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12-Volt Alternator Installation
& Operation Manual
Thank you for choosing a Balmar
high-output alternator. This alternator is uniquely
designed and engineered to provide the finest performance and durability for your vessel.
Unlike most automotive-type alternators found standard on the majority of pleasure craft and marketed as lower-
priced marine alternatives, our marine alternators are built specifically to provide exceptional output at lower
engine r.p.m's typical of marine diesel engines, so you can enjoy shorter charge cycles, greater economy, longer
battery life and less noise and fumes.
When used in conjunction with Balmar microprocessor-controlled Max Charge
your new Balmar alternator can provide even greater efficiency when charging deep-cycle flooded, standard flood-
ed, gel, AGM, Optima and other marine battery technologies. When preset for your battery type, the smart regulator
will guide your alternator through a charging program that's tailored to provide your batteries with the best care
possible. In addition, Balmar multi-stage regulators provide the ability to temperature sense at your alternator.
Should an over-temperature condition occur with an alternator temperature sensor (MC-TS-A) installed, the regula-
tor will reduce field output to 50 percent to allow the alternator to cool under lesser load, and the Dash Lamp cir-
cuit on the regulator will activate to provide power for a visual or audible alert, enabling the user to respond to the
source of the over-temperature condition. Together, the Balmar high-output alternator and multi-stage regulator
work to assure the best charge possible.
Contents Safety Considerations
Introduction ............................1 Before installing your new alternator, please take a moment to consider the follow-
Safety Considerations ............1 ing guidelines for safe alternator installation and operation. Failure to follow these
Basic Installation ..................2 guidelines could result in injury or damage to your vessel's electrical system.
Addl. Information ..................3 1. Always disconnect your batteries and turn your battery switch to its "OFF" position prior to
Sizing Battery Cables ..........3 installing your alternator.
Alternator Drive Belts..........4 2. Remove any loose fitting clothing or jewelry which could become entangled in your motor or
Vottage Regulation ............4 other machinery.
Fan Rotation ......................4
3. Wear ANSI-approved safety glasses or eyewear.
Pulleys ..............................5 4. Ensure that the engine has cooled sufficiently before beginning installation.
Alternator Heat ..................5 5. DO NOT install your high-output alternator without ensuring that the system wiring is suffi-
Meters ..............................5 ciently scaled to handle increased amperage loads.
6. Be sure that your work area is sufficiently ventilated and that no fuels or solvents are pres-
Fusing................................5 ent in and around your work area.
Alternator-to-Battery Ratios 5
Multi-Bank Charging Options..6 7. DO NOT operate your charging system without proper fusing. Failure to do so could result in
Switches ............................7 severe injury and/or damage or loss of your vessel. DON'T take chances with fusing.
Combiners..........................7 8. DO NOT attempt installation while using alcohol or medications which could impair your
Isolators ............................7 judgement or reaction time.
Digital Duo Charge..............7 9. Use the right tool for the job. Use of improper tools could result in damage or injury.
Digital Duo Charge II ..........8
Twin Engine Charging Issues ..9 10. Take time to read the manual. Equipment damage and possible injury may result from an
Centerfielder ......................9 incomplete understanding of the proper installation and use of the alternator.
System Troubleshooting ..10-11 CAUTION: The following instructions are intended for use by experienced marine
Alternator Terminals ............12 electrical installers. If you are not sufficiently experienced with marine electrical
Warranty ..............................12 systems, we recommend a qualified electrician be used for installation.
Installation Information Page 2
Due to the many domestic and international configurations of engine/alternator mounts,
and factors such as year and location of engine manufacture and marinization, Balmar
cannot guarantee a drop-in replacement in every engine application. Choose the model
that most closely fits your application. Your installer may have to adapt the basic
mounts to fit your needs. The majority of marine engines are equipped with one of four
alternator mounting styles. The following describes which alternator represents each
specific mounting style:
1. 60 & 70-Series (Dual Foot w/3.15" between legs): Small Case. Replaces most small case styles
using a saddle style mount (eg., Hitachi, Lucas, Mitsubishi).
2. 61 & 71-Series (1'' Single Foot): Small Case. Replaces most domestic styles using a single 1"
mounting foot (eg., Motorola, Prestolite).
3. 612 & 712-Series (2'' Single Foot): Small Case. Replaces most domestic styles using a single 2"
mounting foot (eg., Delco).
4. 622-Series (2'' Pad Mount) Series: Small case. Replaces Korean (Mando type) alternators using
dual 2" static pad mounting feet. (Found on many Mercruiser and Volvo Penta gas engines.)
5. 94-Series (2'' Single Foot) Series: Large case. See case dimensions on our website at www.bal-
mar.net to determine if your engine can accommodate the large case alternator.
6. 95-Series (Dual Foot w/4'' between feet) Series: Large case. See case dimensions on our website
at www.balmar.net to verify if your engine compartment can accommodate the large case.
7. 96, 97 & 98-Series (Dual Foot w/4'' between feet) Series: Extra large case. See case dimensions
at www.balmar.net to determine if your engine can accommodate an extra-large case alternator.
