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Old 15-11-2015, 11:16   #76
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
No, the isolator prevents that.
What sort of isolator are you talking about?. I took it you were referring to a VSR that switches the charge to the house bank after the start battery is charged, usually in a few minutes after starting.
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Old 15-11-2015, 11:30   #77
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
In over 10 years of operation on a single battery bank (6 GC batteries) I have never experienced any electronics failures, and Cbreeze is equipped with all the conveniences along with an electric windlass (75 amp PM DC motor) and a bow thruster (300+ amps series DC motor).

When I look at the schematic diagram of all the input isolation on my Raymarine X5 autopilot (they are significant, extensive, and this is a low $ AP) one might think about working this problem from the other end. If you are experiencing electronics failures when you haul in the anchor, maybe you should change the supplier of your electronics.

If I did have a separate starting battery it would be wired to the starter motor directly (via fuse and isolation/ emergency combination switch) so I would know it could be depended on. Everything else on the boat (including the alternator/ other charging sources/ distribution system) wired to the house bank. Automatic charging relay would replace the small amount of energy used in starting the engine. Any other configuration is sub optimal IMO.

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Agree 100%. I have never seen evidence that any electronics were damaged by voltage spikes. Low voltage drop out is the only issue and a large bank should not have that problem - and never with the engine running.
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Old 15-11-2015, 11:31   #78
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

I'm not recommending any specific brand; due diligence for that. But a quick Google search:
zero volt drop marine battery isolator by Sterling Power Products. Automatic zero volt drop battery isolator / battery splitter
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Old 15-11-2015, 12:56   #79
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
What sort of isolator are you talking about?. I took it you were referring to a VSR that switches the charge to the house bank after the start battery is charged, usually in a few minutes after starting.
It makes absolutely no difference whether referring to a diode based isolator or an ACR (what you are referring to as a VSR) the isolator isolates the starter battery from the house loads. In the case of the ACR, when the alternator is not charging, the loads are isolated from the starting battery, but not the house bank. When the engine is running, and start battery is up to voltage, the house bank is connected in. Does the starting battery see the windlass load? Not alone, with the entire house bank tied in as one, same as if the battery switch was on both, or there was no start battery and just house bank. Either way, still no problem, and connecting the windlass to the dedicated, isolated, start battery, is bad practice. The whole purpose of the ACR is to prevent loads such as wind lasses connected to the house bank, from killing the start battery.
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Old 15-11-2015, 15:44   #80
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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It makes absolutely no difference whether referring to a diode based isolator or an ACR (what you are referring to as a VSR) the isolator isolates the starter battery from the house loads. In the case of the ACR, when the alternator is not charging, the loads are isolated from the starting battery, but not the house bank. When the engine is running, and start battery is up to voltage, the house bank is connected in. Does the starting battery see the windlass load? Not alone, with the entire house bank tied in as one, same as if the battery switch was on both, or there was no start battery and just house bank. Either way, still no problem, and connecting the windlass to the dedicated, isolated, start battery, is bad practice. The whole purpose of the ACR is to prevent loads such as wind lasses connected to the house bank, from killing the start battery.
A VSR is a voltage sensitive relay, that charges only the start battery, after starting. When it senses the voltage of the start battery is something like 13.5 v the whole charge is switched to the house bank isolating the start battery.

If the winch is wired to the house battery most of the current drawn by the winch as well as that required for charging the house bank, will be going through the VSR, assuming the alternator is charging. Running the engine with the alternator charging, is considered good practice and for example (I understand) Beneteau have a relay operated by oil pressure sensing to ensure the engine is running during winching. I can't ascertain which battery Benetau connect their anchor winches to. Perhaps a Benetau owner can advise.

The winching current going through a VSR can damage its contacts.

If you are using a VSR and the winch is wired to the start battery, the winching current with the (engine running) will not be going through the VSR contacts and neither will the start battery be flattened. The VSR will sense if it's voltage drops below say 13.5v and keep it charged. When winching is finished the VSR will switch the charge back to the house bank after the start battery is 13.5 v.

As far as I can ascertain, (some) Hanse yachts have seperate start, winch, and house batteries all located somewhere aft. This is another way of keeping the winch separated from the house and electronics system. I believe they use splitting diodes to separate the charging. A separate winch battery would be fine if you have the space and don't mind the weight.

But if you put the weight of a winch battery up in the bow, you will still need heavy cables as most of its current draw will be coming from the alternator which is usually aft.

I also use a splitting diode rated almost 2X my alternator rating. It has no points to burn or arc.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:21   #81
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

You are confused about how VSRs work. They don't isolate the start battery. They put all batteries in parallel when the charge source is present.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:41   #82
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
A VSR is a voltage sensitive relay, that charges only the start battery, after starting. When it senses the voltage of the start battery is something like 13.5 v the whole charge is switched to the house bank isolating the start battery.

