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Old 04-24-2009
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Smart charger choices

Hi folks,
I'm in the process of upgrading my electrical system. (I have a Bayfield 23C).
Selecting a battery charger is starting to confuse me somewhat. I will have two banks, 3 actually, the third is an independent system. The cranking battery is a regular lead/acid and the rest are deep cycles.
The chargers I have looked at so far say they can handle 2 banks and all types of construction but don't indicate if they can charge two different types simultaneously. Am I expecting too much?
Any hints or advice appreciated.
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Old 04-24-2009
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Are the batteries all the same chemistry—wet cell, AGM or Gel—or are you mixing chemistries??

Generally, you'd be best served by having a single large house bank, rather than two smaller house banks, and a starting bank. Also, the ideal charging setup is usually to have all the charging equipment—AC powered charger, Wind, Solar, Engine alternator—all connected to the house bank and use either an echo charger or automatic battery combining relay (ACR) to charge the starting bank.

Spending the money on a two-bank charger really doesn't make much sense. BTW, I'd highly recommend the Iota brand of battery chargers, as they're quite good and quite economical. You can get them at Arizona Wind and Sun .

In general, the battery charger should be sized to about 20-25% of the size of the house bank's amp-hour capacity. If you have two group 31 batteries and they total to 200 amp-hours, you'd want a 40-50 amp battery charger. Anything larger is likely to damage the batteries and a waste of money. If you have AGM batteries, you can generally go a bit larger, as they have a much higher current acceptance rate than do wet cell or gel-cell batteries.

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Old 04-24-2009
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you have a few options

first combine the 2 house banks in to one, and have a separate starting battery. the use something like an echo charge to keep the starter battery charged.

next would be to keep the 2 separate house bank with the echo charge on one bank feeding the start batt.

but why do you have " an independent system " and what does it do ? it is just a split house bank?
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