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Max Charge MC-612 Regulator
Installation and Operator's Manual
The microprocessor-controlled Max
Charge MC-612 is the most advanced
regulator available. Designed to continual-
ly monitor battery voltage and automatically
optimize charging, the MC-612 uses up to 12 time
and voltage increments to ensure your batteries
receive a full charge quickly and safely.
The MC-612 lets you choose from a variety of selectable
preset programs to best suit your charging needs. Its
Universal Factory Program allows you to connect the MC-612 to
your alternator right out of the box. Six additional preset programs support most popular battery types, including stan-
dard and deep-cycle flooded batteries, AGM, gel, and Optima (spiral wound) technologies, as well as special settings for
systems supplying halogen lighting. An easy-to-use magnetic reed switch delivers quick, precise regulator adjustment.
Should your charging system require individualized adjustment, the MC-612 provides additional advanced user-defined
When used with optional alternator and battery temperature sensors, the MC-612 automatically monitors ambient alter-
nator and battery temperatures and compensates by adjusting field output to match conditions. Alarm outputs connect
to audible or visual alarms to provide warnings of dangerous system
II. SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS The following instructions are
Before installing your MC-612 marine regulator, please take a moment to con- intended for use by experienced
sider these guidelines for safe regulator installation. Failure to work safely could marine electrical installers. If you
result in personal injury or damage to your electrical system. are not experienced at installing
1. Always disconnect your battery banks and ensure that switches are "OFF" electrical system components, we
prior to installing your regulator. recommend the use of a qualified
marine electrical technician.
2. Remove loose-fitting clothing or jewelry, which could become entangled in
your motor or other machinery.
3. Wear ANSI-approved safety glasses.
4. DO NOT attempt to modify the regulator. Alterations could result in TABLE OF CONTENTS
damage to your charging system, and will void your warranty. I. Introduction ........................................1
5. Do not attempt installation if tired or fatigued. II. Safety Considerations ........................1
III. Pre-Installation Issues ........................2
6. Ensure the engine has cooled before initiating installation.
7. Do not attempt installation while using alcohol or any medication that IV. Regulator Installation ........................3
could impair your judgment or reaction time. V. Alarm and Sensor Installation ..........4
8. Always use the right tool for the job. Improper tool use may damage VI. Basic Programming ............................4
the regulator or your boat, and could result in personal injury. VII. Advanced Programming ....................6
9. Take time to read the manual. Equipment damage and possible IX. Troubleshooting ..................................8
injuries may result from an incomplete understanding of the installa- Suggested Wiring Options ..................10-11
tion and operation of the MC-612 regulator. If you are unfamiliar with Express Installation Instructions..............12
marine electrical systems, consult with a licensed marine electrician.
19009 61st Ave. NE, Arlington, WA 98223 PHONE: (360) 435-6100
FAX: (360) 435-3210 E-MAIL: email@example.com WEB: WWW.BALMAR.NET
©Copyright 2001 Ballard Commercial Industries, Inc. Revised 3/15/2003
III. PRE-INSTALLATION ISSUES
The following information is essential to the proper operation of your Max Charge regulator. Do not install or operate before review-
ing the following:
1. POSITIVE BATTERY SENSE WIRE - User supplied -- not in harness. This wire must be connected to the regulator
and to a source of positive battery voltage (see Figure 3 for mounting location) to provide proper regulator operation.
The regulator WILL NOT WORK if the sense wire is not connected to the regulator or the voltage source. The Positive
BATTERY SENSE WIRE MUST BE FUSED. A 1-amp ATC fuse and holder are included with the regulator and harness.
2. GROUNDING - The Model MC-612 must be properly grounded to regulate accurately. The two ground wires located
in the harness must be securely attached to their terminals and at the alternator's preferred ground to ensure proper
grounding. A grounding cable between the alternator and the system ground is strongly recommended.
3. VOLTAGE READINGS - MC-612 digital circuitry is engineered to monitor battery charge state and automatically
compensate for changes in battery voltage during operation. As a result, it is NOT unusual to see near-constant
changes in the regulator's Battery Voltage display. These voltage changes reflect the regulator's ability to make precise
corrections to optimize charging efficiency based on changes in system loads.
5. ELECTRICAL TACHOMETERS - Many factory and aftermarket tachometers require an AC pulse from the alternator
to drive the tachometer. If you are using an electrical tachometer that is being driven off of your alternator's stator
pulse, plug the white stator wire into the terminal provided on the regulator, and the tach feed into the Tach Out termi-
nal. If you are not using the stator pulse to drive your tachometer, DO NOT plug the stator wire into the regulator's
When using the alternator and regulator to drive your tachometer, there is a possibility that you will see surface volt-
age creeping in excess of target voltage when batteries are fully charged and there is no load on the system. This
occurs as a result of the regulator's effort to provide just enough voltage to keep the tachometer feed activated. This
voltage creep can usually be reduced or eliminated by increasing the load on the batteries, ie., turning on a few cabin
lights or cabin fans, until the batteries are allowed to accept charging voltage.
