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Old 10-02-2015, 01:15 PM   #1
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Question Please Help Me Understand

OK, I have been around boating for a number of years and this is the first boat I have owned with a battery switch. I don't quit understand the purpose of it.

Here is what I do know:
  • There is a #1 and #2 side. Each side is connected to a different battery bank. I have 2 banks with golf cart batteries.
  • I know not to turn the switch while the engines are running.
  • I keep the switch on "both"
So fill me in on the rest I am missing.......
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:27 PM   #2
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The switch let's you chose which battery you are running off of. If you select #1, in your case everything on board is using bank 1. If you chose #2, you are using bank #2. If you select all, then you are drawing off of banks 1 and 2. Usually you will only use one bank at a time. This procedure keeps one bank at full charge. If you use "all" you are draining all your batteries and could have a hard time starting your engine if they are dischrged to low. I choose which bank to use by the calendar date; batt 1 on odd days, batt 2 on even days.

Your battery selector switch does not determine charging--they all get charged no matter which position the switch is on.

Good luck, Howard
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:36 PM   #3
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>I know not to turn the switch while the engines are running

This because the diodes on the alternator that convert the AC to DC current are very voltage sensitive; if you disconnect the battery load the voltage spikes and fries the diodes.

All modern battery selection switches allow you to select either battery bank without affecting the diodes, maybe worth updating the system....
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:38 PM   #4
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Thanks Howard.


I have set up my battery system where the start batteries (both engines and genny) are not connected to the house side. When running the charger, only the house batteries are charged. When the engines are running, then everything get charged through a smart battery isolator. I start my engines enough to not have to place them on a battery charger. But I also carry a portable battery charger, just in case......
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustybarge View Post
>I know not to turn the switch while the engines are running

This because the diodes on the alternator convert the AC to DC current are very voltage sensitive; if you disconnect the battery load the voltage spikes and fries the diodes.

All modern battery selection switches allow you to select either battery bank without affecting the diodes, maybe worth updating the system....
Good point. I would love to switch to all digital battery gages etc....I just placed something else on the "to-do-list!!!
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:45 PM   #6
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A common arrangement with two battery banks is one for starting the engine and the other for the "house" to serve remaining electrical needs, with the house bank having considerably higher capacity. I normally have the parallel switch "off" as when it is on the two banks are effectively made one. It's wise not to deplete the engine start battery.

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Old 10-02-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
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The fear of moving thebrotary switch is not between batteries. They internally are make before break, so no hassles.

The FEAR is turning the switch OFF and disconnecting the alt from the batts.

POOF maybe new diodes.

The cure for 4 decades is a better rotary switch that will disconnect the alt Field before cutting off the batts.

There will be 2 little terminals on the rear of theswitch to cut the field.

These are set as break (field) before break (circuit) .

Here iswhat you need to see from the switch mfg.

"5444 includes Alternator Field Disconnect (AFD) which protects the diodes in the alternator in the event of the switch being switched to the OFF position while the engine is running."



Blue Sea Systems HD Series 4 Position Battery Switches, 500A




These Blue Sea Systems four position battery switches offer 500 amps for large diesel engines. These switches switch isolated battery banks to all loads or combines battery banks to all loads and feature tin-plated copper studs for maximum conductivity and corrosion resistance. The studs accept 1/2" (M12) ring terminals and have a 7/8" stud length (22 mm) that can accept multiple cable terminals. Accepts up to 4/0 AWG battery cables. Blue Sea Systems one-piece terminal stud design never loosens over time. One-piece stainless flange nuts ensure safe and secure connections. Fits most Perko and Guest low amperage battery switch hole patterns. Case design allows surface or rear panel mounting options. Tactile indicator conveys knob position by feel. 5444 includes Alternator Field Disconnect (AFD) which protects the diodes in the alternator in the event of the switch being switched to the OFF position while the engine is running. If the AFD is not used to protect the alternator, an LED can be connected to the AFD terminals to indicate when the battery switch is in any position but OFF.


  • OFF-1-BOTH-2
  • Cranking Rating (10 Sec.) 2,750A; Cranking Rating (1 Min.) 1,150A
  • Intermittent Rating (5 Min.) 700A
  • Continuous Rating: 500A @ 32V DC Maximum
  • CE marked, ISO 8846, UL listed - UL1107 electrical power switches. Meets ABYC requirements. Meets UL 1500 and SAE J1171 external ignition protection requirements.
  • IP66

SINGLE CIRCUIT
3 POSITION
4 POSITION
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
A common arrangement with two battery banks is one for starting the engine and the other for the "house" to serve remaining electrical needs, with the house bank having considerably higher capacity. I normally have the parallel switch "off" as when it is on the two banks are effectively made one. It's wise not to deplete the engine start battery.

This is the way I do it also. I had two house banks and a 1/2/both switch, but after researching systems I switched to one large house bank and one designated start with a crossover switch, just in case. My parallel switch is keyed, and I have the key removed and hanging on the ignition key so if someone "helps" me with the batteries I am covered.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:37 PM   #9
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FF,
I just installed one of those selector switches. The old one looked as if it came out of a 37 Plymouth.

