"Smart" Alternator - Ram Promaster Forum
User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
rahvin2j3
Junior Member
 
rahvin2j3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks: 17
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
(Thread Starter)
"Smart" Alternator

Hi Guys,

I was reading this link - https://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/split-charging.html - and it says that if a van has a "smart" alternator, VSR is not recommended. Instead, the suggested product is a battery-to-battery charger.

Does a PM have a "smart" alternator?


Thanks.

Soon. 136" HT Black + Orange + Apple Green interior.
rahvin2j3 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 02:29 PM
afox
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Thanks: 68
Thanked 126 Times in 94 Posts
The article doesn't say what a "smart alternator" is or does so no way to know if the PM has a smart alternator. If you can define "smart alternator" we can tell you if the PM has one

But, you certainly do not need a battery to battery (B2B) charger to charge a house battery with the PM's alternator. A B2B charger would be great and is a superior choice to alternator charging but not certainly not critical.
afox is offline  
post #3 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 02:36 PM
RDinNHandAZ
Senior Member
 
RDinNHandAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Summer in Lakes Region of NH and Winter in the Sonoran Desert of AZ
Posts: 6,589
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1490 Post(s)
Thanks: 1,363
Thanked 1,669 Times in 1,294 Posts
Garage
But it is a good way to get rid of bunches of money either way. A simple solenoid is sufficient and in some ways smarter than either of those because it can be controlled by a human brain!

2015 136" HT Diesel 1500 Sandstone Pearl Metallic
Campervan build see:https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=37177
You can browse my build pictures at http://tinypic.com/RDsPictures
Conversion Costs see: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=85761
$500 solar and $700 complete Electrical: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=71562
If you must make a mistake, make a new one each time.
RDinNHandAZ is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 03:11 PM
keeponvaning
Super Moderator
 
keeponvaning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New England
Posts: 6,237
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 989 Post(s)
Thanks: 382
Thanked 1,074 Times in 881 Posts
RD are you inferring humans are more intelligent than computers?

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster camping conversion. https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=43121
keeponvaning is offline  
post #5 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 03:40 PM
Charger7022
Senior Member
 
Charger7022's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 458
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Thanks: 11
Thanked 172 Times in 121 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDinNHandAZ View Post
But it is a good way to get rid of bunches of money either way. A simple solenoid is sufficient and in some ways smarter than either of those because it can be controlled by a human brain!



Lol here we go again! what you fail to mention is also that why yes they do cost more than a simple switch or battery doctor is they also includes multi stage charging which allows it to charge at a higher voltage than the alternator puts out which like for AGM batteries is suggested to charge at 14.1-14.5 to get to full charge, mine has a built in charge controller which RD has suggest some that cost close to $200 so that eliminates the need for that purchase and it does it all automatically and makes the process easier for the DIY installers.

Now back to the original question. I personally tested my 2016 promaster alternator and found that it is not a smart alternator and the max it puts out for me was 14.1 volts. The DC/DC charger is not a necessity but I do feel it charges the battery to its max full charge and it makes solar hook up very easy and totally mindless. I have a little light on the dash that tells me the unit is working and as long as its lit I know im good to go.



For reference here is the unit I got and I have been problem free for 2 years. https://www.projecta.com.au/dual-battery-charger-idc25

part if the reason we got it was to add solar later but for our needs we found solar to not be unnecessary and have yet to hook it up. when we are out boondocking we drive the van everyday to explore and if we are staying put we are in a campground or at families house and are hooked to shore power. our DC/DC charger charges our single 100 A/H battery very quickly and meets our simple 24 hour 12v needs (lights, phone chargers, 12v tv, 12v maxx fan and 12v fridge freezer). We may get a small 5O watt panel for while the van sits but for now we just plug it in to keep the battery topped of and the inside cool in the summer with the automatic Maxx Fan.

The biggest mistake I think new van builders make is going all out on solar before even knowing if they in fact need solar. if your full time and boon dock a lot than yeah you most likely need it. but if your a weekend warrior like me with full weeks mixed in throughout the year I don't think solar is the way to go but to each there own. Part of me feels the solar thing is some sort of status symbol in the van life.

2016, 159" high top, Gas, converted to a camper for 4

Last edited by Charger7022; 10-18-2018 at 03:50 PM.
Charger7022 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Charger7022 For This Useful Post:
KNDLKSTMS (10-19-2018), travelvanvan (10-19-2018)
post #6 of 34 Old 10-18-2018, 04:50 PM
afox
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Thanks: 68
Thanked 126 Times in 94 Posts
I agree with all that Charger7022 wrote. The only clarification I would add is that a B2B charger will charge at higher voltage than the alternator puts out (as needed by AGM or other battery chemistries the alternator was not designed to charge) but the current will be limited by the B2B charger. For example I am regularly getting over 30 amps to my AGM camper battery directly from the alternator. That projecta charger maxes out at 25 amps, guessing they might have a version that charges at higher amperage but it will cost more. The promariner (same as sterling) B2B chargers go upto 60 amps but that will cost a bit more. I too found that I have yet to encounter a situation where I need solar since I drive the van daily and AGM batteries charge very quickly from the alternator, but Im not using coffee makers and microwaves in my van either. No doubt about it, solar is a status symbol, whether its on the roof of your home or the roof of your van. I need more battery capacity the most when winter camping in heinous weather and snowstorms and that is the time that solar will be least likely to help. On the other hand, solar is so cheap now I will probably add some to my van as a geeky "science experiment" and I think its a good doomsday/long term power outage tool to have at home.
afox is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to afox For This Useful Post:
KNDLKSTMS (10-19-2018)
post #7 of 34 Old 10-19-2018, 01:14 PM
Charger7022
Senior Member
 