If the winch is wired to the house battery most of the current drawn by the winch as well as that required for charging the house bank, will be going through the VSR, assuming the alternator is charging. Running the engine with the alternator charging, is considered good practice...

The winching current going through a VSR can damage its contacts.

If you are using a VSR and the winch is wired to the start battery, the winching current with the (engine running) will not be going through the VSR contacts and neither will the start battery be flattened. The VSR will sense if it's voltage drops below say 13.5v and keep it charged. When winching is finished the VSR will switch the charge back to the house bank after the start battery is 13.5 v.
In North America many wire all charge sources including the alternator to the house bank. There is no sense running all this current through a start battery that is fully charged in 5 minutes after starting.

A VSR (ACR) is a voltage sensitive relay. It does not charge only one battery. When the terminal post on either side of the VSR reaches a specified voltage (13.6 for 30 seconds and 13.0 for 90 seconds for the Blue Seas SI-ACR, the most common Blue Seas model in North America) it combines the batteries. After that each battery takes the current it requires, both at the same time.

While I suppose an ACR or VSR can fail I have never seen a failed one. One of the most reliable items on a boat.

Wired the above way the windlass current is not passing through the ACR (VSR) and there will, as has been proven thousands of times, be no issues.

This is how I and other electricians I know wire a charging system.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:30   #83
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

Just a note regarding the windlass supply. If you have the room, I suggest you consider installing dedicated batteries for it. Those motors draw a lot of current (ours is just on 7kW - that's nearly 600A at 12V or nearly 300A at 24V).

Certainly you are not drawing that much current most of the time, but when working to full capacity, that's a big load on the battery - engine running or not.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:38   #84
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
You are confused about how VSRs work. They don't isolate the start battery. They put all batteries in parallel when the charge source is present.
I had one years ago. Eventually it didn't work so I stripped it and filed the contact points which were burned. I used it again for a while, then took the advice of a marine electronics specialist and installed a 135 amp diode and wired the start battery to the winch.

You are correct VSRs put both batteries in parallel when charging.

Quote "Hella Marine" When the engine is started, and the start battery reaches 13.7 v the VSR engages allowing two battery banks to be charged simultaneously. When the voltage drops below 12.8 volts ( eg the engine is stopped), the VSR disengages, separating the batteries. This system eliminates the possibility of draining the start battery and protects sensitive electronic equipment powered from the auxiliary battery from harmful engine start up spikes. End Quote.

My observations:
It protects the electronics from engine start spikes but it doesn't protect the electronics from anchor winch spikes.

When the engine is running while you are using your winch (and the alternator is charging) all the batteries are connected together so therefore you are using your start battery as well as your house battery for winching. (even though the start battery is allegedly not suitable for the winch)

In actual fact the alternator is powering the winch so that doesn't matter. Just the same as if the winch is connected to the start battery and the alternator is charging.

So if you use a splitting diode and connect your winch to the start battery, you are protecting your electronics from winch generated spikes.

Confused?
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Old 15-11-2015, 20:36   #85
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
A VSR is a voltage sensitive relay, that charges only the start battery, after starting. When it senses the voltage of the start battery is something like 13.5 v the whole charge is switched to the house bank isolating the start battery.

Can you please provide a citation? I am familiar with the Blue Sea ACR (automatic charge relay), which I believe is similar to the device you are referring to. Who is the manufacturer? What is the model?

What an ACR does, is isolate the start battery from the house bank when the alternator is not charging. This way, the house loads, such as the windlass, and other devices connected to the house bank, do not discharge the start battery. When you crank the engine, the start battery remains isolated, so that the house loads connected to the house bank, do not see the voltage dip from the start battery. After the alternator voltage is present for a period of time, the start battery is combined with the house bank, so all get charged.

Check it out here...
https://www.bluesea.com/products/761...12_24V_DC_120A


If the winch is wired to the house battery most of the current drawn by the winch as well as that required for charging the house bank, will be going through the VSR, assuming the alternator is charging.

Incorrect (for the ACR). When the winch is connected to the house battery, the winch current is delivered by the house battery bank. If the ACR is combining the start and house bank, it means that the entire (now single) battery bank sees the load current. They are combined just like when a battery switch is in the "BOTH" position.

Running the engine with the alternator charging, is considered good practice...

There is no question that running the engine is good practice when operating high current loads. You keep repeating this for some reason. Whether the windlass is connected to house or start battery bank, the batteries will be discharged less if the engine is running. This is true for any load, and any battery bank. However, it is better practice to connect the windlass to the house bank, so that whether using (properly) any charging isolator (diode, ACR, or battery switch) the start battery isn't killed by the windlass (if the engine is not running and alternator charging).

