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Old 01-09-2021, 07:41 PM   #1
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Default Suggested high capacity alternator 04190P

2004 Chevy 190P, 3 110AH AGM's, 300W Solar. Replaced the isolator with a Blue Sea 7622 AGR(Automatic Charging Relay), upgraded the main 12v feeder line between the engine compartment and the house electronics with 2/0 cable. Ammeters on the alternator and on the feeder cable from chassies to house.

From memory (NOT trustworthy in the least), on our last trip the chasies seemed to use 40A or so. The alternator put out a max of 100A, but that was only for seconds before it ramped down. The alternator seemed to settle down around 60A. I can get better numbers if it would help.

I am considering upgrading my stock alternator. The changes I made still don't allow the batteries to charge, say, from 92% to 98% over a two hour drive. I'm not ready for a second alternator - which winds up being expensive by the time you are done

Solar usually takes care of normal traveling - 1 or 3 nights camping then a few hour drive. If we don't have enough sun to keep the batteries topped up, I'd like them to charge close to 100% on the drive. We rarely stay where there is AC power.

Can anyone reccomend a specific alternator? Something that will put out more juice and is able to run cooler?

Thanks! Steve
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:27 PM   #2
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Ammeters on the alternator....
What ammeter are you using to measure alternator output?
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:45 PM   #3
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2004 Chevy 190P, 3 110AH AGM's, 300W Solar. Replaced the isolator with a Blue Sea 7622 AGR(Automatic Charging Relay), upgraded the main 12v feeder line between the engine compartment and the house electronics with 2/0 cable. Ammeters on the alternator and on the feeder cable from chassies to house.

From memory (NOT trustworthy in the least), on our last trip the chasies seemed to use 40A or so. The alternator put out a max of 100A, but that was only for seconds before it ramped down. The alternator seemed to settle down around 60A. I can get better numbers if it would help.

I am considering upgrading my stock alternator. The changes I made still don't allow the batteries to charge, say, from 92% to 98% over a two hour drive. I'm not ready for a second alternator - which winds up being expensive by the time you are done

Solar usually takes care of normal traveling - 1 or 3 nights camping then a few hour drive. If we don't have enough sun to keep the batteries topped up, I'd like them to charge close to 100% on the drive. We rarely stay where there is AC power.

Can anyone reccomend a specific alternator? Something that will put out more juice and is able to run cooler?

Thanks! Steve

We can recommend alternators for sure, but the alternator is not the issue in the situation you list. AGMs take a long time to do the last 20% of charging to full, as much as 5-6 hours or more, so what you are seeing is totally normal. AGMs can be charged at about .4C, or about 130 amps, without them getting to hot, even though they may want to accept more than that (so good to limit amps to them). The problem is that they will only accept charge that fast up to about 70-80% full, and after that the acceptance drops very quickly to barely anything by the time they are full. Lifelines, for instance, want .5%C to be at full which would be only 1.6 amps at end of charge.


We all have been down this road, and you are in a perfect position to handle it, I think. You have 300 watts of solar, so you just let the solar finish the charge once it get down to a level the solar can cover. Many of us do that, including us. We have 440ah of AGM in an 07 190P with 300 watts solar.


You have enough battery to accept 130 amps for quite a while, and have adequate wiring in place, so you could probably benefit from a larger alternator if you often have to recover from deep discharges below 50% SOC. Your Chevy is a 2004, so you have options the same as we did, as you have an alternator that has an internal regulator and is not chassis computer controlled. You can put in a bigger alternator in the stock place, but the 130 amps plus running the van is going to be quite a bit for even a high output unit, any you would need to limit the amps to the coach. You can put in a separate standalone alternator with a Balmar regulator on it and use the Balmar to turn it down to 50% so a 270 amp alternator would put out about 135 to the coach only and leave the stock alternator to run the chassis. You could also replace both alternators with high output ones and run them parallel, you would need to match them to each other and control both off a Balmar at 50% turndown. Using two stock 145 Chevy alternators in parallel and needing a 130 amps plus 25-50 to run the van would also work out pretty close to what you need. Depending on how you do it, having the Blue Sea relay with the manual override switch to shut off might be a good idea.



We have probably the only, or one of the only, big parallel systems with 530 amps of total alternator power. We have a now unavailable Ample Power regulator that lets me set two levels of turndown off a switch and control absorption or float stage from a switch. I am currently set at 120 and 180 amps on our 440 amp hours. We used to have it at max, so 180 and 280 amps, but never used the 280 amps so make it lower and easier on all the parts. I think I have used the 180 amps once or twice only. We usually use 50 or so Ah per day, so even 120 amps gives us a day's power in a trip to a trialhead or dump station.


