Amps through the Anderson Plug

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 08:19
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I am building a small off road caravan with a very large solar/LiPo4 battery system The tow if fitted with a large Anderson plug which is cabled correctly. The tow is a 200 Series Landcruiser with the 160 amp standard alternator.

I am hoping to get 80 amps through the Anderson plug to the DC-DC charger in the van while motoring during the day. Is this a realistic expectation or am I kidding myself?

Keith
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Reply By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:00

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:00
Fine if you use 'genuine' Anderson connectors but unlikely if using the cheap chinese pooh copies that most people sell.
The real item was designed for large battery systems attached to uninterruptible power supplies. The standard grey SB50 Anderson is rated around 120amps.
Don't forget the cable to handle the 120 amps...
They also make a bigger version in the same style.

Found a link to them-
http://andersonconnect.com.au/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=36_37&gclid=CjwKEAiAz4XFBRCW87vj6-28uFMSJAAHeGZbGqfe8vb_F503ITFgv3kcITr7N0z9_joRpT6emFZh6xoCwtTw_wcB
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Follow Up By: Lex M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:45

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:45
I believe a SB50 is rated at 50Amps. A SB120 is rated at 120 Amps.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:01

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:01
saying that 50 amp anderson is rated at 120 amps is over simplistic and not correct.

Also universally bagging the chineese copies is not fair or accurate, nor is saying "most people" sell them.

The 50 amp anderson plug is rated at 50 amps continuous, it may be surge rated considerably higher than that at various duty cycles.

the better copies are as good as ....... but recently the Anderson distributers have done some work and sharpened their pencil ...... many companies like Jaycar now stock the genuine artricle at similar prices to what they had copies at previoulsy.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:41

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:41
50 amps is the max current for when you are connecting or disconnecting two plugs.
Continuous uninterrupted rating is much higher.

Anyway, as pointed out the larger connector would be a better choice.
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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:04

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:04
Mine's an SB175. But the sparky has wired it up with 4AWG, which will give a 1.6 V voltage drop to the plug, which I hope is not too much. If the alternator has enough grunt, I might have to uprate the cabling.

The alternator is the question. How much juice will it give me after running the truck?
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Follow Up By: swampy - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:55

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:55
hi
The reality is it does not cost much more if any to use
25mmsq = 3B&s
or even
2B&s = 33mmsq

The idea is to get as much in as quickly as possible to reduce charge time
Also at 1.6 volt less than charge volts eg 14.2 -1.6 =12.6 Not much charging happening at that voltage . The lowest voltage you need to charge a battery is around 13.5volts .
The only way it HALF WORKS is at high amp charge the volts are low but as it ""eventually"" charges the batt volt will rise /current draw reduces and u get a good charge voltage .
This is why the charge cable needs to be of a decent size in order to charge batts in a decent time .

9mtrs 20mmsq cable .95 volt drop in theory 60amp load
9mtrs 25mmsq cable .7 volt drop 60 amp load
9mtr 35sq cable .5 v drop 60 amp load
This does not include volt losses across
fuses
c/breakers
VSR
solenoids
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:48

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:48
-
Swampy, the OP Keith has said that he is employing Redarc LFP1240 lithium DC-DC chargers which will accept input as low as 9V whilst delivering an appropriate output to the lithium battery, so the 1.6 volt drop is not a factor in the charge voltage. Not that I would recommend running the system at 9V input!

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:16

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:16
The car itself with all accessories turned off would be in the range of 40 to 50 amps at a guesstimate.

So yes you will be able to draw 80A providing suitable cabling is installed, keep in mind the lower the input voltage at the DCDC charger the higher the current draw for a given output.

I recently installed a Lithium setup in my Vista, I decide to use direct charging via the alternator though, the cable resistance will limit the current to around 60A max and I was happy with that, I only have 200Ah installed.

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Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:51

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:51
I have one of your voltage boosters and it works a treat.
What is the capacity of the alternator on your tow vehicle?
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 12:41

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 12:41
Hi Keith,

Good to read your happy with your booster, the alternator is rated at 100A.

