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Old 09-05-2014, 07:21   #16
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

I have the Blue Sea SI-ACR in my boat, installed by the manufacturer. I added a remote status monitor LED near the helm so I can verify ACR operation while underway. My power boat has a common rail diesel so it is important to verify the start battery is combined with the house bank. All engine electronics are connected to the start battery and the alternator is connected to the house bank.
The ACR has worked very well.

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Old 09-05-2014, 07:57   #17
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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Why does a large size mismatch matter?
It matters if you have a smart regulator and the bulk phase is set to a high voltage. If you big house bank is discharged and the bulk max voltage is set to something like 14.8 or higher then your fully charged starter battery will be overcharging during the time the house bank has charged enough that the voltage is higher than a normal dumb charger voltage of around 14.4 until the trip point out of bulk at 14.8 is reached.

Out of the box, at least the couple I have looked at the bulk and acceptance voltage is set the same at about 14.4, which is where many dumb regulators are set so it wouldn't make any difference anyway.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:16   #18
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

I don't believe in a separate starter battery.
Back when people had small house banks and no way to keep track of the State-Of-Charge of their house bank keeping a separate starting battery made good sense.

Now we generally have big house banks and good SOC instruments and don't need to keep a separate start battery.
The large house banks can supply all of the current needed to start the engine. House banks are generally sized in the hundreds of Amp-Hours. It takes less than 1 AH to start my diesel.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:26   #19
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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I have installed about 100 blue sea acr's. 2 this week already. as long as the banks aren't hugely mismatched it's a great device. (like a 800ah+ house bank and a group 27 start, then you want something like a proisocharge)
All charge sources should be wired to the house bank first, when banks are unequally sized.. This prevents relay cycling and is the proper way to wire a BS ACR when feeding banks of differing sizes.

I have them installed on piles of mismatched banks and they work perfectly, when wired properly...
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:29   #20
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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It matters if you have a smart regulator and the bulk phase is set to a high voltage. If you big house bank is discharged and the bulk max voltage is set to something like 14.8 or higher then your fully charged starter battery will be overcharging during the time the house bank has charged enough that the voltage is higher than a normal dumb charger voltage of around 14.4 until the trip point out of bulk at 14.8 is reached.

Out of the box, at least the couple I have looked at the bulk and acceptance voltage is set the same at about 14.4, which is where many dumb regulators are set so it wouldn't make any difference anyway.
This myth perpetuates.....
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:51   #21
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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This myth perpetuates.....
Elaborate. Read a lot of your stuff and apparently missed this one.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:19   #22
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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Elaborate. Read a lot of your stuff and apparently missed this one.
Maine Sail, let me save you a lot of typing!

Overcharging with Combiners or ACRs The MYTH:
Overcharging Batteries with a Combiner or ACR
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:20   #23
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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Maine Sail, let me save you a lot of typing!

Overcharging with Combiners or ACRs The MYTH:
Overcharging Batteries with a Combiner or ACR
I agree with what is in the link.

I don't see how your link applies to what I stated. I was only talking about the case where the bulk phase voltage trip point is set higher than the acceptance voltage set point.

Can we say that the voltage is primarily set by the SOC and charge acceptance of the house bank to start with? Can we say the start battery is essentially charged after a short time? As long as the voltage doesn't exceed approx. the normal 14.4 volt typically set for acceptance I agree there is no problem. As the voltage rises you are applying that same voltage to the start battery. Since you are applying say 14.8- 15.0 volts to the start battery its charge acceptance increases. If it is fully charged doesn't it just outgas and heat up, presumably causing damage?

As far as I can tell Maine Sail's article only discusses paralleling batteries where the voltage set point does not rise above a nominal 14.4 volts. I completely believe what he has found there. What I would like to find out is what is wrong with my statement of applying high voltages to charged batteries causing problems?

I wouldn't be surprised at all if on a practical level the amount of time spent at the higher voltages is small enough that it has no noticeable affect on the longevity of the start battery. Does Maine Sail have experience this?
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:43   #24
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

The article also, IIRC, talks about overvoltage-ing in charging. Perhaps I'm confusing it with another parallel discussion on external vs internal regulation, but in any even, charging much over 14.4 to 14.6 V doesn't do the batteries any good because of gassing.

So, regardless of what method is used to combine banks DURING CHARGING, if the voltage is set too high, it's just not good for the lead.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:43   #25
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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I agree with what is in the link.

I don't see how your link applies to what I stated. I was only talking about the case where the bulk phase voltage trip point is set higher than the acceptance voltage set point.

Can we say that the voltage is primarily set by the SOC and charge acceptance of the house bank to start with? Can we say the start battery is essentially charged after a short time? As long as the voltage doesn't exceed approx. the normal 14.4 volt typically set for acceptance I agree there is no problem. As the voltage rises you are applying that same voltage to the start battery. Since you are applying say 14.8- 15.0 volts to the start battery its charge acceptance increases. If it is fully charged doesn't it just outgas and heat up, presumably causing damage?

As far as I can tell Maine Sail's article only discusses paralleling batteries where the voltage set point does not rise above a nominal 14.4 volts. I completely believe what he has found there. What I would like to find out is what is wrong with my statement of applying high voltages to charged batteries causing problems?

