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Old 11-12-2017, 13:44   #16
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

OP, what exact make and model is your

isolator
echo charger, duo charge
combiner / ACR/VSR
DCDC charger
?

Have you got more than two banks (House vs Starter) ?

What are you using to measure voltages, and at what points in the various circuits?

Ideally your

Starter batt & House bank charge buss/circuit,

the output from the alt & solar controller, any other charge sources,

are really all one circuit

while any source is active,

no significant voltage drops anywhere around the different points.

That may take heavier gauge wiring than you have, checking all crimps and connections are sound etc
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Old 11-12-2017, 14:01   #17
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
the diode isolators have 1 input and multiple outputs. designed for one direct from alt input. and battery banks out. if you feed the alt direct to the start battery. and then feed the start battery (same as alt at this point) to the input of a diode isolator. and then one output of the diode isolator to the house bank. then when the engine is off, and the house battery is draining, and 0.6v lower then the start battery. now you are draining the start battery through the isolator to the house battery. the start battery is charging the house battery. defeating it's entire purpose of isolating them. that is defiantly not how you wire them.

were where it says remove original wire
https://www.newmarpower.com/wp-conte...-165_-5-12.pdf

if are you going to use it wrongly. I would atleast wire the alt direct to the house bank. so the house bank hitting full voltage for faster charging. and the start battey is 0.6v less. and then then start battery can not drain. as the house would drain into the start battery.
Sorry.. You are %100 correct.. I had a hot day in the sun and a couple of beers. Was not thinking of things properly... Your post made me look at my notes.. Duh... Talking out my ass again!
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Old 11-12-2017, 14:09   #18
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Sorry.. I forgot to add.. There are now more modern combiners that don't use diodes. They essentially use solid state relays and do not have the loss. That would be the easiest way to solve the issue you are facing.
Older ones too, mine are a couple of heavy duty solenoids controlled by the regulator...simple, reliable, and field repairable. Heavy duty solenoids can be sourced almost anywhere.
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Old 11-12-2017, 14:42   #19
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

'There is no way for you to be feeding 14.3V to the batteries from the MPPT and for the alternator to only be at 13.7V"
Sure there is. Actually at least two ways. The regulator output could be dropping to 13.7 because it sees 14.3 at the battery and decides it is time to go into float mode. Or, the regulator could be defective (an internal bad diode, a bad connection, etc.) or there could be a bad wire/connection causing a voltage drop. Depends on where and how you're measuring the "alternator" output.

A complete picture of the system, and where measurements are being taken, really is needed. And observing the alternator/regulator output when the solar is disconnected (or at night, or covered with aluminum foil, etc.) helps to explain and confirm whatever the alternator/regulator think they are doing, as well.

A simple relay, driven by the alternator output, to disconnect the MPPT output when the alternator is running, could be good enough to end any arguments between the two.
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Old 11-12-2017, 15:04   #20
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
'There is no way for you to be feeding 14.3V to the batteries from the MPPT and for the alternator to only be at 13.7V"
Sure there is. Actually at least two ways. The regulator output could be dropping to 13.7 because it sees 14.3 at the battery and decides it is time to go into float mode. Or, the regulator could be defective (an internal bad diode, a bad connection, etc.) or there could be a bad wire/connection causing a voltage drop. Depends on where and how you're measuring the "alternator" output.
even if you shut the alternator off, you'd still see 14.3 volts at the output. because you are reading battery voltage. unless you have an isolator. you can't have a different volatge at the battery, solar controller, and alt, unless they are connected to different batteries. or have huge voltage drop. but you can't have a voltage rise in an alt cable.

and if there is an isloater in the system. the internal alt reg will never see the battery voltage increase. you could raise the battery voltage to 20v and the alt would never know. all it knows is the battery is no longer accpecting current when the alt is trying to hold 14v. at that point it would be at 14v and 0amps. reducing current. not voltage.
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:28   #21
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post

you really need to provide a compleate drawing of your system before people can help you much more.


