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Advanced Digital Alternators Regulators Technical Information

# Highlights extra features in available in the Pro version only

Performance features

Slow start Yes
Digital software control Yes
# 12V or 24V operation from 1 unit Yes
100% interactive with real time active control system Yes
Can be used as a standalone regulator Yes
Programmable for 4 different battery types Yes
Different charging time calculated every time Yes
One units fits all alternators and all battery type Yes
Charges to 4 step constant current charging curves Yes
Different charging envelope for each battery type Yes
Information LED display (over 10 different indicators) Yes
# Remote control and information panel Yes
M.N.E.A. 400 interface ready Yes
Can be used with or without the temperature sensor Yes

Safety features

Self diagnosing fault system Yes
Totally isolates the advanced regulator in fault condition Yes
# Thermostatically controlled fan assisted cooling Yes
Battery Temperature sensing Yes
Alternator temp monitoring and disengagement Yes
High battery temp trip Yes
High battery voltage trip Yes
High alternator voltage trip Yes
In event of failure auto return to standard alternator Yes
Protects batteries if temperature sensor open circuited Yes
Protects batteries if split charge relay/diode fails open Yes
Protects batteries if advanced reg fails closed Yes
Protects batteries if battery sense wire falls off Yes
Protects against excessive voltage drops in neg cable Yes

Digital Advanced regulator Quick checklist explained

Slow start

The system ramps up the current over a short period of time to reduce the chance of alternator belt slip.

Digital software control

There are two ways to control electronic processing, Analogue (hardware control) and Digital (software control). Hardware control is where the voltages sensed and processed are all done via transistors and electronic hardware. This is fine as long as the information to be processed is kept simple. However, an Advanced Regulator may look simple and most of them are, but when all the different battery types, bank sizes and safety parameters are installed the unit would become almost impossible to make and set up. Sterling leads the field in this type of controller and has found that when upgrading from our previous model we required so many extra features to keep up with new battery types and alternator types etc that a hardware version was impossible to make.

Digital control (software) uses computer lines of code, digitally burned into a memory processor in the Advanced Regulator. This means that very complex information and mathematical processes can be processed which would be impossible for the hardware system to do. It is the next generation of control, more and more you will see the term digital control appearing on different products.

12V and 24V operation from the same unit

In order to make the new unit truly universal, the one system can be programmed for 12V or 24V operation, a simple link switch is provided to convert the unit.

100% interactive with real time active control system

Most other makes of Advanced Regulators are pre-set systems which do not process any information but simply run through a pre-set cycle regardless of what is actually going on. The Sterling digital system scans all the ongoing processes every two seconds and adjusts it to meet any changes, which may have occurred in the time, it has a active control system.

Can be used as a stand-alone regulator

This unit can be used as a stand-alone regulator as well as in parallel with the original regulator. The standard unit can be used up to 24V 300 amp alternator in parallel with the alternators original regulator but only about 24V 100 amp by itself. However, the new Digital High Performance model is good for at least 24V 300 amp by itself if required.

Programmable for four different battery types

Most other manufacturers fail to recognize the fact that the world has more than one type of battery. There are now four main groups, open lead acid/traction, sealed /gel, gel ( Europe) and AGM. To charge these batteries to their best ability there are four totally different charging curves / temperature curves and safety criteria with each battery type. In order to maintain the universal aspect of our unit it is important to tell the unit what type of battery you have, this ensures the maximum charger for that battery type. Failure to have this facility is inconceivable and means that the unit would be set at the minimum requirements and as such, would be a waste of time for open lead acid batteries. One wonders how the competitors manage.

Different charging time calculated every time

Most other systems are a fixed trimming system, where the high charger rate cycle is predetermined in hardware and never changes; i.e. the cycle is the same for 400 amp hour battery which is empty as a 10 amp hour battery which is full, clearly this is not correct. The Digital Regulator calculates the high charger rate based on the following information.

  • Battery bank size
  • Battery bank charger condition
  • Current output.

These three criteria dramatically affect the charge rate settings of the digital unit. After the unit has processed the above information, it sets the high charge rate timer. The end result is a different time rate every time to take into account all the variables.

One unit fits all alternator and battery types

This is a very important aspect for everyone. The reason for this is very simple, if you check other makes, you can find 12 – 15 different products to do what the Sterling one will do. The problem with this is the public must supply correct information about their alternator and batteries to ensure they receive the correct Advanced Regulator. The end result is that regulators are being sent backwards and forwards all over the world because the information is not correct. It is almost impossible to identify most alternators and as a result a local chandlery will only stock a Sterling Advanced Regulator as it fits all alternator types.

Charges to 4 step constant current charging curves

All good battery chargers are constant current 3 – 4 step. This is recognized as the best charging type curves. The Sterling Advanced Regulator converts your old fashion constant voltage alternator into a modern 4 step constant current battery charger, it’s that simple.

Different charging envelope for each battery type

The different battery types require different charging curves. Failure to offer this selection to the customer will result in under achievement of a regulators' potential and the possible destruction of your batteries.

