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Old 05-03-2015, 11:12   #1
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Shore power charger

Need some help on a shore power charger.
Battery bank will most likely be a 400 amp AGM, based on size available to put the batteries, golf cart batteries are not an option without a lot of cutting and glass work, maybe one day, but not near term.
Current charger is a 27 yr old Raritan 30 amp charger, works, but I feel pretty sure there is much better available. Seems shore power chargers usually at most just have a selector switch for battery type and are not really that adjustable as far as voltage etc?
First is this a good one? Never heard anything bad about Charles Chargers, actually well though of, but is there better?

Charles Marine C-Charger 5000 SP Series 60 Amp Battery Charger


Secondly, what's better? What if one day I chose to go with a LIFE bank, what charger would I need then?
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:16   #2
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Re: Shore power charger

I don't like Charles chargers at all. Our C34 group has not had good results with them for the past 30 years.

Wiring a new charger From Maine Sail: Marine Battery Chargers - Installation Tips & Considerations - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:25   #3
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Re: Shore power charger

I should add that if cost were no object, I'd probably be going with a Victron Quattro,
but unfortunately I believe it to be more money than I want to spend at this time.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:27   #4
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Re: Shore power charger

The Sterling ProCharge Ultra 60A unit is a damn good unit that is feature packed and I sell them for $449.

Marine Battery Charger - Sterling Power ProCharge Ultra- Power Factor Corrected (PFC) PCU - 60amp

Battery Chargers
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:33   #5
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Re: Shore power charger

The factory was shipping IPs with Charles chargers installed when my IP380 was built in 2001. It did a good job of taking care of my 600 AH AGM bank.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:38   #6
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Re: Shore power charger

Good article (as usual) from Maine Sail, thanks
Took me awhile to read it all
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:42   #7
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Re: Shore power charger

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
The factory was shipping IPs with Charles chargers installed when my IP380 was built in 2001. It did a good job of taking care of my 600 AH AGM bank.
So was Catalina. They still left a lot to be desired for our skippers (1800 hulls, 700 IA members and hundreds on our forum).
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:11   #8
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Re: Shore power charger

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Seems shore power chargers usually at most just have a selector switch for battery type and are not really that adjustable as far as voltage etc?

Our is an older ProMariner Pro-Tech 1240 (40 amp) and they have since come out with better ones. Check out their ProNautic line.

I only have two profiles available, one for FLA/AGM and one for Gel. The newer ones generally have two pre-set profiles each for FLA, AGM, and Gel, and maybe some others, plus maybe user programmable settings and equalizing possibilities. Download the manual, lots of useful info there.

I'd suspect other companies have similar products. And FWIW, I think ProMariner and Sterling are (often? usually?) the same products with different badging.

-Chris
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:17   #9
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Re: Shore power charger

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And FWIW, I think ProMariner and Sterling are (often? usually?) the same products with different badging.

-Chris
Correct.
The Sterling ProCharge Ultra and ProMariner are the SAME IDENTICAL Battery Chargers, minus the stickers and each having their own different manuals.

The battery charger was designed jointly but then the two owners went their own way and each continued with the charger, but with their own Sterling or ProMariner stickers on them.

I've sold several hundred of the Sterling ProCharge Ultra chargers (mostly the 60A since you can dial down the output if needed) and have not had a single warranty return or problem. I've been running one aboard our boat now for 6yrs and love it. I used it with my T-105's and now on my LiFePO4 battery bank.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:30   #10
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Re: Shore power charger

I've been using the Sterling 60 for 5 years now. No problems. Displays lots of data. Lots of choices for battery types . I believe you can program to your own settings if you want, been a while since I set it up , could be wrong.


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Old 05-03-2015, 12:38   #11
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Re: Shore power charger

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Need some help on a shore power charger.
Battery bank will most likely be a 400 amp AGM, based on size available to put the batteries, golf cart batteries are not an option without a lot of cutting and glass work, maybe one day, but not near term.
Current charger is a 27 yr old Raritan 30 amp charger, works, but I feel pretty sure there is much better available.
This is probably a ferro-resonant unit. These will either cook a battery bank or they may will under charge it. Almost never do they charge as the battery wants to be charged. AGMs need a charger that treats them well. They can take a lot of current initially but over voltage or under voltage will shorten the life a lot. I use a Master Volt charge/inverter unit which works pretty well. But they are expensive. For sure I would change to a new charger when you install new batteries.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:53   #12
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If you go with Sterling take a look on ProMariners manual too. I found it easier to follow and even more informative.
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Old 05-03-2015, 13:10   #13
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Re: Shore power charger

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This is probably a ferro-resonant unit. These will either cook a battery bank or they may will under charge it. Almost never do they charge as the battery wants to be charged. AGMs need a charger that treats them well. They can take a lot of current initially but over voltage or under voltage will shorten the life a lot. I use a Master Volt charge/inverter unit which works pretty well. But they are expensive. For sure I would change to a new charger when you install new batteries.

Currently old charger is charging Walmart batteries, PO installed them and for what my needs are now as I'm just a weekend warrior, they work, surprisingly well truth be known.
I'm two years away from going full time and I may end up with LIFE batteries, so I want a charger that can do that. The Sterling is looking not so bad, especially if you can customize the charge profile, cause if I don't go with LIFE, I'll start with Lifeline AGM

I'd suspect form they way I haven't had to add much water at all, that they are being under charged
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Old 05-03-2015, 13:19   #14
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Re: Shore power charger

I would look for a (internally, usually) adjustable voltage level since even "the same" batteries from two different makers may recommend different voltages for optimum life. The marine UL approval and a solid warranty (long time, with less shipping) would be worth considering.


As to lithium batteries...I don't think you can buy any retail charger that has any accommodation for them. Even assuming you knew which lithium technology might be reasonable and not obsoleted in five years. Anything with a provision for one set bulk mode then "off" with no floating might be good enough, or at least "as good as it gets" at this point.


But more than the choice of charger, one hopes you have a calibrated volt meter to use! Just to make sure that fixed or not, the power supply is actually putting out what the batteries want. If that Raritan is putting out the right voltage and doing the right dance (2-stage, 3-stage) there's nothing wrong with keeping an old faithful servant. Some of the new all-digital stuff exists mainly because the copper windings in 50# transformers got too expensive--NOT because digital is really any better at it.
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Old 05-03-2015, 13:31   #15
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Re: Shore power charger

I've got a good Fluke, I keep it calibrated as I can do that through work although I admit I don't know how any adjustment is made to the thing, I believe they are actually just checking accuracy.
If nothing else the Raritan is 30 AMP and we will be generator equipped. I'd like a pretty big shore power charger that gets me through the bulk phase when we run the generator, hopefully a couple of times a week, hope is that I'll have enough Solar to top off the batteries if the Gen gets them through the bulk phase.
But, for me this is all theory
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