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Old 22-10-2014, 04:39   #1
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Recomendations for a Diversion Regulator

Hello Cruisers,

Recently I found that my Aerogen 6 regulator is cutting out at a too low voltage level and was switching to the dump load. I was given some good advice that there was an adjustment available on the regulator to fix this problem. Alas, this is true for all of the models other than mine. My regulator is completely sealed and therefore is probably the original model.

So, before I start the surgery in an attempt to unearth the adjuster pot, it struck me that this might be a time to stand back and think things through.

The current situation is that I have installed a decent quantity of solar with a smart new MPPT controller and I am about to take delivery tomorrow of 2 x 125AH AGM batteries. These batteries are to see us through while we are just weekending, with the aim to go to around 400AH (or less) of useable capacity, either in FLA or Lithium when we are ready to do some serious sailing, in about five years time. So just to be clear, the boat is a bit of a dock queen till then, hence the AGMs seemed the best bet.

I have a 100Amp Hitachi alternator on the engine, which will need an external regulator to provide the best output, I mention this as it might be relevant to the question of choosing a regulator for Aerogen.

I am keen to get the most I can out of the Aerogen, so perhaps I should consider some "better" regulator, something that I can adjust to the installed battery chemistry should I change to Lithium for example, before we travel.

I have the dump resistors for the Aerogen, and they are in excellent condition, so a good regulator with a diversion circuit that recognises different battery chemistries, including Lithium, should be a cinch to install. The maximum current output of the Aerogen is 30 amps at a maximum open circuit voltage of 45 volts, DC.

Can anyone recommend a regulator with all of this in mind? Failing that, a map to that pot in the regulator would be a great help too.

So far, I have been pointed in the direction of the Morningstar Tristar series, which look good, but are there others I should consider?


Matt
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Old 23-10-2014, 09:46   #2
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Re: Recomendations for a Diversion Regulator

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
....So far, I have been pointed in the direction of the Morningstar Tristar series, which look good, but are there others I should consider?...
With both solar panels and a wind generator it is often better to use a single regulator with separate wind and solar inputs. If two different regulators are feeding the same battery bank one can get confused by the other and may switch off too early. This is a potential problem in the initial “Boost” stage of charging where batteries will take all the charge they can get. Regulators all work in slightly different ways, but in principle they are programmed to reach a maximum voltage for a set time and then drop down to a float voltage. With wind generators there is not a constant source of power to allow the regulator to stabilise itself. Often there is a huge surge in output voltage from wind gusts, and then their charge may drop. The wind controller may still see the high voltage coming from the solar panel controller so it will switch to float. When the wind rises there may be a built-in delay of maybe an hour before the wind controller attempts to charge again and so the cycle continues. The wind generator could potentially be providing the highest charging capability, but much of the time it has switched itself off so its energy is being wasted.

The simplest KISS principle, which is recommended by several manufacturers, is not to have a regulator for the wind generator but control it manually with a switch or a safe method of tying back the blades when the batteries are known to be 100% charged. This will rarely be needed when cruising with a large service bank, but a high voltage alarm could be programmed into the battery monitor to warn of any overcharging. An unregulated wind generator should not be left running when leaving the boat for an extended period without the risk of overcharging.
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Old 23-10-2014, 15:31   #3
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Re: Recomendations for a Diversion Regulator

Hmmm... you make sense there. And doubly so since the apparent problem with the Aerogen regulator did not appear till after I had rewired and included a new solar setup, which probably brought the old house bank to higher voltage than it had ever been before.

I tie off the Aerogen 6 when we are not on board anyway, as our model is not designed for unattended use, so I think I will just leave the reg alone for now and see what happens when we are under way with a decent load running.

I do like the idea of a direct connection, however if I do go Lithium I would want some VERY good protection against over voltage, better than relying on my paying good enough attention.


Matt
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Old 02-11-2014, 21:18   #4
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Re: Recomendations for a Diversion Regulator

Hi, Check out Missouri Wind...they have a switch setup for this and a dump load resistor setup as well...take your pick. Both do the same thing...NOT overcharge the batteries...I like the dump load as it is all automatic.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old 02-11-2014, 21:40   #5
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Re: Recomendations for a Diversion Regulator

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Hi, Check out Missouri Wind...they have a switch setup for this and a dump load resistor setup as well...take your pick. Both do the same thing...NOT overcharge the batteries...I like the dump load as it is all automatic.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
Do you know... it worries me when I type a name into Google and it automatically appends the word "lawsuit" to the search...

I think, after a bit of reading of the complaints, I might just give them a miss. They may be ok, but from this far around the planet it just does not seem to be worth the risk. If they were around the corner from me it would be more tempting.

A pity, some of the prices look good, or at least, look good if the product works as stated, which seems to be the basis of most of the complaints I read.

But thank you for the pointer anyway, always good to get more input on ideas of sources. I'd be interested to hear if anyone on CF has had a good experience of their stuff.


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