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Old 25-08-2015, 21:21   #91
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

As with most gnarly boat problems, there are probably two things going wrong simultaneously.

The diode based splitter is due to be replaced and is a most likely culprit. I would replace it first and see if the diagnosis of the other problem(s) becomes easier.

While it's not the cheapest, I have this Blue Sea charge relay. It has a remote switch that gives you control from the helm or breaker panel. It also can handle high amperage if the batteries are combined. Finally, it can isolate the voltage drop of engine start from the house circuits

https://www.bluesea.com/products/762..._-_12V_DC_500A
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Old 26-08-2015, 00:53   #92
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

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Originally Posted by kas_1611 View Post

think I have the upgrade sorted. Plan is to fit an Alternator to Battery charger capable of handling 2 inputs (in this case Alternator and Mains). From the 2 outputs I will set up 1 for AGM and connect this to the Thruster then use a modern zero volt drop splitter to the other set up for Sealed Lead Acid for the Starter and House battery.

Kieron - what unit is this ? Never seen one box that handles all that ?
Sounds like you need a SIBS shopping experience !

BTW - hope you missed the storms last week ? 3 boats on my pier (6) got hit by lightening frying a bunch of electrics - luckily I was out - riding it out, anchored in Solta 😬




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Old 26-08-2015, 02:13   #93
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

I know for sure that the domestic side of the equation has never seen more than 14.3v during all this so there is no risk to my electrics or to the House and Thruster batteries. I have an external battery monitor on the House and this has been cross checked against my multimeter with both showing exactly the same readings.

The only battery that has been exposed to higher voltages is the Starter, which is currently still holding its charge extremely well for a 5 year old battery. I will probably replace this one this winter (well next spring) once the new charging system is in place.

The battery charge alarm has been resetting itself. This suggests a very intermittent problem. I have checked all the wiring and there are no visible signs of damage or loose connections but I will recheck all this when back on board to be doubly sure. I will look at replacing the sense wire but this will probably happen anyway with the new set up.

Of course it could be as simple as the alternator playing up so it might be worth a new one. My simple test in situ did suggest everything was OK as I did see the voltage from the alternator drop from 14.8 to 14.2v during my weekly engine check, battery voltages measured at the terminals were 14.2v on both sides. Again if it's intermittent there's no guarantee you'd see the problem in a 10minute run.

Cheers

Keiron
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Old 26-08-2015, 02:19   #94
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

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Originally Posted by d4raffy View Post
Kieron - what unit is this ? Never seen one box that handles all that ?
Sounds like you need a SIBS shopping experience !

BTW - hope you missed the storms last week ? 3 boats on my pier (6) got hit by lightening frying a bunch of electrics - luckily I was out - riding it out, anchored in Solta 😬


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Damian,

Sterling AB12160 according to Charles Sterling, who suggested alternator and charger into it, and the Instruction Manual PDF which has an example using the ProSplitR to divide an output to 2 batteries of the same chemistry.

Just glad there's a 50footer on the other side of our pier with a much taller mast but thanks for the heads up on the storm. Fingers crossed we're OK electronically when we get back in September.

Keiron
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Old 26-08-2015, 03:35   #95
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

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Originally Posted by kas_1611 View Post
Damian,

Sterling AB12160 according to Charles Sterling, who suggested alternator and charger into it, and the Instruction Manual PDF which has an example using the ProSplitR to divide an output to 2 batteries of the same chemistry.
hmmm .. thats the exact kit i have installed. Not sure you can plug a 240v mains feed into the A2B160 ? I have a separate 3 output 240v charger for that.
as you say .. it only allows for one chemistry type also ... not an issue for the Thruster bank, as i am sure the v.drop up fwd has an impact. I had to install a separate B2B charger from the service bank to handle a different chemistry type.
All in all, 4 boxes !.

I am thinking there is still a 'glitch' in this setup tho - as the A2B sense wire goes to the ProSplit sense lug. If the ProSplit has multiple batteries connected to it, I am not sure which voltage ends up on the sense lug. If its a hire voltage than the actual Service Bank - then the boast process isn't gonna work correctly. I seem to witness dropping out of Bulk charge to quickly ... I think i will ask Sterling.
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Old 26-08-2015, 04:00   #96
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

From what I understood the AB12160 (or 12210) would be connected to the output from my Quick mains charger (currently connected to Start and House) along with the output from the alternator. That's the 2 input sources.

Then from the A2B connect 1 output to the Thruster AGMs with the 2nd output split to the Start and House Lead Acids using the ProSplitR. Given the charge regimes for the batteries are very similar (float charge is 0.1v different) one could just leave the setting for lead acid but it might be worth adding in a Battery Chemisty Module for the AGM to gain the very best from the system.

