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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-03-2009
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Shore charging systems

I am in the process of refitting my boat as many of you can probly tell by my multiple posts . Anyway I will be using gel cell batteries (2 for now but eventually 3) and have noticed there are so many options out there and I am not sure whethor I should be looking at 15, 30 or 45 amp chargers for this application. Does anyone have some good recomendations for me? Maybe a setup that has proven to work well for you? I plan to be using a small generator (1000 watt d/t limited space) to top off batteries as my outboards charging capabilities are not as good as an inboard diesel. I will be adding solar and wind power in the future but for now a generator running my shore charger is my first choice.

So I guess another good question would be to ask if the genset is going to be enough to power my shore charger. I do plan on purchasing a book to learn more about this type of stuff but figured I'd start here since I have been getting so much great advice on this board.

Thanks again folks!
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Old 08-03-2009
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if you are using gels you can charge much faster than wet cells, and a 1000 watt genny should be able to run a 80 amp charger. now that does not leave any spare wattage for the TV or coffee pot, i would look for around a 60 amp charger.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
if you are using gels you can charge much faster than wet cells, and a 1000 watt genny should be able to run a 80 amp charger. now that does not leave any spare wattage for the TV or coffee pot, i would look for around a 60 amp charger.
Yes, I really want a larger genset but my little Cascade 29 is short on space and my mounting solution will only allow for a small Yamaha. I have seen some small low watt microwaves and few other appliances which will all have to take turns I'm afraid. Any idea on how long it may take to top off 2 gel cells that have been discharged to various levels? I assume there is some sort of equation to figure this out? Btw I was actually considering this charger XANTREX XC3012 BATTERY CHARGER 30A 12VDC Shop.Sailnet.com - sailing resources, shopping, sail, blogs mostly because of the price point but it seems a >amp charger will do the job with less runtime on the generator.
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Old 08-03-2009
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The Xantrex charger you have picked uses about 6 amps ac according to Xantrex. You should be fine with a 1000 watt generator. To get the best results you should configure the batteries into one house bank and a separate start battery assuming your outboard has electric start. An Echocharge will take care of the start battery easily at low cost. You really only need a single stage charger in this configuration. While I have no experience with the brand, a lot of regular posters like Sailingdog recommend Iota chargers - good quality at good prices. I agree with the previous poster that you should look for a larger charger. While gels will accept a larger amperage at a given time in bulk charge, they still take a while to reach full charge.
brian
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Old 08-03-2009
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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The Xantrex charger you have picked uses about 6 amps ac according to Xantrex. You should be fine with a 1000 watt generator. To get the best results you should configure the batteries into one house bank and a separate start battery assuming your outboard has electric start. An Echocharge will take care of the start battery easily at low cost. You really only need a single stage charger in this configuration. While I have no experience with the brand, a lot of regular posters like Sailingdog recommend Iota chargers - good quality at good prices. I agree with the previous poster that you should look for a larger charger. While gels will accept a larger amperage at a given time in bulk charge, they still take a while to reach full charge.
brian

Thanks I'll check them out. Yes my outboard is an electic start and I would like to have a dedicated starting battery also but will likely start out with a 2 bank system. The boat currently has only one single wet cell so I'll basically be starting from scratch.
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If you're not yet committed to gel batteries you should look at AGM. They have the advantages of gel without the disadvantages. Gels are sensitive to charging voltages and just about as expensive as AGM batteries. The best bang for the buck would be good lead/acid such as Trojan T105 golf cart deep cycle batteries. Many other members would agree with this.
Brian
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I would check Iota chargers, best deal do a search for renewable enegry products great service offered 55, 75,and 90 amp I had trouble with my xantrex trucharge 2
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Old 08-05-2009
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Battery chargers for boats are not the easy decision they used to be. While the basic advice is to go for a multistage-stage smart charger capable of maintaining separate banks, there are specific characteristics that need to be considered for a particular system, such as battery size and type, number of banks, and type of use (such as whether you'll be wanting to run DC appliances while on shore power, or whether you cruise, race around the buoys weeknights or troll). Check out the information pages at the various websites (Guest, Xantrex, Blue Sea, Iota, West Marine etc). I wish I had taken the time to call tech support at the brand of my choice to check my model choice prior to my last purchase. I called afterward, when I realized too late that I might have skimped on price and sacrificied a certain feature, and that was his first tip (to call before buying).
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Old 08-05-2009
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If you decide to go with gel cells make sure you get a charger with temperature compensation. It is critical that you do not overcharge gels otherwise you will be out a lot of money. This is one reason gels are falling out of favor with most. AGM batteries have the advantages of gels (as well as the high cost). I still think the Trojan T105 golf cart battery is the best value - probably 1/2 or less the cost of AGM for the same amp/hours. As for charging the best way to go would be a single bank 3 stage charger and an Echocharge to take care of the start battery. If the current battery is in good condition and is capable of engine starting a bank of two T105 will give you a bank of 225 amp/hours, while 4 would give you double this. If the concern is max charge in the shortest time a large charger and AGM batteries will yield the best results but at a price. AGM batteries require 100% charging every 2 weeks or so and whatever battery you choose this comes at the price of long charging time to get the last 20% into them. At the dock no problem. With solar and/or wind gen you will not have to run the generator to do this. Lead/acid batteries are more tolerant of this and can be used between 80 and 50% capacity with less often charging to 100%.
Brian
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Agreed. The decision is more complicated than I had originally thought. The area I have chosen for the battery placement is not the most accessible but is low and centered in the boat. The venting could be a little better also I suppose, but had planned to add a vent which would exit gasses into the lazarette. So now I have some more questions (thanks for all the info guys!). Also, I like the idea of getting more amp hours for less $$ with the trojan.

The trojan seems to be a great bang for the buck battery and the website I found shows the 105 to be a 6 Volt Deep Cycle, 225 AH. Now I take it I'll need 2 of them in a series to make 1 12 volt bank and 4 for 2 12 volt banks?

Since my battery area is not easily accessable (I do have an alternate location more aft) are the Trojans maintainence free? I'm sort of a big guy and will have a tough time climbing down into the Lazzarette to check water levels.

Since I will be using only the outboard and 1000watt generator for charging (intitally) and want to run the generator as little as possible can I run a larger amp charger(still not sure which one) to recharge faster with the generator?

Thanks again fellas for the help!
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