Echo Charge drawbacks?
I've seen the Xantrex Echo-Charge battery charger device highly recommended on this site as an alternative to a battery combiner relay. I have several questions about them:
1) The manual for the echo-charger says it has a no-load current draw of 50 milliamps (as opposed to 12 milliamps for the Blue Sea combiner relay). For someone who doesn't leave their boat plugged into shore power regularly, should this be a concern? This will drain down a 260 AH battery bank to 50% in a little over 100 days. I'm not suggesting that anyone would want to go that long without cranking the engine, or plugging into shore power - BUT, it still concerns me that there is a constant drain on the batteries. (I don't have any system to trickle charge my batteries yet - apart from leaving it plugged in to shorepower, which I try to avoid).
2) The recommended setup for the echo charge is: direct all charging to the house bank (alternator and shore power charger), then the echo charge will charge the starting bank when it senses >13.0V on the house batteries. What if you have a severely depleted house bank? Wouldn't the house bank pull all the current from the alternator, leaving the starting bank with no current until the house batteries get back to 13V? (am I not understanding this correctly?)
3) How do you test that the echo-charger is functioning? With a combiner, you can test the voltage of each battery bank....when they're combined, it should be similar, right? How can you tell that the echo charger is working?
Thanks for any info you can provide. I'm just about to install the echo-charger, but am wondering if I should exchange it for a Blue Seas ACR.