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Old 03-15-2013, 09:57 AM   #21
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........... But, the house batteries won't stay charged very long (or as long as they should) and they're supposedly good (a couple of years old)...........
If the house batteries won't stay charged very long, I would be looking for something that's drawing a current continuously. A light left on, a florescent light left on but with a burned out tube, a partial short from a positive wire to water in the bilge, a defective piece of electronics or defective appliance, etc.

Turn off everything, then disconnect the negative lead from the house bank and insert an ammeter into the circuit (your electrician will know how to do this.) There should be no current draw other than the very minor current from a radio memory circuit and perhaps 1/4 amp for a CO monitor. Newer CO monitors draw much less standby current so if you have an older one, you might consider replacing it.

If you find a current draw, turn off circuit breakers one by one until you find which circuit the draw is on, then check everything that circuit powers until you find the culprit. Then, of course, repair or replace it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:08 AM   #22
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[QUOTE=Nsail;141436]But, the house batteries won't stay charged very long (or as long as they should) and they're supposedly good (a couple of years old).
QUOTE]

  • How long?
  • Do you have a Link or other device to monitor the house bank SOC?
  • It is not uncommon to have the house bank only last overnight with normal TV, appliances and lights - before going down 30 to 50% and need to fire up the genset or run the boat.
  • A setup like your electrician recommneded is how my boat is set up too, but the house bank gets recharged before the next evening of downtime - not a big deal to do it
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #23
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I'm going with external regulators and a Balmar Centerfielder to control the two alternators and then a Duo Charge or Echo Charge for charging both house bank and start batteries. Used the Echo Charge on our sailboat for years and it worked out great, no manual selector switch to worry about.

For more than two banks, add more Echo Chargers.

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Old 03-15-2013, 12:06 PM   #24
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One more comment and I'll go away. Chances are the house bank is much bigger than the start bank and requires more charging. So why put that load on just one alternator if you have two of them?

What happens if you lose an engine or alternator or decide to run (God forbid) on just one engine? You're back to flipping switches, if you remember how to set them.

Bob
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:23 PM   #25
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I should have said that the house bank drops to 12.4 v within an hour. And. I've been told that I should start charging them at this level.

I've done a lot of checking and making sure things are turned off, etc. , but didn't find anything. The electrician has also.

At any rate, after reading all the responses, it seems what he is proposing is fine, and I'll just go with that.

Thanks everybody!
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:34 PM   #26
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I should have said that the house bank drops to 12.4 v within an hour. And. I've been told that I should start charging them at this level.Thanks everybody!
How you charge your batteries will not change your at rest voltage reading. There are several types and brands of BMKs that read SOC, voltage, amps being used, amps remaining etc.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:49 PM   #27
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Interestingly enough, this is exactly what I do, and I have a single engine. I have two identical alternators on the main engine; one charges the house bank and one charges the start bank. There is a combiner switch that will allow the two banks to be combined in the case of a failure of either alternator or in case the start bank becomes discharged (which should never be possible, because it has no loads).

As Marin points out, this is a dead-simple and dead-reliable system. No isolation devices, no 1-2-Both switches, no messing around.

In your particular situation, I would be considering upgrading the alternator that charges the house bank to a high-amperage unit and associated regulator. I used Ample Power and have been very happy with their products and service, but Balmar is good too.

Scott Welch
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Sounds like my system, except I use two diesels to power the two alternators. I'll be installing the 120A Balmar alternator and MC-614 external regulator to finish off the system someday soon.

My alternators are wired directly to their respective battery bank. I placed the load selector switches outside of the ER to be able to access them in the event of a fire. (Note that they do NOT control or affect battery charging.) It also saved a significant wire run to the former aft salon cabinet switch location, placing the switches very close to the batteries. I haven't needed to move change switch positions since I modified the system a couple of years ago. The schematic below shows an override switch on the combiner that I will install next week. I have found that there are times (like when on shore power at my home slip) that it's not necessary to combine the banks. This switch will give me that option.

Here's my current schematic which was designed with the help of our boat works foreman who said he wished all boats were wired like this. All I can say is that it works for me.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:54 PM   #28
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factory charging system on 1988 501

I am new to forum and am buying 1988 501 docked in Lauderdale. We survey /seatrial soon. I noted on inspection of boat that there are two Guest battery switches in engine room. They are both numbered 1,2 all. Both switches were set to "all". No time to run down wires or read manuals ,but it bothed me as from past and current expierience, if each main engine has its own battery(bank) ,it should be charged by that engine and "all" used as jumper in case of failure(alternator or battery). I know that two alternators charging the same battery will cause regulators to bump heads and could blow diodes. How is the system from the factory? Does each engine have its own bank? Shouldn't each switch be on its own bank,eg starboard on#1 and port on#2? Gary
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #29
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I am new to forum and am buying 1988 501 docked in Lauderdale. We survey /seatrial soon. I noted on inspection of boat that there are two Guest battery switches in engine room. They are both numbered 1,2 all. Both switches were set to "all". No time to run down wires or read manuals ,but it bothed me as from past and current expierience, if each main engine has its own battery(bank) ,it should be charged by that engine and "all" used as jumper in case of failure(alternator or battery). I know that two alternators charging the same battery will cause regulators to bump heads and could blow diodes. How is the system from the factory? Does each engine have its own bank? Shouldn't each switch be on its own bank,eg starboard on#1 and port on#2? Gary
There's no reliable way to tell you how the switches should be set with the information you provided. Even if someone knew the factory wiring, there's a very good chance it has been changed since your boat was built.

If you're having trouble figuring it out, I suggest finding a local marine electrician and having him/her examine the boat's wiring and suggest how the switches should be set or possible improvements so you wouldn't have to be bothered with flipping switches all the time.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:07 PM   #30
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" But, the house batteries won't stay charged very long (or as long as they should) and they're supposedly good (a couple of years old)."


Nsail, do you equalize charge your batteries? I am a believe that the practice is good for battery health. It may help with your discharge issue. Are your specific gravities at the high end of 1.280+ after a charge?

I spent six year as a navy electrician on a submarine. The military had a regular practice of equalizing batteries and monitoring for performance.

I've read all the don't equalize responses so there is no need to re-hash that.
Dave
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