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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 03-21-2011
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Iota 55 amp charger

Hello,

I need to replace the ancient charger on my boat and after some research I think I will go with the Iota 55amp based on some recommendations on this forum and others. I have a couple of questions related to the Iota chargers:

1. The Iota chargers are designed for a single bank. I have one bank for starting and one house bank of 4 t-105 6 volt batteries wired in series for approximately 450ah at 12 volts. I need to know where to put the positive and negative terminals on the house bank.

2. I assume my starting bank of a single 12 volt starting battery should be topped up by the alternator assuming i put the switch selection to both while running the engine?

3. The Iota chargers seem to just have an AC cord connected to them for plugging into an AC receptacle. Is it ok to hardwire this cord into my existing wiring for the old charger? I don't want to install another ac receptacle unless necessary

4. There doesn't seem to be any type of remote for the Iota's other than the remote smart controller that you order if your charger does not have the IQ4 incorporated in the unit. I thought i might mount that in a visible location for monitoring of the batteries. If anyone can recommend some other device that would work it would be appreciated.

Thanks

Jarod
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Old 03-21-2011
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Jarod

The better solution is to send all charging current to the house bank (4 T-105'sin series/parallel actually), from the Iota charger, the alternator, and solar/wind if you have them. The start battery is kept charged by an Echo Charge or ACR. No charge current should go through the 1/2/both switch. I install virtually every charger as a one bank charger. Most are designed for 2 or 3 banks.

What this does is the following:

1. Makes charging fully automatic - no switching by you is required.

2. The charge first goes directly to the bank needing it the most. A start battery is seldom down more than 1 or 2 AH.

Charging through the 1/2/both switch has 3 things against it and only 1 for it.

1. You have to have it on "both" to charge both battery banks.

2. If you forget and leave it on "both" you will drain all batteries.

3. If the switch is either turned to "off" or through "off" while the engine is running you will likely fry alternator diodes.

Oh yes, the one thing in its favor - It is the least expensive way to charge multiple banks and that is why most manufacturers used to do it this way - some still do.

You can hardwire the cord into the existing circuit - and it should go to a breaker that will also allow you to turn it off as well as protect the wiring.

While remotes are available for Iota, Xantrex and other chargers I don't think they are necessary. Once set for battery type (flooded, gel. or agm) it will automatically go through bulk, absorption, and float stages as designed.

The best way to monitor the batteries is with a good dedicated battery monitor like the Victron BMV-600 - $158 at Jamestown Distributors. Without one you can never know what state your batteries are really in and how many AH you have used.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 03-21-2011 at 10:56 PM. Reason: add
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Old 06-11-2011
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The Powermax is a basic inexpensive 3 stage charger without the adjustments needed for Gel and AGM batteries or a temperature setting.
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Old 06-11-2011
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Looking a the specs for the PowerMax converter/chargers, they seem to be identical to their Iota equivalents....so much so that it may be that they in fact ARE Iota chargers in a different guise.

And, the prices are nearly identical....Iotas are NOT more expensive.

See, e.g., CONVERTER CHRGERS FROM IOTA, SAMLEX, XANTREX, POWERMAX AND PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS

Bill
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Old 06-11-2011
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Bill

I could not find any mention of an adjustment pot in the installation manual for the Powermax. If there is one, does it change the voltage for bulk/absorption and float?

I did find this though - interesting concept of battery voltage relating to state of charge.
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Old 06-12-2011
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I can find no mention of setting the Iota for AGM or Gel batteries in the manual either. They seem to be well thought of though.

I have never played with one so I could be wrong.
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Old 06-12-2011
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Brian,

The Iota's have no easily-accessible voltage adjustment pot. There may be one inside but you'd have to take the thing apart.

On the outside there is a socket into which you can plug either a little jumper which causes the charger to go into bulk mode, or the IQ-4 smart-charge adapter. Most users will want to use the IQ-4 full time.

No need to adjust for AGMs....they have almost identical voltage charging requirements as do flooded batteries. However, the Iota's probably are a bit "hot" for use with gels.

I have a 45A and a 55A model, both with IQ-4 smart charge options. They've performed flawlessly for about five years now.

Good value for the $$$, but not marine-rated and no temp sensors.

Bill
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Old 06-12-2011
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Hi Bill,

We installed the DLS-30 w/IQ4. I noticed your comment regarding a lack of temperature sensors.

"Good value for the $$$, but not marine-rated and no temp sensors."

Not sure if what Iota has is what you consider temp sensors, but there are internal sensors which control fan speed. This is from the installation manual:

4) Over-Temperature Protection. In addition,
it is designed with a unique “proportional” fan control
circuit. Fan speed is directly proportional to the converter’s
internal ambient temperature. This enables the fan to turn
on and off very slowly, minimizing unwanted fan-starting
noise.
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Old 06-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanley View Post
Hi Bill,

We installed the DLS-30 w/IQ4. I noticed your comment regarding a lack of temperature sensors.

"Good value for the $$$, but not marine-rated and no temp sensors."

Not sure if what Iota has is what you consider temp sensors, but there are internal sensors which control fan speed. This is from the installation manual:

4) Over-Temperature Protection. In addition,
it is designed with a unique “proportional” fan control
circuit. Fan speed is directly proportional to the converter’s
internal ambient temperature. This enables the fan to turn
on and off very slowly, minimizing unwanted fan-starting
noise.
Temp sensing is a sensor that fits to the battery post and monitors the battery temp not the charger temp. As the battery gets hot it cuts the chargers output voltage. If the battery is cold it increases the charger output voltage. For long battery life in warm climates a temp compensated charger is a good idea.
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