4. DUAL-OUTPUT OPERATION - When using the MC-612 with a dual-output alternator it is essential that the regulator
senses the largest battery bank. The positive Battery sense wire must be attached to the alternator output terminal
connected to the larger battery bank or at the larger bank. If your system includes a large house battery and a smaller
starting battery, there is the possibility that the smaller battery may see excess surface voltage during charging.
5. ALTERNATOR & BATTERY TEMPERATURE SENSORS (optional) - Alternator Temperature Sensor monitors for
over-temperature conditions at the alternator. If alternator temperatures outside of safe limits are detected, the regu-
lator will reduce alternator output to 50% and will activate an alarm circuit. NOTE: This option is not intended to be
used as part of regular operation. If circuit is activated, inspect and repair the system immediately. Optional Battery
temperature sensing compensates for above- or below-normal battery temperatures by automatically adjusting charg-
ing voltage. It is not unusual to see charging voltage rise safely above normal levels when battery temperatures are
below 26°(C) or drop when temperatures exceed 26°(C).
6. MAGNETIC REED SWITCH - Not all magnets are alike. You may find that one magnet will activate the reed switch
with little effort, while another similar magnet may require a bit of maneuvering to find the switch's "sweet spot." If
you have difficulty adjusting program modes, be sure to check for the dot at the top of the LED between the second
and third display digits to ensure that you are activating the switch.
LIMITED PRODUCT WARRANTY
BALMAR warrants to the original consumer/purchaser the product is free from any defects in material or workmanship for a period of one year from the date of purchase. If any
such defect is discovered within the warranty period, BALMAR will replace the regulator free of charge, subject to verification of the defect or malfunction upon delivery or shipping
prepaid to BALMAR.
This warranty DOES NOT apply to defects or physical damage resulting from abuse, neglect, accident, improper repair, alteration, modification, or unreasonable use of the products
resulting in breakdown, cracked or broken cases nor are parts damaged by fire, water, freezing, collision, theft, explosion, rust, corrosion or items damaged in shipment in route to
BALMAR for repair. BALMAR assumes no responsibility for consequential damage or loss or expense arising from these products or any labor required for service or repair.
BALMAR WILL NOT repair or be held responsible for any product sent without proper identification and return address or RA number clearly marked on the package. You must include
proof of date and place of purchase (photocopy of purchase invoice) or we cannot be responsible for repairs or replacement. In order to expedite warranty claims more efficiently,
BALMAR asks that prior to returning a defective product for repair, you call their customer service department for a warranty return authorization number .
If factory service is required, you can contact our BALMAR Customer Service Department Monday through Thursday, 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, (PST)1-360 435-6100 ext "3".
Material required for the repair or replacement for the defective part or product is to be supplied free of charge upon delivery of the defective regulator to BALMAR, 19009 61st Ave.
NE, Arlington, WA 98223. Customer is responsible for all return transportation charges and any air or rush delivery expense. BALMAR reserves the right to determine whether to
repair or replace defective components.
THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS. NO PERSON, AGENT, DEALER IS AUTHO-
RIZED TO GIVE ANY WARRANTY.
19009 61st Ave. NE, Arlington, WA 98223 Phone: (360) 435-6100, Fax: (360) 435-3210
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.balmar.net
IV. REGULATOR INSTALLATION
1. Mount the regulator in a dry, well-ventilated location,
away from hoses and exhaust manifolds which may
cause damage to the regulator or wiring. Avoid areas of
heat and/or high vibration. Strain relief should be added
at the alternator end of the harness to minimize risk of
2. The RED wire (in the harness) powers the regulator.
Attach at the positive output terminal at the back of the
alternator. If an isolator is used, this wire must be locat-
ed on the battery side of the isolator. THIS WIRE MUST
BE PROTECTED BY A 10-AMP FUSE (included in the
3. The POSITIVE battery sense wire monitors battery volt-
age. The positive and negative sense wires MUST be con-
nected for the regulator to work. The positive sense wire
may be connected 1) at the positive output terminal of
the alternator, at the positive post of the battery (if sin-
Figure 1 - Regulator wiring attachment.
gle bank system) or at the "common" terminal of the bat-
tery selector switch; or 2) on the isolator terminal for the largest bat- Length 10 Ft. 15 Ft. 20 Ft. 25 Ft. 50 Ft 75 Ft. 100 Ft.
tery bank (only if isolator is used). This wire is user supplied and Amps
25 10 8 8 6 4 2 1
should be 16-gauge (minimum). Spade and ring terminals, and a 1-A 50 8 6 4 4 1 2/0 3/0
mini fuse pigtail are provided. FUSING IS REQUIRED. Refer to regula- 75 6 4 2 2 2/0 3/0 4/0
tor side label, or Figure 3 below for terminal locations. Caution: 100 4 2 2 1 3/0 4/0
Sense wires MUST always see the battery being charged. Be sure to 125 4 2 1 1/0 3/0 4/0
150 2 1 1/0 2/0 4/0
observe polarity when connecting. When connected, the Positive 175 2 1/0 2/0 3/0
Battery Sense draws approximately .053mA. Note: System voltage 200 2 1/0 2/0 3/0
must exceed 11.0 VDC for regulator to operate. 225 1 2/0 3/0 4/0
250 1 2/0 3/0 4/0
4. The BROWN (ignition) wire activates the regulator when +12VDC is 275 1/0 2/0 4/0
applied to the system. Attach the BROWN wire to a switched +12VDC 300 1/0 3/0 4/0
source. The auxiliary side of the ignition switch, or an independent 325 1/0 3/0 4/0
350 2/0 3/0
(ungrounded) oil pressure switch are both acceptable connection 375 2/0 4/0
points. A toggle switch may be added to this circuit to shut down the Figure 2 - Cable size chart. Represents 3% voltage drop.
