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Author Topic: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams  (Read 18832 times)
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Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
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« on: September 21, 2011, 03:48:27 PM »

This interesting topic keeps reappearing all over the internet boating forums.  Basically, there are two very simple ways to wire your house and reserve banks for a solid electrical system.  BOTH OF THEM require that you "rethink" the simple 1-2-B switch, as follows.  The ONLY outputs off the C post of the switch are to the starter and the distribution panel.

OPTION 1 - Single 1-2-B Switch Feeds BOTH Starter and House Loads (Distribution Panel (DP))

1. Take the alternator output off the starter and run a new heavy gauge wire to the house bank positive - from the alternator output (AO) with a fuse near the battery bank.  Some installations had a small wire between the AO and the starter.  Remove this wire.  Run the power to the starter FROM the C post of the 1-2-B switch.  Simple.  It's already there!

2. Take the shorepower charger's output off the reserve/start battery and leave it only on the house battery positive - again fused near the battery. If you have solar panels or a wind gen the output also goes direct to the house bank.

3. Buy either an Echo Charger or an ACR (automatic charge relay) and wire it to the house +, start + and ground.

What this does is change your 1/2/both switch to a "use" switch and not a charge switch because the AO no longer goes TO the switch, it goes directly TO the house bank. The 1-2-B switch still lets you decide which battery to use for any load but the charging of the reserve bank is automatic.  ANOTHER advantage is that IF your house bank COMPLETELY DIES, you can use your reserve bank for LIMITED house loads

The easiest way to use this system is to use the house bank for everything and keep the reserve battery for emergency use. When you arrive on the boat turn the switch to 1 (house bank) and turn it to off when you leave. Engine starting is easily accomplished by the house bank.

And there is no chance of error.  And if your echo charger or ACR breaks, then, ONLY WHEN CHARGING,  simply use the B position on the switch!  Backup, backup, backup.

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OPTION 2 - Two Switches:  A 1-2-B Switch Feeds the House Loads (DP)) and a SECOND On/Off Switch Feeds the Starter

The two switches are connected.  

1 - If the starting battery goes bad simply turn the 1/2/BOTH/OFF to BOTH and flip the ON/OFF to OFF you can now start your engine and do house loads off the house bank yet still 100% isolate the starting battery.

2 - If the House bank goes bad simply flip to position #2 and leave the ON/OFF turned to ON. This will allow powering house and starting loads from the starting battery and allows it to also act as a reserve.

3 - For normal everyday use flip the 1/2/BOTH/OFF to #1 and the ON/OFF to ON.

Some boaters prefer this arrangement because they feel the need to separate their electronics from the starting power requirements.

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Please note that in BOTH cases the 1-2-B switch is used as a "USE" switch, only "deciding" which battery bank to take power OUT of.  The AO goes TO the house bank, NOT to the C post of the battery switch.  The advantage is that the 1-2-B switch operation can NEVER blow the diodes out of the alternator.  You can even turn the danged switch OFF with NO damage!!!

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Important Consideration:  Once you move the alternator output to the house bank, that wiring will be live.  Either remove the fuse or add a simple on/off switch to turn the line off when working on the alternator or the engine.
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The Blue Seas Dual Circuit Switch, in my opinion, is NOT an option that should be considered, although many do so.  The SERIOUS DEFICIENCY in this concept is that it can only do two things: keep the reserve and house banks separate OR combine them.  When a bad bank and a good one are combined the bad bank drags the good bank down, which is exactly what keeping banks separate tells us should not be done.

Here's how they work, from the Blue Sea website:  http://bluesea.com/files/resources/sales_sheets/6833.pdf

Here is an excellent discussion bout the DANGERS associated with the dual circuit concept:  by Maine Sail called "Darn AGMs" -- http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=848465&highlight=dual%20circuit

Once you read both, you'll realize the serious implications of that concept, regardless of the type of batteries that you have.

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Option 1 diagram courtesy of Dave Mauney, Option 2 courtesy of Maine Sail

PLEASE NOTE for Option 2: The wire from the 2 post of the 1-2-B switch is shown going to the starter; it can also just as easily be run to the lower post of the on/off switch, which is just the other end of the same wire.  The switches are usually closer to each other, resulting in less wiring.  

Other versions of these same diagrams have appeared elsewhere on our website and are available at the "Electrical 101" topic:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5977.0.html

Maine Sail has also written something similar to this, with more written details:

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring:  The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=137615

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Important Reminder:

Once you do either of these changes, make sure that the BATTERY SENSE wire from your regulator goes to your house bank.  The instructions with external regulators gives you an option to connect it to the back of the alternator.  This will NOT work, since it will be reading almost if not more than a volt LESS than if it was properly placed at your house bank.

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Battery Fuse Sizing with tables (from Maine Sail)

http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=130775


* Dave's wiring diagram.jpg (96.59 KB, 475x480 - viewed 11321 times.)

* Two switch battery design by MS.jpg (88.92 KB, 712x800 - viewed 696 times.)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 01:09:49 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5526



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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 07:49:25 PM »

Here's one courtesy of "ctj1950" from sailnet.  About as simple a way to convey the basic wiring as I can find, just like Dave's Option 1 drawing above - it's exactly the same thing but this one shows the bits and pieces.  (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electrical-systems/79919-updating-dc-system.html)

Maine Sail has noted:  if you have the same size wire for the ACR as you do the main battery bank cables then the fuses on the banks are already sized for the ACR wire. The solar panel fuse should be on the bus bar side of the controller.


* Gulfstar DC_CABLING_DIAGRAM-Model2.jpg (61.7 KB, 1024x819 - viewed 2021 times.)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 04:07:39 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5526



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 04:54:04 PM »

Here's another good, simple one, an example of the three switch version described above, but could easily be done with a simple 1-2-B switch.

Please note that we are NOT recommending using the wire gauges or fuse sizes shown on your boat.  That is both up to you as well as the need for those to be based solely on YOUR loads, alternator size, wire run distances, etc.

The purpose of posting this is to show a reasonable alternate switching arrangement.


* 12V battery wiring diagram (Medium).jpg (79.21 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 298 times.)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 11:12:40 AM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5526



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 12:35:25 PM »

Three switch wiring diagrams from Maine Sail (originally posted on co.com)

If you are going to use the three switch method be sure it is wired PROPERLY. This is one of the most miswired switch scenarios I see.

Alt goes to house...

The parallel switch is wired to the LOAD SIDE of switch 1 & 2......


* Normal 154153780.jpg (102.12 KB, 712x800 - viewed 76 times.)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:41:51 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5526



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 12:35:45 PM »

2


* House fail 154153781.jpg (103.27 KB, 712x800 - viewed 72 times.)
Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5526



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 12:36:05 PM »

3


* Start fail 154153782.jpg (101.67 KB, 712x800 - viewed 66 times.)
Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
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