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Old 21-09-2012, 08:15   #16
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Nope, its not going to work.

First, the start and house batteries were not electrically connected together before--that's what the 'isolate' in islolator means.

Second, the Freedom system will only charge the start batteries when you are plugged into shore power. Unless you have a genset, you currently have no way to charge the start batteries when you are away from the dock.
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Old 21-09-2012, 08:31   #17
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

As I was typing this, Don jumped in and said, and in a lot fewer words, what I was typing.

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So now I am really puzzled as, looking at the wiring diagram in my boat manual (ie from the builder) I see that the echo charge wires are in there and also the isolator diodes. This doesn't seem to make any sense to me at all. Why would they have output from the alternator go to the battery isolator diodes then from there direct to the starter batter and also direct to the house batter which then inputs into the Freedom and comes back to the starter battery via the echo charge?
The reason that the installer configured the system this way is there are two methods to charge your batteries: alternator and inverter/charger.

The output from the alternator goes through the battery isolator (not my favorite piece of equipment) and charges both the starting and the house battery bank.

When mains power is available, either from shore power or from a genset, the inverter/charger senses that mains power is available, ensures that it is qualified, and shifts from being an inverter drawing power from the house bank and creating 120VAC power, to being a battery charger. The main charging current goes to the house bank via the same large conductors that provide the DC when the unit is inverting. The Freedom 20 also has the two Echo Charge outputs that you found. These are only active when the inverter/charger is charging.

The way you have modified your system, your starting batteries will not be charged when you are underway unless you are running your generator and Freedom 20 is acting as a charger.

Hope this clarifies your system for you.
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Old 21-09-2012, 11:57   #18
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Correctly stated, the Freedom will not charge the starter batteries when you are not plugged in to shore power.

Is there a combining switch that can bring alternator/house power to the start batts (when away from the dock)?
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Old 21-09-2012, 13:40   #19
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Nope, its not going to work.

First, the start and house batteries were not electrically connected together before--that's what the 'isolate' in islolator means.

Second, the Freedom system will only charge the start batteries when you are plugged into shore power. Unless you have a genset, you currently have no way to charge the start batteries when you are away from the dock.
My Xantrex charger certainly does charge my start battery through the echo charge output whenever it sees a charging voltage on the house. It's basically a built in echo-charger.

From the Freedom manual found here (page 10):

The echo-charge will turn ON any time
the house battery is above 13 volts, regardless
of the charging source.
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Old 25-09-2012, 04:15   #20
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

That is what I thought. My understanding was that the echo charger in the Freedom DOES charge the starters even when not on shore power.

So, if that is the case, then my new wiring should work, no?

BTW, thanks for that link to the manual. The one I have doesn't mention the echo charger at all. However, even the new link says that the Freedom 20 has only one echo charge, but there are definitely two outputs on my machine.
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Old 25-09-2012, 08:31   #21
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Quote:
The reason that the installer configured the system this way is there are two methods to charge your batteries: alternator and inverter/charger.

The output from the alternator goes through the battery isolator (not my favorite piece of equipment) and charges both the starting and the house battery bank.

When mains power is available, either from shore power or from a genset, the inverter/charger senses that mains power is available, ensures that it is qualified, and shifts from being an inverter drawing power from the house bank and creating 120VAC power, to being a battery charger. The main charging current goes to the house bank via the same large conductors that provide the DC when the unit is inverting. The Freedom 20 also has the two Echo Charge outputs that you found. These are only active when the inverter/charger is charging.

The way you have modified your system, your starting batteries will not be charged when you are underway unless you are running your generator and Freedom 20 is acting as a charger.

Hope this clarifies your system for you.


Belay my last!!


I contacted Xantrex and they verified cwyckham's correct information, the Echo Charge installed in the Freedom series is a DC device and is essentially the stand alone Echo Charge that is sold separately. I apologize for adding confusion to the thread.
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Old 25-09-2012, 09:07   #22
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifePart2 View Post
We also have two BP Solar SX170B 170 watt solar panels, connected to a BlueSky Solar Boost 3024i and an IPN-ProRemote.

