Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-30-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
geezer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 28
Battery Charger

We were told it might *be a good idea to install a new battery charger in our trawler.
We have the standard two banks of batteries--one bank for house (three 12V) *and one to start.(two 12 V)
The current charger is rated at 30 amp/12volt. *The charger we are looking at is a TrueCharge 2. *It comes in 20,40 or 60 amps. *I was told the batteries would last longer if they were charged at a lower charging rate which makes the 20 amp charger more appealing. *I'm not sure if the 40amp would hurt anything--if not, they would charge a little faster and be a better idea. *Any suggestions will be very welcome,
Thanks, Geezer
__________________
Advertisement

geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
coyote454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 446
RE: Battery Charger

geezer, I concur with DavidM in that a 20 amp charger would be more than sufficient if you're hooked to shore power. You'll find everyone has their own 'best' system that works for them when it comes to charging, so here's something to think about.

When I purchased my little ship from Tacoma three years ago, I found the charger to be an old, heavy monster, which worked, but made questionable noise. I went to*http://www.batterystuff.com/ and purchased a 15 amp, single bank charger for around $100. I have this new, lightweight, three stage electronic charger connected to my house bank only. Then I ran a single wire from the house bank to the starter bank, using a combiner switch between the two banks.
http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...6044&id=605576


When the house bank is being charged the combiner switch will open and also charge the starter bank. When the starter bank is fully charged, it will disconnect (isolate itself) from the house bank. This method of charging ensures that I will never accidentally drain the starter bank.


Anyway, this is just my two cents worth. The TrueCharge2 would certainly work well too; just a little pricey.




Mike
Brookings, Oregon
__________________

coyote454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
Guru
 
Egregious's Avatar
 
City: Sunset Beach, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Polly P.
Vessel Model: Monk 36
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 554
RE: Battery Charger

If you have an old one it might be worth the trouble to install a new three stage one.* The newer ones won't cook all the water out (as fast) as the old ones do, so you won't have to check the levels as often.* Mine has special settings for flooded, gell, and AGM as well since they all have different charging characteristics.* My assumption is that the bats will last longer with a new technology charger.
Egregious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
Grand Vizier
 
Delfin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,487
RE: Battery Charger

More information would be desirable to give an accurate answer.* If you spend time on the boat at the dock, is your power consumption greater than 20 amps?* If so, move up to a larger size.* Do you have a genset that you would use to power the charger at anchor?* If so, move up to a larger size.* If the answers are both no, then with the size bank you have the 20 amp size will work, but you'd be happier with a larger size.

One reason to use the larger unit - 60 amp - is that the Trucharge has a 3 step regulator built in, which means the charger will sock a higher current to the bank until either temperature or voltage increases sufficiently to step the charging cycle down.* Wet cells will last a little longer when charged with a three step process.
Delfin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
RE: Battery Charger

Strong concurrence on the three stage charger. It will pay for itself in longer battery life.
Budds Outlet is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2010, 09:05 PM   #6
Veteran Member
 
geezer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 28
RE: Battery Charger

Thank you all for your informative and thoughtful answers. *We are hooked to shore power while at *dock so 20 amp would work most of the time, but planning a trip to Desolation Sound for a few weeks next summer and will be recharging using the generator when we're not running. *Think I'll split the difference and get the three stage 40 amp- sounds like the best of both worlds. *I'm in partners on the boat and neither of us are heavy power users--the refer is probably the biggest draw.

Thanks again, Geezer
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 04:24 AM   #7
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,515
RE: Battery Charger

When cruising our reefer is propane , so the house electric loads are minor.

The boat is self sufficient , and spends almost no time on the power hose, there is no AC inlet or system. Solar keeps the batts up , when not cruising.


WE do have a noisemaker , so the charger is 80A , so in the event of dead start batts we need the least amount of time to get to restart voltage.


Mu suggestion is to improve the reefer , easily done by a factor of 2 or 3x with good gear selection , and a bunch of money.

