I'd like to replace my 12-year old regulator with whatever is now state-of-the-art and am looking at the Link 2000R. Could you comment on this system? And what about a battery combiner? I have a 130-amp alternator, two house banks (260A and 305A), and a separate starting battery.
Sue & Larry respond:
Thanks for your question. If you’re really looking for state-of-the-art in battery monitors and charge controllers, we think you may want to look at the TM500 by SALT (Sea Air Land Technology). The TM 500 starts by providing you with the all the basic information like amps, volts, total amp hours, power remaining, time to discharge, alarms for high and low voltage and amps, etc. Then you’ve got other features like the ability to retrieve historical data of power consumption or generate for up to four select pieces of equipment. For instance, you can retrieve information about the power consumption of your 12-volt refrigeration for the month of June. You can monitor up to four different consumers or generators of power and view their individual effect on your comprehensive power management system.
Installing the TM500 is also easier than traditional battery monitors since it employs current sensing loops instead of shunts. The negative lead from your battery bank simply runs through the loop instead of having to be cut and fitted with terminal fittings, then bolted to two sides of a shunt. The only drawback we see to the TM500 is its cost, but you did say "state of the art." The basic monitor with one sensing loop sells for $600.00. Each additional sensing loop costs $75.00. For more information check out their website at www.salt-systems.com.
As for the Link 2000R, we think it’s hard to argue with success. This is a widely used battery monitor that is highly regarded by cruisers. It gives you all the basic information you need to monitor your system. The optional alternator regular controller is easy to install and sends all charging info back to the main unit. The basic Link 2000 sells for $350.00 here at SailNet, and complete with the Alternator Regulation option for $595.00. If we were going with the Link 2000, we’d choose their regulator over any others because of the ease of installation and its ability to communicate seamlessly with the main unit.
You mention that you have two house banks, and ask about using a battery combiner for charging. We feel that for most people, two house banks are generally not a good idea. A single large capacity house bank will provide a longer life than does a two-bank system, because the depth of individual discharge will be lessened. You’ll also be simplifying your wiring resulting in less charging inequalities, and may find that a battery combiner is no longer necessary.
Best of luck with your new battery monitoring and charging system.