If you do decide to use the solar to top off your AGMs, you will need to make sure you can keep it in absorption voltage to do it. We have a Blue Sky controller that allows us to set it up have long absorption times and not go to float until it hits the very low final amps to the batteries, so when the engine goes off it is still in absorption and carries on. Most controllers will go to float by voltage when the engine is running and not do very well topping off.


There are several threads on our system on this forum from 5 or so years ago when I put it together. For the way we use the van, it has been exactly what we need, and without a generator.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:18 PM   #4
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We all solve problems in different ways.

An inside 100ah lithium battery can charge from your present alternator at 40 amps once your AGM charge rate declines. The lithium battery can then charge your AGMs over an extended time bringing them to 100% with engine or generator off. If interested in pursuing that solution we will post the link. Cost would be about $1500.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:13 AM   #5
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Ammeters are like this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:02 PM   #6
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Hey Jim - appreciate your input as always.

Last trip we got down to 80%, and on the drive I did see the amps on the feeder start out medium and ramp down to almost nothing once we were in the upper 90's. We have never got down in the 50%'s, I get nervous when I'm in the 80's. We've got a generator so I can use that to help out.

Solar does do a good job on topping the batteries to 100%. I've got a Trimetric monitor and solar controller, and have them programmed using settings I got from the Bogart folks.

I'm not ready to add another alternator, given the costs and constraints. I feel what I've got now is pretty close to what I need, with our style of camping. I wouldn't mind adding a stronger alternator to help things along if I'm at a low charge%. That would give me piece of mind if the batteries get low - that I can get them back up on our next drive.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:04 PM   #7
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Hi hbn7hj - Interesting solution. Please send me the link and I'll check it out. Thanks
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:06 PM   #8
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I called Nations this morning and this is what they suggested: 8237-240HP
https://www.nationsstarteralternator...8237-240hp.htm . This has hairpin windings.

Per Boosters feedback, I'm not expecting this to get me to 100% quickly, but am thinking it could get me from 50% to 90% much faster than my current setup. I've got the Blue Sea 7622, so I'll be able to shut off the feeder when I get up to... I don't know, 95%?

Overkill? Underkill?
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:00 PM   #9
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Hi hbn7hj - Interesting solution. Please send me the link and I'll check it out. Thanks
https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...em-8526.htmlqq
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:50 PM   #10
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Thought about it, but it winds being pretty expensive and complicated from the examples I've seen. The only issue I'm trying to solve now is getting more charge to the batteries while driving - I'm pretty happy with everything else.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:15 PM   #11
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I called Nations this morning and this is what they suggested: 8237-240HP
https://www.nationsstarteralternator...8237-240hp.htm . This has hairpin windings.

Per Boosters feedback, I'm not expecting this to get me to 100% quickly, but am thinking it could get me from 50% to 90% much faster than my current setup. I've got the Blue Sea 7622, so I'll be able to shut off the feeder when I get up to... I don't know, 95%?

Overkill? Underkill?

That alternator looks like it would do the trick for what you want to do, particularly that you understand the not getting to 100% quickly, but can recover fast to about 80% which is fine for normal use as long as you do get full every 7-10 cycles or so. Your solar should take care of that on nice days.


We ran almost the same system you have with a very similar 250 amp alternator as a single. We were on 260ah of Trojan wet cell 6v batteries. The only issue we had was that the alternator would "overachieve" for lack of a better term. It would pound along at 180 amps plus the van load for quite a while and get too hot for my liking at 250*F+


I think if you run it as a single on your van, I would take it off of the van system and the alternator internal regulator and run it with a Balmar remote regulator. It will allow you to set charging profile, times, and also limit current and/or thermally limit off the alternator temp. Nations would be able to set you up with the alternator wired for remote regulation and the regulator. Nations may not want to program the Balmar to do the override output controls that you probably will want as that is a non standard thing that several have done successfully. If you decide to do it, we can go over which settings to change and how to connect a switch. Another member here has done this limiting and hopefully will be able to help also. You already have a disconnect so very little left for you to do.


