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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Selector switch or Automatic Relay
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Thread: Selector switch or Automatic Relay Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-04-2007 09:25 AM
eherlihy Just to add some fuel to this fire...

I've been (slowly) reading Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual which addresses this is Chapter 1.

Here is my summary:
Best setup is ALL the house batteries on 1 circuit with a dedicated high output alternator, and a seperate starting battery with the stock alternator on a seperate circuit. In case of emergency, use jumper cables, or a paralleling switch, to enable the house bank to start the engine. The advantage of a single large house bank is that battery life will be prolonged, and the power available from a single charge will last longer.
Next best solution is to use a battery paralleling relay with a single alternator. The relay will automatically bring both banks into the same circuit when charging, yet seperate both banks when the engine is off. This is used in conjunction with a 4 position (off, 1, both, 2) switch.
The advantage of both solutions above is that they require no switch management in order to charge all the batteries.
09-03-2007 03:33 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by scosch View Post
As Im upgrading my electrical system, Ive been thinking about using an ACR. Ive just read the other thoughts here and there seems to be some confusion, at least on my part.

One person suggested that with an ACR you still need to keep the 4 position switch in order to combine batteries if the start bank was dead. With the traditional 4 way switch, you COULD choose either battery (or both together) for starting or powering house loads, though we typically had one specific bank for starting and one for house loads. The 4 position switch never let us choose which load, just which battery. By keeping the usual 4 way switch you would still need to choose which battery to use when starting and which to use for house loads.
That was me... and you do have the option of using the ACR as a combiner, with a remote switch.

Quote:
It appears to me that if you install the complete set up you would put in a dual circuit switch which simply has ON-Off-COMBINE. The real difference is now you would wire the house bank to the house load side and the start bank to the starter side of the switch and thats how it would discharge in ON. You cant use just the house bank to start the engine or just the start bank to run house loads. You can however use both batteries together in the COMBINE position for starting the engine (the likely use for COMBINE) , or running a house load (the unwise choice for COMBINE except if charging source is a goner and one needs instruments or something equally critical on the house load side)
Yes... I am going to upgrade to one of these, so I can leave the house bank alone for starting purposes... this also serves to protect the electronics from any voltage fluctuations caused by starting the engine, which is generally a good idea.

Quote:
For chargine, in the On position, the ACR will charge whichever bank is directly connected to the charging source until the ACR detects the threshold voltage at which point it auto switches to both for charging. During discharge it isolates both batteries automatically. There really is no need for the 4 position switch as one no longer is manually choosing which bank to use. It seems there would be no using the battery switch except when the start bank goes dead or to shut the whole system OFF.

Does this sound correct and does it work this way in real life and do you recommend it? Sounds like a great idea as Im constantly forgetting to put my 4 position switch in the right setting.
yup.
09-03-2007 03:15 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
scosch-
"One person suggested that with an ACR you still need to keep the 4 position switch in order to combine batteries if the start bank was dead. "
Not necessarily. With a West/Yandina combiner, you can add a switch or jumper wire to bring the house bank online as a starting battery. Your options will be determined by the exact equipment you have.

There's still something nice and robust about having a simple physical way to make sure each power circuit is ON or OFF. Even if that is just a couple of simple on/off switches. How complicated or simple you make it, that's up to you.
The ACR can also use a simple switch to combine battery banks, if you don't have a 1/2/both type switch.
09-03-2007 03:11 PM
hellosailor scosch-
"One person suggested that with an ACR you still need to keep the 4 position switch in order to combine batteries if the start bank was dead. "
Not necessarily. With a West/Yandina combiner, you can add a switch or jumper wire to bring the house bank online as a starting battery. Your options will be determined by the exact equipment you have.

There's still something nice and robust about having a simple physical way to make sure each power circuit is ON or OFF. Even if that is just a couple of simple on/off switches. How complicated or simple you make it, that's up to you.
09-03-2007 02:45 PM
scosch
battery switch and auto charge relay

As Im upgrading my electrical system, Ive been thinking about using an ACR. Ive just read the other thoughts here and there seems to be some confusion, at least on my part.

