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Author Topic: Hawk's Electrical System  (Read 8080 times)

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Hawk

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Hawk's Electrical System
« on: July 23, 2011, 05:51:28 PM »

Ok I was about to set out my electrical/battery/charger/alternator issues following the trip up the coast where their are few options for shore power. This really tests the integrity of your battery systems and patience at times. While all was overall wel,l I'm not happy with the performance of my system AND I can't really say I know exactly how my system is set up. My so-called reserve 4D, new last summer, was largely discharged on return despite motoring for many hours on the last day...one of several issues I need to sort out.
All to say this post is timely and I will re-read these links so I can pose some specific questions.

Thanks guys.
Oh and I have a Promariner Protech 4 1240 charger...........I know Ron and Stu, I know.......

Hawk
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Hawk

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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 10:46:49 AM »

I intend on installing the Xantrex Truecharge 2 and otherwise sort out, understand and likely change my electrical.

Also intend on wiring the alternator to the 3 Trojan deep cycle 12v house batteries. ( I am assessing how it is all wired htis weekend) I'm considering the Xantrex Echo Charge to charge the "reserve" 4 D as the alternator will go to the house only.

Any thoughts on use of a Balmer Duo Charge rather than the Echo?
Any thoughts on swapping out the 3 - 12v Trojans and reserve 4D for golf carts 6v as house and something else as the reserve?

I've been reading and re-reading the Electrical links.

Thanks guys...just looking for some insight from your experiences.

Hawk
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Stu Jackson

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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 01:51:33 PM »


1.  Also intend on wiring the alternator to the 3 Trojan deep cycle 12v house batteries. ( I am assessing how it is all wired htis weekend) I'm considering the Xantrex Echo Charge to charge the "reserve" 4 D as the alternator will go to the house only.

2.  Any thoughts on use of a Balmer Duo Charge rather than the Echo?

3.  Any thoughts on swapping out the 3 - 12v Trojans and reserve 4D for golf carts 6v as house and something else as the reserve?

Hawk,

1.  Good idea.

2.  The echo charge is preferred, simply 'cuz it's less expensive.  Unless you're gonna mix battery types, which the duo charge is good for, there's no sense in spending the $$ ($225).  The echo charge ($148) is perfect for your application.  I believe Maine Sail has also concluded the same, and it might even be in some of the links you're reading.

3.  Sure, it's a cleaner system with 4 6V golf carts and a small automotive battery for a reserve (or start depending on how you wire it, i.e., switches).  But if your existing batteries are in good condition, I'd do that as a next step, not "required" right now.  As you may know from my dribbles, we have four batteries:  3 130 ah 12V deep cycles for our house bank and a small maybe 60 to 100 ah reserve battery.  I just replaced our batteries earlier this year (see the "Breaking in New batteries" topic) and stayed with the 3 12V to avoid having to rewire and re-engineer the battery compartments for the golf carts.

Hawk, from what you've written, it sure seems you're on top of it.
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Hawk

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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 03:37:35 PM »

Thanks Stu. Thats helpful to hear.

Now, of course, I spoke to my local marine electrical guy who says he figures the alternator ought to be charging both battery banks on ALL, particularly given the big 4D reserve will need more amps pushed into it than the Echo can deal with (his opinion?).......Thats what I have been doing for years BUT the 4D was discharged after 11 hours motoring recently even though the cockpit voltmeter showed 14.2 volts charging until a few hours later down to 13.6 or so........so I have a few things to consider on how its presently wired.

I am going to call the company that sold me the 4D (not a deep cycle) and ask about charging it through the Echo set-up as is recomended by most on this forum.

Any thoughts on the 4D through the Echo. I see the stats say the Echo has a 15 A max charge current.

Thanks again.......I want to head up the coast again past where Steve Dolling is currently bathing naked under waterfalls, but I need to know I can reliably be off the power for 5 to 7 days, realizing I need to run the engine most days to re-juice the house.

