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Old 11-12-2017, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default Alternator temperature

I have the Nations 270 amp alternator and Balmar regulator in our 210. On warm days when cooking using the convection oven, after 30 minutes or so, the Balmar alternator temp sensor limits the alternator output, causing some drain on the batteries until the roast is done.

The Balmar regulator is factory set to limit alternator output at 108 C. I have been reading that 120 C is a generally accepted alternator max operating temp. I am considering reprogramming the Balmar to limit at 120C. Has anyone tried this?
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prfleming View Post
I have the Nations 270 amp alternator and Balmar regulator in our 210. On warm days when cooking using the convection oven, after 30 minutes or so, the Balmar alternator temp sensor limits the alternator output, causing some drain on the batteries until the roast is done.

The Balmar regulator is factory set to limit alternator output at 108 C. I have been reading that 120 C is a generally accepted alternator max operating temp. I am considering reprogramming the Balmar to limit at 120C. Has anyone tried this?

High temp is a known issue.

I would install a scat tube before touching the brains.
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:58 AM   #3
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Please explain further, interested...
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:32 AM   #4
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OK, looked up the scat vent tubing idea, looks like a good thing to try. Thinking a 12v blower, since this would be while parked and dry camping. Will see about designing something up.

I think the problem is the alternator only gets hot air from the radiator for cooling.

Has anyone done a scat alternator cooling system?
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Old 11-12-2017, 02:20 AM   #5
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Advanced RV initially installed Nations second alternators in their vans and used ducted forced air directly on the alternator to cool it. They had a failure rate anyway they couldn't live with and what you observed in diminished output was unsatisfactory. I suppose you could reset the alternator temperature limit higher but that makes the odds worse in failure I would think. ARV is now installing more robust Delco alternators and when they swapped out mine they also removed the ducted air. The Delco fits Sprinters but it probably won't fit other vans since it is so big.
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Old 11-12-2017, 02:33 AM   #6
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I've been talking to Nations, Adam is telling me they have a different bracket now for the Chevy 6.0L that will mount a larger alternator than the 270 I have. I'll post info on that when I get the details.
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:07 AM   #7
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That is about 250*F, which I think would not trigger the internal regulator in a Nations/DC Power alternator, based on what we saw when we ran one, but it is pretty hot. DC Power says their alternators are not for battery changing, and infer it is because they don't want them at full output for long periods of time. DC power pushes them as for running big audio setups and such or at less than full output for offroad lights and things like that.

The Balmar trips at 220*F or so and goes to 1/2 power which is just enough to let the alternator cool enough, especially with the van sitting still. It is tough to cool down much when the alternator is attached to an engine at 200* in a 150* or more engine compartment. We have found on ours that if we run more than about 60% of rated output, we will get to 220* or a bit hotter. At idle it is tougher for sure as the engine compartment is hotter, as is the radiator that is blowing in hot air.

The cooling hose setups that I have seen put together, for the most part probably don't do much because they bring in air from the front of the van to the alternator. The alternator pulls air in the rear and blows it out at the pulley, so any cooler air would need to go up to the rear to the back of the alternator. Of course the radiator fan is fighting that, and moving air from front to back.

It may be that on the Chevy there is more room for a bigger alternator at the factory alternator location, as the lower mount is very tight, and some years are worse than others, like our 07 that has an extra heater shut of valve and a main wiring harness in the way. The OEM alternator could be moved to the secondary location as it is smaller.

All the more reason for the companies to go to higher voltage systems so the alternators are smaller and run cooler.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:34 PM   #8
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I put in this Jabsco 150 CFM blower today (Amazon for about $130). Did some testing running a 1600 watt grill (about 150 amp draw). The alternator reached about 76 C (168 F), with blower on the alternator temp reduced to 62 C (144 F) - outside temp was about 32 F. Due to the cooler temp today, I didn't reach high temp cutback, will test more next spring on a warmer day.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:06 PM   #9
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You may want to look at this link.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...LQ_T054JE6UBA1

On page 13 they show a cooling setup for their alternators.

As I mentioned earlier, the air comes into the alternator in the rear, which this setup shows well. Just dumping air around the alternator, especially on the pulley end, just gets blown around and not into the alternator.

Perhaps the Balmar piece could be made to work with the Nations alternator. I you took the air from a cool area, in the front of the van or out the side, you might see some dramatic improvements.

The alternator likely has double fans in it, so you probably wouldn't even need a booster fan, just a hose to the cool air.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:29 PM   #10
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Right, that applies to an alternator with external fan on the front drawing air from the rear. The Nations 270 alternator has internal fans similar to this diagram (courtesy Delco 28SI brochure). It seems to me that air directed to the front would be beneficial for this design.
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