I always use the switch in the start (#1) position to start the engine .. then switch to #2 (house bank). Xantrex controls the charging from the alternator or shore power. And I leave the shore power on all the time at the marina so the batts float at 13.75vdc. They charge at 14.25 when needed. AGM batts.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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In the simplest twin engine boat system each engine has a start battery directly connect to that engine usually via an on/off switch.


the two batteries are also connected to separate legs of the switch you ask about. That switch can then be used to select either of the two batteries or combine them in the both position. In such a system all house 12Ve electrical power is drawn from the engine start batteries as determined by the switch position.




I don't like using the both position because if a battery fails the other bank will discharge into the failed battery possibly overheating it and leaving you stranded if you don't have separate start batteries or a genny charger..
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:54 PM   #11
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I don't like using the both position because if a battery fails the other bank will discharge into the failed battery possibly overheating it and leaving you stranded if you don't have separate start batteries or a genny charger..

Good point.......
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:09 PM   #12
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As mentioned above in an ideal world you should have two battery banks and two battery switches. The larger "house" battery bank should have a simple on/off switch> The start battery bank should have the 1-2-both switch to allow you to parallel the two banks for emergency starting if the start batteries are low.

Finally, your alternator should be wired directly to your start battery bank. The prevents damaging the alternator diodes by accidentally turning the battery switch off, or by changing the setting on an older battery switch. The start and house battery banks should be connected by a battery combiner so that both banks are charged as soon as your start battery goes above about 13 volts.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:15 PM   #13
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A good way to do it is with Blue Seas Auto Charge Relay (ACR) and Remote Battery Switch (RBS). Normal mode is just leave in Auto position, and when on charger or with engines running the batteries are all paralleled. As soon as house bank draws down voltage to a set point they auto isolate from the two start batteries. You can manually switch either at the helm or in the ER.
Sorry for not being able to read labels in photo. Ill see if I can get a better one. Top is helm panel.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:08 PM   #14
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Part of the decision process should be based on the capacity of the banks and your resting average consumption rate. If your drawing down the combined banks below 75% overnight, it would be tougher on the batteries if you seperated the banks and drew them down below 50%. Also a sustained higher draw rate (such as cooking dinner in the microwave through the inverter) would be much tougher on the batteries if only using one bank.

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Old 10-03-2015, 06:56 AM   #15
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With a start batt on 1 and the house on 2 if the house is so dead it can not start the engine !#1 can be selected.

Usually the house bank is far larger than the start batt and will have no problem starting the engine as long as it is at 50%.

Traveling in both is safe and no electronic hook up is required as most starts are almost full so little of the 14V charge will get absorbed by the start and the house will get it all.Esp after the first 10 min.

Usually on shut down the low oil pressure alarm will sound , your key to set #2 House for the evening.

KISS

If you regularly loan your boat to someone that might not return to #2 house , there are other methods of making it even simpler for a novice , but the parts count is higher, and costs another $40.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
The switch let's you chose which battery you are running off of. If you select #1, in your case everything on board is using bank 1. If you chose #2, you are using bank #2. If you select all, then you are drawing off of banks 1 and 2. Usually you will only use one bank at a time. This procedure keeps one bank at full charge. If you use "all" you are draining all your batteries and could have a hard time starting your engine if they are dischrged to low. I choose which bank to use by the calendar date; batt 1 on odd days, batt 2 on even days.

Your battery selector switch does not determine charging--they all get charged no matter which position the switch is on.

Good luck, Howard
I used to manage my 2 banks as Howard outlined but have changed to running both instead of switching... my new reasoning is that running one bank will discharge to a lower SOC and is more detrimental to batty life...by running both SOC is higher and better for batty life. If start is a problem run gennie which has a separate betty or combine gen batty to start main eng.
Not sure if above makes sense but so far its working ok and havent gotten stuck or had trouble starting.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:16 AM   #17
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...to running both instead of switching... my new reasoning is that running one bank will discharge to a lower SOC and is more detrimental to batty life...by running both SOC is higher and better for batty life. If start is a problem run gennie which has a separate betty or combine gen batty to start main eng.
Ditto.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #18
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Just so, but some folks prefer to have an engine start batt , as a standby .
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:47 AM   #19
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So I'll add another question to the "Please help me understand" thread:

Why do you need two start batteries for a twin engine vessel? It seems like over-redundancy, if you isolate the start from the house bank. One the first engine is started, isn't the alternator on number one more than enough to provide charge for the battery and current to start number two? Also, shouldn't a healthy battery be able to have more than enough whoomph to start both engines?

It's a moot point for me as PH has a single engine.


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Old 10-03-2015, 01:10 PM   #20
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Like others, I run my battery selector switch on All. My figuring is, should I kill the battery bank, the sun will shine and the wind will blow. I can recover with my wind generator and solar panels.

As I understand it, to use the bank down the least percentage is Best Policy. At least that's what Nigel Calder advocates.

My best idea though is to have a multitude of voltage meters on Seaweed. Wherever I look I can see one. Constant monitoring prevents those "ut oh" moments. There are no surprises.

You can buy hard-wired ones from eBay China for $2 or $3. Or for the same price, again Chinese products, a cigarette lighter that plugs in and gives voltage. It's not a perfect solution, but for me is Good Enough.
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