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Old 02-11-2012, 09:31   #1
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Best Battery Charger Brand?

I'm on the hard and have been using an extension cord from the marina outlet that i run directly to the battery charger to charge my batteries.

I assume the charger I have is original to my 1976 boat and has gone bad.

I have tried to learn electricity but the subject has me convinced that my IQ isn't in the average range as I'd always assumed but may even be in the lowest quintile. Honestly I can't seem to get the whole amps and volts and blah blah blah my eyes just glaze over and I start pondering various methods of suicide.

I'm hoping I can just buy a new charger and that it will be plug and play. Am I dreaming? Is being stupid gonna cost me another thousand or two in boatyard labor?

I've googled battery chargers but didn't get much recent discussion. I noticed some controversy over xantrex? Do they suck? I have two deep cycle batteries and no starter battery. I have no solar, but very minimal power needs. Keeping in mind my need for simplicity what brand/model would you recommend?
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:38   #2
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Re: Best battery charger brand?

What sized batteries do you have?

Are you interested in having an inverter onboard? ...because you may want a combined inverter/charger.

You don't necessarily need the best, just something that is not junk or automotive grade.

I like Newmar although there are other brands that are good quality as well.
http://www.newmarpower.com/Level_2/B..._Chargers.html
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:44   #3
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Re: Best battery charger brand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
What sized batteries do you have?

Are you interested in having an inverter onboard? ...because you may want a combined inverter/charger.

You don't necessarily need the best, just something that is not junk or automotive grade.

I like Newmar although there are others that are good quality as well.
Battery Chargers
Thanks for responding so quickly. I hope to walk to west marine and buy one off the shelf if that's possible.

I have two 90 amp hour batteries and a 700 watt inverter connected to the battery with alligator clips.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:48   #4
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Re: Best battery charger brand?

It sounds like a Group 27 battery. Do you have an engine that requires a battery to start it?

Given you have light house loads, I think a 30 to 50 amp charger off the shelf at West Marine would be fine. It won't be the absolute highest quality but on the other hand you will not be paying the big bucks for the absolute best. When you are at West Marine get the marine grade crimp terminals and wire. Let us know if you have any questions with the installation.

You may want to consider replacing the clips on your inverter and hard wiring those wires instead...its just a more secure way of doing that.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:59   #5
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

I have a 20 horsepower yanmar inboard. Thanks David.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:10   #6
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

VB,

Sounds to me your I.Q. is not as low as you claim. You came to a great resource to find the answer. That shows intelligence.

Not everyone is geared to the theoretical musings of electron flow and it's intricacies. But since you are replacing one unit for another, the wiring should be pretty close to the same.

These guys will get you where you need to go......so don't sweat too much.

James L
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:24   #7
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

I know this is making things more complicated, but if you want to make it so that you will always be able to get your engine started then consider purchasing a battery combiner so that one battery will be used solely for getting the engine started (after reaching a cutoff level with the voltage, nothing other than the starter motor can draw current from this battery) and use the other battery as your house battery. Its an option that might cost you around $100-$200 for the isolator and the wire.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:40   #8
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

Hi VB,

A couple of suggestions. First, I would strongly second Dockhead's recommendation to have a separate, isolated battery that is used just for engine starting. I have lived on a boat that used a shared two battery system for house and starting and as careful as I tried to be, still ended up with dead batteries numerous times over the years.

If you haven't already found this, one way for electricity newbies to get a handle on volts and amps is to think about electricity like water.

DC volts are like water pressure. So think of a battery that puts out 12 volts like a water pump that makes 12 psi of water pressure. Think of DC amps flowing through a wire are like gallons of water flowing through a pipe.

You can have a small or large battery but still only make 12 volts. Just like you can have a small water pump that could make 30 pounds of pressure or a truck size industrial pump that would make 30 pounds of pressure. The difference in both cases is how many amps or gallons that the battery or pump can send down the wire or pipe. The pressure or volts doesn't change, just how much gets put out.