...and for example (I understand) Beneteau have a relay operated by oil pressure sensing to ensure the engine is running during winching.

This has already been mentioned by another person in this thread, and does not require repeating. There has not been one detractor in this thread, that it is good practice to start the engine before operating the windlass. On this item, I believe all are in agreement.

I can't ascertain which battery Benetau connect their anchor winches to. Perhaps a Benetau owner can advise.

Quite frankly, I don't care what they do; but if they follow good wiring practice, and isolate the starter battery, it should be isolated from all loads, including the windlass.

The winching current going through a VSR can damage its contacts.

Citation please. If the VSR you refer to, works like an ACR, the statement is not true.

If you are using a VSR and the winch is wired to the start battery, the winching current with the (engine running) will not be going through the VSR contacts and neither will the start battery be flattened.

[COLOR="red"] Correct (assuming the VSR you refer to is akin the ACR I am referring to.) But again, neither will the windlass current be running through the ACR if the windlass is connected to the house bank. The ACR (and I suspect the VSR you are referring to, and the diode isolator you have on your boat), need to be sized according to the max charge current of the alternator, not the loads that may be connected to the batteries. [COLOR]

The VSR will sense if it's voltage drops below say 13.5v and keep it charged. When winching is finished the VSR will switch the charge back to the house bank after the start battery is 13.5 v.

Citation please. If the VSR you are referring to operates like the ACR I am referring to, this statement is not true. The start battery is combined to the house bank, after a period of time that the alternator voltage is sensed.

As far as I can ascertain, (some) Hanse yachts have seperate start, winch, and house batteries all located somewhere aft. This is another way of keeping the winch separated from the house and electronics system. I believe they use splitting diodes to separate the charging. A separate winch battery would be fine if you have the space and don't mind the weight.

I have worked on many Beneteaus. How they are wrired depends on the era. There are many ways to wire boats. If one wanted to, they could have a separate battery for every load. Many people have a dedicated windlass battery at the bow (for reasons I have already covered in prior posts but will repeat again in response to your repeated false statement below).

But if you put the weight of a winch battery up in the bow, you will still need heavy cables as most of its current draw will be coming from the alternator which is usually aft.

For the umpteenth time, FALSE! The reason for mounting a dedicated windlass battery in the bow, is to avoid the need to use heavy cables. The result is a reduction in cable cost. If the cable savings outweighs the cost of the dedicated windlass battery, box, and echo charger, and the owner is OK with locating and servicing a battery forward, then this can be a valid option.

Installing a dedicated windlass battery forward, and running large cables from the alternator to the battery is a waste. There is no need to do this. In every case I can imagine, the owner would be better to add a dedicated windlass battery forward with Echo Charger, or power the windlass from the house bank. When considering adding another battery, it is often wiser to add it to the house bank, to power all loads, not just the windlass, which power needs are relatively low and infrequent.

Again, the Echo Charger draws a maximum of 15 A from the house bank. It is still good practice to have the engine running before operating the windlass, especially when pulling up, as one is not to pull the boat up to the anchor with the windlass, but rather with engine propulsion.

If the alternator is connected to the house bank, it will replenish this 15 A as it is drawn by the echo charger.


I also use a splitting diode rated almost 2X my alternator rating.

As mentioned long ago, this is one solution, but an ACR is better in my opinion, for all the reasons previously mentioned.

It has no points to burn or arc.
This is correct, as it uses a completely different technology.

However, it does have a junction that can (and they do) break down. It is also a poor solution for an alternator with a fixed regulator, or a smart regulator that has not be programmed or wired to sense the voltage drop it induces.

When a customer asks me for a diode isolator for a new install or to replace a defective one, I usually recommend changing to an ACR.

In your case, if your diode isolator is working fine, and you have compensated for the voltage drop, I would recommend keeping it. If it fails, I would recommend changing it to an ACR.

I would also recommend changing your windlass connection from the isolated start battery to the house bank ASAP, for all the reasons previously stated, and now repeated many times. If you choose not to, it is your business and your boat, but please stop telling others it is good practice to connect a windlass to an isolated start battery. It isn't.
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:20   #86
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
I had one years ago. Eventually it didn't work so I stripped it and filed the contact points which were burned. I used it again for a while, then took the advice of a marine electronics specialist and installed a 135 amp diode and wired the start battery to the winch.

Unfortunately, you were given poor advice. Who was the organization that certified your marine electronics specialist?

Yes, VSRs put both batteries in parallel when charging, in contrast to your previous description. [/COLOR]

Quote "Hella Marine" When the engine is started, and the start battery reaches 13.7 v the VSR engages allowing two battery banks to be charged simultaneously. When the voltage drops below 12.8 volts ( eg the engine is stopped), the VSR disengages, separating the batteries. This system eliminates the possibility of draining the start battery and protects sensitive electronic equipment powered from the auxiliary battery from harmful engine start up spikes. End Quote.

