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Old 17-01-2012, 12:17   #31
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Then why not use the solar system to maintain the batteries?

...

BUT....if you already have a solar system with a good controller, maybe that would do the trick for you. Be sure to use HydroCaps or WaterMiser caps on the batteries to reduce electrolyte loss.

Bill
Bill: Thanks for coming back. As I said, I tried the solar charger, even with one of the two panels covered up, and with no load all summer. Still, the 2 amps, constant all day, if the controller is working as advertised, caused the plates to be dry on top when I returned 2 summers in a row.

For sure, I am going to investigate HydroCaps and WaterMiser Caps.

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Old 17-01-2012, 12:35   #32
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

The problem might be your solar charge controller. On mine, the amperage cycles from .1 to .9 rapidly. The batteries are only now getting to the point where I need water after a year and a half. I'm running two six volt golf cart batteries with two 130 watt panels stowed vertical when I'm not outsailing. The panels are wired in series running to an MPPT controler. Even though the panels are vertical when in the slip, they still produce more than enough juice to cook the batteries if there wasn't a controller in the line.
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Old 17-01-2012, 13:22   #33
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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Originally Posted by Sonosailor View Post
Bill: Thanks for coming back. As I said, I tried the solar charger, even with one of the two panels covered up, and with no load all summer. Still, the 2 amps, constant all day, if the controller is working as advertised, caused the plates to be dry on top when I returned 2 summers in a row.

For sure, I am going to investigate HydroCaps and WaterMiser Caps.

Sonosailor
Again, you have either a battery problem or a solar controller problem. If they stay in float mode, the batteries should not be drawing enough current to boil them and the controller should not be supplying enough current to boil the batteries. When our batteries reach float, the solar controller pulls right back to fractions of an amp of current and stays there. We have left the boat unused on 480W of solar for 6months at a time with no problem.

Either your batteries are asking for too much current (bad battery) or the controller is not entering float (bad controller).

You can get a AC charger, but if the batteries are asking for too much current, you will have the same problem.

Mark
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Old 17-01-2012, 18:37   #34
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On the subject of battery chargers, what do you guys and gals think of Charles industries controllers? I recently took one off that wasn't working, though I don't have an immediate need to replace it, they seem like very well built ac charge controllers. I will be looking at replacing it at some point in the future.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:21   #35
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

Does anyone know what the CTEK M300 marine charger would be like? It seems to be a very marketed item in Australian marine shops?

Ted, Tas, Australia
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Old 14-05-2012, 14:15   #36
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

Gentlemen: Cat Tales will be left for another six months in Trinidad, all alone, with only the Blue Sky solar regular managing the batteries. This time, we have 6 100 ah Trojan batteries, and the regulator turned down to a maximum voltage of 13.24. I'll again cover one panel so only one 124 Watt panel sees any sun, and tilt the panel so it seldom sees direct sunlight. I'm hopeful that new batteries and a lower setpoint voltage might hold them for the six months without too much water loss.

The Water Miser caps were purchased, but the buggers don't fit my batteries! A bad job of customer service from Water Miser. They cost me $200, and I hope to sell them here for $100, some day.

I reviewed your information on good battery chargers, and I thank you for it. Problem is, Cat Tales never goes to a dock, so any purchase in this direction is overkill. I'd like to find an economical, portable charger that can equalize and has an adjustable float voltage; but there are none on the market.
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Old 14-05-2012, 15:10   #37
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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..... I'd like to find an economical, portable charger that can equalize and has an adjustable float voltage; but there are none on the market.
The little red 30A portable charger sold by West Marine comes close. It is inexpensive and sometimes even goes on sale for $79. It is a smart charger with true equalization capability.

Although you can't directly set the voltages, you can have some control by choosing battery type and temperature to get the voltages you like.

Sorry your WaterMiser caps don't fit. I have 30 of them...3 on each of my 10 Trojan T-105's.

Bill
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Old 14-05-2012, 18:25   #38
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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I'm the one who listed the 55amp. The OP mentioned a $240 price point for the Truecharge 20 and I just went on a website and looked for an Iota charger around that price. 55amps was it. The Iota doesn't have a 20amp version, but the 15amp is only $157 and the 30amp only $162. Much less than the Truecharge.

