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Old 11-04-2011, 01:17   #1
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Inverter \ Charger Installation Questions

I'm struggling a bit to comprehend all the variables in an installation I'm undertaking, and I'm sure there experts here that can straighten me out.

My situation: I'm upgrading my house bank, and adding a Heart Freedom 1000 inverter\Charger. I've installed four 6 volt batteries and understand tying them together to make two 12 volt batteries, with about 440 amp hours. I have an existing start battery I would like to leave in place, although I may have to move to for cable run issues. While I plan to upgrade my alternator and add solar and or wind soon, right now I'm just trying to tie together my current pieces. I also have a Blue Seas battery switch 1/2/Both/Off with make before break so I can switch while my engine it running. And I"m adding a LinkPro - but I that doesn't seem to complicated.

My goal is have my Freedom 1000 charge my house bank, while using the echo charger to charge the start battery. Once started with the start bank, I can switch over and charge the house bank, or both, with the alternator. I would like to be able to start the engine from the house bank, just in case, but don't really need to run the DC or inverter from the start battery (in fact it would be nice to wire things so I couldn't...)

My main questions are - where do I attach the positive lead from the inverter\charger so that it charges just the house bank? It looks like positive alternator output goes to the common connector on the battery switch, but if I also wire in the charger if I start the engine while still connected to shore power couldn't I be double charging the batteries?

I have a little 3 breaker AC switch panel I am going to install - do I run a line from the inverter Chassis ground to the ground bar in the AC panel? The manual says to use 8AWG wire for this run - but it is probably a 30' run, do I need heavier wire?

Should I be adding a galvanic isolator, battery combiner (I don't think I need one with the echo charger, but maybe it would be better for charging from the alternator than setting the battery switch to both?) or any other components?

Feel free to ask me any clarifying questions - my main concern is how to hook up the Freedom 1000 to run from and only charge the house bank, while still being able to start from the house bank if I had to.

Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:39   #2
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Re: Inverter\Charger installation questions

We have our system set up to do what you describe, with a Freedom 1500.

Connect the charger/inverter to the house bank, either directly to the batteries, or to the house terminal on the battery selector switch, depending on location. Don't forget to put a fuse in it. Connect the alternator output to the same place. Connect the echo charge lead to the cranking battery. The echo charge works independently of the charging source - even if the inverter charger is not turned on. If wired as described, any time the voltage of the house bank is above the setpoint (13.5 volts, if I recall) the echo charge will charge the cranking battery. All of our charging sources, including wind and solar, as well as the alternator, go to the house battery. The battery switch is left in the position that connects the cranking battery to the starter under normal operating conditions, and the echo charge keeps it topped up, so it's not necessary to flip the swich unless you want to crank from the house bank. Any time there is an available charging source, both the house bank and the cranking battery are charged. All of our engine loads, as well as the windlass, normally run from the cranking battery. All the house loads run from the house battery. We can use the selector swich to allow cranking the engine or running the windlass from the house bank if we need to.

We also have another battery selector switch which allows splitting the house bank into two banks, in case we have a weak cell in one of the four six volt batteries. This also allows removing and replacing half of the house bank without turning off the house loads. It's not necessary, but it is handy, especially for troubleshooting the house bank.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:34   #3
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Re: Inverter\Charger installation questions

Bud - Thanks for the reply. I've made a very basic diagram (sorry, I'm not up so spec on the proper protocol for wiring diagrams) that I think shows the lay out you are describing.




I do have a couple questions about your setup - If you do not connect to shore power for an extended period of time, it seems like your start battery would not be charged - I don't see how it is charged when running the engine? If that is the case, would running the alternator out to the common post on the switch allow you to give your start battery a little juice before switching over to charge your house bank with your engine?

Are you using any items not shown in the diagram - galvanic isolator, battery combiner, voltage regulator?

Thanks again!

Erlin
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Old 15-04-2011, 06:43   #4
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

Erlin,
Sorry for the slow reply -- internet service is spotty in this anchorage.

Your diagram looks like our system, except that you don't show the Echo charge lead going from the Inverter/charger to the start battery. When you run the engine, the alternator charges the house bank directly, and the cranking battery is charged by the Echo charge -- no matter whether the inverter/charger is on or off. The Xantrex manual is not very clear on how this works, so I experimented with it.