Charger7022's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 458
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Thanks: 11
Thanked 172 Times in 121 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by afox View Post
I agree with all that Charger7022 wrote. The only clarification I would add is that a B2B charger will charge at higher voltage than the alternator puts out (as needed by AGM or other battery chemistries the alternator was not designed to charge) but the current will be limited by the B2B charger. For example I am regularly getting over 30 amps to my AGM camper battery directly from the alternator. That projecta charger maxes out at 25 amps, guessing they might have a version that charges at higher amperage but it will cost more. The promariner (same as sterling) B2B chargers go upto 60 amps but that will cost a bit more. I too found that I have yet to encounter a situation where I need solar since I drive the van daily and AGM batteries charge very quickly from the alternator, but Im not using coffee makers and microwaves in my van either. No doubt about it, solar is a status symbol, whether its on the roof of your home or the roof of your van. I need more battery capacity the most when winter camping in heinous weather and snowstorms and that is the time that solar will be least likely to help. On the other hand, solar is so cheap now I will probably add some to my van as a geeky "science experiment" and I think its a good doomsday/long term power outage tool to have at home.

Spot on. yeah mine only charges at 25 amps max and now they make one that's 45 I think. but in my testing the battery I have it will only take so much even when 50% depleted and never has it drawn the max amps. if you have a larger battery bank than yeah I think you might get a higher amp draw but for 1-2 batteries I think the 25 amp is plenty and charges mine quickly.

2016, 159" high top, Gas, converted to a camper for 4
Charger7022 is offline  
post #8 of 34 Old 10-19-2018, 08:51 PM
RDinNHandAZ
Senior Member
 
RDinNHandAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Summer in Lakes Region of NH and Winter in the Sonoran Desert of AZ
Posts: 6,589
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1490 Post(s)
Thanks: 1,363
Thanked 1,669 Times in 1,294 Posts
Garage
The solar is no more necessary than the alternator interconnect but we all should have both. It can charge AGM, GEL and FLA batteries properly. I’d suggest the B2B and Projecta stuff is what is what is probably not necessary. I don’t have them and for some unexplainable reason seem to be doing fine. Remember the solar, added to an existing electrically equipped van, is about $250- not a big expense, and it is Magic!
I just went through 8 days of mostly rain and interconnected to the alternator only 2 mornings. The human brain worked great (even mine!)
Save a bunch by doing the solar FIRST along with a switched solenoid and if it doesn’t work upgrade to the B2B and Progecta. You will be out $15 but I’d guess you will never need more.

2015 136" HT Diesel 1500 Sandstone Pearl Metallic
Campervan build see:https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=37177
You can browse my build pictures at http://tinypic.com/RDsPictures
Conversion Costs see: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=85761
$500 solar and $700 complete Electrical: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=71562
If you must make a mistake, make a new one each time.
RDinNHandAZ is offline  
post #9 of 34 Old 10-20-2018, 07:07 AM
keeponvaning
Super Moderator
 
keeponvaning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New England
Posts: 6,237
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 989 Post(s)
Thanks: 382
Thanked 1,074 Times in 881 Posts
How true!

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster camping conversion. https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=43121
keeponvaning is offline  
post #10 of 34 Old 10-20-2018, 09:51 AM
carnut
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
Thanks: 0
Thanked 48 Times in 38 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahvin2j3 View Post
...Does a PM have a "smart" alternator?
I'd say no.
I read that website and I think they are referring to alternators that have external control from the engine computer - not just a simple voltage regulator like the PM. Smart alternators are becoming common in european vehicles. The idea is to reduce the alternator output when the vehicle does need it to increase efficiency. Not sure what logic schemes they are using (I can think of at least 3). Or, it can be something like the new RAM pickup mini-hybrid where the alternator does regenerative braking and returns the power back to the vehicle by switching to motor mode on acceleration. I think GM did some if these a decade ago.

The reason some B2B chargers wouldn't work well with a smart alternator is that the B2B has built-in voltage sensing like a VSR and they would discontinue charging when the voltage drops below a threshold. If you read the info on the Sterling units it clearly describes the function. If they didn't do that, the charger would be capable of completely draining your starting battery while you use your house battery.

I was looking at the CTEK D250SA recently because it combines an MPPT solar charge controller and B2B charger in one unit. Unfortunately, their online manual is a joke and they don't clearly explain how the B2B side works. It simply states the input voltage range is 11.5 - 23V. I tried to ask their tech support if it can drain the starter battery (11.5V is basically dead) and they gave me a canned response with no real explanation like "it cuts out at X voltage". It does have a smart alternator input that you can hook to ignition but I don't know if you can use this to prevent discharging your starter battery if the engine is not running. Don't feel like dropping $270 (actually not that bad for combined MPPT controller and B2B integrated together) just to find out how it works myself. I don't plan to use solar initially and I don't want to wake up to find my fridge and CPAP have drained my starter battery. Better to just have a manually controlled relay as RD suggests. However, the downside is you may not get a 100% charge in your house battery if the alternator only puts out 14.1V as other report.
carnut is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to carnut For This Useful Post:
rderkash (10-25-2018)
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome