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Old 28-06-2016, 14:59   #16
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Have a look at this diagram: It my help you decide how you want the system to work.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l7fuzp9c45...ching.pdf?dl=0

Compass Marine/Maine Sail has some excellent info on Bat. & Switch wiring
http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects

http://forums.sailboatowners.com/ind...usings.137615/
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Old 28-06-2016, 15:18   #17
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
If you are wired in the way described above get somebody to rewire it. the whole purpose of a starter battery separate from the house bank is that you do not want your on board appliances to drain all batteries leaving you dead in the water. An exception is the windlass which may be direct wired to the starter battery as it uses a lot of amps but for short, infrequent periods. In my limited experience bilge pumps are direct wired to the house bank more often than the starter battery but I see no reason for a preference.
OK, there are some interesting contradictions going on in this thread but let's ignore those for now.

Wiring the main switch as shown by Skipmac (1 to the house, 2 to the start, all take-offs from the third pole) is the correct and best way to do this. Geez, I can't even make this sound complicated. When you switch to 1 the house bank is connected to the 12v board/starter. When you switch to 2 the start bank is connected to the 12v board/starter. When you switch to ALL both banks are connected to the 12v board/starter and to each other.

In other words the house bank and the start bank ARE separate from each other unless switched to ALL. Why would you want to re-wire that?

As far as connecting things direct to any battery, if you have any form of battery monitoring system, any device wired direct to any bank will not be seen by the monitor and will not be accounted for. So if your fridge is direct-wired, the batteries it is connected to will be drawn down to flat while the monitor will continue reporting the batteries as OK. Wiring appliances through a switch on the board will not reduce current flow unless the switch is dodgy. Fix the switch.

Another thing (IMHO) is that the term "start bank" is a misnomer. I consider mine to be an "emergency bank" that only gets used when the house bank won't cut it. So I start the engine and do everything else on the house bank. If it doesn't work (batteries flat) I switch to the emergency bank, start the engine and switch back to the house bank to charge it. I charge the emergency bank when the battery monitor says I should. But that's just me.

Back to the contradictions. Skipmac, who proposed the correct wiring in the first place, agrees with Dave22q that it is incorrect and should be rewired??? C'mon guys, let's try and help the OP, not confuse him further.
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Old 28-06-2016, 15:55   #18
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
OK, there are some interesting contradictions going on in this thread but let's ignore those for now.

Wiring the main switch as shown by Skipmac (1 to the house, 2 to the start, all take-offs from the third pole) is the correct and best way to do this. Geez, I can't even make this sound complicated. When you switch to 1 the house bank is connected to the 12v board/starter. When you switch to 2 the start bank is connected to the 12v board/starter. When you switch to ALL both banks are connected to the 12v board/starter and to each other.

In other words the house bank and the start bank ARE separate from each other unless switched to ALL. Why would you want to re-wire that?

As far as connecting things direct to any battery, if you have any form of battery monitoring system, any device wired direct to any bank will not be seen by the monitor and will not be accounted for. So if your fridge is direct-wired, the batteries it is connected to will be drawn down to flat while the monitor will continue reporting the batteries as OK. Wiring appliances through a switch on the board will not reduce current flow unless the switch is dodgy. Fix the switch.

Another thing (IMHO) is that the term "start bank" is a misnomer. I consider mine to be an "emergency bank" that only gets used when the house bank won't cut it. So I start the engine and do everything else on the house bank. If it doesn't work (batteries flat) I switch to the emergency bank, start the engine and switch back to the house bank to charge it. I charge the emergency bank when the battery monitor says I should. But that's just me.

Back to the contradictions. Skipmac, who proposed the correct wiring in the first place, agrees with Dave22q that it is incorrect and should be rewired??? C'mon guys, let's try and help the OP, not confuse him further.
Perhaps I wasn't clear but I was describing a common wiring scheme not advocating that as the best way to wire a boat. I have been on boats wired that way and here's the problem.

To charge batteries you have to switch to Both (or All). Then when you stop charging you have to remember to turn the switch to house batteries to protect the starting battery. If you are perfect and never, never forget anything then this will work.