There doesn't appear to be any sense wire attached to the ProSplitR in the example used in the manual but I guess you would wire it the same way as if using a PSR on its own. If sensing from the PSR the alternator would regulate according to whatever the drain was from the system which is likely to be as if it were attached to the House directly. I don't see any reason why you couldn't just leave the alternator sense wire connected to the House battery but in the instructions it does say "The alternator-to-battery charger in its standard configuration senses all voltages directly at the unit. However, in order to compensate a possible voltage drop between the unit and your domestic battery, you can run a simple 0.5mm2 wire from the positive stud of your domestic battery to the terminal marked “dom sense”"

At least that's my understanding of the proposed set up.

Keiron
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Old 26-08-2015, 04:21   #97
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

Ahh .. ok, understand the Mains Charger 12v output going to the A2B. Had not thought of that.... Will it work OK like that ? you will have a charging regime from the Quick being spoofed and fooled by the A2B with its own charging regime. Interested if any other folks do that ??

Watch how you use the 2 outputs from the A2B - one is specifically for the Start Battery and has some 'weird' charging regime - with timed cut outs - if i recall. Don't want power cutting out when using the thruster or windlass.

Regarding the Sense wire - I tried connecting it direct to the Service Bank - but the A2B throws a wobbly and trips. I think there is some switching delay in the Prosplit that effects it. It works ok on the Prosplit Sense lug - but i am sure there is a glitch.
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Old 26-08-2015, 14:09   #98
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

That's a good point about the charge regime coming out from the Quick charger as that is already set up specifically for lead acid so would it be confused by the A2B. A question for Sterling I guess.

I think a Battery Chemistry Module might be needed in order to obtain an ideal AGM regime whichever way things proceed. Partly to compensate for the long cable run (~5m) if nothing else.

I'll let you know what Sterling come back with

Keiron
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:51   #99
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

I am sure everyone will be glad to hear the diode isolators are no more

The Sterling ProSplitR zero volt drop splitter is in place and working. So far so good with no battery alarms but still early days. At least with this in place if the alternator voltage does spike for whatever reason the PSR will isolate the batteries and prevent damage. This is only stage one of the upgrade but I hope it will prove to be the main solution.

One odd thing though is my engine bay blower fan. This was connected to the Alternator supply on the diode so it would only work with the alternator on. When we swapped the cables over and reconnected the battery the blower started. We tried all options but couldn't find a way to connect this fan so that it only runs when the engine is firing.

Now this is a minor issue and personally I don't mind running without the blower as it makes the cockpit a quieter place but the EU Recreational Craft Directive insists we have it and I presume it should work.

So ideas on how to wire this fan in so it only gets power when the engine is running would be gratefully received. One option I did think of was adding a temperature sensitive switch so it only fires up if the engine bay gets above a set temp then shuts down once it has cooled off.

Lastly when hooking a PSR up to a Volvo you need to connect the "ignition positive" stud to the AUX spade connector located on the underside of the Volvo EMS black module and not the fuel gauge connector (of which there are 2).

Future plans for winter include connecting my Quick EBC mains charger to the Thruster battery as these are only engine charged now (previous diode was wired up in such a way as to give a mains charge from the house), run an extra set of 20mm2 cables to the Thruster from the PSR to reduce the voltage drop to ALARP, current cables are borderline thick enough at present but will result in significant loss of voltage (which I can live with for this month). Last part will be a new starter battery next spring.

Many thanks to all for all their input and advice

Cheers and cold beers

Keiron
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:14   #100
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

Without knowing the whole new system...


You find a circuit, almost any circuit, that is only powered up when the engine is running. That could be for an electric fuel pump, for example. Take the power for that circuit, and tap it to the coil on a standard 30-amp Bosch automotive type relay. The other side of the coil goes to ground.


Then you take the "NO" (Normally Open) contact pair on the relay (there are three contacts possible, one "common", one NO, the other NC "normally closed" you ignore) and use them to switch a direct battery power lead to the fan. You can switch the positive or the negative, whichever is more convenient. And of course, there should also be a fuse for the fan's power lead.


The Bosch relay's are widely copied and pretty much standard for automotive accessory power circuits, probably all of $5-10 these days including a relay SOCKET with wiring, so you don't have to kludge up a harness connector.


