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Old 04-02-2011, 13:24   #16
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It is quite possible that a large load such as starter or windlass fried the West Marine Battery Combiner. I also think that the way it is wired, the house and starter batteries are always in parallel so it is not detecting any voltage difference. And, it may be the cause of the 5.4 volts back to the Cole Hersee solenoid. In either case, there's no sign of life and it will be the first thing I remove. I can then open it up and see if there's anything that can be fixed and possibly used.

Based on feedback and what I've read about combiners, it might be better to replace the Cole Hersee solenoid circuit with a good quality battery combiner. This separates the starter, house and charging circuit. Still thinking about this - any suggestions for brand/model?

Once I start simplifying this and reconnecting wires, I might find that the "Engine Start" switch is not necessary. I'd also like to move connections and reuse wires, due to the location of the starter and house batteries, 1,2,Both switch, etc. There's probably plenty of existing wires that I can reuse!

The Heart 10 Inverter manual describes the echo charge for the starter battery. I'll open the case and see if the echo charge terminal is inside. They say it is/should be 12 AWG wire to the starter battery (easy enough). Probably then worth running an additional pair of heavy wires to connect the inverter/charger to the house battery and using the echo charge to charge the starter battery. I don't know why this wasn't done in the first place.

I'm also thinking that to simplify everything, I can remove one of the 3 house batteries and move the starter battery (back?) to the center of the boat. The house AGMs are 7+ years old and show a lower voltage than the starter. One or all may be towards the end of their useful life and I don't (think I) need 240AHrs house. I'm not thrilled with the starter battery being in the stbd locker, where the stern anchor, fenders, life-jackets..... are all stored. It doesn't belong where it is at.

I'll go through all the suggestions and validate the wiring on the boat tomorrow. I'll revise Visio diagrams and incorporate everyone's suggestions into diagram #2. I'm happy to post the final Visio diagram once complete. If the wiring makes sense, I may start removing bits and moving wires around.... So far, I'm liking less and simpler is better.
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Old 04-02-2011, 13:39   #17
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
....
Whether you add a 1/2 switch, control it manually, or use other controllers...all optional but a system with THREE types of 1/2 controls just seems like a problem waiting to happen. And from the schematic, it looks like the Combiner isn't hooked up properly at all. And the starting battery has been wired up so it only will be charged from the charger, since the only other power connection to it is via the "start" switch, and that's open whenever the engine is running.
Ooopsie?
Yes - problem waiting to happen, which is why my priority is to understand and resolve. The way it is, there are too many switches that need to be in the right position and other components to all work for all this to work properly!

Do I understand the Cole Hersee solenoid properly - is it normally open and when voltage across the side connectors, it closes? If so, if disconnected, engine off and wired properly, I wouldn't expect any voltage on the side opposite the battery.
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Old 04-02-2011, 14:19   #18
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Dunno about the CH device, but I'd bet they have a manual available for download. Reusing wires can be a good thing--if they're proper size and good condition, all tinned with good end fittings.

You'd also want to check on the WM Combiner, to see which model (75 or 150A) you have.
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Old 04-02-2011, 15:49   #19
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check out Blue seas Add a battery kit it explains battery combiner quite well and how to wire it on there site, might get you going in the right direction. I charge my starter battery first, I always want that topped off before switching to the house loads.
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Old 04-02-2011, 16:01   #20
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Yes - problem waiting to happen, which is why my priority is to understand and resolve. The way it is, there are too many switches that need to be in the right position and other components to all work for all this to work properly!

Do I understand the Cole Hersee solenoid properly - is it normally open and when voltage across the side connectors, it closes? If so, if disconnected, engine off and wired properly, I wouldn't expect any voltage on the side opposite the battery.
If they selected the right one, they come in a variety of normally closed, open etc.

Mine is normally open and is wired to the engine key switch. My engine oil pressure usually comes up in the middle of starting, so it would have cross connected batteries while the starter motor was engaged. So mine cross connects when I turn on the engine key switch before I start and I use all batteries to start. Main switches allow me to remove either bank if needed.

