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Old 09-20-2017, 04:51 PM   #1
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Default Upgrading Dodge Alternator

With the BMK installed, I can get a good look now on my house battery charging.

I'm seeing 125-135 amps from my Magnum 2812. I get around 10-12 amps from my solar. At idle, I see 32-35 amps from the alternator, and it can jump to 37-40 amps reving the engine.

So I'm considering the feasibility of upgrading the alternator. Nations has one that will fit my van - it says it's good for 200 at idle and 270 peak. Of course I don't need anywhere near that - I'd be quite happy 125-150 amps.

Here's a link to the alternator: https://www.nationsstarteralternator...3824-270xp.htm

Below I've attached my electrical drawings. Not much to work with. So I need some advice as to how bad a project this would be. If I read the drawings correctly, there is only #6 wire from the alternator to the isolator. I expect this may need to be upgraded. Also, which of these circuit breakers? Would I also need to upgrade the isolator?

Any input appreciated! I'm only looking to upgrade the primary alternator. Think adding a second alternator is out of the question for this old van, plus I'm not keen on the complexity of doing such a project.
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File Type: pdf xplorer electrical.pdf (140.5 KB, 18 views)
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:17 PM   #2
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Holy smoke $640 for the alternator
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
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Holy smoke $640 for the alternator
I know! There are $200 ones on ebay, but you don't really know what you are getting. Not terribly worried about costs, more worried about starting a fire.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:01 AM   #4
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Some pics of what I have. Does look like the drawings, thankfully.
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File Type: jpg IMG_3990.jpg (157.2 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3991.jpg (254.6 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3992.jpg (140.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3994.jpg (140.1 KB, 11 views)
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:43 PM   #5
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That's an impressive set of documentation of the system. The radio relay and emergency start features are nice to have. Your setup appears to be like page 5 for the Norcold fridge. (not page 4)

I think that the simplest way would be to leave everything in place as is as you replace the alternator.
Then, a new heavy gauge wire from the new alternator to a new latching relay separator then on to the new house batteries would be needed to handle the higher current. The new stuff would be in parallel to the untouched old setup. I'd fuse both ends of the new wire (relay to house bank).
You'd have to confirm that the ground wiring is adequately rated for the task and upgrade if necessary.

I'm sure this idea is far from ideal or perfect so comments pointing out any negative consequences are needed and welcomed.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:48 PM   #6
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My idea is similar, leave stock system in place, disconnect and lay in new wiring. You will need to increase wire gauge.

I would go with a smart combiner relay like

https://www.waytekwire.com/item/7705...solator-200A-/

I have used this with good results when my son added a 2nd battery to his Lincoln for his subwoofer amp. The spec sheets include wiring examples. The rating is 200 amps continuous, can handle more for short periods. Also has emergency start assist feature.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:09 PM   #7
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We did run a parallel system, old and new, in our Roadtrek for a while, like Marko and prfleming suggested. We did not have quite as much alternator as Wincrasher is looking at, but it was a 250 amp DC Power unit, so much the same.

Ours was a second #4 wire in parallel with the original #4 which gave us just enough capacity at 160 amps using the Blue Sea Circuit Wizard. That allowed us to leave the original both end Roadtrek breakers on each end of their wire and add to more of our own. For short periods, you should be able to go a bit higher on amps, IIRC, and we know the Nations alternator will only average about 165 amps output over time, so probably just fine as the van will put about 15 amps off it too.

I agree that just adding another cable and a separator would be the quickest, easiest, cheapest, and totally adequate way to go.

As mentioned, the ground path is often ignored, and shouldn't be. I added a 1/0 engine ground strap to ours as the original was very small. I also bonded the body to the frame with a piece of larger cable, as the bodies can be isolated on rubber with only a small jumper.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:09 PM   #8
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My only concern here is that you will overload the isolator diodes with the new alternator. You could get around this problem by converting to a separator set up pretty easily. I have not seen too many isolators with greater than 150 amp alternator capacity.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:27 PM   #9
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Can't wait to hear the end results;
I have always thought the 2nd alternator is not the perfect solution,
I too, believe all you need is a bigger alternator. I hope you can prove the idea works.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:06 PM   #10
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It will cost more, but I would recommend getting the Nations/Balmar controller combo. This is on our Roadtrek and works great, gives you multi-stage charging, voltage sense, and adjustable settings.
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