If I remember correctly, the Echo charge will supply up to 15 amps, at around 0.5 volts less than the charging voltage at the house bank. This works well for the cranking battery, which doesn't normally get a deep discharge. It also works well for us as we have flooded 6 volt batteries in the houuse bank, which we charge at around 14.4 volts with the alternator or alternate enerrgy sources, while we have an AGM cranking battery, which needs a slightly lower charging voltage. The Echo charge output follows the charging voltage profile that is applied to the main 12 volt terminal on the inverter/charger, no matter the source.

With the Echo charge connected, you don't need a combiner. A galvanic isolator keeps stray current from the shore power system out of your boat's wiring and grounding system. Unless you spend a lot of time plugged in to shore power, it's not necessary. We are almost never plugged in to shore power, as we are cruising full time and always anchor out, so we don't have one.

We do have a three stage voltage regulator wired in to the stock 80 amp alternator on our Yanmar. It works well for us.

You can certainly wire the alternator output to the common terminal on the battery switch. Then the alternator will charge whichever battery is selected. We had ours wired that way for many years, until I figured out how the echo charge worked. It was a nuisance, as we had to switch to the start battery every time we started the engine, unless we wanted to crank it from the house battery, which caused resets on some of our electronics.

Once we figured out the Echo charge function, we just set the battery switch to the cranking battery, and we leave it there. That way, we can choose to crank from the house battery in the event of a failure of the cranking battery, although we would disconnect the cranking battery if it was flat. This can be done with the battery switch as long as you don't use the "both" position when cranking from the house battery. Under normal operation, we leave the battery switch set to crank from the cranking battery, and it gets charged, via the Echo charge, so we don't have to bother with the selector switch any more except in unusual circumstances.

Hope this is clear. Happy to answer more questions if it's not.

Bud
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Old 18-04-2011, 13:37   #5
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

Not sure if your diagram is correct.

Attached a block diagram the way I think it should be attached.

This way you select either 1 or 2 battery bank to start motor and/or to run 12 volt devices or select both banks.
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Old 18-04-2011, 23:48   #6
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

Bud - don't worry about spotty internet - I'm jealous and can't wait to be where I have a hard time finding service!

I'm closing in on clarity, and yes, I accidentally left the echo charger line out of my drawing, but just purchased the wire to install it this weekend. The two items I'm still a bit curious about:

Where is the echo charger getting power to charge the start battery if you aren't hooked to shore power? It seems when you are running the engine, the alternator goes directly to the selected battery bank, not into the inverter\charger to run an echo charge to the start battery. If you are running a generator to power the charger that would power the echo charge, but you haven't mentioned one so I'm guessing on that. When charging off of the alternator, using the battery switch makes sense but I do see the nuisance in the added steps of switching it, seems like you could run it on the start battery for a few minutes to recharge from your start, than switch to the house bank to charge them.

Second - where are you connecting your DC panel positive side? Currently mine is connected to the common on the battery switch so I can run electronics off of the start or the house bank depending on which is selected, but that wouldn't work out well for always having the battery switch set to Start, you would drain the start battery while not running the engine. And if I'm motoring, it would be nice to be able to run electronics off of the start battery side if I'm switched to it and putting charge current into that bank. I could wire directly to the House Bank, but if something went wrong with it I'm out all my DC devices.

One other question - I spoke with someone who also has this unit and said he has blown up his alternator twice running a load on the inverter while running the engine to charge, have you had any issues with this?

Thanks again -

Erlin
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Old 19-04-2011, 00:44   #7
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Hi, I have the same setup , with the same inverter and echo charge, you just need the $6
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Old 19-04-2011, 05:37   #8
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

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Where is the echo charger getting power to charge the start battery if you aren't hooked to shore power? It seems when you are running the engine, the alternator goes directly to the selected battery bank, not into the inverter\charger to run an echo charge to the start battery.
No. You are making an incorrect assumption that the echo charger is only getting power when the inverter/charger is connected to AC power. That is wrong.

