Battery Setup: Blue Sea ACR? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 09-07-2008 Thread Starter
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Battery Setup: Blue Sea ACR?

Hi All,

Yes, it's Yet Another Battery Question

As I noted in Battery Switch: Field Disconnect Protection, our battery switch needs replacing. My current thinking is to go with the Blue Sea Systems Add A Battery system, which consists of their e-Series Battery Switch Dual Circuit Plus [tm]



and their 7610-SI-Series Automatic Charging Relay



This solution is affordable. The idea of not having to deal with the whole "1/BOTH/2" thing is attractive, yet one can still combine in an emergency. The only down-side to that solution I can see is if you wanted or needed to start off only the house bank, for example. But I suppose, in such a rare circumstance, you could always go down below and do some manual re-wiring.

The big question is this: We currently have two group 24 batteries. I'm thinking a group 24 battery is fine for starting, but we'll probably want at least a pair of group 27 or group 31 batteries when we someday get into cruising. Will the Blue Sea ACR properly deal with a such a setup?

Secondly: here and here, it looks like both btrafors and TheFrenchFrog, respectively, are suggesting battery combiners and isolators are an inferior solution. Does this apply to the Blue Sea ACR?

Other info: Boat has a Xantrex TrueCharge 10TB charger and, I assume, the original Motorola 35A alternator. I realize both of those are under-powered. One thing at a time .

Jim
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post #2 of 26 Old 09-07-2008
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You can verify the current rating of the relay on the link you included. Isolators inherently create a voltage drop so some people dislike them although it is usually a simple matter to adjust the regulator to compensate. If you don't compensate for the voltage drop, the isolator will prevent effective re-charge, hence the popularity of combiners which are more operator-error-proof.

The ACR is a combiner. Stated another way, combiners are relays. Not sure who told you combiners are inferior but their advice and maybe their understanding is ambiguous.

Before you embark on any significant elec system upgrade, you would be better off to first clearly identify your ultimate needs by doing a simple energy audit of your boat as without that, you are designing a system which has no specific objective (to serve a specificed power need).
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post #3 of 26 Old 09-07-2008
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Jim,

I have been running that setup for a good four months now - absolutely no issues. Your charging system will fine if you are just weekending etc... Yes, you would be correct that there is no manual switch for the starting battery - its because it doesn't need it, as you wire the engine starting wire to the post that is for the starting battery. The ACR seyup is far superior to standard battery switches as when you start the engine it keeps the current draw for only what it needs and from the proper battery so no bizarre dimming or recycling of electronics..I did a post awhile ago how to install one...

-- Jody

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post #4 of 26 Old 09-07-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36 View Post


Here is a far fetched scenario where an ACR type relay could be dangerous.

#1 You accidentally deplete your house bank by leaving the fridge on over night after being on teh hook for the last three days.

#2 You switch to the start battery and fire up the engine. Good thing for start/emergency batteries.

#3 Once the alternator ramps up the ACR relay combines both banks and the start battery, being nearly fully charged, now equalizes voltage, or attempts to, between the very large house bank and the start battery.

#4 You motor out of the anchorage and realize you're not spitting any water out of the engine exhaust so you drop hook, shut down the motor and clean the sea strainer.

#5 You finish cleaning the sea strainer and go to start the motor but all you get is click, click. This is because your group 24 battery with roughly 70 amp hours just tried to charge a 450 amp hour bank of dead batteries and now the entire system is at about a 10% charge, mostly dead and unable to supply the 160+ cranking amps needed to start the motor. The short run time and the resulting alt output from this short run time was not enough to overcome the dead house bank enough in the five minutes you ran the motor..

Again, far fetched but this could happen and Murphy is always waiting...

With an Echo charger this would not happen.
Yes, but in all fairness and in the spirit of full disclosure, the above scenario can be eliminated by simply removing the battery switch such that you have dedicated, separate start and house banks. In point of fact, the switch is completely unnecessary and only serves to create problems which is what i think the writer of the above is trying to say.
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post #5 of 26 Old 09-07-2008
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I'd have to say, for the majority of boaters, the ACR/Dual Circuit Plus Battery Switch combination is tough to beat. It makes things relatively simple to use, helps protect the electronics from any voltage dropouts/spikes that occur when starting the engine, etc.

There are rare scenarios where the setup will fail you... but that is probably true of almost any setup you could possibly use. However, it does have its complete simplicity working in your favor.

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post #6 of 26 Old 09-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
Jim,

Yes, you would be correct that there is no manual switch for the starting battery - its because it doesn't need it, as you wire the engine starting wire to the post that is for the starting battery.
Is this the correct way to wire this set up? The BlueSeas switch opens and closes two independent circuits, with a third position for combining them. I have this set up and wired the start switch to one the switched circuits so I could cut it off if there was short anywhere in the starting system.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbondy View Post
Is this the correct way to wire this set up? The BlueSeas switch opens and closes two independent circuits, with a third position for combining them. I have this set up and wired the start switch to one the switched circuits so I could cut it off if there was short anywhere in the starting system.

Well there are four posts on that selector combiner switch. That is probably a decent idea there Jbondy - but one that is unneccesary I think as a short anywhere in your starting system will trip the inline fuses (assuming you have those installed per Blue Seas documentation).

Commenting on some other posts here:


What people fail to realize that it automatically handles the starting battery when starting the engine with no need for combining. Even if the starter battery goes low it will auto switch to the house banks for brief seconds it needs to start the engine. The combining mode is for manual handling (which in most cases you will never use). Of course this only occurs if you have the ACR inline with the combining switch.

I have yet had the need to ever to do the combine function other than in testing and troubleshooting of various electrical gremlins as I re-wire the boat.

I don't know anything about the echo charger system, but for what it is worth the Blue Seas solution works incredibly well. Unlike when I had my Catalina with just a perko 1/2/both/off switch - I have yet to actually use the switch for starting etc...and it has been one of the few upgrades i have done that takes the nuisances out of the sailing regimen I learned I had to deal with with my previous setup...

-- Jody

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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36 View Post
I remember seeing locking battery switches a while back but have not seen any as of late?
Perko makes one: BATTERY SWITCH LOCKING 250A CONT. 360A INTERMITT 139488 - but it looks like it only locks in "OFF," which kind of makes sense.

Jim
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-08-2008
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Halekai, (and others)

Try this:

$18.36 + tax at Home Creepo

RiteTemp Clear Thermostat Guard Box With Key Lock Fits Most Popular Thermostat Brands - 6001 at The Home Depot

Or do a google search on "locking thermostat covers"

If that don't work, you can always try duct tape


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Last edited by eherlihy; 09-08-2008 at 03:31 PM.
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36
If you shut the engine down soon after for an emergency repair you could still be screwed..
This is the scenario that worries me. True, it's not extremely likely, but neither is it all that far-fetched.

By my way of thinking, the ideal system would always start by recharging the starting battery. After all, in any situation the one thing you want to be able to do is to start the engine, so that you can get the alternator working.

So my ideal control system would detect when a charging source came online (be it alternator, solar, shore-power, or whatever) and then first recharge the starting battery. Once the starting battery was full (and most of the time this should take very little charging) then it would begin charging the house bank.

My question is, is there any simple system out there that behaves like this?
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