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Old 06-06-2010, 11:16   #1
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Easy DC

Hello everybody,

I have a question: In German Sailing Magazine’s or books there was at some stage a discussion about a project called “easy DC”.
The idea behind was a controller where you can connect all your DC charging sources from Alternator to solar panel or wind generator etc. This controller manages all the energy to charge the battery’s in a high sophisticated way (multi stage loading, charge distribution to the needed bank, temperature controlled…you name it.

The idea sounds great, one “easy DC” and you connect all power sources on one end and on the other end your battery’s. No hassle with wiring, one single point of failure for the whole DC to DC charging. You could even include a battery monitor for total control.

So far, I could not find any product or something more than a project status. Have somebody see something like that or ever heard about? I would relay consider something practical...


I made a picture how I understood the idea – appreciate your comments:


cheers Marco
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:38   #2
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No hassle with wiring, one single point of failure for the whole DC to DC charging.
The single point of failure kind of caught my eye.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:42   #3
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, one single point of failure for the whole DC to DC charging.
That is what I would see wrong with it!
If the unit fails so does everything else. It would be like a lighting strike. If out at sea, one would have to run wires from each charging unit to the batteries just to get ones power up and running again. That's if one hasn't eliminated the individual regulators.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:46   #4
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Could one takes something like this, put in a nice hefty selector switch and then have the redundancy or two of them?

Or carry a spare and put it in a spot easy to get to.
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:05   #5
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That is what I would see wrong with it!
If the unit fails so does everything else. It would be like a lighting strike. If out at sea, one would have to run wires from each charging unit to the batteries just to get ones power up and running again. That's if one hasn't eliminated the individual regulators.
Hi, I don't think there should be a a new wiring - just a short bridge from source to battery - in and out wiring is very close. Of course just for emergency but very easy to setup. And if you carry one spare "easy dc" even better....if it exist and would be affordable.

How is it today? You have a charger for the solar, one for the wind generator and maybe a relay or diode for the alternator to charge both batteries. At least three devices which could break....and the biggest hassle is the wiring - to my experience the most reasons where usual system break down. Much more connection which may corrode, more (often thinner wiring) and so on.

That's what I like on this idea one piece, easy, manageable wiring...

cheers marco
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:21   #6
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Consider what you might have today for charging sources on a well-equipped cruising boat:

1. engine alternator with an external smart regulator;
2. battery charger with its own built-in multi-stage regulator;
3. solar panels with their own MPPT multi-stage controller/regulator;
4. wind generator with its own regulator; and
5. onboard AC generator which charges thru regular battery charger with its own regulator.

All of these systems are independent (except AC generator). If any one of them breaks down, it doesn't affect the others. And, not just the regulators....if any one of the primary charge devices should break down (alternator, battery charger, solar panel, wind generator, AC generator, etc.), it won't affect the other systems.

For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would want to take multiple independent systems and hook 'em up to a single-point-of-failure device which could take down the whole shebang! And, as we know, Murphy is alive and well on most boats and would ensure that this marvelous new device DID go down -- at the worst time.

Oh, yes, I forgot: no doubt some clever 21st Century engineer would want to have this neat-oh device networked...to your computer, to the Internet, to your IPhone, to the coffepot, etc.....thereby adding additional complication and absolutely ensuring the system would go down with a bang!

Of course, you'd receive an email about the crash on your office computer....

JMHO,

Bill
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:43   #7
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I do think people are sometimes too paranoid with single points of failure. I used to run a UPS that had 16 batteries, 5 power modules (N+1) and two brains. The only issue was batteries that had a 4 year life expectancy failing at 7 years. Oh yeah, we lost a power module once, but reseating it solved that.

No, this wasn't a boat, but the business was paranoid enough to make sure the UPS was redundant.
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Old 06-06-2010, 13:50   #8
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Intresting

So rather than reinventing the wheel, but for need of gauges and meters, how about a bank of plug and play meters or dgital readouts, just to watch how every separate charger contributes to the system.........
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Old 06-06-2010, 15:31   #9
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So rather than reinventing the wheel, but for need of gauges and meters, how about a bank of plug and play meters or dgital readouts, just to watch how every separate charger contributes to the system.........
Relatively easy to do, and wouldn't compromise the systems. Just need a few clamp-on sensors and multiple meters, or one multi-range ammeter with a selector switch. A few colored LEDs would jazz it up nicely.

And, hey....it's for marine use, right? You could sell it for $500 :-)

Bill
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Old 07-06-2010, 15:34   #10
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I've been looking for a "DC controller" for a few years now. It seems a few companies (Victron Energy, Mastervolt, AmplePower, ...) have made progress with their "AC controllers" but little on the DC side.

Nigel Calder's lastest posting in his blog implies the HYMAR project may be working on this with:
Bosch Engineering Group working on an Energy Management Module, and
Mastervolt working on efficient power conversion devices.
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Old 09-06-2010, 17:25   #11
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Marco, I call this concept "One ring to rule them all" referring to Tolkein.

The problem is that different energy producers (wind generator, solar panel, alternator) need to be regulated or dumped in different ways, so "one ring" would need multiple modules, each capable of different operation, which means more components that many users wouldn't need. Short translation: Gonna be expensive!

The alternative of somehow combining all the power and then regulating one combined output, arguably would still waste lots of power.

I think it can be done, and done quite "easily" i nthe form of multiple modules that could be ganged up, designed to work with each other. The onbly problem is that there would still only be a small market for it, making it a losing proposition except for the home builder. And how many boaters really have the interest or skills to home build high-power DC control circuits?! Or affordable access to things like MPPT modules to build into them?

I don't think it is a technological problem, but rather one of economics. Right now it is still way cheaper to split battery banks, and split charging sources so that each manages itself, alone.

Just one man's opinion, and I'd love to see a product come out to prove me wrong!
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