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Old 01-10-2018, 09:37   #31
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Why not just repair the solar? Most alternators don't really reach full output until around 1200 rpm. Since solar panels rarely fail, the issue is likely due to the wiring between the panels and the controller. If the controller fails you can run the wires directly to the batteries with an on/off switch or simply put clamps on the wires. Just don't forget to disconnect when you leave or when the batteries are charged.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:16   #32
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

https://www.optimabatteries.com/en-u...dead-batteries
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:20   #33
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Shouldn’t idle engine just to charge batteries, put it forward or reverse to put a load on the engine or you could polish your cylinder walls and lose the cross hatch, then you will start to burn oil
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:24   #34
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Balmar Technology | Balmar

Also, once your batteries start to get charged you get deminiahed returns for the amount of energy required to run the engine to the amount if charge for the batteries. Get the solar issue fixed or a battery charger.

The link I tried to paste is from a high output alternator describing the charging process of an alternator.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:39   #35
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

There has been a lot of excellent technical analysis in this thread but only a few have said "don't do it." Running the motor at idle is a good way to ruin a perfectly good diesel engine. I know because I have done it. Get a small gasoline Honda generator for this job. And don't complain about gasoline since you have to have it for the dink anyway. Or if you can't stand the generator, then slip the anchor and motor up and down the ICW until the amp meter drops significantly.
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Old 02-10-2018, 13:25   #36
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
-------
Out of curiousity, what engine & hp, alternator manuf, and regulator, and what is the minimum rpm for 100a?
-------
Would some 3' dia vents with bilge fans in and out help?
Yanmar 3HM35F
27hp
Delco CS130D with the field wire brought out.
Xantrex (Balmar) XAR (MC-412)
GM made a ducted rear cover for the alternator that was used on Trans Ams and Camaros. I bought one from my local alternator shop for $5 and will be installing it on my alternator with a fan drawing air from the bilge now that Florence is gone.

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Old 02-10-2018, 14:12   #37
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

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Run the engine at about 1500 rpm, you'll pump more air through it, won't use any more fuel than idling, and it will minimize the tendency to accumulate carbon deposits.

More air is, on the contrary, not good -- it cools the cylinders down. For a given load it is better to use a lower RPM, in light load situations. That's why the biggest problems with bore polishing and bore glazing is with fixed speed gensets -- they will run at their fixed speed, 1800 RPM or whatever, with no load, and it damages them pretty quickly, because more air cools the cylinder right down.



But a small alternator is not really an adequate load anyway. Good practice is to put the engine in gear and turn the prop while you're charging this way.
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Old 02-10-2018, 18:53   #38
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Or if there's room, go to a bigger alt, maybe add another.

Obviously each setup has its limits, but if alt output is a major charge source,

with LFP it's worth the cost to push closer to those limits and reduce runtime rather than pushing seawater around.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:19   #39
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

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Or if there's room, go to a bigger alt, maybe add another.

Obviously each setup has its limits, but if alt output is a major charge source,

with LFP it's worth the cost to push closer to those limits and reduce runtime rather than pushing seawater around.

LFP is extremely beneficial for this use case. Uniquely suited to making charging using main engine power, efficient, and healthy for the main engine. More load, maybe much more load, over shorter run times. And also better for opportunistic energy storage during any kind of propulsion duty.



Just like solar is uniquely suited to the health of lead batteries.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:30   #40
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

Exactly.

When I state LFP can make solar completely unnecessary - obviously only in certain use cases - people act like the whole idea is nuts.

I can't fit enough solar to cover more than 20% of my AH per day, so really, the only reason to have it, is for lead's long tail requirement.

And I don't like the way it usually looks, windage issues, etc.

Plus saving a few boat bucks here and there is always A Good Thing, help the LFP pay for itself..
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:33   #41
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

The choice is yours!
Sailboat and a few hundred $. vs Condo and thousands...
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:15   #42
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Re: Charging batteries by idling engine

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The choice is yours!
Sailboat and a few hundred $. vs Condo and thousands...

That's a good illustration of what some of us have been talking about.


Money is not always the issue (on the contrary, I think solar is usually a good proposition financially), but sailing qualities are a BIG issue for some of us.
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