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Old 27-06-2011, 22:14   #16
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Have used and installed both on clients boats.

The EchoCharge is more than sufficient for the needs of most boaters. It is very, very simple to install....three wires: two to the house bank, one to the start battery. It requires no maintenance, and is appropriate for both flooded and AGM batteries. Maximum charging amperage is 15A....more than enough for most users.

The DuoCharge costs about twice as much, is programmable, and can handle up to 30A charging current. There's a design flaw, though.. in those rare installations which require more than 30A (like on big Hatteras's with big blowers and other stuff on the start circuit), the DuoCharge shuts down. Balmar knows it and, presumably, will someday fix it or change the manual.

I don't usually recommend or install Xantrex-anything because of their awful after-sale support and product problems. The EchoCharge is an exception. They bought it from Heart and, to my knowledge, haven't messed with its design .... so far. It's a great little product.

FWIW,

Bill
it is mentioned in the balmar manual, and mention a workaround as well.

If I ever need 30a to my lil 12v agm starting battery.. chances are I will NEED a new battery!!

Support is key. When I had an issue with the balmar regulator, their support was top notch. Spent plenty of time troubleshooting with me over the phone, etc.

Also I see a on/off wire on the balmar, which looks nice to be able to control it. How is it controlled on the echo, if you wanted to shut it off and not use it?

Whichever way I go.. I assume I can leave my 1-2-b-n switch in place, assume switched to house so it can charge the house battery. Install the echo/duo charge in addition, and let the duo/echo charge do its job.
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Old 28-06-2011, 05:33   #17
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Re: EchoCharge, don't know why you'd ever want to turn it off, unless you were changing batteries. Mine has been on 24/7 for six years; never had a need to turn it off.

If you really wanted to, though, you could easily install a switch or just remove one of the inline fuses.

I agree with you re: tech support. It's important. But, with this little device, there should never be a need.

Bill
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Old 28-06-2011, 06:45   #18
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Re: EchoCharge, don't know why you'd ever want to turn it off, unless you were changing batteries. Mine has been on 24/7 for six years; never had a need to turn it off.

If you really wanted to, though, you could easily install a switch or just remove one of the inline fuses.

I agree with you re: tech support. It's important. But, with this little device, there should never be a need.

Bill
Was just curious...comparing the 2 products. Just like the idea to be able to control it...disable it and use the 1-2-b switch like before..for whatever reason..can't think of one..
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Old 15-07-2011, 20:56   #19
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

OK.. been doing some thinking (not always a good thing!!)

I like the idea of the duo/echo but don't want to totally redo my system. I would like to keep the original setup as well... just in case the duo/echo fails.

I attached a picture of what I think I could do to do a minimal rerouting of some of the battery cables, adding another 1-2-b-n switch

the way the image is, would be the way I would run with the duo/echo. current would go from the alternator, to the house battery, the duo/echo would control power to the starting battery. The starting battery has no connection to the old 12bn switch in this configuration.

Now the echo/duo fails (or I want to force the alternator to charge the starting battery directly, for whatever reason) - switch the old 12bn (the one on the left on the picture) switch to 2, and the new 12bn switch (the one to the right) to 2 (or both)

99.98% of the time it would be fixed in the first setup using the duo/echo. I just have a hard time trusting electrical devices..after having the balmar regulator fail last year and the kvh heading sensor fail this year.

Would this setup work? Other/better ideas?
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Old 15-07-2011, 21:15   #20
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

PhantomRacer: Where's the house panel load connected? I'd think you only need one selector switch feeding the house panel and one on/off switch for the starter. I'd connect the alternator directly to the house batteries (with a fuse) and not thru any switch. To charge the engine battery I'd just flip the selector to BOTH for a few minutes...or when I get even more feeble than now use a simple combiner relay box like West Marine sells.

Having the alternator go to the house bank can make for some regulator wiring trick if the regulator sense lead is the same as the regulator on/off lead......

That's my opinion. I go for light, cheap, simple.
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Old 15-07-2011, 21:16   #21
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Here you go....this would do what you want.

BTW, I've found the EchoCharge to be very reliable. However, in the event of its failure, you could start the engine with the house batteries.

In this setup, you normally leave the 1-2-B-O switch in the #1 position. You also have a start battery ON-OFF switch which is only turned on when you're using the engine.

The alternator, not shown in this diagram, should be wired directly to the House Battery Bank, with an appropriate fuse located near the batteries.

Click image for larger version

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ID:	29661

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Old 16-07-2011, 05:33   #22
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Here you go....this would do what you want.

BTW, I've found the EchoCharge to be very reliable. However, in the event of its failure, you could start the engine with the house batteries.

In this setup, you normally leave the 1-2-B-O switch in the #1 position. You also have a start battery ON-OFF switch which is only turned on when you're using the engine.

The alternator, not shown in this diagram, should be wired directly to the House Battery Bank, with an appropriate fuse located near the batteries.

Attachment 29661

Bill
Ah OK. So I had the right idea.. using a on/off instead of a 12bn switch. I think mine would have worked, but the this is a bit better/simpler,

got my winter project lined up

cant wait to not have to play the switching game.
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Old 16-07-2011, 05:58   #23
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

Yes.