alternator load in cases where maximum propulsion is needed. Lengths should be measured in round trip. Undersizing
5. Attach the 4-conductor harness plug to the regulator (see illustration). output cable can result in.
The second BLACK (ground) wire in the harness attaches to the
Secondary Ground Terminal. Both BLACK wires attach to preferred ground terminal on the alternator. A (user supplied) ground
strap between the alternator and the system ground at the engine is also strongly recommended.
6. Connect BLUE (field) and WHITE (stator) wires to plug or ring terminal connectors at alternator. May vary by alternator type.
7. If you are using an electrical tachometer that is being driven off of your alternator's stator pulse, plug the WHITE stator wire
into the terminal provided on the regulator, and the tach feed into the Tach Out terminal. If you are not using the stator pulse
to drive your tachometer, DO NOT plug the stator wire into the regulator's Stator connection, as the attachment of the stator
wire to the regulator tells the regulator that it is necessary to continue to provide a voltage pulse to maintain a tach signal,
even if the batteries are fully charged.
When using the alternator and regulator to drive your tachometer, there is a possibility that you will see system voltage creep-
ing up when your batteries are fully charged. This occurs as a result of the regulator's effort to provide a "blip" of voltage to
the alternator to keep the tachometer feed activated. This voltage creep can usually be reduced or eliminated by applying a
load to the batteries.
Figure 3 - Regulator terminal layout.
V. ALARM AND SENSOR INSTALLATION
Alternator Temperature Sensor (MC-TS-A) - Optional
The Alternator Temperature Sensor enables the regulator to sense when alternator temperature
exceeds safe limits. The MC-612 responds by reducing the field current at the alternator and activat-
ing the alarm output. To install the Alternator Temperature Sensor:
1. Attach the positive and negative wires to the Alternator Temperature Sensor terminals on the
MC-612 (See Figure 4). Observe proper polarity at the terminals.
2. Attach the heavy lug terminal to a location described below on your alternator. Flat washers
are included with the temperature sensors to ensure solid mounting connections. The following
are typical installation locations:
MID CASE MOUNT - Small Case Alternator - Remove (1) of (4) 5/32" Allen bolts, install probe,
re-secure bolt. (See Figure 5.) Figure 4 - Proper attachment
MID CASE MOUNT - Large Case Alternator - Remove (1) of (4) 3/16" Allen bolts, install probe, of optional battery and alter-
re-secure bolt. nator temp sensors at the
Caution: The alternator temperature sensor is not
intended as a method to maintain alternator tempera-
ture. Optional temperature sensors are not a guarantee
of protection against damage from overheat conditions.
Inspect your system as quickly as possible if the sensor
alarm is activated.
Battery Temperature Sensor (MC-TS-B) - Optional
When equipped with an optional Battery Temperature
Sensor, the MC-612 will automatically compensate for
variation above and below normal temperatures.
The MC-612 is equipped with dual battery sensors to
enable sensing at two separate batteries. To ensure
proper operation, be sure the battery terminals are com- Figure 5 - Mounting temp sensor Figure 6 - Mounting temperature sen-
pletely clean and free of corrosion prior to installation. mid-case on small case alternator. sor on battery negative terminal post.
To install the Battery Temperature Sensor:
1. Secure the 3/8" copper probe to a clean negative (-) battery terminal (see ALARM OUTPUT
Figure 6). The 20' leads may be shortened or extended, if needed. Note: An improp-
erly installed or corroded battery terminal may generate heat and severely diminish FUNCTIONS
charging and impede accurate temperature sensing. Alarm Output (Dash Lamp)
2. While observing polarity, connect the battery temperature pins to the positive and (-) 0.5 amp - when in alarm mode
negative terminals as shown on Figure 4. · Low battery voltage (030)
· High battery voltage (040)
Note: Battery #1 terminal is capable of temperature compensation and activating warn-
· High temperature at battery #1 (020)
ing alarm. Battery #2 terminal activates the warning alarm only. The upper voltage limit
· High temperature at battery #2 (021)
for battery temp compensation is 14.8 volts. If higher limits are desired, adjust voltage lev- · High temperature at alternator (022)
els in the Compensation Limit (CL) mode of the advanced programming adjustments.
