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Old 05-09-2011, 03:47   #16
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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I think mine are set to charge to 14.3 and then the charge indicator comes on which indicates float. Use the same mppt solar charger as mark. That's how I recall the settings. I am using Agm batts so the voltage is setup a tad from lead acid.
The regulator will maintain the batteries at 14.3V for as long as there is enough solar power. Be careful if you leave your boat with little load. The voltage will stay at 14.3v for most of the day and this is too high for AGM batteries for long periods of time.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:53   #17
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

Thanks everyone for the advice and Noelex in particular.

With everyones explanation it does help read the instruction book again. As Bill and others note the book is very 'creatively' written.

My batteries are sealed Lead Acid. (So I can't equalize anyway.)

The instructions say that when the batteries are full the amps drop to 0.5 amp aprox but still at the bulk charge voltage.

What damage the high voltage but such low amps would do? Negligable?
In practice it drops down to about 4 or 5 amps when the battery appears full.

Given the manufactures bulk rate of 14.6v and float rate 13.6v I will test at 14.2 volts (I have an ambient battery temp of about 90 d F which the temperature compensation indicates to drop by 0.2 V).
If the house if full at sunset then I can drop it down a bit for the next day.

Finally: I am a bit pissed off that the correct regulator for the pannel size, amperage and house bank size, and costs $300 does not have a voltage step down. That SUX and I am a bit pissed off with Blue Sky. The only one that does have the 3 stage charging is $500.
At least Blue Sky could make it OBVIOUS in their promo information. Misleading people does not make return customers.



Mark
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:12   #18
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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.

Finally: I am a bit pissed off that the correct regulator for the pannel size, amperage and house bank size, and costs $300 does not have a voltage step down. That SUX and I am a bit pissed off with Blue Sky. The only one that does have the 3 stage charging is $500.
At least Blue Sky could make it OBVIOUS in their promo information. Misleading people does not make return customers.



Mark
I'd better re-read all the literature on the Blue Sky regulator I was intending to purchase, cannot remember the model (details at home), but its said to be an MPPT solar charger which also allows the wind geny to be connected direct to the battery bank. In laymans terms, I was under the impression that if the output from the wind geny was too high, the controller diverted the excess to the dump resistors.

Just looked at their website, think its the 3014DiL
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:02   #19
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

Someone here has just showen me there is another variation on Blue Skys controllers: cheaper, NO meters, but 3 stage charging



The one I have:


The CHEAPER one that has 3 stage charging but not amp / volt meter





And the big $500 jobbie:
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:15   #20
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

Thanks Mark, I meant 3024, not 3014.
Their UK pricing is not too bad, at £300, its a shame that UK suppliers cannot match US for solar panel prices.
The GF has decided we need 20 solar panels on the house roof, as we're getting it re-roofed anyway, its 150yrs old, the panels will cost way more than all the other work needed
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:24   #21
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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The GF has decided we need 20 solar panels on the house roof,
In Manchester you would


I only need 2 here in the tropics. Where's my sunglasses? The water is such bright blue... Ouch the sand! The coral!


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Old 05-09-2011, 07:51   #22
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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In Manchester you would


I only need 2 here in the tropics. Where's my sunglasses? The water is such bright blue... Ouch the sand! The coral!


Thanks Mark, rub it in, but at least they'll stay clean with the amount of rain we have.
Two more years mate, semi retire, and taking a couple of years off work to head out to where you are now, looks like I'll be doing the same as you, single handed, GF is quite happy to hop down to the Canary's, but does not fancy the 3 week jump from there.
I'm just counting down the days
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:39   #23
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

I think you will find 14.2-14.3 @25C about right for your batteries. You are looking for the batteries to be at this voltage about 1 to 2hrs. If you have lots of sun and lightish loads and your batteries are staying at this voltage for much more than 2Hrs I would drop the voltage by 0.2V. If you are going to be away from the boat (with no loads like the fridge on) I would drop it to 13.7V.
I would check the voltage at the battery with a multimeter with fresh batteries in the meter, or even a few multimeters and average the result. There will be a little voltage drop so its best to make the settings when the solar panels are producing an average amount of power for best accuracy.

The other possibility is to adjust the equalize voltage so it is correct for absorption. The absorption voltage (which is 1.2v lower ) would then be OK for float. Say 14.7 equalize (which is really adsorption) and 13.5 absorption (which would become float). These are close to the voltages required.
I do not think this will be viable . It is not how the regulator was designed to work. It would also require a manual “equalize” voltage each day. But will look at the handbook tonight and see if it may be possible.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:10   #24
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

Mark I have looked up the handbook I I think if you are prepared in press the manual equalize voltage each day (anytime before mid morning would be fine) this would be best solution.
If you set the charge voltage at 13.4 the regulator will keep the voltage at 1.2V higher, 14.6V for 2 hours and then drop back to 13.4. Very close to the 14.6 and 13.6 ideally required.
If you were away from the boat with no loads it would be fine. The regulator would keep the voltage at 13.4V, but it would not be OK if you leave the boat with the fridge running and were not there to press the equalize button.
I know you batteries should not be equalized, but you are not equalizing them, just taking them up to the correct absorption voltage. It’s a way of getting a 2 step charger from a 1 step charger.
Anyway it’s a possibility, depending on if you will remember to press the equalize button ever day
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:17   #25
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

Thats an interesting one! I better have another read of the equalising section...


