How Wakespeed’s WS500 alternator regulator solves complex charging issues, now with NMEA 2000 UPDATE

33 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    If you’re not already acquainted with Luis Soltero, I profiled his deep marine electronics industry and trawler/sail cruising career here:

    Luis recently retired as CTO of Global Marine Networks, and isn’t it wonderful that now he’s sharing his latest marine technology passion and expertise on Panbo? How about a warm welcome from readers, and maybe he’ll share some more.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Steve Mitchell is also using the WS500 and reviewed it here:

    • Thanks Ben! I absolutely love my WS-500s – they have allowed me to stop worrying about charging while underway, and at how much power I use at anchor. The biggest challenge with them was configuring them, and there was little to no remote monitoring. Excited to see Luis’ OPE Tether solves both of those issues!

  3. Wolggang Jansen says:

    I liked this post very much, as I have a similar issue. We have 2 engines, equipped with 24V/120A each. 25 years ago (!) we updated the regulators to Mastervolt’s AlphaPro regulators, charging a 800Ah flooded battery.
    It took some time to optimal adjust these regulators, the battery needs to be charged full, before you can setup the regulators.
    Anyway, they are not connected with the (Victron) BMS.
    Searching for a solution, I found a reference to the WS500 on a Victron Users Forum.
    Alternative to the WS500 is also Mastervolts system, as I learned lately. The newer AlphaPro III connect via Masterbus to the MasterShunt. The Mastershunt supplies the AlphaPro III with battery status, including temperature. The temperature of the alternators are also monitored. Everything fully adjustable, if you know what you are doing.
    Summary, if you have already a Mastervolt system, this can be a nice alternative. Masterbus has also a certified NMEA2000 bridge, to connect to the rest of your system. Or integrates into CZONE, which in turn is suported by most brands MFD.
    Go on with your good work, I learned a lot from your blogs and articles.

  4. Trevor Russell says:

    Yup the WS500 is a breakthrough in charging management. Rick at Offroad software solutions also has written some config software for the WS500, and it works perfectly.

  5. Mic Fite Mic Fite says:

    Thank you for the great detailed write up. I appreciate the effort that went into it.

  6. Wolfgang Jansen says:

    For the ones who want to see the history of this device, by coincedence I found this:
    WS500 was called previously the “VSR Alternator Regulator”.

  7. Rod Collins says:

    We are both a Wakespeed & a Balmar dealer and the WS500 regulator is simply amazing but for a “voltage regulator” the MC-614 is one of the most configurable there is. Where the MC-614 may not work the WS500 will.

    For anyone in a similar situation, a resistor & toggle switch on the battery temp circuit of the Balmar MC-614 (there are two temp ports on an MC-614) can also be used to do a forced float.

    I don’t remember the values off the top of my head, and it would vary based on your voltage set points. We have done this before and it works beautifully. It just tricks the regulator into thinking the batteries are hot and the voltage is reduced to a float level. A rotary variable resistor can be used to figure out the actual resistor you’ll need.

  8. Rick Jones says:

    Thank you for the excellent feature highlighting our Wakespeed WS500 Alternator Regulator. Mr. Soltero’s description of the issues that led him to Wakespeed, encapsulates the challenge with external multi-stage voltage regulators. During my 15 years at Balmar, I’ve heard similar stories time and again.

    While using charging voltage and field percentage to determine battery condition may work well in the lab, charge control limited to those criteria has proven to be far less than ideal in “real world” conditions. As Mr. Soltero notes in his article, traditional voltage regulation leaves much to be desired when large transient loads are present and multiple sources are competing to deliver charging current to the batteries — the addition of current monitoring and connection to other system components via CANbus communication is an absolute game changer when it comes to intelligent charge control.

    The genesis of the Wakespeed WS500 actually started nearly eight years ago as a result of circumstances very similar to those Mr. Soltero describes in the article. As Mr. Jensen notes in his comments on the article, the WS500 was first designed by my partner, Al Thomason, as a response to persistent charging challenges he experienced on his own vessel while using popular multi-stage voltage regulators. The WS500 is actually the 4th generation of Al’s original VSR alternator regulator design, which he shared with a community of world cruisers on his blog. This design has seen thousands of ocean miles in its various stages of development, and has proven to be the center of a well proven charging platform. We’re proud to offer a high quality, American-made product that delivers a better charging experience.