Robust, simple, isolated from everything else. You need the isolation to ensure the fan's power consumption doesn't overload another circuit.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:32   #101
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

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One odd thing though is my engine bay blower fan. This was connected to the Alternator supply on the diode so it would only work with the alternator on. When we swapped the cables over and reconnected the battery the blower started. We tried all options but couldn't find a way to connect this fan so that it only runs when the engine is firing.
Good news Keiron ... you will need to keep an eye on the PSR, as that will register any faults and shield any audible alarms - re alternator spikes.

So the reason maybe - when attaching your blower feed to the PSR Alternator input there is already a voltage on this connection. Some alternators need voltage on B+ to initially fire up. In the PSR docs it refers to this (point 10) - looks like it feeds 12v from the Start Battery connection to the Alternator input. Easy to test by temporarily removing the Start Battery. But if you did not have this feature before - sounds like your alternator doesn't need it ? Need the 4 output PSR :-)

So - as Sailor says - you will need to track down another control circuit to drive a feeder relay for the Blower. But isn't that the PSR Power connection (ignition feed) you have already wired from your EMS AUX connection ? You can still use the alternator output for blower power - just switch it from a relay controlled by the ignition feed ?

Good luck & Tally-ho
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:33   #102
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

Subsequently discovered that the AUX connection is not switched by the ignition so have had to move the PSR positive onto the Fuel Gauge connection. This is switched by the ignition so the PSR is only active with the ignition on and shuts down about 10-15 seconds after the ignition is turned off. Just need to redo the spade connector so it has both PSR and Fuel Gauge wires connected now.

As for the blower I am seriously considering not bothering with it. The engine can suck more than enough air through the 2x 4in diameter ducts and before the EU RCD did anyone actually have engine bay blowers. One thing for sure it makes the cockpit a more pleasant environment when we are motoring without the constant drone of the blower.

Might just wire in a simple switch to the fan wiring so we can easily switch it on if we are doing a long motor or it is particularly hot outside. As I don't think there is any electrically operated ancillaries on the engine (fuel pump is mechanical) this might be the simplest solution. And I love simple

Cheers

Keiron
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:51   #103
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

Actually the blower should give you better engine and engine oil life. By keeping the engine slightly cooler, the oil lasts longer, and is less likely to be forming a tar layer in the engine head cover and other places. Eventually some of that can fall off, clog an oil passage, and cost you an engine. (One reason to use synthetic oils, which just don't form tars until much higher temperatures.)


By cooling the engine down faster, if you leave the blower running after the engine, you especially prevent those from forming since the primary coolant pump is no longer running so the engine really cooks.


But if it is simply running whenever the key is on...I'd feel the same way about excess noises. I think I'd try for a different power circuit in that case. Or even a simple plain blower switch, installed next to the "ignition" key.
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Old 11-09-2015, 13:42   #104
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

HS,

Interesting thought. I have heard of turbo timers on high performance cars that actually keep the engine ticking over after the ignition is switched off to allow the turbo to cool down thereby preventing damage but never heard of anyone cooling any non turbo'd engine. I kind of agree that allowing the engine and lubrication to cool slowly should be a good thing but in real world conditions have to wonder if the benefit outweighs the cost in terms of complexity and battery amps (not to mention the noise of the fan).

I am thinking of adding a simple on/off switch for the blower by the starter battery isolator so if we do need to run the fan on a hot day when motoring for several hours we can easily switch it on. As we don't have a traditional ignition key this would be the easiest option.

Another thought is to swap the bulky 4in blower currently in use with a 4in computer fan. These run a lot quieter but still move a massive amount of air with possibly less amps. Add this to a temperature controller and we could be on to something.

Right now though we are just enjoying the ability to talk to each other and communicate from bow to cockpit without resorting to sign language and shouting. Leaving the fan isolated is still a serious option

Cheers

Keiron
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Old 11-09-2015, 20:44   #105
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Re: Battery Charge Alarm

Keiron-
Fnas can be very different. I'd assume a computer fan would die in a salt water air intake setting, and in engine bay heat. AND, it would not be explosion-safe as a bilge fan is supposed to be. But besides that, if you look at a fan catalogue form any major maker (like Rotron) you might see, literally, six dozen fans that are all 4", with different ratings for the air volume they move, the speed the move at, and the amount of fan noise. Very tiny changes in the profile of the fan blades can change the noise level by over 20db, which is a huge difference. It could be that all you need is a quieter blower fan Someone might have thought "a noisy fan is good, it is cheap and I know when it is working". Stranger things have been done. Then again, I know some 4"-6" fans that were used in server racks, which set up one hell of a ruckus and moved a lot of air.
But do check manufacturer specs, just buying one at random at the store is just rolling the dice.
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