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Load Bearing Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I brought the boat batteries home and hooked the house bank up to the charger and the charger failed after about 2 hours.

So I need a new charger. My old one was probably a piece of junk but at least it knew when to stop charging. I still have my very first charger (a museum piece now; it still outputs 1 or 4 amps, your choice) but I don't trust it b/c it doesn't have the auto shut-off.

Is the West Marine 15A charger (Model # 14982045) any good? I have a $50 gift cert for them and money is a little tight. I could get this one for another 50 out of pocket. The manufacturer's number is BC15WM. There are no reviews on the WM site and googling the manufacturer's number didn't bring me any joy.

I have 2 fairly new AGM batts (G24) that make up my house bank; my engine batt is an older (2012?) wet cell that I'll be replacing soon with a 3rd AGM.

I intend to get a 2 bank monitor/charger for the boat eventually and the diesel alternator does a fine job for now; this charger will live at home in the shop and top off the riding mower battery and other stuff like that. For that reason I prefer this one to the super cheapo 2A chargers. I might need more output for other batteries, but I can't be trashing $400 worth of boat batteries with a crap charger.

Does anyone any experience with these chargers?

Thanks,

Ken
 

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West says "automatically delivers three-stage charging for your flooded starting or deep-cycle battery" which means it will destroy AGM batteries, it is for FLA (flooded lead acid) batteries only.

If you're planning to use the new charger just as a maintenance charger at home, having 10-15 amp output will be more than you need, just make sure it says it can be switched to "AGM" profiles for the charging.

There are some nice chargers on the market (dare I mention "Amazon"?) designed for maintenance charging, where you can plug them in and pretty much forget them for months on end. They'll supposedly top up the battery and then go into a smart trickle mode to keep it that way, with different profiles for AGM, etc.

Some AGM batteries and some "AGM" chargers are designed for slightly different voltages, so you might also want to check with your battery maker and look for a charger matched to what they are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, HS.

I found a replacement for what I had on Amazon for about $30, but the negative reviews were pretty, well... negative. I know I can't expect much for $30.

So here's the deal. Something on board was dragging the house bank down, the batts were 4.75V when I pulled them out (engine batt was ok at 11V). The old charger got them to 5.3 before it died. So that's where they are sitting. I know AGM will tolerate be discharged, but they won't like it. I was hoping to get a good charger soon and top them up.

I recall seeing a post by MaineSail about chargers. I'll find it and read up a little.

Should I connect my 'crap charger' at 1A output for a few hours and get the bank up a few more volts? Or is it better to wait for a good charger?

Ken
 

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Thanks, HS.

I found a replacement for what I had on Amazon for about $30, but the negative reviews were pretty, well... negative. I know I can't expect much for $30.

So here's the deal. Something on board was dragging the house bank down, the batts were 4.75V when I pulled them out (engine batt was ok at 11V). The old charger got them to 5.3 before it died. So that's where they are sitting. I know AGM will tolerate be discharged, but they won't like it. I was hoping to get a good charger soon and top them up.

I recall seeing a post by MaineSail about chargers. I'll find it and read up a little.

Should I connect my 'crap charger' at 1A output for a few hours and get the bank up a few more volts? Or is it better to wait for a good charger?

Ken
ken,

Why were the batteries still connected to the boat in the off season..? Batteries in the North East should be fully charged, equalized if they can be, then 100% disconnected from the vessel!!!!

At sub 10.5V, for any period of time, more than an hour or so, the AGM's will have suffered some permanent capacity loss.

If you want a "decent" low cost charger go to ChargerguySales on eBay he gets the ProMariner refurbs. The inexpensive ones are not the greatest chargers but are much better than anything from Schumacher etc....

Pretty Hard to beat a deal like this: ProTech 1210i

All you'd need to add is a six foot grounded three prong 120V cord, a 10 GA red and black or red & yellow for the battery, and you now have a great little portable charger.

I just recently cleaned him out of ProSport single bank chargers for my customers who want small sub 10A "maintainers".

Note: Some of his chargers may be labeled as Cabella's because ProMariner makes the Cabella's chargers too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, MaineSail.

I was working on the boat until Thanksgiving weekend. Finally decided I was done for the year and went to get the batteries out.

My 'good' charger was a Schumacher; maybe it's best that it died.

The batteries are dual purpose AGM; they should be able to deep cycle.

I'm reading your article on chargers now...

Since I won't be getting a new charger in the next few days, should I hook up my 'crap charger' at 1A output for a few hours (after I verify it puts out less than 14.2V)?

