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Old 19-10-2010, 00:56   #76
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External alternators

Hi Oranaman

I am looking at fitting an external regulator and was leaning towards the Mastervolt Alpha Pro.

The main reason is that you can adjust the voltages and the duration of the absorbtion phase. The Sterling provides 4 fixed profiles as I understand it which did not really fit my needs.

I am interested in what made you chose the Sterling and if you considered the Mastervolt device.

Regards
Martin
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Old 26-10-2010, 15:58   #77
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Questions asked

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Originally Posted by ex-static View Post
Oranaman, what size battery bank and what power charger do you have? On our Orana we have a house bank of 840 amps (deep cell) and a 60 amp charger which isn't doing its job properly... so considering options to fix that.
Sorry for the delay in replying but I have a painfully poor internet connection here in Turkey. On my Orana I have the standard 400Ah plus another 270Ah which is used for powering my 2.5kW Sterling inverter/charger - a separate bank. This has a 60 amp 230v charger, which actually produces 70amps. The charger that came with the boat produces 50amp making a total of 120 amp 230v charging. If you are thinking of an inverter look at inverter/chargers - a combo. In theory 120amps at say 14.8v is about 1778 watts. One of my issues is that the 2.3kva petrol generator I have will NOT run both my battery chargers until the charge rate has dropped below a total of 90amps or so. So it takes a long time to charge up flat batteries of 670ah.

To Martin. Sterling is a small UK company who have been producing very innovative products ahead of the big boys for over 10 years and are well known to UK yachties. They produce detailed technical information free of marketing hype and I tend to check out their offerings first. They produce a alternator to battery charger which avoids the connection to alternator brushes whilst still producing 95% of the output of the advanced digital charger. Check their web pages, information and manuals can be downloaded.

Sterling Power Products: High Quality Advanced Marine and Automotive Digital Power Products

I chose the standard (non-remote) Sterling Digital advance regulators because it is cheaper and for the extra features it has. In the Uk its about 100 GBP = 160A$=158$ inc. tax at 17.5%. Yes it has 4 profiles to suit different batteries but they are NOT fixed. The software calculates the maximum charging rate according to the size of batteries, their %charge, the charge available from the alternators etc. In addition it has a whole host of safety features, stops the batteries overcharging, shuts down the alternator is the charging voltage is too high etc. I suggest that you email Sterling if you have any queries.

The mastervolt unit appears to be analogue with adjustable parameters which you set up. Sterling used to produce a similar model but it was replaced with the current digital version.
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Old 07-12-2010, 18:58   #78
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How to access the alternator brushes/fit external regulator

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Originally Posted by oranaman View Post
Hi All,

With reference to fitting a smart alternator regulator - I have 2 Sterling Digital regulators fitted to my Orana with D2-40 engines. The alternator fitted on D2-40 & D1-30 are 115 amp Mitsubishis, I think the smaller engines are the same?. If so access to the field coils is simple. On the body of the alternator there is a black sliding panel which is removed. Underneath there are two smaller clips which are removed and then its possible to solder directly to the brushes. These alternators are negative field types and on my boat the front connection is the one you need ( identification is an essential step in the installation). If you are interested in this mod I will try and post further information including photos later when I have proper internet connections.

I have written this up on the Orana 44 Electrical Modification and issues thread.
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Old 30-06-2011, 18:04   #79
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Gents & ladies

Hopefully a simple question for those of you well versed in electrickery! My Mahe (No.12) has both the house bank and stbd start batts in the port E/R, there are three key type isolation switches fitted to the battery rack, one for each engine and one to common the banks together for emergency starting.

With the port engine stopped, is it possible to charge the house bank and the stbd start batteries from the stbd engine alt by closing the isolation switch and joining the banks? Or would this cause damage to the stopped port engine alt?

The reason I ask is that our engine hours are becoming quite disparate due to always using the port engine for charging.

Any advice or info appreciated.