John
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Old 04-02-2011, 18:52   #21
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You might consider the Blue Seas ML series battery combiners. Up to 500A capabilty that allows it to also be used as an emergency battery parallel switch, operated by a remote switch. I've been in contact with their tech line several times last 2 weeks regarding this unit. They have been very helpful and knowledgable.
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Old 04-02-2011, 18:59   #22
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Definitely will consider the Blue Seas battery combiner. Tomorrow's diagnostics will be to (1) remove West Marine Battery Combiner, as it doesn't appear to be working anyway, (2) analyze the Cole Hersee solenoid to verify if normally open/closed and what drives the solenoid (oil pressure or key) and verify 5.4volts, (3) confirm the Heart Freedom 10 does/does not have the echo charge circuit, (4) confirm wiring as depicted in the first diagram (confirm fuses )... and hopefully have time to sail.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:30   #23
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The inverter/charger should be wired directly to the house bank in such a manner that each battery in the bank "sees" the same cable length (assuming same size wires) to the inverter/charger otherwise they will not power share equally.
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Old 08-02-2011, 21:59   #24
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A quick update. The Cole Hersee solenoid is wired to the ignition switch, is normally open and appears to be working fine. What this does, is combine the House and Start batteries when turning on the engine key. The Invertor is not wired into the starter battery as depicted in the diagram, but into the selector from 1,2,Both switch. The starter battery is being separtely charged by the echo charge. The West Marine Battery Combiner was incorrectly wired across the House and Start banks, and was strangely causing 6.5 volts on the "Terminal Block". It appears to be working when I connect the ground wire; I have removed this from the circuit.

A revised diagram, not as nice as daddle's suggestion, but close, and still very much work in progress::

The beauty of the way this is wired allows me to keep the 1,2,Both switch on "Both" and control whether the Start battery is engaged by setting the "Engine Start" to "On". When at anchor or shore power, turn "Engine Start" to "Off". This isolates the Start battery and runs everything on the House bank. The Heart Freedom 10 charger is charging both banks with main charging circuit and echo charge. When the engine is running, the alterntor is either charging both banks or the house, depending on the "Engine Start" switch.

The only drawback that I can see is if the House bank is sufficiently depleted and I go to start with the combined House and Start batteries (due to the Cole Hersee solenoid), I reduce the starting ability of the Start battery. I don't have a way to engage just the Start battery bank. In a pinch, I could disconnect the Cole Hersee solenoid.

The remaining mystery is why the West Marine Battery Combiner was originally installed and equally important, why it was improperly wired. When the engine is running, the Cole Hersee solenoid combines both the House and Start banks and the alternator is charging both batteries. Either I remove the Cole Hersee solenoid and use the West Marine Battery Combiner or vis-versa. Any recommendations as the the better way to go?

Thanks again for everyone's suggestions - I now understand how this boat is wired. I may decide to replace the Cole Hersee circuit and add back the battery combiner. On to the next mystery!

Don
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Old 08-02-2011, 23:06   #25
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The beauty of the way this is wired allows me to keep the 1,2,Both switch on "Both" and control whether the Start battery is engaged by setting the "Engine Start" to "On". When at anchor or shore power, turn "Engine Start" to "Off". This isolates the Start battery and runs everything on the House bank. The Heart Freedom 10 charger is charging both banks with main charging circuit and echo charge. When the engine is running, the alterntor is either charging both banks or the house, depending on the "Engine Start" switch.


I think what folks were trying to do was if you forget to operate a switch you're not dead in the water by depleting both battery banks. If you forget to turn off the engine start switch you are running lights off of both banks. If you leave your 12both switch to 1 (house bank I assume), you can leave your start switch on. Now the only time the banks are combined is when the ignition switch is on and therefore the solenoid. Presumeably the ignition switch will be hard to forget to turn off as the oil pressure alarm will be on when the engine stops. If you have to remember to turn off the engine start switch each time you might as well simplify the system and take out the combiners and the engine start switch and just use the 12both as it was originally intended, IMO.




