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  #11  
Old 11-15-2007
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Link 10 and regulator

Good to hear you guys talking about upgrading the battery system as Im in the middle of the process and kind of winging it.
Most of you suggest the Link 10 but I was thinking of the Link 20, which monitors both banks. Is the general feeling that one doesnt need to monitor the starter bank or is it just not worth the extra cost?
And George B said that the "magic" happens with the regulator. I too have a 50 amp alternator with internal regulator. Will an external regulator significantly change my recharge rate or in some other way provide a benefit without a higher amp alternator.
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The internal reg is used to recharge the small discharge in starting spent by the starter battery. It won't properly recharge deep cycle batteries, which leads to sulphation and reduced capacity and battery life.
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  #13  
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smart regulator

MMM. thanks. Are you saying that in almost all situations that one should have an external "smart" regulator? (I have gell and AGM batteries)
And do you think monitoring both banks is important?
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scosch...Having GEL and AGM together is not a good idea at all. YES you need external 3 stage regulation for EITHER Type.
You only need to monitor your house bank as long as you have a combiner switch and run off your house at anchor. You will draw nothing from your starter battery except in starting and can easily test state of charge with a simple voltmeter or voltmeter readout while monitoring the house bank with your Link10.

How big is your house bank and what type of battery is in it? Are you prepping for full time cruising or just weekend/vacation sailing? What is your daily amp hour usage when at anchor?? Will you be plugged into a dock for charging or on the hook/mooring?
Need this info for proper advice.
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Old 11-16-2007
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Thanks for asking camaraderie,
I have a 200 A house bank, AGM, and a 75 A start battery, GEL. I had heard that it wasnt good to have two types but thats the way the boat was set up when I got it. I figured if I was slowly killing the Gel battery, so be it. I have a Trucharge 40 for when Im at marina (which is most of the time). Im trying to set up for 2-3 week trips but more than a weekend but not cruising. I have frig, lights, chartplotter, radar, autopilot. So while at anchor Im using maybe 5-10 amphr in evening with lights and less during the day. When sailing with radar and autopilot, use goes WAY up. Could be 30 if radar is radaring and autopilot is struggling, even more at night.
I have a 50 amp alternator and no external regulator.
Does this info help with suggestions from you.
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Need more battery. More alternator. 3 stage regulator. Genset. Money.
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Old 11-16-2007
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First, don't mix battery chemistries...it's really bad for the batteries, and gel batteries are about the worst IMHO.

Are you saying that you use only 5-10 amp-hours all night? I find this very hard to believe given you have a refrigerator, and most of them draw more than that. Add the cabin lights and nav lights, and it goes up even more.

You really need to come up with a fairly accurate electrical budget, preferably a worst case scenario one that overestimates your electrical usage, rather than underestimates it. Then you have to figure out how many days you want to go before having to recharge the batteries. Multiply the number of days by the daily usage and then double it to get a rough idea of the size of the battery bank you'll need as a minimum. Then figure out passive recharging systems you have or are going to add and how much usage they'll offset under the least optimal conditions and subtract that from the battery bank size.

Ideally, you don't want to run your battery bank down below 50% very often. The batteries last far longer if you don't run them down below 50%.

