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Hunter P42 1997; has anyone upgraded alternator to a Balmar system with the alt mount blue pulleys?

Discussion in 'Big Boats' started by BBC16385, Oct 22, 2016. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    We have the Hitachi 80 amp alternator (worthless) and are considering upgrading to Balmar 120 amp with regulator and alt mount blue pulleys with 1 inch grooved belt. See http://www.balmar.net/?product=altmount-pulley-kit-48-ysp-4jh-e

    Has anyone done this on the Yamnar 4JH2 engine? I would like to know about your experience with the pullies, the wiring and the results.

    Thanks in advance.
     


  2. Ralph Johnstone

    Ralph Johnstone

    Joined Jan 4, 2006
    2,341 posts, 205 likes
    Hunter H-310
    CA West Vancouver, B.C.
    Before diving into the cost and trouble of the new alternator and mounting brackets, I'd suggest taking a look at the alternator regulator and your sailing habits.

    If your regulator is not a smart one and not putting out a healthy voltage (as high as 14.7V) which it's not, take a look at installing a smart regulator. Loads of info in the archives here.
     


  3. Terry Cox

    Terry Cox

    Joined Dec 25, 2000
    2,740 posts, 152 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    US Shelter Bay, WA
    Would you please be more specific about its worthlessness? The original one our 1991 boat seems to produce its designed output depending upon battery state. Maybe someday it will stop producing, thus at that point will move to the worthless category. Just wondering.
     


  4. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    The alternator is 20 years old, but still running. It puts out 13.5 volts consistently. I believe we get about 20 amps per hour on average out of it because of its unsophisticated regulator and over heat. So I have bought the ARS-5 regulator from Balmar after talking to their people at the boat show. I was going to hook it into the Hitachi. But the more I have read about that, I think doing so would probably kill the alternator next season. That is why I am considering an upgrade to the alternator. When the boat was new, we were told during orientation that we should consider running the engine as time in which no power was used, but not as charging time. Battery charging would have to be done by the generator or plug in. We have a refrigerator and freezer. It is pretty much a constant 12 amp draw (they are 20 years old, too, and not as efficient as they were.)
     


  5. Karl13265

    Karl13265

    Joined Jul 19, 2007
    32 posts, 2 likes
    -Hunter 1995 - 40.5 Hunter
    CA Saint Andrews Saint Andrews, NB, Canada
    BBC, I have a 1995 - 40.5 with a 4JHE installed. When I bought the boat it came with the same 80 amp. Hitachi alternator that you have. The PO had installed a Balmar System including the Smart Regulator and a Digital Duo charge unit to charge the two 8D AGM home batts. and an AGM start batt. Last spring I found out thru bench testing that the alternator was producing no power and had given up the ghost. I looked into a Balmar high output charger but due the exchange on the Can/US dollar decided to investigate other options. I finally settled on and bought a high output unit from a company called Electromax, I bought the 160 amp kit that can be dialed back to a 130 amp output if you want to. I bought the kit which included the alternator with serpentine pulley installed, the pulleys for the freshwater pump and the crank pulley, a serpentine belt and a very neat and easily adjustable alternator bracket. The whole system was a breeze to install. The alternator has an internal regulator which can be disabled in order to tie into the external Belmar Smart Reg/Digital Duo charge components. On installation I could not get the system to work and after several phone calls to Belmar found out that the Digital Duo charge would not work due to output fusing issues. The Belmar Tech I spoke to told me to install a Blue Seas ARC that was large enough to take the 160 Amp output of the new alternator. On purchase of the ARC, I decided to completely do away with the Belmar components and following the Blue Seas techs advise, wired the system via the alternators internal regular, the Blue Seas ARC using 2/0 cabling and three high amp fuses in the circuit. On first start the new alternator starting putting out 14.5 amps according to the Hunter Amp gauge and has done so all season. The 2 8D's and the start battery are always well charged and I have had no issues. Electromax has both a Canadian and an American distribution center and I would highly recommend their system to anyone.
     


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  6. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    Excellent information. Thanks so much.
     


  7. Charles Erwin

    Charles Erwin

    Joined Jan 30, 2012
    832 posts, 61 likes
    Nor'Sea 27 - "Kiwanda"
    US Portland/Anacortes
    Terry

    Your Hitachi is an automotive design. Here is an article that explains why an automotive alternator 'designed' output will not work well in our cruising boats.

    https://marinehowto.com/automotive-alternators-vs-deep-cycle-batteries/

    Now if all you do is start the motor and go sailing then no problem. In that case all the alternator does is recharge the one starter battery which has delivered a very small amount of its capacity and thus is never very depleted - just like your car .

    However, a cruising boat also needs to charge a large capacity house bank and that bank replenishment needs considerably more charging voltage and for a longer period of time. This is especially so when the bank is deeply discharged. In charging that battery bank your automotive style alternator cannot deliver enough voltage for a long enough time to get the house bank replenished.

    The short of it for cruisers is that unless your alternator is running 10 hours a day the automotive alternator will be a disappointment when it comes to keeping up with house battery replenishment.