And then we have an Eclectic DM400 wind generator, connected to a 6TB voltage regulator with diversion resistors. This regulator is, I believe, an all-or-nothing regulator, ie either all the current goes to the batteries, or all the current goes to the diversion resistors.

Noel

Interesting that you kept the 6TB regulator for the D400.
I have the D400, currently fitted with the 6TB and dump resistors (BTW, the voltage on mine is adjustable (if you google 6TG regulator, you'll find the manual)
I'm planning on fitting 2 x 130 solar panels, with a Blue Sky's 3024Dil controller. What they seem to recommend is that the D400 regulator is removed, and the output from the D400 is connected direct to the battery.
The controller has a diversion load control, and with the addition of what they call a Current Booster Module, will divert excessive current from the D400 to the dump resistors.

As you have said that the D400 and the solars seem to work well with their own regulators, I may go this route as well, another call to the Blue Sky and the D400 makers will need to be made.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:24   #23
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Thought I'd try to resurrect this thread, as I have a similar setup and wondering what to do. I'm new to all this and also have some battery charge hold/drain issues to troubleshoot. My marine electrics skills are minimal, though have speed read Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical & Electrical book and the equipment manuals.

Experiencing constant rapid (within 60 mins, only running fridge) charge drop under load to 40% according to the monitor and never showing fully charged.

Current Setup: Eclectic D400 with 6TB12 setup as "Regulator with Three Batteries / Two Banks" as per page 3 in regulator manual (I believe)
NASA BM1 Monitor
Batteries (I assume these are in 3 x parallel in 2 x banks but cannot be certain):
2 x 12v Exide batteries 850 cca 115 A/hr - load test 12.9v (assume house bank)
1 x 12v Adelco 580 cca 80 A/hr - load test 13.3v (assume starter)
Engine: Volvo 2002 Penta Diesel, original alternator

Last battery load test was done over a year ago, prior to noticing gassing issue on one Exide 115 battery, which I had to top up a couple of times over last 6 months. Believe this is overcharging from the wind gen.

Yet to follow Eclectic's Regulator Troubleshooting guide, but know the regulator kicks in as I can hear the dump resistors buzzing when high wind. I believe I need to check the pot setting on the regulator to correctly tune the battery charge voltage cutoff, as I think I'm getting overcharge on the batteries.

Plan: Install Solbianflex CP125 and Genasun GV-10 Controller; mainly to provide top-up power when no wind, not to solve any other problems

I understand I need to confirm configuration, resolve the voltage wind gen regulator tuning and check health of batteries, but what else could be causing the house batteries to drop and not show full charge? Is the monitor needing tuning too, or something wrong with the 6TB12 regulator?

If I then go ahead with the planned solar upgrade, what is the best way to regulate and manage this whole setup? Do I simply connect the Genasun Controller to the battery connections in addition to the 6TB12 regulator? How will the Genasun manage properly if the 6TB12 regulator cuts in/out with the volt/amp and charge/load thresholds on the battery changing?

Should I need to look at a more advanced intelligent way of managing the batteries with the addition of the solar Genasun setup, or a better controller to manage both solar and wind gen?

Thanks anyone who can advise.
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Old 09-10-2013, 15:17   #24
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

When you hear the dump resisters cut in, what voltage is being indicated on the battery monitor. At this point, the monitor should be displaying the regulators cut off point.
If I remember right, the D400 regulator is factory set to 14.2V for a 12V system.

When I was originally planning my set up, it was to do away with the wind regulator and use the diversion load control function on the solar controller.
However, the Blue Sky agent in the UK advised against this on the basis that keeping the wind regulator provided redundancy
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Old 09-10-2013, 18:07   #25
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Thanks Nigel, I'll check that out both from the Battery Monitor and the Multimeter.