That ProMariner looks like a good deal.

Ken
 

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Ken-
On your short list [no pun intended] should be the question of what dragged the batteries down. A lot of modern chargers will not put out ANY power if the battery is below ~10 volts, in the theory that there could be a major problem resulting in fire and explosion. So a new charger might not do as well as your old one did, in this situation.
Even AGMs have a limited number of deep cycles in them. No battery really benefits from being dragged down to a zero discharge state (11.5-10.5 volts depending on who is counting)for any length of time.
Last year the NYS AG's office claimed to have discovered that 25% of online reviews were total fraud, i.e. paid for by the competition or by the source. So taking them with a grain of sand, especially the ones that sound foreign, drunk, or simply full of mystery (i.e. claims something didn't work but didn't even try to return it) have to be taken with a big grain of salt. One reason why I try to stick to sources with a solid return policy, even when they cost more. And a credit card that doubles the warranty as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hellosailor,

Finding the issue is on my list (nice pun!).

Maybe my Schumacher isn't dead, it might have just sensed that the battery was too far gone. Funny how the old Sears and Roebuck unit is still going strong, it must be 35 years old. Of course, it's just a 12VDC power supply, no smarts at all.

I know that leaving the batteries discharged is slowly killing them. I think I need to bite the bullet and buy something really soon.

Ken
 

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To the best of my knowledge you will not find a charger that will charge lead acid batteries AND AGM batteries, unless something new has come on the market in the last few years. It is an either or situation.
 

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My 'good' charger was a Schumacher; maybe it's best that it died.
There is nothing "good" about those chargers....;)

The batteries are dual purpose AGM; they should be able to deep cycle.
A deep cycle is 50% SOC or about 12.1V.. Discharging below 10.5V, and letting it sit there, is simply murder on batteries. Your only saving grace is that the temps were low, so hopefully it will recover......
 

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Hook 'em up ASAP to anything. Set it to 1A, monitor voltage, & pray. If they'll get above 12V, they may survive. All 3 batteries in parallel. It will take a while for the voltage to climb. As mentioned, many "smart" chargers will shut off unless the battery is above 10.5V. You may need to get a really old charger to start.
I've used a cheapish "smart" charger daily on an electric scooter with AGM batts for 4 years.
 

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To the best of my knowledge you will not find a charger that will charge lead acid batteries AND AGM batteries, unless something new has come on the market in the last few years. It is an either or situation.
At the same time? Both Blue Seas and Abso chargers will charge batteries of differing types - flooded, gel, or Agm - at the same time.
 

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I also have a West Marine portable charger that I think isn't working properly. When I hook it up to the Genset start battery, it gives me an F3 fault for no reason I can determine. It was a top of their line at one point. Multiple batter type, temperature and amperage settings. However, the thing always seemed like an easy bake oven, only pretending to be doing any of those things.

I need a good multi profile portable charger (have to be able to switch between AGM and flooded at least). Any recommendations? I don't want to build one.
 

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I'm thinking those errors would both be caused by the charger seeing too much resistance in the "battery". Which could just be a corroded contact, in the wiring or the charger?

Or you could tell the local WM manager their charger is lying to you, and ask him about making some accommodation on a new one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Summary/Epilogue

Here's where I am:

I've had slow drain on my house bank all summer (first year with this boat)

The solar charger kept the batteries up, so I never knew.

As soon as I put away the solar cells and covered the boat, the bank began to drop.

I stopped the madness at 4.5V and brought them home (2 G24 AGM batteries).

I used my Sears & Roebuck charger to get them to 11.7V. Then I got a new charger from thechargerguy (at MaineSail's recommendation).

The new charger got the bank to 12.65V and entered Float mode. I unplugged it.

I applied a significant load to the bank with a Wal*Mart 110VAC inverter running a 75W incandescent bulb. The inverter got hot, the bulb got hot; I pulled some juice out (boy howdy!).

The bank supported that load for 7 hours and dropped to 11.9V. I turned off the inverter and the bank crept back up to 12.03V.

I applied the charger again and it charged the bank back up to 12.65V.

It's been sitting there for several days now; the voltage was 12.72 this morning.

-----

I'm certain the bank is compromised; I'll probably never see 13.5 volts again.

I'll try to use it next season and see how it goes. I need to be able to spend a night on board and have at least 11V in the morning. I also can't have the lights dim because another light gets turned on, that drives me crazy.

It's a waiting game now.

Thanks for all the advice.

Ken
 
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