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Old 07-06-2017, 13:41   #1
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Battery Chargers

What's with battery charger manufacturers??? Do they really not know how to charge a battery (voltage, amps, states of charges etc.)? Or is it that they are secretly in bed with the battery manufacturers to help drive sales?

It has been cloudy and rainy here for days with more days forecast so I haven't been getting really any solar. So that leaves my expense engine to wear out using my fully programed alternator regulator. But that is kind of crazy to run a 54HP engine to supply a 1KW (1.3 HP) load. So it makes more more sense to run my 3.5KW generator to do this.

But that means the batteries are charged by the "smart" battery charger. I don't really know what is so "smart" about it. It has 4 different charging programs, none that really match my battery recommendations. It isn't like suddenly out of nowhere battery specs changed.

The unit will supply my FLA at 14.4V during absorption even though the batteries are suppose to be charged at 14.8V. But hey that's OK they will still get charged it will just take longer right? Not a freakin chance! Because also in the battery charger people's mind the batteries should be fully charged when acceptance gets down to 10 amps. Where this 10 amps comes from who knows as it has nothing to do with the size on one's battery bank, it's just 10 amps is good for everyone.

So now the charger goes into float at a lower voltage and a amp level that leaves the batteries at around 95% state of charge.In the past I didn't really care all that much as I know sometime in the next couple days the sun would come out and the solar would take care of it. But that's beyond the current 8 day forecast.

Then there is the practical. I'm currently in Florida and it is hot and muggy and if the current here makes the boat point out of the wind there's not even any breeze through the boat. Not a problem because I spent the money on a diesel generator and can run the air conditioner in the afternoon for a few hours. The uses about 1.5KW of my 3.5KW capacity, but hey the batteries will charge at the same time right. No they wouldn't because the stupid "smart" charger thinks the batteries are fully charged.

So I start looking for a different charger to see if it is worth spending money on a new one. A full replacement for my current charger/inverter is going to be at least $1500 to get something that can be programmed fully. That seemed a lot just to justify for a $550 set of batteries. So I look at a smaller stand alone charger to just take care of the last 10%or so of charging. Well that's over $600 as compared to a standard "smart" charger that is less than $200.

So in the end I decide that it is crazy to worry about fully charging the batteries if the sun doesn't shine! The cost to do so is more that the cost of the batteries and if the batteries lose a year of expected life itis only $75 and it isn't like they just die suddenly.

Now I understand why so many people complain about their batteries. It isn't the batteries at all, it's the chargers!!!!

Thanks for reading my rant
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:02   #2
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Re: Battery Chargers

Most people think a 10 amp ferro-resonant charger can charge the batteries in an hour or two anyway!!
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:16   #3
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Re: Battery Chargers

When a good new car was $5000, I saw customers walk away from it because someone else had the same car without the right side mirror, which added $25 to the net price of the vehicle. ($300+ to retrofit one.)

So...for a half of a percent, the mass market will walk away from what some of us would call valuable safety features. Any boat manufacturer will be glad to sell you a better charging system as an option, but they all know that if they made it standard, they'd have to charge another $500-1000, and the customers would say "So what?" and wlak away to buy another brand. Or another stock boat that didn't have that expensive option.

Wake up and smell the rose food.

You want better? The battery fairy ain't gonna buy it for you. Ante up, either when you buy the boat, or now.
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:18   #4
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Re: Battery Chargers

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I don't really know what is so "smart" about it. It has 4 different charging programs, none that really match my battery recommendations.

How old is it?

FWIW, our older charger will hold the absorption phase for as long as 4 hours (the length I chose) if the batteries will continue to accept charge during that period. After that, it thinks the batteries need float until the charge level reaches some minimum. But if I turn the charger off for a few minutes, then back on... it'll jump to bulk and then absorption again if the batteries will still accept that.

FWIW2, the inverter/charger we just installed has 9 profiles. None of which really match the battery maker's recommendations in the manual OTOH, their tech guy just told me which profile (of the 4 closest) they'd recommend, and why, and why there's no real problem with the profile being a bit off from the manual's guidelines. Easy.