BTW, do you have a battery combiner?? If not, getting one might not be a bad idea. Also, get a good external voltage regulator for the alternator. Not only will it help the batteries charge more efficiently, it will help prevent the alternator from frying them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scosch View Post
Thanks for asking camaraderie,
I have a 200 A house bank, AGM, and a 75 A start battery, GEL. I had heard that it wasnt good to have two types but thats the way the boat was set up when I got it. I figured if I was slowly killing the Gel battery, so be it. I have a Trucharge 40 for when Im at marina (which is most of the time). Im trying to set up for 2-3 week trips but more than a weekend but not cruising. I have frig, lights, chartplotter, radar, autopilot. So while at anchor Im using maybe 5-10 amphr in evening with lights and less during the day. When sailing with radar and autopilot, use goes WAY up. Could be 30 if radar is radaring and autopilot is struggling, even more at night.
I have a 50 amp alternator and no external regulator.
Does this info help with suggestions from you.
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Thanks so much for your replies. I now have a "On Off 1,2, Both" switch with 2 Group 27 wet cell batteries. Can I add a group 24 or 27 to this setup thus having a starting battery and 2 house batteries, using the same switch? Do I need to wire up the Xantrex 20 battery charger to seperately charge the newly added battery? (the charger can charge 3 banks). When the engine is running does the alternator charge all the batteries regardless of what position the switch is on? It appears that when on shore power I have to have the switch on "both" to charge the batteries with the battery charger. Would it be better to charge the batteries seperately by turning the switch to "1" then "2" or just leave it on "Both", I remember someone saying that charging/using all the batteries at once can be problematic as battery characteristics change over time and one battery can draw power from the other. Am I going crazy here and making things too complex?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scosch View Post
I have a 200 A house bank, AGM, and a 75 A start battery, GEL. I have a Trucharge 40 for when Im at marina (which is most of the time). Im trying to set up for 2-3 week trips but more than a weekend but not cruising. I have frig, lights, chartplotter, radar, autopilot. So while at anchor Im using maybe 5-10 amphr in evening with lights and less during the day. When sailing with radar and autopilot, use goes WAY up. Could be 30 if radar is radaring and autopilot is struggling, even more at night.
I have a 50 amp alternator and no external regulator.
Very Helpful...
1. You have a possible working capacity of 100 amp hours with a 200 amp bank. You will use a minimum of 50AH for the fridge each day...more likely 75 if in high heat. Forgetting about your use while underway, thismeans that you will likely use 100-150A/H's a day with fridge, lights and general dc use like water pumps, PC, TV/Radio etc.. So...your house bank is too small. I would suggest expanding to 400AH's which would give you 200ah before recharging. You have a dilemma here in that AGM's of different ages should not be mixed or life of the new ones will be compromised and at AGM prices that is no fun. The other alternative is to switch to 400 ah's of wet cells which will probably cost about the same or less than 200ah of new AGM's. Given your plans, I would suggest that the most cost effective solution will be to switch to wet cells. Remove the GEL starter and replace with one of the AGM's you are no longer using...and when that goes...replace it with the other one. Charging specs for AGM's and Wet cells are close enough that you can probably get quite a bit of time out of thgis arrangement before needing a wet cell starting battery. The good thing about this arrangement is that you can keep on with your current alternator and charger. I would consider a small gas generator like the Honda2000 to charge your batteries at anchor to avoid wear and tear on the engine and to allow you to put a proper 3 stage charge on the batteries through the Truecharge 40. You will need to run the generator daily 2-3 hours to replace your daily electrical use.

2.You could also keep your existing AGM's and add to them...but then you need to replace your alternator and regulator, recognize you will not get full life out of the batteries due to the mix with old ones, and replace your GEL starter battery since the charging routine is not compatible.

3.If you were going full time cruising, I would have a different solution, but a week or two at a time on the hook and regular dockside charging otherwise indicates a wet-cell, modest cost solution. Hope this is helpful.
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RALPH...
Can I add a group 24 or 27 to this setup thus having a starting battery and 2 house batteries, using the same switch?
Yes. Put your starter on position #1 and the other 2 batteries on position #2. Note that mixing old and new batteries will reduce the service life of the new battery. Your house bank batteries should be of the same size and type, your starter battery needs to be the same typ but not the same size. Do I need to wire up the Xantrex 20 battery charger to seperately charge the newly added battery?
The short answer is NO provided that it is already wired to charge battery 1 and 2 on your switch which from your description I believe it is.
When the engine is running does the alternator charge all the batteries regardless of what position the switch is on?
No...sounds like your setup charges from the alternator...to the battery switch and then to the selected batteries. Leave the switch on both when you want to charge both house and starter batteries. NEVER change the switch with the engine running...and always switch to your house bank only when at anchor to insure your starting battery will have enough juice to get you going.
It appears that when on shore power I have to have the switch on "both" to charge the batteries with the battery charger. Would it be better to charge the batteries seperately by turning the switch to "1" then "2" or just leave it on "Both"
Leave it on both.
I remember someone saying that charging/using all the batteries at once can be problematic as battery characteristics change over time and one battery can draw power from the other. Am I going crazy here and making things too complex?
A bad CELL in one battery can draw down all other connected batteries so this is what you are probably referring to. During charging you won't have this problem so leave everything on both.
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