PDA

View Full Version : Digital regulator problems?



whiteoaks7
01-11-09, 18:45
Has anyone had a problem with Sterling or any other regulator? After 40 hours of motoring our alternator packed up. We were using a Sterling digital reg to manage the charge. We had the alternator fixed in Palermo - an engineer who took the alternator apart in a flurry of hands, clucked a bit, then ran off with it and returned an hour later with it all fixed. He claimed - quote - the Sterling regulator had sucked so much current through the transistor pack that one of the transistors had overheated and burned out. He showed me - I don;t doubt the transistor had burned out and since the regulator was newly (6 months) fitted there could be a correlation - so - anyone else had any sort of problem like this?

Cheers, Dave Berry

Chris_Robb
02-11-09, 11:08
Has anyone had a problem with Sterling or any other regulator? After 40 hours of motoring our alternator packed up. We were using a Sterling digital reg to manage the charge. We had the alternator fixed in Palermo - an engineer who took the alternator apart in a flurry of hands, clucked a bit, then ran off with it and returned an hour later with it all fixed. He claimed - quote - the Sterling regulator had sucked so much current through the transistor pack that one of the transistors had overheated and burned out. He showed me - I don;t doubt the transistor had burned out and since the regulator was newly (6 months) fitted there could be a correlation - so - anyone else had any sort of problem like this?

Cheers, Dave Berry

I would say that there could be. The Stirling makes the alternator produce at max power, but after it has gone through the absorbtion phase, and has gone to float voltage (13.8V of wet lead acid), it should be just tickeling the alternator. So yes when underload, it may get very hot, especially if the ambiant temp and engine compartment is very hot.

One version of the Stirling (more expensive) has a alternator temp sensor, which will shut the alternator down - or rather switch off the Stirling and leave it to the alternators own regulator.

We are due down to the med next year, and I am also worried about alternator overheating. I suppose we should not let our batteries run down so far that the alternator has to work too hard for too long.

charles_reed
02-11-09, 11:33
is that they extract the maximum power out of the alternator, until the batteries are charged.

Most small marine diesel engines are fitted with 55 (or even 35) amp alternators.

These really cannot support a discharged battery bank in excess of about 200 ah and the diode bridge burns out when they are forced to work flat-out for extended periods.

I run a 100 amp alternator, not for an enormous output, but rather because it won't be worked to anywhere near its maximum capacity.

New diode bridges, fitted by a competent auto-electrician only cost about €20, but the inconvenience is the biggest problem.

My Magnetti-Maréchal 100 amp alternator (chosen for the low rpm output) cost me £124 in the UK and a Lucas 90-amp marine alternator is very little more, from Adverc.

Marine alternators are usually double-insulated and have stainless steel bearings.

Until I cottoned on to the reason, I had two alternators, for a quick change - now it's unnecessary.

The Sterling (IMHO) doesn't have the correcting feedback of the Adverc so is probably more likely to burn out a small alternator.

I'd suggest you replace the alternator as the most cost-effective solution (not in Greece as it will be extraordinarily expensive)

Chris_Robb
02-11-09, 16:07
is that they extract the maximum power out of the alternator, until the batteries are charged.

Most small marine diesel engines are fitted with 55 (or even 35) amp alternators.

These really cannot support a discharged battery bank in excess of about 200 ah and the diode bridge burns out when they are forced to work flat-out for extended periods.

I run a 100 amp alternator, not for an enormous output, but rather because it won't be worked to anywhere near its maximum capacity.

New diode bridges, fitted by a competent auto-electrician only cost about €20, but the inconvenience is the biggest problem.

My Magnetti-Maréchal 100 amp alternator (chosen for the low rpm output) cost me £124 in the UK and a Lucas 90-amp marine alternator is very little more, from Adverc.

Marine alternators are usually double-insulated and have stainless steel bearings.

Until I cottoned on to the reason, I had two alternators, for a quick change - now it's unnecessary.

The Sterling (IMHO) doesn't have the correcting feedback of the Adverc so is probably more likely to burn out a small alternator.

I'd suggest you replace the alternator as the most cost-effective solution (not in Greece as it will be extraordinarily expensive)

Charles - this has been worrying me..... I will give adverc a call, and own up to them that I have a Stirling. I bought an american 100amp alternator off them for my last boat with an Adverc, So as you say, this will be money well spent, and will avoid the hasle of a faulty alternator.

vyv_cox
02-11-09, 16:18
I have had a Sterling for about 7 or 8 years, initially with 200 Ah of battery, for the past season with 300 Ah. Alternator is standard Yanmar 55 Amp. At the beginning of this year I fitted an ammeter, so have been able to monitor current drawn. After a typical night of fridge running the voltage might be down to about 12.2 or 12.3. If we start up the engine early before the solar panels have had a chance to put some back the current is maximum 55 or more (additional from panels) for around 5 minutes, then gradually begins to reduce. Not had a problem with the alternator so far but will remember to test its temperature in the future.