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Old 05-09-2011, 10:27   #26
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

Sitting in the cockpit with a beer and equipment manual.
Heaven!
If you are a real geek like me you download the manual on to your Kindle.
I still find time to watch the sunset and the pretty girls (when my wife is not looking!)
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:12   #27
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

Mark Ive read through the manual, ist not a particularly sophisticated way of achieving a two stage charger, its a standard IU charger more or less, simply without a float charge.

The absence of a float charge is of little relevance to a system that mainly is in use all the time. In fact LA's can withstand voltage below the gassing point basically indefinitely.

I would set it at 14.4 ( thats at 20 degrees C). derate that at -0.022V/°C. Setting it any less, will prevent the controller from carrying out any form of absorption phase

Most "smart chargers, dont go above 14.5 in the absorption phase anyway.

so called float voltages are of little use, except in long term static standby systems, like telecomms back-ups etc. On a boat unless left for a long time with no loads, leaving the battery at approx 14.4, with little current flowing will do no harm

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Old 05-09-2011, 13:35   #28
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Re: 14.6vdc Bulk 13.6vdc Float - So What Charge Rate ?

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I would set it at 14.4 ( thats at 20 degrees C). derate that at -0.022V/°C. Dave
At 31 d C = 14.16v

Sounds good to me.

(Temp is only 31 d but humidity is 3,000%)

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Old 05-09-2011, 14:16   #29
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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Neal,

Wish I could give you a definitive answer, but there are several variables to be taken into account. And, the science isn't exactly there, though there are strong indications.

What I can say from my own experience and tests is that flooded battery capacity will be lost over time with float voltages in the 13.2-13.6 region, whereas higher float voltages -- if they can be sustained without losing too much electrolyte -- will help preserve or even recover lost capacity.

Case in point. On my boat I have two T-105 golf cart batteries in series dedicated to the anchor windlass. These are maintained 24/7 by an Iota DLS-55/IQ4 smart charger with a float voltage of 13.6. At home, I have another similar bank of T-105s, maintained 24/7 by an Iota DLS-45/IQ4 smart charger. These are dedicated to my HF radios.

Over time, both of these banks have lost capacity, though they've been well treated and watched. After five and seven years service, respectively, they were down 40% and 55% of rated capacity.

On my boat I have another six T-105s in the house battery bank (totaling 675AH) which are five years old, and which are maintained 24/7 by a Victron Multi-Plus smart charger/inverter. Float voltage during their first five years was 13.2. Unlike the other two banks, these were cycled to 50% whenever the boat was used, and were charged with both an alternator and the Victron battery charger, using 14.4 as the bulk and absorption voltage. Now, these also lost capacity, being down about 20-25% after five years, even after a couple of equalization sessions.

I then changed the Victron settings to 14.6V charging and absorption, and 14.0V "high float". On the Victron, this means that after the bulk and absorption stages, the batteries will float at 14.0V for some hours, before dropping back to 13.2V or so. Then, with my new settings beginning in Sept of last year, every two days the Victron will go into a "repeat absorption" mode for 1/2 hour @ 14.6V. With these new settings I have seen a dramatic recovery of tested capacity (with a Midtronics MDX-650 tester).

The results are shown in the graphic below. The graph also includes two new T-105s which replaced the two on my windlass. It can be seen that brand new T-105s...not yet exercised or equalized...don't test as well as even my 5-year old house batteries!

Not sure this answers your question, but it may give some grist for the mill :-)

Bill

Attachment 31162
Thanks for the detailed explanation Bill. Sounds like I should invest in a Midtronics MDX-650 or similar (although a quick glance online looks like they might cost more than my batteries!!!).

Definitely some grist for the mill (great phrase, not heard that one before).

Cheers,
Neal
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Old 05-09-2011, 14:49   #30
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Re: 14.6 V Bulk 13.6 Float so what charge rate?

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There is no float stage.
There is only one voltage which needs to set, at a compromise, between the correct absorpion voltage and the correct float voltage

Regulators like the 2000E do not drop back to a float voltage. They in fact make no attempt to detect when the battery is charged.

Two different voltages bulk and float are however essential for rapid and safe charging of lead acid batteries.
Thanks for clearing that up. I assumed the 'constant voltage' stage, which kicks in when the batteries reach a preset voltage according to the manual, could be used as a float stage. I guess it can but would render the absorbtion stage ineffective too with the voltage set so low. In any case, their wording is highly misleading!:

" e Solar Boost 2000E provides a precision Multi-stage Pulse Width
Modulation (PWM) charge control system to ensure the battery is
properly and fully charged, resulting in enhanced
battery performance with less battery maintenance. "
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