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Old 15-12-2011, 16:08   #1
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Exclamation 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

I just installed a Xantrex Freedom XP 1000 (charger/inverter) in my sailaboat, which is directly connected to 2 house batteries. I also have a starter battery that is connected to the house bank through a West Combiner. So, when the engine runs, it charges the starter first, and then any extra juice charges the house batteries. Conversely, when the shore power is hooked up, the house batteries are charged via the Xantrex, with extra going to the starter.
The problem is that the Xantrex, which is a 3 stage charger (Bulk, Absorption, and Float), doesn't seem to recognize when to move into Float. Consequently, it doesn't seem to turn off .... I just had these batteries installed so they should be pretty much full. In fact, today, after a couple hours of charging, my house bank battery monitor doesn't indicate that the house batteries are full (even though yesterday it showed them as full).
Any ideas what's going on? Help. I'm worried that I've overcharged my batteries and/or fried my battery monitor ...
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:38   #2
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Welcome aboard Sailgreen, what voltage is the charger putting out? And what is the voltage of the house bank when the charger is off and the surface charge is drained?
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Old 15-12-2011, 16:56   #3
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Thanks so much for the speedy reply. The charger quickly settles into absorption mode (which is at 14.4 volts). The amps that the batteries were receiving decreased from about 9 amps to about 3 (as shown on the Link 10 battery level indicator which is hooked up to the house bank). But after 3-4 hours, it still hadn't dropped into float. By way of reference, with minimal charging two days earlier, the Link 10 battery meter for the house batteries showed that they were fully charged at about 12.9 (i.e., the fourth green light was blinking). Now, after a couple of charging today (to confirm that it wasn't going into Float), the batteries still show 12.8-12.9, but the green light isn't blinking (suggesting that the batteries aren't being regarded as full by the Link 10).
My thought was that the new Starter wasn't fully charged, so that the combiner was sending charge to the Starter (because the house was fully charged), but now that doesn't seem to be the case, and I'm worried that I've been juiced all the batteries too much.
PS -- I don't have any DC loads turned on while charging... The Link 10 flickers between .0 and .1 as the current amp load.
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Old 15-12-2011, 17:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailgreen
Thanks so much for the speedy reply. The charger quickly settles into absorption mode (which is at 14.4 volts). The amps that the batteries were receiving decreased from about 9 amps to about 3 (as shown on the Link 10 battery level indicator which is hooked up to the house bank). But after 3-4 hours, it still hadn't dropped into float. By way of reference, with minimal charging two days earlier, the Link 10 battery meter for the house batteries showed that they were fully charged at about 12.9 (i.e., the fourth green light was blinking). Now, after a couple of charging today (to confirm that it wasn't going into Float), the batteries still show 12.8-12.9, but the green light isn't blinking (suggesting that the batteries aren't being regarded as full by the Link 10).
My thought was that the new Starter wasn't fully charged, so that the combiner was sending charge to the Starter (because the house was fully charged), but now that doesn't seem to be the case, and I'm worried that I've been juiced all the batteries too much.
PS -- I don't have any DC loads turned on while charging... The Link 10 flickers between .0 and .1 as the current amp load.
Just a quick thought.

The link 10 is monitoring the house. Can you confirm that all charging sources for the house are downstream of the link?
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Old 15-12-2011, 17:17   #5
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Thanks! I'm not sure exactly what you mean. The charger is connected directly to House 2 (a 130 amp deep cycle, which is connected in parallel to the other similar House). The Link 10 is connected to House 1. There is a Combiner that links House 1 with the Starter. It only should open when it detects a charge (above about 13.3 volts) being received by either bank.
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Old 15-12-2011, 17:49   #6
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Xantrex has wonderful tech service. Have a pen, paper and volt + amp (optional) tester handy; they'll walk you through the whole thing regardless of the age of the unit or when you purchased your unit. Here's the number 1-800-670-0707, you won't be disappointed. This is ALL they do all day long.
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Old 15-12-2011, 17:59   #7
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Two things to keep in mind as you troubleshoot:

1. new deep-cycle batteries can't/don't deliver their full rated output until they have been exercised (discharged and recharged) a few times and even equalized; and

2. battery monitors like the Link are unreliable reporters of "full charge" until the batteries have been exercised/equalized AND the monitors reset/recalibrated for full charge.