The Battery Monitor manual also suggests that the Monitor needs tuning according to the natural voltage drop at full charge as the batteries age, which along with the massive drop and never fully charging indication, I think is a participating issue too.

My basic understanding of the Wind Gen Regulator is that it is needed as it is configured to work with the dump resistors, which are needed to take the excess massive power generated in extreme wind conditions. I'm OK with this setup.

I understand the MPPT technology seems more advanced. Have people out there used a hybrid Solar/Wind Gen Management/Controller system that performs like an MPPT and can manage the solar AND dump resistors intelligently? They do exist, I saw this hybrid controller but doesn't look as good as the Genasun for solar.

It seems in this age of high tech, having independent power management systems that don't understand or communicate with each other is a bit ancient.
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Old 09-10-2013, 18:58   #26
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

Also I note that the Exide Battery manual states that at full charge (new, open circuit) it should be 12.7Volts and that the battery should only be charged when reaches 12.3Volts (open circuit). So if under load is max 12.9V I would almost certainly be overcharging the battery if it is set at anything near the default of 14.2V, no?

I assume I should adjust the Wind Gen regulator pot down to a lower voltage trigger in this case? How do I determine what the exact charge Voltage should be (say measured across terminals with Multimeter)?

How do I manage this overcharging more sensibly and stop it when I'm not on the boat? I guess I could always tie up the Wind Gen and stop it spinning.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:05   #27
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

I secure the D400 when not onboard, and reduce the charging voltage at the solar controller.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:13   #28
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

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Originally Posted by BoomBrake View Post
should only be charged when reaches 12.3Volts
This sounds like very strange advice. I am reluctant to recommend that you ignore a battery manufacturers guidelines, but that is what I would suggest.

I can only think it is a typo or a mistake. It goes against everything we know about lead acid.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:37   #29
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Re: Combining Solar, Wind and Alternators efficiently

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Originally Posted by BoomBrake View Post
Experiencing constant rapid (within 60 mins, only running fridge) charge drop under load to 40% according to the monitor and never showing fully charged.
The NASA BM1 Monitor only counts amp hours it knows nothing about the health of the battery. If you program in a 230 Ahr battery and draw 115AHrs. It will show 50% it will do so even the batteries are old and in poor shape and really only have a much lower capacity left.
So if the charge is dropping from 100% to 40% rapidly it does not indicate your batteries are in poor shape. The most likely explanation is that you have set the battery monitor up incorrectly with a much lower battery capacity than it really has. The other possibility is that you have a very high draw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoomBrake View Post
Last battery load test was done over a year ago, prior to noticing gassing issue on one Exide 115 battery, which I had to top up a couple of times over last 6 months. Believe this is overcharging from the wind gen.
If you have two batteries in parallel and one is gassing it is suggestive that you have one defective battery with a dropped cell. Isolate the batteries and test the independently

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoomBrake View Post
If I then go ahead with the planned solar upgrade, what is the best way to regulate and manage this whole setup? Do I simply connect the Genasun Controller to the battery connections in addition to the 6TB12 regulator? How will the Genasun manage properly if the 6TB12 regulator cuts in/out with the volt/amp and charge/load thresholds on the battery changing?
There is no need to worry about having multiple charge sources and there associated regulators. It all works out OK.
If the regulator has adjustable set points (the Gensun does not) you can adjust some of the settings to optimise the system (for example a slightly higher voltage cut off on solar means the wind generator cuts out first reducing noise and wear in situations where lots of both solar and wind power are available). With gel batteries some playing around with the absorption time (reducing it) also helps, but for wet batteries it is not very important. Just connect the regulators up independently to the battery and enjoy the multiple sources of power.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:34   #30
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Great advice, thank you. Double checked the Exide 12.3V (open circuit) charge data and that is for storage minimum charge, not normal charge. Much appreciated!
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