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  #11  
Old 08-13-2008
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Thanks

Thanks for the good advice and suggestions. I think, for now, until I have a closer look at the whole wiring system, I will do the following:

I have a second 1/2/both/off unused switch that I will use as a main switch for the house bank. This way, temporarily, I'll have one switch to select the battery to start the engine, one switch that will turn off the entire panel from the battery, leaving only the bilge pump and the radio wired directly to the house bank through in-line fuses. The electric panel will continue to work as a voltmeter for the two batteries and to turn on/off specific circuits.

Until I decide if I should do other changes, I will leave the charger wired directly to both batteries since it seems to be the suggested way in the user manual (altough it does not speak about plugging alternatives with a battery switch). The charger seems to manage the two batteries independently. (I'll investigate the specifics around that)

From my understanding of the discussion, the other thing I will likely try is to install a 3-position switch on the bilge pump since right now there is only a floating switch... This would allow to manually start or turn off the bilge pump from this added switch.

Thanks again for the help. This is my first sailboat and I have a lot to learn but this site's forums and the experienced sailors participating to it are such a great source of advice, it helps me with the learning curve. I have many other questions that I will post shortly and will require picture support but I know already that people here will have the answers. Great site!
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  #12  
Old 06-29-2009
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Hi all,
I have a question related to this thread.
May I start the engine with 2 (cranking) and then turn the main switch to 1 to charge the house batteries?? I have been told this may damage the alternator ....
thanks,
Ian.
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  #13  
Old 06-29-2009
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It depends. If you have a "Make BEFORE BREAK" type battery switch and turn it through the BOTH position, then no—it WON'T DAMAGE the alternator. If you turn the same switch through the OFF position, you'll probably blow the alternator diodes.

One way to prevent this is to wire the alternator directly to the house battery bank. This way, even if you accidentally turn the switch off, while the engine is operating, the alternator will be protected.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy1960 View Post
Hi all,
I have a question related to this thread.
May I start the engine with 2 (cranking) and then turn the main switch to 1 to charge the house batteries?? I have been told this may damage the alternator ....
thanks,
Ian.
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  #14  
Old 06-29-2009
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dog,

I agree with most of the above, and generally with the excellent advice you provide. Indeed, the DCP switch is appropriate for many boats.

BTW, the code specifies BOTH a switch and a CPD -- circuit protection device-- i.e., either a fuse or a breaker. Fuses are better IMHO.

One nitpic, though. I don't like the idea of battery combiners. The reasoning is that you could be combining a fully charged battery (say, a start battery) with a nearly depleted and much larger house bank, causing a big inrush of current and all that.

Much better option, IMHO, is one of the several devices designed to maintain a second (e.g., start) battery by sensing charging voltages on the house bank, then providing an appropriate (controlled) charging current for the start battery (unlike the combiners which just connect the two banks together). These are, inter alia, the Xantrex EchoCharge (15A max), the Balmar DuoCharge (30A max), and a new one on the scene, the Magnum Energy Smart Battery Combiner (ME-SBC) which can handle 25A.

The first and third of these are voltage following devices
, i.e., they follow whatever charging curve is provided by the main source of charge on the house batteries (alternator, battery charger, solar, wind, etc.). And, they work very well. The ME-SBC is easily programmable for maximum and minimum voltages, etc. The DuoCharge is fully programmable for battery type. There is virtually no voltage loss with these (unlike the older "battery isolators"); they are easy to install, maintenance free, and well worth the investment. My EchoCharge is about 5 years old, and has been in service 24/7 without a hitch. I've installed a bunch of DuoCharge's, too, on client's boats. Haven't seen the new ME-SBC yet, but it looks terrific.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 06-29-2009 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 06-29-2009
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Btrayfors—

I agree the Echocharge and DuoCharge are better devices, and haven't heard of the Magnum until your post. Yes, there is a problem with combiners that poses a risk under certain conditions—depleted house bank, fully charged starting bank, and could result in killing both battery banks.

However, the Blue Sea DCP and battery combiner is available in a single package and relatively to simple to purchase and install for less advanced boaters.

I also agree that there should be a fuse as well. I prefer the MegaFuse for battery applications.

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  #16  
Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Battery switch

So If you have a shore charger and an isolator does the charger charge both batteries? Or do you have to have the selector switch set to both?
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Battery switch

It depends where the charger output is wired to. It is most often wired direct to the batteries, meaning the switch position makes no difference.
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Battery switch

Dog,
I was considering the bluesea combiner. Right now I have a solar controller connected to one battery and an AC battery charger with 2 outputs connected to EACH battery. There are times when I will be away from shore power so would like to use the bluesea combiner feature to make sure either my solar controller or the alternator keep both batteries charged. However, when I get back to my dock, I will plug in the charger. My question is, will having this particular battery charger, with 2 outputs, be a problem? The charger requires that both outputs be connected to two batteries to work.
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Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Battery switch

Easy solution.
Install a switch in the negative wire to the ACR and when you leave the boat on shore power the switch will defeat its operation.
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  #20  
Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Battery switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Easy solution.
Install a switch in the negative wire to the ACR and when you leave the boat on shore power the switch will defeat its operation.
Why wire a switch if it's not necessary? And if I forgot to flick the switch, would my charger fry the ACR?
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