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Charging System Upgrade Project

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by DayDreamer41, Jan 11, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    Well I am diving deep into the world of charging systems and have started the acquisition process. Thus far I have secured a Balmar 6 series 150A Alternator, Balmar MC-614 voltage regulator, Balmar Serpentine Pulley kit, Blue Seas ML-ACR 7622, Class T 300A fuse block and fuse, Balmar SG-200 Battery Monitor system.
    Next up will be 2/0 cables so that I can run direct from the alternator B+ out directly to the ACR, which will be located within 2' from the house bank (6 x T105's), I am also going to run a 2/0 negative back to the house bank negative bus bar.
    Will run a fused 2/0 from the ACR to the house bank and starter battery.

    New Charging System.JPG
    Hope to take a bunch of photographs while applying this change to our stock Hitachi internally regulated alternator and the mystical cole solenoid, this system will reduce voltage drop and allow me to sense voltage at the battery banks which will drive the output of the alternator so I get the proper voltage at the battery bank, this will vastly improve the charge cycle of the bat's and extend their life.
    Hopefully will get started tomorrow at least go down and take some measurements for cable lengths and if time allows pull the old alternator off and maybe mount the new pulleys, hoping to also (while I am at the boat) to replace all (7) of the florescent fixture bulbs with LED light strips, another fun project that shouldn't take to long at all.
    AND
    A big shout out to @mainesail for doing all the write ups and putting them out there for anyone who is interested in understanding the nuances of just about anything that needs or could be done to improve marine systems. As busy as Rod is he answers questions emailed to him promptly, you just can't find that kind of service anywhere else, thanks again for your help Rod!
     


    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    jssailem likes this.
  2. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes

    Joined Jul 5, 2017
    28 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Cape Coral
    I am very interested in this posting as I recently purchased a 2004 Hunter 44DS. The survey said that it has a Balmar 100 high output alternator, a Mastervolt 12-40-3 charger and a Prosine 2000 inverter. Now that we know the boat, I can’t find the Mastervolt charger. The alternator and 110 volt AC seem to charge the batteries OK. We discovered that if we leave the Prosine on without shore power it uses 50 amps. Will be turning it off in the future. There is a digital readout from the Prosine device but will not use it in the future if on 12 volt power. Have no idea how it is all hooked up. Will be having 640 watts of solar installed next month which we hope will solve our DC power problems. It will include a Victron battery monitor. Unlikely to use the inverter due to the power consumption.
     


  3. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,901 posts, 1,912 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    I also would like to follow this thread. Thanks for the post and the schematic.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     


  4. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    7,825 posts, 3,135 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Jack..
    You identify your charge sources but say nothing about your battery bank. 640 watts of solar is over kill if your bank is 2 12 volt group 24's or not enough if you have a bank of 8 Deep Cycle - 8Dd's with over 2000 amp hour capacity. Then your 50 amp inverter would be a useful tool.
    As with anything electrical it is all about the total system.

    Regarding the location you should be able to follow the wires back from the batteries to locate the charging source i.e. Mastervolt 12-40-3 charger. To charge batteries it must be connected to them somehow. Also It is likely connected to your AC power source. So tracking it from there to the battery might be a viable alternative.
     


  5. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes

    Joined Jul 5, 2017
    28 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Cape Coral
    The battery bank is 2 4D flooded batteries with 185 amps each. I may replace them with either a third 4D flooded battery or replace the batteries with 2 4D AGM batteries at the time we install the solar. I want to be able to run the fridge and freezer and other electrical devices using the batteries charged by solar.

    Forgot to ask about the florescent bulb replacement. I think the 41DS has the same fixtures that the 44DS has. They have two Fluorescent - FL-8CW bulbs. Were you thinking of putting the LCD strips in the existing fixtures or are you using LCD bulbs that are the same size as the florescent and fit into the same fixture? I have seen these online https://www.cruisingsolutions.com/collections/lighting/products/fluorescent-bulb and was thinking of trying them.

    John, thanks for the info on tracing the power cables. I just bought the boat and haven't had any time to trace everything down and figure it out. Will be doing that as soon as time allows.
     


  6. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    2,961 posts, 1,290 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Consider using golf cart batteries. Your back will thank you. With 4 GCs wired in series/parallel you can get 460 ah of capacity.
     