100A a day (24 hours) is common consumption on poor reefer setups, which takes 200AH of batts per day , and with a 40A noisemaker powered charger probably 6 hours a day of charging.

A big Alternator and 3 stage regulator on the noisemaker , and the 20A charger for dockside DC loads might work if you are going cruising.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 06:36 AM   #8
Guru
 
Tom.B's Avatar
 
City: Cary, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Skinny Dippin'
Vessel Model: Navigator 4200 Classic
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 5,152
RE: Battery Charger

Quote:
FF wrote:

When cruising our reefer is propane , so the house electric loads are minor.

The boat is self sufficient , and spends almost no time on the power hose, there is no AC inlet or system. Solar keeps the batts up , when not cruising.


WE do have a noisemaker , so the charger is 80A , so in the event of dead start batts we need the least amount of time to get to restart voltage.


Mu suggestion is to improve the reefer , easily done by a factor of 2 or 3x with good gear selection , and a bunch of money.

100A a day (24 hours) is common consumption on poor reefer setups, which takes 200AH of batts per day , and with a 40A noisemaker powered charger probably 6 hours a day of charging.

A big Alternator and 3 stage regulator on the noisemaker , and the 20A charger for dockside DC loads might work if you are going cruising.
Was that in English?
Tom.B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 06:59 AM   #9
Scraping Paint
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Vessel Model: CHB 48 Zodiac YL 4.2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,804
RE: Battery Charger

Fenglish: A stacatto pidgin dialect often used to convey pseudo-technical information in internet forums.
RickB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 06:59 AM   #10
JD
Guru
 
JD's Avatar
 
City: New Bern NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stella Di Mare
Vessel Model: Mainship 34t
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,702
Battery Charger

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:

*
FF wrote:

When cruising our reefer is propane , so the house electric loads are minor.

The boat is self sufficient , and spends almost no time on the power hose, there is no AC inlet or system. Solar keeps the batts up , when not cruising.


WE do have a noisemaker , so the charger is 80A , so in the event of dead start batts we need the least amount of time to get to restart voltage.


Mu suggestion is to improve the reefer , easily done by a factor of 2 or 3x with good gear selection , and a bunch of money.

100A a day (24 hours) is common consumption on poor reefer setups, which takes 200AH of batts per day , and with a 40A noisemaker powered charger probably 6 hours a day of charging.

A big Alternator and 3 stage regulator on the noisemaker , and the 20A charger for dockside DC loads might work if you are going cruising.
Was that in English?

Old Floridaese.* You do need*their dictionary from time to time.

*


-- Edited by JD on Wednesday 1st of December 2010 09:22:53 AM
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 07:53 AM   #11
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,357
RE: Battery Charger

Veto the propane reefer unless you park it outside the cabin.
sunchaser is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 09:58 AM   #12
Guru
 
Phil Fill's Avatar
 
City: Everett Wa
Country: US
Vessel Name: Eagle
Vessel Model: Roughwater 58 pilot house
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,919
Battery Charger

Geezer, I have looked at replacing our old 60 amps, 4 bank, battery charger with a newer one several time. If the batteries are the flood battery there are two reasons you might want to change as mentioned above so the water does not boil off.* However, most of the new batteries have better twist on caps and many are have no maintenance caps which reduces/eliminates the water issue.**A new 2 or 3 stage chargers might prolong the live longer?* The question is how long?* I replaced our six 7 year old 8-D batteries in September with 8-D batteries flood with maintenance free caps, so the water issue should be taken care off.* If I had a newer charger how long would they have lasted?

If you are going to change the type of batteries to Gel or AGM, then a new battery charger might be required as they require a higher voltage, I believe around 14+ volts, multi stage charging, but they cost 2 to 3 times what flood batteries cost. *For our kind of boating I have not been able to justify the cost to convert, which is 3 to 4,000 bucks!

