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Old 07-04-2015, 07:54   #1
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Battery charger in engine compartment?

I picked up a new Sterling 50A UltraPro charger last week and will be installing it in the coming week. Firstly I have to say it looks the goods, although I was a little disappointed to see it's made in China but I guess that's the way of things now.

I have two mounting options in mind. First is on a bulkhead in the salon and the other is in the compact (centre console) engine compartment which kind of gets hot and has high humidity to boot as it always has a little sea water in the bilge due to stern gland dripping and poor ventilation in general. The instruction manual says the charger's drip-proof and fine to mount in a hot engine compartment environment. I've no problem with this aspect (the engine obviously won't be running when using the charger anyway), but I'm a little worried about resistance to corrosion of the PCB in the long term in this installation.

Any experiences good or bad with chargers mounted in a similar compartment?
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:17   #2
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

I think you're right to be worried. All electronics suffer from excess heat, and the moisture-corrosion potential in the engine room you describe seems to be high.

The Sterling is an excellent and not inexpensive charger. My vote would be to treat it right and install it outside the engine compartment with adequate ventilation all-round.

Bill
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Old 07-04-2015, 13:09   #3
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

Our 2002 ProMariner charger -- I understand this to be a product line somehow shared with Sterling -- was installed by the boat manufacturer in our engine room.


-Chris
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Old 08-04-2015, 00:05   #4
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

I've just spent three days moving my Victron Charger/Inverter from a compartment above my engine compartment because it was getting too hot there! I also moved my Balmar external alternator regulator that was cracking from the heat coming up through a cable hole from the engine compartment below.

Just because boat manufacturers put kit in the engine compartment doesn't mean that is a good idea. Look at the specs and above 40C the output of most chargers will start to fall off - they automatically cut the charging current to stop it getting any hotter. The engine compartment takes a long time to cool down so when you come into a dock it will still be too hot for the charger to operate properly. We operate our sine wave charger/inverter even when motoring to charge AC kit.

As Bill says no electronic equipment likes heat, so stuff like external alternator regulators, solar chargers, and especially batteries should not be mounted in even a supposedly "well-ventilated" engine compartment.
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Old 08-04-2015, 00:20   #5
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

Seems to me the concensus from reading various threads is to avoid the enginroom if possible.

cheers
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:39   #6
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

That kind of confirms my thoughts. Although corrosion was the main concern, there are times I'll recharge immediately after engine use. Cheers.

Now the #$^# is routing the cables to the batteries!!!
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:59   #7
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
Just because boat manufacturers put kit in the engine compartment doesn't mean that is a good idea.

Wasn't justifying; just suggesting the world might not end...

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Old 08-04-2015, 06:42   #8
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post

Now the #$^# is routing the cables to the batteries!!!
Atleast if done properly with tinned wires and protected from chafing, it is a one time job and you can be happy knowing it is done correctly.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:08   #9
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

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Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
Atleast if done properly with tinned wires and protected from chafing, it is a one time job and you can be happy knowing it is done correctly.
True. I'll be installing the new MFD at the same time.

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Old 08-04-2015, 09:10   #10
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Wasn't justifying; just suggesting the world might not end...
...nope, just the charger.

Really, why would anyone choose to install electronics in a hot, nasty environment?

Buy a few extra feet of wire. What's so hard?
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:10   #11
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

The circuit board is coated to withstand corrosion. From that perspective, no issue.
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:03   #12
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

I mounted the same unit in my engine compartment last year. Now I haven't been out cruising so the engine compartment has just been at the ambient temp. for Homer, Ak. I felt that having it in the engine compartment at least for my boat would provide warmer, dryer air, once the main engine is running on a consistent basis. The charger is working fine for me. I do have a larger than most engine room 8'x7'x5'4" so my experience is probably different from everyone else here.
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:10   #13
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

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The circuit board is coated to withstand corrosion. From that perspective, no issue.
Right. That takes care of one of the two problems. How does the thin coating deal with heat?
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:27   #14
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
...nope, just the charger.

Really, why would anyone choose to install electronics in a hot, nasty environment?

Buy a few extra feet of wire. What's so hard?

Dunno, other than space (which wasn't insurmountable). Wouldn't have been my choice, but that's where it was installed... and it works (for 13 years, now). Got other stuff to "improve," no need to fix what's working.

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Old 08-04-2015, 19:39   #15
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Re: Battery charger in engine compartment?

If my engine room was ever hot and wet I would, as soon as posable figure out why and cure the problem. There is no reason for a cutlass bearing and the accompanying seal to let water drip inside the boat. and there should be enough air flow through the engine compartment to cool the area. My heart 2000 watt inverter and charger was in the engine room for 20 some years and never missed a beat. I understand that sometimes things get ahead of a person, but a hot wet engine room permanently, is a sign of some longtime neglect. Mac
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