic or machinist. Get an identical pulley and join the two together (weld or bolt or both) so that they have exactly the same center of rotation. Make sure you still have access to the mounting holes and hardware to get the rig back on the engine. To keep the belts equally tensioned you may have to do the same thing with the raw water pump pulley. Then there's the alternator to deal with.
I just had a thought: ... When asserting that only one belt is required, Balmar probably assumes that there is no other load on the belt and that there is a nearly 180 degree engagement with the pulley. Neither of these is true in my installation because of the raw water pump pulley. The RW pump doesn't pull much power, but it certainly prevents getting a good wrap of belt around the alternator pulley. I get maybe 120 degrees.

Mike's advice offers a good alternative to the two belt system: A larger size pulley gives the belt more area to bite plus greater mechanical advantage. As Mike points out, there will be less output at low RPM, but even at moderate RPM these Balmar alternators should be able to achieve full current ouput. Check out the ouput curves on the Balmar site: http://www.balmar.net/Page3-Smallcasealts.html
These alternators achieve nearly full output at about 2000RPM (that's alternator RPM). With the standard size pulleys that's about 800 RPM for my 3QM30FG. A slight increase in pulley diameter could be exactly what you want, if it keeps your belt from slipping. Charging at idle would be a little slower, but charging while under way would be at full power output.

How you handle it depends on your cruising profile.
-The quick fix is to limit the output via the regulator. Saves belts and aggravation.
-The middle fix is the larger alt pulley, if you charge under way or don't mind somewhat reduced output at idle. [I like this one a lot.]
-The full fix is a dual belt or serpentine belt system. Full power, but a PIA to realize it.

Good luck!
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Thanks for the advice!

Postby floatingtom » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:45 pm

Mike
can you send me a supplier of these belts in the Uk will give them a try.
Im in Blighty hopefully can get a some before i get back to the boat.


I run a 75 amp battery charger/inverter , will try and run generator for a bit in the morning before starting engine , never thought of that!

Will also try reducing output via regulator..


Thanks for all your help guys.


will put up a post and let you know the results



:?
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Postby mike » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:35 pm

Tom,

I get mine from the local car accessory/motor factors shop, I would guess if you could visit a similar shop in the Uk you should be able to get them, however, I did look on the web & found Gates are a USA company I would have thought they would be readily available from automotive shops in the USA.

Mike
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Postby mike » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:37 pm

Tom

Here is a picture of the toothed V-belt we use.


Mike
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Postby warmrain » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:31 pm

We've been using a 100 amp Balmar alternator retrofitted to our Yanmar 3QM30FG. I did the installation at 731 hours and we just yesterday replaced the single 1/2 Gates Tri-power V80 AX-37 belt for the first time at < 1,400 hours. We ran for a few years with a BRS regulator and then upgraded several years ago to the Max-charge MC-612 regulator. We left the BRS regulator installed and ready for an immediate swap over in case of a failure. Someone had told us with Gel cells the Max charge was a waste, he was dead wrong, in fact with the added ability of gels to accept a charge the Max-charge is essential.

There has to be something unique about your installation. I think a lot of good things to check have been mentioned. We had Balmar change the front pulley when we ordered it to match the speed of the alternator to our engine cruise speed with resulted in a slightly larger pulley as the 3QM turn so slow.

If it is heat related as you say then it is certainly slipping on the alternator pulley. If it does that the heat will be transfered into the altrnator bearings and that will cook them. If you over tighten the belt the side loads will destroy the bearings also.

I'd take a look at the alternator's idea RPM and your engine's ideal cruising RPM - (80%) of max continuous RPM. Then I would measure the crank pulley and do the match to compute the ideal diameter of the alternator pulley. It could be you're over driving the alternator.

~Cars

P.S. the Gates AX-37 is a "cogged" belt but the original was not. The original did throw a lot of dust, but it lasted about 700 hours.
Last edited by warmrain on Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mike » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:34 pm

Cars,

I guess from the number tht your alternator belt is similar to ours, we also had the problem of the standard V belt causing a lot of dust.

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Postby floatingtom » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:15 am

Hi guys

spoke to the yanmar guy at the london boat show today
he was extremly unhelpfull , said that no warranty work could be carried out
because balmar is aftermarket even though it is supplied by a yanmar as an upgrade.
The only suggestion I got was to use a serpentine belt system but apparently you cannot buy these and they are liscensed so no one can produce them.
Also there are no dealers in Panama....
\guess i will try and get some made up in Colombia if all else fails.
& rely on solar & wind turbine for cold beer :wink:
Hopefully not having to run noisy generator too often

The regulator I use is a MC-612-H max charge.

When I use engine to charge i run at 1100/1200 rpm ish
and cruise at 1800/1900rpm does this sound about right to anyone else who uses this set up?

I have tried these toothed belts with no success , the mitsubishi one that came with it was toothed.

Can you not just put a chain round this system and make it all a bit more substancial? or would it be too noisey etc
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Postby warmrain » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:26 am

Those are my engine RPMs in both cases - cruising and charging at the anchor... but you still need to do as I recommened and measure the crank and alternator pulley and and look at the alternator specs and pick the correct alternator pulley so you are not over reving it at your cruise RPMs... Now it is hopefull that Yanmar did this, but they may have just stuck on the alternator as it comes from Balmar, it is worth the 30 min max it will take to measure and check the specs and do the math. With the MAX charge you aren't going to see a big decline in charging at lower alternator RPMS... I have been living aboard for 20 years and most of that time is with this setup, it is fabulous.

~Cars
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Postby mimoza » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:21 am

Cars,
Could you share with us the alt pulley diameter on your setup? I have exactly the same engine, and floatingtom says he uses the same RPMs as you.

Thanks
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Postby floatingtom » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:38 am

Bit late following up but here goes,
turned out it was an external regulator problem which running through tests in book did not eliminate
so used the internal one on alternator with diode and no more belt burn out (3 belts in last 600hrs),so all is good touch wood.
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