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post #1 of 26 Old 12-01-2014 Thread Starter
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Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

Can someone explain the proper way to charge a battery using your auxiliary diesel engine? Seeing diesels like to run at high rpm with a big load on them, what is the proper way to run a diesel if you are at a dock or sailing in a race where it is against the rules to use the engine to turn the prop? My alternator would use about 1/2 hp to charge and the engine is 20 hp. So I am using a small fraction of full load on the engine. Does charging in this way damage the engine?

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post #2 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

Hey,

You will probably get a lot of replies on this.

This is my OPINION:
-If you are racing and need to charge the batts, start the engine and rev it high enough so that the alt is putting out over 14V. Leave it at that throttle setting until the batts are charged. Since you don't be doing this often (maybe just a few times a year) I doubt you will do any damage to the engine

-If you just need to charge batts and are going somewhere, I would put the trans in gear and run at 1/2 throttle if you are sailing, and higher power if you aren't.

-If your are on a mooring or a dock and don't have AC to charge the batts with I would put the engine in gear and run it high enough to get 14V from the alt and leave it there.

I am assuming that this is a relatively RARE occurrence. I also don't believe you will damage the engine at all.

I would avoid having the engine just idle for hour, that is not good for the it at all.

Barry

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post #3 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

Agreed however solar is so cheap now days install a couple one hundred watt panels and save the fuel and all associated costs like maintance and if it really was so bad to idle then why do so many or rigs and off grid diesel gennys do it for hours a day

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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Originally Posted by BarryL View Post

-If your are on a mooring or a dock and don't have AC to charge the batts with I would put the engine in gear and run it high enough to get 14V from the alt and leave it there.
Barry
It might not be a very good idea to put the engine in gear, if you are on a mooring??
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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It might not be a very good idea to put the engine in gear, if you are on a mooring??
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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Just don't go below to make a sandwich.
Or run the still
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

Self build adjustable alternator controler
adjustable regulator allows you to charge batteries at the proper rate
Charging Information For Lead Acid Batteries ? Battery University


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post #8 of 26 Old 12-01-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Can someone explain the proper way to charge a battery using your auxiliary diesel engine? Seeing diesels like to run at high rpm with a big load on them, what is the proper way to run a diesel if you are at a dock or sailing in a race where it is against the rules to use the engine to turn the prop? My alternator would use about 1/2 hp to charge and the engine is 20 hp. So I am using a small fraction of full load on the engine. Does charging in this way damage the engine?
This topic always gives me a chuckle especially when I work on so many engines with 10,000+ hours of "light loading".

#1 If you need to charge and have no other means then by all means RUN THE MOTOR.

#2 There is no need to race it beyond where the alt makes about 80-90% of the alts rating. Figure out where this is, often just a fast idle, and run it there.

#3 The next time you run the motor, run it hard. Once she is warmed up run at wide open for two to four minutes then back her down to 80%..

#4 The idea that you will fully recharge a lead acid battery AGM, GEL or Flooded is fools gold unless you sit there and run it for ten + hours. "Charging" by alternator is what trawlers do, not sailboats... We restore energy in bits and pieces and hope to get back to full at a dock or via solar, wind etc. on the hook..

#5 Run the motor only until the batteries hit absorption voltage and perhaps just a bit longer while current is still pretty high in early absorption. Anything more is inefficient charging and wasteful..

#6 Motor charging is best used for bulk charging unless you are motoring for a long distance with no wind or are motor sailing.

#7 I work on piles of motors with thousands of hours of idle running. These motors purr perfectly, burn no oil and have not had any shorter life. These owners simply know how and when to run it and what to do after you run it with minimal load... Our own engine is one of them.. We have engine driven refrigeration so a lot of the engine running has been lightly loaded. I would not trade our 4000+ hour engine for a 200 hour engine owned by an in and out of the harbor guy.

*Change the oil regularly
*Run it hard when you run it
*Stop worrying about putting some energy back into the bank
* Stop charging when you attain absorption, if running only for charging purposes

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post #9 of 26 Old 12-01-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
Agreed however solar is so cheap now days install a couple one hundred watt panels and save the fuel and all associated costs like maintance and if it really was so bad to idle then why do so many or rigs and off grid diesel gennys do it for hours a day
I do have solar panels and they take care of all my power needs. The ac dock power was taken out by the Japanese Tsunami a couple years back and has not been repaired. Just want to know the best way to charge if I need to.

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post #10 of 26 Old 12-02-2014
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Re: Using Diesel To Charge Batteries

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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
I do have solar panels and they take care of all my power needs. The ac dock power was taken out by the Japanese Tsunami a couple years back and has not been repaired. Just want to know the best way to charge if I need to.
You could string some 100' extension cords together for temporary charging. A power strip with circuit breaker at the power source could help keep the current down to 15 amps to protect the temporary cord.

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Brad

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