Here is my setup:
60 amp charger when on dock
340 watt solar with 30 amp MPPT regulator
120 amp Valeo alternator on Yanmar engine with stock built-in regulator
Battery combiner OR isolator ( donít know yet, have to check)
525 amp house battery
90 amps starter battery
??? amps for bow thruster ( donít know exactly how many amps)

I might have express myself wrongly with the mesurment.
I have a Microlog DMM-1. This is were the mesurment comes from and might be the reason of the discrepancies....

When motoring, both (alternator and solar) are charging and the microlog reaches roughly 13,7 volts.
When sailing or at anchor, only solar is charging and microlog often reaches 14,2 volts.

I didnít installed myself the microlog but had lots of pain trying to charge my battery last summer......except on the dock !

Boatís almost new ( 2 years old Beneteau built in Marion)

Trying here to find a solution but understand some infos are missing to find the best solution.
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Old 11-12-2017, 18:11   #22
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

you're going to have to draw a diagram of all the wires as they are.

then you're going to need a voltmeter and ideally an amp clamp meter. too see what things are doing.
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Old 11-12-2017, 18:27   #23
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

When installing a Balmar alternator and smart controllers I asked their technical support the same question. I was told that if you don't switch off solar to the positive busse the alternator will read the solar voltage and under charge. Made sense to me and now turn off the solar breaker/switch when starting the engine.
TML
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Old 11-12-2017, 19:08   #24
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

To stop solar production, keep the SC connection to the bank closed.

Open the panels circuit instead.
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Old 11-12-2017, 19:31   #25
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by tml View Post
When installing a Balmar alternator and smart controllers I asked their technical support the same question. I was told that if you don't switch off solar to the positive busse the alternator will read the solar voltage and under charge. Made sense to me and now turn off the solar breaker/switch when starting the engine.
TML
Then Balmar needs to get new tech people. If the solar is charging the batteries then you may or may not need any output from the alternator. The only place where this may be a problem is when the solar controller is in bulk mode, above the float voltage and below the absorption voltage. So somewhere in the range of 13.8 to 14.4V (typical lead-acid values). This indicates that the solar system is charging the batteries but does not have enough output available to reach the absorption voltage. In this case an alternator regulator may come online, see the voltage above the float level, and immediately go to float. But a smart regulator shouldn't do this, a smart regulator should be built for multiple charging sources (even if it is just two engines). Balmar's manuals say that their regulators always go through an 8-step charging process on startup, which includes a bulk phase that defaults to 18 minutes. If your solar is keeping the system at 14.0 the smart alternator regulator should quickly (after their startup delay and soft ramp) bring the batteries up to the bulk setpoint and hold them there for the fixed bulk time before moving on to calculated bulk, absorption, and then down to float.

Basically, a smart regulator should 'test' the system on startup by raising the voltage to the bulk limit regardless of the starting point, if it sees current acceptance then it should stay in bulk mode and then move on to absorption (and in my experience that is how Balmar regulators work). If a regulator doesn't perform this 'test' then it doesn't qualify as 'smart'.

A dumb internal regulator, on the other hand, may very well see a voltage above float and drop back to float immediately. In that case the alternator voltage will not be 13.7 (or whatever) it will be the bus voltage as set by the solar controller and the alternator output will be zero. The alternator output will remain at zero until the system voltage drops below the float voltage. With these regulators, if you think the solar won't get things charged, then you need to take the solar offline while the regulator is figuring things out.
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Old 11-12-2017, 20:03   #26
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Sorry.. I forgot to add.. There are now more modern combiners that don't use diodes. They essentially use solid state relays and do not have the loss. That would be the easiest way to solve the issue you are facing.
Not wanting to add to the confusion here, but "solid state relays" are either normal relays with contacts, or FET transistors with minimal voltage drop.

I'm an electronic tech (retired) but keep up on the latest stuff.
I've never heard of a solid state relay that had "no loss" unless it was a coil and contact.

Modern battery combiners use a regular relay with a voltage sensing circuit to energize the aforementioned relay.
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Old 12-12-2017, 13:05   #27
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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In a typical installation of a battery combiner, it would not be involved when you are plugged into shore power or with solar.... Let me see if I can explain.

