[C38] Universal 5424 Charging problems

Rich West rw at idea-asylum.com
Sun Oct 9 13:25:30 EDT 2005

Hi Rob,

I just wanted to let you know that I got your message from the listserve and
offer my two cents.

$500 seems very high.  You can buy a Balmar high output alternator for less
than that, I believe: http://www.balmar.net/ and Defender also sells them.

As for what else it can be, the is long.  It can be the regulator, the
batteries, or even the wiring anywhere in between.  Nigel Calder wrote a
couple of very good books that would help you diagnose the problem
("Boatowner's Mechanical & Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and
Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems" and I believe there's one just on
charging systems as well.)

Hope this helps - good luck.

Rich, Legacy #360

-----Original Message-----
From: Listserve-bounces at catalina38.org
[mailto:Listserve-bounces at catalina38.org]On Behalf Of Rob Cornelsen
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2005 7:39 AM
To: Listserve at catalina38.org
Subject: [C38] Universal 5424 Charging problems

Last weekend we decided to use the autopilot to steer
as we powered from the far side of the Bay back into
Solomon’s Island.  As we entered the Patuxent River,
we switched on our running lights as it was getting
dark.  By the time, we returned to our slip, the
battery was completely drained.

Our Catalina 38 has the original universal 5424
engine.  I checked the ammeter on the engine panel and
the alternator appears to be putting out zero to two
amps.  This is well below the 51 amps that it is rated

I checked on line at Torresen Marine and a new
alternator is about $500.00 with freight.   This was
quite a shock since auto parts stores sell alternators
in the $50.00 price range.

Does anyone know if an auto alternator is compatible
with the Universal 5424?  In addition, is there
anything else that I need to check before replacing
the alternator?


Rob Cornelsen
Catalina 38 #223

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