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  #1   IP: 137.103.82.194
Old 07-28-2017, 08:39 AM
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Balmar Alternator Installation and Test

PT 1:
I recently got a Balmar 812-65 from Fleabay for cheap new in box I'll have some details on installing it shortly, but here is the summary:
This alternator was sold by Balmar with their trademark white and blue paint, but inside it is based on a Prestolite 65 amp alternator. Prestolite is related to Motorola and Leece-Neville, so this looks a lot like our stock 37 and 50 amp Motorolas.

I will follow up with some photos detailing what needs doing to install it, but to cut to the chase, here are the results: It seems to do better than any of my other alternators at low speeds. I saw 27 amps just off idle - maybe 1200-1400 RPM or so. Neither my Motorolas nor 120 amp 10si will do this. At full speed cruise, say 2300 RPM +/-, I loaded the system up with a hair dryer and saw 55 amps out This is obviously vastly better than the 37 amp Motorola. My 50 amp Motorola might maybe hit 40 amps on a good day and the 10si maybe 47 or so, maybe 50 briefly.
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  #2   IP: 24.152.132.65
Old 07-28-2017, 09:37 AM
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As you continue to assess the new alternator's performance please keep a watchful eye on its temperature at low RPM. Impressive output is one thing but the fan's ability to cool the alternator under load is important too.
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:49 PM
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Here you can see the new next to the old. The case are nearly identical and the same mounting bolts work. The regulator is off the old Motorola right now and the new Balmar has a connection block that replaces the regulator. Both ends of the field coil are brought out to terminals. The field terminals are the top connections with the two arrows pointing at them. One field connection is jumpered over to the ground connection and the other one will be used for the regulator connection. Note this is an isolated ground alternator. You have to connect to both the positive and negative terminals. This is a great benefit if you want to add a shunt to the alternator, it is always easier and safer to insert into the negative side.
The two AC taps are covered and not presently used, but some tachs and some regulators want AC connections, so you have them available if needed.
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Last edited by joe_db; 07-28-2017 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:58 PM
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I found out you cannot use the pulley from a Motorola alternator. The shaft on the Motorola is smaller and is keyed as well. I used the pulley from a 10si and ended up needing two washers to get a good fit. The washers go under the nut in FRONT of the pulley, not behind it. Note the directional fan on the Balmar vs. bidirectional on the Motorola.
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:06 PM
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Test run. Obviously I need to permanently connect to the field and replace the ratty ground wire I had lying around. So far max output is 55 amps, which is pretty good
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  #6   IP: 99.30.185.198
Old 07-28-2017, 02:06 PM
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"Isolated Ground"

Joe, Thank's for the "isolated ground" comment. Some time ago I purchased the same alternator along with a basket of A4 parts. I ran it on my test engine not knowing that it needed it's own full ground and got no charge out of it. I'll try it again, hopefully with better results.
Tom
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Old 07-28-2017, 02:11 PM
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Do you have a regulator for it? I can describe a DIY test regulator you can make for about $2 to just see if it works.
There are a few more of these here if anyone wants one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Balmar-1...FV6iJy&vxp=mtr

Last edited by joe_db; 07-28-2017 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:30 PM
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Ah yes. $32 for the alternator and $74 (!!!) for shipping from Lynden Washington to Victoria BC .... plus exchange rate to CAD of course and probably get dinged with duty and taxes as well. I should be driving right by there going to Portland next week but I doubt they offer pick-up (if it isn't in the listing then unlikely). Ah well, don't really need it anyway.
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  #9   IP: 99.30.185.198
Old 07-29-2017, 10:01 AM
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Joe, Knowing whether or not my Balmar gen is working is a good start, so I'd like to see your temporary regulator. Buying one of their $300 multi-stage regulators is really out of the question so unless it can be used as a more conventional alternator, it will probably remain being a pretty paper-weight.
Thank's, Tom
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:44 PM
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Hook it all up and get a light socket you can connect to and couple of jumper wires.
With the engine running *briefly* connect one jumper from + to the field. This will drive the alternator to full output. You will hear the engine slow down and see the battery voltage rise. This is enough to confirm that it works
You can experiment by putting light bulbs between + and the field connection. The higher the wattage, the more power from the alternator. This is an old time field emergency repair for a dead regulator.

There are any number of aftermarket single stage regulators around if you do some google-fu and the one from the stock Motorola could probably be made to work. You are looking for a "B circuit" external regulator. {The "B" circuit type voltage regulator grounds one brush inside the alternator. Then the voltage regulator controls the positive power to the other brush which runs to the rotor coil inside the alternator. Control of this positive power into the rotor coil turns the alternator on and off.}

Here are a couple I found just poking around:
http://www.motorcityreman.com/vorev12.html
https://acdcmarineinc.com/shop/engin...12v-regulator/
Looks like around $70 or so.

For less money:
http://store.alternatorparts.com/par...0-bgr-803.aspx

Sterling marine 3 stage: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sterling-Pro...xUyWLR&vxp=mtr

IF you don't want your alternator, we seem to have a Canadian A4ian suffering from shipping to Canada issues that might like it

Last edited by joe_db; 07-29-2017 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:50 PM
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Joe, Thank's for those leads, I'm kind of back-logged with other projects but I'll definitely give the simple test a try.
Tom
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  #12   IP: 137.103.82.194
Old 07-30-2017, 08:27 PM
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Got the real wiring on. I love the hydraulic wire crimper, it beats the hell out of those bang-it-with-a-hammer things
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Last edited by joe_db; 07-30-2017 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:57 AM
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That's one of the Harbor Freight models? How do you find the die-sizes?
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:29 AM
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Yes it is Harbor Freight. I think the dies might be a little small. The 4 gauge die REALLY squeezes the 4 gauge lugs. Those things are NEVER going to come off. You could likely go one gauge bigger on some of them.
If you are cheap and hardly ever make cables, a local West Marine with a Nicropress crimper in their rigging section comes in handy too
EDIT - the release is a valve, so you don't have to go to full crimp, you can release at any point.