The battery combiner is installed between your alternator/start battery and your house bank. It isolates your house bank from your starter battery and alternator. Being a diode it only allows current to flow one way (from the alternator to the house bank). You can think of it as a one way valve with flow going out of the alternator to the house bank (however this valve is not %100 efficient and loses 0.5v-0.6v when passing the current).

Now on the house bank side of this one way valve will be all your other charging sources. Since they are directly hooked up to the house bank, they don't have to go through the combiner (and thus have no loss). This is exactly how my boat and countless others I have worked on are configured. My alternator will never charge my house batts over 13.8V-13.9V, even though I can put a multimeter on my start batt and see 14.4V. I'm guessing your boat is configured the exact same way..


and yes, you are correct.. I meant if your alternator does go over 13.8V at night then the MPPT is the problem (but very doubtfull to me).
I think you are confusing things. a battery combiner has no diodes in it all its just a voltage sensing relay that combines the house and starting banks in the presence of charging voltages. a battery Isolator is the one that has diodes. typically MPPT controllers and shore power chargers are not wired through the isolator as you stated. Isolators are old tech don't see them on modern boats and there's no point installing one on an older boat as an isolator requires more complexity and wire ( and costs more) than a combiner with the added disadvantage of voltage drop.
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Old 12-12-2017, 14:23   #28
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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I think you are confusing things. a battery combiner has no diodes in it all its just a voltage sensing relay that combines the house and starting banks in the presence of charging voltages. a battery Isolator is the one that has diodes. typically MPPT controllers and shore power chargers are not wired through the isolator as you stated. Isolators are old tech don't see them on modern boats and there's no point installing one on an older boat as an isolator requires more complexity and wire ( and costs more) than a combiner with the added disadvantage of voltage drop.
If you would have read the whole thread you would see that YES I already admitted I was confusing how an isloator works (too much beer and hot sun here in Martinique)... I also won't rehash the "old tech" that I addressed earlier. They are still being sold and installed all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Not wanting to add to the confusion here, but "solid state relays" are either normal relays with contacts, or FET transistors with minimal voltage drop.

I'm an electronic tech (retired) but keep up on the latest stuff.
I've never heard of a solid state relay that had "no loss" unless it was a coil and contact.

Modern battery combiners use a regular relay with a voltage sensing circuit to energize the aforementioned relay.
Sigh.. Really.... The term "Solid State Relay" (SSR) is layman terms for an optical coupled FET. Anyone with no EE background will have no idea what an "Optically Coupled FET" is. However, google "Solid State Relay" and get tons of results the layman can understand.

In any case... Yes there is a small amount of loss, but compared to a diode isolator its much less. There are MANY "modern" battery combiners that operate this way (no mechanical relay involved). Here is an example of one.
https://www.victronenergy.com/batter...tery-isolators

In any case I think the OP has more than enough information to begin troubleshooting and determining his issue! I'm hoping he (or she) posts back. However until then, I think this thread has more than run its course.
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Old 12-12-2017, 14:38   #29
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post

A dumb internal regulator, on the other hand, may very well see a voltage above float and drop back to float immediately. In that case the alternator voltage will not be 13.7 (or whatever) it will be the bus voltage as set by the solar controller and the alternator output will be zero. The alternator output will remain at zero until the system voltage drops below the float voltage. With these regulators, if you think the solar won't get things charged, then you need to take the solar offline while the regulator is figuring things out.
A dumb internal regulator has only a single voltage setting, typically 14.4 when cold. There is no float. That is why it is "dumb".

The op has a Valeo on a Yanmar. If it is anything like the Hitachi alts Yanmar uses it will reduce voltage rapidly as it warms up. This is for self protection as they are only designed to replenish current used for starting.
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Old 12-12-2017, 14:44   #30
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Re: Solar installation vs Alternator regulator

Multiple regulators for multiple charge sources normally play fine together (there is a recent thread on that subject).

I think the OP has some other issue.

Easy test. Disconnect the panels from the regulator and see how the alternator behaves. (Never disconnect regulator from batteries with panels still attached...you can fry the regulator).

This could be a simple as a bad sensor wire connection to wherever you are reading alternator output voltage from. (I have exactly that problem on one start battery sensor now).

A little quality time with a known good multimeter will likely identify the problem.
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