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  #1  
Old 09-07-2008
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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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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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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...
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Old 09-07-2008
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Inferior?

I would not call battery combining relays "inferior" just one of many options and not necessarily the absolute safest or best method.

I have used combining relays on my last four boats and never once had any issues with them. I stayed away from the Balmar Duo Charge only because I have personally had three of their voltage regulators fail on me and they don't stand behind the product so I no longer buy Balmar stuff.

I really do like the concept of either the Echo Charge or the Duo Charge and have installed both but the Duo needs to be re0-set if the bank needs more than 30 amps charge current..

I think on my next upgrade, if my Yandina combiner ever dies, I may install an Echo Charge as I never ever use my start battery so it would not be pulling much if any load off my alt or perhaps 1-2 amps at best.

Comparing ACR type relays to an Echo type charger is like comparing a Toyota to a Lexus. The Toyota is a great product but the Lexus just takes it to the next level..

The Echo Charger is relatively closely priced to combining relays but the Balmar Duo is more..




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

#1 You accidentally deplete your AGM house bank by leaving the fridge on over night after being on the 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. Because they are AGM this process of equalization can happen very quickly due to acceptance

#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 AGM 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 short duration you ran the motor..

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

With an Echo charger this would not happen. Both are safe and both system work well.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 11-09-2010 at 04:26 PM.
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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1vsk View Post
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.
Very, very true but the majority of boats I have been on with ACR's still have a 1/2/All/Off switch...

Actually though in that scenario the battery switch had or has nothing to do with the depletion of the start battery. It is the fault of a short run time for recharge but a long enough run time to equalize the banks through the ACR and large gauge cables....

The same thing could happen with or without the star battery being wired directly as the ACR still combines a dead bank with a fully charged start battery the minute it sense 13+ volts. If you shut the engine down soon after for an emergency repair you could still have depleted a lot of the capacity of the reserve battery especially with AGM's. With wets acceptance limits this scenario.
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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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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...
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Does Blue Seas make one with a lock? Our 18 month old has discovered the batt switch....?? I remember seeing locking battery switches a while back but have not seen any as of late? Child proofing the boat!
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