[what's new in:] HD electricals

Oct. 8, 2015
More power is driving alternator innovation

Regulations calling for improved fuel efficiency are driving the development and use of high-output alternators in heavy-duty vehicles. According to manufacturers, increased electrical power translates into reduced engine horsepower requirements and improved fuel economy.

The Delco Remy high-output alternator series provides up to 430 amps of power for vehicles with high electrical loads. Offered by the company are the 28SI model, rated at 160, 180 and 200 amps; the brushless 40SI in 240, 275, 300 and 320 amp versions; and the 55SI with a 430-amp rating.

Delco Remy high-output alternators feature the company’s Remote Sense technology, which reads voltage at the battery and signals the alternator to boost its output to compensate for voltage drops. Remy notes this helps the battery maintain a full state of charge, which is key in high-output applications.

Ten models of Delco Remy heavy-duty starters feature the company’s over-crank protection technology, a built-in circuit breaker that protects the starter from thermal damage in adverse starting conditions such as during cold weather cranking, low-battery capacity, or high-starting circuit resistance. Also featured is an internal magnetic solenoid switch, a one-wire design integrated inside the solenoid where it is protected from corrosion and damage from vibration.

Offered by all major alternator manufacturers are brushless designs, which promote longer service life and limit downtime.

Denso supplies medium-duty truck manufacturers with its line of starters, featuring the company’s high torque design for starting power and improved cold startability. Its medium- and heavy-duty alternators include designs for a wide variety of applications and are offered in versions from 40 to 160 amps.

Mitsubishi Electric’s line of brushless alternators for the North American market are available as either 160- or 200-amp models, both of which the manufacturer says exceed requirements for heat, vibration and corrosion resistance. The company also provides the Diamond Power S55 (DP S55) gear-reduction starter for Class 8 vehicles as a factory-installed item and in the aftermarket through the company’s Diamond Gard All-Makes program, which provides coverage of nearly every truck and engine combination built since 1998. Released last year, the Diamond Power S60 is an enhanced version of the DP S55 for 2010 and newer engines that require higher cranking speeds and more torque.

The Leece-Neville Heavy Duty Systems Div. of Prestolite Electric offers alternators for a wide variety of applications ranging from Class 3-8 trucks, along with the company’s line of starter motors. Its Titan Series of heavy-duty, in-line, gear-reduced starter motors includes a range of models for most heavy-duty diesel engines. The company’s “Universal” brushless alternators are said to withstand high underhood temperatures and have “solid lead frame technology” to help withstand vibration.

Starters for heavy-duty, on–highway trucks and tractors continue to evolve as engine designs change to meet new regulations. For example, Prestolite says its Leece-Neville
Titan 125mm starter was engineered for the largest of engines beginning with 2007 emissions standards.

“We recognized in 2005 that there was a need for an in-line, gear-reduced starter that would be capable of cranking future big bore diesel engines,” the company relates. “We understood, through our relationships with diesel engine manufacturers, that EPA mandates in 2007 and 2010 would be placing additional demands on the starting and charging environments in all heavy-duty diesels, and especially in the 15L to 16L engine range. So, we set out to create a starter that would have the power to crank these new diesel engines in the most demanding environments.”

New and developing heavy-duty electrical technologies are also addressing the need for increased electrification of vehicle components to reduce the fuel-robbing potential of parasitic loads.

Remy International, for example, promotes its belted alternator/starter, integrated starter/generator, and other advanced high-output alternators. The technologies employ an electric motor in place of a standard alternator to add power to the drivetrain in the form of start-stop and power assist or by allowing regenerative braking.

“We believe that 48-volt technology is a game changer,” states the company. “We have seen proof that even small steps can lead to remarkable increases in fuel efficiency, especially in heavy-duty applications.”

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