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Alinghi legends: The ‘famous five’
Practice, perfection, professionalism and passion: all key elements of
the Alinghi success. But the primary factor behind the Alinghi record is
Counterfeiting hits Marine Industry
By IBI Magazine/Michael Verdon
At last week's MAATS trade show in Las Vegas, representatives from the US government's National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR) gave a rather grim assessment of global counterfeiting. The two representatives said that 7 to 8 per cent of the world's goods are countefeited, and in the US alone, that represented over a billion dollars in lost sales.
Most of the counterfeited products came from China. In 2002, China was estimated to produce about 49 per cent of the world's counterfeited goods. By 2004, the figure had risen to 63 per cent.
Darlene Schwartz, a representative with the IPR, said her division was doing its best to chase down counterfeiters, and had seen some recent successes, including US federal agents being allowed into China to help conduct sting operations on counterfeiters.
But her statistics were not too promising. In 2001, 121 people were arrested in the US for counterfeiting, and 96 were convicted. Three years later, the number of those arrested had doubled, but the conviction rate had only grown to 110.
Schwartz, when questioned by Faria President Dave Blackburn on what her agency could do to stop the counterfeiting of his company's gauges, directed Blackburn to the IPR's website to fill out a government complaint form. Beyond that, she said she could not make any promises that the agency would even investigate.
Over the last year, Blackburn has been mired in red tape in his dealings with governmental agencies, and gotten virtually nowhere. He has met with representatives of the US Trade & Patent Office, Department of Commerce, US Trade Representative's Office and many US Congressional offices as well as testifying at several conferences, including the China Commission.
"Everybody is sympathetic to our situation, but they can't really do much with the circumstances as they exist," Blackburn told IBI. He said that existing laws, which may levy a $600 fine on counterfeiters, are a "slap on the wrist." But he also said that there is very little cooperation from the US and Chinese governments in stemming the flow of counterfeit goods.
With virtually no help from US government agencies, Blackburn has hired a private investigative firm to investigate exactly where in China the counterfeit goods are being produced. He knows the name of the manufacturing plant and its location, and even has a rough estimate of the value of the products being manufactured there.
"We found out through other sources that the total sales of Faria products by counterfeiters was 4.5 million Yuan," he said. "In rough calculations, that comes out to 700,000 gauges."
Besides the financial impact to his company, Blackburn also worries about substandard gauges failing on boats, and perhaps causing injury—and ultimately coming back to damage Faria's reputation. "We regard ourselves as one of the highest quality products out there. But if there isn't any quality control with the counterfeiters, that could seriously harm our name," he said.
Blackburn says a counterfeit gauge that was tested failed calibration tests, but that the counterfeiters have done such a good job on the gauges' exteriors that his warranty department routinely replaces defective counterfeit gauges without realizing they are not authentic.
He believes that the counterfeiting situation is "totally out of control." At its worst, his representative in South Africa has received shipments of Mikita power tools in which both counterfeit and genuine Mikita tools are in the same container.
"Our gauges are being counterfeited by a legitimate gauge manufacturer over there," he says, adding that one of his competitor's lines are also being counterfeited.
"Anyone who thinks they are not a target really ought to think twice," he said. He said that recently the counterfeiters tried to register the Faria trademark in China, but that the address on the form led to a dead-end: It was registered to a kindergarten.
"As a company, we fall below the dollar threshold in which the government will do something about this," he said. "We're just too small for them to get involved."
But Blackburn says that while many companies in the industry have "thrown up their hands" in the face of counterfeiting, he has decided to fight it through the use of the private firm, and also through Congressional lobbying.
HR 32, a tough counterfeiting law carrying penalties similar to drug smuggling, was recently passed by the House of Representatives, and is under consideration in the US Senate. If it passes that side of Congress, it will be given to President Bush to sign.
But in the meantime, counterfeiting continues. "Unfortunately, I'd like to tell you that all our efforts in the last year have paid off," he said. "But the reality is that counterfeiting continues to flourish and that is very frustrating. Middle-size companies like ours are the most vulnerable to counterfeiting, but we're left on our own to deal with it."
But he said he will continue to fight the counterfeiters, citing as an
example a company near his Connecticut headquarters. "They were a
150-year-old country and they were put out of business within a few years
by Chinese counterfeiters," he said. "We don't want to end up like that."