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:32

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:32
Hi Keith,

Most dc chargers draw a maximum of 20-25 amps, well within the capacity of the standard grey SB50 Anderson connector, with a rating of 50 amps.
The next up in size is the SB120 (120 amp rating) but that is a big mother for a vehicle connection.
The Redarc BCDC1225 has a maximum draw of 25A and the Ctek D250S has a maximum draw of 20A, unless you couple it with a Smartpass module.
80 amps is one hell of a charging current for a van's battery bank.
The normal rule of thumb for a charger is a maximum of 25% of the Amp hour rating of the battery bank. Therefore a 25 amp charger is good for 200Ah of batteries and even a 15 amp charger will suffice, just taking a bit longer to reach full charge.
Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 12:43

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 12:43
He has Lithiums they'll suck whatever you can throw at them.

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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:49

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:49
It is my understanding LiPo4 batteries can take a huge charge rate, provided that there is a good battery management system in place. I am planning to use two of the new Redarc 40 amp LiPo4 chargers in parallel, which Redarc says is fine, plus a separate solar controller. The Redarcs have only one feed cable and can't handle supply from solar and from the tug at the same time; it's either one or the other via an ingition-fired isolating relay.

The battery bank is 2x 200AH LiPo4 batteries connected by very large cables which should be enough to run a very small domestic aircon overnight. My wife and I don't sleep well in the heat and this is my ultimate retirement project.

There will be about 1,100 watts of thin film solar on the roof and a switch to isolate port and starboard side batteries so that the DC-DC can charge one on the road during daylight hours while the solar does the other. That way I am hoping to go to full charge in just two or three hours - depending on the juice from the alternator. I'll throw the switch to parallel them up again when camped. Because the voltage does not vary much with state of charge, there should be no huge currents as the batteries equalise.

It's a very expensive and complex system and I want to make sure to get it right.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 11:31

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 11:31
-
Hi Keith,

I would definitely use no less than the 120 Amp rated Anderson connector. And I would recommend the genuine "Anderson" brand if possible. There are 'cheap' copies on the market and I have experienced trouble with them.
One distorted the plastic moulding due to the pressure of the contact springs which caused the contacts to lose engagement pressure. The other housing cracked for no apparent reason.

Edit:
Your stated 1.6 volt drop is more than I would want. It should not cause your system to fail but may limit the delivered current. Nevertheless, give it a go.

Hell, that is one Mother of a system you are installing. It could almost solve South Australia's power problems on its own! lol
Please do post on here when you have used it and tell us how it copes.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 18:20

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 18:20
Have you thought about not manually isolating anything and just running a smartpass setup to combine the solar/vehicle etc as required and smash both batteries? I am averse to having lists of things to do hence the fully automatic lean from me.
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Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 19:45

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 19:45
Solar 4 RVs mentioned the Smartpass but I am not smart enough to understand how it works. I'll talk to them again.
Keith
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:49

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:49
http://ctek.com/au/en/chargers/SMARTPASS

It joins all the dots in a system like the one you propose. The user manual link is at the bottom of the page. Not much to know.

There are plenty of ways to skin a 12v cat, the set and forget aspect appeals to me muchly.
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Follow Up By: Members - Bow & Nan - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 07:58

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 07:58
One 400 amp battery will work better.
"Work interferes with living"

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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:00

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:00
Good idea to check the "Anderson" plug to make sure it's the real deal. They have the proper ones at Jaycar.

I"ll definitely replace the 4AWG (21.1 sq mm) between the batteries (6m run both ways total) with larger cable, which won;t be hard it's simple run through the chassis. Plus the same to the inverter and chargers - neither of which have been purchased yet.

But I am stuck with 4AWG from the plug to the DC chargers, which with a voltage booster on the alternator, should give me maybe 11 volts into the DC-DC chargers which means about 10-15% loss overall. Looks like I read Collyn Rivers book a bit too late.