Aux. #1 (Advisory) Output
Lamp / Alarm Outputs
(-) 0.5 amp - when in alarm mode
Two output terminals, one for system alarms (dash lamp) and and another for advisory
· Alt. output at full capacity
information (Aux. #1), are included. These terminals output battery negative (0.5-amp · Small engine option activated (051)
max) when in alarm condition. Refer to Figure 7 for common system conditions that may · Equalization mode activated
initiate an alarm. When in the alarm mode, the 3-digit numeric display will indicate the
exact cause for the alarm in Long Display. Specific advisory codes are shown in Figure 17. Figure 7 - Dash Lamp and Aux. #1
advisory output functions.
Small Engine Mode
The MC-612 can be switched to provide a half-power setting by installing a toggle switch between the positive and negative terminals
of the alternator temperature sensor circuit. When activated by closing the switch, the regulator reduces the alternator output by a
maximum 50%. This mode is ideal for smaller engines that are not capable of providing suitable horsepower to drive both the alterna-
tor and propeller at full output. When in Small Engine Mode, the regulator will send a signal to the Auxiliary #1 Status Output.
VI. BASIC PROGRANNING
The Model MC-612 provides a wide range of operational, programming and diagnostic data through its 3-digit numeric LED readout.
After an initial start-up period, the numeric LED will cycle through the Short Display, shown in Figure 8 on the following page. The
short display includes manufacturer, model, battery type, charging cycle, actual voltage and target voltage. This display cycles contin-
uously during regulator operation.
In addition to its Universal (default) factory program, which can be used safely with most battery types, the MC-612 features pro-
grams for: gel, standard lead acid, deep-cycle lead acid, AGM (absorbed glass mat), Optima (spiral), as well as voltage-sensitive (halo-
The MC-612 is equipped with a magnetic reed switch, embedded in the epoxy potting, which
activates the regulator's programming. The switch works in two specific actions, described in
the shaded box below:
`ACTIVATE-RELEASE' Refers to the activation and immediate deactivation of the switch
by lowering the magnetic programming tool onto the upper corner of the switch, and
immediately deactivating the switch by removing the magnet from the switch. An LED
dot between the second and third digits on the display will indicate switch activation.
`ACTIVATE-HOLD ... RELEASE' Typically used during programming, this action requires
holding the magnet to the switch until desired values are shown on the display. Once the
desired setting is reached, the magnet is removed to deactivate the switch.
Note: Program function will alternately cycle up or down each time the programming mode is activat-
ed. If you miss your desired program value, release the switch, wait for the program mode display (eg.,
PRO), and re-activate the switch. The direction of scroll will reverse. Any advanced programming values
will be retained within the regulator's memory until the preset battery programming is reset.
To set the regulator for your desired battery program:
1. `ACTIVATE-HOLD' the switch. The display will show the "Pro" mode, indicating that the
Program mode has been activated.
2. `HOLD' while the display scrolls, until the numeric Note: Reed switch is
equivalent to your battery type is displayed on the Figure 8 - Normal (short) display.
potted between left side
LED screen. See Figure 10 to determine which of display and the edge
selectable preset program is most desirable for your
of the circuit board.
battery technology. Figure 11 provides detailed
Switch activation is
information regarding preset programs.
indicated by lit dot
3. `RELEASE' when the desired value is attained. between second
4. Once a value has been chosen, the display will and third LEDs.
return to the "Pro" mode. At this point, you can
adjust, up or down, by repeating Steps 1 through 3
until your desired program is selected.
If no changes are made, the program you have selected
will be locked into permanent memory until modified. The
"SAV" code will be displayed, indicating the program has
been locked into memory.
The MC-612 uses up to 12 individual stages to ensure
proper charging. Each stage may contain a specific volt- Figure 9 - Location of magnetic reed
age or time value, or a combination of values. These switch. Long display, preset program-
stages are displayed in both Short and Long Display ming and advanced programming are
modes, and are described in Figure 12. accessed by activating switch. Figure 10 - Preset program codes.
Primary Program Settings PRG-1 PRG-2 PRG-3 PRG-4 PRG-5 PRG-6 PRG-7
Universal Deep Cycle Gel Absorbed Optima Standard Halogen
Factory Flooded Cell Glass Spiral Flooded Voltage
Mode Program Lead Acid Mat (AGM) Wound Lead Acid Sensitive
Start Delay (Seconds) 45 45 45 45 45 45 45
Ramp Up (Seconds) 60 60 60 60 60 60 60
Bulk Voltage (Max) 14.10 14.60 14.10 14.38 14.60 14.40 14.00
Bulk Time (Minimum) 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min.
Absorption Voltage 13.90 14.40 13.90 14.18 14.40 14.20 13.80
Absorption Time (Minimum) 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min. 36 min.
Float Voltage 13.42 13.35 13.70 13.38 13.40 13.40 13.50
Float Time (Maximum) 6 hr. 6 hr. 6 hr. 6 hr. 6 hr. 6 hr. 6 hr.
High Voltage Alarm 15.20 15.60 15.10 15.38 15.60 15.40 15.00
Low Voltage Alarm 12.80 12.80 12.80 12.80 12.80 12.80 12.80
Max Battery Temperature 125F/52C 125F/52C 125F/52C 125F/52C 125F/52C 125F/52C 125F/52C
Max Alternator Temperature 225F/107C 225F/107C 225F/107C 225F/107C 225F/107C 225F/107C 225F/107C
Equalization (User Prog.) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
Figure 11 - Preset program values. Voltages shown may vary by +/- 3% from values shown. Caution: Some battery technologies may be
damaged by equalization voltage. Contact your battery manufacturer for specific requirements regarding equalization.
