Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ... - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 48 Old 05-19-2019
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

You may want to start reading at the link below. The Sterling ProCharge Ultra can do everything you need. You can float Firefly at 13.2V to 13.4V. The lower the float the better for them so just program 14.4V & 13.2V and you're good to go.. Also charging Firefly batteries at high charge current rates helps with longevity.

"Fast charging has a positive impact on effective battery capacity. If deep cycling, ideally once or twice per week, the batteries should be charged at a current of 0.4C or more (40 Amps for a 100 Ah battery), or at least 25A per battery. Note that periodic fast charging can help restore usable capacity after periods of constant slow charging after deep discharge cycles."

To get to the minimum recommended charge current, for Firefly, you'd need a 75A charger and there are not a ton of stand-alone chargers north of 60A. When you do find them they are quite expensive and this is why most folks needed larger charge currents move to an inverter/charger rather than a stand-alone charger.. Going too small with a charger is actually doing your new batteries a disservice... If you're spending the money on Firefly spend the money on the equipment to charge them as close to optimally as you can.

Installing a Marine Battery Charger (LINK)
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post #12 of 48 Old 05-19-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
You may want to start reading at the link below. The Sterling ProCharge Ultra can do everything you need. You can float Firefly at 13.2V to 13.4V. The lower the float the better for them so just program 14.4V & 13.2V and you're good to go.. Also charging Firefly batteries at high charge current rates helps with longevity.

"Fast charging has a positive impact on effective battery capacity. If deep cycling, ideally once or twice per week, the batteries should be charged at a current of 0.4C or more (40 Amps for a 100 Ah battery), or at least 25A per battery. Note that periodic fast charging can help restore usable capacity after periods of constant slow charging after deep discharge cycles."

Going small with a charger is actually doing your new batteries a disservice... If you're spending the money on Firefly spend the money on the equipment to charge them as close to optimally as you can.

Installing a Marine Battery Charger (LINK)
Thanks for the link. It's interesting to me that marinehowto.com has a better product description than Sterling's own product information ...
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post #13 of 48 Old 05-19-2019
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

I bought a 40amp Sterling Pro Charge from Maine Sail . I had it installed by a marine electrician . So far so good . The Sterling is programmable among other features . I never checked to see if you could program out float , as I have no need for that .
40amp was way over kill (I think) for us , we don't even have a reefer . Our house bank is 2 6v s' 225amp making 12v and one 12vstarter batt.
The Sterling also has a CEC compliant feature , that I think is ridiculous . That is easily programmed out .
Speaking of float my Trojans call for 13.5v , is 13.8v going to effect anything ?

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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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Thanks for the link. It's interesting to me that marinehowto.com has a better product description than Sterling's own product information ...
It's what we do....

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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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40amp was way over kill (I think) for us , we don't even have a reefer . Our house bank is 2 6v s' 225amp making 12v and one 12vstarter batt.
Not "way" overkill. 30A would be the minimum IMO.

Remember these things last for many years if not decades.

Banks often get replaced, even less than 5 years, and having the flexibility to upgrade,

maybe change chemistries down the road, without having to then buy a different charger, is IMO worth a lot.
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post #16 of 48 Old 05-24-2019
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

Bill-
Reading between the lines, my impression is that when you charge LA batteries of any kind with low amperage, you are gently placing the lead back in the supporting framework. Which means you are not SLAMMING IT all the way back into the structure, and that leaves a structure that is not really filled, so it will take premature damage and weaken.
Does the suggestion for higher charge rates make more sense to you when you look at it that way? They want the electricity to really SLAM the lead all the way back into the supporting frame, not just put it on the front.
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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Bill-
Reading between the lines, my impression is that when you charge LA batteries of any kind with low amperage, you are gently placing the lead back in the supporting framework. Which means you are not SLAMMING IT all the way back into the structure, and that leaves a structure that is not really filled, so it will take premature damage and weaken.
Does the suggestion for higher charge rates make more sense to you when you look at it that way? They want the electricity to really SLAM the lead all the way back into the supporting frame, not just put it on the front.
If I'm plugged in to shore power, the batteries are endlessly floating. There's no gentle _or_ slamming going on. The charger is just keeping things constantly topped off. I don't need 60 amps to keep things topped off ... float current is between 1 and 6 amps.

When I'm at anchor and the batteries discharge all night until the sun comes up and the solar kicks in ... THEN what you're saying applies, but I'm not using shore power at that point.

My assumption is that the recommendations assume that no other charging source exists, so the boat is taken out and sailed, then returned to the dock and the charger has to recover the lost voltage. If that were my usage pattern I could understand the recommendation.
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

Remember it is just a recommendation.

If you can't you can't, just accept the hit to longevity.

Or go FLA, much better value.
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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Remember it is just a recommendation.
Yeah, but a recommendation doesn't help much if I don't know the basis of why it's recommended. Given that the recommendation doesn't seem to make sense, what I'm trying to understand is if my use case differs from the the use case assumed by the recommendation.

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If you can't you can't, just accept the hit to longevity.

Or go FLA, much better value.
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at, here. I suspect you've misunderstood the situation.
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post #20 of 48 Old 05-25-2019
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Re: Shore power chargers don't make any sense to me ...

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Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
Yeah, but a recommendation doesn't help much if I don't know the basis of why it's recommended.
"Note that periodic fast charging can help restore usable capacity after periods of constant slow charging after deep discharge cycles."

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
Given that the recommendation doesn't seem to make sense, what I'm trying to understand is if my use case differs from the the use case assumed by the recommendation.

In order to get maximum cycle life from your Firefly batteries they suggest a “minimum” charge current. Your solar cannot provide this, so it will be up to your shore charger or alternator to provide the beneficial high charge current. This high charge-charge current is also a major part of the "Firefly Restoration Charge" protocol..

Firefly is not the only AGM maker to suggest high charge currents being beneficial to longevity, Odyssey recommends .4C min, Lifeline .2C min (higher is preferred) etc.. Fast charging does make a difference in longevity and is quite critical with Firefly, especially in reversing the effects of PCoC abuse when doing a restoration charge.. The bolded portion of post 12 explains it.

"If deep cycling, ideally once or twice per week, the batteries should be charged at a current of 0.4C or more (40 Amps for a 100 Ah battery), or at least 25A per battery."

If you don’t wish to charge the Firefly batteries as they recommend, eg; sufficient charge current, all charge sources eg; solar, wind, alternator, shore charger, are temp compensated, programmed for proper float and absorption voltages then you may want to consider less expensive batteries or ones that prefer slow charging such as thick plate flooded batteries. Start building the infrastructure now, (alternator/regulator, shore charger, solar etc.) with the money you saved on the Firefly's, and when the deep-cycle flooded batteries die you'll be better prepared for AGM batteries.

Like with most AGM batteries the infrastructure to support them, shore charger, solar, alternator/regulator etc. is actually the most important aspect, that you can really control, in regards to longevity.

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 05-25-2019 at 07:44 AM.
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