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Old 01-24-2007
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Charge regulators

So we're at the point of replacing our D/C system and I'm finding our charging system slightly vexing. We have a wind generator, a 150w solar aray, and we're in the market for a new alternator. Also in the market for new batteries. Probably high end wet cell deep cycle batteries for the house bank and a large cranking battery for the second bank. I'm looking for advice about regulating the charge from the three charging sources into the two battery banks. I understand that you can't charge the house and cranking batteries at the same voltage. I'd be alright with the solar and wind generator just charging the house bank and the alternator being capable of charging both banks. Is there a unit out there that can handle all these inputs and outputs? What do you use on your boat? Our old system consists of a single stage charge regulator that I think is the cause of the previous owners batteries lasting for a very short time. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-24-2007
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Two issues: Regulating the charging from the engine alternator and regulating the chrging from the passive equipment.
Suggest a Balmar hi-output alternator appropriate for your battery bank size and their 3 stage ARS regulator. Widely sold, widely serviced...good product.

For the passive stuff...we had good luck with this regulator which allowed us to divert excess energy not needed for charging to our hot water heater.
http://www.fourwinds-ii.com/v2/?c=flexcharge&i=006

Oh yeah..as long as the bateries are all flooded...you can charge them at the same rate.
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Old 01-24-2007
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I have the same charge regulator as cam pointed out..it's good solid unit. There are ones specifically designed for solar panels, the better ones are MPPT-types, and increase the efficiency of the solar panel output. Most of these can not be used with other charging sources, mainly due to the way they cut off the electricity from the panels.

As for charging the house and start banks...shouldn't be an issue if they're both of the same type—wet cell and wet cell, AGM and AGM, etc.. The float charge on the different types of batteries is slightly different, so combining them is generally not a good idea.

A good idea is a battery combiner...properly installed, it will automatically combine the two banks when either bank is charging. This simplifies things alot.
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