Xantrex Echo Charger Rant - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 39 Old 03-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

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Originally Posted by JeremyP View Post
that's what I'm interested in finding out more about. This Sterling Power ProCharge-B echo charger. Anyone install one or own one?

I have their combi and the thing is quiet and I like it. I was thinking about adding an "echo charger" or an "on the run" boost charging source for when I'm not plugged into AC.

ProCharge-B opinions anyone?
Decent low cost external regulators. The wiring is a little more tricky and the manual leaves a lot to be desired, but they work.. I generally prefer the options that Balmar offers in an external regulator but the Pro-Charge B is a good bare bones value. The ProReg D is a better unit than the Proreg B for not that much more money but neither compare or have the features and vast programmability that the Balmar regs do..

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 03-15-2015 at 09:19 AM.
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post #22 of 39 Old 05-07-2014
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Re: EchoCharge Bench Tests 02/24/11

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Maine,

Happened to have a spare EchoCharge on hand, so did my own bench tests this morning.

These are indicative, not definitive since I didn't have the "right" batteries or enough time available.

For the "house bank", I used two 6V gelled golf-carts in series. These are 14 years old and are in pretty fair shape. They were not fully charged.

For the "start battery", I used a small 18AH West Marine AGM. It's about 3 years old and in fair shape. Also, not fully charged to begin the test.

Voltmeter was a Fluke 189. Ammeter was a Mastech MS-2108 clamp-type.

At the start, the resting voltages were 12.736 for the gels and 12.672 for the little AGM.

Note that voltages thruout are a bit higher than they would be with flooded cells, since both gels and AGMs typically have higher voltages.

Here are a couple of pix of the setup, and the results.

EchoChargeTest_0014

EchoChargeTest_0016

Voltage delivered to the "start" battery was never more than 14.4, even when charging voltage was near 15.

The multiple readings at the same indicated time were because I varied the charging voltage to see what the EchoCharge would do. Then, between times, I left the charging voltage at 14.8.

Not sure what all this means, yet.

My EchoCharge had the Heart Interface name on it. Xantrex may or may not have fiddled with the circuitry over the years....don't know for sure.

FWIW,

Bill
I know it didn't matter for your test, but so that others know, you should not, according to Xantrex, use the Echo Charge with different type batteries as you did. At least that is what they say.
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post #23 of 39 Old 05-07-2014
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Bill just used what he had on hand for a quick test. Flooded and Agm have virtually the same charge voltages so can and often are mixed. Gel charging voltages are quite different though.

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post #24 of 39 Old 01-23-2017
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Sorry if zombie resurrection is frowned upon here, oldie but goodie.

Quick note: the Sterling ProCharge isn't an Alt VR, but battery-to-battery, just in case others got confused like me.

My interest in the (ex-Heart) Xantrex Echo Charger is based on the fact that it seems to be a more sophisticated and efficient version of the old split-charge blocking diodes.

I actually got here investigating the use of intelligent step-up/down DCDC battery chargers - which are also **one-way-only**.

Most isolator/combiner VSR/ACR solutions seem to allow current to flow either way, they just open/close the connection based on voltage cutoffs, even if they aren't dual-sense.

I'm currently looking at units that ensure one-way current flow only.

I believe the Xantrex EC works this way, a charge source raising voltage on the target bank just gets ignored, banks remain isolated. Someone please confirm this?

Most DCDC chargers are pretty pricey, and in general the simplicity and reputation of the EC makes it seem more likely to last a long time, looks pretty bullet-proof.

My main question is, are there **other** modern one-way flow isolating devices I should look at?

Power-Gate battery isolators from PerfectSwitch look fantastic, endorsed by EnerSys/Odyssey, but also quite $pendy.

I can't figure out if/which HellRoaring or Powerstream units are one-way.

Last edited by john61ct; 01-23-2017 at 12:59 PM.
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post #25 of 39 Old 01-23-2017
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Sorry if zombie resurrection is frowned upon here, oldie but goodie.

Quick note: the Sterling ProCharge isn't an Alt VR, but battery-to-battery, just in case others got confused like me.

My interest in the (ex-Heart) Xantrex Echo Charger is based on the fact that it seems to be a more sophisticated and efficient version of the old split-charge blocking diodes.

I actually got here investigating the use of intelligent step-up/down DCDC battery chargers - which are also **one-way-only**.

Most isolator/combiner VSR/ACR solutions seem to allow current to flow either way, they just open/close the connection based on voltage cutoffs, even if they aren't dual-sense.