One person suggested that with an ACR you still need to keep the 4 position switch in order to combine batteries if the start bank was dead. With the traditional 4 way switch, you COULD choose either battery (or both together) for starting or powering house loads, though we typically had one specific bank for starting and one for house loads. The 4 position switch never let us choose which load, just which battery. By keeping the usual 4 way switch you would still need to choose which battery to use when starting and which to use for house loads.

It appears to me that if you install the complete set up you would put in a dual circuit switch which simply has ON-Off-COMBINE. The real difference is now you would wire the house bank to the house load side and the start bank to the starter side of the switch and thats how it would discharge in ON. You cant use just the house bank to start the engine or just the start bank to run house loads. You can however use both batteries together in the COMBINE position for starting the engine (the likely use for COMBINE) , or running a house load (the unwise choice for COMBINE except if charging source is a goner and one needs instruments or something equally critical on the house load side)

For chargine, in the On position, the ACR will charge whichever bank is directly connected to the charging source until the ACR detects the threshold voltage at which point it auto switches to both for charging. During discharge it isolates both batteries automatically. There really is no need for the 4 position switch as one no longer is manually choosing which bank to use. It seems there would be no using the battery switch except when the start bank goes dead or to shut the whole system OFF.

Does this sound correct and does it work this way in real life and do you recommend it? Sounds like a great idea as Im constantly forgetting to put my 4 position switch in the right setting.
02-17-2007 02:54 PM
soul searcher I'm just putting this out as an example of a system not to tell any one how to spend their money.
My boat came with this stuff and it works well. first I have to say that We have all gel batteries the the house bank is two 8ds at 450AH and the start batts are two gooup 27s. I have a on off switch under my nav seat to parallel
the house bank if the start bank were to go dead. all charge sources to the house bank are three step temp controled cargers with the execpton of the wind gen. my start batts are going on 10 years old and my house batts are 6 years old. The start bank is charged with an ample power elimanator that siphons off the house bank while its charging it is also temp compensated and steps. IMHO when it comes to power spend the money and get the best products to take care of your batts to me that means temp compensated three step charging.
Matt
02-17-2007 12:07 PM
CapnHand I currently have dual marine batteries that need to be replaced. I'm planning to install a house bank with T-105 batteries and have a separate starter battery. I'm trying to choose between using an ACR http://bluesea.com/products/7600 and an echo charger http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/103/p/.../5/product.asp to combine the banks for charging.

The house and starter battery will be separate but I'll retain the 4 position switch to have redundant power so that I can start off the house battery or power instruments, radio, etc from the starter battery should either bank go dead.

The echo charger appears to only supply charge to the discharged battery bank when charging with alternator, shore power, solar, wind, etc. It provides 15A and costs about $130.

The ACR charges from the battery or from the charge source and disconnects when the voltage of the supply falls below a limit that is adjustable (down to 12V). It supplies up to 60A for faster charging and costs about $60.

Seems to me that the ACR is a better choice over the echo charger for a sailboat based on functionality and cost as well. The echo charger, while perhaps in wider use, may be more suitable for power boats and RV's where the charge time from engine running is longer and the 15A supply is not an issue.

Opinions?
01-14-2007 01:43 AM
camaraderie John...My guess is that an ACR might be difficult to get fixed if you were say in the Bahamas etc. ....of course you could carry a backup, but why mess with something that is kinda bullet proof and widely available like a 4 way ?
01-13-2007 11:16 PM
PBzeer SD - Blue Sea has a 3 position switch (large Perko type) and a remote panel with a toggle type switch for their ACR. That's the one that interests me the most. I know a lot of people recommed combiners, but I hadn't seen much actual feedback on how well they worked, hence my question.
01-13-2007 10:22 PM
sailingdog Cam-

If you didn't have a 1/2/both four-position switch, then all the ACR would do is combine the banks when the primary bank is being charged, to charge both banks, even if the switch is not in the both position. If you connect a wire to a terminal on it... it will combine the banks if either bank is being charged....which is how I have it setup.

However, without a four-position switch, you can't combine the banks, in the case of dead starting bank.

The ACR has pots that you can set on it to adjust the charging voltage trigger level and the voltage at which the batteries isolate at.

As hellosailor said...there are also terminals on the ACR which will force combining or isolating the banks.

There is a new, smaller type electrical switch that might be a nice choice for you PB. It only has three positions IIRC... Off, start and combine. It is a good deal smaller than a traditional four-position switch.
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