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Old 21-07-2019, 08:55   #1
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Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

I searched ‘Balmar Lifeline programming‘ but did not get a hit.

What is the optimal advanced programming set of parameters for Balmar MC-614 regulator charging 4X group 31 Lifeline batteries in parallel?

Below is the list of codes and values I deduced from the Balmar (http://www.balmar.net/wp-content/upl...ion-Manual.pdf) and Lifeline (https://2cw8eb1vmmgg3g5i7jzt6upo-wpe...al-5-06-19.pdf) manuals.

Our boat has one 80A small case alternator driven by a serpentine belt. Alternator and battery bank each have a Balmar temp sensor installed.

Balmar MC-614 programming Lifeline batteries codes/parameters:

bA=AgL
bEL=b-0
Ab2=b2
dSP=Ld
bdL=OFF

Advanced

bLc=30
AHL=15.6
CL=14.8
bu=14.3
b1c=0.3
Au=14.3
A1c=2.5
**=13.2
F1c=0.3
ALL=12.7
FbA=50
FFL=65
AL1=86
b1l=46
SLP=7.2
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Old 21-07-2019, 09:42   #2
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Seen this?

https://marinehowto.com/programming-a-balmar-voltage-regulator/

Might help if you "translate" those parameter codes, and post what you want the charge profile to look like, in standard terminology.

Likely you'll end up getting most of it yourself, but a record will be helpful for those later following from google.
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Old 21-07-2019, 09:48   #3
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

in case you haven't read http://lifelinebatteries.com/wp-cont...cal-Manual.pdf

Also
https://www.google.com/search?q=site...eline+charging

https://www.google.com/search?q=site...%2F+balmar+614
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Old 23-07-2019, 19:27   #4
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

John,

Not helpful. I can and did RTFM. I am asking for someone who actually has done this if they came to the same settings I did. So if you don't have Lifeline batteries and an MC-614 don't mess up the thread with a bunch of non-answers please.
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Old 24-07-2019, 04:50   #5
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Have you seen it?

This Mainsail article doesn't translate the codes, so not a helpful link?

Another of your cut-and-paste links just links back to this thread!!!!!

Lifeline AGMs are just lead acid batteries so don't need any special programming apart from setting the battery type to AGM, or in this case bA=AgL

The Balmar manual is not at all helpful - RTFM doesn't work. The default setting of 18 mins for Bulk time always confuses people because it stays in bulk anyway until the absorption voltage is reached.

See this previous thread with a table of the correct settings for programming Firefly AGMs from Ocean Planet #8.

How to Properly Program Balmar 614 and High Output Alt.
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Old 24-07-2019, 05:31   #6
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Thanks for that. I see what they are doing for the Firefly batteries.

Among the questions I have is the FFL setting. It makes sense to switch from bulk to absorption at 65% field. But that setting also applies to start the absorption timer. Since Lifeline recommends the same voltage set point for bulk and absorption there will be no absorption period based on charge current. As soon as it gets to 65% field it will switch to absorption and then immediately start the absorption timer since it is at 65% of field.

Also, I am interested if I have the right SLP value since it is far from the factory default. But that's what I calculated based on the Lifeline user's manual.
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Old 24-07-2019, 12:45   #7
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Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

I tried to get it to work by tripping to float based on percentage of field.
Never got it to work as especially with Solar the percentage of field that would be correct varied widely.
I gave up and just programmed it to Maine Sails recommendations.
I wanted to be able to get it to drop to float on something better then just a timer, but gave up.
He claims that a few hours at absorption beyond when you are fully charged isn’t harmful.
After realizing that most people have stock alternators and the whole time they are motoring they are essentially at Lifeline absorption voltage, I figured he’s likely correct.

Bulk and absorption are of course actually the same as in settings as of course bulk is the time your trying to reach absorption voltage and absorption is the time after you have reached it.
I believe Balmar may be about the only people that act as if it’s a different setting.
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Old 24-07-2019, 14:15   #8
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

I've seen that elsewhere, Trojan specs for example, I think the idea being many batteries are fine with higher voltage (& thus current) in the earlier stages, then once CV is hit, drop to a gentler profile.

https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in.../#post-1424518

>> For Trojan "bulk" is a transition voltage where constant current charge is terminated and absorption begins. They recommend 14.82V then a drop 14.7V for absorption, but this is for a typical standby or golf type charging station where you have plenty of time to recharge.
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Old 24-07-2019, 14:20   #9
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Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

The point of jacking up the bulk to a higher voltage is to shorten the charge time.
In truth I have my bulk at 14.4V and absorption at 14.3, both within Lifeline limits. I was trying to separate the Solar from the alternator in that quest of finding a field percentage that would be proper for absorption and ah have been able to get much closer, but programming is such a pain and I try not to do that much motoring that I just gave up.
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Old 24-07-2019, 14:50   #10
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
I searched ‘Balmar Lifeline programming‘ but did not get a hit.