I wouldn't be surprised at all if on a practical level the amount of time spent at the higher voltages is small enough that it has no noticeable affect on the longevity of the start battery. Does Maine Sail have experience this?
It does not harm the batteries as the house bank and start bank are at the same voltage for the same exact duration. Both banks will be gassing and getting a good for them high absorption voltage for a short period of time.

Heck my "yard battery" that I use to power my heat gun etc. in boat yards, or on moorings, where running an extension cord is difficult, is always charged to 14.8V. I quite often forget to use the timer and it stays at 14.8V for a few days. The battery is 8 years old and was retired from deep cycle use. It still puts up about 90% of its rated capacity and drives my heat gun for as many times per day as I need it. 14.8V only seems to have helped this battery survive.

We really need to forget about using the term "bulk" as a voltage limited stage of charging. The hair stands up on my neck every time I hear that..

Balmar has tried to re-define what bulk is and they are simply wrong, and do this only for marketing purposes.. Sadly other companies have now jumped on this marketing lingo too.

I have tried like hell to get Balmar to do the right thing and relabel them as they should be; Absorption #1 and Absorption #2. Bulk is NOT voltage limited charging is is constant current. Rick J. just laughs because it sells stuff........

Voltage limited charging is absorption or float or equalizing etc.. If you have any more voltage limited stages they should be named appropriately but calling one of the voltage limited stages bulk I guess helps sell more regulators to the naive....

That said the vast majority of Balmar regs I see, not installed by me, have NEVER been properly programmed for the bank. Better than half of them are still on UFP which is a 14.1V Absorption #1 setting........ Most boats suffer from chronic under charging rather than over charging...

I have plenty of boats out there with Trojan's or US Battery banks, with combiners, and the regs set to 14.7V - 14.8V for Absorption #1 and the start batteries out live the house banks... I have a number of Full River and Odyssey batts that also charge at high voltages and the start batteries out live the house banks. I don't just install ACR's or combienrs thougha nd I do have many boats with Duo's, Sterling B2B's and Echo's...

I can't think of a single combiner boat where the start batteries "cooked" and failed before the house banks. Batteries need & like a good gassing voltage to keep the plates less sulfated. Still, this should be a short duration of the charge cycle then drop back to a slightly lower absorption voltage.

I have one customer with a Defever trawler who does lots of engine hours per year and his start battery bank is now about 9 years old. He's had a combiner for at lest 7 of those years and Balmar reg set to 14.8V Absorption #1 & 14.6V Absorption #2....
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:45   #26
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

Here's that other link by MS

Musings Regarding External Regulation - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 09-05-2014, 13:22   #27
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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This myth perpetuates.....
Thanks.

Perhaps if you mount the smaller battery up high and the larger one down low most of the current will flow down to the big one so the small one doesn't get too much.
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Old 09-05-2014, 14:27   #28
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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Thanks.

Perhaps if you mount the smaller battery up high and the larger one down low most of the current will flow down to the big one so the small one doesn't get too much.

I wasn't saying anything like that. I understand the current acceptance curves. On the practical level I accept what Maine Sail says. On another level is it not true if I charge a battery at 15 volts while it has a relatively high acceptance current this isn't a problem other than I'm charging at a gassing voltage, but once the acceptance rate goes low enough the temperature of the battery is going to increase until it gets damaged or goes into runaway? So Maine Sail says the amount of time this actually happens is short enough to be not an issue on a boat, fine but I was not saying that the start battery was taking more current than it would accept for its SOC at the voltage applied.
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Old 09-05-2014, 14:42   #29
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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The echo charger has a maximum current rating of about 15 amps and you have to re-wire your alternator.
I just installed a Xantrex Echo and did not re-wire the alternator. There was no indication of this with the instructions nor any indication that this was remotely necessary. Please explain the need for alternator re-wiring and I will proceed.

Thank you........
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Old 09-05-2014, 14:55   #30
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Re: Automatic charge relays - good or bad

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I wasn't saying anything like that. I understand the current acceptance curves. On the practical level I accept what Maine Sail says. On another level is it not true if I charge a battery at 15 volts while it has a relatively high acceptance current this isn't a problem other than I'm charging at a gassing voltage, but once the acceptance rate goes low enough the temperature of the battery is going to increase until it gets damaged or goes into runaway? So Maine Sail says the amount of time this actually happens is short enough to be not an issue on a boat, fine but I was not saying that the start battery was taking more current than it would accept for its SOC at the voltage applied.
I equalize/condition batteries regularly, at room temp, at 15.5V - 16V, some for upwards of 8 hours. I've got two flooded batts finishing in the next 15 minutes that I just now measured at 1F warmer than the room temp. They have been at 15.5V since approx 11:00 this morning.. This is after the batteries were already fully charged to 14.8V and the current allowed to taper to .5% of Ah capacity..

I conditioned some Lifelines last week that were on for 8 hours and they got about 3F warmer than room temp by the end. This is pretty normal for sealed batteries.. I have only had a couple of batteries get noticeably warm to the touch and those were all well beyond useful life, and I knew it before even trying to equalize..

14.8V is not harming the batteries, for the duration they are there, and is more than likely helping them. I suspect the only reason my "yard battery" is still going is because I do charge it at 14.8V, and occasionally forget it for a few days. I just add some water and keep on "abusing" it...

If you left batteries dockside charging at 14.8V you would eventually damage them but for the 18 +/- minutes you are at 14.8V before dropping back to 14.6V or so this is likely more of a healthy charge than detrimental.
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