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Old 07-06-2017, 15:02   #5
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Re: Battery Chargers

Does your charger have an equalization feature? Sometimes my charger goes into float because solar has the voltage over 12.8 so I hold the button that engages to Equalization feature which will run the voltage up to 15 .5V. 1 hour or so of Equalization will not hurt the batteries
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Old 07-06-2017, 15:32   #6
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Re: Battery Chargers

Read up this guy has your answer. .Installing A Marine Battery Charger Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
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Old 07-06-2017, 15:36   #7
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Re: Battery Chargers

Did you read the part about rant?

beyond that yes, anything can be fixed on a boat with the proper application of cash
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Old 07-06-2017, 15:56   #8
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Re: Battery Chargers

I advise getting this relatively permanent infrastructure in place to ideally care for whatever chemistry batteries later.

The higher-end Sterling/ProMariner setpoints are programmable, and the lower-amp ones aren't too dear. Sometimes the bigger-amp ones come up on fleaBay for <$200.

Their DCDC versions allow you to make the most of both sub-par Alt and shore chargers, put them on a Starter and only let the good unit touch the (more) expensive House bank.

Is one idea anyway.
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Old 07-06-2017, 15:58   #9
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Re: Battery Chargers

And yes, few vendors make quality charge sources, because few customers care.
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Old 07-06-2017, 16:57   #10
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Re: Battery Chargers

I think they are deliberately conservative in order to not risk over heating (unlikely) etc, limiting their legal exposure, crazy, I also get annoyed by it. The only regulator that whacks enough in on my boat is the alternator smart regulator, both solar and battery charger are to conservative.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:38   #11
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Re: Battery Chargers

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The higher-end Sterling/ProMariner setpoints are programmable, and the lower-amp ones aren't too dear.

Not sure which ones might be considered "high-end" but I can mention the labeling on the unit we installed recently SUGGESTS the set-points are programmable... but they're not.

One profile option on the ProMariner Combi 2000 PS inverter/charger is labeled as "Custom" -- but that feature was not implemented. The Sterling manual says that feature is "not used" and the ProMariner manual says the voltages are "N/A."

Of course I interpreted (prior to purchase) the ProMariner manual to mean they couldn't predict those voltages because the "Custom" profile is user set-able. Au contraire. After installation, I called them to ask how... and the tech acted like I came from the moon or somewhere. Then I read the Sterling manual.

I don't think it's intentional fraud, but I do think a couple things they do -- this being one -- border on marketing stupidity. (The other is about the remote, which is labeled "quasi" for all units. The tech said it'd cost more to make different remotes with the correct labeling. Duh. Another $1.27, probably.)

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Old 08-06-2017, 05:54   #12
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Re: Battery Chargers

Besides the settings issue I can not believe how poor and inefficient my charger is. Right now it is using 6.3A @ 110V AC to supply the batteries with 30A @ 14.2V DC. That's terrible!! It's a 100 amp charger and should put out more than this as right now the batteries are only 85% charged. If I run the engine the alternator will put in 70 amps, which means that for the same Amp-hr in the engine-alternator is a more efficient charge source than the battery charger-generator combination. The charger should be doing more!
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:29   #13
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Re: Battery Chargers

Is it a secret what model of charger you have?
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:41   #14
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Re: Battery Chargers

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Is it a secret what model of charger you have?
no, does it matter?

its a Freedom 2000
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:31   #15
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Re: Battery Chargers

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Besides the settings issue I can not believe how poor and inefficient my charger is. Right now it is using 6.3A @ 110V AC to supply the batteries with 30A @ 14.2V DC. That's terrible!! It's a 100 amp charger and should put out more than this as right now the batteries are only 85% charged.
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its a Freedom 2000

Is it just old, and no longer working to original spec?

Or has it been like that from day 1?

Or are your batteries older and depleted to the point where they won't accept much more? (Which might mean your alternator would also maybe only push 30A@14.2VDC just now, too?)

-Chris
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