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Choosing a Alternator Requlator


Ralph Claydon
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Hi

Has anyone a preference?

I am considering installing an advanced Alternator Regulator but just do not know which system to purchase.

I have a Battery bank of 135ah x 4 Domestics, Plus a 110 ah Starter battery.

A 95 amp Alternator plus a 40 amp for Starter.

Which unit should i go for?

 

Thanks

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Hi

Has anyone a preference?

I am considering installing an advanced Alternator Regulator but just do not know which system to purchase.

I have a Battery bank of 135ah x 4 Domestics, Plus a 110 ah Starter battery.

A 95 amp Alternator plus a 40 amp for Starter.

Which unit should i go for?

 

Thanks

That depends whether you even need one at all. Later engine/alternator configurations don't benefit from an advanced regulator. There is something on Gibbo's site about the subject, see: Gibbo's info

Worth researching that page first IMO, if you haven't already done so.

Roger

Edited by Albion
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They both do the job.

 

The Sterling has the advantage of an alternator temperature sensor (optional?). Both units sense the battery temperature.

 

I have an Adverc and I prefer it because it cycles the voltage above and below the gassing voltage which gives very good results.

 

I have also had very good customer service from them.

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It probably depends on what sort of boater you are are and how much you cruise etc.

 

The Sterling charges quite hard but then goes into float mode.

Gibbo and lots of others have told us that it takes a LONG time to fully charge a battery, so a system that goes into float is very likely to lead to undercharged batteries, especially if you are a liveaboard.

The Adverc keeps on charging for ever, with rest periods, so is more likely to fully charge a battery if you run the engine for long enough.

The Sterling has lots of safety features but if you install everything correctly these should not be needed.

Stirling is easily adjustable for different battery types, whilst the Adverc adjustment is inside the box, though ultimately more flexible.

You can adjust the Adverc to do an equalisation charge if you are happy to open it up (or even relocate the adjuster to be outside the box)

The Adverc looks much better if its on show in an engine room.

So for me the Adverc is the winner.

 

As said before, the advantage of both is reduced if the built-in regulator has a high voltage, and this will also scupper the Sterling Float and the Advers rest. It might be an idea to disable the internal regulator but I have never seen mention of this.

 

.............Dave

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They both do the job.

 

The Sterling has the advantage of an alternator temperature sensor (optional?). Both units sense the battery temperature.

 

I have an Adverc and I prefer it because it cycles the voltage above and below the gassing voltage which gives very good results.

 

I have also had very good customer service from them.

I have had dealings with both companies and found Adverc by far the best to talk to. Which one makes the best equipment I couldn't say.

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Be careful with any external alternator regulator. They're not nick-named 'battery boilers' for nothing.

 

I had a Sterling DAR 2. Even with the system set for the correct battery type (read charging voltage), it still made the batteries gas well.

 

I eventually ditched it after it cooked 2 alternators. The alternator bloke said that the external regulator was keeping the charge rate high for long periods, but that led to the alternator overheating due to lack of air flow through it. He advised that if you want to keep the alternator at a high output for prolonged periods, you should make sure the pulley arrangement will allow an alternator speed of >6000 rpm at normal engine speed.

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Be careful with any external alternator regulator. They're not nick-named 'battery boilers' for nothing.

 

I had a Sterling DAR 2. Even with the system set for the correct battery type (read charging voltage), it still made the batteries gas well.

 

I eventually ditched it after it cooked 2 alternators. The alternator bloke said that the external regulator was keeping the charge rate high for long periods, but that led to the alternator overheating due to lack of air flow through it. He advised that if you want to keep the alternator at a high output for prolonged periods, you should make sure the pulley arrangement will allow an alternator speed of >6000 rpm at normal engine speed.

 

That's why I like the Adverc. Whereas the Sterling simply produces a steady high voltage, above the gassing point, the way that the Adverc cycles produces virtually no gas.

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I conversation with Gibbo some years ago he advised me not to waste my money on a regulator, just utse the one which comes in the alternator as long as it charges at more than 14V. This I have done and find it works. I fitted an internal reg that is adjustable so that I could set it at the correct voltage for my batteries. this happens to be 14.2V

 

Nick

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Second Vote for Adverc...no pointless flashing lights or bits of bare pcb on show!

And another vote for the ADVERC,nice folk to deal with and their regulators are effective.

 

i have got a STIRLING D A R regulator on one of my alternators,it peaks at 14.6 volt,,and stays there,is that good?

 

 

I do like the STIRLING'S flashing and twinkling lights though,am saving up for an ECOFAN,then i can watch it go round and round and round.......