    Wakespeed continues to be a strong advocate for an open environment, where others can build upon the concepts that the WS500 represents. We’re really enthusiastic about new compatible technologies like the OPE Tether, which adds even greater functionality and reach to the regulator. We believe that a community of effort is much a much healthier approach to innovation than the traditional proprietary dead end. We’re pleased to see that OPE’s Tether, Offgrid Software’s WS500 configuration and monitoring application, and our own Configuration Software Utility, available at, and our simple, onboard DIP switch controls provide a wealth of tools to make the WS500 the most advanced, configurable and universal alternator charge controller on the market — and you don’t need to chase down a magnetic screwdriver to make it work.

    Thanks, again, for a terrific article.

    Rick Jones

  9. Panbo is wonderful, and the two Bens write wonderful articles, but Luis, this is one of the best articles IMHO on Panbo in a while. The WS500 seems like a game changer.

    But here is the thing, as a consumer, at least to me, the WS500 seems like a perfect companion to the Balmar SG200. Clearly reading between the lines there is some history between the Balmar folks and the Wakespeed folks. But as I read this I think of the SG200, this super advanced shunt that can accurately monitor batteries state over their life, and share that info over a CANBUS to displays and a Bluetooth network. Then we have the WS500 that can properly control single Alternators (or multiple Alternators by using multiple WS500 over a J1939 CANBUS) but requires a shunt and doesn’t really have much of a display. Then you add the OPE tether into the mix that adds GUI program-ability and wifi access. ….. So imagine if all those worked together. Imagine if the WS500 could easily integrate into a SG200 by simply pluging into the CANBUS. The WS500 could simplify its wiring harness now (using the SG200 shunt measurements). The WS500 now could vary its output based on state of health of the batteries. I could easily see the status of charging on the SG200 displays and phone via bluetooth.

    Maybe I am crazy, but with an SG200 system, one or two WS500s, one or two high output alternators (Balmar, Mastervolt, etc.), and lithium batteries (Relion, BattleBorn, etc.) … a boater could basically create a 12volt or 24volt generator replacement system very similar to the Nigel Calder Triskel Marine Integrel Solution that is only designed for 48volts at a potentially cheaper or similar price. (3, 4, or even 5+ kW of power)

    I had heard a rumor (a year ago) that Balmar had wanted to design a regulator that works with the SG200.

    Just a thought, but maybe Rick Jones, Chris Witzgall, and others get together and revolutionize the Boat, RV, and even Off-Grid DC power market. That is just my $0.02.

    • Rick Jones Rick Jones says:

      Thanks, Matthew, Luis has definitely hit upon a good number of key points with his review. The ability to access accurate information about battery health is an essential aspect of proper regulation, so, I certainly understand your interest in a pairing between products.
      We’re actually already doing one better. One of the most important parts of the WS500’s functionality is the ability to communicate directly with a growing number of BMS products, including the REC-BMS, Lithionics Batteries’ Never-Die BMS, and the MG Master BMS from MG Energy via CANbus connection. Getting information regarding SOC, loads, and battery temperature directly from the BMS is certainly the most accurate option, rather than relying on a monitor for second hand information — and the side benefit of simplifying system wiring is certainly an added bonus. In addition, communicating with the BMS directly give us the distinct advantage of knowing when the battery is going to disconnect — kind of a critical feature. That being said, we’ve heard great things about the SG200, and we commend Balmar on what appears to be a terrific product.

