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Old 06-06-2008, 18:35   #1
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Heart Interface Freedom 20 and a Link 2000R

I've got the above listed equipment on my boat. The Link 2000R never shows the charger getting past "accept" to "float" during the charging cycle. It has fried my last set of 6-6 volt batteries because of this. I just replaced them. Now I need to find out why it won't drop to "float".

I worked with the Heart people this afternoon and while checking the charge level on the battery, it jumped from 13.5 to 14.5 in the blink of an eye. Seems the charger may have somehow switched itself on while the switch was turned off at the Link 2000R. Now the Interface people think I need to pull the unit and take it to the local service center for inspection--or shell out lots of money and replace it(gee what fun).

Anybody have any experience with these units? The were installed back around 2000. Sure could use the help.
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Old 06-06-2008, 20:30   #2
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Quote:
Anybody have any experience with these units? The were installed back around 2000. Sure could use the help.
It comes down to every asspect of your electrical system. There isn't too much magic about all this but darn near everything is tied to everything else. Anything wrong comes back to bite you. It always ends up with trashed batteries.

The Freedon / Link system is actually pretty well integrated so it generally has less issues to deal with but the physical installation and the details can all play a part. I would not be too quick to just accept any one answer. Sure something could be defective but it's not so easy to say which one just by the information you supplied. Examining one part by removal may not get you where you need to be.

You need to be able to stand back and look at all the use patterns and the charging systems to see where something isn't coming up right. It is not uncommon to be off the shore power and not be able to get back to float values. The last 10% of the charge back takes a long time. Using an inverter sucks power exceptionally fast as well.

Did you lose on the discharge side or the charge side? At this point you know you lost but it's not so easy to say why.

I would be more inclined to examine the boat with everything in place rather than rip things out and bench test them. It may be easier for them to tell you there was nothing wrong with the one part and be off the hook than to really fix your problem. With it being installed so long ago it adds even more complexities. I sure would not buy new batteries until you get this resolved as they have increased a lot in the past year. Those 6 volt batteries are about double the cost of what they were.
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Old 06-06-2008, 22:09   #3
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Not to knowledgeable about charging

I would love to get some one to inspect the system on the boat but I can't get anyone to come to our boat in Newport. I made arrangements to get a diesel mechanic and an electrician to come to my boat back in April before I even arrived here. After repeated calls after getting here and repeated promises of showing up, neither did. I finally found a mechanic(not the original) that could help me with the engine, but no electrician will show up. I'm out on my own here. It's a fisherman's town, not a sailers.

I can dig around and see what there is but my knowledge is VERY limited. I know it is a learning experience and I have a lot to learn about my boats systems.

I don't understand how a unit can suddenly turn itself on if it's turned off--if that is what it actually did. I have the Link 2000r set up as two banks--THere are 6--6 volt batteries in my house system. One pair is set up as bank one, the other four are set up as the second bank. Each pair is 220 amp hours. The link is now set up to charge the banks to 13.4 volts and then go into "float". Apparently before it had been set at 14.4 for some reason. Changing that may solve the problem. Not sure. I'm letting both banks get used a bit before I start the charger.

"Trust not lest ye be screwed" or fried would fit better. I can use all the help I can get as to how to check and verify that the units are correct before I rip them out for testing.
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:01   #4
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A charging voltage of 14.4 (or there abouts depending on your batteries) is correct for the bulk and acceptance phases of the charge cycle. The float then will average around 13.2 to 13.6.

