What do you do when your electronic voltage regulator stops regulating in the middle of a delivery, and your batteries are trying to flatline?
Several options: 1, replace it with the spare that’s on board; 2, go into port and buy a new one; 3, use your generator to keep the batteries charged.
Let’s say, as was the reality on this long delivery of an 80’ sailboat from Florida to northern Mexico, that you had no spare regulator. And let’s say that you were a long way from any port, and so elected to use the generator, which you did have. Let’s also say that your generator was not the smartest piece of equipment, able only to charge full bore whenever it was on. In effect you became the regulator, turning the unit on and off to keep the charge in a safe range. Let’s say that you became tired of this, and put into Manzanillo, Mexico to find a replacement.
Manzanillo, which is not exactly the yachting capital of the world, had no electronic regulators in stock. What it did have, you found by calling around, was an auto parts store that stocked heavy duty school bus regulators, so you taxied there, and bought one for $25. Was it disconcerting that this old clunky unit looked like it came out of a 1950’s vintage school bus? Yes, but only until you had it wired in, fired up, and found it worked perfectly.
Yet another happy ending. **As long as it's under 15 volts...)