Last edited by joe_db; 08-01-2017 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:07 PM
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Yes unfortunately those offshore-made hydraulic crimpers seem to have dies that don't match any standard. Seems they probably re-labeled the dies from metric 'equivalents' .... not so flattering review of them here: https://marinehowto.com/making-your-own-battery-cables/

I'm lucky ... my wife's nephew is an electrician. I have a big Greenlee hand crimper (K09-2GL) on loan, that's rated to do up to 4/0 cable.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:17 PM
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OTOH I love mine - it makes crimps about 100x better than the local battery store with their hammer crimper. It is not as good as the big $$$$ hand crimpers, but for much less money it does the job for me.
YMMV
The reviewer is right though - especially for the bigger sizes, the die labels are kind of random.

Last edited by joe_db; 08-01-2017 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:46 PM
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Joe, some comparison numbers for ya:

Remembering this thread while testing a new engine gadget today I switched in my house banks with the engine running at 1200 RPM. Initial alternator output was 43+ amps. I'm not suggesting that is its maximum, only that based on battery state of charge at that moment it's what she delivered. It's a Delco 10Si, single wire.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Joe, some comparison numbers for ya:

Remembering this thread while testing a new engine gadget today I switched in my house banks with the engine running at 1200 RPM. Initial alternator output was 43+ amps. I'm not suggesting that is its maximum, only that based on battery state of charge at that moment it's what she delivered. It's a Delco 10Si, single wire.
Sounds good. I load up the system by runnign a hair dryer to see what the max is. My 10si did around 47-49 amps I think, but now it suffers from a bad bearing
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:30 PM
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Sorry, can't resist

http://www.moyermarine.com/cgi-bin/s...=OVEL_04.1_546
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:22 AM
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What would you say is the expected cost of installing this alternator for someone wanting to upgrade their charging system from the stock configuration? Following this thread it looks like there's the cost of the alternator itself, a new pulley, a new external regulator, anything else? I researched the two regulators Balmar recommended to Admin Bill (mentioned in another thread) and thought they were pretty proud of them. Maybe too proud. Dealbreaker proud.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
What would you say is the expected cost of installing this alternator for someone wanting to upgrade their charging system from the stock configuration? Following this thread it looks like there's the cost of the alternator itself, a new pulley, a new external regulator, anything else? I researched the two regulators Balmar recommended to Admin Bill (mentioned in another thread) and thought they were pretty proud of them. Maybe too proud. Dealbreaker proud.
Well the alternator including shipping is about $70. Wire is variable, depending on what you already have. My pulley was free because I got it from my 10si, but if you have to buy one I see them on Fleabay for around $10-$20 or so. The longer belt is needed, the same one the 10si uses. I think it was $5 or $10 at the local Western Auto. The regulator is highly variable. You might already have one. A Transpo single stage adjustable regulator is somewhere between $40 and $70 or so, depending on your shopping skills and what is on Amazon or Ebay when you go looking. Cheapest new 3 stage I have seen is $150 or so and double that for Balmar.
So I think you are looking at someplace around $130-$160 or so and then it goes up for the big $$$ regulators. I could probably kluge the stock Motorola regulator on there, but without the adjustable setpoint you lose a lot - if not all - of the advantages of the new alternator.

Last edited by joe_db; 08-03-2017 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:02 PM
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Not sure I see the point of going from a basic single stage internal regulator to a basic single stage external regulator. Isn't the multi-stage charging profile the main argument for upgrading in the first place?
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Not sure I see the point of going from a basic single stage internal regulator to a basic single stage external regulator. Isn't the multi-stage charging profile the main argument for upgrading in the first place?
Sort of. Unless you just happen to have an internal regulator set exactly how you want it and never change battery chemistry, it is a huge advantage to be able to change the set point. The stock Motorola regulator that I had was set to 13.8 volts, which was far too low for wet cells and pretty slow at best with gels. 3 stage is of course better, but costs a lot more. I can do "DIY" 3 stage by turning the voltage up and down myself too.
To give an extreme example, if I had wet cell traction batteries (golf cart - floor sweeper etc) that were full when I left the dock, I could turn the voltage down to 13.5 or so and not boil off battery water. If they were near dead, I could turn the regulator up to 14.6-14.8 or so and charge them as fast as I could. I crank it up to 15+ for an equalizing charge if I didn't have a battery charger that could do that. All depends on how cheap and willing to monkey with things you are, the 3 stage does all this for you more or less
EDIT - when the bearing and belt were having issues on my 10si, I turned the voltage down to 13 to get home. This kept the batteries where they were without really charging, so the alternator output and belt stress were minimal.

Last edited by joe_db; 08-03-2017 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:34 PM
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Maybe I'm a bit weary of internet marine electrical guru's hawking multi-stage charging systems as must-haves. If they're sincere and not simply selling gear then the cost of upgrading ramps up quickly. Following their typical advice I could easily see controlling the $100 alternator in this thread with a $300 ~ $500 regulator.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Maybe I'm a bit weary of internet marine electrical guru's hawking multi-stage charging systems as must-haves. If they're sincere and not simply selling gear then the cost of upgrading ramps up quickly. Following their typical advice I could easily see controlling the $100 alternator in this thread with a $300 ~ $500 regulator.
Well to be fair, this is an Ebay sale of something that would have cost around $500 or so new (whether is/was worth that is another story, I could just keep buying $65 Chinese 10si knockoffs instead)
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