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Old 03-06-2009
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Alternator wiring to batteries

I am putting in a Xantrex combo charger/inverter. I don't really plan to use the inverter except to allow the occasional guest to charge their cell phone. I mostly want it to charge up the batteries when I am plugged into shore power.

right now I have 2 AGM batteries in 2 banks. The alternator is connected via a switch so it can charge both or just one of the batteries. Thats pretty normal except that most people have the house and starter batteries in the 2 banks as opposed to just 2 of the same batteries.

My question is this. Can I combine both batteries into one bank and connect the alternator directly to them? Will the alternator draw some of the power off when it is not running and that is why it is switched? The switch is not one where you can switch the banks with the engine running so to charge both batteries it needs to be set to all or stop the engine and switch it. It seems kind of silly to 2 identical batteries split into banks the way they are.

I realize the general idea of having splitting batteries into 2 banks is for safety so that you can always bridge to the other bank and get the engine started. My engine does have a manual hand crank so that is an option if the batteries are dead. If the batteries are dead i am going to be really crabby anyway so hand cranking a diesel will really put me over the edge.

I am going to add another post asking about battery monitors.
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