We had the dock main power panel blow so we had to run the gen set/noisemaker to charge the batteries as were where running the inverter.* I did*replace the house batteries as they were 7 years old.* To cut the charge time I gang charger, used more than on charger at a time.* *If I bought a new charger it would be the highest amp charger I could find to reduce the charging time.* Another/newer charger is not high on my priority list.*

We are planning on retiring in 3 to 5 years so we been making chnages to reduce the amp demand and/or reduce the chargin time.* *So when we replace the refrigerator/freezer on the back deck it will be 3 way, AC/DC/propone to reduce the amp load, and maybe added an alternator to the gen set/noise maker as FF mentioned.

So if you dont have a good reason, I would stay with what you have if its working for you?

***
*

*


-- Edited by Phil Fill on Wednesday 1st of December 2010 10:59:25 AM

-- Edited by Phil Fill on Wednesday 1st of December 2010 11:02:45 AM
Phil Fill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 01:54 PM   #13
Guru
 
Arctic Traveller's Avatar


 
City: Juneau Alaska
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Arctic Traveller
Vessel Model: Defever 49 RPH
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 619
RE: Battery Charger

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:

Veto the propane reefer unless you park it outside the cabin.
Exactly why must I re-locate my propane reefer outside?* That's WAY too far to walk to get a cold beer, and besides, there would be a big hole in the galley where it came from..................Arctic Traveller
Arctic Traveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 09:36 PM   #14
Veteran Member
 
geezer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 28
RE: Battery Charger

Phil, I'm really considering taking your advise on just leaving what we have. It's working fine and haven't had any overcharge problems. The electrician overcharged us for what he did and have a sneaking hunch he was trying to make a few bucks on selling us a new charger.
I have to agree with sunchaser concerning the propane refer. I read they should be operated in a level position (not always possible when underway) or the coolant doesn't circulate well, and also, unlike the stove that is turned off at the tanks when unattended, the refer will be left on and unattended quite a bit of the time.

Propane is heaver than air and has a way of finding a way to settle in the lowest part of the boat--it could really brighten up your day if something leaks.

We just bought the trawler this spring and it's a whole new learning experience from our sailboat. I really appreciate everyone's expertise. Thanks for bearing with the novice questions.
Geezer.
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 09:44 PM   #15
Guru
 
koliver's Avatar
 
City: Saltspring Island
Country: BC, canada
Vessel Name: Retreat
Vessel Model: C&L 44
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,165
RE: Battery Charger

Go for the biggest charger (three stage only) that you can find. anything less than 100 amps is too small, for spending three weeks in Desolation Sound, where running distances are small, so most of your charging will be from your genset and not from your alternator. You will not be on a dock for 24 hrs to recharge, unless you don't want to go to any of the fabulous anchorages. The bigger the charger, the shorter the genset running time. too small and you will regret it.
koliver is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2010, 10:08 PM   #16
Guru
 
Carey's Avatar
 
City: Bellingham, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Happy Destiny
Vessel Model: Custom Lobster Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,101
RE: Battery Charger

Quote:
Arctic Traveller wrote:

*
sunchaser wrote:

Veto the propane reefer unless you park it outside the cabin.
Exactly why must I re-locate my propane reefer outside?* That's WAY too far to walk to get a cold beer, and besides, there would be a big hole in the galley where it came from..................Arctic Traveller

*



My folks had a propane/electric fidge for many years with no problems. If you smell rotten eggs, don't turn on a burner. Seriously, gas systems are very safe these days. We have a propane range, and I wouldn't consider giving it up for electric.
Carey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 04:09 AM   #17
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,515
RE: Battery Charger

"Veto the propane reefer unless you park it outside the cabin."

The propane reefer only needs to be mounted and vented properly to operate for many decades , with ZERO electric.

On a new build it would be EZ to have the reefer located above the WL, so it can drain properly.

Our 40 year old unit eats a 20lb can of Propane every 18 days .New does much better!

Under a buck a day for a full sized fridge and nice hard ice cream , with no endless noise or dead batts is fine for us.