Self diagnosing fault findings

The performance and benefits of an Advanced Regulator are beyond dispute, however, an Advanced Regulator, which has been incorrectly installed or fails, can have devastating effects on a boat. It will destroy the batteries and could easily set fire to cables.

Sterling takes all this into account and recognizes that some boats on which these regulators are used have poor wiring and other faults. Because of this we scan the system every two seconds and if all the parameters are not within our pre-set values then the unit will switch off and tell you the fault. This in my opinion is the most important aspect of this type of device, a point not shared with our competitors.

Totally isolates the regulator in a fault condition

This is very important as all regulators can fail for different reasons. If an Advanced Regulator fails closed then the alternator will work at full power and destroy everything around itself. Simply turning the regulator off will have no effect, so in the event of a Sterling system failing or tripping, for whatever reason, we physically break the field wire guaranteeing that the Advanced Regulator will stop working.

Thermostatically controlled fan assisted cooling

This enables the unit to be used as a stand-alone regulator for such alternators as the BULMAR range of (or any other type in the world), even in the most abusive high temperatures.

Information L.E.D. display

Most Advanced Regulators have no real information being transmitter to the operator and as a result one has no idea what is going on. I find this unacceptable, so we give the following information:

  • High charger rate on
  • Float charge rate on
  • Timer on
  • Gel battery curve selected
  • Open lead acid curve selected
  • AGM curve selected
  • High alternator voltage trip
  • High battery voltage trip
  • High battery temperature trip
  • 12V or 24V
  • High negative trip.

Battery temperature sensing

One battery temperature sensor is supplied with the unit. This will adjust the output charging curves with the battery temperature.

Alternator temp monitoring and disengagement

This unit can monitor the alternator temperature and switch off the control unit in event of high alternator temperature. The Advanced Regulator will automatically re-engage when the alternator cools down.

High battery temperature trip

Most Advanced Regulators monitor the battery temperature to perform the task as explained above, but what is the point of monitoring the temperature if in the event of a battery going over temperature you do nothing about it? Sterling software will pick up the high temperature and in the worst case of a battery boiling, will switch off the advanced regulator and display a warning.

High battery voltage trip

In the event of the battery voltage going too high the unit will switch the regulator off and display a warning.

High alternator voltage trip

This is the most common trip used. In the event of poor wiring, incorrect installation, or any fault in the system, the alternator voltage will rise too high; the unit will trip out and display a warning.

Remote control and information panel

This unit comes complete with a flat L.C.D. screen, 2 line, 16 digit display with a background light and alarm. This unit will display alternator voltage and temperature, battery voltage and temperature, all the system settings and in the event of any of the alarm functions being activated, it will display a help screen explaining what is wrong and what to look for to fix it.

In event of failure auto return to standard regulator

There are many good reasons to leave the standard regulator in place, one of them being that, in the event of a Sterling failure or any trip condition of the advanced regulator, your standard regulator will automatically take over and allow the journey to continue but at a lower charge rate. If your Advanced Regulator does not offer this feature then you will lose the use of the boat during any failure.

M.N.E.A. 400 interface ready

The unit has the ability to connect to an interface; however, we are a little ahead of our time. The protocol has not been standardized for this feature to be effective as yet.

Can be used with or without temperature sensing

Some people don't want to fit temperature sensors, the choice is yours, the software will pick up if you use it or not and control accordingly. Most other makes insist a temperature sensor be fitted.

Protects batteries if temperature sensor open circuited

A big problem with temperature sensors (why people don't like fitting them) is that they are on a battery. If someone changes the batteries and breaks or open circuits the temperature sensor wire, most Advanced Regulators will destroy your batteries by over charging them. Not so with a Sterling. In the event of a failure of a cable break the Sterling software will pick it up within 2 seconds and return to the default settings and carry on safely.

Protects batteries if split charge relay/diode fails open

A common fault when fitting an Advanced Regulator is the old split charger diode or relay is that it is not up to handling the new performance and it fails. This will result in the destruction of the other battery bank, as the battery sense wire will be isolated from the alternator (but not with a Sterling, again our software jumps in and saves the day).

Protects batteries if advanced regulator fails

In the unlikely event of the Advanced Regulator failing then most regulators will fail closed and destroy all your batteries (would it surprise you to know that the Sterling software will jump in and save the day again?).

Protects batteries if the battery sense wire falls off

This is not uncommon, people change batteries and break the alternator sense wire, as a result the Advanced Regulator has no reference voltage and will destroy all the batteries on the boat, that is unless you have a Sterling (OK, it’s getting boring now). Guess what? It protects against excessive voltage drops in negative cable. Most Advanced Regulators give a warning or switch off if a fault develops or is already in the positive cable, but the new Sterling also monitors and protects the system from the more rare but just as dangerous faults in the negative cable. Our unit checks the voltage drop from the battery negative and the true negative at the alternator and if the connections are not good or the cables are too thin, then an alarm will be issued and the system will shut down.

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