Cheers
John
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Old 30-06-2011, 19:52   #80
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
With the port engine stopped, is it possible to charge the house bank and the stbd start batteries from the stbd engine alt by closing the isolation switch and joining the banks? Or would this cause damage to the stopped port engine alt?
Closing the emergency start key will charge the house batteries with the starboard engine with no damage to the port alternator. But there is a big risk! If you forget to open the emergency start key when you are done charging and shut the starboard engine down, you could drain both battery banks and have no way to start an engine. A better alternative is to install an automatic charging relay that will close when the starboard engine is running and open when you shut it down. It's easy to install, you can connect it across the emergency start switch. Something as simple as the Victron Cyrix (~$50) and a couple of short 4awg cables will work. It's cheap and good insurance so you won't run both banks down.
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Old 30-06-2011, 19:56   #81
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Hi John

Yes you can do that, I have done it many times to keep the hours under control.

The main issue is that I would forget to switch it back!

What I have done is fit a Voltage Sensing Relay in parallel to the isolation switch. What this does is allow current through when the voltage in the "home" circuit is high enough (ie: the engine is running). The one that I have actually works both ways so the stbd battery would be charged from port when that is running.

It also helps juggling the throttles when raising the anchor and manoevering to keep head to wind as the winch is getting power from both engines

Note that you should only do this if the Port and Stbd battery banks are of the same type of battery!

Regards
Martin
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Old 02-07-2011, 15:28   #82
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Many thanks for the info chaps, I will definitely look into the VSR mod too.

Cheers
John
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Old 02-07-2011, 15:41   #83
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

TECSUP Charger question, after doing some rewiring to fit a battery monitor I noticed that the 12V 40A Tecsup charger appears to have 3+ output connections though FP have only utilised 1 for the housebank.

Checking the manual for the charger it seems to indicate that the 12V 40A model will handle 3 banks, has anyone considered connecting the stbd start batt to the Tecsup charger??

John
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Old 02-07-2011, 16:33   #84
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Hi John

If you fit the VSR you won't need to do that, it will link the two when the charger is operating.

Cheers
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Old 10-08-2011, 20:52   #85
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Hello All
Has any Mahe owner changed the batteries out yet and if so could you tell me what you did to get the 3 batteries out of the box they are in and if you have pictures could you also show them as well. Did you put back 105 ah batteries back or could you put in something bigger. Any help would be helpful.

Thanks
Al
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Old 11-08-2011, 00:03   #86
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Hi Al

I have just removed my batteries and replaced them with a LiFePo4 battery. Very expensive but if the claims are correct cheaper in the long run.

I did not mess about and cut out half of the low fromt panel in the battery box. It was then quite easy to slide each battery over and out and the new one in. I "Cut" it by drilling a series of holes as I could not get a saw/jigsaw in but if you had some other cutting tool it may work.

There are several loose spacers inside the box to prevent the batteries slipping. You could always screw these in after the new batteries are installed and between these and the steel bar on top they would not be going anywhere.

The LiFePo4 battery is about 1/2 the size so I have just tied it in with a strap.

Photo attached.

I added a battery isolation switch and you can also see the shunt for the battery monitor so the outside of the box is getting a bit cluttered.

Cheers
Martin

Cheers
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Old 11-08-2011, 00:30   #87
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Mahes

I thought I would update you on the changes I have made on the 12V side.

Episode 1:

The main change was going to a LiFePo4 battery technology. If you put aside the claims and counter claims about cheap & nasty Chinese batteries the basic technology makes a lot of sense. At least 3000 recharge cycles (perhaps 10000 if you believe the claims), ten year life, light weight/smaller and for me the big factor, able to charge at multiples of battery capacity (3-5C), quickly with little efficiency loss and no extended boost phase. Charge till full then hold at a float voltage.

It is early days, 3 weeks into the cruise but so far I am pretty happy. It does not suffer from Peukerts factor losses and perhaps because of this we seem to use less power. I can't be specific as we also did a number of LED light changes. Charging on alternators is much quicker, I now wish I had a bigger alternator or at least a smart regulator so I could tailor the charging profile.

