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Old 08-06-2011, 12:28   #1
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Charger Recomendation

I'm re-doing the electrical on my Bayfield 32. Planned system is a house bank of 3 x group-31 AGMs feeding an echo charge for the start battery which is a group 24 AGM. All batteries are AGM due to in-accessibility. (Batteries are in high dry bilge and charger is in cabinet just above them.) I had been planning on a 60 amp Xantrex Truecharge2 for my charger as on paper it meets my needs. The scuttlebutt seems be that there are problems with Xantrex quality these days and so I'm reconsidering. Now I'm looking at Victron chargers, but boy are they ever "proud" of their stuff! So my question is about which Victron. They have two lines: Centaur (cheaper) and Phoenix (spendy). The main difference seems to be that the Centaur does not provide for battery mounted temperature sensors (there is an internal sensor) while the Phoenix does. As my bank will be about 300 AH, should I worry about battery temp with a max dump charge current of 50 A (assuming 50 A Centaur)? If the answer is yes, then I should go with the Phoenix, but then I can only really afford the 30A model, making less a need for external temp sensors. Another question is should I even consider an Iota charger for AGMs? Thanks for the advice.

-Tom
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:39   #2
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Re: Charger reccomendation

Victron makes very good stuff.

50-60 amps seems a bit excessive for just a 300ah bank. I have about 200 aH usable and a 20 amp charger (an older statpower Truecharge, now part of Xantrex) and it has worked out just fine. But I tend not to be in a hurry.

I guess it is all down to deep discharge and how fast you want them topped up.

Have you looked at Mastervolt? Considered good stuff too. Not as pricey as Victron.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:47   #3
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Re: Charger reccomendation

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Originally Posted by westsail42 View Post
Victron makes very good stuff.

50-60 amps seems a bit excessive for just a 300ah bank. I have about 200 aH usable and a 20 amp charger (an older statpower Truecharge, now part of Xantrex) and it has worked out just fine. But I tend not to be in a hurry.

I guess it is all down to deep discharge and how fast you want them topped up.

Have you looked at Mastervolt? Considered good stuff too. Not as pricey as Victron.
I had a new model Xantrex 40A fail just out of warranty. Called them. Can it be fixed: NO. Why not? CAUSE ITS ALL JUST A CIRCUIT BOARD. What can I do? WE WILL SELL YOU A NEW ONE AT COST FOR $280.
Phooey... I can buy a new one from Abe's of Maine for around $280.

So I went back to my Truecharge 20A which works just fine. I have 225Ah house and 100Ah start.
No more Xantrex for me.
Looking at Charles Marine.
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Old 08-06-2011, 13:03   #4
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Re: Charger Recomendation

Thanks westsail42, I'll look at Mastervolt as well. I figured with 300 AH total (150 usable) I could charge up faster with no negatives because AGM acceptance rate is so high. BTW, I enjoyed reading through your blog.
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Old 08-06-2011, 14:39   #5
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Re: Charger Recomendation

Can I recommend the Sterling ProCharge Ultra range?
It can charge 3 separate banks, has a temperature sensor included as standard, can charge a huge range of different types of battery,and has voltage and current indication on the front panel. There is an optional panel to provide remote monitoring of the unit.
I installed one a few weeks ago after my existing charger (a different make!!!) died on me.Very simple and neat to connect up, and seems to be very efficient in use.
No connection with them, but always happy to receive commission if they are reading this - lol.
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Old 08-06-2011, 14:42   #6
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Re: Charger Recomendation

Quote:
I installed one a few weeks ago after the previous one died on me
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Old 08-06-2011, 14:48   #7
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Re: Charger Recomendation

...now updated my message, to make more sense. I knew what I meant!!!!
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Old 08-06-2011, 15:11   #8
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Re: Charger Recomendation

Sail Magazine jsut rated the new ProMariner ProNauticaP/Sterling ProCharge Ultra very highly. Won the 2011 Pittman Inovation Award under "Systems" (whatever that means)

I am looking at getting one in a 40A.
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Old 08-06-2011, 15:15   #9
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Re: Charger Recomendation

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Can I recommend the Sterling ProCharge Ultra range?
Hmmmm... Interesting. This looks suspiciously like a Promariner charger sold at defender. Promariner has nothing about it on their www site however. I'm guessing that Promariner is rebranding the Sterling chargers. More interesting is that the Sterling USA site has the sterling chargers for less than defender has the Promariner. I'm going to be looking further into Sterling products. Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2011, 16:07   #10
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Re: Charger Recomendation

good stuff Sterling, if you can cope with the grumpy tech support.

Dave
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Old 08-06-2011, 16:45   #11
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Re: Charger Recomendation

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good stuff Sterling, if you can cope with the grumpy tech support.

Dave
As opposed to "happy" tech support? Is there such a thing?
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Old 08-06-2011, 17:31   #12
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Re: Charger Recomendation

I bought a Pro Mariner charger at a flea market. He told me it was working but lied. I called the service dept. and explained what was happening and was told the circuit board was shot and it was obsolete. I was told that being as I owned a Pro Mariner that I could purchase the new model the Pro-tech 1240i plus for a discounted price. I could get either new or a reman. I got the reman for about 1/2 what WM charges and am very happy with the product and the service I recieved from Pro Mariner
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Old 08-06-2011, 17:40   #13
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Re: Charger Recomendation

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
good stuff Sterling, if you can cope with the grumpy tech support.

Dave
Two interesting data points on Sterling gear, from two extremely experienced and professional marine electricians, one based on the Hamble and former electrician with Moody, the other based in Cowes and electrician to many of the great race teams.

1. Complete cr*p; would refuse to install anything made by Sterling.

2. Outstanding value; and in fact more reliable and fewer failures than expensive Victron gear, based on hundreds of installations over many years.


I know that this total contradiction will not do anyone any good, but there you have it!
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Old 08-06-2011, 17:45   #14
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Re: Charger Recomendation

my house bank is 1350AH agms - 6v sets in series parallel.
I use a 75A Iota for shore charging. no temp sensing.

It works great.

engine charging with a 200A large frame. temp sensor on the alt and battery.
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Old 08-06-2011, 20:22   #15
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Re: Charger Recomendation

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my house bank is 1350AH agms - 6v sets in series parallel.
I use a 75A Iota for shore charging. no temp sensing.

It works great.

engine charging with a 200A large frame. temp sensor on the alt and battery.
Thanks for the response, however it's not really a fair comparison. I'm pretty sure that 75A into a 1350 AH bank could never over heat them under any normal conditions. However 50 or 60A into a 300 AH bank is a bit different. I'm just not sure if it's enough to warrent or require temperature compensation. If I was going with flooded batteries, I would definitly go with the Iota. For AGM's I'm not sure. I'm still looking at the Sterling stuff.
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