One more thing not shown in the diagram: it's a very good idea to put a hefty fuse in the start circuit. While this isn't now required by ABYC standards, it makes very good sense to avoid the possibility of a short and a fire. Nigel Calder agrees and has said that there's no good reason not to put a fuse in the start circuit on small diesels.

I've used a 400A ANL fuse in my start circuit (AWG 1/0 cable) for several years (Perkins 4-108 diesel).

Bill
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Old 16-07-2011, 07:58   #24
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

The 1-2-B switch is a fine tool when used properly. Most times it's wired wrong from the factory, with the AO going to the switch C post, rather than from the AO to the house bank with some kind of relay to charge the reserve bank.

Here are some discussions about his issue, reply #1 summarizes what many of us have done.

Electrical Systems 101
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Old 15-09-2011, 08:23   #25
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Here you go....this would do what you want.

BTW, I've found the EchoCharge to be very reliable. However, in the event of its failure, you could start the engine with the house batteries.

In this setup, you normally leave the 1-2-B-O switch in the #1 position. You also have a start battery ON-OFF switch which is only turned on when you're using the engine.

The alternator, not shown in this diagram, should be wired directly to the House Battery Bank, with an appropriate fuse located near the batteries.

Attachment 29661

Bill
Boat will be pulled soon..will work on this project shortly..

silly question, on the 2 wires that go to the on/off switch (one from starter, the other from the 12nb switch)...what is the best practice to connect the 2 wires to the on/off switch...can both be connected to the post inside the switch (is there room to get the wires in?) or have them join outside the switch on a post and have a 3rd short wire go inside the switch?
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Old 16-09-2011, 06:54   #26
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Originally Posted by phantomracer View Post
Boat will be pulled soon..will work on this project shortly..

silly question, on the 2 wires that go to the on/off switch (one from starter, the other from the 12nb switch)...what is the best practice to connect the 2 wires to the on/off switch...can both be connected to the post inside the switch (is there room to get the wires in?) or have them join outside the switch on a post and have a 3rd short wire go inside the switch?
There should be adequate space to land them both on the switch post. Less connections that way, too.
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Old 16-09-2011, 07:16   #27
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

Another option is to use a combiner like the Yandina. It senses when a charging voltage is present and connects the starting battery. It isolates the starting battery when the charging voltage is turned off. $65 and you never have to worry about switching. We have been using them for 13 years with no problems.

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Old 16-09-2011, 07:17   #28
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
There should be adequate space to land them both on the switch post. Less connections that way, too.
Thanks! will make it easier..and better.

Just picked up a new Duo charge (new in box) on ebay for $89.
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Old 16-09-2011, 08:40   #29
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

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Another option is to use a combiner like the Yandina. It senses when a charging voltage is present and connects the starting battery. It isolates the starting battery when the charging voltage is turned off. $65 and you never have to worry about switching. We have been using them for 13 years with no problems.

Mark
Combiners (I have one on my other sailboat, as mentioned in the opening post) works best with battery banks that are the same/similar. It DOES work quite well on my other boat.

But with a tiny AGM starting battery and a large (2x 262 amp 6v golf car batteries) combining them, and charging them with the high amp balmar alternator would not be the best way to go. The starting battery does not need to be combined and charged for hours and hours on end.

Having it topped off by way of the house battery using the duo/echo charge is a better way to go.
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Old 16-09-2011, 09:12   #30
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

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Originally Posted by phantomracer View Post
Combiners (I have one on my other sailboat, as mentioned in the opening post) works best with battery banks that are the same/similar. It DOES work quite well on my other boat.

But with a tiny AGM starting battery and a large (2x 262 amp 6v golf car batteries) combining them, and charging them with the high amp balmar alternator would not be the best way to go. The starting battery does not need to be combined and charged for hours and hours on end.

Having it topped off by way of the house battery using the duo/echo charge is a better way to go.
Not arguing the operation of the duocharge, and you got a great price on one so you are all set.

However, there is no electrical or charging issue with combining small and large batteries. Each battery will take only the amount of charge it needs and will not be overcharged because the alternator is putting out a high amperage to satisfy another lower charged battery on the circuit.

After all, what is considered a 12v battery is simply 6 2v batteries hooked in series and put inside a box (6v batteries are 3 of these cells). Even though those 2v cells are not equal during discharge/charge, no one is ever concerned about charging them when they are boxed together into a "battery". And rightly so - it doesn't matter because each will stop taking amperage as they reach full charge individually. In the same manner as multiple cells inside one box (a "battery"), it makes no difference in how multiple boxes ("batteries") are portioned or divided - they all become a long series/parallel string of 2v cells and look like a single battery to a charging source.

You have different battery types, and that can make a difference. However, the charging regime for AGM is very close to that for flooded. Combining these wouldn't be an issue as long as your charging sources were set for AGM. I wouldn't do it if one bank were gels.

On the other hand, I think you have the same issue with the duocharge, unless its auxillary output can be set at a different voltage than the primary output.

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