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Old 05-30-2019, 06:19 AM   #21
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Ahh yeah that makes sense. I guess the duo charge sends the most current from the alternator to the bank with the lowest voltage first or something like that.

Dhays, with the addition of solar do these fancy switches become a little less important? For instance, underway on a sunny day my solar is charging up the house bank so the alternator doesnít have to do much other than keep the start battery topped up.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:37 AM   #22
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The Duo Charger can output a maximum current of about 29.9A. It is shipped with a 30A fuse. Fuses should not be run at or even near 100% of the fuses rating for long periods of time or they will eventually nuisance trip.

The fuse is there to protect the wire not the DDC. For ABYC purposes 10AWG 105C wire has a max ampacity of 60A outside an engine space and about 51A inside an engine space.

A 40A fuse is a much better choice if your DDC is bouncing off its max rating on a routine basis and will minimize the risk of nuisance trips..

Alternatively you can source a suitably sized contactor/relay/solenoid and run the DDC in manual combine mode when current expectations exceed the 30A limit. Once current is below the 30A threshold the toggle switch can be turned off and the DDC will resume operation as it normally does. The solenoid drive circuit is designed for larger loads such as a thruster bank.





That said an ML-ACR, and appropriate gauge wire, or a Sterling Power BB1230 or BB1260 would be a better approach if 30A+ is required. Unlike the DDC the Sterling Power BB1230 won't turn off if 30A+ demand is on the load side.
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:12 AM   #23
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.. It had gotten so hot in the process that I'm not sure I trust the fuse holder anymore.


So I have two questions. The first is why would the fuse blow? Did the Duo Charge fail to shut itself down if the thruster bank asked for more than its 30 amps?
If you see evidence of heat damage, I do not suspect an overcurrent event caused this issue. Fuses do blow due to local heat buildup because of bad crimps, bad fuseholder design or corrosion, or loose connections.
Do you have a pix of the fuseholder arrangement?
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Old 05-30-2019, 09:02 AM   #24
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Balmar Duo Charge blown fuse

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The Duo Charger can output a maximum current of about 29.9A. It is shipped with a 30A fuse. Fuses should not be run at or even near 100% of the fuses rating for long periods of time or they will eventually nuisance trip.

The fuse is there to protect the wire not the DDC. For ABYC purposes 10AWG 105C wire has a max ampacity of 60A outside an engine space and about 51A inside an engine space.

A 40A fuse is a much better choice if your DDC is bouncing off its max rating on a routine basis and will minimize the risk of nuisance trips...

Ahhhh! Thanks for this CMS! That explains my particular situation exactly. I will obtain a 40 amp fuse.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:34 PM   #25
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The Duo Charger can output a maximum current of about 29.9A. It is shipped with a 30A fuse. Fuses should not be run at or even near 100% of the fuses rating for long periods of time or they will eventually nuisance trip.

The fuse is there to protect the wire not the DDC. For ABYC purposes 10AWG 105C wire has a max ampacity of 60A outside an engine space and about 51A inside an engine space.

A 40A fuse is a much better choice if your DDC is bouncing off its max rating on a routine basis and will minimize the risk of nuisance trips..

That said an ML-ACR, and appropriate gauge wire, or a Sterling Power BB1230 or BB1260 would be a better approach if 30A+ is required. Unlike the DDC the Sterling Power BB1230 won't turn off if 30A+ demand is on the load side.

Thanks Rod. The Sterling does sound like a better DC to DC charger for a large bank. I have an ML-ACR available and I think some appropriate cable. I'll see if I can setup that at least to get me back up and running. Then I need to figure out if the batteries are still good.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:37 PM   #26
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If you see evidence of heat damage, I do not suspect an overcurrent event caused this issue. Fuses do blow due to local heat buildup because of bad crimps, bad fuseholder design or corrosion, or loose connections.
Do you have a pix of the fuseholder arrangement?

I'll be at the boat tomorrow so I'll see if I can get a decent photo of it. The Fuse holder is a decent design that is sealed. While possible, I have a hard time imagining that it would have oxidized. However, the look of the fuse and the holder does imply heat to me so you never know.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:39 PM   #27
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Dave: is your windless 12 or 24 V?
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:53 PM   #28
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Good stuff from Rod as always and I will swap to a 40A fuse myself. Actually 30A going into a Start bank is a lot in 90% of cases. I think the OP should check individual batteries....one may have failed and be causing a problem that would affect any charging solution.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:41 PM   #29
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Dave: is your windless 12 or 24 V?

12v
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:42 PM   #30
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Good stuff from Rod as always and I will swap to a 40A fuse myself. Actually 30A going into a Start bank is a lot in 90% of cases. I think the OP should check individual batteries....one may have failed and be causing a problem that would affect any charging solution.

Yes, think that is a great idea. I just need to figure out how to check the batteries.... If they were wet cells my hydrometer (sp) would work, but I haven't had wet cells now in a few years.
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Old 05-30-2019, 10:39 PM   #31
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Dave: if you donít have a load tester, you could do some tests to determine the amps (clamp meter), and volts (at the terminals). Itís worth recording these data for later comparisons. The batteries should probably be above 10 volts under load.

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Old 05-31-2019, 03:10 PM   #32
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Balmar Duo Charge blown fuse

So I have connected the BlueSeas ML-ACR (it had been used for my engine start battery in the past). Fortunately, I happened to have a couple battery cables of an appropriate size to make work. Not super happy with the way the cables are arrayed but it will do for now.