    FastOlson likes this.
  7. Boog

    Boog

    Joined Sep 20, 2017
    6 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    Un Seattle
    Thanks for posting this Daydreamer. My 94 Hunter Passage 42 is completely stock on the electrical systems and I am planning upgrades very similar to yours. What is the Cole Solenoid that you mentioned? My alternator is the Hitachi 80A. My Heart inverter/charger is still working, have you replaced yours, with what? I like the ACR to get rid of the existing diode drop isolator. Are you replacing 2 8D batteries with the 6 golf cart batteries. I think I will do the same, but feel a bit cheap in not going with the new modern AGM's like the Firefly's. Was that decision hard for you?
     


  8. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,404 posts, 296 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    That doesn't sound right. 50 amps is a whole lot of power, way more than it should draw in stand-by. Was there a 110V load on it accidently at the time? A 5 amp AC load accidentally left plugged in would draw about 50 amps DC if the inverter were trying to power it.
     


  9. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    @Jack Barnes, I am in the process of changing the florescent's over to LED. I purchased everything that I need to convert all the fixtures over to LED for less than $30, seem a bit crazy the pricing for replacement tubes.
    The Balmar 100A alternator, how is it regulated? How is it driven V-belt or serpentine?
    The Sapphire had 4D's which I replaced with Trojan T-105's, my reading on batteries has indicated unless you spend a boat load (see what I did there) of $$$ 4D deep cycle batteries don't exist, they are mostly sold as deep cycle but are actually dual purpose, ergo the reason for Trojan's a reputable true deep cycle battery.
    We have a Xantrex charger/invertor so far so good, I wish I could adjust the charge voltages and timing but alas can only do (1) project for now, this stuff adds up quickly.
    @Jack Barnes have you done a load analysis? its a good idea to run some numbers first.
     


    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  10. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes

    Joined Jul 5, 2017
    28 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Cape Coral
    The Prosine 2.0 Inverter/charger is overkill in that I don't need or have the battery power for running 110 from the 12 volt battery bank. Its only purpose for me is to charge the batteries when on shore power which I guess it does very well. Based on the manual as shown below, I plan on turning it off when disconnecting from shore power as it won't be needed for my purposes so that there will be little draw from the batteries.

    "Naturally, when you are not using the PROsine, you will disable the inverter to conserve your battery. The PROsine still draws up to 50mA of battery current, however—and this will eventually discharge the battery. So when you don’t need the PROsine for an extended period of time, you can reduce battery draw to less than 1mA by setting the PROsine’s ON/OFF/REM switch to OFF. This disables all circuitry in the PROsine and removes all power from the display."
     


  11. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,404 posts, 296 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    I see, 50 milliamps, not 50 amps. That makes much more sense.
    If you don't have a need for the inverter function then yeah, may as well turn it off. If you did want to use it though I wouldn't be too worried - 50 mA at standby is pretty minimal for a short period, and you have enough battery capacity to run small 110v loads for at least a little while.
     


  12. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes

    Joined Jul 5, 2017
    28 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Cape Coral
    Daydreamer41 - I think the alternator is a Vbelt as it is in the same place the stock alternator would have been on the engine.
     


  13. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    2,961 posts, 1,290 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    50mA is about 1.2 amp-hour per day, a trivial amount of battery capacity unless you are crossing oceans. The inverter is handy for many tasks that can't be done with a 12v system. There's a long thread on the benefits of a converter here: https://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/benefits-of-an-inverter.194858/
     


  14. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    @Boog our Sapphires charging system consisted of the same internally regulated Hitachi 80A alternator, which spewed belt dust continuously due to its single V-belt drive. It is interesting that you have the battery isolator in yours, I say that as the Hunter electrical schematics I have show the isolator as installed with the optional 100 A alternator, and yes the isolator will cause a .5 - 1.0 volt drop, not good for your charging profiles resulting in under charged batteries.

    Our boat is equipped with an Xantrex 2000 inverter/charger, which works but not the greatest as it doesn't allow for adjustment of all charge profiles (as Mainesail would say it is a dip switch charger.... not good), but I can only chip away at the system improvements as my last name isn't Rockefeller.