(25 July 2005)
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Charging a Deep Cycle Battery with an Alternator 30 July 2005
A logical choice for the charging source for the deep cycle house battery in a vessel is an alternator driven by the propulsion engine. As simple as this sounds, if not done right, this alternator charging system can be a source of a lot of headache.
It all starts with the selection of the alternator: why would anyone pay three or four times more for a marine type alternator as compared to a large automotive type alternator? As we will see there appear to be some very good reasons, not the least being cost.
Charging the engine start battery
To charge a standby battery (a battery that is not being cycled) such as an engine crank battery, a two-stage charge characteristic is a good charging regime. After cranking the engine, a short bulk phase of several minutes during which maximum current is supplied to the battery will quickly bring the battery voltage up again.
When the battery voltage is up, the voltage is kept at a fixed level; commonly 14.1V for a 12V engine start battery. Most automotive type alternators will have a built in regulator that regulates the alternator output to this fixed voltage.
Charging the house battery
To charge a deep cycle battery such as the house battery, which will go through deep discharge and subsequent re-charge cycles, a different charging regime is required. First of all there will be a long bulk period of several hours during which maximum current is supplied to the battery. When the battery is about 80% full, the voltage will start to rise. The last 20% of charge will be absorbed by the battery if it is kept at a higher voltage
(about 14.4V-14.8V for a 12V battery, depending on the type of battery) for one- to six hours. After this absorption stage, the battery should be kept at a lower voltage, the float voltage, to prevent damage to the battery.
The device that gives the alternator the charge characteristics as described above is the multi stage regulator, also called a “smart regulator” or “external regulator”.
Using the automotive type alternator
A cost effective solution appears to be using an external multi stage regulator controlling an automotive type alternator. Unfortunately, this often leads to premature failure of the alternator.
So why does the automotive type alternator fail when used on a deep cycle battery and controlled by a multi stage regulator?
The answer is quite simple: it has not been designed for prolonged maximum output. It has been designed to deliver a high current for several minutes and then go into float.
As we have seen above, the recharge cycle of the house battery can take several hours. The automotive alternator will not be able to dissipate the heat that is generated internally while delivering full output for extended periods of time and the windings will eventually overheat.
When using the automotive type alternator this way, the system heavily relies on the user to make sure that it is not overloaded and that the alternator receives sufficient air cooling.
Using the marine type alternator
Marine type alternators are designed to provide charging current at or near their rated outputs for the extended periods needed to fully charge large deep-cycle house banks. This means that they are thermally stable when delivering full output. They are specifically designed for the long recharge periods as experienced with deep
cycle house batteries. In addition to being thermally stable, a good marine alternator will further feature heavy - duty bearings, extra large diodes and have a corrosive resistant coating.
The output of an alternator is proportional to the resistance of the internal windings. When the alternator is cold, this resistance will be low and the alternator will deliver a high current. The temperature of the windings quickly rises when the unit is delivering current. Normal operating temperature can be as high as 90 to 100 degrees Celsius.
It is common to rate automotive alternators by their maximum current when cold
It is common to rate marine alternators by their continuous current when hot (hot-rated alternator)
The difference between the two ratings can easily be as high as 25%, this means that a 140A marine alternator may actually put more current into the battery than a 175A automotive type alternator.
Frame size and alternator rpm
In addition to the generic type of alternator (ie automotive or marine), another important consideration is the frame size of the alternator. Alternators come in small, large and extra large frames.
Apart from mechanical differences such as size of bearings and diameter of rotor shaft, an important difference between the differently sized frames is the way in which the alternator dissipates its generated heat. The small frame alternator primarily dissipates its heat through forced-air cooling. Special design such as dual internal fans in small frame units will increase the airflow but to ensure sufficient cooling, the revolutions of the small frame alternator should not be too low.
The larger frame designs have the advantage of increased metal mass that works as a heat sink. This makes these designs the most reliable solution for heavy duty charging in combination with low rpm engines such as marine diesels.
A note on corrosion
Regardless of the type of battery that is being charged (deep cycle or engine start), in a marine application the alternator should have an isolated ground output. This means that the negative output is isolated from the alternator frame. The isolated ground prevents earth leakage currents from flowing through the alternator mount, engine and hull, which can cause galvanic corrosion. Saving a few dollars on the alternator could ultimately cost the boat!
The right alternator system for the right job
Source: Alphatron Pacific