I have a string on Myswag "My Camper Trailer Build" called "World's Slowest Build" if anyone is interested. But I'm still on the construction phase with that string and there's nothing about electrics yet.
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Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 18:13

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 18:13
I find it hard to believe the "everything OFF current"would be near 40 to 50 amps. I suspect far less although modern electronic vehicles do use more than previously.
With the normal load + some features/accessories using power and expecting another 80 amps form the alternator is asking a fair bit.
Yes it is 160 amp at around 12.6v I suppose, but if you are asking the system to run a high current for a number of hours, day after day, then the alt life may be far shorter than you think. Although it will be able to deliver, the constant high heat stress on alt internals/ diodes and regulator may take it's toll. To run any alternator constantly above 50% is unwise in my opinion. Especially if the engine bay temp is also elevated for long periods.

Battery charging ability is one thing, reliability of supply is another. A replacement alt is expensive.
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Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 19:54

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 19:54
My auto sparky said the same thing. So I think I'll carry a spare alternator (about $1K for a really big one) and change the serpentine belt more regularly. I always carry a spare belt anyway. Or maybe just put the bigger alternator on and use the OEM as a spare. The bigger version comes from the USA, is a direct fit and will avoid having to put a stick on the accelerator to charge while stationary. Unfortunately it's a big job to change one.
Large alternators for 200 Series
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:16

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:16
Sounds like an expensive and complicated job just for an air conditioner..

When we get to the age of retiring and travelling around Aus, it will be after a lot of research as to best times of year for each region for the best temps.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 13:06

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 13:06
I did write guesstimate, my Prado draws around 15A with the ignition on but without the motor running, add in fuel pumps once the motor starts, injectors etc it will be up over 20A.

The 200 series has a lot more electronics so I would imagine the drain would be considerable higher hence the much larger alternator in the 200 series compared to the Prado.

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Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 14:14

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 14:14
Thanks for the info HKB.
Just on the aircon subject, family commitments don't often let us pick and choose when we can be away. Hence the need for an aircon, which I do admit is a bit of a luxury.
The extra cost for a bigger electrical system is about $4.5K over and above what wI reckon would be required for a normal off-grid caravan of the same specs. Given that we may be living in the thing for months on end, I think it's expensive for sure, but worthwhile.
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Reply By: PhilD - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 22:15

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 22:15
I have a Winston LiPo4 400 Ahr battery pack, which I charge at 100 amps using a Sterling BCDC Charger direct off the starting battery. I have a 180 amp alternator. The Sterlings have 9 settings so you can choose the one most suited to the brand of Lithium battery you are using. I charge the Winston at 14.2 V whereas the Redarc charges at 14.6 V I believe. So you need to know the manufacturers recommended charge rate and match your charging algorithms to it. I am direct wired so I don't have any Anderson plugs to worry about.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 22:53

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 22:53
Hi Keith,
have you considered installing a Tesla Powerwall to the van? ....just kidding

Well done with what you are doing. Just a few comments:
Why not double up on the Anderson Plugs - maybe two of the 120A - they screw together nicely and you'll halve the resistance and minimise the chance of failure if one terminal gets full of dirt or goes high resistance.
This also means you'll double up on earths - A good earth for high power applications will go from your Lithium van batteries all the way to the alternator mounting bolts. But on a 200series, the earth lead of the Drivers side battery goes to the ideal location on the block, so if I were running a cable back to the motor, then that is where I'd attach it. I'd also be using good chassis earths at the back of the vehicle to reduce resistance.
As far as cable goes, for the past 7 years I have only used tinned (marine grade) cable for RV installations. See too much corrosion in copper cable that is exposed to the elements, and given your investment in the system, its worth a few extra dollars for tinned cable - Whitworths have the 2Ga tinned cable and also a great range of high power Blue Seas fuses.

You may have noticed the Kimberley Kruisers are doing similar but they now seeming to downsize on the size of the system and just supplement with a small Honda generator when the air cond is running - which kind of defeats the purpose of having silent power.
Cheers, Phil
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Follow Up By: PhilD - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 23:01

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 23:01
The Kimberley type system works very well. I can run my air conditioner from my inverter whilst using a Honda eu10i generator to charge the battery at the same rate that I am drawing power. The charger will do 65 amps if needed and my draw is approx 40 amps. The 1 Kva Honda will run a 50 amp charger so I just wind mine back to the level needed to balance the load..
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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:59

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:59
Thanks for all of the terrific and very well informed advice. I never cease to be amazed by the brain power on this forum.