If you determine that the desired alternator will just not replace the existing alternator,
one excellent option may be to leave the existing alternator in place and purchase a
dual groove crank pulley for the front of the engine (in addition to the existing pulley).
Have a special mount fabricated, or use the Balmar remote Alternator Bracket #-5276,
to accommodate a larger alternator.
Once you have determined that the new alternator is the correct replacement for your
1. Disconnect the batteries and/or turn the switch to the "OFF" setting. Disconnect the wiring from
the existing alternator.
2. Loosen the mounting & tensioning bolts and remove the existing alternator.
3. Once the alternator is disconnected from the engine, compare its mounting points to those on
your new Balmar alternator. In most applications, the new alternator will replace the old alterna-
tor without any modification. In some cases, a simple bracket can be fabricated by a local
machine shop. Balmar offers a universal mounting arm which can replace your existing tension-
ing arm, if needed. Others can be obtained through your local auto or marine supply.
4. Attach the mounting foot of the new alternator to its engine mount. Some shimming may be nec-
essary to ensure that the alternator is securely mounted within the engine mount. If your alterna-
tor is a dual foot style, use care when tightening the alternator in place that the two mounting
ears are not compressed. The rear bushing is designed to slide to tighten the mount.
5. Once in place, inspect to ensure that the alternator pulley is properly aligned with the engine pul-
ley. If your belt configuration includes the pulley for the water pump, make sure that all three pul-
leys are properly aligned. Some shimming or modification to the alternator mount may be
required to assure proper alignment.
6. Connect the output cable (see cable sizing recommendations below) ground, field wire, stator
(tach) wire if needed and other necessary wiring. Connect alternator to Balmar regulator wiring
harness as indicated in wiring diagram included on Page 12. The alternator's positive and ground
cables should be sized according to the chart on Page 3.
Page 3 Belt Adjustment/Battery Cables
7. If a new regulator is being installed along with the alternator, complete its wiring installation according to the instructions includ-
ed with your regulator.
After the alternator is installed and the wiring connections are attached, inspect the pulley for proper tension. When
changing pulleys or when using the factory-installed pulley, torque
Belt Tension Adjustment
the shaft nut to 50-60 foot-pounds. The shaft nut measures 15/16''.
To install the belt:
1. Loosen the adjustment arm bolt and alternator pivot assembly bolt.
2. Fit a new, high-quality belt over the appropriate pulleys.
3. Tension the alternator until the belt is securely tightened in place. Re-
tighten the pivot assembly and tension arm bolts. To test tension, place a
15/16'' wrench on the alternator shaft nut and apply pressure. If the pul-
ley rotates without moving the belt, re-loosen the bolts, apply additional
pressure and re-tighten. Repeat until the belt is properly tensioned.
4. Verify proper tension by pushing on the outside surface of the belt. The
belt should deflect approximately 1/4" to 5/16" under moderate pres-
sure. Your local auto parts store may carry a measuring tool designed to
gauge belt deflection.
5. Ensure that the Mounting bolts at the alternator's pivot point are securely
For ease of belt installation, you may want to invest in an inexpensive belt tensioning tool like that sold by J.C.
Whitney (www.jcwhitney.com). This simple tensioner provides positive support at the alternator while increasing belt
tension, leaving two free hands to re-tension mounting and tensioning belts.
Your belt will tend to stretch during the first several times you run your engine. Make it a part of your normal pre-
flight check to test belt deflection and re-adjust belt tension when needed. If you notice an accumulation of black
belt on your alternator and surrounding engine area, check belt tension. If the belt is tensioned and you still experi-
ence belt dusting, it may be necessary to reduce horsepower load on your belt with the regulator's Amp Manager
function (if equipped), or you may find that a different brand of belt may work more effectively with your charging
system7. See additional information on Page 4.
Additional Installation Information
Sizing Battery Cables
The addition of a high-output alternator to your charging system may make it necessary to increase the size of your
battery cables to increase the system's amperage carrying capacity. To determine the proper cable size, consider
BOTH cable length and alternator capacity. Both positive and
negative wire runs must be included in your computation. Length (feet) 5 10 15 20 25 30 40 50 75
In other words, when determining battery cable size, we 75 8 6 4 2 2 1 1/0 2/0 4/0
need to consider the "round trip" distance. Wire size may be 100 8 4 2 2 1 3/0 4/0
calculated with the formula CM=K x I x LE (whereas CM rep-
125 6 4 2 1 1/0 3/0 4/0
resents the circular mil area of the conductor, K represents
the mil-foot resistance of copper, I represents current, and L 150 6 2 1 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0
represents the length, in feet, of the round-trip cable run and 175 6 2 1 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0
E represents voltage drop in volts). 200 4 2 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0
225 4 1 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0
When using this equation, a K constant of 10.75 indicates
copper's mil-foot resistance and voltage drop should be cal- 250 4 1 2/0 3/0 4/0
culated at 3% (the standard for critical functions affecting 275 4 1 2/0 3/0 4/0
the safety of vessel passengers. In most cases, it may be 300 2 1/0 3/0 4/0
much simpler to use the following chart as your guideline: 350 2 1/0 3/0 4/0
Belts/Regulation/Fan Rotation Page 4
Alternator Drive Belts
Your new high-output Balmar alternator will increase horsepower load when compared to your standard OEM alter-
nator. This additional load may require that you replace the standard drive belt with a heavier-duty unit. Many after-
market belt manufacturers supply premium quality belts, designed specifically for heavy-duty marine and industrial
applications. Among these are the Green Stripe belt by Gates and the Top Cog belt from Dayco. In addition, many
auto parts suppliers, such as NAPA, carry extra heavy-duty belts designed to support larger horsepower loads.
