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Posted By Discussion Topic: Battery charging

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ADI
Sep-24-2019 @ 10:12 PM                           Permalink
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Just wondering how long it takes to charge 2 leisure batterys from around 12 volts to full? i have a 1.5 BMC with a 70 amp altenator going through a diode splitter.

Regards

Adrian  Michelle

Beck  Braydon and Mere.

Regulo
Sep-24-2019 @ 10:24 PM                           Permalink
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It's not so much the voltage, more the state of charge i.e. how many AmpHours you've taken out. A battery in good, newish condition may show 12 volts at rest, even though it's at a very low SoC. Alternator regulators aren't wonderful at recharging heavily depleted batteries, they give a reasonably high rate of charge initially, but that drops off as the battery voltage rises, and to FULLY charge may take up to 8 hours or more. That's not to say they won't be completely satisfactory in everyday use, just that they're not fully charged. See the difference after you've been on shore power overnight (using a proper battery charger), to what you see after two hours cruising. Big difference.

Regards, Ray.

Whatever happens now, I'm blaming it on Brexit. Everyone else is!


This message was edited by Regulo on Sep-24-19 @ 10:25 PM

annville
Sep-24-2019 @ 11:57 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Adrian Several hours as all though you have a 70 amp alternator it wont give you 70 amps, you need to fit a advanced charging regulator, this fools the alternator to charge at or near 70 amps, so could fully charge your two batteries in less than an hour, if you go to Sterling Power Products site it will describe the various regulators and their functions. John

Regulo
Sep-24-2019 @ 12:45 AM                           Permalink
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Yes, as John says, get an Advanced Alternator regulator, BUT be sure to be prepared to check your batteries electrolyte levels regularly. High charge rates equals high water loss. And if you regularly take your batteries low, then whack a high charge rate into them, they probably won't last as long.

Regards, Ray.

Whatever happens now, I'm blaming it on Brexit. Everyone else is!

kfurbank
Sep-25-2019 @ 10:04 AM                           Permalink
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ADI, the simple answer is how long is a piece of string.

First you need to know how much charge you have taken out of the batteries. Assuming they are 110ah leisure batteries then you have a possible capacity of 220ah. You should never discharge leisure batteries below 50%, so if you depleted both batteries to 50% you would need to replace 110ah. Your alternator maybe rated at 70amps, but the important thing is the alternators output curve, or graph. This will show the possible maximum output for any given alternator speed. Put simply the faster the engine speed, thus alternator speed the more output it will give until it reaches a maximum of 70 amps. So if you pootle along the Ant at 4mph and maybe at 1000 revs I wouldn't be surprised if your alternator is only giving out 15 or so amps. The rest is then just simply maths, alternator output x hours cruising needs to equal or exceed used capacity.

A little bit about advanced regulators. When batteries are discharged and the voltage is low, the alternator will give more output to recharge the batteries. As the voltage rises, showing that the batteries are becoming more fully charged the alternator output drops and getting the last bit of charge into the battery can be very difficult from an alternator. An advanced regulator stops this slow down in charging by fooling the alternator into thinking the voltage is still low, thus making it work as hard as it can to recharge the batteries. It was mentioned by one of the earlier posters that they will fool the alternator into giving out the 70 amps or close to. This is not strictly true. It can only fool the alternator into giving out the maximum or close too the maximum output for the given speed of the alternator as per the output curve graph referred to above. Put simply an advanced alternator regulator is not going to make the alternator give out 70 amps if you are pootling along the Ant at 1000 revs.

Something else to bear in mind in relation to charging is that it doesn't come at no cost. An alternator provides resistance to the engine which in turn means the fuel governor has to input more fuel to maintain the RPM. The harder an alternator is fooled into working the more load it places on the engine and the more fuel that is consumed. If you were planning a six hour cruise then it seems a little wasteful to use an advanced regulator to fully recharge the batteries in 2 hours at a cost of more diesel and stressing the batteries and potentially boiling water off them, when you could have recharged then more slowly over six hours. True the advanced regulator would probably have forced an extra 5% of charge into the batteries, but at a cost to the batteries and your pocket.

