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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-15-2010 12:20 PM
mitiempo I have had no problem with Xantrex chargers or the Echocharge but if you widh to avoid them there is another inexpensive option to charge the start battery. The Blue Seas Automatic Charging Relay SI-Series Automatic Charging Relay - Blue Sea Systems
It will automatically open when a charging voltage is present and close to separate the batteries when voltage drops. It is also dual sensing so if you wish you could run the alternator to the start battery and the charger to the house bank. The ACR senses for both directions. It's less expensive than the echocharge by a bit. Whatever you purchase make sure no charging is routed through the battery switch for a simpler less confusing system.
01-15-2010 11:00 AM
doubleeboy You could run an echo charger to the start battery if you want automatic charging. The Iota stuff seems well built, is inexpensive, has great customer support. I have had mine for a month so time will tell. So far so good.

01-15-2010 10:57 AM
btrayfors The Iota chargers would be fine with that setup. Their charging profile is well within the charging specifications for the Optima Spiral Cell batteries. Optima YellowTop Specs - Yellow Cap Batteries by Optima

For your 260AH house bank, I think I'd get either the DLS-45 or DLS-55 with the IQ-4 smart-charge option (either internal or external). The 55 might be preferable if you ever plan to increase the size of your house battery bank and/or change over to AGM batteries. Price difference is negligible.

IMHO, Arizona Wind and Sun is a preferred vendor, but there are others as well.
Iota Regulated Battery Chargers
The IQ-4 is at the bottom of the page. It's important, as it turns the DLS chargers into smart multi-stage chargers.

For charging your start battery, I'd suggest the Xantrex EchoCharge. Yeah, I know, it's Xantrex and most everyone -- including me -- is very wary of them. But the EchoCharge is a good product which they bought from another company and, to my knowledge, they haven't changed. I've had one on my boat for years, and still install them for customers. No problems.

If you wanna go first-class, you could use a DuoCharge in lieu of the EchoCharge. It's more money, but is fully programmable. Frankly, I don't think it's necessary, though.

So....for about $300 all-told, you should be good to go :-)

01-15-2010 10:39 AM
Charger Questions

I was doing some Googling on "iota chargers" and this thread turned up on the second page...
(I guess that I have not really used my old SailNet id since the last time it went bankrupt. Nice to see that the forums still exist.)

I have an early Statpower 20, from the mid 90's. General opinion is that, reliability wise, it is in the twilight of its years. Also, every techie and marine vendor I know is warning against replacing it with anything from Xantrex. Evidently factory support is well south of nil and zip.

I was considering Promariner, and it gets average-to-a-bit-above professional reviews -- the company is better-thought-of too for support.

A local marine electronics shop tells me that the Iota (a product born in the RV industry) is proving to be durable and reliable -- not to mention reasonable priced. Also that Iota chargers actually meet or exceed their brochure specs, while many other brands do not.
Their appearance is certainly a bit funky compared to the competition, FWIW. Sleek/Stylish they are not.
Still, performance is the important thing.

Since every boat will have a slightly different battery set up, I should explain mine briefly.
I have a flooded house bank of two Trojan T-145's. That's about 260 AH, per their specs.
The Emergency/Starting bank is a single Optima spiralcell, stored back under a quarter berth because that's the only place we could find room to add one -- albeit there's no way to add water to a flooded battery in that area anyway.

Presently the charger feeds only the flooded-cell house bank because back in the 90's the folks at Statpower advised against wiring it to both types of battery technology at the same time.
Now I find that some local technicians say it's OK to combine the Optima and the two-golf-cart house bank, and some others say they would rather not.

In the real world, I have been paralleling the two banks for about an hour, once every one to three months. (The self-discharge rate of the agm Optima is extremely low.) I just started the three cylinder diesel with the Optima yesterday and it worked perfectly, for example.

Any suggestions on charging? Brand? Personal Experiences? Comments?

Thanks in advance,
The Old Cruiser
12-07-2009 03:42 PM
doubleeboy The Charger arrived today what a suprise when I saw printed in big block letters: CHINA . They don't mention that anywhere on their site that I can find. Oh well if the Chinese can make parts for 767 Jets I guess they should be able to build a battery charger. Time will tell.

12-01-2009 01:02 PM
motion300 I bought a victron unitm jamestown Nice unit great info The directions are a little vague but with a little time understandable I would buy on again Same with the iota chargers, great unit
11-30-2009 11:26 PM
doubleeboy Thanks guys, I did get the Victron ordered today from Jamestown. Hopefully in a couple weeks I can get it all installed. The joys of working on a boat in December..... brrrrr!

11-30-2009 10:26 PM
Maine Sail
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I've installed several Xantrex monitors lately but would purchase the Victron BMV-600 at Jamestown for 195 if buying now.
BTW I don't know how long Jamestown can hold that price as it is only $2.00 more than current dealer cost. Get one at that price while you still can..
11-30-2009 10:12 PM
mitiempo A battery monitor will tell you so much more than a voltmeter could ever do. And it's real time, not waiting 12 hours for the battery to stabilize. Amp/hours currently being used, amp/hours going in and remaining capacity. Also handy to see the amperage draw of anything on the boat exactly. I've installed several Xantrex monitors lately but would purchase the Victron BMV-600 at Jamestown for 195 if buying now.
11-30-2009 07:27 PM
doubleeboy I spoke with a tech at Iota this morning. His advice was do not use the Iota 75 amp charger with the Honda 2000 generator if using AGM batteries. I ordered the Iota 55 with the smart charge feature built in.

Thank you again for your input
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