The only drawback that I can see is if the House bank is sufficiently depleted and I go to start with the combined House and Start batteries (due to the Cole Hersee solenoid), I reduce the starting ability of the Start battery. I don't have a way to engage just the Start battery bank. In a pinch, I could disconnect the Cole Hersee solenoid.


You could move the Cole Hersee from directly on the House bank to the output of the 12both switch. If you set the 12both switch to off, then the house bank is out of the starting circuit. Put the 12both switch to both and turn off the engine start and you isolate the start battery out of the system if it is bad for some reason. Leave 12both at position 1, and the engine start switch on and the only time the banks are cross connected is when the ignition switch is on.

John
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Old 08-02-2011, 23:24   #26
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John, Yes, leaving 1,2,Both in 1 might be better with the Start bank only engaged when the engine key and "Engine Start" are on. Otherwise, the House is the only bank in play. I'll think about moving the Cole Hersee, though I'm fine with the way it is until I find a problem.

I'm trying to decide whether the West Marine Battery Combiner is a better option than Cole Hersee. As I see it, it provides advantage when charging via the alternator. Instead of charging both banks together, it has logic based on voltage to switch between them. This may lead to removing the Cole Hersee circuit and properly wiring the battery combiner. I would lose the engine key start logic, which I think is nice.
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Old 08-02-2011, 23:52   #27
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John, Yes, leaving 1,2,Both in 1 might be better with the Start bank only engaged when the engine key and "Engine Start" are on. Otherwise, the House is the only bank in play. I'll think about moving the Cole Hersee, though I'm fine with the way it is until I find a problem.

I'm trying to decide whether the West Marine Battery Combiner is a better option than Cole Hersee. As I see it, it provides advantage when charging via the alternator. Instead of charging both banks together, it has logic based on voltage to switch between them. This may lead to removing the Cole Hersee circuit and properly wiring the battery combiner. I would lose the engine key start logic, which I think is nice.
I don't believe the combiner works quite that way. Basically if the engine is on the batteries are combined, unless you have depleted the house bank so badly that the house bank voltage doesn't reach around 13 volts under charge from the alternator.
There's another thread where we got into this topic pretty deeply.
I would buy an Echo Charger if I ever decide to get rid of the solenoid.
With a smart regulator on your alternator and a combiner you could apply a needlessly high charging voltage to the full start battery while the house bank is in bulk charge mode. An Echo Charger is essentially another charger that turns on when the alternator voltage gets high enough, and it goes into a lower voltage float mode when the start battery is charged indepent of what's going on at the house bank.

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Old 09-02-2011, 00:08   #28
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I think the West Marine Battery Combiner works the same way. I believe that if using any sort of battery combiner, I need to remove the Cole Hersee solenoid, otherwise the charging logic doesn't make sense.

I'm going to revisit the schematic without the Cole Hersee circuit and confirm this reduces to the standard 1,2,Both switching. If so, then I can look at adding back the West Marine Battery Combiner and testing the charging and cutover from House to Start. This might actually be a better solution and I have the parts! If not, then perhaps the Blue Seas or Xantrex solutions are better. Thanks,
Don
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:28   #29
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I've given this careful thought and decided that I don't need the Cole Hersee solenoid combining House and Start when turning on the ignition key - I can do this with the 1,2,Both switch. This avoids the situation where the House is depleted and when starting the boat, the current flows to the House and may not be sufficient to start the boat. Instead, I've rewired the West Marine Battery Combiner back into the circuit for combining the charge from the Alternator. It appears to be working, though I'll need to monitor it's performance.

I think this a better way. Thanks for all the input. This has been a very informative exploration and I feel that I now understand how the batteries are configured.
Don
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:43   #30
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Doin, just brea in mind that West/Yandina have limits on the size and length of their sense lead, because of voltage drop. Check with them to make sure the wiring you have is adequate for the job, or it won't be switching at the right voltage.
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