I spent the weekend crawling around my "new" old boat trying to figure out how everything is plumbed and wired. I came across some very screwed up wiring
and some problems. While I'm a complete newbie to large sailing vessels, I am an EE so I felt at least partially armed to make progress on the electrical
Some background... I was told that there were 4 Gel 73 aH batteries configured in 2 banks 3/1 and they were a few years old. I found that there was an attempt to wire them that way but it was done incorrectly. That batteries were all bought October of 2002. 3 of the 4 (the house batteries) were completely dead. One read 5V. One 0V. And one had the positive post completed blown/corroded off (not sure which). All 3 of these batteries where swollen and ugly. The cranking battery
was marginal to ok.
The condition of these batteries worried me (ofcourse). So, I started doing the wiring
diagram and cringing alot.
At least I found what appear to be good/operational devices. There is a 100A Balmar alternator
with a remote
ARS3 adjustable, multistage regulator
. It works fine. This made me happy. This also explained why the amp meter was not working. It is only rated for 70A and was disconnected when the Balmar
was installed. There is a Perko 1/2/both/off switch that checked out fine. There is a Guest 10A, 3 stage, shore power battery charger
that appears to be working. Last, I found a Sure Power battery isolator installed. After digging around on net, I think I determined that it is a device that allows alternator
output to split to two output posts with a diode on each branch. When voltage is seen on its Regulator
connected post, it allows current
to flow downstram through both diodes and then on to the batteries connected to these posts. It also "should" only allow current
to flow upstream from whichever battery bank is being driven (but not from one bank to the other). Can anyone corroborate my findings? Anyway, I'm not sure whether ot not to keep this device installed. I suspect I could correct for the voltage drop across the diodes by increasing the bulk, adsorption, and float voltages at the ARS3 but this isolator device makes me a little uneasy. Anyone have any comments about these "isolators"?
Thanks for reading this.