We are back up and charging with our replaced Balmar 614 regulator. Turns out the unit shorted out on the power input side of the regulator. I never tested this aspect BEFORE. Our Balmar tech support advised me that the alternator had a short. I really can’t blame them, as I should have had enough skills to think this out myself. The situation now all makes sense, but questions remain.
The chain of events
We first noticed no charging when running the engine. I found a blown fuse on the power feed to the regulator. I replace this 10 amp fuse. When I plug back in the regulator, it sparked and smoked, at the regulator’s power plug (this should have been a clue) and then blew the fuse again. So, I think there is a wiring problem causing a short. I then called Balmar in Washington State, USA and their tech support has me measure the ohms (resistance) on the blue field wire to ground to check the alternator. IF it measures 350 ohms it is normal, mine measures 0.007 ohms. This he said indicated a short inside the alternator and that is where our problem lies. NOTE: At this point I wish I had checked for a short on the regulator power plug, but I did not at this point.
We then replaced the alternator
That sent us down the rabbit hole of pulling the alternator and installing our spare. This took a few hours until I rewired all the wires from the regulator to the alternator and installed our back up alt.
After Rebuilding, all is fine
After we installed the back up alternator, leaving the regulator in place, we ran the boat for 30 minutes and all was charging fine. The system was generating 14.4 volts and eventually dropped back into the 13 volts like it should, so we shut it all down. We were happy it all was back up and running, we assumed we had a bad alternator at this point.
Next day, blown fuse, again
The next day, we prepare to leave and upon starting the engine, the fuse burns out again and the regulator goes off line. WHAT? Why are we blowing fuses? Now what is the problem? We have all new wiring to the the regulator, we have a replaced alternator, and it ran fine for 30 minutes after rebuilding. One more call to Balmar and we were advised NOW to test the red and black power feed to the regulator to see if it could have a short. Good idea. We test that and there you have it, THE REGULATOR HAS A SHORT on the power plugs! OMG. no way. This would have been very easy to measure yesterday when we started down this rabbit hole, but I never thought to check the regulator. I was advised that the short was in the alternator and that the blue filed wire was back feeding the reg and blowing the fuse!
Video on our discovery and running boat
With new Regulator we are running
So, to replace the regulator took about 5 minutes, as it is unplug old, plug in new and turn on the engine. UNREAL. that was the problem.
- Did the White (removed) Balmar Alternator really have a shore?
- Did the White Balmar alternator blow up the regulator?
- Why did the replaced and rewired fix run for 30 minutes and blow the next day?
- Should I pull the replaced alternator and re-install the white Balmar?
- If I put back on the white Balmar might it blow up this new regulator?
- Should I let it alone as is, keep it running and send out white alt to be tested?
Our general rule while out cruising is….IF IT IS RUNNING and IF IT IS WORKING, THEN DO NOT TAKE IT APART, LET IT ALONE! So, we think we will see if someone can prove that the white alternator is shored or not. If shorted please fix it, if it is all OK, please don’t touch it. Then, once tested, we would re-install the white one and we would be back to normal with a new regulator. What an ordeal and it all could have been found with a quick testing of the regulator power plug and the short found in 5 minutes. As it was, this took 6 to 8 hours and two days!
Meanwhile, Full Moon and Flowers are blooming
Life is good…..