IMO, you will probably be better off determining when to shut off the engine charging by looking at the amps going to the batteries only. When it gets to the point that the solar will carry it most of the time, we use between 5 and 10 amps for our 300 watt solar, you just shut off the engine changing and let the solar do it's thing. It has worked very well for us for about 5 years now.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:18 PM   #12
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Just spoke with Adam at Nations regarding the Balmer. Nice folks! The Balmer with cabling, temp sensor, etc adds $400 to the alternator. If I go for the internal regulator and decide to upgrade later, it is $400 for the kit to add the Balmer. I'm thinking I'll go with the 8237-240HP alternator as mentioned before, and add the Balmer kit later if I feel the need. Probably will - I just can't help myself from messing about with this RT.

I would count on switching of the House feeder while driving when I hit 5-10 Amps going into the batterys, inluding Solar. Getting that # from the Trimetric. I'm assuming that I would leave the Solar on all the time, as it is now.

I expect the Solar to do most of the charging in general, with the chassies alternator capable of adding charge up to 80% quickly. The solar controller is a Trimetric SC-2030 programmed for the Lifeline AGM's.

Steve
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:33 PM   #13
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Just spoke with Adam at Nations regarding the Balmer. Nice folks! The Balmer with cabling, temp sensor, etc adds $400 to the alternator. If I go for the internal regulator and decide to upgrade later, it is $400 for the kit to add the Balmer. I'm thinking I'll go with the 8237-240HP alternator as mentioned before, and add the Balmer kit later if I feel the need. Probably will - I just can't help myself from messing about with this RT.

I would count on switching of the House feeder while driving when I hit 5-10 Amps going into the batterys, inluding Solar. Getting that # from the Trimetric. I'm assuming that I would leave the Solar on all the time, as it is now.

I expect the Solar to do most of the charging in general, with the chassies alternator capable of adding charge up to 80% quickly. The solar controller is a Trimetric SC-2030 programmed for the Lifeline AGM's.

Steve

Sounds like a plan.


It is good you have the Trimetric solar controller as it controls the charging based on the amps to the batteries. You do need to make sure it is programmed with the float transition (tail) amps low enough so the alternator charging doesn't make it think the batteries are full too early . Lifelines should be at .5%C so pretty low number of amps. Also make sure the max absorption time is long, like 10 hours as it will never overcharge when it runs off correctly set tail amps.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:24 AM   #14
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Just one thing to add would be to keep an eye on the amps going to the batteries on the Trimetric. We have found our Lifelines can charge at about 40%C for extended times and gain about 15*F temp which is fine unless it is 100* ambient and if we have hot running from the engine and rear axle under the van.


I think the Trimetric will also show you the battery temp, so if you do get near the 40% level you can see if the batteries are gaining temp. It may take near an hour of charging to get maxed out.


I have feeling that alternator may be able to put out too much even when hot for continuous charge on very low batteries.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:35 AM   #15
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I know I installed a temperature sensor when I put the Trimetric in. I'll make sure I put it against one of the batteries, and test it.

"I have feeling that alternator may be able to put out too much even when hot for continuous charge on very low batteries." - Is it the temperature rise specifically that you are concerned with here - or something else?
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:16 PM   #16
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I know I installed a temperature sensor when I put the Trimetric in. I'll make sure I put it against one of the batteries, and test it.

"I have feeling that alternator may be able to put out too much even when hot for continuous charge on very low batteries." - Is it the temperature rise specifically that you are concerned with here - or something else?

Just the temperature rise of the batteries, the .4C charge rate is actually within the recommended preferred specs for deep discharges of more than 50% in Lifelines.


In case you haven't seen the Lifeline technical manual (I don't think they send them with the batteries any more) here is a link to it on their website. I will point out that it can be somewhat contradictory at first reading because it attempts to give best practices for the very best battery care and feeding, but at the same time giving some suggested settings that are really for the charging equipment that isn't capable of doing the best practices. They don't really say that, though. Example would be they give suggested absorption times, and the best practices say to use tail (float transition) amps to do it regardless of time. Most chargers can't charge based on tail amps.


You may also get the fear put in you that the batteries are getting destroyed by everything you do as the best practices are very restricting and almost impossible to meet all of in an RV application. Temperature issues is one of them, where almost everything in an RV application seems to do big damage. Be aware that temp issues, like many things related to batteries, is said by Lifeline to be an averaging/accumulating type thing so occasional too hot does not cause the damage of continuous too hot does and the occasional would give a much lower damage amount.


https://321166-984045-raikfcquaxqnco...al-5-06-19.pdf
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