      One of the exciting aspects of the WS500 is its ability to learn CANbus languages and libraries, which means that we can support a broad community of products and brands — so we’re not limited to a proprietary system. While the WS500 depends largely on the RV-C command language, we’re also able to participate in other systems that use RV-C, OSEnergy, SMA or a number of other popular command libraries. In terms of monitoring, chances are you’ll start seeing a number of products by various manufacturers who will have the ability to interface with the WS500 via CANbus. A number of integrations have already been proven in the field. Certainly true of the battery industry as well. Several manufacturers have already announced new CAN-enabled products this year, and there are definitely more to come. We’ve got some exciting new stuff on the way, as well. Stay tuned!

  10. Peter Jung says:

    Well, I guess it’s time for my 2-bits. As a somewhat knowledgeable boater, and owner of a somewhat complicated large powerboat (’78-vintage Tollycraft 48), I read the above-posted article, and associated responses with considerable dismay.

    SERIOUSLY? Do us poor schmucks that simply want to operate our boats safely and correctly, and equip our boats accordingly, REALLY need to deal with CANbus, open environments, so-and-so’s software, somebody else’s precision shunt, etc. simply to install a charging system to go boating???? Must we find a trusted local marine electrician, that is now not only ABYC-certified, but also board-certified in (COBOL, Dos, Java, C++, name your software flavor-du-jour), and also conversant in connectivity to all manner of display and/or control GUIs via Bluetooth, for gosh sakes?

    Sorry to rant here, but to all who are enamored of such technology, please remember that the vast majority of boaters may not be so inclined, nor technically equipped to do so. And I, for one, am feeling punked at the moment, and am discouraged by this “look what I can do with a single line of code” mentality, to the detriment of those that believe in the eons-old maritime notion that Keep It Simple is good, and sometimes less is more.

    And sorry Rod, a manual “force to float” to make the Balmar 614 behave is technically a correct solution, but simply wrong for the 99.9% of the boat owners that I know, and certainly me. Balmar should be ashamed.



    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Geez, Pete, sorry for your distress but I think you missed a lot of nuance in this entry. Like:

      “For most users, that is pretty much it. Connect the ignition, alternator power, voltage sense, and battery shunt current sensing wires. Hook up the alternator and battery temperature sensors. Finally, configure the switches for battery chemistry and Amp/Hr capacity, and off you go to worry-free battery charging nirvana.”

      In other words, the Wakespeed WS500 can be a fairly simple install in many cases, and that’s certainly true for the many marine electric power specialists that install such gear for boaters who have no interest in doing it themselves. In fact, the OPE-Tether portion of the article is also about how specialists can now troubleshoot and manage systems like this from afar, even better for boaters who want to keep their boat time simple.

      Meanwhile, the author’s boat Bliss has a notably unusual power setup — though it might get more common, given how much electricity is getting created efficiently — and thus required a more complex setup. And while I can tell you that a lot of readers are grateful for how deeply Luis explained it, the detail was never meant for every boater.

      PS To my knowledge, Balmar has never promoted the “force to float” option as a feature (and I’ve spent a fair amount of time puzzling over their smart regulator manual). So I think it’s an expert feature that doesn’t even get mentioned unless there’s an appropriate need, and therefor trying to shame them about it as if they’re trying to “sell” it to all boaters is itself shameful.

      We’re living in hard times, mate, and a lot of people are getting angry about a lot of things. I’m not seeing how that helps.

      • Brian says:

        I for one enjoyed this article, but I also enjoyed this reply. I didn’t see it as angry, but more an expression of the frustration many are feeling (myself included) by the lack of common sense that is prevailing today at the intersection of geekdom and boating. I also share the frustration with Balmar, a company I like and whose products I use, because I have come to realize that their regulators are not as smart out of the box as we’d hoped, as evidenced by the credible articles over at that address the problems with default regulator configurations leading to premature battery failure. The problem is there are a million possible configurations out there and wide gaps in peoples’ capabilities so I understand how a company like Balmar can’t hold everybody’s hands and consult from afar. But their silence on this front is a little deafening and the rather stagnant innovation in their product line has me wondering if they are on the forefront of their space. Given this, I have chosen to keep things simple — absolutely no lithium ion tech or anything even close to experimental (I have a 420 Ahr 12v Lifeline AGM bank and a single AGM spiral battery for the starter bank. My balmar 100A alternator, driven by my yanmar 3qm30, is regulated by a balmar mc614 to the house bank with a balmar duo charger from there to the starter bank). I know that I can do more to customize my charging curves and work out an equalization regimen that would extend battery life, but I have more studying to do before I’m sure I know what the h*ll I’m doing — don’t want to cause more harm than good. For the time being, I know I may be shortening battery life, but in this space, the cost and ease of replacing the batteries is not as onerous as being a guinea pig with new tech. It is too bad in this litigious world that companies have to take an arm’s length approach with customers. I’d love it if the Balmar site went farther and deeper into exploring these topics of how to optimize our charging systems. Ideally, companies such as Balmar could do a better job of advocating optimized charging architectures for varying scenarios. Right now, this space feels more like building a PC with off-the-shelf components of varying quality as compared to buying a Mac that has the system design burden taken care of from the outset.