I don't have the Ioata yet for comparison, but our Truecharge threw out a lot of RFI and wasn't very reliable. On the other hand, there are bazillions of them out there, so either people treat them as throw-aways, or we got a bad one.

I do know that I had occasion to use Xantrex support for another product and I wish never to go through that living hell again. Those people have the worse combination of arrogance, moronishness and "I don't give a damness" that I've ever dealt with.

And that's just if they even answer the phone or email.

Mark
I don't believe the Iota is a true marine charger. Charles is a brand name I haven't seen mentioned: Charles Industries: Marine and Industrial Group
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Old 14-05-2012, 19:03   #39
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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Does anyone know what the CTEK M300 marine charger would be like? It seems to be a very marketed item in Australian marine shops?

Ted, Tas, Australia
Following up on info I learned from a related thread, I contacted LifeLine batts today & they recommended the CTEK model 25,000 portable batt charger for both equalization & emerg backup for my 675ah of batts. My (apparently discontinued) Xantrex XC5012 charger will only equalize for one hour before shutting down, and LifeLine says to equalize my AGM's for 8-10 hrs. continuously.

Here's the link: http://http://smartercharger.com/products/batterychargers/ctek-multi-us-25000/

Re: the Iota's -- anyone know if a) they draw more ac amps than other brands with the same capacity, or b) they're noisier?

Dan
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Old 14-05-2012, 19:39   #40
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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.......
Re: the Iota's -- anyone know if a) they draw more ac amps than other brands with the same capacity, or b) they're noisier?

Dan
The Iotas are not power-factor (PF) corrected. They will therefore draw more AC current than would a PF-corrected charger for the same output current (like, e.g., the Victron Multiplus or the Sterling/ProMariner Ultra series which are PF corrected).

They also hang in there longer with high current output than do many other chargers, so the AC draw might be a bit more.

This is NOT a problem in most applications. However, in some it might be. Example: the popular Honda EU2000i generator can only manage an Iota DLS-75/IQ4 charger, while a PF-corrected charger might work OK up to 80 or 85A or so.

The Iota chargers are VERY QUIET, both in terms of ambient noise (db) and in RFI terms (don't interfere with radio reception).

Bill
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Old 14-05-2012, 20:13   #41
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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The Iotas are not power-factor (PF) corrected. They will therefore draw more AC current than would a PF-corrected charger for the same output current (like, e.g., the Victron Multiplus or the Sterling/ProMariner Ultra series which are PF corrected).

They also hang in there longer with high current output than do many other chargers, so the AC draw might be a bit more.

This is NOT a problem in most applications. However, in some it might be. Example: the popular Honda EU2000i generator can only manage an Iota DLS-75/IQ4 charger, while a PF-corrected charger might work OK up to 80 or 85A or so.

The Iota chargers are VERY QUIET, both in terms of ambient noise (db) and in RFI terms (don't interfere with radio reception).

Bill

Helpful info Bill, as usual. Did you already say, perhaps in another thread, that the Iota's could be stacked or wired together for increased capacity?

Dan
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Old 14-05-2012, 20:56   #42
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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Helpful info Bill, as usual. Did you already say, perhaps in another thread, that the Iota's could be stacked or wired together for increased capacity?

Dan
Yep, they can. You can parallel identical models. My colleague has a client who has three DLS-90/IQ4's wired together....270 amps charging power!

Bill
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Old 14-05-2012, 21:02   #43
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

try Sterling chargers in the UK - seems to be an awesome range
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Old 14-05-2012, 22:05   #44
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

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Yep, they can. You can parallel identical models. My colleague has a client who has three DLS-90/IQ4's wired together....270 amps charging power!

Bill
That sounds like the ticket, but I'm limited on the ac side to two 115v 30A circuits. According to the website's specs, the DLS-90 draws a max of 21.8 amps, & the DLS-75 draws 18.1 (max). My Honda 2000 is also the backup to the backup & I think you said the DLS-75 is as big as it can handle. So maybe two DLS-75's, one on each 30A circuit?
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:14   #45
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Re: What Is a Good Battery Charger ?

Btrayfors: West Marine's 30 amp charger does come close, but with 14.7 Volts as the only output, and with really bad feedback from the users of the product on their website, I don't think I'll order it.
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