To access the Long Display, activate-release switch with the
magnetic programming tool while the Short Display is cycling.
The numeric LED return to the beginning of the cycle. The long
display will begin with the same elements shown in Figure 8.
Additional information, as detailed in Figure 13, will follow.
The display will scroll throught the long program once, before
returning to the short display.
Descriptions for these codes can be found in Figure 14. To
reset advisory codes, access the Advanced Programming mode
as described at the beginning of Section VIII. AP mode will
cycle three times and return to normal mode. Codes will auto-
matically reset when AP mode is complete.
Figure 12 - Charge stage codes as seen in Long Display.
Advanced programming (AP) provides
user-adjustable program customiza-
tion. Any changes in AP will be based
on the previously-set battery program.
Resetting the basic battery program
will automatically clear any advanced
programming settings. To access:
1. With regulator in Long Display
mode, ACTIVATE-HOLD until the
"Pro" display code appears.
RELEASE. The "PrA" display Figure 13 - Long Display (LD) attributes as displayed on digital numeric readout.
code will appear. CODE 001 - Factory use only. CODE 022 - Alternator exceeding recommended
CODE 002 - Factory use only.
CAUTION: If the switch is held too long, the regulator will return to
(C CODE 010 - Wire short at battery #1 tempera- CODE 024 - Factory use only.
ture sensing terminal. CODE 030 - Voltage too low at battery.
the preset program adjustment mode). Once in advanced program CODE 011 - Sensor wire not found at battery CODE 031 - Factory use only.
mode, the display will cycle through the various advanced program- #1 temperature sensing termi- CODE 032 - Factory use only.
ming modes (see Figure 15). Advanced Progamming mode will cycle CODE 012 - Wire short at battery #2 tempera- CODE 040 - Voltage too high at battery.
CODE 041 - Factory use only.
three times before returning to standard operating mode. ture sensing terminal.
CODE 042 - Factory use only.
CODE 013 - Sensor wire not found at battery
Start Delay - PrA Mode 2 #2 temperature sensing termi-
CODE 050 - Open field.
CODE 051* - Small Engine Mode activated.
The 45-second delay prior to charging can be increased or CODE 014 - Wire short at alternator tempera- CODE 052* - Amp manager is in operation.
ture sensor terminal.
decreased in duration. To adjust: CODE 015 - Sensor wire not found at alternator Underlined codes represent those pertaining to
temperature sensor terminal. Alarm Output (dash lamp) operation.
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD switch when "DLc" is highlighted on the CODE 020 - Battery #1 exceeding recommend- Codes highlighted by an asterisk (*) pertain to
Advanced programming display. Beginning at "45" the dis- ed temperature limits. Aux. #1 advisory output.
CODE 021 - Battery #2 exceeding recommend-
play will begin to increase in one-second increments. ed temperature limits.
RELEASE when desired time is shown.
Figure 14 - Advisory/diagnostic codes.
2. To change direction of scroll, ACTIVATE-HOLD until values
begin to rise. RELEASE and wait for "DLc" display. RE-
ACTIVATE and HOLD until desired value is met. RELEASE.
Compensation Limit - PrA Mode 3
When equipped with optional Battery Temperature Sensor, the
MC-612 will automatically adjust
charging voltage to compensate
for battery temperature.
In default mode, the regulator is
limited to maximum compensat-
ed voltage of 14.8 volts to mini-
mize the likelihood of over-volt-
Compensation Limit allows the
user to advance or decrease
maximum compensated voltage
to suit specific charging system Figure 16 - Indicates Figure 15 - Advanced Programming (PrA).
needs. Compensation Limit mode.
Compensation Limit (Continued)
To adjust voltage compensation limits:
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD switch when "CL" is displayed (see Figure 16). Value 14.8 will be highlighted. Display will scroll upward.
RELEASE when desired value is shown.
2. To reduce compensated voltage limit, ACTIVATE-HOLD until voltage limit value is displayed. RELEASE. When "CL" is again dis-
played, RE-ACTIVATE and HOLD. Regulator display will scroll in opposite direction. RELEASE when desired value is reached.
Advanced Voltage Adjustment (Bulk, Absorption, Float) - PrA Modes 4, 6 & 8
User adjustment of charging voltage above or below preset levels is possible in PrA modes 4, 6, and 8.
To adjust voltages in bulk, absorption or float stages:
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD switch when the desired code is displayed (see Figure 17. Bv=bulk, Av=absorp-
tion, or Fv=float voltage). Standard preset program voltage will be highlighted. Display will scroll
upward. RELEASE when desired value is shown.
2. To reduce voltage, ACTIVATE-HOLD until voltage values begin to climb. RELEASE. When voltage
mode is re-highlighted (eg., BV), RE-ACTIVATE and HOLD. Voltage values will scroll in opposite
Figure 17 - Voltage adjust-
direction. RELEASE when desired value is reached.
ment. Bulk Voltage shown.
