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By Pat Manley

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An overworked belt will shed a lot of black dust and will fail after only a few tens of hours. A second alternator By fitting suitable brackets to the engine, it may be possible to fit a second alternator being driven by a second belt and pulley system. Consult the engine manufacturer to ascertain the maximum side thrust loadings allowed on the crankshaft. Think about how you will connect them electrically, see the section on battery charging in the chapter ‘Batteries’. Starting load A bigger than normal load on the engine when starting from cold with well-discharged batteries may have undesirable effects, such as difficult starting or black smoke after starting.

What you do need to do is to determine how long you wish to be able to run from your batteries before you need to recharge them from a ‘primary’ source, such as running the engine or shore power. Your ‘secondary’ charging sources just need to prevent your battery falling below a 50% state of charge in that time interval. indd 36 10/18/2006 11:09:19 PM ELECTRICAL SUPPLY Underway, Night, DC Cabin light (1 × 10 watt) Nav. 2 A modern cruiser could easily consume 115 Ah for a 12-hour passage under sail.

In other words, if the lights need 10 amps, the alternator will supply them with 10 amps. If the alternator was supplying 10 amps to the lights AND charging the battery, its output would be 10 amps constant for the lights PLUS a diminishing charge going into the battery. How big should the alternator be? There are two considerations here: What is the maximum load at any one time? How big is the battery bank? • Normal electrical loads are always satisfied from the alternator’s output. indd 42 10/18/2006 11:09:40 PM ELECTRICAL SUPPLY • This normal requirement may reduce the charge going into the battery.

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