Edited by cereal tiller
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That depends whether you even need one at all. Later engine/alternator configurations don't benefit from an advanced regulator. There is something on Gibbo's site about the subject, see: Gibbo's info

Worth researching that page first IMO, if you haven't already done so.

Roger

I wasted a lot of money on an alternator controller that produced pretty much zero benefit, given that my alternator is already charging at 14.4 volts. I second Roger's recommendation to read Gibbo's musings before you make any decisions...

As an aside, the controller was a Sterling and I found their customer service approach not to my personal taste depending on who answered - on a lucky day, one particularly kind and helpful individual who was a pleasure to deal with, and on another day a somewhat tiresome individual who was possessed with absolutely no 'soft skills' whatsoever...

After the unit failed for the second time I gave up trying and went back to the original installation, poorer but wiser...

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Hi

Has anyone a preference?

I am considering installing an advanced Alternator Regulator but just do not know which system to purchase.

I have a Battery bank of 135ah x 4 Domestics, Plus a 110 ah Starter battery.

A 95 amp Alternator plus a 40 amp for Starter.

Which unit should i go for?

 

Thanks

 

Ive had both. They both work. I have never had boiled batteries. :cheers:

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Gibbo spoke a lot of sense, but his suggestion to avoid alternator controllers was a bit questionable (oh my God I feel the lightning getting ready to strike me down).

For a liveaboard a high charging voltage is essential, as high as you dare, and this means correction for battery temperature is essential.

On the advice of Trojan I have been charging at 15 volts, and have not boiuled them yet.

For wet batteries a bit of gassing is actually good, probably essential, as it stirs things up to remove stratification.

 

I do not think a decent alternator would fail due to using an external controller.

During bulk charge the alternator runs flat out with or without a controller, during absorption the controller increases the voltage (thats what its all about) but the current is falling so the alternator is not working hard, hence the overall increase in "stress" on the alternator over a charge cycle is small.

 

............Dave

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alternator_02.gif

 

 

I'm up for giving this a try, i've got an A127 which is putting out below 14v, can anyone post a pic of an alternator with the actual wiring connections needed ?

Have not got any photos but take out the regulator (three screws) and unplug. The diodes go betwixt the spade on the regulator and the spade connection you disconnected (which internally connect to D+.

 

You can put the diodes in a switched pattress wired such that you can switch on & off the voltage (&current) upping.

 

You can get 10 amp diodes on fleabay 10 for less than a fiver. I have also used the diodes from a knackered alternator.

 

Hope that helps

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If you're sure you want one (what is your current alternator voltage ?), I would be inclined to propose the Sterling one.

Adverc were taken over last year and I hear they are not what they were. Sterlings customer service can be a bit brusque, but the product is sound.

 

Hi

Has anyone a preference?

I am considering installing an advanced Alternator Regulator but just do not know which system to purchase.

I have a Battery bank of 135ah x 4 Domestics, Plus a 110 ah Starter battery.

A 95 amp Alternator plus a 40 amp for Starter.

Which unit should i go for?

 

Thanks

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All these mods sound like a lot of trouble to achieve not very much.

They will raise the charge voltage but will not give battery sensing or temperature correction.

So if you enjoy DIY electronics and solderring etc. then why not go all the way and build your own alternator controller?

 

Here is a good place to start......

 

http://www.amsterdamhouseboats.nl/voltage_regulator.htm

 

I want to have a go at this, but even if I value my time at the national minimum wage the Adverc still works out cheaper!!!!

But if anyone is interested in this, as an electronic engineer with experience in power control systems, I would be willing to help!

 

..........Dave

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If you're sure you want one (what is your current alternator voltage ?), I would be inclined to propose the Sterling one.

Adverc were taken over last year and I hear they are not what they were. Sterlings customer service can be a bit brusque, but the product is sound.

I didn't know that about Adverc, my conversations with them were well before then

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alternator_02.gif

 

 

I'm up for giving this a try, i've got an A127 which is putting out below 14v, can anyone post a pic of an alternator with the actual wiring connections needed ?

 

Have you considered simply changing the alternator's internal regulator to see if that is the reason for the low voltage? They can be had on ebay quite cheaply.

 

And another vote for the ADVERC,nice folk to deal with and their regulators are effective.

 

i have got a STIRLING D A R regulator on one of my alternators,it peaks at 14.6 volt,,and stays there,is that good?

 

I think it's supposed to peak at 14.8v, but where are you measuring 14.6v? If it's not a voltage drop issue then it might be worth calling Sterling (ask to speak to Peter). Mine was also peaking at 14.6v so I sent it in to him and he adjusted it and sent it back for free.

