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Old 09-06-2009
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Balmar regulator and combiners

Hello all!

I've got a Balmar Series 7 alternator and an ARS regulator. It feeds my Lifeline AGM batteries through two West Marine combiners. I've got the regulator set for "AGM" (i.e., I haven't done any "advanced programming")

The problem is that when it gets to the float charge stage my combiners open up and then I'm using battery power even while the engine is running. I assume that this is because the voltage that the regulator puts out during this phase isn't enough to close/keep closed the combiners. I suppose a solution would be to go into "advanced programming" and set the the float voltage at a level high enough to keep the combiners closed. But that's not going to be healthy for my batteries, right?

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-06-2009
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As I understand them, a battery combiner is supposed to combine the batteries when a charging voltage is detected and close, therefore separating the batteries when charging is completed. I'm not sure what you mean about using battery power when the engine is running as at that time I would think the 12 volt power being used is being supplied by the alternator. I wouldn't suggest raising the float voltage above the preset for AGM batteries. The chart below shows absorption and float voltages for Concorde AGM batteries (Lifeline) with respect to temperature. You don't want to overcharge AGM batteries under any circumstances. I think from your description that your combiner isn't working properly. What make is the combiner? Have you confirmed float voltage with a voltmeter? If your combiner is faulty one solution is to replace it with an Echocharge (Xantrex) which is a solid state device that passes up to 15 amps of charge voltage to the start battery when it senses a charge voltage is present. The batteries are never combined for use with an Echocharge.
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