As well as belt quality, belt size can have a substantial impact on alternator performance. As a rule-of-thumb, we
recommend a minimum 3/8" belt (measured across the back of the belt) for our 80-amp alternators. Minimum belt
width for 100 to 110-amp alternators is 1/2". Any alternator larger than 110-amps will require dual belts for opti-
mal performance, as well as acceptable belt life.
The addition of a larger diameter alternator pulley can often improve belt Belt Manufacturer Websites
wear, as it will increase belt wrap and surface contact with the belt --
Gates - www.gates.com
though the increased pulley diameter will lessen the ratio between the
Dayco - www.dayco.com
alternator and flywheel pulley and reduce low end amperage output.
Goodyear - www.goodyear.com
Should you find that your belt is undersized for your alternator, the Amp Fenner - www.fennerindustrial.com
Manager mode, available in the Max Charge MC-612 (12-volt) and MC-
624 (24-volt) multi-stage regulators, enables you limit the maximum field potential of the regulator and limit the
horsepower load of the alternator. This feature, accessible through the Max Charge's advanced programming mode,
can be adjusted in precise 2% increments -- so output can be adjusted to suit the system without losing more
charging current than necessary. For more information, see the manual included with your Max Charge MC-612 or
MC-624 regulator. Many engine manufacturers can provide replacement pulleys to convert your drive system to
support dual belts.
Sample Terminal Connections
With the exception of our 6-Series alternators, which feature patent-
ed "Smart Ready®"" internal regulation, all Balmar high-output alter-
nators require external regulation in order to operate. We recom-
mend our multi-stage ARS-4 and Max Charge regulators to provide
optimal, balanced charging for most marine battery technologies.
When ordered with supplied wiring harness, the voltage regulator
can be mounted on a stringer or bulkhead up to four feet from the
alternator. Excessive heat and exposure to coolant or saltwater can B
damage the regulator. Consider that when determining regulator C
Balmar's standard wiring harness measures 54", and features ring NOTE: Some alternators may use ring terminals
rather than plugs for stator and field connections.
terminal connectors at the alternator, or plugs (as seen at right)
depending on which alternator is being used. The flat plug, indicated by the letter "A" is used with our 95-Series
alternators, the grey rectangular plug, indicated by the letter "B" is used with our 6-Series and 9-Series alternator
models. The black, T-shaped plug, indicated by the letter "C" is designed for use with our 94-Series alternators. All
7-Series, 96-Series, 97-Series and 98-Series alternators use ring terminal connectors.
Balmar alternators are designed to turn in a clockwise rotation. Face the front of the engine with the engine run-
ning to determine direction of rotation. Models in the 6-Series and 7-Series internal fan styles can typically be run
in either direction without difficulty. Model in the 95-Series, 96-Series, 97-Series and 98-Series feature bi-direction-
al fans, so reverse rotation is acceptable. If using a 94-Series alternator, it may be necessary to replace the stan-
dard fan with an optional bi-directional fan to ensure proper cooling under load.
Older 90, 91, and 912-Series alternators may also require a reverse-rotation kit for counterclockwise rotation appli-
cations. Keep in mind, alternators with non-keyed shafts will require pinning to ensure proper performance. A long
twist drill bit and a roll pin are included in the reverse rotation kit.
Page 5 Grounds/Pulleys/Heat/Meters
Most Balmar alternators are case grounded, i.e., the alternator establishes its connection to the system ground
via the engine block. While the ground is "built into" its engine mount, we recommend that a secondary ground
cable be added to the ground terminal (if equipped) at the back of the alternator. The installed ground cable
should be equal in size to the positive output cable as indicated on Page 3.
Alternator models designated as Isolated Ground (IG) feature an independent ground terminal that's isolated from
the alternator case. Typically, Isolated Ground alternators are used in applications where the engine is not desired
to be a part of the grounding system. This is commonplace in steel or aluminum hull boats, or with engines that
depend on sophisticated electronic ignition systems. In Isolated Ground alternator installations, the ground cable
should be connected to the central ground terminal.
Most small case alternators rated at 110 amps or less come standard with a single
groove 2.5" deep vee pulley. The deep vee pulley is designed to provide optimal
power transfer for belts measuring 3/8" (10mm) to 1/2" (13mm), as measured
across the back of the belt. Keep in mind, 3/8" and 7/16" belts may sit low in
the pulley sheave. This will not adversely affect the belt's performance. Higher
output alternators in small, large and extra-large case series are equipped
standard with 1/2" dual groove pulleys. Some models, including 622-Series
alternators may be equipped with multi-groove serpentine type pulleys.
