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post #1 of 15 Old 09-10-2015 Thread Starter
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Battery Chargers in Parallel

I've been looking at 60A Victron Centaur Battery Chargers. Since the price of larger chargers goes up exponentially I was wondering if connecting two in parallel is an issue? I've read the available documentation from the Victron site but it doesn't address parallel connection. In principal for a dumb charger it seems plausible, but for a Smart Charger that senses and adjusts voltage I'm concerned it would create conflict. I guess the same might be true of an alternator and AC powered charger.
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-10-2015
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by Missingyou View Post
I've been looking at 60A Victron Centaur Battery Chargers. Since the price of larger chargers goes up exponentially I was wondering if connecting two in parallel is an issue? I've read the available documentation from the Victron site but it doesn't address parallel connection. In principal for a dumb charger it seems plausible, but for a Smart Charger that senses and adjusts voltage I'm concerned it would create conflict. I guess the same might be true of an alternator and AC powered charger.
I recently tried to add an additional basic 48 volt power supply in parallel with my three stage charger just to add a few more amps into the charging/power mix. The power supply sensed the charger voltage and did not provide any additional amps. Perhaps adding a diode on the power supply output might isolate the power supply output enough but, I have not yet tried it. Sophisticated battery chargers might fight each other even more IMO.

Mike
Currently: Heading to warm waters over the winter on a variety of boats.

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post #3 of 15 Old 09-10-2015
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by Missingyou View Post
I've been looking at 60A Victron Centaur Battery Chargers. Since the price of larger chargers goes up exponentially I was wondering if connecting two in parallel is an issue? I've read the available documentation from the Victron site but it doesn't address parallel connection. In principal for a dumb charger it seems plausible, but for a Smart Charger that senses and adjusts voltage I'm concerned it would create conflict. I guess the same might be true of an alternator and AC powered charger.
If you want a 100A-120A charger then you are far better off to invest in a good quality inverter / charger such as a Magnum, Outback or a Victron.

I am not a fan of the Centaur for a number of reasons.

*This is a dip switch charger with very few voltages to choose from. Even their cheap MPPT controllers allow me to custom program it for accurate battery voltage. The Centaur does not and you get what you get with the dip switch options..

I like to think of dip-switch chargers as dip-sh!t chargers. It is so easy today to build a good charger yet companies bone you with 1960's technology then call it "smart"...

Batteries do much better when charged with the correct voltages, in line with manufacturer recommendations. Always look for a charger that allows custom programming or more options than just a few. Also always look for a charger with on battery automated temp compensation..

*This charger does not offer temp compensation other than internal based on the chargers environment not the batteries environment.. This is NOT "smart"..

*For what you are not getting in a so called "smart charger" they are rather pricey and DUMB.


A better value would be the ProMariner ProNautic P 1260 or the Sterling ProCharge Ultra 1260.. Two chargers can run in parallel without issue IN BULK. Once one charger reaches absorption they can begin to ping-pong until one finally takes over and finishes the absorption cycle.

For the price of two 60A chargers a good inverter / charger makes more sense.....

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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

Since Mainsail posted I'm hoping we could expand on this..

I know many boats that run multiple MPPT chargers from solar panels. How would this be different?

Just wondering!
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
If you want a 100A-120A charger then you are far better off to invest in a good quality inverter / charger such as a Magnum, Outback or a Victron.
I already have a Mastervolt Inverter, but I could always sell it on ebay, it should get a good price. It's location is more ideally suited anyway. The Magnum 125A looks very promising and I could ditch my poorly located Dipswitch 60A Cristec which is baking underneath of my aft starboard birth.

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A better value would be the ProMariner ProNautic P 1260 or the Sterling ProCharge Ultra 1260.. Two chargers can run in parallel without issue IN BULK. Once one charger reaches absorption they can begin to ping-pong until one finally takes over and finishes the absorption cycle.

For the price of two 60A chargers a good inverter / charger makes more sense.....
Should have done more research on Chargers though, I did not think the ProMariner/Sterlings were so affordable. They are definitely a better option should I decide to keep my existing inverter.

Thanks Main Sail.

What would really put these Inverter/Chargers over the top is an input for Solar Panels, say 600W. How cool would that be? Truly all in one.

Last edited by Missingyou; 09-10-2015 at 02:56 PM. Reason: spelling/grammar
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Since Mainsail posted I'm hoping we could expand on this..

I know many boats that run multiple MPPT chargers from solar panels. How would this be different?

Just wondering!
The difference is in how the batteries are hooked up. eg. I use a pair of MPPT chargers on my boat powered from one solar panel - one charger for the Start battery and one charger for House bank.

If the OP had multiple banks (or even multiple batteries within one bank) it is certainly possible to run more than one charger.. he just wouldn't be connecting them in parallel 'tis all.

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Last edited by Classic30; 09-13-2015 at 07:24 PM.
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Since Mainsail posted I'm hoping we could expand on this..

I know many boats that run multiple MPPT chargers from solar panels. How would this be different?

Just wondering!
It really is no different at all. Both chargers will supply full current during bulk charging. Once the charge sources have brought the bank to the absorption/limiting voltage the charger with the highest voltage will finish the charge. In early absorption there may be a little game of ping pong going on as one charge source drops off and the remaining one perhaps can't maintain the limiting voltage. Eventually the batteries get to the point where only one charger is needed and it finishes the job..

The subject gets much deeper and a bit more complex when we have solar, wind, hydro, shore chargers and alternators, but two or more charge sources can easily be used and it is done every day...

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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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The difference is in how the batteries are hooked up. eg. I use a pair of MPPT chargers on my boat powered from one solar panel - one charger for the Start battery and one charger for House bank.

If the OP had multiple banks (or even multiple batteries within one bank) it is certainly possible to run more than one charger.. he just wouldn't be connecting them in parallel 'tis all.
Hhhmm I may have not been clear..

I have read about multiple cruisers that have 2 or 3 solar panels with 2 or 3 MPPT controllers (in parallel) charging a house bank. One controller per solar panel.

I'm wondering how this works. Wouldn't the charge controllers interfere with each other?
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

A quick google answered my question..

In case anyone else is wondering!
Parallel Charging Using Multiple Controllers With Separate PV Arrays Morningstar Corporation
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Re: Battery Chargers in Parallel

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Hhhmm I may have not been clear..

I have read about multiple cruisers that have 2 or 3 solar panels with 2 or 3 MPPT controllers (in parallel) charging a house bank. One controller per solar panel.

I'm wondering how this works. Wouldn't the charge controllers interfere with each other?
Yes, you answered it.. but as the article states, the controllers are still not technically wired in parallel (both input and output). One key point is they must be identical units (same make/model down to the same switch settings) and must be designed for parallel operation (not just any old controller off the shelf).

For this reason it's generally not a good idea to do this on a boat, because failure of one unit in some foreign port someplace with no identical replacement available could mean you have to replace the entire charging system to get going again - an expensive proposition that kinda defeats the purpose. ..and besides, it really isn't necessary to do it this way when other alternatives exist for boat-sized loads.

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Last edited by Classic30; 09-13-2015 at 09:39 PM.
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