The standard voltage is higher (13.2 or so) and one side effect is I can use the windless without running the motors if I have to!

I did a lot of online research on options open to me in Aus. Basically there was a high end battery at rediculous prices, a mid price range one that seemed to be good quality and a low end one that was subject to some argument about quality. The low end one required additional DIY charge management technology which brought the cost up a lot closer to the mid range "drop in" solution and transferred the risk back on you thanks to the DIY component.

I ended up buying the mid range LifeTech battery. It has a 3 year warranty and is basically drop in. There are/may be a few changes to make in the charging regieme but not major. The cost was about double the cost of a good quality AGM equivalent set. OK I did not seek out the best deal on AGMs but I had to justify the cost somehow!

The only change I am having to make (other than pad up my battery box) is to upgrade my solar controller as my old "dumb" one did not support an appropriate on/off threshold. The standard shorepower charger on the LeadCalcium setting is fine (14.6V full charge voltage).

I have also had to remove my VSR as the Lead Calcium Starboard battery can't share the charge pool due to the different charge profile. More on this in a later post.

I have replaced the 300Ah bank with 180Ah of LifePo4. They can safely be discharged to 20% DOC giving you about 150Ah or the equivalent of the 300Ah at 50% DOC. As they are smaller there is room for more in the box if you need and can afford more.

Cheers
Martin
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:00   #88
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Mahes

A quick caution on an issue I have had.

I have a multiplexor consolidating AIS data with the Furuno system NMEA messages for my Laptop Nav system.

The connection to the multiplexor kept dropping out and you would lose current status on everything, sometimes just when you really wanted it.

I picked up that it happend regularly after some high demand items, such as the water pump, were used.

It proved to be feedback through the common earth knocking the multiplexor out momentarily. I had connected it to the common earth behind the switch panel.

I have now moved it to a clean earth and all is now good.

The lesson is that if you have any sensitive electronics do NOT use the common earth, run a dedicated one or share a clean one with other electronics.

Cheers
Martin
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:41   #89
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

Al,

Mahe Battery info:
Freedom Marine Maintenance Free calcium batteries (Lots of other companies make these)
Group 31 with 105 amp hours. Can purchase them for around $120 each
L = 13, W = 6-3/4 H = 9-1/2

Here are the steps to remove the Mahe lead calcium batteries.

1) To see what you are doing you will have to put your head up in the far left corner. Then you can get your head up to see the top of the batteries.

2) Remove the two pull pins from the steel bar running down the center of all three batteries
There is one pull pin on the left side and one on the right. Now slide the flat bar a little to the left until the right side comes out of the right slot. Hold the right side of the flat bar up and pull up while sliding up and to the right to remove.

3) Un-bolt the charger cable on the left front red buss bar.
Un-bolt the red battery box cable on the right front red buss bar.
Un-bolt the middle terminal on the front red buss bar
Lift and remove the front red buss bar

4) Un-bolt the charger cable on the left back black buss bar.
Un-bolt the black battery box cable on the right back black buss bar.
Un-bolt the middle terminal on the back black buss bar
Lift and remove the back black bar.

5) Now you have two choices. Go on to step 6 or take a hack saw or power sawzall and cut the battery box toe rail out of in front of the left battery. Slide the left battery out and then slide the other two batteries left and out this left slot.

6) Now all three batteries are free to move around. Move the left battery into the upper space to the left hand side above the battery box. There is just enough room to get the first battery into this space, then the other two come out a little easier after this. The batteries are sealed, so you do not have to worry about angling the battery or spilling anything.

Mark
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:26   #90
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re: Batteries And 12vdc Systems

MKB53 (Martin),

Can you give us a bit more info on your LiFeTech LiFePO4 battery
I see from the picture, it is12V/180Ah LifePo4
Is it a LiFeTech XPS series?
How much does it weigh? Do you have a web sit or spec. sheet ?
How much did it cost ?
Where did you purchase ?

Mark
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