I would suggest you get a good marine electrical manual such as the "12 Volt Doctor" or "Boat Owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual".
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:36   #5
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Recently (at the boat show) I had the chance to set with someone from Lifeline batteries, as thats what I have, and descuss batteries and how they work.
All batteries have an Algarythm and each designer has determained how this is setup. Not all wet cell are created equeal, as not all gells or AGMs. And you need to find out what they are, and set the charging up according.
Another thing I was told, was that any charge OVER the full charge of the batteries had to be regulated to MAX of 1 amp for every 100 amp hours of storage the bank has..
I was also amazed at where the 50% and 100% areas of the batteries are.
For mine, as example, the 50% mark is at 12.2 volts and the fully charged area is at 12.8 volts so my working area has to stay between the two..
and the "overcharge" or anything over 12.8 volts can only be 1% of the total amp-hours of storage I have in total. so If My total Amp-hours are 400, I can not exceed 13.2 without damage to the batteries..
I do have a storage of over 2000 amp-hours so I figure I'm pretty safe..
What I was saying is that there is more to batteries and how they work than many of us really know.
This guy had also mentioned that having two banks on the same charger and not using the two banks equeally can cause problems. as if you had one house bank and a starter bank.. the starter bank may be up to max and the house bank low due to use and the charger keeps charging both....
You might want to get ahold of the manufacture of the batteries you have and see what the specs are and how to charge them.. then gear your system to fit.
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:39   #6
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Randy, your information is wrong. There are many threads on this forum that detail the correct charging voltages. Do a search.
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:45   #7
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I didnt say it was right or wrong, all I said was what was told to me, buy the REP from Lifeline.. and it had to do with MY AGMs
And I'm sorry FRZ if you dont agree, but my system is working perfect, has been for 5 years now, I live on the boat and use the system on a daily basis and I've got all the bells and wistles to go along with it.
I think that has something to say about it....
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Old 07-06-2008, 13:04   #8
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[QUOTE]and the "overcharge" or anything over 12.8 volts can only be 1% of the total amp-hours of storage I have in total. so If My total Amp-hours are 400, I can not exceed 13.2 without damage to the batteries../QUOTE]

Randy, sorry if I offended, I realize that not all the information you stated was wrong and perhaps I am misreading you in the above quote. If by "overcharge" you mean float voltage that may be correct, as I stated earlier, between 13.2 and 13.6 depending on the battery being charged.
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Old 10-06-2008, 15:12   #9
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MESTREZAT:

There are three tests to make with your Link and inverter/charger. Make sure that with the Link communications cable removed that the inverter/charger is OFF meaning that with no AC input present to the unit the unit does not go into the invert mode.

With the communications cable plugged in and NO AC present to the inverter/charger note that when you push the INVERT button that the green annunciation LED comes on AND that the inverter comes on giving you AC. Next, with AC present to the inverter/charger note that by pushing the CHARGE button on the Link the charger function comes on.

If the Link does not cause both functions to toggle on/off from the Link panel then there is a problem with a DC level on one of the communication cable. This is either a bad cable/connector or a bad supply level on the control board of the inverter/charger or a burned out resistor internal to the Link unit. If one removes the negative cable from the inverter/charger before removing the positive cable (to the battery) then that resistor I mentioned will burn out in the Link (not catastrophic merely will not allow those functions to work properly).

Now, the third thing to check is to see if you can force equalization and float using the Link control. Consult the manual if necessary to know which buttons to push and watch the battery voltage to see that it changes appropriately. If this works then the digital communications is working over the cable to the inverter/charger. If not there is a problem with the cable or the RS232 at either end.

I recommend unplugging the temperature sensor to the inverter/charger when making these tests. I don't like the method used internal to the inverter/charger of delivering that temperature info to the Link and as a result you don't get a proper acceptance voltage that you get if you manually declare using the Link. In fact, I wouldn't use the sensor to the inverter/charger at all...just enter in the value manually. Keep in mind that local battery temperature doesn't change very fast and as long as you generally keep tabs on the ambient you can keep good voltages to the battery bank.

If you still have a problem then unplug the Link from the inverter/charger then remove the positive cable to the inverter/charger including any connections to the internal Echo charge (for separate start battery) being careful not to short out the removed cables. Wait about a minute and replace the connections in reverse order. When reconnected perform a reset to factory defaults in the Link and then re-make the tests for control to see if everything now works properly. If so, reset your particulars for battery bank capacity, Peukert exponent, etc.

Rick
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Old 10-06-2008, 20:53   #10
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Update

I installed the replacement unit and fired it up at about 10:30am. Came on just fine and went into the "charge" mode for about 5 minutes and then dropped into "accept". It's now 7:30pm and here are some readings I took thru the day:
12:30 Volts Amps Amp Hours
Bank 1 14.3 -1.3 -13
Bank 2 14.3 -1.5 -13

2:00
Bank 1 14.3 -.7 -14
Bank 2 14.3 -1.0 -15

5:30
Bank 1 14.3 -.6 -16
Bank 2 14.3 -.9 -18

7:00
Bank 1 14.3 -.5 -18
Bank 2 14.3 -.8 -21

It's still in the "accept" and not sure if it is progressing toward "float". I've kept demand to an absolute minimum just to help out. I tried turning off the "charge" during the day. The voltage dropped to 13.3 with it off. It was the same with the last burned out charger. While I'm learning, the amount I know would fit in a water glass--a small glass.