    But - if you just use a battery to start the motor - or if you charge by a generator (and do so regularly) then your relatively anemic HItachi may be just fine

    Charles
     


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  8. Terry Cox

    Terry Cox

    Joined Dec 25, 2000
    2,740 posts, 152 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    US Shelter Bay, WA
    Thanks Charles. This is our situation, which is why ours does the job it was designed to do. May not work for others as they acclaim.
     


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  9. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    Charles
    You have described our situation for 20 years, I will run the generator at anchor for an 1.5 hours to get us through the day even though I know we will be motoring soon for at least 45 minutes or more. I have 214 hours on my generator for this summer, which started in April and one weekend to go. (Sure it was a hot summer and we ran the generator overnight several times for the air conditioning.) But if I can save a generator run, make coffee off the inverter and charge up off the engine, I think that will be an improvement. An expensive improvement!
     


  10. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,313 posts, 296 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME

    I have done plenty of these kits and they can make a big difference. If you are really going to be placing a high demand on the alt for long duration's, 30 minutes plus, always up-size the alternator and then de-rate it with the regulators Belt manager feature. In other words if you expect a 85A -120A alternator output go with a 120A or 150A model. You will also want alternator and battery temp sensors.

    The installation is critical to actual performance and voltage sensing is the most often incorrectly wired aspect of a high performance alternator. Alternators & Voltage Sensing - Why it Matters (LINK)

    Without knowing your bank size, battery type and daily expected Ah consumption we really can't make any solid sizing suggestions. All we can say is that any unit you buy will perform significantly better than the stock Hitachi, which is essentially an automotive alternator.

    The reason they perform so poorly is written about here: Automotive Alternators vs. Deep Cycle Batteries
     


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  11. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    Maine Sail, thanks for your information. We have two group 8 D Lifeline AGMs (3 seasons) and a group 24 AGM start battery (1 season). The charger is a Xantrex SW3012. I will read through the links you provided. One of my concerns is whther the wiring for the Hitachi 80 amp will be sufficient for the 120 amp marine alternator. The guest isolator is rated for 120 amp alternater, but I am unsure of the wiring. Picture below" altwire.png
     


  12. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,313 posts, 296 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME
    That wiring is totally insufficient for a new alternator. Heck it is insufficient for the stock alternator. When doing the new install the wiring harness gets opened up and the red and black 10GA wires completely removed and replaced by 2 GA to 2/0 GA depending upon amperage and length of run to the house batteries..

    The isolator needs to go. These murder charging performance especially with stock alts. It can be replaced with an ACR to feed the start battery once the new alt is installed and wired properly to the house bank.

    - Remove isolator and toss it in the round-file where it belongs.
    - Wire the new alt directly to the house bank.
    - House bank (two 8D's) should be contiguously wired as "one battery"
    - Alt B+ wire needs a fuse at 150% of alt rating within 7" of battery positive
    - Alt B+ should have a "service disconnect switch" in the engine room, clearly labeled for service techs.
    - Alt B- needs to be same size as Alt B+

    Look at this diagram for how the alt B+ & B-, & all charge sources, get wired into the bank. The ACR charges the start battery from the house bank when any charge source is providing voltage above 13.0V..


    [​IMG]
     


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  13. charris

    charris

    Joined Aug 6, 2009
    51 posts, 2 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    CA Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
    This system has been working well for me. Set up pretty much as per the above drawing. We have a 160 Amp alt, Balmar MC612 Regulator and the Blue Seas ACR. We use the Balmar Regulator programming to derate the alt down to about 100 amps or so. We used a serpentine pulley kit, as anything over the 80 amp Hitachi is going to lead to belt slip with a single belt. The serpentine belt gives so much contact area that there is just no slippage at all. No black dust going into the alt. The alt does get hot when working hard, we have an alt temp sensor so we throttle it back when it gets too hot. Would love to have a forced cooling hose directed onto the alt but have not got around to that yet.
     


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  14. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    The rest of the story:
    In April, my brother and I installed a Series 6 Balmar 100 amp alternator and the Balmar AR-5 regulator in place of the Hitachi and no regulator. (525 amp hour AGM battery capacity on board.) Took about six hours to do. Has been working great all summer. Bottom line: we are running the generator much less and the engine the same and getting much better charging. The alternator is underpowered for our battery size. But it is much more powerful that the Hitachi it replaced. The problem was this was the largest alternator that would fit in our space. Now we actually get real charging off the engine. Glad we made the switch.
     


  15. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,313 posts, 296 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME
    Glad to hear it worked out & thanks for the follow up..

    FWIW the Balmar 6 Series is available in 4 amperage's that are dimensionally all the same. The 6-Series is avaible in a 70A, 100A, 120A and 150A outputs. If the 100A fits then the 120A or 150A also fits....
     


  16. BBC16385

    BBC16385

    Joined Sep 14, 2004
    139 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 42
    US Deltaville VA
    Yes, I know. I was going to go with the 120 and the new wheels. But 20 more amps was about $140 more and the wheels were about $750. And I wasn't sure how hard it would be to get the old screws out of the main wheel. But the killer was that the alternator wheel is right next to a post the holds that corner of the table on which sits the generator. The one inch wheel would hit the post. If the belt were any shorter than the half inch belt it would clear the post. But any stretching would make it touch the post. There was no work around.

    I decided to go the cheaper, sure way, get a performance improvement and be happy about it. That I've done.

    Thanks for your advice on this project.

     



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