Because it was very favorably reviewed in this forum, I purchased an IOTA DLS 30 Battery Charger
with the built in IQ4 circuit
. (follow links for manufacturer's information)
I can see that it is a good battery charger. However, what wasn't mentioned to me is that this charger is set up for a SINGLE bank of batteries. It also does not feature temperature compensation or have an AMP OUT meter - as required by ABYC. In fact, this battery charger is aimed at the RV market, and not the boating market.
The IOTA also cost 1/2 of what a similar Victron would have
The Victron, however, has an AMP meter, supports 3 banks, and supports temperature probes
. I cannot return the charger, and I don't want to lay out another $350 for a Victron. (at least not now)
My new to me boat has 2 banks; a starting battery, and a house. The house is a relatively new Trojan, and the starting is a WM special. Connecting the IOTA to both banks in parallel will most likely leave the house bank perpetually under charged, as the starting battery comes up to charge more quickly than the deep cycle Trojan.
I needed to charge the house battery, so I brought it home and hooked it up to the charger on the workbench. Initially the IQ4 blinked rapidly indicating a bulk charge. So far, so good.
After a minute, I moved the charger. Because I didn't tighten the terminal screw enough, one of the DC leads pulled out. I noticed that the charger switched to float charge mode. I re-inserted the DC lead, and the charger STAYED in float charge mode.
OK - I thought, "I'll cycle the AC power to get it back into bulk charge mode." WRONG! I pulled the AC plug, waited about 30 seconds and the IQ4 stayed in float mode (I presume because it was connected to the battery). I re-inserted the AC plug, and it stayed in float mode.
I ended up disconnecting both the AC, and the DC from the IOTA, waited 10 seconds for the IQ4 LED to go out, and then re-connected the DC, then the AC, and it started the bulk charging cycle again.
My working theory is that the IQ4 circuit seems to want to be reset by removing all power before it will change modes.
I'd like to bounce this idea off the forum to see if I can make use of the IOTA and not fry, or under charge, either battery. My thought is that I could run the output of the IOTA to the common terminal of the "1, both, 2, off" battery switch. When I want to charge the house bank, leave the switch in the house (2) position, and when I want to charge the starting battery, leave the switch in the starting (1) position.
Therefore, to charge on the boat I believe that I will need to:
- Shut off the battery charger breaker on the AC panel
- Turn the battery switch to OFF
- Turn the battery switch to the bank that I wish to charge
- Flip the battery charger circuit breaker to ON
To change banks, I will need to repeat this entire switching process.
This is a little more complex than I would like, but I think that it should work....