Should your application require a different pulley than that provided as
standard, Balmar may carry an optional pulley more suited to your needs.
For a list of optional pulleys, visit http://www.balmar.net/pulleymatrix.htm,
or call Balmar Customer Service at 360-435-6100.
During operation, your alternator will become hot as a result of friction and the generation of inductive current. In
some instances, particularly during extended periods of heavy load, alternator case temperature can exceed 200
degrees (F). If your system is operating with an ARS-4 or Max Charge MC-612 voltage regulator with optional
Alternator Temperature Sensor (MC-TS-A), the regulator will automatically reduce the alternator output by approxi-
mately 50 percent if temperatures exceed set safe working limits. While this is an extremely effective protection
for the alternator, it should not be depended upon as a part of normal operation. Correction of conditions causing
overheating are strongly advised.
Use extreme caution when handling the alternator or other engine components during or after use. Should your
alternator become so hot that it emits a burning smell, or if there is indication of discoloration at the pulley or pul-
ley shaft, shut off the alternator immediately and (once it becomes safe to inspect the alternator) check the ten-
sion of the drive belt. Under- and over-tensioned belts are the leading cause of overheating and alternator dam-
age. See the Troubleshooting section, later in the manual, for alternator inspection guidelines.
Replacing your standard alternator with a high-output Balmar alternator may dictate that your standard amp
meter be replaced with a high amperage, shunt-type meter. We strongly recommend replacing your amp meter
with a more fully functioning charging system monitor, such as the Link Meter from Xantrex/Heart Interface. In
addition to metering system current, these system monitors will indicate battery condition and estimate battery
time remaining before charging is needed.
Tachs/Fusing/Charge Ratios/Multi-Bank issues Page 6
All Balmar alternators provide a source of un-rectified AC voltage Tach Manufacturer Websites
directly from the stator output. This stator output provides the pulse Teleflex - www.teleflexmarine.com
required to drive most electric tachometers. Most current Balmar VDO - www.vdo.com
alternators feature 12-pole stator outputs (meaning 12 pulses of AC Stewart Warner - www.stewartwarner.com
voltage during each alternator revolution). Extra-large case 98-Series ISSPRO - www.isspro.com
and older 9-Series alternators feature 14-pole stator outputs.
Many standard and aftermarket electrical tachometers feature some level of adjustment to calibrate the tachome-
ter to your alternator's pole settings and pulley ratios. If your existing tachometer does not provide any adjustability,
it may be necessary to replace the existing tachometer with an adjustable model.
The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), in its standards for safer boating, recommends that cable runs to
your battery banks be fused to protect the boat and owner against damage and injury. Circuit protection, as
described by ABYC standards, can be accomplished by installing either a resettable circuit breaker or a fuse. The
fuse or breaker you choose will depend on both the amperage rating of the alternator and the size of cable used.
Blue Sea Systems, a respected manufacturer of high-quality fuses and circuit breaker devices, recommends the fol-
lowing when sizing the proper circuit protection for your system. Fusing should be:
1. The largest available circuit protection device smaller than the amperage capacity of the cable being protected.
2. Larger than the maximum continuous current that will flow in the circuit.
We find that a circuit protection device sized at approximately 140% of your alternator's rated amperage is typically
suitable for the circuit being protected. For more info about circuit fusing, see http://www.bluesea.com/circuit.htm.
In order to achieve optimal performance from your charging system, it is essential to determine the capacity your
charging system is capable of supporting. In general, the size rating of the alternator should mirror the acceptance
rate of the batteries being charged. Differing battery technologies will vary in terms of their acceptance rates. For
example, a deep-cycle flooded battery is typically capable of accepting roughly 25 percent of its available capacity
at any given time. As a result, we want our alternator's rated output to equal the acceptance rate of the battery
being charged when it reaches its full discharge rate. In other words, a deeply discharged 400 amp hour deep cycle
flooded battery would require an alternator rated at 25 percent of 400 amps, or 100 amps to support that bank.
In simpler terms, a deep-cycle flooded battery bank will require 25 amps of alternator output for every 100 amp-
hours of battery rating. Some newer battery technologies, such as AGMs and spiral wound batteries can accept up
to 40 percent of their available capacities, as such, alternator output should be increased to reflect the optimal
ratio between alternator and battery capacity.
Failure to meet recommended alternator-to-battery ratios will commonly result in slower charge times, increased
alternator heat and wear, and reduced alternator life.
Multiple Bank Charging Options
When charging a single starting battery, the alternator can be connected to the battery directly, or via an ON/OFF
switch. More typically, in a marine system, the alternator will be supporting a smaller starting battery and larger
house battery bank -- or a starting battery, along with multiple banks for house loads, inverter loads, windlass or
thruster. Many methods of multi-bank charge control are available, ranging from manual switches to products like
Balmar's Digital Duo Charge (which automatically provides charging current to the starting battery whenever charg-
ing voltage is present at the house battery.