Your inverter is connected to your house bank with a couple of big wires. The echo charger senses the voltage at those wires. When your engine is running, if the alternator is charging the house bank, then the echo charger sends along a share of that charge to whatever batter it is connected to, in this case, your start battery.
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Old 19-04-2011, 05:38   #9
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

The Echo charge gets power from the main 12 volt terrminal on the inverter/charger, which is always connected to the house battery, and therefore to whatever charging source feeds the house battery. It doesn't matter what state the inverter/charger is in. Remember, my alternator output, solar panels, and wind generator are hooked to the house battery.

The DC house panel is hooked to the house battery. In my setup, the start battery is only used for cranking the engine and powering the engine loads -- fuel pump, engine instruments, etc. and the anchor windlass. It is being charged any time the house battery is being charged, regardless of the source of charging current, so it is never necessary to switch to the start battery. Remember, the battery selector switch is set to start the engine from the cranking battery and is left there all the time in normal operation. The battery selector switch is used only to crank from the house battery if there is a failure of the start battery.

The diagram shows a second battery selector switch, which I use to isolate the two house banks for maintenance. That way, I can clean up connectios, etc., without shutting down the house loads. Normally, it is set to both, and the four 6 volt house batteries are used as one bank.

It is possible to wire the system and use it as you said, leaving the cranking battery selected for a few minutes to charge it back up after cranking the engine. I did it that way for years. The problem is, I would forget to switch it back to the house bank, so the house bank wouldn't get charged. Using the echo charge for the house bank is not efficient because of the limited output of the echo charge. The other problem I had was that ocassionally, in a rush, I would forget to switch to the start battery, and start the engine from the house battery. This didn't do any real harm, except that it would often cause some of my radio and electronics gear to reset because of the momentary drop in supply voltage, which was annoying. Doing it this way also means that, unless you use the Echo charge, the cranking battery will only get charged when the engine is running, unless you remember to charge it ocassionaly.

Hope the diagram helps. I haven't updated it since I replaced the engine, but the parts relevant to this discussion haven't changed.
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Old 19-04-2011, 08:36   #10
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Hi, I have the same setup , with the same inverter and echo charge, you just need the $65 Blue Seas off/on/emergency starting.
That switch has four posts on the back, so you just need to turn it to the "on" position, and you are connecting the starting battery directly to the starter and the house bank directly to the breaker panel...no need to be switching from one bank to the other and risking your alternator...
You can also join both banks for emergency starting your engine.
The positive out of the alt is connected to the panel output, so as the positive for the inverter, so when the switch is on, all the output power goes from the house to the starting through the echo charge.
I also have a solar panel, and the output goes straight to the house bank, and the echo charge also takes care of the starting battery ..
The echo charge works well, with a maximum of 15 amps to share. If you need more amps, go for the ballad duocharge. It has a 30amp limit. A blue seas automatic charging relay works great, but you need preferable that both banks share the same kind of battery technology.....
Hope this helps.. Max
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Old 12-05-2011, 21:32   #11
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

Any way to verify the Heart/Freedom 1000 echo charge works as a battery combiner? I didn't see anything in the manual. In my case, I could drain the start battery below 13.3v, house at 13.3v, run alternator and measure the same voltage at both house and start. This would be sweet if this works!

Also, do you know if the Heart/Freedom 1000 has a galvanic isolator in the ground circuit?
Thanks,Don
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Old 13-05-2011, 08:02   #12
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

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Any way to verify the Heart/Freedom 1000 echo charge works as a battery combiner? I didn't see anything in the manual. In my case, I could drain the start battery below 13.3v, house at 13.3v, run alternator and measure the same voltage at both house and start. This would be sweet if this works!
The term combiner is probably not correct in this case, as a real combiner would allow current to travel in either direction. The echo charger acts like a battery isolator, but without the use of diodes and their voltage drop. The echo charger charges the start battery only if the main bank is receiving a voltage of more than 13v. The echo charger will also only put out the voltage required to charge the battery is feeds, regardless of the charge being put into the main bank. It acts like a separate charging source, but gets its power from the main bank when they are seeing a charge voltage.

