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Old 21-05-2012, 10:50   #61
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
...but I would not put too much faith in information from sources such as Trojan battery employees
Why not - not only does Trojan have the best battery research facilities in North America, they also produce all 3 types of batteries - gel, agm, and flooded.

Agm batteries and gel batteries can be long lasting - gel in particular. Their charging has to be precise, charged fully often and not overcharged. In real life that is not so easy.

On the other hand if you are in a war zone agm batteries will work if hit - that was the premise behind their design for the military in the 60's.
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:05   #62
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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...and when not, it charges through a BEP VSR (echo-type charger)

I'm considering the Balmar 612-Dual regulator which is supposed to be good for charging 1 bank off 1 engine using 2 alts. Would love to hear that this step (& expense) isn't necessary!
The VSR parallels the banks during charging - the Echo Charge and comparable products (DuoCharge among others) are followers that do not parallel the batteries ever.

The Balmar MC-612 - and the newer MC-614 - are designed to charge 2 battery banks off of 1 alternator. I just checked the manual and there is no mention of 2 alternators.

One solution, although an expensive one, is 2 regulators and a Balmar Centerfielder between the 2 regs Balmar's Centerfielder Dual Alternator/Regulator Controller
The other option that works well is to just run the 2 alts into the same bank. In bulk mode you have the capabilities of both outputs combined and when the first set point is reached one will defer to the other, but by then the batteries are accepting very little current anyway.
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:10   #63
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The VSR parallels the banks during charging - the Echo Charge and comparable products (DuoCharge among others) are followers that do not parallel the batteries ever.

The Balmar MC-612 - and the newer MC-614 - are designed to charge 2 battery banks off of 1 alternator. I just checked the manual and there is no mention of 2 alternators.

One solution, although an expensive one, is 2 regulators and a Balmar Centerfielder between the 2 regs Balmar's Centerfielder Dual Alternator/Regulator Controller
The other option that works well is to just run the 2 alts into the same bank. In bulk mode you have the capabilities of both outputs combined and when the first set point is reached one will defer to the other, but by then the batteries are accepting very little current anyway.
Of course theres no need for to regulate two alternators with a combined regulator , just parallel them and use the standard regs.
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:12   #64
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Of course theres no need for to regulate two alternators with a combined regulator , just parallel them and use the standard regs.
Isn't that what you were going to use the 612 for?
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:48   #65
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I dont have any firm answers, but in general most boats will only see a slight reduction in charging times from the main engine when changing to AGM batteries.
However in your example with an output of 250A from the engine alternator ( this is larger than would be typical for a boat with a 500AHr battery bank).
Yes thats right it is probably larger than what is typical. This makes a very good point. Most boats would not have an alternator large enough to take advantage of AGMs in the 50% to 85% range.
One of the main arguments for buying AGMs becomes moot as their alternators will more than likely be too small.

Does this then mean that for most situations we can forget the AGM fast charge arguments ?
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:50   #66
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Isn't that what you were going to use the 612 for?
well you'd need two 612s for dual alternators. Anyway after installing three balmers its not my favorite brand anymore.

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Old 21-05-2012, 11:51   #67
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
Yes thats right it is probably larger than what is typical. This makes a very good point. Most boats would not have an alternator large enough to take advantage of AGMs in the 50% to 85% range.
One of the main arguments for buying AGMs becomes moot as their alternators will more than likely be too small.

Does this then mean that for most situations we can forget the AGM fast charge arguments ?

Yes as I pointed out in my post, most of AGMs advantages are very useful if your a fighter pilot, they are much less useful in a boat.
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:56   #68
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The VSR parallels the banks during charging - the Echo Charge and comparable products (DuoCharge among others) are followers that do not parallel the batteries ever.

The Balmar MC-612 - and the newer MC-614 - are designed to charge 2 battery banks off of 1 alternator. I just checked the manual and there is no mention of 2 alternators.

One solution, although an expensive one, is 2 regulators and a Balmar Centerfielder between the 2 regs Balmar's Centerfielder Dual Alternator/Regulator Controller
The other option that works well is to just run the 2 alts into the same bank. In bulk mode you have the capabilities of both outputs combined and when the first set point is reached one will defer to the other, but by then the batteries are accepting very little current anyway.
My reading off the Balmar website is that they have a relatively new product called the 612-'Dual' which is designed for 1 eng & 2 alts charging a single bank (like I hope to accomplish). The 'Centerfielder -- again as I understand it -- is for 2 engs w/each running its own, separate alt, but also charging a single bank. This is most commonly designed for Cats I suppose. Unlike the CF, it appears the Dual can be wired into the OEM internal regs on each alt but I don't know for sure.

As you point out, there doesn't seem to be much need for the Dual since the 2 alts apparently won't interfere with each other during bulk mode, and after that it doesn't matter. In effect, I'll have 100 amps of alt charging capacity feeding a 675ah house bank. Not really enough long-term but better than the current set-up of a 50A alt charging a 450ah bank.

As for the diffs you point out b'twn the VSR & an echo-type charger, does it make any functional difference when the batts are paralled during charging? Could this cause the batt that's being charged to also be discharged if the supplying bank is being discharged at the same time?
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Old 21-05-2012, 12:03   #69
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
As for the diffs you point out b'twn the VSR & an echo-type charger, does it make any functional difference when the batts are paralled during charging? Could this cause the batt that's being charged to also be discharged if the supplying bank is being discharged at the same time?
It shouldn't make any difference. As long as there is a charge current present neither battery should be discharging. Each battery will accept what it needs so overcharging is not an issue either.

For charging a start battery I usually prefer the Echo Charge as the start battery, if dedicated to engine only, is seldom down by more than 1 or 2 AH.

The ACR (VSR) products have the flexibility of being dual sensing where the Echo and its type are followers and work in one direction only.

ps Just read about the 612 Dual and see what you mean - more info here http://www.balmar.net/PDF/mc-612-dual-manual.pdf
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Old 21-05-2012, 12:10   #70
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

for proper charging paralleling batteries that are at different states of charge is a very less then optimum solution, though one thats used extensively. The primary problem being that the charge source is using the main bank as the charge indicator. Hence for example the starter battery could be subject to high absorption voltages especially when it doesn't need them ( or for longer). This is especially so when the domestics are high absorption types like Trojan and the starter is a standard battery. Echo charging is much better and the best is something like Sterling battery to battery charger, where in essence you have a DC input three stage intelligent battery charger.

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Old 21-05-2012, 12:15   #71
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Re: Battery Charging Questions.

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Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
Yes thats right it is probably larger than what is typical. This makes a very good point. Most boats would not have an alternator large enough to take advantage of AGMs in the 50% to 85% range.
One of the main arguments for buying AGMs becomes moot as their alternators will more than likely be too small.

Does this then mean that for most situations we can forget the AGM fast charge arguments ?
You have a generator there are significant advantages to AGM in charge times otherwise the differences are small. The extra conversion efficiency is a bonus particularly on solar or wind power, but this is shared or bettered by gel.
Flooded are the cheapest per cycle if you can replace them in developed countries, particularly USA where they are cheap.
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