The following section outlines many of the most commonly used options for multiple-bank battery management:
Page 7 Multi-Bank Charge Control
Available in two primary types -- ON/OFF or A/B/BOTH -- manual switches offer a simple method for charging man-
agement. Possible installations include separate cables to each battery bank with ON/OFF switches in line for each
bank, or, a common output cable to the common post of the A/B/BOTH switch with an output cable to each battery
bank. Field disconnect switches feature terminals where the field output from the regulator to the alternator can be
interrupted when the battery switch is turned to the OFF position. This feature ensures that alternator output is dis-
continued as soon as the battery is disconnected. NEVER operate the alternator with switches in OFF position
(doing so could cause alternator diode damage).
Advantages: Inexpensive. No substantial voltage drop.
Disadvantages: Require user interaction and heightened system understanding. Can be accidentally shut down,
causing potential alternator damage. Does not allow for mixed battery technologies.
Voltage Sensing: Battery voltage sensed must always be that of battery being charged. Sense voltage at com-
mon side of battery switch or at alternator positive output.
Battery combiners enlist high-amperage solenoids to charge multiple battery banks. Below a specific voltage set-
point, the combiner's solenoids remain open, isolating the individual battery banks. Once the baseline voltage is
reached, the solenoid(s) open, combining all of the batteries into one big bank.
Advantages: No user interface required. No substantial voltage drop. Available in 2 or 3-bank models.
Disadvantages: Moderately expensive. Does not allow for mixed battery technologies.
Voltage Sensing: Sense voltage at common side of combiner or at alternator positive output.
Isolating diodes direct charging current to the battery bank with the greatest demand. Best suited for battery banks
that are comparable in size and degree of discharge. Isolators are not necessarily the best choice when charging
house and start battery banks. Only one battery bank can be sensed by the regulator, so under or overcharging can
be a substantial issue if batteries are dissimilar in capacity or degree of charge. Diodes can drop voltage at the
battery side of the isolator by nearly a full volt, which means that the alternator is forced to increase voltage far in
excess of that needed by the batteries.
Advantages: No user interface required. Reasonably priced. Available in 2 or 3-bank models.
Disadvantages: Substantial voltage drop. Can only sense voltage at one battery bank. May drive voltage at sec-
ondary battery bank to dangerously high levels. May hold high voltage for too long at smaller bank. Tendency to
under- or over-charge secondary (non-sensed) battery bank. Greater chance of early battery failure.
Voltage Sensing: Voltage must be sensed at most commonly used battery bank (typically house). Connect
sense wire to battery side of isolator or positive post of battery being sensed.
Digital Duo Charge
Balmar's Digital Duo Charge connects between the house and start (secondary) batteries -- keeping the two banks
separate until the unit senses 13 volts (26@24V) at the house battery. Once voltage is reached, the Duo Charge
supplies up to 30A to the secondary bank. Voltage is regulated at the secondary bank based on a preset program
chosen by the user to reflect the secondary battery type. Standard and deep cycle flooded, gel and AGM battery
types are supported. Optional battery temperature sensing and solenoid drive are included. 12 or 24-volt settings.
Advantages: No user interface required. Selectable programs ensure proper voltage control -- even with varied
battery bank capacities and mixed battery constructions. Amperage limits require smaller wire gauge. Works
with DC or shorepower charge sources. Simplifies charging control for alternator and regulator.
Disadvantages: 30-amp maximum output may not support larger secondary banks (bowthruster, windlass, etc.)
without use of manual solenoid control. (See Digital Duo Charge on Page 8 for higher amperage option.)
Voltage Sensing: Alternator and regulator supply house bank only. Sense at house battery's positive post or at
the positive output of the alternator.
Multi-Bank Charge Control Page 8
Sample Duo Charge/Duo Charge II Wiring Diagram
Digital Duo Charge II
(Available Summer 2004)
Balmar's newest Digital Duo Charge II
connects between the house and start
(secondary) batteries -- keeping the
two banks separate until the Duo
Charge senses charging voltage
(13V/26V) at the house battery. Once
voltage is reached, the Duo Charge II
supplies up to 60 amps to the second-
ary bank. Voltage is regulated at the
secondary bank based on a preset
program chosen by the user to reflect
the secondary battery type -- so, both
Duo Charge II
house and secondary batteries receive
optimal charging current. Standard
and deep cycle flooded, gel, Optima
and AGM battery types are supported.
Optional battery temperature sensing
and solenoid drive control are includ-
Advantages: No user interface
required. Selectable programs
ensure proper voltage control --
even with varied battery bank
capacities and mixed battery con-
structions . Ensures optimal charg-
ing based specifically on the
needs of each battery bank. Works
with DC or shorepower charge
sources. Simplifies charging con- Duo Charge II
trol for alternator and regulator.
Digital numeric (4 LED) display
provides detailed operational data.
Disadvantages: Forces user to
have fun and concentrate on boating, rather than worrying about charging system.
Voltage Sensing: Alternator and regulator supply house bank only. Sense at house battery's positive post or at
the positive output of the alternator.
