Trick­ing-up the al­ter­na­tor’s boost

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: -

QI have an ad­vanced al­ter­na­tor reg­u­la­tor but I am won­der­ing if it is worth us­ing. It ap­pears to boost al­ter­na­tor out­put by ‘trick­ing the reg­u­la­tor’: does a mod­ern al­ter­na­tor need this? The volt­age at the bat­ter­ies when charg­ing is 14.3 volts. SI­MON, via email

ATONY REPLIES... The read­ing of 14.3 volts in­di­cates that the volt-drop on your charg­ing ca­bles is well within lim­its and the al­ter­na­tor’s reg­u­lated volt­age will be around the 14.4 volts. So any time re­duc­tion in charg­ing given by the de­vice will be small. As you al­ready have one you might as well fit it, so long as the volt­age boost it pro­vides is still less than the bat­ter­ies’ max­i­mum charg­ing volt­age.

Such de­vices do noth­ing for the first stage of charg­ing when the al­ter­na­tor is run­ning at max­i­mum out­put, but once the charg­ing volt­age reaches the reg­u­lated volt­age it will short-out the al­ter­na­tor’s reg­u­la­tor and boost the charg­ing volt­age a bit.

They cover up de­fi­cien­cies in the charg­ing sys­tem and the volt-drop caused by split-charge diodes, nei­ther of which ap­ply to you.

All al­ter­na­tors are sup­posed to be self-lim­it­ing for max­i­mum cur­rent, so un­less there is an al­ter­na­tor fault or you starve it of cool­ing air, the de­vice should not be able to dam­age it.

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