Advanced Minimum Time Adjustment (Bulk, Absorption, Float) - PrA Modes 5, 7 & 9
Minimum charging time above or below preset levels is adjustable in PrA modes 5, 7, and 9. Adjustments
are in tenths of an hour. To adjust minimum times in bulk, absorption or float stages:
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD switch when the desired code is displayed (see Figure 18. Blc=bulk,
A1c=absorption, and F1c=float time). Standard preset program times will be highlighted. Display
will scroll upward. RELEASE when desired value is shown.
2. To reduce minimum time, ACTIVATE-HOLD until time values begin to climb. RELEASE. When pro-
gramming mode is re-highlighted (eg., B1c), RE-ACTIVATE and HOLD. Minimum time values will
scroll in opposite direction. RELEASE when desired value is reached. Figure 18 - Time adjustment.
Amp Manager (AP) - PrA Mode 10 Absorption time shown.
The Amp Manager function enables you to reduce the alternator output by limiting alternator field. This
feature can be used as a method to minimize alternator overheating when alternator is undersized to the
battery bank, as well as minimizing difficulties with chronic belt slippage. Amp Manager adjustments are
made in 2% increments. To adjust Amp Manager values:
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD when display cycles to "AP" (See Figure 19. PrA Mode 09). "AP" will be fol-
lowed by "OFF" code. RELEASE.
2. ACTIVATE-HOLD "OFF" display cycles to "249". The value "249" represents full field output. The
numeric value on the display will decrease until you RELEASE. To reverse direction of scroll, RE-
ACTIVATE and HOLD when "AP" appears. RELEASE when desired value is reached. Figure 19 - Amp Manager
Note: The value "185" represents approximately 75% field output, "125" represents approximately mode.
50% field output, and "65" represents approximately 25% field output.
Equalization Mode (EQ) - PrA Modes 11 & 12
Allows increase in charging voltage to minimize battery sulfation. (Equalization is ONLY suggested for
batteries noted as "equalization friendly" in Figure 11 on Page 4). Consult your battery manufacturer
for equalization time and voltage recommendations. Equalization must be initiated through the advanced
programming. It is NOT a standard mode of operation. Once equalization voltage and time values are
saved into the regulator's programming, the equalization process will start immediately. Once equaliza-
tion has occurred, the regulator will revert to its preset program status. The user will need to re-acti-
vate equalization mode for subsequent equalizations. For system safety, equalization voltage is limited
Figure 20 - EQ voltage mode.
to 15.8 volts. NOTE: BOTH EQUALIZATION TIME AND VOLTAGE MUST BE SET TO INITIATE CHARGE.
To adjust equalization voltage (PrA Mode 11):
1. `ACTIVATE-RELEASE' "PrA" display cycles to "Ev" followed by "OFF" code.
2. `ACTIVATE-HOLD'. "OFF" display cycles to numeric voltage values. When the manufacturer-rec-
ommended voltage is reached, RELEASE.
To adjust equalization time (PrA Mode 12):
1. `ACTIVATE-RELEASE' "PrA". Display cycles to "Ec" followed by "OFF" code.
2. `ACTIVATE-HOLD'. "OFF" display cycles to numeric equalization time values. When the manufac-
Figure 21 - EQ time mode.
turer-recommended time value is reached, `RELEASE'.
Field Threshold Control (FbA & FFL) - PrA Mode 13 & 14
The regulator utilizes a number of factors when determining when to change between charging stages.
A primary factor considered is the amount of energy the alternator is having to expel to meet battery
loads. This alternator workload can be determined by monitoring the percentage of field current the
regulator is applying to the alternator. When determining when to change from Bulk to Absorption
stage, and then from Absorption to Float stage, the regulator looks to see how hard the alternator is
working. In preset programming, target field voltage under 75% is considered the standard threshold
for advancement to the next charging stage (among other factors).
In applications where the alternator is oversized for the battery load, it may be necessary to reduce Figure 22 - Field Threshold
the threshold below the standard 75% to ensure that the batteries continue to charge efficiently. adjustment. Bulk to
Inversely, if an alternator is undersized for the battery load, the threshold can be raised to reduce Absorption display is shown.
undue load on the alternator. Two user adjustments are provided in Advanced Programming mode --
Field Bulk to Absorption (FbA) and Field Float (FFL). Directions for adjustment are applicable to
either mode of adjustment. To adjust:
1. ACTIVATE-HOLD when display cycles to FbA (Bulk) or FFL (Float) (See Figures 22 & 23. PrA
Modes 13 & 14). Value of "220" will be displayed. Values will scroll downward. RELEASE when
desired value is reached.
2. To reverse the direction of scroll, RE-ACTIVATE and HOLD when the FbA or FFL codes are high-
lighted. RELEASE when desired value is reached.
Note: The value "220" represents approximately 165% field output, "110" represents approximately Figure 22 - Field Threshold
50% field output, and "55" represents approximately 25% field output. adjustment. Field to Float
display is shown.