        • Rick Jones says:

          Brian, you bring up some great points. While the article does tend toward some techie-friendly aspects of the Wakespeed WS500, we’ve been working to create multiple pathways to provide a user interface that’s as simple or as complex as the user chooses to make it. While we love the idea of access from a smartphone, we’re also able to make it as simple to configure the WS500 as flipping a few DIP switches to match the regulator to the batteries.

          Even easier, we’ve provided close to thirty pre-engineered configurations for battery technologies and battery brands which can be downloaded from the Wakespeed website, and can be uploaded to the regulator with a basic Windows computer and a micro USB cable. The process takes just a few minutes, and can be done right at the desk or work table. These configuration profiles take into consideration target voltages, minimum and maximum amps, alternator temperatures and many other factors specific to manufacturers’ recommendations. We agree that there are myriad factors in tailoring charging to the many battery brands and technologies out there, and we think that this approach does much of the legwork that makes advanced programming a dreaded chore. We’ve got an excellent lifeline battery program available on the website that was developed with the assistance of the team at Lifeline Batteries.

  11. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    Hi Peter,

    the nice thing about the ws500 is that not only does it allow gear heads (like me) full control over the charging cycle, but also allows more utilitarian users the ability to easily install a system that will efficiently care for their battery bank. With the regulator users will never have to worry about over charging their batteries no matter what loads or alternative energy producers they may have. And batteries will be charged at their maximum efficiency reducing engine run times.

    The harness that comes with the regulator has wires for
    1. Battery voltage sense lines
    2. power and ground leads
    3. field wire
    4. battery temp probe
    5. alternator temp probe
    6. sense wires that go to a shunt.

    So basically the same connections as many “smart” regulators with the addition of 2 leads for the shunt sense wires. The WS500 is no more complicated to wire up than say a Balmar or other regulator.

    If you install a common ($20-$40 500Amp/50mv such as ) shunt with some form of lead acid battery then absolutely no programming is required. After connecting the wires you use dip switches to select the battery type (Wed, AGM, Gel, Carbon Foam) and the battery bank capacity. That is all there is to it.

    Most boats already have battery shunts installed since they are used by State-of-Charge battery monitoring systems. Chances are that you have one already (i did). If you do have one then you can piggy back of it. If its not a 500/50 and you don’t want to program the regulator then you can purchase a shut, like the one above, and put in series with the current shunt.

    My recommendation is that if you are having charging issues then you might look at the WS500. The fact that it does use a shunt allows the regulator to precisely determine the state of charge of your battery bank while it moves through its charge cycle. Very few regulators currently on the market allow this level precision during charging.

    Bottom line… even for fairly complex installs there is no need for programming of the ws500. Most users will be able to easily install and configure the unit for their needs.

    Users moving into more the complex Lithium battery systems will need better control over the charging cycle and hence the need for the CAN bus. Communication between the regulator and the Battery Monitoring System is essential to keep things safe if/when the battery bank shuts off. Under these conditions the alternator must immediately disconnect to prevent damage, CAN communication between the WS500 and many popular BMS’ increases safety and reliability of these systems. I will discuss this and more about battery systems and their care in a future article coming soon..