Since I bought the boat used, the previous owner left all the electrical work to "professionals". I'm not sure they did justice by him. The "bus" from the positive terminal just hooks to a switch for the Maxwell windlass. There is a big post on it and all the wires go to it one on top of the other with a nice nut on top of the pile. No fuse is visible any where near the terminal. I'd been told that there should be one very close to the terminal.
The "bus" for the negative is also just a post mounted on a plastic base bolted to the settee it is mounted on. This is not what I identify as a "bus" for batteries.
Anyone have any idea as to how long it should take to get into "float"? I don't want this set of batteries to get fried by having it at a high charge rate to to long. Service tech told me it shouldn't take to long since the batteries are new when I called him this morning. So far we are at 9 hours and climbing.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:13   #11
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[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']"bus" from the positive terminal just hooks to a switch for the Maxwell windlass. There is a big post on it and all the wires go to it one on top of the other with a nice nut on top of the pile. No fuse is visible any where near the terminal[/FONT]
I would say it's not done professionally. Even if they were paid to do it. Should your windlass hang up or you pull too hard for too long the wires will heat to high temperatures with so many amps. The nice long wire will get exceptionally hot and if undersized probably burn through the insulation. This is a case where the boat could start on fire without that fuse. A rats nest attached to a battery post means it could be worse. It shows lots of short cuts from doing it correctly. I've had help to clean up two boats like this and with all the power and systems you have you really could use more peace of mind by having it done like a professional instead of paying like it. It's not hard work just a bit time consuming to make the ends of the wires properly prepared and sealed and attached to bars. Labels are nice too. All tied up in neat bundles and looking like it has a great deal of order an organization.

I would say you need to start mapping out the wires and at least figure out what serious wiring problems you have. You have at least one show stopper with your windlass.

I'm not sure 9 hours is a hideously long time yet. I assume by the time you read this it's either made or not.

None of this pertains to the Link issue as discussed with Rick. FWIW, this is a topic Rick has a little more information than most people on.
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:41   #12
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A couple of things. First isn't charging at 14+ volts for AGM's not wet cells?

Second someone earlier made a comment on charging two different batter banks with the single charger. I have a Link 20 inverter/charger and it is programmed to use one or the other battery bank to determine when to charge and for how much. The default was my engine bank which resulted in my house bank being undercharged. I switched that.

Finally, I agree with Paul. For those of us with older boats the probability of finding Rube Goldberg wiring is almost a certainty. It can be a pain in the butt but spending a few hours or whatever to draw up a wiring diagram pays huge dividends.

Rich
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:33   #13
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More info

My system is best diagramed as follows:

I have 6-6 volt batteries for the house system and two 12 volts as a stater system. The 6-6 volts are charged by the Freedom 20 and set up as two banks. Bank 1 is a set of two batteries on the starboard side of the boat. Bank 2 is the 4 on the port side. Each set of two has 220 amp hours. I just installed the batteries about a week ago.

The 2 12 volt starter batteries are on a separate system. They have no connection to the house batteries. They are charged by a C-Charger from Charles Industries.

Both banks(house and starter) have their own separate alternator on the engine just to make sure there is no crossover.

I turned off the charger last night as it stopped making any progress. The Link 2000R said the battery was at 12.75 volts as I went to bed. That is up from 12.6 when I started the process 14 hours earlier. The amp reading had gone from -1.3 at 12:30 in the afternoon to -.5 twelve hours later. While the Amp hours had gone from -13 to -21. The amps at -.5 was the same reading at 7pm--five hours earlier.

Am I just not giving it enough time to get charged or are the settings off? Figure I'll be calling the Heart people this morning again.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:31   #14
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Why not simply disconnect the charger and send it in for a looksee? You can use a simple charger for the time being, can't you? Electrical and electronic stuff sometimes misbehaves, and the factory can have the option of fixing it for free. It has happened for me.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:44   #15
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Sneaker wires:

From your readings it appears that you have what I call "sneaker wires" attached to the negative of one of your two battery banks monitored by the Link2000.

You should have the dual shunt installed so that one battery bank negative goes to one top side of the "U" shaped shunt and the negative from the other bank to the other top side. NO OTHER wires should be attached to the batteries or the battery side of the shunts (other than battery interconnects). Visually inspect the battery wiring and the shunt.

ALL OTHER negative external connections MUST be connected to the bottom (non battery side) of the shunts or to a distribution post wired to the load side of the shunt.

Sneaker wires can prevent the Link from "observing" a true net current flow. Obviously with 14.3V on a battery bank negative current will not flow out of the battery as you report.

After you solve that issue make sure that you can force float using the Link as previously outlined.
Regards,
Rick
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