VIII. SYSTEM TROUBLESHOOTING
The majority of charging difficulties can be attributed to damage, corrosion or wear at wires or wiring connections. Before attempt-
ing to troubleshoot potential alternator or regulator issues, be sure to address the following:
1. REMOVE AND CLEAN all charging system electrical connections (positive and negative. Check the voltage regulator's harness
for resistance. Wires and terminals can and will become corroded and need to be cleaned or replaced.
2. CHARGE ALL BATTERIES to their proper fully charged state and determine if they are serviceable. If your batteries are flood-
ed-type, use your hydrometer to determine their condition.
3. CHECK AND TIGHTEN alternator belt. If the belt show signs of wear or damage,
now is an ideal time for replacement. Always replace existing belts with the
finest quality replacements available.
After determining that your batteries and wiring are in suitable condition, use the fol-
lowing tests to determine if charging problems are a result of a faulty alternator or
regulator. The following tests provide an opportunity to isolate the alternator, regula-
tor and wiring harness in order to determine which component may be malfunction-
ing. In order to preform these tests, you will need an independent multimeter
(preferably a digital type). In an emergency, a 12V light bulb or test light can be used
to help determine if power or working grounds exist. An amp meter and a battery
hydrometer with a thermometer are also helpful diagnostic tools. Brown/Black
Voltage Regulator Test
After inspecting and repairing wires and connections, belts and batteries, set your Blue/Black Red/Black
voltmeter to 12V and connect the voltmeter's negative lead to the BLACK ground wire Figure 23 - Inserting voltmeter probes.
at the regulator (see Figure 23),
1. With the ignition OFF, check voltage on the RED (sensing), BLUE (field)
and BROWN (ignition) wires in the regulator plug.
2. With the ignition in the ON position (engine not running), check for voltage
on the RED (sensing), BLUE (field) and BROWN (ignition) wires. The volt-
meter should read:
3. With the ignition in the ON position (with engine running at 1,400 rpm
fast idle), check for voltage on the RED (sensing), BLUE (field) and
BROWN (ignition) wires in the regulator plug.
Compare your readings with the table at right. If readings on RED or BROWN
wires do not match values shown, check 10-amp and 1-amp fuses, wiring and
connections back to their sources. If RED and BROWN match expected read-
ings, but BLUE does not, unplug and re-plug four-prong plug and re-test. If the
BLUE wire shows zero voltage and the display is not lit, check connections and
fusing on the Positive Battery Sense wire. Check voltage at the base of the
Positive Battery Sense terminal with your test meter.
REGULATOR VOLTAGE TEST (CONTINUED)
If voltage is not present on the RED, the BROWN and the Positive Battery Sense Wire, the regulator will not work. If voltage is as
expected at the RED the BROWN and Positive Battery Sense wire, and there is zero, or an unexpected voltage reading at the BLUE
wire, contact our technical support staff at (360) 435-6100, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
If all voltages at the regulator meet expectations, yet the alternator is not producing charging current, we will want to test the alter-
nator. The following describes the recommended methods for determining alternator functionality.
Test A - The alternator and regulator can be tested for function by determining if a magnetic field exists at the alternator's pulley shaft
or rear bearing. To test:
1. With the ignition in the OFF position, place the head of a steel screwdriver near the nut on the pulley shaft or near the rear
bearing of the alternator. There should be no evidence of a magnetic field pulling the screwdriver toward the alternator.
2. Engage the ignition, WITHOUT starting the engine, to activate the voltage regulator. If an oil pressure switch is used, a jumper
across the switch will activate the regulator.
3. After allowing time for the regulator's start-up delay, place the head of a steel screwdriver near the nut on the pulley shaft or
near the rear bearing of the alternator. There should be substantial magnetic pull. If a magnetic field is present, the voltage
regulator, alternator brushes and rotor are likely to be working properly.
Test B - If there is little or no magnetic pull at the pulley shaft or at the rear bearing, initiate the following test:
1. With the key off and the engine off, remove the large harness plug from the regulator.
2. Insert the end of a short length of electrical wire to the RED connector slot of the regulator
harness and the other end of the wire to the BLUE connector slot. (See Figure 24.) This
bypasses the regulator and tests the alternator and the harness.
3. Using your steel screwdriver, inspect for a magnetic field as described above.
4. With your voltmeter, check for voltage on the blue wire at the alternator. If voltage does
not exist, the harness may be at fault. If voltage does exist at the harness, but no magnet-
ism is present, the alternator is likely to be malfunctioning.
If a magnetic field is present. Both harness and alternator brushes and rotor appear to be work- Bl R
ing properly. If no magnetic field is present, proceed with the next test.
Test C - Testing the actual output of the alternator is known as "Full Field Testing". This can be Figure 24 - Jumping power wire to
accomplished by jumping a positive 12VDC current to the field terminal at the rear of the alter- field.
nator. This test eliminates both the regulator and the harness, making it easier to isolate your investigation to the alternator. CAU-
TION: Ensure that all voltage sensitive equipment is turned off prior to starting the engine. Voltage is unregulated during this test
and could damage sensitive electronics. DO NOT let the engine run any longer than necessary to detect charging. If the system is
not charging, remove the alternator and have it inspected by a qualified alternator shop, or call Balmar for warranty evaluation.