    Take care.


    • Peter Jung says:

      Hi Luis,

      Thanks for your comments, and for your posting of your original article. And now, with my tongue firmly in cheek, I say “NOW you tell me!” Had your article been posted six months earlier, I might well be on your path as well.

      At least the FIRST part of your path! I recognize that the WS500 may well be a regulator that accomplishes 100% of what I (and I believe to be the 99.9% of the rest of the boating crowd) needs in a regulator, simply with the setting of the dip switches. Bit of a pricey solution, but perhaps the cost of doing business these days. But I suggest, not a simple solution, by any means.

      Unless I have my head buried in the sand, I believe the WS500 is a relatively new arrival on the regulator scene (at least for us consumer-level folks.) And thus not yet extensively wrung out by trusted experts. Yours is the first consumer review of the product that I’ve been able to find, and for that, I thank you again. I anxiously await further review and comment on the WS500, and may well go down that road in the future.



      • Rick Jones says:

        Hi Pete, Rick from Wakespeed here. I definitely appreciate your addition to the conversation. While the WS500 does offer some really whiz bang features, it’s original design was my partner Al’s response to the inability of his engine-based charging system to take care of a large, traditional thick-plate flooded battery bank in his sixties-vintage Monk trawler. Certainly not high tech — but, as a live aboard, his system was required to support day-to-day loads that his popular, brand-name voltage regulator couldn’t handle. As Mr. Jansen noted above, earlier generations of the WS500 design have been available, and have been embraced by a dedicated group of world cruisers for more than six years and tens of thousands of ocean miles, The design has been refined to address newer battery technologies, but, at its heart, it was engineered from the start to address simple, real-world charging issues. As Luis and Ben have both noted, for most users, configuration is simple as setting a few DIP switches, or downloading a more targeted profile from the Wakespeed website.

  12. Peter Jung says:

    Hi Ben,

    No, I did indeed capture all of the nuances in the initial article. For brevity, I failed to post my backstory, which consists of many months and many thousands of dollars trying to modernize the electrical system of an old boat, and using largely Balmar hardware accordingly. Unfortunately for me, I completed that upgrade before I became aware of the WS500. My bad, perhaps.

    But my prior work did, indeed, uncover (at least to me) what I consider a flaw in not only the 614’s technology, but certainly in their documentation. BALMAR does NOT capture a scenario while using the 614’s when programmed to properly prevent “premature floatation”. And that scenario is when so programmed, the regulators fail to recognize a 100% SOC on a cruise departing from shore power, with presumably fully-charged batteries. This condition may barbeque the battery(s) on that leg by not forcing the alternators to fall to float immediately. Yup, they’re the finest VOLTAGE regulators on the market. But isn’t that only part of what the consumer really needs?

    Yes, the Wakespeed product appears to be a better solution. And perhaps some of my “anger” should be directed inward for making poor choices of hardware in the first place. Sorry if it comes across that way. Honest, I’m simply trying to promote collegial discussions, which should welcome discourse. Again, I apologize if I came across as too strident.

    But I do believe Balmar deserves some kind of a ding for providing a product that appears to require a neanderthal manual method of “forcing to float” the alternators on leg one of a cruise, and certainly when that methodology is not acknowledged or discussed in their documentation. This “unadvertised (expert????) feature” of the 614’s really isn’t a feature-it’s a flaw, and deserves to be called out as such.

    And lastly, I apologize for taking this conversation off-topic from the Wakespeed WS500. I’m anxious for this product to be extensively reviewed and evaluated by industry experts, and am hopeful that Wakespeed prospers accordingly. And I’m equally hopeful that those of us that simply want to go boating safely and comfortably without a PhD in Computer Science can do so.