Two Alternators/Single Engine
Should more charging power be required than is conveniently available from the engine's primary alternator, many
boaters choose to install a second alternator. In these applications, alternators can be used separately as dedicat-
ed charge sources for the various battery banks, or the outputs from both alternators can be combined to provide a
single source of charging. This will require that the field wire from a single regulator be split to supply both alterna-
tors. This system is commonly used to supply a large house bank, with a Duo Charge unit providing charging cur-
rent to the starting battery. Max Charge regulator is recommended for dual alternator operation.
Advantages: Provides substantial increase in available charging amperage. Builds in system redundancy.
Disadvantages: Requires addition of new bracketry and upgraded crankshaft pulleys. Potentially expensive
Voltage Sensing: Depends on whether alternators are dedicated to specific banks, or if they are combined to
support a single bank. Voltage must be sensed at the battery(ies) being charged.
Page 9 Twin Engine Issues
Twin Engine Issues
Twin engine applications pose some unique challenges in addressing battery needs. Some primary charging con-
figurations are as follows:
1. Dedicate Alternator #1 to charge engine starting batteries. (May be done with a switch, or by connecting the alternator output to
one engine battery and a Digital Duo Charge from the primary to the secondary engine battery). Dedicate Alternator #2 to the
house battery bank.
2. Combine outputs from Alternator #1 and Alternator #2 to provide increased charging amperage for the main (house) battery
bank, and supply the engine (and other secondary) batteries via Digital Duo Charges or combiners. Combining the output from
two alternators on two engines will require the use of Balmar's Centerfielder (described below). This configuration will require
that both alternators are equipped with Max Charge regulators, which are designed to provide suffi-
cient field current to drive two alternators. For additional information, download
the Centerfielder instructional manual from the Balmar website; www.balmar.net.
Balmar's Centerfielder enables twin engine systems to balance alternator
output, so available amperage from both alternators can be combined to
support larger battery banks. The Centerfielder monitors field and ignition
wires on port and starboard voltage regulators (Max Charge MC-612 or MC-
624 regulators strongly recommended, depending on system voltage). When both regulators are up and running,
the Centerfielder identifies the dominant regulator and splits its field to supply both alternators with the same exi-
tation voltage. This allows the user to supply output from both alternators to the same battery bank. In multi-bank
battery systems, the output can be directed to additional banks via Digital Duo Charge or other control device
described on Page 8 or Page 9. A typical system wiring design is shown below:
System Troubleshooting Page 10
Determining the causes of failures in an electrical system is a "step by step" process. Before you begin your search
to determine if the failure can be attributed to the alternator or the volltage regulator, we recommend you inspect
and clean all system electrical connections.
Most charging system problems will be corrected by performing the following steps.
1. Remove and clean all charging system electrical connections from the alternator, the batteries and wire runs (this includes the
ground side). Also, check the voltage regulator's harness for resistance. Wires and terminals can and will become corroded and
may need to be cleaned or replaced. Check all fusing in the regulator harness and alternator output cables.
2. Charge all batteries to their proper fully charged state and determine if they are serviceable. If your batteries are flooded-type,
use your hydrometer to determine their condition.
3. Check and tighten alternator belt. If the belt shows 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 following tests to determine if
charging problems are a result of a faulty alternator or regulator. The following tests provide an opportunity to iso-
late the alternator, regulator and wiring harness in order to determine which component may be malfunctioning. In
order to perform these tests, you will need a simple test lamp (available at most auto parts or marine hardware
stores. West Marine sells Ancor continuity testers for just a few dollars). A digital handheld multimeter can also be
helpful in checking for voltage drop and resistance in wiring and terminal connections. A clamp-type DC Amp meter
may be useful in diagnosing amperage issues. A 10' long, 14-gauge wire with insulated alligator clips at each end
provides the ability to take measurements with your test lamp or multi-meter with a centralized ground point.
Voltage Regulator Diagnosis
The failure of the voltage regulator to provide field current to the alternator will cause the charging system to fail. To
begin the voltage regulator tests, check to see that the regulator display is lit when the engine is running. If the reg-
ulator display fails to light after the engine is started:
1. Connect your ground extension wire (as described above) to your second ground terminal at the regulator. Connect the other
end of the extension to the ground probe of the test light. Turn your ignition switch to the ON position -- if the regulator's brown
(ignition) wire is connected to an oil pressure switch, connect a jump wire across the oil pressure switch.
2. Apply the test light's positive probe to the red (power) wire in regulator's black 4-wire plug. If the test light does not illuminate,
follow the red (power) wire to its source (at the battery, alternator output or common side of the battery switch) and test for
3. If the red (power) wire has power at that location, replace the 10-amp fuse in the red (power) wire and re-check for power at the
regulator wiring plug. If the wire has no power at the regulator end, inspect for damage along the length of the wire and
repair/replace as needed.
4. If the red (power) wire lights the test lamp, but the regulator display remains unlit, apply the positive probe of the tester to the
brown (ignition) wire. If the test lamp remains unlit, follow the brown (ignition) wire to its source and test the source with your
test lamp. If the source illuminates the test lamp, repair or replace any damaged wire or connectors needed until the test lamp
indicates current at the regulator end of the brown (ignition) wire.