Quote:
Also, do you know if the Heart/Freedom 1000 has a galvanic isolator in the ground circuit?
Thanks,Don
No, it does not.
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Old 16-05-2011, 08:14   #13
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Re: Inverter\Charger Installation Questions

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The echo charger acts like a battery isolator, but without the use of diodes and their voltage drop. The echo charger charges the start battery only if the main bank is receiving a voltage of more than 13v. The echo charger will also only put out the voltage required to charge the battery is feeds, regardless of the charge being put into the main bank. It acts like a separate charging source, but gets its power from the main bank when they are seeing a charge voltage.
This is absolutely correct!!! The owners manual confirmed the operation of the echo charge and I ran a few tests. With house and start around 12.6 volts, I ran the engine w/alternator generating 14.5 volts. I saw 14.5 on the house and a few minutes later 14 volts on the start. After a 10-15 minutes the voltage dropped on both.

Thanks for pointing this out - as a result, I removed the West Marine Battery Combiner. In my case I feel this is unnecessary. The only difference is the echo charge delivers 15 amps, vs. 100 amps and is only one direction (house to start). With the start isolated and only used for starting the boat, I'm OK with this. One less bit of complexity and wires.
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Old 06-12-2011, 13:07   #14
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Re: Inverter \ Charger Installation Questions

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I'm struggling a bit to comprehend all the variables in an installation I'm undertaking, and I'm sure there experts here that can straighten me out.

My situation: I'm upgrading my house bank, and adding a Heart Freedom 1000 inverter\Charger. I've installed four 6 volt batteries and understand tying them together to make two 12 volt batteries, with about 440 amp hours. I have an existing start battery I would like to leave in place, although I may have to move to for cable run issues. While I plan to upgrade my alternator and add solar and or wind soon, right now I'm just trying to tie together my current pieces. I also have a Blue Seas battery switch 1/2/Both/Off with make before break so I can switch while my engine it running. And I"m adding a LinkPro - but I that doesn't seem to complicated.

My goal is have my Freedom 1000 charge my house bank, while using the echo charger to charge the start battery. Once started with the start bank, I can switch over and charge the house bank, or both, with the alternator. I would like to be able to start the engine from the house bank, just in case, but don't really need to run the DC or inverter from the start battery (in fact it would be nice to wire things so I couldn't...)

My main questions are - where do I attach the positive lead from the inverter\charger so that it charges just the house bank? It looks like positive alternator output goes to the common connector on the battery switch, but if I also wire in the charger if I start the engine while still connected to shore power couldn't I be double charging the batteries?

I have a little 3 breaker AC switch panel I am going to install - do I run a line from the inverter Chassis ground to the ground bar in the AC panel? The manual says to use 8AWG wire for this run - but it is probably a 30' run, do I need heavier wire?

Should I be adding a galvanic isolator, battery combiner (I don't think I need one with the echo charger, but maybe it would be better for charging from the alternator than setting the battery switch to both?) or any other components?

Feel free to ask me any clarifying questions - my main concern is how to hook up the Freedom 1000 to run from and only charge the house bank, while still being able to start from the house bank if I had to.

Thanks!

Reverse engineering usually means doing things backwards so here is something to think about. Use a typical 3 way battery switch & connect it backwards. Connect the invertor/charger to terminal #1, the house bank to terminal #2 & the DC power to the common terminal. This way you can turn the house OFF while leaving the inverter/charger turned on to maintain the batteries as a charger. Position 1 would be your "off" position, position 1 & 2 would be house & inverter & position 2 would be the house position only. Safety being foremost, having the ability to turn the inverter/charger off completely would allow servicing without the inverter waking up & biting you. Most inverter/chargers only go to sleep when turned off at the control but are still energized.
The start circuit would have a seperate 3 way switch that allows you to cross-connect the 2 battery banks in an emergency start scenario but still isolates the house battery bank. Connect the alternater DIRECTLY to the start battery & use a Blue Sea ACR between the 2 battery banks for charging. The ACR will sense from either battery for voltage & will allow charging to both battery banks while keeping them seperated.
The ACR will also allow the charging circuit to maintain the start battery when the solar or wind power is connected directly to the house bank AFTER charging the house bank. This way you can still be using the house bank for day to day use, run the invertor, have the sun shining & still start the motor when it's time to go home.
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