As far as which charger is the best, I hear a lot of complaints about Xantrex are not as good as they used to be. I have a Victron and it is a beautiful piece of equipment but has so many options I would not call it a plug and play. IOTA makes a good charger and I think gives the most bang for the buck although technically they aren't "marine" chargers. But I've been using one on my boat for years and the batteries never complained.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:01   #9
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

OK I went to West Marine (convenient one minute bike ride) and the only battery charger they had (other than xantrex) was a Mastervolt 12/40-3 so I bought it. With a 50 dollar price match combined with a coupon it was something like $323.

I declined the 50 dollar insurance but maybe shouldn't have, as halfway across the west marine parking lot I took a header off my bicycle while attempting to change gears and steer with the same hand. The charger and I went splat into the pavement but after the three cars that stopped to help went on their way I checked the charger and it looks OK. My cool guy facade however, was pretty battered and torn.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:06   #10
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

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Originally Posted by virginia boy View Post
OK I went to West Marine (convenient one minute bike ride) and the only battery charger they had (other than xantrex) was a Mastervolt 12/40-3 so I bought it. With a 50 dollar price match combined with a coupon it was something like $323.

I declined the 50 dollar insurance but maybe shouldn't have, as halfway across the west marine parking lot I took a header off my bicycle while attempting to change gears and steer with the same hand. The charger and I went splat into the pavement but after the three cars that stopped to help went on their way I checked the charger and it looks OK. My cool guy facade however, was pretty battered and torn.
Hope the charger is OK. I'm not worried about you, you can heal. Electronics cost money to repair.

So are you one of those guys that can't walk and chew gum at the same time?





Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.



PS
I have heard good comments about the Mastervolt. Let us know how it works out.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:15   #11
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

Should you decide that the charger ultimately needs to be replaced, I wanted to weigh in on Xantrex. I'm on a '79 Whitby 42 and had a Xantrex Truecharge of an older generation. Someone up the line had connected the leads backwards and fried the finals. I was unable to source a schematic from xantrex, nor was I able to determine the appropriate replacement parts, so I ultimately decided to replace the whole unit. In talking with one of the PortSupply consultants, it was disclosed that the most current model of the xantrex truecharge is known to be faulty, with multiple units being returned and ultimately resulting in portsupply discontinuing the product from their lineup. Based on that information, I switched to mastervolt and have been extremely happy with the new charger.

Specifically, I went with the 40 amp version found here:
MASTERVOLT Power Charger Battery Chargers at West Marine

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:18   #12
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hope the charger is OK. I'm not worried about you, you can heal. Electronics cost money to repair.

So are you one of those guys that can't walk and chew gum at the same time?





Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.



PS
I have heard good comments about the Mastervolt. Let us know how it works out.
Thats good to know about mastervolt, thanks. I'm heading off to install now. And FYI, I have a small boat so I don't have to chew gum and walk for more than three steps so I think I'll be ok
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:28   #13
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

I have a Xantrex, new in 2008. I am having problems with it. The battery temp setting will randomly switch itself to "cold". Then it overheats the batteries. (no, it doesn't have the temperature sensor option)

I agree with consensus, it's a low quality product.
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:15   #14
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

I am not concerned about you (you'll heal eventually) or your charger (good choice on MV, by the way), how did the bicycle fare??
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:47   #15
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Re: Best Battery Charger Brand?

Bicycle was walked back to the boat but after straightening seat, and kickstand, and picking up some broken reflector stuff I think it'll be ok. Inshallah!

I've begun the removal of the old charger ("Readi-amp"continuous duty, 8 amp max out) and since the Mastervolt 40 amp looks nothing like the Readi Amp! I'm forced to read the directions. It appears though that I should have paid closer attention when taking ancient hieroglyphics 101

I admire you guys who have the patience to sit down and grind this stuff out. If it doesn't have an adrenaline molecule attached to it, I can't focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Seriously.

Ok,back to the grind

Btw, thanks for all the helpful responses.
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