My observations:
It protects the electronics from engine start spikes but it doesn't protect the electronics from anchor winch spikes.

As mentioned many times now, there is no voltage spike problem with the windlass connected to the house bank. As mentioned in the link supplied by others, if devices are wired incorrectly, there could be voltage spikes. But if there are wiring problems, those should be fixed, the correct solution is not to connect the windlass to the isolated start battery.

When the engine is running while you are using your winch (and the alternator is charging) all the batteries are connected together so therefore you are using your start battery as well as your house battery for winching.

Yes, just like when one manually switches a 1/2/Both switch to the both position.

(even though the start battery is allegedly not suitable for the winch)

There is no problem with combining the start battery with the house bank, when the alternator is charging (as people have done for ages, with a 1/2/both switch. The issue is that an isolated start battery should not be connected to a windlass. The reason one isolates the start battery, is so that loads other than the starter, cannot kill the battery.

In actual fact the alternator is powering the winch so that doesn't matter. Just the same as if the winch is connected to the start battery and the alternator is charging.

Wrong! The battery is powering the windlass. The alternator is charging the battery. One can connect a windlass that draws 3500 Amps to a house bank charged by a 35 Amp alternator. (Bad practice, but it could be done, and it would work. There is no way on earth, that alternator is powering the winch.

So if you use a splitting diode and connect your winch to the start battery, you are protecting your electronics from winch generated spikes.

Again, your electronics do not need to be protected from Windlass generated voltage spikes, if your windlass is wired to the house bank properly. If any device is wired improperly to a house or start bank, bad things can happen.

Confused?
Nope. I understand how to properly wire a windlass, and have for many years. I also understand your windlass is wired to your isolated start battery, and why you believe it is wired correctly. However, in my opinion, your justification is invalid.
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Old 15-11-2015, 23:58   #87
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Nope. I understand how to properly wire a windlass, and have for many years. I also understand your windlass is wired to your isolated start battery, and why you believe it is wired correctly. However, in my opinion, your justification is invalid.
Yes and so do I. You are entitled to your opinion and I'm sure you are not going to change it. As for repeating "for some reason" that the alternator should be running; it was because someone said that their customers liked sailing off the anchor and didn't want to start their motors. Well when I do the same I have my engine running in neutral if I use the winch.

You know very well that if you are using a VSR and the engine is running and the alternator charging, both the house and start batteries are combined and both are powering the winch; along with the alternator. So what difference is there in wiring the start battery to the winch? That is a rehetorical question.
That means I don't want an answer.
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Old 16-11-2015, 03:14   #88
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

Folks who might stumble onto this thread please don't assume the "expert" opinions espoused here are valid. A properly sized automatic charge relay (aka VSR) is preferred over a diode splitter. Diode splitters are almost always going to cause battery life problems. Wiring the alternator directly to the house bank is generally better than directly to the start bank. Use of an ACR or echo charge will keep the start battery charged.

There are any number of good resources on the web such as: http://www.marinehowto.com/
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Old 16-11-2015, 09:54   #89
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Folks who might stumble onto this thread please don't assume the "expert" opinions espoused here are valid. A properly sized automatic charge relay (aka VSR) is preferred over a diode splitter. Diode splitters are almost always going to cause battery life problems. Wiring the alternator directly to the house bank is generally better than directly to the start bank. Use of an ACR or echo charge will keep the start battery charged.

There are any number of good resources on the web such as: marinehowto.com
Thanks for you succinct post Transmitter Dan. During my many years of designing, developing, and installing electro-mechanical devices and training application engineers and field service staff how to properly select, install, and operate these products, I am certainly aware that people learn in many different ways and at different speeds.

I encountered this thread while in the middle of writing an article for my regular DIY feature in a popular sailing magazine, detailing the many decisions to be made when installing a new windlass.

I know that I have gone way overboard trying to correct the many errors and bad advice in this thread.

In keeping with our mission statement at Sheen Marine, I hope the final result is that people are helped rather than confused.

RamblinRod
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Old 22-11-2015, 17:17   #90
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Re: New Electrical System Questions

To help alleviate some confusion. My boat has a large manual windless. Actually the largest single amp draw is the SSB radio when transmitting. Doing some measurements I don't have the room for a starting battery when I add 2 more GC batteries. So I'm going with the simplicity of one large bank of 6 trojan T105's.

I'm getting pretty close to having my wiring diagram ready for posting. In the meantime I thought I'd post a few pics of my existing wiring system. The first pic is the main panel which doesn't look too bad until you realize that all the wires coming and leaving go straight into the engine compartment with no shielding. The last picture is the current mess shunts, selector switches and fuses.
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