Message received on the tinned wire, which I am already using.

It looks like the Ctek Smartpass system is only good for 80 amps solar and alternator combined - the same limitation as using two 40 amp Redarcs.

The biggest win is the info on Sterling Power. I was aware of them but did not know that their gear would charge LiPo4 batteries. Plus they are miles cheaper than two Redarc units and will save about $1,300.

Many thanks to everyone. By the way, I am looking for a 1-15 KVA inverter that can be hard wired in. Any suggestions?

Keith
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Follow Up By: PhilD - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 22:31

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 22:31
Keith, I have Tortech TXF inverter chargers. They are transformer based and much more robust for going off road. They need a bit of room due to their size, weigh a bit, but have excellent features.
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 11:42

Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 11:42
Keith,
make sure that whatever charge solution you end up with does not automatically go into a 'desulphation' mode. The LFP batteries do not like this and it will greatly shorten their life.

I have 320Ah of LFP batteries and 600w solar charging through a mostly Victron system. The thing I like about their products are that that they have a wide range of 'factory configurations but also most parameters can be customised. There is a wide range of opinions about the best settings for bulk and float voltages for LFP batteries. As others have said make sure that you get the values from the manufacturers not a 'local' expert.

Going with LFPs is a good move. They have great performance and love to be recharged at whatever you can pump into them. My system takes charge from solar and alternator at the same time and will recharge quickly even on a short drive. This system is in my Isuzu NPS300 trick expedition vehicle, not the LC.


cheers
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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 12:02

Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 12:02
Alastair,
Many thanks,

I have noticed that all of the DC-DC chargers and solar regulators I have seen, be they in one unit or separate, have a total charge limit from solar and the alternator.

I'd like to get the best of both and am wondering about separating the batteries while on the road, with one charging from Solar and the other from the tug.
When I parallel them up when parked, the voltage difference should not be a problem if the parallel leads are big enough.

What is your arrangement?
Keith
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Reply By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 00:04

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 00:04
I'm no eleco but you can have the biggest alternator on the market and it is useless if your motor isn't revving enough to get it cranking out the amps you require. I read as a general guide an alternator needs approx. 2,500 rpm to supply max output so with Toyota's big modern donks spending most of their time running at low rpm I wonder if the alternator will produce enough power to keep all of it's electronics and all of the batteries charged and running efficiently time will tell.

Have you tried to calculate how much power you will need including everything lights, computers a/c etc etc would be a bit of a challenge though.
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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 04:45

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 04:45
Batt's, they just overdrive the alternator with a smaller pulley to attain max output at lower engine revs.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 09:28

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 09:28
Yes that would help even another 500rpm at idle would be handy at least. I expect there would be a limit as to how high you can go and if the idle needs to be adjusted to handle the load when stopped. I would like one for my old GQ as well but do you know any sites that sells pulleys ?

Usually for the average person it's not even a passing thought that they need a reasonable amount of revs to produce enough power to cover their needs until they discover their batteries aren't charging enough. just thought I'd ask to see if it has been taken into account.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 11:05

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 11:05
Done some more research it can be done but you have to find out what your alternators continuous max rpm is then measure crank pulley & alternator pulley divide into each other that will give you the ratio difference eg: 3 to 1. So you can then figure out what rpm the alternator is spinning at which in the examples case that would be 3 times faster than the engines rpm so it may already be near max or you may have some room to play with.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 13:00

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 13:00
Your cars alternator will normal produce its "rated" output at normal driving
speeds, there is no upper limit though, if you spin it faster it will produce more
than its rated output but you will decrease the life of the alternator.

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 14:16

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 14:16
Yes it will wear it out faster I also read it may cause component failure.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 15:23

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 15:23
-
"spinning it faster" it will not produce more than its "rated output". It may well produce its rated output at lower engine revs but the maximum rated output is always limited at design by the inbuilt current regulation. The OEM would have designed the system to allow full current out at normal driving speeds. This of course may be over-ridden at idle by late-model EMS controls for emissions reasons.