Hawk

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Stu Jackson

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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2011, 03:59:24 PM »

...says he figures the alternator ought to be charging both battery banks on ALL, particularly given the big 4D reserve will need more amps pushed into it than the Echo can deal with (his opinion?).

Nonsense!  If the 4D, or any battery for that matter, is being used as a reserve or start bank, it should always be at 98% SOC.  All an echo charger does is "borrow" 15A max from whatever charging source is there and feed it to that bank.  The battery ACCEPTANCE limits how much it will get and since it's so full already and you've only take 2 ah out of it to start your engine (if you use that one) then the 15A is way more than it will take.  Simple.  Your electrician is misleading you and doesn't know what he's talking about if he doesn't understand what you are trying to do.  When you install the echo charger, it replaces the ALL position on the 1-2-B switch, just does it automatically.   ALL or "B" is a "backup" if the ec ever fails

As Maine Sail and I have said so many times, even if you don't have an echo charger (or other automatic connector) and never put your switch on ALL, that reserve bank will stay at a high SOC for a loooong time.

I don't know what the battery manufacturer would be able to tell you that you don't already know.

Upon further review, I'd rip out that heavy 4D reserve and get yourself a Sears auto battery.  Why lug all that lead around? :D :D :D

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Hawk

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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2011, 04:30:07 PM »

Stu,

You "Echo" my thoughts and I'll be sure to cross-examine the marine electrician on his views.....

I was wondering about the reason the PO put in that big 4 D as the Start/Reserve.....maybe thinking that the big 4D will better start the engine. But given that only 2 or 3 amps gets used to do a start that doesn't really ring true.....

Thanks again and I'll report back after I've analysed my set up. Maybe the electrician will change his tune.

Hawk
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2011, 04:44:17 PM »

I was wondering about the reason the PO put in that big 4 D as the Start/Reserve.....

Could it have been one of his two original 4Ds and he didn't wanna try to lug it off the boat after he'd removed the other one?   8)
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2011, 06:59:29 PM »

Hawk,

Another thought after the "Nonsense..." reply.

...he figures the alternator ought to be charging both battery banks on ALL, particularly given the big 4D reserve will need more amps...

That is technically correct.  The "alternator ought to be charging both battery banks on ALL..." by itself is correct, regardless of whether AO is to the house bank or to the 1-2-B C post.

I reacted (!) to the second parts about the "needing more amps" which is wrong.

Sorry about that.
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mainesail

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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2011, 07:43:32 PM »

If you're truly using the 4D as a reserve/starting battery then an Echo is more than enough juice for that battery. Your engine will not even consume 1 Ah to start...

The Duo Charger is a decent device but one that has a HUGE flaw. If the battery needs more than 30A, like in a reserve situation, where you used it for house loads for a while, it shuts down and needs to be reset. Balmar knows this and as of yet, as far as I know, have not fixed this.

The Echo would just happily plug away putting 15A back in. If you ever needed to put more in simply flip the battery switch to ALL like you've done all along. You can also use an ACR, simple, effective, reliable and less $$ than an Echo charger...

It sounds to me like your marine electrician is not well versed in charging systems but don't worry many are not......
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Hawk

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2011, 08:08:40 PM »

Stu,

What he said is what I've always done thinking it was right, ie. always motoring on ALL believing both banks were being charged. He suggested I don't need to add the Echo.

I replaced the 4 D last summer and always started and motored on ALL as Ron does. I religiously turn the battery selector to 2 which is my house bank when engine is turned off on the hook. The result was that I never tested the 4 D alone until back from the recent trip up the coast when I began to have doubts after a reluctant start on ALL after 3 days without power. I added a solar panel last year and the controller has a battery monitor funtion for the house bank and the house was down to 11.6v. As I said on return after 11 hours motoring and safely docked the 4D alone wouldn't even get the fuel pump going...not good. And I was on shore power the night before the long motoring trip.