5. If the regulator is a Max Charge MC-612, follow the same testing guidelines for the Positive Battery Sense wire. Repair/replace
damaged wire, connectors or fusing, as needed.
If the regulator display is illuminated, yet charging is not occurring (be sure to wait beyond the 45-second delay
before taking test readings:
1. Apply the test lamp's positive probe to the blue wire in the regulator's black 4-wire plug (with negative probe connected to the
regulator ground). If the test lamp does not illuminate, the regulator may be damaged. If the regulator is within the warranty
period (see Warranty Info on Page 12) call our Customer Service Department at 360-435-6100.
2. If the test lamp is illuminated, the regulator is providing field current, and the charging problem is likely elswhere in the charg-
3. Follow the field wire to its connection at the alternator. Disconnect from the alternator and apply the test lamp to the wire. If the
lamp illuminates, the regulator and wiring harness are likely to be good.
Page 11 System Troubleshooting
Once the regulator and harness are tested and proven good, disconnect the negative probe of the test lamp from
the regulator ground and connect the negative probe to the field terminal of the alternator. Connect the positive
probe to the blue (field) wire coming from the regulator.
1. Monitor the test lamp. If the lamp does not illuminate, the alternator may not be completing the connection to ground. Check
the ground connections at the alternator to system ground If you know how, you can use your multimeter to check for resistance
between the alternator and ground.
2. If the meter indicates substantial amount of resistance between the alternator and the system ground, a wiring or terminal con-
nection issue is indicated. Re-check system ground cabling and wiring.
3. If an internal fault is indicated as a result of testing, remove the alternator and contact Balmar Customer Service or your local
alternator shop for recommendations.
4. If the test lamp is illuminated when connected inline between the the regulator field wire and the alternator field terminal, place
a metallic object (a screwdriver blade works well) near the front of the alternator pulley shaft or the rear bearing cover of the
alternator. If the screwdriver blade is magnetically drawn to the alternator, the alternator's internal components appear to be
5. If the test lamp is lit and magnetism is detected, you can remove the test lamp, re-connect the blue (field) wire and start the
engine. Once the engine is started and the regulator's initial start delay is complete, voltage should climb to levels set by the
Alternator Diagnosis - Independent of Regulator
The alternator can be tested independently of the regulator and wiring harness by connecting the alternator's field
terminal directly to battery voltage. Once connected to battery voltage, the alternator's pulley shaft and rear bearing
cover should generate a substantial magnetic pull. If no pull is present, an internal wire or positive/negative brush
connection may be at fault. To test the alternator only:
1. Connect one side of the test lamp to a source of positive battery voltage. Connect the other to the alternator's field terminal. If
the test lamp illuminates and the alternator indicates magnetic current, start the engine. This is known as full fielding the alter-
2. With the lamp connected and the engine on, voltage at the alternator's positive output terminal should steadily climb. The Lamp
will act as an in-line resistor, so voltage rise should be moderately controlled. Once charging voltage is indicated (check output
voltage with your multi-meter), the engine can be shut down. A steadily climbing voltage at the alternator output indicates good
If alternator and regulator tests indicate proper operation, further investigation into battery damage or wiring failure
is recommended. If charging system performance continues to be compromised, we strongly advise that you seek
the assistance of a certified marine electrical diagnostician. For additional assistance or recommendations, contact
our Customer Service department at 360-435-6100.
© Balmar 2004-05, Ballard Commercial Industries, Inc. Arlington, WA 98223 (March, 2004)
Testing Smart Ready® Internally Regulated Alternators
New 6-Series alternators require slightly different diagnosis to determine if the Smart
Ready® internal regulator is functioning correctly. To test the internal regulator:
1. Disconnect the external regulator wiring harness from the alternator wiring plug containing the
field and stator wires. Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
2. Contact the positive probe of your test lamp on the FIELD terminal of the wiring
plug. Connect the tester's negative probe to ground. If the internal regulator is
functioning properly, the test light will illuminate.
3. If testing the operation of the internal regulator with a multi-meter, adjust the
meter to read 12V DC before placing probes at the field terminal and ground. If
the regulator is working correctly, the meter will show approximately 3V DC.
Wiring By Alternator Series Page 12
6-Series Alternators 7-Series Alternators
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 BAL-
This warranty DOES NOT apply to defects or physical
damage resulting from abuse, neglect, accident,
improper repair, alteration, modification, or unreason-
able 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 responsibili-
9-Series Alternators 9-Series Alternators ty for consequential damage or loss or expense aris-
Single Output Dual Output ing from these products or any labor required for serv-
ice 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 can-
not 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 BAL-
MAR Customer Service Department Monday through
Thursday, 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, (PST)1-360 435-6100
Material required for the repair or replacement for the
94-Series Alternators 95-Series Alternators defective part or product is to be supplied free of
charge upon delivery of the defective regulator to BAL-
MAR, 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 AUTHORIZED TO GIVE ANY WAR-
BALMAR 19009 61st Ave. NE, Arlington, WA
98223 Ph: (360) 435-6100, Fx; (360) 435-3210
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.balmar.net
96-Series Alternators 97-Series Alternators 98-Series Alternators Please note:
Included information is
believed to be correct at
time of publication.