Currently the banks are charging. After I combined the banks, the combined voltage dropped to 12.5v. After charging for about 45 minutes, it is up to 14.2v.

Hopefully the thruster bank charges up well.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:50 PM   #33
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Once fully charged you should perhaps consider priceeding with an Equalize charge, as its been a while since you had all batteries in that state.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:54 PM   #34
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Once fully charged you should perhaps consider priceeding with an Equalize charge, as its been a while since you had all batteries in that state.

Yeah, I was thinking about the same thing.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:01 AM   #35
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Using a 40A fuse sounds like a good way to prevent nuisance blowing of the fuse. But when the Duo gets into this overload mode and is running only briefly then shutting down, over and over again, I wonder if your bank will ever get recharged? If nothing else, it will take a very long time. So in some ways a blown fuse at least alerts you to the situation.


I think given a clean sheet of paper, a VSR or DC-DC charger is the way to go. I think the Duo is fundamentally flawed for it's intended purpose, since once you get into this overload situation, there appears to be no way out. If instead of shutting off when current exceeds 30A, the Duo limited current to a sustainable level like a charger does, it would be a fantastic device.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:07 PM   #36
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Using a 40A fuse sounds like a good way to prevent nuisance blowing of the fuse. But when the Duo gets into this overload mode and is running only briefly then shutting down, over and over again, I wonder if your bank will ever get recharged? If nothing else, it will take a very long time. So in some ways a blown fuse at least alerts you to the situation.


I think given a clean sheet of paper, a VSR or DC-DC charger is the way to go. I think the Duo is fundamentally flawed for it's intended purpose, since once you get into this overload situation, there appears to be no way out. If instead of shutting off when current exceeds 30A, the Duo limited current to a sustainable level like a charger does, it would be a fantastic device.

I agree with everything you wrote. While I think the Duo Charge is great for a lot of applications, and has worked well on this boat for years, I think there is the potential for problems when it is used on a large battery bank with high current loads such as thrusters.

A much better solution would be the Sterling DC-DC chargers that CMS linked to. If I decide to ultimately return to a DC-DC charger, I will likely buy one from him.

The Duo Charge is ideal for smaller batteries like a start battery or maybe a windlass where the amp draw isnít as high. I will warn everyone however, that it is NOT OK for a Cummins electronic start battery. The Duo Charge creates electrical interference that confuses the crap out of the Cummins. In that application, if the charge profiles are similar, the simple (and inexpensive) Xantrex Echo-Charger works well.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:41 PM   #37
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OK, after charging overnight with the ACR connecting both the house and thruster banks, it was at float this afternoon. After disconnecting the charger for about 15 minutes the batteries showed 13.2v. This is too high for the ACR to disconnect so I started the inverter and ran my oil pan heater, two fans, and two dehumidifiers (what is normally running while at the dock). It only took about a minute and I heard the CLICK of the ACR disengaging.

I then shut the inverter off. At that point the house bank was at 12.87v and the thruster banks was at 12.82v. I then ran the bow and stern thrusters for a bit, trying to simulate the amount of time they would be on in a really bad docking situation. Running both at once takes a huge amp draw.

Right after running the thrusters the thruster bank was 12.65. After 20 minutes of rest the thruster bank is 12.74.

Iím too ignorant to really know what all that means, but Iím guessing that the two Lifeline batteries that make up my thruster bank are still OK. It also means that I connected the ACR properly (I know it is simple, but I can screw up most anything).

I think now Iíll run an equalization cycle on the batteries.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:26 PM   #38
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I'm coming in late on this thread, but here's my 2 cents based on similar experience as yours: DO NOT run the thruster/windlass off the house bank. DO NOT charge the battery using trickle chargers (Balmar Duo, Xantrex Echo Charger). Instead, install a dedicated charger (I chose IOTA 45 amp), add an easy to see digital volt meter and a separate On/Off battery switch. The charger will do it's job whenever you run the generator or connect to shore power. If you decide to go with the ACR, then use the charger as backup. But Do Not run those high amp draw motors off the house bank--your nav instruments and other sensitive 12V devices will thank you!
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:32 PM   #39
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I'm coming in late on this thread, but here's my 2 cents based on similar experience as yours: DO NOT run the thruster/windlass off the house bank. DO NOT charge the battery using trickle chargers (Balmar Duo, Xantrex Echo Charger). Instead, install a dedicated charger (I chose IOTA 45 amp), add an easy to see digital volt meter and a separate On/Off battery switch. The charger will do it's job whenever you run the generator or connect to shore power. If you decide to go with the ACR, then use the charger as backup. But Do Not run those high amp draw motors off the house bank--your nav instruments and other sensitive 12V devices will thank you!

For my application, I don't think a dedicated charger makes a lot of sense.



The Duo Charge has worked well for years and after looking at the fuses this weekend, It appears to me that both had poor contacts which could have caused heat to build up and the fuse failing. The fuse didn't look like it blew due to overcurrent, but simply heat. Having said that, I don't think the Duo Charge is the best current option for a DC-DC charger for a large bank with high amp draw.


The best option would likely be the Sterling DC-DC charger, but the ACR will likely work out quite well for now.


Your point about voltage sensitive instruments is well taken and a good reason to maybe avoid running the thrusters off the house bank.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:17 PM   #40
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FWIW, Mastervolt makes a line of DC to DC chargers too. I canít say if they are better or worse than Sterling, but I used two Mastervolt for many years with no issues.
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