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Have you considered simply changing the alternator's internal regulator to see if that is the reason for the low voltage? They can be had on ebay quite cheaply.

 

 

 

I think it's supposed to peak at 14.8v, but where are you measuring 14.6v? If it's not a voltage drop issue then it might be worth calling Sterling (ask to speak to Peter). Mine was also peaking at 14.6v so I sent it in to him and he adjusted it and sent it back for free.

When i first installed the D A R unit i noticed the 14.6 voltpeak,so i e-mailed CHARLES STIRLING.

 

My e-mail said"have fitted a D A R regulator into a systerm which charges SEALED LEAD ACID BATTERIES,when the charging is reaching its end,the voltage peaks at 14.6 volt,will this cause any problem?

 

 

his reply was one word

 

NO

 

If i alter the internal switches to the A.G.M. battery setting,the voltage will settle at 14.4 volts

 

Have left it that way for a good while,does not seem to have affected the batteries,and,as has been mentioned several times on this forum,many modern vehicle alternators are set at 14.6 V.

 

 

the voltage reading is taken at the inverter supply,which is starter cable.

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When i first installed the D A R unit i noticed the 14.6 voltpeak,so i e-mailed CHARLES STIRLING.

 

My e-mail said"have fitted a D A R regulator into a systerm which charges SEALED LEAD ACID BATTERIES,when the charging is reaching its end,the voltage peaks at 14.6 volt,will this cause any problem?

 

 

his reply was one word

 

NO

 

If i alter the internal switches to the A.G.M. battery setting,the voltage will settle at 14.4 volts

 

Have left it that way for a good while,does not seem to have affected the batteries,and,as has been mentioned several times on this forum,many modern vehicle alternators are set at 14.6 V.

 

 

the voltage reading is taken at the inverter supply,which is starter cable.

You got a reply, that is one up on me.

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Helvetia was the used as the test boat for the very first production version of the Sterling Advanced Alternator Regulator whuich I fitted in January 2001. It has worked without any problems from the very first day. Needless to say they carry my fullest rcommendation.

 

As for Charles Sterling's infamous abrupt reputation, I have always found him to be fine, A bit like Gibbo and other clever electronics people, he does not suffer fools readily, and if you tell hm he is wrong, he will give up the discussion, albeit with a cutting observation thrown in.

Edited by David Schweizer
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When i first installed the D A R unit i noticed the 14.6 voltpeak,so i e-mailed CHARLES STIRLING.

 

My e-mail said"have fitted a D A R regulator into a systerm which charges SEALED LEAD ACID BATTERIES,when the charging is reaching its end,the voltage peaks at 14.6 volt,will this cause any problem?

 

 

his reply was one word

 

NO

 

If i alter the internal switches to the A.G.M. battery setting,the voltage will settle at 14.4 volts

 

Have left it that way for a good while,does not seem to have affected the batteries,and,as has been mentioned several times on this forum,many modern vehicle alternators are set at 14.6 V.

 

 

the voltage reading is taken at the inverter supply,which is starter cable.

 

Sorry I should have been more specific in my last post. I was talking about open, wet lead/acid batteries.

 

My DAR regulator peaks at 14.8v. For sealed batteries it's should be around 14.4v.

Edited by blackrose
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I have to support Sterling. We had one of their regulators on a shared boat (which another member of this forum is still involved with) before we left the share for our own boat.

 

The shared boat has a mains fridge running off an inverter and the alternator regulator made a huge difference to the ability of the batteries to keep up with its demands for power. To my knowledge the system is still using the same regulator to this day, something like 7 or 8 years since it was first fitted.

 

The lights on the Sterling job are actually useful. Several times they alerted me to something that had gone wrong with the electrics when it wasn't otherwise obvious, and would have probably caused a serious problem by the time it became clearly apparent some other way.

 

As for Sterling's customer service, I have to accept that this can sometimes be less than it should be, just because so many people have recounted bad experiences. For myself, I've only had good service from them. One of the electrical problems that the regulator alerted me to was a real b****r to diagnose. A call to Sterling in which I accused the regulator itself of being the problem got a very reasoned and reasonable response. They explained why this was unlikely, and that the most probable culprit was the split charge diode. Eventually, after a lot of bother, it was proven that this diagnosis was correct.

 

Not only that, but when Sterling were told the dodgy diode was one of theirs, they admitted to having had a bad batch of these at around the time we'd purchased ours, and gave us a free replacement. You can't really complain at that level of customer care can you?

 

trackman

 

 

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