    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Correct, Pete, this article is not about the shortcomings of Balmar regulators in certain conditions, and as the guy who edited it, I’d like to keep it that way. There appear to be many ways to “barbecue” boat batteries, pretty much regardless of charging equipment used. That’s why complex expertise either has to be learned or purchased, at least given the current state of affairs. Que será, será.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi all, Luis now has a lot of WS500 info on his NMEA 2000 network, and he explains different ways to do it in a new section above:

  14. Carl Nelson says:

    Really interesting product. Two questions that maybe should be obvious but I can’t figure out:

    1) Do I understand it correctly that the WS500 will measure the charging amps at the shunt coming into the batteries from all sources (including solar) and can be set to reduce the alternator charging amps if the total amps would otherwise exceed the maximum for the battery bank?

    2) In a two engine installation, will the interconnected WS500s keep the tachometer on Yanmar engines (that is driven by the alternator) from sometimes going to 0 rpm when the batteries go into float?

  15. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    Hello Carl,

    To answer your questions…

    1) yes. The house battery bank amp shunt on the negative return is used by the ws500 to monitor current going into the battery. It uses this current to move through its charging stages. Solar panels and other external charge sources do not affect it. Typically for most lead-acid batteries you would program the ws500 to move from acceptance to float when 3-4% in amps of the battery capacity in amp/hr is reached. For a 500 amp battery bank this would be 500*.03 or 15 amps. For this battery the ws500 would go from acceptance to float when 15 amps or less were seen on the shunt no matter who produced the current. For a lifeline AGM the ws500 would hold a constant voltage of 14.3 amps until a current of .5% of the batter capacity was seen. What is really nice is is that you can tune and customize the charge profile to suite you batteries and your specific charging requirements.

    2) you would use 2 ws500s connected via an ethernet cable for a 2 engine application. The ws500 negotiate for a master and the master sets the charging targets. Both regulators work in cooridnation to meet these goals.

    The current version of the firmware allows setting a TACHOMETER MIN FIELD. When set, MIN TACH, prevents the field from being totally turned off. This prevents the field from totally being turned off causing a loss of stator. I quote from the manual…

    Tach Min Field: This is the % value the PWM will be kept at as the minimum drive when the DIP switch has selected TACH MODE. BE VERY CAREFUL with this value as it will set the floor in which the alternator is driven. If that floor is too high, it will prevent the regulator from ‘regulating’, burning out the battery. This is the actual PWM value sent to the field drive; though it is capped at 30% the full hardware PWM.

    Note that newer version of the firmware will handle this more gracefully allowing the stator to continue working without worry about inadvertently affecting regulation. But this has not been released yet.

    The tach min field is set for each regulator so you can run the engines at different RPMS and still have this work. The alternators could be mismatched (i.e. one large and one small) and the two regulators would still be able to make them work in a cohesive manner.


  16. Carl Nelson says:

    Hi Louis. Thanks for the reply. On my first question I have a slightly different concern. It”s a bit odd but in this day of large lithium battery banks and large solar arrays I bet I’m not alone. My lithium battery bank will be cabled and fused for 400 amps (12v). I intend to have two Balmar XT 170’s plus 1800 watts of solar. On a sunny day these together could go above 400 amps. I could derate the alternators to stay below the 400 amps but that wouldn’t be great on a cloudy day or at night. It would be wonderful if I could set the Wakespeed so it would automatically reduce the alternator charge amps to limit the total amps going into the bank to below 400.

    • Al Thomason says:


      Your situation is not that odd; increasingly we see system installs with multiple charging source with many of them able to supply significant amounts of power. And as you pointed out, the sum of them can at time exceed the capacity of the battery system. There are two considerations here:

      1) Max C rate of the battery.
      2) Maximum system power capability

      You did not mention the size of your Lithium battery bank, but if its C rate limit is below the 400A fuse size there is nothing more you need to do other than a standard WS500 install and configuration. By monitoring battery current the WS500 will adjust alternator output to assure the C rate is not exceeded, even if a portion of those amps being delivered comes from Solar or AC power chargers. So, let’s say you have 1,000Ah of battery and the manufacture has specified a continues charge C rate of 0.3C — the WS500 would limit battery current to 300A max, will within the operational range of your 400A fuse. And will not matter if all 300A comes from the alternators, or a mix of alternator + solar + Generator. As long as there is still headroom to manage the alternators, the WS500 will adjust alt output so the total system current to the battery is around the 300A limit.