If you are like me, once in a blue moon you may be tired, busy getting into a crowded harbor late at night, dealing with some problem with the boat, have a crew member that turns the wrong switch, whatever and forget. Then the next day you have a dead starting battery and no way to crank the engine. If you are anchored miles from nowhere without some alternate way to recharge the battery then you now have no engine.

So for most boaters it is better to isolate the start and house batteries and use a relay or similar device (like the Yandina Combiner or the Balmar Duocharge) that connects the start battery when charge voltage is present and automatically disconnects it when charging stops.

Easy, simple, not too expensive and foolproof.
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Old 30-06-2016, 09:08   #19
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Folie View Post
One of the responders said "there are better ways than wiring direct to the battery".


Some of my devices --- refrigerator, windlass, (and one or 2 others) demand (according to directions) to be wired direct to the battery. In the case of the refer-- they state that this results in the least voltage drop. I forget the others' reasons). Of course when you do this then you have to also install inline fuses, which is a pain.


Do you folks agree-- or do you just hook all devices to the panel???


Thanks a lot--- Rick
Vendors of many devices will "require" that you wire directly to the battery instead of through a panel. They do so because many people will not wire them correctly otherwise and it might be an unsafe installation which they might get sued for in court. And, voltage drop is many times an issue in sloppy installations. If done properly, it is not an issue.

Many electronics are "required" to be wired direct to the battery. There are people more expert than I that will say that radios should be wired direct to batteries (with a fuse) but I have never done that and not totally convinced it is required (flaming disagreements coming I suspect). I like to control all draws with switches myself. And I believe that many electronics vendors are coming around to the proper way to wire a boat if they meet proper standards (wire size, fusing, etc.)

A sure warning sign of potential issues to me as a boat electrician was to find a rats nest of lots of wires coming direct from a battery. You absolutely do not want to stack more than three terminals on a battery post, of any size as they will not be torqued right on the post (or any post for that matter). And all wires should be properly secured to unmoving structures to prevent the loosening of the wires at the terminals from vibration. Many sloppy installations with many wires on the battery do not do this.

Some high current devices (inverters, windlasses, etc.) must be wired "direct" to the battery but in my boat they are always wired to a main bus which is after a main switch so I can turn them off completely without pulling a fuse or wire off of the battery to work on them. They must be properly fused within the shortest distance possible from the switch (which should have a fuse between it and the battery that is large enough for all combined loads under emergency conditions. The wire has to be the right size through out. I do like having a switch or circuit breaker/switch for even my windlass and inverter. I like to be able to turn them off without removing a fuse.

Fuses may be a pain - but they are absolutely required for a safe boat, on every single wire, 99.99 percent of positive wires and in some cases on both positive and negative main wires (in Europe e.g.). Very small boats might be an exception for bilge pump wiring when their isn't a main bus and wiring them to the back of the main switch might be a problem, i.e. the switch is basically used as a bus (common actually).
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Old 30-06-2016, 13:07   #20
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Sorry for my other ways comment. I did not want to confuse things and was trying to encourage you to investigate further, insted of just twisting a bunch of wires together and just hooking them to a battery post.
You wont be able to run everything through your panel unless your talking about just a few items. There have been some great post here with photos and directions.
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Old 30-06-2016, 15:39   #21
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Wow, thanks for all the support, this forum never ceases to amaze me.

I have discovered that the house bank is as dead as a dodo and am replacing it tomorrow, apparently the starter is a bit ify as well so it is also going, you folks probably just saved me from divorce on our next outing so THANK YOU.

I have traced the wiring and even drawn myself a wiring diagram. We have a few issues, not battery flattening type issues just dodgy wires or joins.

I will ultimately fuse the bilge pump direct to the battery.

Again thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-07-2016, 22:06   #22
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post

....and here's the problem.

To charge batteries you have to switch to Both (or All). Then when you stop charging you have to remember to turn the switch to house batteries to protect the starting battery. If you are perfect and never, never forget anything then this will work.
Only a problem if the alternator output is wired to the C post of the 1-2-B switch.

