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Old 19-02-2009, 14:01   #1
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Generator Compatible Battery Charger

Hello:

I am looking to replacing my semi-functional 60 Amp battery charger. It works fine off of shore power, but does not work reliably with my Next Gen 3.5 KW generator. My house bank is 4 Trojan SCS-100s group 24s and my engine battery is a Trojan starting group 24 battery. I am not interested in an inverter/charger.

So, what chargers of 60 Amps and higher have been proven to be tolerant to less than perfect generator AC? Also, can you successfully charge banks of dissimilar size, but similar chemistry with these chargers or should I be using a different approach for the engine battery.

BTW, when I first started having problems with the main charger, I purchased a 30 AMP West Marine portable charger. Funny that this works off both shore and generator power in contrast to my more expensive main charger.

Thanks.
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Old 20-02-2009, 21:43   #2
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Most modern chargers use switching technology to pack a lot of sophisticated charging capability inside a small and light package. Unfortunately, these chargers require pretty decent 120VAC/60 Hz input in order to work properly. It is the 60 Hz part that is doing you in. Some small generators put out a very sloppy wave form that does not come close to a pure sine wave.
Contact the charger manufacturer and ask their technical support people what quality of input power is required to operate. Contact the generator manufacturer and find out what the specs are for the output from their gensets. Ask them what can be done in the field to improve their waveform.
For more info on small generators and their waveforms, follow this link: Marine Generator Test - Victron Energy
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Old 20-02-2009, 21:46   #3
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There are many chargers out there now that are frequency and voltage tolerant. They can tolerate 50/60 hz and 90/240 volts. Look around and check the specs.
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Old 20-02-2009, 22:03   #4
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To clarify, your generator is probably putting out 60 Hz power. It is most likely anything but pure sinusoidal and the charger is expecting a pure sinusoidal wave form in order to function properly. Sorry if I did not make that clear in my earlier post.
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Old 22-02-2009, 16:45   #5
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I talked to the Next Gen about this.

What they said was that even with the same model generator, some battery chargers of the same make and model work and some don't. There was no apparent pattern.

What they suggested to do was to run a resistive load, like the water heater coil, prior to turning on the battery charger. This was not effective.

So far I have had two ProMariner ProNautics fail. The third unit is on its way out.

Some manufacturers such as Xantrex and Master Volt "claim" that their chargers work with less than perfect AC generator output.

What I am looking for is anyone with actual experience with these or any other chargers. It seems like a lot of people on the board like IOTA chargers, but there haven't been any responses here.
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Old 22-02-2009, 17:57   #6
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I can conmfirm that the Xantrex chargers and specifically the Turecharge 40+ will work fine off my Honda generator.
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Old 22-02-2009, 18:54   #7
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I use two Sterling Pro Charge Digital 1250CED 50 amp chargers Sterling Power Products: ProDigital They run in parallel, each charging three battery banks. The main house bank consists of four Trojan SCS-225's in parallel giving 520A/H.

They run happily off my Mastervolt 6KVA genset as well as shore power accepting any input voltage from 80-130 volts or 170-280 volts with auto switching between the two ranges. Input frequency range is 40-400Hz.

Regards
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Old 22-02-2009, 22:42   #8
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I use a Xantrex True Charge 40+ also, charging two banks with a Panda 12KW gen at 60 Hz. 120V. No problems yet. Had it for 2 years.
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Old 23-02-2009, 10:13   #9
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It sounds like the Xantrex chargers are ok.

There is suppose to be a 60 Amp Xantrex 2 coming out, but it appears that the release has been delayed.

When I can get one, I will report back to the forum.
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