FWIW, the charger should be hooked up with the positive lead going to the nearest house battery positive pole, and the negative lead going to the farthest battery's negative pole.

I wouldn't worry about things for awhile. You've already determined that the charger is putting out an appropriate absorption voltage (14.4VDC), so use the batteries for awhile and keep monitoring. Don't worry too much about what the Link monitor says about "full charge".

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Old 15-12-2011, 18:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailgreen
Thanks! I'm not sure exactly what you mean. The charger is connected directly to House 2 (a 130 amp deep cycle, which is connected in parallel to the other similar House). The Link 10 is connected to House 1. There is a Combiner that links House 1 with the Starter. It only should open when it detects a charge (above about 13.3 volts) being received by either bank.
If I read correctly the alternator charges the start bank and excess is combined to the house.

If the combiner output is "upstream" of the link shunt (i.e. batt side) the link won't see the "extra" charge.

The house will get full but the link will show not full.

But now I am confused more. House 1, house 2 and start? Are these three separately switch circuits?

In any case, the thought is that whatever battery(ies) the link is set up to monitor, the link needs to know about all charging/ discharging current.

Sorry if I confused things.

If the charger is showing 14x volts all the time then your original premise of the charger not seeing the trigger for float phase seems correct regardless of what the link is showing.
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Old 15-12-2011, 18:33   #9
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Quote:
The amps that the batteries were receiving decreased from about 9 amps to about 3
... suggesting the batteries are just about topped off.

Quote:
...the green light isn't blinking (suggesting that the batteries aren't being regarded as full by the Link 10
... No worries. It will probably reset when you go through a discharge and full recharge.

Ask Xantrex what your charger uses as the trigger for transition from absorption to float, and ask them if this trigger is appropriate for your battery bank (it may be a user setting).
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Old 20-12-2011, 10:43   #10
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

As long as the house battery negative goes directly to the shunt for the Link 10 before any other connection all charging sources will be measured on the Link.
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Old 20-12-2011, 14:12   #11
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Seahunter- At the chance of going off on a tangent; I have had cell phone batteries die waiting for somebody at Xantrex Tech Support answer my call that is "...very important to them." Has Xantrex changed their stripes or were you just sending the OP out for a fathom of lubbers line?

To hopefully clarify, and get back on subject, for the shunt to work properly it has to have the house batteries' B- (the batteries that the Link will monitor) on one stud and the B- of all other sources and loads, including the starting battery's B- on the other stud.
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Old 20-12-2011, 15:38   #12
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

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Old 21-12-2011, 10:53   #13
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

If the current tapers off to 3 amps that suggests that there is a problem with the starting battery. If there are no other loads it should settle down to about 0.3 amps at 14.2 volts. The Combiner will take about 0.125 and the rest should be trickle charge going to the batteries.

There may be some residual loads on the starting battery that is drawing some current, even when things are turned off that don't show up when the charging is going dirctly to the starting battery.
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Old 21-12-2011, 11:27   #14
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
As long as the house battery negative goes directly to the shunt for the Link 10 before any other connection all charging sources will be measured on the Link.
Yes,

AND... an oft overlooked aspect of charging monitors is that the engine ground has to pass through the shunt if you are going to get an accurate read of charging current (since the alt current will pass through this ground).

YES, your starter does draw a lot... but only for a moment.
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Old 22-12-2011, 01:45   #15
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Re: 3-stage charger problems when used with 2 bank combiner ?

s/v 'Faith'

I agree, but in the systems I have designed and wired I route all charge sources through the house bank including the alternator. I charge the start battery with either an ACR or an Echo Charge which I prefer. I wire the start battery so it controls only the engine and its related parts - panel, fuel pump, etc.
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