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Old 30-11-2015, 15:54   #1
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Best 100+Amp Charger

i am looking for the best battery charger to add to my system. My battery bank is as follows:
4 AGM 8D batteries of 245 amp hours each- (will probably add one more )
2 AGM group 31 batteries (starting) 105 amp hours each
1 AGM group 31 battery (windlass ) 105 amp hours

Cost is not a huge concern- reliability and ability to make the most of AGM batteries is important to me. Would like to here from direct experience both positive and negaitves.-- do not want or need an inverter / charger combo at this time.
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Old 30-11-2015, 16:54   #2
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Best 100+Amp Charger

I'd relook your desire for a combo inverter/ charger. I'm real happy with my 1800W Magnum, only went that big to get the 125 amp charger.
But as a stand alone charger I have been very impressed with my Sterling pro charge ultra, biggest is 60 amp, but you can stack as many as you like and have as much charger as you want. Look up Mainesails write up on them. They are a very good charger.
Remote is not necessary with these, nice but I believe you can do everything the remote can do one the charger itself. Not true with the Magnum, there the remote is actually the control panel, without it you can adjust pretty much nothing.
Lifeline states their batteries can take as much as a 5C charge, which in theory would mean I could throw 3300 amps at my 660 amp hour bank, so you can't get too big a charger, but to run both my 125 and my 60 uses about all my 30 amp AC can handle, I couldn't go bigger.

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Old 30-11-2015, 20:29   #3
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

there isn't too many that big. I use the mastervolt 12/100/3 often. but I use it as a 2nd charger to a charger / inverter giving 200-225amps. with an AGM bank that size you'll want 200+ amps. though it kinda depends on your shore and gen size

with the mastervolt you can run the 2nd and 3rd bank to the engine batteries for trickle charging (10a max so you can run smaller cable to those 2) and I'm guessing the windlass already has an ACR or echocharger of some sort and will charge from house.
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Old 30-11-2015, 22:26   #4
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

IOTA Engineering makes a 90 amp charger that can be paralleled to a second unit for a total of 180amps. They are about $350 each, plus the parallel controller which is another $30.

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Old 30-11-2015, 23:42   #5
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

The big advantage of charger/inverters is that you can use them to limit draw from shore power or generator and supplement AC power with inverted power from the batteries, to cover short-term peaks. This really transforms electrical life on board, if you use much AC power at all.

If you don't use much AC power and don't ever plan to, then of course you won't care so much about that.

I use a Victron charger/inverter, but won't recommend it, because although it functions superbly, I don't think it's reliable enough. You want something heavy duty, with easily replaceable boards, ultra reliable.

For a charger without inverter, you have many choices. Newmar was the traditional high end, expensive American brand. But my boat was made with a Newmar charger which blew up at about 9 years, so I don't know. Sterling are economical and have an excellent reputation. There are many others, including Victron, which might be worth a look for charger only, which does not have the complex electronics of a charger/inverter. The larger Victron chargers use massive magnet-based transformers rather than switch mode transformers -- supposed to be more reliable and supposed to produce cleaner power. Makes them very heavy, though!
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Old 01-12-2015, 14:15   #6
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

I've been selling the larger Victrons for almost 10 years now to both private and commercial customers. No complaints, no problems even on fishing boats. Heavy - yes.

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Old 24-12-2015, 19:55   #7
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

Charles Chargers are the way to go.

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Old 24-12-2015, 20:13   #8
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

My Sterling pro 12/60 is excellent chargine a single bank of 5x100.
However i suspect the people with serious money ALWAYS buy the top shelf Victron.
Btw. Been an MB Service Manager and am licenced auto electrician in Oz (where happily the regs are tough).
Imho you CAN safely use price as a guide.....commercially impossible to get fresh oats for the price of oats which have transited a horses gut.
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Old 24-12-2015, 20:39   #9
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Re: Best 100+Amp Charger

I've used three Victron Multi inverter chargers in three boats over the last 15 years. There was one warranty issue back in 2010 that Victron handled fine (e.g. better than most marine equipment vendors). The newest unit bought in 2014 has been rock solid.

I agree with the advice to get the inverter/charger. If you don't want to use the inverter side, just don't hook it up and keep it as a spare.

If you got this route, be sure to get USB adapter box that let's you hook up a laptop to set the charging voltages, stages, and monitor what's going on. The Victron software is a free download and is easy to use. With it you can easily dial in the exact voltages recommended by your battery manufacturer.
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