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Old 15-09-2014, 02:57   #1
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Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

As relayed to me, wife's out sailing and I'm in the office:

So we're motorsailing along on the starboard engine and the battery alarm goes off. The house set is down to 20% which is strange because the engine should be charging it. Port engine doesn't start right away because we left the switch turned on to charge it. It had the opposite effect, draining the port service battery with the house set.

After arriving back to the dock (which was difficult, cats drive like tanks, ever drive a tank with 1 set of treads?) we had the mechanic look at the engine. And he says the starboard engine alt regulator is not connected to the house bank. The entire time I thought it was and both regulators were topping up the batteries but it turned out not to be the case.

So to my cat owners is this standard? The engines are about 20ft apart so I imagine the wire run would be 25-30 feet with the regulators putting out 40-50A. How do other catamaran owner wire up their engines to charge the house? BTW, this is a lagoon 380 and the house set is in the port rear cabin.
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Old 15-09-2014, 03:04   #2
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Both engines charge their respective start battery and the house bank.
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Old 15-09-2014, 03:26   #3
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pirate Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Think you'll find that's the standard set-up for Lagoons.. the 380's, 420's etc I've been on have been set up like this.. real pain in the butt if you lose the wrong engine for some reason..
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Old 15-09-2014, 03:36   #4
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Both alternators charge common house bank.
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Old 15-09-2014, 04:10   #5
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

So to wire the starboard regulator to the port battery bank do I simply connect the output wires directly to the battery?
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Old 15-09-2014, 04:19   #6
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

On our L380 it came with ignition excited solenoids so that as soon as you turned on the switch for each engine it combined them to charge all the batteries. However, we replaced these with Yandina combiners & have not looked back. Check in the port side "little hatch" under the rear berth cushions where the house batteries are. There should be two combining solenoids in there. I disliked them as they ran very hot so I replaced with the Yandinas. You can check the wiring by disconnecting each starter battery one at a time & test with a voltmeter at the combining solenoids.

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Old 15-09-2014, 04:56   #7
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Thanks Dave.

I'll need to look again. There are a few solenoids down there. Outside of the factory bundle there are wires running everywhere as components were added and removed. I have a block of burned out knife fuses. no idea where they go nor what they do.

Our boat has 2 80amp alternators into 2 sterling digital regulators. I think they can be paralleled to the house bank. We did have an incident where both regulators went overvoltage and shutdown. Since they did it simultaneously I believe they are connected somehow.
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Old 15-09-2014, 05:07   #8
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Both engines charge the the batteries, and a Voltage sensing regulator distributes between the banks.
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Old 15-09-2014, 05:28   #9
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

In our case they weren't VSR's as such, but as I said, solenoids that were switched on (combined) when the engine switches were turned on.

They can be replaced by any make of VSR, I chose Yandinas because of good testimonials.

Also, the standard setup only combined with the engine switches on didn't allow combining when we added other charging sources like solar.

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Old 16-09-2014, 05:35   #10
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

On our Athena the Port engine alternator is wired directly to the start battery and via a voltage sensitive relay to parallel the house batteries. The Starboard engine is wired to the House batteries. One improvement would be to modify the VSR so it parallels from either direction ( 2 shottky diode would do that) but I have not found that necessary. That would also allow me to use either engine instead of just the port engine to operate the anchor windlass (the Athena uses relay logic to prevent use of the windlass without the port engine operating).
The high tech solution would be to use the Sterling Wildside unit which would allow either engine to charge either battery, plus it acts as an advanced regulator increasing the charge rate 5x a normal alternator, plus it will also provides a solar MPPT regulator. Its very simple to fit, similar to a VSR
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Old 16-09-2014, 08:45   #11
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

We have 2 ACRs one at each engine so either engine alternator will feed all 3 banks (2start, one house) or the solar panels will feed all 3 banks. They work great at $69. Each. And very easy to install.

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Old 17-09-2014, 18:00   #12
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

On our Lagoon 450 - and I would suspect all smaller Lagoons are like this. If in doubt check your schematics. I hope the dealer supplied your's.

Port engine a
lternator output goes into a Cristec "no-loss" electronic battery isolator. From there one output to port starter battery and the other output to the house bank.

Same for the starboard alternator - i.e. to the isolator then to the starboard battery and the house bank.

The battery isolator looks like this and is usually located in the engine room.


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Old 09-10-2014, 18:38   #13
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Would any one know how to detect a faulty Cristec isolator ?
The Port engine of my 440 draws down on the house batteries when starting, but not the Stbd engine, both have Cristec isolators ( the saloon lights dim when starting the port engine, and current draw is seen on the amp meter, but not when starting the stbd engine ). Port engine battery has been tested and is good.

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Old 09-10-2014, 18:58   #14
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

My set up: both alts, NextStep regulator, charge house initially then starts are automatically relayed in after house reaches 13V. NextStep controls the relays. Works great. Have had one NextStep go bad in 14 years.

Only negative: NextStep regular does aggravate the tachs/alarms sometimes when full charge across all banks is reached.
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Old 09-10-2014, 19:35   #15
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Re: Catamaran owners how are your alternators wired to charge the house?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Only negative: NextStep regular does aggravate the tachs/alarms sometimes when full charge across all banks is reached.
Nothing specific there about NextStep - all external regulators that I have used do this. Even the ones that state they have special circuitry to prevent it. Best thing to do when fully charged is to turn on some amps.

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