To add to the problem I committed the error of generally leaving the Protech 4 charger on through the winter which as I now recognize may have negatively affected the batteries.

So for sure I don't trust the charger and will replace it. The Leece Neville high output alt looks OK but will check. Last I may ditch the 4 D.


So I figure the 4 D has been just ballast because the Protech 4 charger never was charging it up and the alternator either isn't charging it either or can't charge it up when depleted.

Thanks a lot. And thanks Mainesail - just read your post!
Hawk
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2011, 10:12:38 PM »

What he said is what I've always done thinking it was right, ie. always motoring on ALL believing both banks were being charged. He suggested I don't need to add the Echo.

I replaced the 4 D last summer and always started and motored on ALL as Ron does. I religiously turn the battery selector to 2 which is my house bank when engine is turned off on the hook.

Yes, Hawk, that's true.  We have been suggesting the echo charge simply because, as Maine Sail said in the links above at the beginning of this Electrical 101 topic, the ec does what you describe automatically and you don't have to use the switch.  At the risk of repeating ourselves (from the links above - see, I did it again!  :D), most folks don't have the discipline you do, and we suggest the B as a Backup to the ec if it ever breaks.

And, when you get on the boat you switch on the house bank, leave it there, and turn it off when you leave.  Simple.

That was Brian's writeup in Reply #1 on Page 1 of this topic.

Don't forget: "get your AO off the 1-2-B switch."

That's the whole idea behind echo chargers, relays, combiners, ACRs and oil pressure switches (usually from "ye olden days of sail").
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Hawk

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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2011, 09:20:53 AM »

Thanks Stu,

I'm seeing that, as you say, adding the Echo reduces the likelyhood of problems with use of the 12ALL switch. However assuming discipline rules on my ship then I could leave things but install the Truecharge 2 which should do both banks and provide monitoring of both banks, correct.

Where I am foggy is when you say take the Alt Output off the switch. I get that point as why charge the switch first BUT where do I put the AO?..to the house bank, or both banks with two wires ?.....Recall my issue is as you have written in previous posts, that I want to be confidently able to charge up from a house discharged 50% when off shore power up north and know I have reserve to start the engine if I take the house too low when anchored in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage and limited radio.

This discussion has really been helpful, believe me.

Hawk
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2011, 10:22:02 AM »

1.  I'm seeing that, as you say, adding the Echo reduces the likelyhood of problems with use of the 12ALL switch. However assuming discipline rules on my ship then I could leave things but install the Truecharge 2 which should do both banks and provide monitoring of both banks, correct.

2.  Where I am foggy is when you say take the Alt Output off the switch. I get that point as why charge the switch first BUT where do I put the AO?..to the house bank, or both banks with two wires ?.....

1.  Yes, BUT:  you do NOT need to have the shorepower charger go to both banks, just use one output and run it to your house bank, the ec does the reserve bank the same way it does when you're using the alternator.  That is the entire purpose of the ec: to avoid having to use the 1-2-B switch for the reserve bank and to allow the use of one shorepower output to the house bank.  In some cases, perhaps with the ec, having two outputs from the shorepower charger defeats the ec and could perhaps damage it.  RTFM when you buy it.   :D

2.  The AO goes to the house bank, only one wire, and ec provides the charge to the reserve bank.

Hawk, you really, really, really, really need to re-read Reply #1 on page 1 of this topic.  It sums it up as best I've seen.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 03:33:30 AM by Stu Jackson »
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2011, 12:57:21 AM »

Thanks Stu.
Performed some informative tests with the amp and volt meters today. Lots to consider.
Will report back in a few days.
Appreciate the insight.

Hawk
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2011, 03:50:08 AM »

Tom, here is one of the best "simplified" wiring diagrams:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4949.msg30170.html#msg30170   The "combining relay" is your echo charger.
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