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Old 11-07-2020, 05:37   #1
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Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

Hi all,

I am considering supplementing my solar power with a mains powered charger. I am fortunate in having very good solar and I am getting by without the need to supplement it this winter through a generally careful approach to power consumption on the boat.

But, I am kind of tired of being so parsimonious, plus I know I will eventually end up in a marina at a higher latitude with significantly less daily sunshine in a couple of years, so I figure I might as well buy a charger now and enjoy the benefits.

Iíve been looking at the Victron Blue Smart IP22 series of chargers, either the 12 volt, 20 or 30 amp model, or perhaps the IP67 25 amp model.

Is anyone using them and do they have any comments on their performance, noise levels, reliability?

For what it is worth, I have a pair of Victron Smartsolar regulators and a Smartsense battery monitor running on a VE network, but at this stage none of the battery chargers are listed as supporting the VE network.

Matt
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Old 30-07-2020, 03:08   #2
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

Putting this here for anyone searching on Victron mains chargers:


Well, nobody responded, so I took a gamble and went ahead and bought the 25 amp IP67 model based on the good reputation of the Victron product range.

In summary, it works very well. Output is exactly as stated (unlike my previous Thunder brand charger).

It puts out 25 amps without getting too hot, then follows a clear absorption and float phase before going into "storage" mode, which is just a lower voltage than float. This works well because it leaves the battery voltage in a good state for the solar panels to take over in the morning, when the sun comes up. I was worried that I'd end up not using any solar power at all, this way, the charger keeps the system reasonably topped up, but allows the solar to do the hard work during the day.

There's a bit of a hum while in bulk mode, so probably worth mounting it on something that does not transmit or amplify sound. The temperature is also warm enough that it clearly needs good ventilation.

Integration with the Victron app is good, though at this stage the charger does not talk to the VE Network, which is a pity because I have the Victron battery monitor connected to the Victron solar regulators for a nicely integrated system. (The Victron web site leaves open the possibility that they will release a firmware image that does support the VE network, but I am not holding my breath.) The charger can use custom battery settings from the app, so if you are using those for the solar regulators then it's easy to load your previously created battery settings.

In short, happy so far. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a good, mid power charger to maintain a live-aboard battery bank while in a pen.
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Old 30-07-2020, 04:39   #3
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

Thanks for the feedback.

Generator equipped boats need large battery chargers, but with the move to larger solar arrays, some boats can manage well with quite small battery chargers, saving money, weight and space for more important equipment.

Not that long ago, small battery chargers had rather primitive charge regulation, but there are new models that are as sophisticated as their larger brethren.

A 20A battery charger will still supply almost 300 Ahrs a day.
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Old 30-07-2020, 05:45   #4
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

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Thanks for the feedback.



Generator equipped boats need large battery chargers, but with the move to larger solar arrays, some boats can manage well with quite small battery chargers, saving money, weight and space for more important equipment.



Not that long ago, small battery chargers had rather primitive charge regulation, but there are new models that are as sophisticated as their larger brethren.



A 20A battery charger will still supply almost 300 Ahrs a day.


Yes, this boat has enough solar that Iíve been able to get away without a charger at all until recently. But a combination of moving to a pen with a bad solar orientation plus winter plus extra screen time for my studies had left me about 20 AH short per day.

Iíll post another thread on a particular charger that Australian yachties should avoid. It was barely able to provide that 20AH a day, despite being rated as a 20 amp smart charger. It only put out 20 amps for a few minutes before falling back to a fraction of that rate.
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Old 30-07-2020, 05:49   #5
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

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...
A 20A battery charger will still supply almost 300 Ahrs a day.

Er... before StuM corrects you, I think youíll find that a 20 amp charger can provide 480 AH per day.
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Old 30-07-2020, 05:52   #6
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

In my mind, having a decent mains charger is useful even without a generator and if you're not typically on shore power. It doesn't have to be huge in that situation, but it's nice to have something. Might as well save the battery cycles when you're somewhere with shore power available and let the charger just keep them at float (vs drawing down overnight and recharging when the sun comes up).
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Old 30-07-2020, 06:00   #7
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

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Er... before StuM corrects you, I think youíll find that a 20 amp charger can provide 480 AH per day.


Whoops, sorry. Yes, correct. 480 AHrs is even better.

Some care is needed. Some of the older, or no name chargers will not deliver their rated power continuously, but the modern Victron and Mastervolt chargers I have seen have honest, even slightly conservative ratings.
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Old 30-07-2020, 06:21   #8
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Re: Victron mains chargers, good, bad, ugly?

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...Might as well save the battery cycles when you're somewhere with shore power available and let the charger just keep them at float (vs drawing down overnight and recharging when the sun comes up).

Agreed, much better for the battery bank. (And therefore, the wallet.)
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