A 4 month cruise will be under $100. including cooking and baking.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 06:20 AM   #18
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,357
Battery Charger

Re gas fridges, all written below is IMHO of course --

Safety, special build, *resale, insurance and ABYC realities and concerns aside:

For boaters on the GO, charging batteries after a*short days run keeps a new Danfoss powered electric fridge/freezer running just fine. Or is you live in the tropics get a solar panel

For boaters on the SIT, a gas fridge is a good option.

A gas fridge is even better considered*for a*HOUSEBOAT where everything can easily be drained and vented to the outside.

And a gas fridge is perfect for a PONTOON boat.





-- Edited by sunchaser on Thursday 2nd of December 2010 07:20:55 AM
sunchaser is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 04:34 AM   #19
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,515
RE: Battery Charger

"For boaters on the GO, charging batteries after a short days run keeps a new Danfoss powered electric fridge/freezer running just fine."

This flies in the face of the units actual electric consumption 50A to 100A per 24 hours , and the realitys of proper battery charging , which requires 100% full charge, to not do long term damage to the house bank.

AS a minimum 6 hours (with big alt and 3 stage charger) would be required to top off the batt set.

A long "short days run" or a lot of noisemaker time.

The compromise , bigger house set , and living from 50%SOC to 85% SOC is done by most cruisers that prefer to anchor out.The shortened batt life is accepted as a cruising cost.

Solar will work , but a single 85W pannel will not .

3 or 4,, 85W units are needed , with a smart charge controller to keep a normal DC fridge operating.

AS always far better insulation , as the sail folks do, 4 inches of freon blown U foam , is a good start. OR for the thick wallet cruisers the Sun Frost unit is well insulated from the factory.

Final solution is a tiny tiny fridge box , as surface area and temp are part of the power equation.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2010, 01:03 PM   #20
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: Battery Charger

Quote:
geezer wrote:We are hooked to shore power while at *dock so 20 amp would work most of the time, but planning a trip to Desolation Sound for a few weeks next summer and will be recharging using the generator when we're not running. *Think I'll split the difference and get the three stage 40 amp- sounds like the best of both worlds.
Your world of reality as described above does not always match the world of theory, a lot of which one tends to get on forums like this.

As built, our boat had a very simple electrical system and still does.* In fact it is still totally stock except for the recent substitution of six 6vdc golf cart batteries for the stock two 8D batteries (three golf cart batteries fit very nicely in a single 8D battery box).* We also replaced the original "American Marine" adjustable but single-stage battery charger (don't know who actually made it) with a Heart Freedom 25 inverter/three-stage charger a year after we bought the boat.

Due, perhaps, to our many years of experience with British narrowboats, we are pretty conservative with DC power when the boat is moored or anchored.* Reading lights, the AC/DC refrigerator, the occasional use of a Bose SoundDock, and the occasional use of a laptop if I write on board comprise our DC requirements.* Our stove/oven is propane.

We have an inefficient (by today's standards) Norcold refrigerator that had been installed new by the previous owner the year before we bought the boat so it's now something over 13 years old.

Our boat is equipped with a Jurassic Period generator, an Onan MDJE 7.5 kw unit.

We took the boat to Desolation Sound for three weeks a few years ago, and have been taking two-week trips into the Gulf Islands periodically since then.* So far--- other than a problem with the Norcold which seems to have straightened itself out for some mysterious reason--- we have not had any problems with DC electrical system or the components connected to it.

The engines (FL120s) have their stock Motorola alternators which I believe are 45 amp or thereabouts units.* We had them overhauled a number of years ago but other than that they are the same units (I assume) that have been on the engines since 1973.* On the days we don't move the boat we typically run the generator for an hour sometime during the morning to heat water and throw a charge back into the batteries.

We are not social boaters-- we bought the boat to get away from people, not join them--- so we avoid marinas whenever possible unless we have guests who would like to see what some of the unique harbor towns in BC have to offer.* This means we are not on ground power all that much during a cruise.* And even in a marina we often will not bother to hook up the ground power cable if we're only going to be there for a night or two.