      However, let’s say you have 2,000Ah of battery, so the calculated current limit based on a 0.3C rate is now 600 amps, a bit too much for that fuse! In this case the approach Luis suggested would be one solution: In addition to defining limits the Battery wants to see (aka, C rate), also define an upper limit for the entire System: Perhaps set the System Watts Limit to 5,000W, that would cause the WS500 to cap delivered power to around 350-375A (depending on battery voltage).

      Another approach would be to reduce the defined battery C rate from 0.3C to 0.18C (2,000Ah @ 0.18C  360A max). Adjusting the C rate down might be a simpler and more consistent approach as the resulting amperage limit will be independent of battery voltage.

      With high energy systems becoming more common the need to properly engineer them also becomes critical. It is good that you have seen the need and hope this gives some additional insight on how the WS500 can help solve your situation.

  17. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    Hello Carl,

    To do what you want you would need to set SystemWattsCap under using the CPA command. This would limit the total power being fed into the batteries no matter who generates the current. Here is the excerpt from the WS500 manual that describes the feature.

    System Watts Cap: This regulator will limit the system wattage to this value. Its primary use is to protect the driving engine and/or belts – by limiting the maximum amount of Work the engine is asked to do in behalf of the alternator. (Work being a function of BOTH Volts and Amps, hence Watts). It may also be used to limit the total amount of power being delivered into the battery by all charging sources. There is no derating or adjustment made to this value based on system voltage or selection of system battery size. System Watts Capacity is used to after applying the ‘Alt Derate xxx’ factors. It is used to protect the alternator from over current usage. A special feature is enabled by setting this = -1, the regulator will drive the alternator as hard as it can for a short period of time when 1st entering Bulk phase. This will then be used to define the Amp Limit of the Alternator.

    Given the complexity of your setup you might call wakespeed or oceanplanet for advice on setup and configuration of the ws500 to best fit your needs.

    Take care.


  18. Al Thomason says:

    Carl (and others):

    How to keep the Tach from dropping out during the charge cycle. A classic PITA for boaters for many years! As Luis pointed out, the WS500 has some features for defining a minimum tach field drive to keep tachs alive, it does work, but requires tuning for each vessel – and myself, I worry about such approaches as if not done carefully can result in a slight overcharge condition. Back with Lead-Acid batteries not that much of an issue, think of it as a mini-equalization step. But the Li based technology can be a problem..

    As alluded to above, we do have something in Beta testing right now, an idea from one of our long time customers – a way to use the ‘Overcharge’ (aka, Finish) phase and have a more controlled transition between the end of the Acceptance phase and the Float phase – the classic critical tach dropout time.

    In Beta testing now, contact us at [email protected] if you want to learn more.

  19. Daniel says:

    Just a heads up for any one wanting to integrate the WS500 onto your NMEA backbone, the NBE100 route does not work.

  20. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    Wakespeed has been purchased by Dragonfly Energy the the makers of Battleborne Li batteries. This is good for consumers for several reasons.
    1. there is now a very large reputable company supporting and expanding the product
    2. Features in the more expensive APS only version of the regulator (such as rpm based engine loading/whitespace discussed above) are now included in all wake speed products as of version 2.5.0.


  21. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    It’s been in the works for a while but as of latest Venus OS v2.90 update, the WS500 can be fully integrated into Victron’s power control and monitoring systems. And it looks great:

    Meanwhile, my Balmar MC618 smart regulator with SmartLink monitoring and configuration is working quite nicely alongside Gizmo’s many Victron power products:

  22. Mark says:

    Hey Thanks for the write up. I particularly like you advanced wirings section, where did you find this info? I’m preping for my WS500 install but I’m finding the documentation underwhelming.


  23. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    the place to look is in the programming manual. It’s quite technical but everything you need is there.

    here is the link…

    Take care.


  24. Todd Sawixki says:

    Luis – many thanks for this post – I’m just getting to the point of wanting to play with my WS500 and this is a fantastic resource!

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