Products may change in
design or output without
prior notice. If actual pin
locations or features differ
from that shown, contact
Balmar Technical support at
360-435-6100. Balmar is
not liable for damage or
injury derived as a result of
information included in this
document. See our website
at www.balmar.net for new
and updated product infor-
6-Series Alternator Wiring Addendum
Isolated Ground Terminal Isolated Ground Terminal
60-Series Alternators (IG MODELS ONLY) 621-Series Alternators (IG MODELS ONLY)
Ignition BROWN Positive Battery Sense RED Positive Battery Sense RED
Connects to red w/black wire (REQUIRED when (REQUIRED when internal
in Yanmar harness for internal regulator is used) regulator is used)
Connects to ignition
internally regulated operation source if internal regulator
See reverse side of addendum for is used (see reverse)
suggested wiring when used with
Blue - Diode Trio
Field Wire BLUE Field Wire BLUE
(to ext. regulator) (to ext. regulator)
Stator Wire Stator Wire
(White in 12V (White in 12V
Orange in 24V) Diode Trio Positive Output Orange in 24V) Diode Trio Positive Output
External Regulator (D+) Circuit External Regulator (D+) Circuit
Harness Plug Harness Plug
Balmar's Smart Ready alternators feature a simple, single-stage regulator that can be used as a stand alone unit or as an emergency back-up unit in
conjunction with a smart external regulator. When used with an external regulator, it is necessary that the brown ignition wire in the alternator plug Include a 1-inch spacer with an integrated bushing. This
be disconnected from ignition voltage. We recommend the use of a double-throw toggle switch, as discussed on reverse, to control regulator activity. spacer can be used to modify the alternator's 1-inch mounting
foot to be compatible with 2-inch mounting configurations.
On Case Ground (non-IG) alternators, the ground wire(s) in the regulator wiring harness can be connected to one of the unused threaded holes in This is a push-in spacer that's designed to fit tightly inside the
the alternator's tensioning arm with an 8mm bolt. To ensure proper grounding, screw in and unscrew the bolt a few times before securing the bolt mounting foot's 1/2-inch
with the ground wires attached. This will help remove any paint which could compromise grounding to the alternator case. bore. To ensure a proper
The function of the D+ circuit is to provide a low voltage DC source in applications where lamp functions are driven by that source. This function fit, the bushed spacer
is typical in many Volvo engines. The D+ circuit should NOT be used unless required to drive your engine's charge lamp circuit. DO NOT should be compressed into
attempt to use the D+ terminal as a connection point for your ground wires. Doing so could damage both the alternator and regulator. place with a C-clamp or
Color version of this document available at www.balmar.net/manuals bench vise.
Suggested Smart Ready Back Up Regulator Wiring
6-Series Alternator Wiring Addendum
To Ignition Source (Switch or Oil-Pressure Switch)
On non isolated-ground models, ground wires and
grounding cable should be connected at the mounting
Ground BLACK bolt at the pivot point of the alternator. DO NOT
Double Throw Switch (two in 12V) attempt to connect the ground wires or grounding
cable to the D+ terminal at the back of the alternator.
The 6-Series alternator is Doing so could result in serious damage to the
designed for use with Balmar's alternator and voltage regulator(s).
Max Charge MC-612 (12-volt) or
MC-624 (24-volt) multi-stage 1 2 Ground Post
voltage regulators. The diagram
(IG models only)
below provides a guideline for
wiring connections between the
MC-624 and the 6-Series
In addition to its ability to be Ignition BROWN Sense RED
(Switch) Ext. Regulator
externally regulated, this alternator
features an internal "Smart Ready"
regulator that's intended to provide an
immediate back-up in the event of the loss
of the external regulator. When connecting
the "Smart Ready" regulator in conjunction
with the external multi-stage regulator, we Field Wire
recommend the use of a double throw switch to BLUE
direct switched voltage to the brown (ignition)
wires in the regulator wiring harness and in the
alternator wiring plug.
The addition of the double throw switch enables
the user to quickly switch from external
regulation to internal regulation in the event of
a failure of the external regulator. DO NOT
connect both Ignition (switch) wires to separate
sources of switched voltage.
For additional wiring details, see reverse
side of this addendum.
D+ (low volts)
To External Regulator
6-Series Alternator Wiring Addendum
Using internal regulator in conjunction with an isolator.
To House Axial Diode
Battery Bank To Ignition (Radio Shack #276-1143)
When using the 6-Series alternator's internal regulator in conjunction with an application
utilizing a battery isolator:
To Engine 1. Connect the red wire included in the alternator's four-wire plug to the battery isolator
Battery Bank terminal supplying the house battery bank.
2. Connect a wire equipped with a 3-amp, 200-volt axial diode (Radio Shack Part # 276-
1143) between the alternator's positive output terminal and the brown wire connected to a To System
switched voltage source, i.e., ignition switch or oil pressure switch.The banded end of the
diode goes towards the B+ alternator terminal. Use heat shrink to cover the diode leads