    We replaced the (3) x 4D batteries (oh my back still hurts) with (6) x series/parallel Trojan T-105's giving us 675 ah's, the decision to go with the T105's was (2) fold, cost weighed against life cycle and availability. If you have a good charging system the T105's have one of the longest life cycles from what I have read, but they do take a bit more maintenance such as you have to keep an eye on the electrolyte levels regularly, I did purchase a watering system for them which works very well, just have to remove it during the winter, not a big deal at all.

    The Cole Solenoid is mounted between the battery isolator switches (on the back of the DC power panel mounted on the lower section of the navigation seat) and closes when the engine is running allowing charging of the starter battery while motoring and opens when the engine is off isolating the start battery from the house bank. I will be taking this out of the charge circuit and replacing it with a Blue Seas ML-7622 ACR which has a manual over ride switch on it that allows both start and house banks to be joined if needed, normal operation will isolate the start battery from house bank once the start battery reaches full charge voltage.

    This past Saturday I removed the (6) florescent fixtures from the boat and brought them home to do a LED upgrade. This upgrade was rather simple and for less than $30 I was able to convert all of the fixtures. They are bright and the light color is more akin to daylight as opposed to the florescent reddish/yellows. Took me about 15 minutes a fixture once I was set up. All that is needed is a drill motor with a 1/8" bit, 1/8" aluminum rivets and rivet gun, scissors, alcohol and clean cloth, wire strippers and some wire nuts (22 ga to 18ga). I purchased a 16' LED light strip ($7), (2) x 10 pack of solderless connectors ($15), silicon end caps ($6), small size wire nuts ($12), alcohol ($5) I already had a clean cloth..... and of course a couple of your favorite beverages.
    Have to say that this project was rather satisfying, its always nice when one can make an improvement like this for such low cost. The LED's are stated as having a 50K hrs life and they use so very little energy to provide some very nice lighting. If you want you can purchase the LED's which allow dimming and replace the switches with dimmers, I did not go this route, but now that they are converted it would take very little time to add the option.
     


    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  15. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,914 posts, 144 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY

    I just did the identical upgrade this past season (Balmar 6 series 150A Alternator, Balmar MC-614 voltage regulator, Balmar Serpentine Pulley kit, Blue Seas ML-ACR 7622, Class T 300A fuse block and fuse)... Have a Yanmar 4JH4E engine with house of 2 4D agm lifelines 420 ah and 1 group 31 110ah. Bought the package from Maine Sail and with his excellent advice as well as tons of advise and suggestions from members on this site I installed the unit myself. One of the keys to the mc-614 will be to program it to meet your specific battery charge requirements. Factory settings were 19 minutes in bulk / 19 minutes in absorb then switch to float. These settings were not doing the job. MaineSail advised the correct setting (voltage and time) and system works like a champ! I also downgraded the alt 3 places at his suggestion. One thing I did differently is I brought the alt output directly to the house bank, then fed the starter through the ACR.

    221B061F-ECA2-4425-8E78-453A6267A22E.jpeg

    Good Luck!
    Greg
     


    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  16. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    @NYSail when you say you downgraded the alternator by (3) places I have to assume you are talking about the belt load manager function of the regulator?
     


  17. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,914 posts, 144 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    Yes....... put the output at about 125 amps. This allows the alt to run cooler
     


  18. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    @NYSail I was planning to do that as well as open up the engine shrouding that Yanmar's lawyers so thoughtfully covered the alternator with, severely restricting airflow through the alternator, it seems kind of odd, that the alternator is engineered with a cooling fan in the front and then the engine manufacturer covers up that fan so it can't move its designed air flow, its already hot enough in the engine bay without burying the alternator behind a cover, this I am sure will improve cooling of the alternator windings.
     


  19. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,914 posts, 144 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    When I was shopping for boats 2 years ago every Yanmar I saw had the cover on including the boat I eventually bought.. and every engine had a loose belt and a ton of dust caked on the cover and engine. I like to check engine completely before I leave and while I’m out and with the cover it’s imposible to do so easily. I removed it on my old boat as well..... worthless in my opinion.

    Greg
     


  20. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,098 posts, 529 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    @NYSail no belt dust now I bet, with the change to serpentine belt drive.

    As recommended did you run 2/0 cable for both the positive and negative directly to the house bank, then a short 2/0 to the ACR and then 2/0 to the start battery positive and negative terminals?
     



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