What is the optimal advanced programming set of parameters for Balmar MC-614 regulator charging 4X group 31 Lifeline batteries in parallel?

Below is the list of codes and values I deduced from the Balmar (http://www.balmar.net/wp-content/upl...ion-Manual.pdf) and Lifeline (https://2cw8eb1vmmgg3g5i7jzt6upo-wpe...al-5-06-19.pdf) manuals.

Our boat has one 80A small case alternator driven by a serpentine belt. Alternator and battery bank each have a Balmar temp sensor installed.

Balmar MC-614 programming Lifeline batteries codes/parameters:

bA=AgL
bEL=b-0
Ab2=b2
dSP=Ld
bdL=OFF

Advanced

bLc=30
AHL=15.6
CL=14.8
bu=14.3
b1c=0.3
Au=14.3
A1c=2.5
**=13.2
F1c=0.3
ALL=12.7
FbA=50
FFL=65
AL1=86
b1l=46
SLP=7.2
TDan,

I don't know if this will help, but I did a spreadsheet for Programming Balmar ARS-5 for T-105 FLA batteries here

and having talked with Dale and others at Balmar and written some notes about programming, after reading Rod's HowtoMarine recommendations for T105 and programming Balmar. I think some of these details might help. This spreadsheet below is newer, still applies to T105, however there are some details about the meaning of each of the values which might be useful. I am just going to try attaching as an xls.

One Important note:
All time periods are in increments of 6 minutes & Ignore the period "." EG: 18 minutes = 18/6 = so enter "00.3" If "01.8" is entered that is 18 x 6 = 106 min. -not 18 min! EG: 1 hour = 6 x 10 = 60 min, so enter "01.0", for 2 hours enter "02.0" etc Note: For SLP the period is also ignored, for 0.005 volts = 5 milivolts, enter "00.5" not "05.0"

I think I should add your settings for AGM to this spreadsheet. ---Which I added to mine. now.
Also for Trojan SLP I had this note next to it Trojan Flooded =5.0 mV per cell / °C or 2.8 mV per cell / °F
Attached Files
File Type: xls Balmar-ARS-5+TrojanT105.xls (114.0 KB, 8 views)
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Old 24-07-2019, 15:09   #11
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Lifeline are not using same parameters as other AGM. From what i read Lifeline use different voltages and temperature compensation slope is way different.
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Old 25-07-2019, 02:22   #12
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Lifeline are not using same parameters as other AGM. From what i read Lifeline use different voltages and temperature compensation slope is way different.
You might be overthinking things with the temp compensation - maybe if you are going regularly up and down well outside the mid 25 deg C point. The only adjustment you really need is the charging voltages. That's all I did and mine lasted 14 years. Consider reducing output with the belt manager and definitely put a temperature sensor on the alternator as the AGMs will take more current than FLAs.

All AGM manufacturers use different voltages - as do other batteries - so no regulator or charge controller should be set to AGM, or GEL, or FLA. You must have a customer setting and use the battery manufacturers recommenced voltages.

AGM absorption and float voltages

Lifeline..................14.4V & 13.4V
Firefly...................14.4V & 13.2V
Trojan...................14.4V & 13.5V
Odyssey TPPL........14.7V & 13.6V
East Penn/Deka......14.6V & 13.6V
Mastervolt.............14.4V & 13.2V
Full River...............14.7V & 13.7V
Rolls.....................14.7V & 13.7V
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Old 25-07-2019, 04:40   #13
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

My batteries are in a place where it can be pretty warm. This past short motoring day they were 32C. And I have the alternator sensor so have elected to limit alternator temperature rather than use belt manager. Alternator has a serpentine belt gotten from Rod several months back. It works fine.
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Old 25-07-2019, 10:59   #14
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Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

I have belt manager set to 5 and the alternator still limits on temp. But think I have it set to 90c for alternator temp, a pretty low limit but I believe temp is closely linked to life expectancy too.

The diodes are off to the side so there is a hot side to an alternator so that is where the temp sensor should be located too, plus your sensing case temp of course and there is quite a time before the case heats up. It may not be a bad idea to use belt manager to limit output so winding heat doesn’t get real hot before it conducts over to the case to be sensed.
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Old 25-07-2019, 11:45   #15
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Re: Optimal programming of Balmar regulator for Lifeline batteries

If you read the mc 614 manual it explains every code..... google it and download. If you call lifeline they can give you the bulk, absorption and float specs you need; volts and time. Maine sails site has a cheat sheet that assists in the programming. Also watch his video on how to do advance programming. He helped me with my lifeline 4ds after I bought a alt/Regulator/serpentine belt kit from him. Now I have flooded 6v and programmed myself using manufacturers specs
By programming regulator you really get some good charging. Looking at the codes I can tell you are not set for your battery profiles
Good luck
Greg
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