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Old 02-06-2008, 08:37   #1
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simple batt. regulation??

Hello all,

More confusion on my part. I have replaced my house bank with 4 6v deep cycle wired in seires/parrall. I have a single starting batt. My alternator is I belive a 130amp with built in regulation. Iam told I should have a external regulator to charge quicker? My question is what regulator is recomended and I assume when installed I have to disconnect the internal Reg? We live on board on the hook with minimal elect. needs, we have 2 solar panels with solar regulator and a large wind gen. We motor alot., so I want to do the right thing with my Batts. Any input is apprecia. Thanks Randy

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Old 02-06-2008, 09:16   #2
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Two Banks, One Regulator

As I see it, your internal regulator does the job of protecting your batteries, however, its protection is based on what it sees. If your two banks are isolated with a basic battery splitter/isolator, then your regulator is "seeing" the voltage on the alternator side of that splitter. Typically, the diodes in an isolator result in a 3/4 volt drop, meaning it is keeping the batteries undercharged by that 3/4 volts. When the batteries are truly down, the 3/4 volt does not hinder much energy flow, and you are pumping the energy in. It just makes the alternators poorer as a source at the top of the storage curve.

I don't see a really big problem with this, if your relying on your solar panels to top up your batteries now and again. Most wind gens and solar panel setups are sold with regulators, and likely these regulators are providing power at a higer voltage, and will result in the full charge from time-to-time that will stop battery sulphation.

One thing I did, was take my sensor wire from my alternators, and route them around the isolator so that they sense true battery voltage. It means the alternator pushes at a higher voltage, but it doesn't seem to hurt them. Interestingly, and this may not have anything to do with your situation, because i have two engines, and two alternators, the engine alarm goes off when the sensor wires "see" each other at the battery with the engines off. I have to run them through switches so that with engines off, they see the isolator, and with engines on, they see the main battery bank voltage.

Imho, you are doing the best for your batteries by topping them up with solar. You can always throw more money and technology at the problem, if you wish.

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Old 02-06-2008, 09:48   #3
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I would rather not add more toys and such, I would like to keep it simple. I am very dilligent with the up keep of the Batts. So what your saying is that I may not need a external regulator but just a isolator? [which I do not have}. which isolator do you recomend? Thanks for your help Randy
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:01   #4
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I believe the previous responder mis-read your post.

As I understand it, you have a total of 4 house batteries which are connected in series/parallel together as one single house bank. This is as it should be. No need to bother with two separate banks.

However, there are a couple of things to consider.

1. Your starting battery should be separate. The recommended setup these days is to run all your onboard charging sources (battery charger, alternator, solar panels, diesel generator, wind generator, etc.) to your house batteries. You then use a simple device like a Xantrex EchoCharge or a Balmar DuoCharge to bleed off some of the charging current from the house batteries to keep your starting battery topped up (it requires very little charging to stay fully charged).

2. You almost certainly would benefit from a good external regulator, such as the Balmar MaxCharge. This is a multi-stage programmable regulator which will make proper use of your alternator's capacity, and will keep your batteries happy.

You don't need a battery isolator in the circuit, nor any other fancy stuff. The elements of a good electrical system are: good deep cycle house batteries properly sized and connected (with BIG cables); a good alternator with a smart external regulator; a separate starting battery kept charged using an EchoCharge or DuoCharge device; and a means to accurately monitor system voltage and/or AH consumed. When at dockside, you'll need a good multi-stage marine battery charger. And, of course, proper attention paid to the batteries and other elements of the system to ensure they are working right over time.

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Old 02-06-2008, 10:05   #5
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First, if you motor a lot, and also have wind gen, and solar panels, I doubt you need a smart type regulator. Plus I'm not sure a smart reg. can be used with an alternator with an internal reg.

I have a Delco 108 amp alt. with an internal reg. I also have solar panels. I motor very little, and like to get as much charge out of the alt. as possible when I run the engine.

I use a home built alternator controller, similiar to the old Spa Creek controllers.
It's just a hd 0-16 ohm reostat. Most alternators have a method of "full fielding" to get full output, for testing purposes. On the Delco there is an opening in the back where you stick a small screwdriver to ground a tab to the case. If you take the alt. apart and find this tab, and attach a wire to the screw that the tab is connected to, and run the wire out the case, you are all set. By grounding this wire, you get full output.

You shouldn't run an alternator at full output. 75% of rated output is about the max recomended.

Wire a 0-16 ohm reostat in between this wire and ground.

You now have a nanual alternator control. Be aware, that with this setup, you have to monitor battery voltage while charging, because that with constant output from the alt. the battery will keep rising. I usually try to keep the voltage at 14.6 volts or lower. You need to turn the controller down every now and then as voltage rises.

This setup is not for everyone. An advantage is you can use it to condition the batteries every now and then, by charging to a hi voltage .

With this setup, you can just turn the reoatat down, and the internal regulater takes over.

you can make a similliar unit with a couple of separate resistors, and switches. Use the switches to select which resistor you want in the circuit. The lower the resistance, the more the charge.

Some model alts. to "full field" you need to apply 12 volts to the particular wire.

Another advantage is if your internal reg. fails, you always have the manual one to keep you going.

A good book is the 12 Volt doctors" book by Ed Beyn

Talking to Ed in Annapolis around 1990 got me started on fast charging.
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