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Old 26-06-2011, 19:56   #1
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Tired of the 1-2-n-b Switch

I am spoiled when I use our Macgregor 26M (hold your laughter please)

I installed a 3 switch cluster with a VSR from BEP.716-SQ-100AVSR - Dual Battery Charging Cluster It is cool. Charges the starting battery, when it is full, it triggers a relay and charges the house battery as well. Been working great. Never have to touch the switches.. ever. My favorite mod on the Mac.

On our Ohlson, it came with the original 1-2-n-b switch. Works great. But I am tired of switching it! Having to remember to charge each bank, not to drain the starting battery, etc etc. Too much human activity..and mistakes happen.

Unlike the mac, which has a small 12v Deep cycle battery in each bank (starting and house), our Ohlson has a 12v AGM starting and 2x 262 amp 6v batteries for the house.

I was hesitant to change to a 3 switch cluster with such different battery bank types.

Is there another no-touch solution. I saw balmars duo-charge. Not sure if this is what I need...or if there is something else...or if I can use the BEP cluster.

I can't tell the previous owner I am going to do this..he would shoot me.. he spent hours and hours making up the wires to be Perfect, parallel, pretty..

Any suggestions?
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Old 26-06-2011, 21:18   #2
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

I think the Xantrex Echo charge is a popular option for a situation like yours. Run charging sources to your house batteries, then connect the echo charge from house bank to your AGM start battery. When you get to the boat, turn the switch to the house bank setting, when you leave, turn it off. The echo charge will keep your start/emergency battery topped up and your charging system will essentially be charging only one type of battery. A simple solution that does not require a lot of rewiring, although there are a couple of ways to configure it, ie: running alternator through switch or just direct to house bank.

csh
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Old 26-06-2011, 21:39   #3
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Just add an Echo Charger to keep the starting bank topped up. The Balmar Duo is another good option but they tend to lock out if the start bank requires more than 30A of charging..
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Old 26-06-2011, 21:47   #4
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

I just charge the house bank and feed the start from that. When motoring, the "waste" output simply gets shunted at the right voltage via the (you guessed it) Xantrex Echo Charger, a piece of Xantrex kit that gets a lot more praise than some of their inverters.
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:00   #5
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

I will have to take a look at the echo charger.. having different battery bank types isnt a problem with it

Paul
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:08   #6
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

No problem: AGMs and flooded batteries have very nearly the same charge requirements. The EchoCharge will handle AGMs very nicely.

Bill
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:15   #7
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

Maybe all you need is a system? With the Perco switches, I'd use bank #1 on odd days, and bank #2 on even days.

Never failed.
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:24   #8
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Maybe all you need is a system? With the Perco switches, I'd use bank #1 on odd days, and bank #2 on even days.

Never failed.
The 2 banks are dedicated - one heavy duty deep cycle (2 262 amp 6v) for house and a agm starting battery.

I don't like starting with the house battery

I prefer to take the human factor out of the equation, which is why I went with the 3 switch system on my mac. never ever have to touch anything, ever, the 2 banks are always separate unless joined manually.
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:28   #9
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

And have to keep in mind the balmar regulator. Once one bank is charged, and goes to the other.. the regulator may not be on the right mode in the program (ie should start from step 1...it could be onto step 4-5-6, etc) and not charge properly..
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Old 27-06-2011, 18:59   #10
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

With an EchoCharge you don't have to worry about the Balmar regulator.

The EchoCharge is a voltage-follower device, not a switching device. Whenever it senses a charge on the house batteries, i.e., voltage above about 12.8VDC, it will bleed off a bit of charging current for the start battery.

Starting batteries require VERY LITTLE CHARGING. It only takes 1AH or less to start the small diesel on most cruising sailboats. Lots of current (150-200A) but for only a few seconds. Very little drain on the battery. Normally, the alternator will replace that amount of energy in a few minutes, and the rest of the time will just be idling and doing almost nothing.

That's why it's best to route the alternator and all onboard charging sources to the HOUSE BANK, and to use a voltage follower device like the EchoCharge or the DuoCharge to maintain the start battery.

Totally automatic. Won't overcharge, even if you're equalizing the house batteries.

Bill
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Old 27-06-2011, 19:52   #11
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Gents what about a ACR (blue sea type) between both house and starting battery with the alternator going to the house battery (no longer attached to the 1-2-n-b switch)
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Old 27-06-2011, 19:54   #12
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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The 2 banks are dedicated - one heavy duty deep cycle (2 262 amp 6v) for house and a agm starting battery.
Well, there's your problem, because you should not combine dissimilar banks.

You definitely ought to change what you've currently got.

The design of the manual 1-2-OFF-Both switch assumes that banks one and two match each other.
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Old 27-06-2011, 20:09   #13
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Well, there's your problem, because you should not combine dissimilar banks.

You definitely ought to change what you've currently got.

The design of the manual 1-2-OFF-Both switch assumes that banks one and two match each other.
yup which is the reason for this thread .. and to make it automatic (primary reason) and to find a better overall solution.

Been looking at the duo charge manual. Looks like it might fit the bill. Almost too easy...and I won't have to disassemble what is there now.

Difference between the duo charge and the ehco charge? Pros/cons of either?
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Old 27-06-2011, 20:20   #14
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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Difference between the duo charge and the ehco charge? Pros/cons of either?
quoting myself If I had to choose between either at this point. .the nod goes to the duo charge .. only because the online manual for the echocharge is horrible. very little detail compared to the balmar manual, which includes a typical system diagram, so you can see how it fits into the system as a whole.. and tons of information.

Doesn't mean the duo charge is better.. but I feel as a non-pro, but competent DIY'er I could follow it better and feel I could install it better.

But I won't be doing this mod for a bit.. but would be curious to hear real life experiences with either product.
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Old 27-06-2011, 21:07   #15
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Re: Tired of the 1-2-n-b switch.

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
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