So my prediction is that, if your batteries are in good shape, you will have no problems whatsoever with your current electrical setup on a three-week cruise to Desolation.* Particularly since you say you have a generator you can use in the event you decide to hang out in a particular anchorage for a few days.

Installing a three-stage smart charger is a good investment regardless of how you use the boat as it makes life a lot better for your batteries and reduces the risk of overcharging, undercharging, boiling them out, etc.

Also, we have so far been very happy with our decision to change from two 8Ds to six golf cart batteries.* Four of them are wired together into our "house" bank and the remaining two are our "start" bank.* Besides being a hell of a lot easier to physically replace when the day comes, this has effectively doubled the amp hours available for house loads.

All this has been a wordy way of saying that, based on our experience with our boat, the plan of action you outlined above seems to be a very common-sense approach for what you're planning to do.

Regarding propane refrigerators----* Some of the narrowboats we hired in England were equipped with propane refrigerators.* Based on that experience, I believe a propane refrigerator is the best way to go on a boat as far as the refrigeration "experience" is concerned.* Dead silent in operation and extremely effective in getting stuff real cold real fast and keeping it that way regardless of how hot the day is.* The newer narrowboats we've hired have had 12vdc refrigerators and none of them, as well as the Norcold on our GB, have been anywhere near as efficient in terms of getting things cold fast and keeping them cold. If you like milk chilled to 32.25 degrees as I do, how cold a refrigerator keeps stuff is a big deal

Based again on our experience, I do not understand the fear or distrust so many boaters have of propane on a boat.* Sure, it can leak and collect in the bilge and blow you into the next county when the fresh water pump kicks on or an engine starter lights off in the engine room.* But electricity can short out and burn your boat down, too.* If a boat has a well-designed, properly installed propane system using quality components-- and if it's operated with common sense---* it's probably one of the least life-threatening things on the boat.* You're more likely to die falling overboard and having your leg sliced off by a prop than by being blown to smithereens by the boat's built-in propane system unless you just get really dumb with the propane system.

I find it rather amusing when people who have a propane stove or range on their boats talk about how dangerous a propane refrigerator is.* They're basically the same thing when it comes to operation, the need for a properly designed installation, the use of quality components, and common sense in their use.

If a person has an inherent fear of propane on a boat, or if they truly do believe a propane system has a mind of it's own and is always just a knob-turn away from blowing you and your boat to bits, fine, don't buy a boat with a propane system on it.* But if you don't have this inherent distrust of the stuff, a propane refrigerator--- if it's legal to install one--- can be a wonderful thing.

What I don't understand or like are boats the size of ours--- 30-46 feet or so--- with all-electric galleys and their need to run a generator every time the owner wants to make a grilled cheese sandwich.* We've been at docks--- and Carey can certainly attest to this is we've often been at these docks with him---- where boats are running their generators all damn day.* They do this (they tell us) because everything on the boat is electric and all their AC appliances, particularly the big power-drawers like stoves and convection ovens and whatnot--- can only be powered by the generator.

And there seems to be a law of physics or something that says that the more dependent a boat is on generator power, the louder that generator will be.* The people who rarely use their generators seem to have really quiet ones where all you hear is the faint splash of the cooling water.* The folks that have to--- or think they have to-- run their generators from 9am to 9pm always seem to have generators that reverberate around the bay like an idling Cat D10.
__________________

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Big Battery Charger timjet Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 26 07-02-2012 09:05 PM
WANTED Modern 24V battery charger FF Classifieds 0 03-17-2012 12:51 PM
How big of a charger do I need? Tom.B Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 40 01-08-2012 05:04 AM
Is this normal(battery charger fan)? Baker Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 12 06-11-2011 03:43 AM
Battery Charger - Leave it on or off? timjet Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 21 01-22-2011 01:44 PM




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012