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Old 19-01-2016, 05:33   #1
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Charger / ACR Questions and Recommendations

I have done lots of searching and reading, and I understand what the ACRs do, etc. but I am looking for specific information for my setup.

I have spent a lot more time working on RV's than Boats, so I am familiar with house and engine circuits, but the two engines and a house is new to me, and the way the factory wiring on my boat is also seems odd.

The current setup: 1975 Chris Craft Catalina (twin 350's), 3 batteries.

1. Generator (I would expect this to be house in RV world, but it is only wired to generator now)
2. There are 2 12 volt distribution panels with breakers Marked Port and Starboard, each has a breaker for Ignition (for that engine)
3. The Port breakers all seem related to "functional items" Navigation, electronics, horn, etc.
4. The Starboard breakers seem to be the "house" items, shower, water pump, cabin lights, etc.
5. Currently there is no on board charger (don't get me started on Previous Owner )
6. There are no cross over switches, etc.
7. The engine batteries are in the aft of the bilge area on their respective sides, and the generator battery is a the very forward area of the bilge. It would be about a 15 ft run between the generator and either engine battery.
8. We will be fulltime live aboards, coastal cruising with 90% of the time in a slip with shore power.

So it seems, the starboard batter doubles as the "house", and the generator stands alone.

I am getting ready to clean up the 12 volt side of the wiring. And trying to figure out my best approach.

1. Get a 3 port charger, leave everything as is and just run an charge lead to each battery. Downside is no combined charging from alternators, no emergency cross over, which does concern me since the Starboard battery is being treated as the house.

2. Add 2 ACRs. Hook the Generator battery to the port via 1 ACR, to the starboard via another ACR. Add a single port charger to the generator. Now all 3 batteries should charge from any source (charger or alternators). It seems that with the Blue Seas I would still not have emergency cross over starting, but if I use the Surepower 1315s then I would.

3. I think ideally it would be great to move the House stuff to the generator, but that feels like a lot of expensive busy work, that would have me doing a lot of hacking into the stock wiring which is surprisingly pretty much untouched.

Thanks for any suggestions, experience, insight.

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Old 19-01-2016, 06:09   #2
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Re: Charger / ACR Questions and Recommendations

If you want a quality marine duty voltage sensitive relay that can also do emergency parallel, and up to 500A continuous, the Blue Sea ML-500 (PN 7622) is a very well built product.....

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Old 19-01-2016, 23:35   #3
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Re: Charger / ACR Questions and Recommendations

both of your batteries are being treated as the house.

what you have is a pretty typical setup of a non cruising, dock to dock boat. of 2 engine batteries powering the whole boat, loads split between both of them. the gen battery is separate and normal. what you want is 4 banks. stb, port, house, gen. this is normal in a properly wired big boat.

adding a 4th bank and splitting and moving the loads off each engine battery onto the house requires someone who knows what they are doing. as some loads will stay on the engine batteries. IE ignition. and yes is a big job. you do not hack the wiring. generally you hack the bus bars of the breaker panels.

your gen battery is likely way to small to act as a house battery. it's probably a group 24/27. how big is this boat?

add ACR's between engine and house battery. as above, the big blue sea ones will combine. now you have 4 banks to charge. the ACR's will charge between the first 3. so really you just need to charge the gen battery and one of the others. a 3 bank to gen, house, and say port. and stb will charge through ACR

if you are living on it you'll probably want a least a 60a charger. but as above depends on boat size and what you are running. and battery sizes
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Old 20-01-2016, 05:48   #4
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Re: Charger / ACR Questions and Recommendations

Thanks Smac for the detailed response. It sound like what you are describing for the 4th bank would be a bank for an inverter, which we don't plan to add, unless we find ourselves spending more time on hook than the current plans.

I do have the skills to split the house circuits into a new panel, but after reading your description, I don't know that it is worth it right now. There is nothing "technically" wrong with the current setup and its designed use you described fits our current use.

So I think the only thing I need to do is have a good emergency crossover as the risk of depleting an engine battery is possible if we did spend a few days on hook. And of course I need to decide on a charging plan for all 3 batteries.

Thanks for helping clarify my plan, believe me there are plenty of other projects on board that I can spend my time and energy on right now.
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Old 11-09-2016, 16:31   #5
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Re: Charger / ACR Questions and Recommendations

A good way to isolate your starting battery on the hook us to isolate with a mechanical interruption switch located on the battery box. Switch off when at anchor.

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