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Old 06-04-2010, 09:27   #1
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Charger Controller

I may have a silly question but it came to me as I was motor sailing yesterday.

I will be putting a charger controller between my solar panel and battery to keep it from over charging on sunny days.

Is there a need to put a controller between the alternator and battery? It dawned on me how much charge was going to the battery while we were motor sailing. Or is it that you don't do this that often and the damage is generally minor due to the infrequency of the event.

Can you hook the alternator up through the same charger controller that is attached to the solar panel?
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:51   #2
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Mostly people refer to charge controllers as something that regulates the output of solar panels and wind generators. Regulator is the term used with alternators. A regulator can be a smart 3 stage regulator or just a voltage controlled regulator.

It is highly unlikely that your alternator is not regulated. If your batteries come up to 14.2 volts (+/- 0.2 volts) and remains at that voltage while you are motoring, then you have the same regulator that is in your car, voltage regulated.

John
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:53   #3
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Is there a need to put a controller between the alternator and battery?
Yes, but it will already have one, built into the alternator. If you motor a lot consider getting a better alternator regulator (called a smart regulator)

Can you hook the alternator up through the same charger controller that is attached to the solar panel?

No and there is no need. The solar regulator and alternator regulator will play nicely together.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:57   #4
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Thank you, that explains it. I was running around 14.2 under motor conditions.
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