Articles: Alternators and Regulators

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Your boat's electrical system can be overwhelming. If you are not sure where to start, or if you would like to learn more about your electrical systems, book an Electrical Audit with PYS

Charge Distribution

Quite often on boats there will be more than one battery bank that will be charged from a single source, as is very common with an alternator. There are several ways of distributing the power from the charging source to the various batteries allowing prioritization of current flow.

Engine Starter Circuit

A common calamity for which we often get requests for a service call is the engine failing to start or even “turn over”.


Early electrical pioneers discovered that passing a magnet in close proximity to coiled wire induced an electrical charge, and that a rotating magnet in front of coiled wire created alternating current. This electrical principle is the basis of an alternator. An alternator is a rotating machine designed to produce alternating current that can then be rectified to produce directional current that can be used, or stored for later use in a battery.

Tachometer Signals

Tachometers all look pretty much the same, but there is some variation between the methods that tachometers get their signal information. The function of a tachometer is to display the RPM (revolutions per minute) of the engine. Typical RPMs will be in the 10s of hundreds, so the method for counting the revolutions must be quick and accurate.

Advantages of External Alternator Regulation

Alternator regulators were traditionally built into or attached to the back of the alternator and were functionally either producing power or were not producing power. This approach is fine for many applications, particularly with power boats that run their engine, and therefore the alternator for long periods of time. For other vessel operators the engine run times maybe shorter.

The Four Stages of Charge

A charge controller or voltage regulator is an important addition to any boat that lacks one. The advantages of the existence of a voltage regulator include: longer life expectancy for the battery banks, faster and...

What is a Charge Controller and the Importance of Having One

A charge controller, charge regulator or battery regulator is a device that limits the rate at which current is added to a battery as the level of charge increases. Its main function is...

Tips for Installing Large Battery Banks

When installing a large battery bank there are a few things we need to take in consideration both for safety and...

The Pros and Cons of Wiring a Boat for 12 or 24 Volts

If weight is a major concern on your boat, or if the vessel size requires long cable runs, there is always the option of wiring your boat for 24 volts. With a higher voltage, the currents pulled by the various electronics are much smaller and hence the cables only need to be...

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