Yes, a combiner avoids PART of this problem, but one should wire the AO to the house bank.

This avoids the "problem" altogether.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:23   #23
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Only a problem if the alternator output is wired to the C post of the 1-2-B switch.

Yes, a combiner avoids PART of this problem, but one should wire the AO to the house bank.

This avoids the "problem" altogether.
I was thinking about the common practice of wiring the alternator output to the start battery which is also a problem. Of course wiring the AO (and for that matter all charging sources) to the house battery is the correct method. I thought I had mentioned that but could have been in another thread as it's such a common issue.
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Old 02-07-2016, 13:26   #24
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Johnathon123 View Post
Wow, thanks for all the support, this forum never ceases to amaze me.

I have discovered that the house bank is as dead as a dodo and am replacing it tomorrow, apparently the starter is a bit ify as well so it is also going, you folks probably just saved me from divorce on our next outing so THANK YOU.

I have traced the wiring and even drawn myself a wiring diagram. We have a few issues, not battery flattening type issues just dodgy wires or joins.

I will ultimately fuse the bilge pump direct to the battery.

Again thanks for the advice.
You'll never regret drawing a wiring diagram. Keep it in a safe place and keep it updated. Sounds like you have a better handle on your issues. Fair winds....
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Old 02-07-2016, 18:02   #25
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

[QUOTE=Omatako;2154867]

I switch to the emergency bank, start the engine and switch back to the house bank to charge it. I charge the emergency bank when the battery monitor says I should.


This link from Maine Sail:

1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings | SailboatOwners.com Forums

Shows you how to wire an ACR so
all that switching is unnecessary.
The ACR can automatically combine
charging for bank 1 and 2, in either
direction, so you would not have to
switch back to the house bank to
charge it. Seems the best possible
set-up to me. Love it on my boat.
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Old 04-07-2016, 15:03   #26
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by jongleur View Post

Shows you how to wire an ACR so
all that switching is unnecessary.
The ACR can automatically combine
charging for bank 1 and 2, in either
direction, so you would not have to
switch back to the house bank to
charge it. Seems the best possible
set-up to me. Love it on my boat.
I would never leave the control of my electrics to an "automatic" device. IMO they are all just a heartbeat away from the reliability of a bilge pump float switch. But that's just me. YMMV.
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Old 04-07-2016, 15:15   #27
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
I would never leave the control of my electrics to an "automatic" device. IMO they are all just a heartbeat away from the reliability of a bilge pump float switch. But that's just me. YMMV.
It's simply a relay. If it fails, and you have your AO wired to the house bank, then just use the B on the switch to charge the start bank, too. B is for Both and Backup.

Quite frankly, you most likely have a solenoid on your starter, too, don't you?

My combiner has been working flawlessly for the past 18 years.
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Old 04-07-2016, 18:37   #28
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
It's simply a relay. If it fails, and you have your AO wired to the house bank, then just use the B on the switch to charge the start bank, too. B is for Both and Backup.

Quite frankly, you most likely have a solenoid on your starter, too, don't you?

My combiner has been working flawlessly for the past 18 years.
So if (when) it fails, I'm back to what I have now? The emphasis to me is on "automatic" which doesn't sound like a simple relay to me. The solenoid on my starter is not automatic, it depends on me to energise it. There are another two on my windlass, also not automatically energised. All of these have at one time or another, failed. But there is no alternative to them so I have to stick with them.

And whilst your combiner has been working flawlessly for 18 years, there are folks who have the same to say about their bilge pump float switches. My experience has been different.

If you had read my earlier post, I mentioned that I have a dedicated alt for my emergency bank and two others wired to the house which I can switch on or off. I have no need for an automatic combiner.

My manual system has been working flawlessly for over 40 years.
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Old 05-07-2016, 23:45   #29
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

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My manual system has been working flawlessly for over 40 years.
Then good for both of us!
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Old 06-07-2016, 00:08   #30
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

I traced all my wires, checked all my everything and discovered the house battery was cactus. After all of that, I need a drink.

Thanks for all the advice.

J
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