I'm currently looking at units that ensure one-way current flow only.

I believe the Xantrex EC works this way, a charge source raising voltage on the target bank just gets ignored, banks remain isolated. Someone please confirm this?

Most DCDC chargers are pretty pricey, and in general the simplicity and reputation of the EC makes it seem more likely to last a long time, looks pretty bullet-proof.

My main question is, are there **other** modern one-way flow isolating devices I should look at?

Power-Gate battery isolators from PerfectSwitch look fantastic, endorsed by EnerSys/Odyssey, but also quite $pendy.

I can't figure out if/which HellRoaring or Powerstream units are one-way.

Correct, the Echo Charge keeps the banks isolated. But there is nothing wrong with an ACR (VSR)'s operation either. The banks do not combine until the charging bank - typically the house bank as it is larger - comes up to the specified voltage. This is usually about 13 volts.

The advantages of an ACR are higher current to the auxiliary battery (65 amps with Blue Seas smallest and 120 amps with the next largest for example) and 2 way operation with dual sensing. The Blue Seas ACR's are basically waterproof as they are potted in epoxy. The Echo is not in any way waterproof.

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Last edited by mitiempo; 01-23-2017 at 11:01 PM.
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post #26 of 39 Old 01-24-2017
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Sorry, I'm not sure how to state more clearly, the one feature, aspect, issue, I'm examining ATM is that the Echo Charger, like the DC-DC chargers, is **one-way-only**. Which seems different from nearly all other "voltage-following" isolator/combiner split-charge type devices, maybe almost unique in its price range? The ONLY other one I've found so far are the $$ Power-Gate battery isolators from PerfectSwitch.

I'm not interested (here and now anyway) in solutions that just open a normal circuit between two banks, allowing current to flow from whichever bank has the higher voltage.

What I want is, if I set it up to charge FROM BANK1 TO BANK2, there are NO circumstances where current will flow through the device "backward" from bank2 to bank1, even if there's a 200A HO alt pumping current into bank2.

1. Please (anyone) confirm, is this above aspect true for the Xantrex (ex-Heart) Echo Charger?

2. Does anyone know of any other voltage-following devices - IOW, not DCDC converters - that do the same?


I have confirmed in the meantime, that the Hellroaring units do not.
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post

What I want is, if I set it up to charge FROM BANK1 TO BANK2, there are NO circumstances where current will flow through the device "backward" from bank2 to bank1, even if there's a 200A HO alt pumping current into bank2.

1. Please (anyone) confirm, is this above aspect true for the Xantrex (ex-Heart) Echo Charger?
I confirmed this aspect of the Echo Charge in the post above.

I just pointed out that an ACR if installed properly - with charge sources going to the larger bank as an Echo has to be installed - doesn't have the issues you are concerned about. There are hundreds of ACR's installed for each Echo Charge sold and they do not have any issues as you describe.

I sell the Echo Charge as well as ACR's and install both. I know both quite well.

Another device like the Echo Charge is the Balmar Duo-Charge.

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Last edited by mitiempo; 01-24-2017 at 12:40 AM. Reason: addition
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post #28 of 39 Old 01-24-2017
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Ah yes the Duo is in many ways like a DCDC Charger, custom top-limit on output voltage very useful for unlike banks and double the Amps capacity vs the EC, thanks for pointing that out.

And I wasn't raising any issues with all the other simpler ACRs etc , just keeping the focus on the one-way flow control, which it seems (so far) none do.


So, the current list:

Balmar Digital Duo, 30A limit, shuts down if target attempts to pull more (!)

Xantrex (ex-Heart) Echo Charger, 15A (corrected)

DC-DC converter-chargers (Sterling? 120A but $$)

Power-Gate battery isolators from PerfectSwitch, sky's the limit but $$$

Old-school ("blocking"?) diodes, but only if efficient ones can be found, so far too much heat waste and voltage drop.

Last edited by john61ct; 01-24-2017 at 03:02 AM.
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post

Balmar Digital Duo, 30A limit

Xantrex (ex-Heart) Echo Charger, 20A
Xantrex Echo Charge is 15 amps.

The Duo Charge will lock up if current exceeds 30 amps.

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Re: Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Thanks, edited above.

That's a major limitation with the Duo, doesn't take a big battery to demand that much depleted!

I would have thought any device in that function would be designed to just limit the current and keep charging?

Is the EC OK that way?
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