Link 20 gurus - a problem if you please - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 10-16-2009
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Link 20 gurus - a problem if you please

I have a link 20 that has always (while I was on shore powere anyway ) behaved OK with nothing happening to disturb me. I have just moved to a swing mooring (no shore power) and suddenly funny things are happening.

To complicate matters, I have also changed my start battery bank in terms of size and number of batteries. So I have 2 variables

The problem is that when I return to the boat after a week of not being there, the start bank indicator shows a single red flashing lamp, indication that the battery has zip usable power. The first time I saw that I got a bit of a fright.

I checked the used amp hours and it showed me that at least twice the amp hours that the battery bank has had been consumed, i.e. the bank is good for about 220ah and the Link 20 was reporting 460 amp hours consumed. Straight away I get suspicious and here's the really confusing thing.

When I went to start the main engine, it started on that bank with the first touch on the key!! I checked my windlass which has a pair of charge lines connected to this bank, meaning that it shoud have been flat too and it was as juicy as.

So I disconnected the leads from the battery positive to check for any sign of a spark (everything switched off) and there was no spark, not even a tiny one. Did the same with the windlass battery, nix. So no apparent leaks.

Then I zeroed the amp hours on the Link 20 and all the green lights came on. I started the main engine and checked the ammeter that monitors the big-frame alt and it was only putting out 20 amps and quickly fell to nothing. This tells my untrained brain that the batteries are pretty well charged. The Link 20 indicator lights never changed for the whole weekend (stayed 4 green) and everything seemed normal.

I went back this morning, a week later - red light flashing!!

Any ideas??
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2009
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I kind of created the same problem for myself this summer and it didn't take long too track down the problem. I installed solar panels. I wanted to keep the wire runs short, so instead of running a big negative wire all the way to the house bank (along with the positive wire) I ran a large negative wire to my starting battery which is in the same locker as my solar panel controller.

Well the house bank charges just fine, but I was getting error messages for my start battery and it was showing that 500 amps had been drawn out of that battery(even though the voltage was fine). It has to do with that negative wire from my solar panel being on the wrong side of the double shunt that keeps track of the power going in and out of each battery bank. As soon as I move that negative wire to the correct side of the shunt, all should be well again in my link 2000r world. I suspect you have something similar going on.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2009
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Thanks for that. I will check mine but if I recall, I only disconnected the terminals at the battery when I changed them. Maybe there is some thing there. I used to have just one battery on the start bank where I now have two in parallel. I also have an isolater in the line seperating the windlass battery and between all of them it's possible there is a misconnection somewhere.

The other thing I have which may be causing a problem is a heat sensitive breaker to stop the starter drawing excessive current back from the windlass battery if the start batteries get soft. I wonder if that could be something to look at.

It's really encouraging to know that it's not the Link itself that's trashed. I was worried when I saw it draw way more than the batteries had to give.

Thanks for the tip.
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Old 10-17-2009
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I just had the wiring diagram out for our link system out last week. If you you don't have one, let me know and I'll bring it home and scan and send it your way.
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Old 10-17-2009
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Far from an expert here, but since the Link module infers current draw from the voltage drop across the shunt, it seems to me that for some reason it's seeing considerable voltage there and so calculates your batteries are being drawn down.

It almost sounds like it could be as simple as a reversed battery connection that applies a positive voltage to the upstream side of the shunt. Probably not quite that simple, I'm sure you've rechecked all that many times... but it's a low millivolt shunt so it wouldn't take a lot of voltage to fool the link. Given your sequence of events it's certainly likely related to the recent changes you've made.
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Old 10-17-2009
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I'm as confused as the others and look forward to the outcome. But the shunt actually takes full amperage and outputs but a small percentage of this (.0001% on a 50mv/500v shunt).
How are your battery grounds hooked up? I wonder if the Link gives the wrong reading if the battery grounds are connected to each other at the batteries. If this is so, the grounds should be combined after the shunt, not before. Just a guess as I wondered about this as I started to hook up my Link 10 yesterday. My system is currently quite simple with only 2 batteries, house and start. Currently the ground goes from start battery neg post to the house battery neg post and then to the ground on the block. I'm not finished yet but wonder if having the grounds connected this way will cause false readings. If so the solution in my case would be to have only one connection from the house neg post to shunt and join the grounds after the shunt. Just a guess.
Brian
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Old 10-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
I just had the wiring diagram out for our link system out last week. If you you don't have one, let me know and I'll bring it home and scan and send it your way.
Thanks for the offer Ray but I have all the stuff that came with the unit. I guess all that it needs is for me to go over all the connections and see that they are what they used to be.

The irritating thing is that effectively all I did was take one small battery out and replace it with two parallelled big batteries. One would think it would be quite difficult to screw the connections up but I must have done something wrong, it worked fine before.

Faster, the way I see it is if the connections are wrong on this sort of stuff there is normally a giant blue flash to signal an error. At the end of it all, the negatives all end up at the same ground bus after passing through the shunt. If one of them turned out to be a +ve it would let you know.

I have reprogrammed the Link to the new capacities etc, (a little guesswork on the AH ratings but close enough). There is one element in the manual that may have something to do with it and next time I'm on the boat I'll spend a bit more time on it. It talks about "synchronising" the system. That may be what has fundementally changed.

Thanks for help so far. What I'll do is check my wiring layout and if I don't find anything I'll draw a diagram of what I see and then we can debate that if you care to.

Mitiempo, if I find the error, I'll post it here.
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Last edited by Omatako; 10-17-2009 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009
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I just got back from the boat and took a picture of the wiring diagram just in case. There is a warning on the diagram that says that there should only be one ground wire to each battery and that should be tied into the single lug on the double shunt. All other grounds are attached to the other side of the shunt. That's what got me into trouble. I figured, what the heck, they're all tied together as a common ground, but the negative wire from my solar panel is running out and away from my starting battery, through the shunt and then to my house bank. It's a good connection, but it confuses the link 2000r, as it thinks the starting battery is being discharged. I bet there is a funny ground wire somewhere in your setup.

Only one ground wire per bank going to the appropriate side of the shunt.
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Old 10-17-2009
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By the way, if you ever need them all Xantrex manuals are on their site.
Brian
http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/76/docserve.aspx
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Link algorithms

Just new to the website and looking around at Link and other monitor issues and repeat this suggestion: Link-series Charging Algorithms -- The "Gotcha" Factor!

If you're having trouble with your Link, leaving it alone for a day or two and wondering why it is behaving erratically is NOT the answer. Use it as an excuse to spend a night on your boat!

Also recalibrate it by disconnecting one of the power fuses and starting all over again. Jot down your historical data if you feel the need to do so.

And, as suggested, reread the manual. At least a dozen times!

I downloaded and made a copy for the boat, so I can make notes all over it while keeping the original in good condition at home.

And if you don't have wiring diagram, make one. It'll help assure you got it right.
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