There is a bit more than may meet the eye in installing over-sized alternators or changing pulleys to increase rotational speed..........
1) The OEM pulleys and belt are designed for the original configuration and may not be adequate for an increased alternator rotational load. Belt slippage may increase and overcoming this by increased belt tightening reflects on point 2) below. Over-tightening will also increase bearing loads.
2) There are energy losses in any pulley/belt system and they may be more significant than you might imagine. These losses relate to the flexing of the belt around a pulley, much as a tyre on a road. They are present even when the alternator is not supplying current and will affect fuel economy which may be of some concern to you. A pulley of smaller diameter will always introduce greater losses due to increased flexing of the belt. Belt heating also increases which will reflect on belt life.
3) The very high output specifications of over-sized after-market alternators packaged into frame sizes no larger than the OEM alternators usually cannot be maintained continuously and duty cycle needs to be considered. Inherent losses within the alternator produce heat and larger alternators produce more heat. If they are packaged as per the OEM product they will obviously run at a higher temperature.
4) Increased load current from battery may cause consideration of increasing cable sizes. Beware of changing the negative cable from the cranking battery to chassis as this is often employed as a shunt to measure battery current for the benefit of the Management System. Changing the cable cross-sectional size will change the resistance and therefore the reported current value. This will affect design performance of the EMS.






Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 17:37

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 17:37
Allan,
The stator resistance of the alternator is the primary output current limitation.

Alternators are generally rated at 6000RPm@24C after a stabilisation period, if you increase the RPM's the output will increase, a good quality alternator will be conservatively rated.

The other points you have raised are all valid and worth consideration.

A typical alternator output curve:

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 18:54

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 18:54
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Leigh,

You perhaps used an unfortunate example to make your refutation. The Delco 10SI alternator you refer to was released in 1969 and is way out of date. The OP, Keith, is talking about an LC-200 Series whose alternator is much more sophisticated.

My response above did generalise that the "output is always limited at design by the inbuilt current regulation". It seems that I must go further and detail that this regulation is inherently the impedance (not resistance as this is alternating current) of the alternator stator windings plus the action of the alternator regulator, now largely invested in the vehicle ECU. The ECU control is of course a function of the invested algorithm to satisfy direct load, battery charging, environmental requirements and alternator protection.
Even in modern non-ECU controlled alternators with in-built regulators, protection control for both over-current ant excessive temperature are incorporated into the incorporated regulator.

Thank you though for affirming my other points.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 19:21

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 at 19:21
I did write typical, the same applies to most if not all alternators.

Modern alternators have temperature compensation, this can reduce alternator output current under overload conditions but this is not what its intended for and it shouldn't be replied upon for this purpose.

I have not seen a typical alternator regulator that has overload current protection, in fact all alternators I'm familiar with do not produce their maximum output until the regulator has dropped out?

Last time I spoke to Bosch regarding their alternators ratings they advised to de-rating to at least 80% for continuous operation at high loads, their common alternators have no internal overload protection. Denso advised to de-rate to 70%, again no internal protection against overload.

A quick check of the net shows statements that many regulators have over current protection but I have yet to see one that actually does, I would be interested to see the alternator your basing assertions on?

Over current protection in an alternator is pointless, the basic design of the alternator limits its maximum current to safe levels. This does not mean you can't overload the alternator though, an overload manifest itself as you wrote by a rise in temperature, if the alternator can't shed its heat load it could overheat and be damaged, this could be as a result of high ambient heat, the alternator being required to supply high outputs for long periods of times or combinations of thereof.

With regards to Land Cruisers, the only LC I'm aware of that uses a ECU controlled alternator is the new Prado 2.8Ltr, the alternator in the new Prado appears to be a LIN type, however Toyota appear to be either not using it or have coded the engine management system to emulate the previous models temperature controlled alternator as the outputs of both are nearly identical under the same conditions. There is no current sensor or smart charge functions yet.

Regarding the negative battery cable, modern ECU controlled charging systems generally use a hall effect device or other sensor to monitor the current flowing in the wire, hall effect devices detect the magnetic field generated by current flowing through the wire, other sensors such as terminal mounted units have shunts in them, if you can change the size of the cable it will not affect the current reading of these devices.

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