As you can see I'm not overly a fan of advanced regulators, but they do have their place. If you regularly leave your boat at its home mooring  on shore power with decent four stage battery chargers keeping the batteries charged and conditioned and you have sufficient battery capacity and use them lightly when out and cruise sufficient distance to replenish the majority of your usage then you are better off without an advanced regulator. However if you have a small battery bank, or you use your batteries heavily when moored and you want to do minimal cruising each day, then it is worthy of consideration.

One final thing to consider is your battery type. Fast charging is never kind to batteries and will lead to water being boiled off, or the batteries gassing. Flooded lead acid batteries that can be topped up are probably better for fast charging as you can replace the lost water. Sealed batteries will still boil or gas, but you cannot replace the water and will shorten the life of the battery. AGM require even kinder charging or you will kill them very quick. Most chargers and advanced regulators, or at least those worth having will have settings you can change depending on your battery type.


ADI
Sep-25-2019 @ 8:31 PM                           Permalink
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Thanks for the excellent reply's, i don't have shore power but am considering it but i would only use it when on the boat, wouldn't feel comfortable leaving it plugged in whilst not onboard, i'm one of those who close sea cocks turn off gas and electric when not onboard, the bilge pump is the only thing left live,
so the altenator is fine then, i try to achieve at least 3 hours cruising a day and sometimes upto 5 or 6,

I have all led lighting domestic water pump toilet pump and telly on for maybe between 2 to 5 hours some nights depending whats on, my telly is about 10 years old and think its quite power heavy 30 watts seem to ring a bell, was thinking about adding a 3rd domestic batterry to assist occasional over night phone charging although we try do all charging during cruising,

Am i best looking on sterling power website for a battery charger for when were on shore power? and can we use all 12 volt electrics as normal whilst the charger is on and charging?

Regards

Adrian  Michelle

Beck  Braydon and Mere.

annville
Sep-25-2019 @ 12:10 AM                           Permalink
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Hi The more batteries you have the better, i have five i also have a Sterling regulator that runs two alternators to charge my batteries and i have never yet had to top my batteries up in the last ten years, the secret is to keep the batteries cool and not next to engine exhaust, and to take the positive cable from the first battery and the negative from the last battery this makes the whole bank work as one rather then take both leads from the first battery this works the first one laving the last one in the bank unused, if you use a Sterling shore power setup depending on your budget it will keep the batteries charged while you use both 12v and 240v and if you use the boat out of season a fan heater to keep condensation down and electric blankets to air the bed and keep you warm at night, we have two four setting under blankets my wife likes more heat than i do,also a electric toaster kettle  microwave and immersion heater are also very handy and make life more luxurious.John

ADI
Sep-26-2019 @ 8:16 PM                           Permalink
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Brilliant advice will definitely add another battery and wire it as you described.
Thank you

Regards

Adrian  Michelle

Beck  Braydon and Mere.

ADI
Sep-26-2019 @ 8:58 PM                           Permalink
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will my 1 altenator be enough to charge 1 starter battery and 3 domestics?

Regards

Adrian  Michelle

Beck  Braydon and Mere.

annville
Sep-27-2019 @ 10:22 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Adrian Yes any size alternator will charge your batteries via a advanced regulator a small output say 40 amps will take twice as long as a 80 amps on will the 10 amp charging rate is the perfect charging rate, but the regulator monitors the batt temperature and regulates the charge accordingly so's not to over heat the batts, of cause if you have a 400 amp batt bank with only a 40 amp alternator you wouldn't overheat the batteries only take twice as long as a 80 amp one less the time the regulatory switches of if the batt temp rises to high which also depends where the batteries are in respect of heat from exhaust of engine,I have a 180 amp alternator plus a 60 amp one but still don't have to top up the electrolyte level as regulator takes care of it all, i also have the cheapest batts ones from Multi cell in Norwich, hope i have explained it for you,the better the system the more it costs but batteries last longer so less cost their. John

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