To test the alternator:
1. Clip a jumper wire to the positive post of the alternator, or on the battery side of the isolator (if an isolator is in use). Use a
SHIELDED alligator clip for post attachment. Unintentional contact between the alligator clip and the alternator case could
result in damage to your electrical system.
2. Disconnect the field/stator plug from the rear of the alternator and attach the other end of the jumper wire to the alternator's
Field terminal (F). Attach a female spade connector to the field end of the wire for a solid connection. CAUTION: Do not allow
the wire to contact the case while it is attached to the positive post. The case is grounded and severe damage could occur.
3. The regulator is now bypassed. When the ignition is engaged and the motor is started, the voltage should rise and charging cur-
rent should be present.
4. The motor should be run long enough to determine that charging voltage is present. UNREGULATED VOLTAGE CAN RISE
QUICKLY. Do not allow extended unregulated charging to occur without carefully monitoring voltage levels.
If the alternator fails to generate voltage during field testing, a malfunction of the alternator is likely. Contact your local alternator
repair shop or Balmar's technical service staff for recommendations.
If your readings differ substantially from the "Expected Readings" listed in the charts above, the regulator may be malfunctioning, or
there may be a continuity problem. Contact our technical support staff at (360) 435-6100. If you determine that repair service is nec-
essary for either your alternator or regulator, please gather the following information before contacting our service technicians.
1. Make and model of alternator.
2. Model of voltage regulator and date of mfg (date punched on rear side label of regulator).
3. Voltage readings on red, brown and blue wire at regulator with engine off, key on.
4. Voltage readings on red, brown and blue wire at regulator with engine running at a fast ideal 1400 rpm.
Suggested Wiring Options (Single/Dual Outputs)
- 10 -
Suggested Wiring Options (Continued)
- 11 -
Max Charge MC-612 Quick Installation Instructions
The MC-612 can be installed with very little difficulty if installation instructions are followed carefully. If you are unaccustomed
to marine electrical installations, we recommend a licensed marine electrician. See Page 2 before starting. To install:
1. Mount the regulator in a dry, well-ventilated location, well away from hoses and exhaust manifolds which may cause dam-
age to the regulator or wiring. Avoid areas of heat and/or high vibration.
2. The RED wire (in the harness) powers the regulator. Attach at the positive output terminal at the back of the alternator. If an
isolator is used, this wire must be located on the battery side of the isolator. On a 12V system, this wire can carry 8 amps
and must be protected by a 10-amp fuse. A fuse is
included with the wiring harness.
3. The POSITIVE battery sense wire, as shown in the illus-
tration at right, monitors battery voltage. The positive
sense wire should be connected 1) at the positive out-
put of the alternator, 2) at the battery, if only one bat-
tery is being used; 3) at the "common" terminal of the
battery selector switch for multi-bank charging; or 4) on
the isolator terminal for the largest battery bank (if iso-
lator is used). This wire is user supplied and should be
16-gauge. Spade and ring terminals, and a 1-A inline
fuse are provided. The positive battery sense wire MUST
be connected for the regulator to work. Refer to regula-
tor side label for terminal locations. Caution: Sense
wires MUST always see the battery being charged. Be
sure to observe polarity.
4. The BROWN (ignition) wire activates the regulator when
+12VDC is applied to the system. Attach the BROWN
wire to a switched +12VDC source. The auxiliary side of
the ignition switch, or an independent (ungrounded) oil pressure switch are both acceptable connection points. A toggle
switch may be added to this circuit to shut down the alternator load in cases where maximum propulsion is needed.
5. Attach the Ford-type harness plug to the regulator (see illustration). The second BLACK (ground) wire in the harness attach-
es to the Negative Battery Sense Terminal.
6. Plug duplex plug with BLUE (field) and White (stator) wires into rear of alternator.
7. Plug the other end of the WHITE wire into the Stator Terminal on the regulator
(see side label for locations of these and other terminals). Tach Terminal on
the regulator provides pulse for electric tachometer, if desired.
The MC-612 is factory preset for use with most battery types. For optimal charging,
we recommend choosing one of the six battery-specific selectable programs dis-
cussed on Page 4 of the installation manual. Program choices are: 1) Universal
Factory Program, 2) Flooded Deep-Cycle, 3) Gel Cell, 4) AGM, 5) Optima, 6)
Standard Flooded, and 7) for Halogen and voltage sensitive applications. To enter
a battery program.
1. Activate the preset program mode by placing the magnetic screwdriver (or
pencil magnet) as shown at left. The white dot at the top of the display indi-
cates the switch is activated.
2. The "Pro" display appears, followed by the cycling of the battery type codes.
When your desired battery type is displayed, release the switch by removing
3. Should you need to alter your choice, activate the switch again with your
magnet and release as soon as your desired program is displayed.
4. The "Pro" code will display, followed by the "SAV" code, once the switch is
released. The regulator is now set for your battery type.
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