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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2007
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Cam

That's an interesting observation.

The most common thing that will cause the diodes to pop in your alternator/regulator is if you open-circuit them. In other words, disconnect the charge line from the battery bank while the alt is spinning. This will only happen if the switch turns one circuit off before the other is turned on. The four way switches commonly fitted to boats don't do that. They always make the second circuit before breaking the first.

If the switches you get in the US are different to that then they must be custom-made for the American market just to piss you guys off. I can't recall in thirty years of boating having a four-way switch that breaks without making first and all the switches I have had have always been made in the USA and the only time I've ever blown diodes is when SWMBO has turned the switch from One past Off to get to Two.

Or else I've had 30 years of charmed boating :-)

I have seen some boats that have a bank of separate switches to switch this on and that off and then if you follow the wrong sequence you'll have problems. But a four-way? Not in my experience.

Cheers
Andre

Last edited by Omatako; 04-15-2007 at 12:16 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
Something else you will need to do, is determine what your distribution panel is connected to. It should be connected to either one or the other batteries via the switch terminal. Ordinarily, Position 1 is connected to the starter and Position 2 to the rest of the electrical system.
Really? With a "1/2/Both/Off" switch isn't the starter and the panel wired to the common terminal on the switch. The switch ordinarily selects what battery you're using, not what's being powered.

What you're describing is a dual circuit switch, maybe? Perko doesn't supply those.
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Last edited by CapnHand; 04-15-2007 at 12:59 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako
Cam

That's an interesting observation.

The most common thing that will cause the diodes to pop in your alternator/regulator is if you open-circuit them. In other words, disconnect the charge line from the battery bank while the alt is spinning. This will only happen if the switch turns one circuit off before the other is turned on. The four way switches commonly fitted to boats don't do that. They always make the second circuit before breaking the first.

If the switches you get in the US are different to that then they must be custom-made for the American market just to piss you guys off. I can't recall in thirty years of boating having a four-way switch that breaks without making first and all the switches I have had have always been made in the USA and the only time I've ever blown diodes is when SWMBO has turned the switch from One past Off to get to Two.

Or else I've had 30 years of charmed boating :-)

I have seen some boats that have a bank of separate switches to switch this on and that off and then if you follow the wrong sequence you'll have problems. But a four-way? Not in my experience.

Cheers
Andre
My guess is that you have such good luck because you have an isolator in the systems you've worked with. As this article states...without one, damage is a real possibility:
An optional component for installation is an automatic charging relay or battery isolator, two names for similar, solid-state devices that allow all batteries to be charged by the alternator, regardless of how the battery switch is set. Without one, only the batteries that are currently selected at the switch will be charged. If the battery selector switch is in the ALL, BOTH or 1+2 position (depending on how the switch is marked), both batteries will be charged, but if only battery ONE is selected, battery TWO won’t be charged. An ACR or battery isolator also protects the boat’s alternator from possible damage if the battery switch is operated with the engine running.

Boating World: Hands-On

Further data:
"

Off, 1, 2 Both Battery Selector Switch


The next step up is to install a “Off, 1, 2, Both” switch for the batteries. It is then up to the user to select either Off when leaving the boat, 1 for starting the engine, or for charging the engine start battery, 2 for running the domestic side, lights, instruments etc., or both to charge both batteries. Unfortunately, “both” can also be used to ensure that both sets of batteries are discharged together, thus ensuring that you cannot start the engine, a source of comfort when being blown onto a lee shore! An added “bonus” of these switches is that when the engine is running and the switch is changed from position 1 to 2, through the off position, the alternator is disconnected from the battery, thereby burning out the diodes in the alternator.

From:Sailing Boat Battery Charging

Can you read the small print under the off position on that switch? It is there for a good reason!
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2007
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Cam

Yes it is there for a good reason. It's there for people who don't know about this stuff. I never, at any time, said that the switch should be turned through the off position?!? That's really dumb. Off is Off.

If you read my last post properly you'll find that I said: the only time I've ever blown diodes is when SWMBO has turned the switch from One past Off to get to Two.

Try turning the switch from 1 to 2 through the Both position. You'll get a pleasant surprise. Your alternator will carry on charging and by a miracle, the diodes will be safe!!!

Andre
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Old 04-15-2007
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perko battery switch

Perko switches are Make Before Break, so switching whilst charging is no problem: Perko Dual Battery Switch
in terms of battery management, what I'd recommend is to nominate one battery as your primary, and start the engine on that battery. Use this battery for everything - nav lights, the lot, until it goes flat. Always charge it first until the amps drop off to zero, and then switch over to top up the secondary, and you'll always have power for starting your donk.

As a backup measure, I like to have the ability to hand-crank the engine to start it, and use a camping gas or paraffin lantern at night if light is required for prolonged periods.

Clearly these methods aren't necessary on modern boats with gennies

Best,

Blue Eagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie
An added “bonus” of these switches is that when the engine is running and the switch is changed from position 1 to 2, through the off position, the alternator is disconnected from the battery, thereby burning out the diodes in the alternator.[/FONT]
It seems that the builders of the boats and accessories you guys equip yourselves with have great faith in the sailor's native ability to get things right first time.

The designers of the "vintage" ones I have experience with have no such faith: You CAN'T turn my battery switch through "off" to get from 1 to 2. first, it only moves through an arc of about 120 degrees. Second, the order goes "off", "1", "both", "2".

Cockups not an option! Progress eh?!

Blue Eagle
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Old 04-15-2007
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Blue...that's the way they should be built. Unforunately the most common switches today leave you open to the very real danger of a clockwise turn!
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Old 06-06-2007
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my switch is "2" "both" "1" "off" from left to right & it is a make before break once it is left of "off". The alternator and starter is only connected when the switch is other than "off".
Unless the switch is in the "both" position when starting, the GPS will go off because of the drop in voltage when starting the diesel. I do have a .5 v drop to the instrument from the instrument panel connection altho i am using 16 guage wire to the Garmin pigtail harness. I am thinking about soldering an other wire in parallel to all the panel connections.
I already mentioned in an other thread the finding that an other guy found by measurements that the battery switch in "both" does not cause a higher charged battery be drawen down by a lower charged battery unless there is a cell failure.
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Old 06-07-2007
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Rick...sounds like you think I disagree with you. That may be because I was quoting others responses to my original comment as I replied to them. Here is my original statement which I think is entirely consistent with what you said:

..switching your perko switch with the engine and alternator running will result in burned out diodes and a major alternator repair. Don't try it.

I too may have been blone in a former life! (G)
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  #20  
Old 06-07-2007
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Brad-

-Do you start your engine with both batteries?
Not normally, if batteries are low you may need to. Usually have a designated start battery(#2 in my boat)

-Do you run the engine with both batteries selected so it will charge (or will both batteries charge even if only one is selected)?
Both batteries will charge in the both position, but I prefer to switch from 1 to 2 at scheduled time intervals while running the engine.

-While sailing, or not using shore power, do you use just one battery?
Yes, I use the house battery(8D) and leave the start batt. for starting only.

We have a switch like yours and routinely switch from #1 to #2 while the engine is running with no problem so far(15yrs this boat, Yanmar). Normally you will have one starting battery that is a heavy duty diesel starting battery and then a second deep cycle "house" battery that you use for everything else. Hope this helps. John


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