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  • May 09, 2014 12:21 PM
    Reply # 1551077 on 1549969
    Good discussion.  Thanks all.   

    Jay hit the nail on the head: Go back and re-read Nigel Caulder's book.  That's always good advice.   By the way, I have three charging systems to tune, shore, alternator, solar.

    The first thing Nigel says is to assess your needs and use requirements.   Because we boat owners have such different patterns of use, anecdotes about what did and did not work for me, are not always applicable to others.

    I live on the boat 365 days per year.  10% of those days on shore power, 15% on engine power while under way, and 75% solar power while at anchor.  Out total consumption is 30-40 amp-hours/day.  75% of that consumption is to run the 12v refrigeration system.

    Then I think of Jeff&Wendy on the W32 Calypso.  They have an icebox, and no solar. Their use patterns are very different than mine.  Then I think of Jay on W32 Pygmalion.  Jay sails on weekends only.  His use patterns are different still.   

    The point is that one size fits all doesn't work.

     Tate: Thanks for the info. I had my starter battery as bank 1 and the two house batteries as bank 2.  That was perhaps not the smartest way to do it. 

    By the way, Tate, I looked up that Xantrex splitter device.  It costs $125, as much as a new battery, and I don't see what it accomplishes more than a $3 diode.

    But Tom might have had the best advice about saving money on batteries.  An engine compartment blower.  I was going to do that once, but never got around to it.   It never occurred to me to relate that to battery life of flooded cells.  I didn't know about the 50C limit for flooded cell batteries.

    Once again, everybody's boat is different.  Mine has generous lazarrete compartments port and starboard under cockpit seats.   I love the extra storage space, but those compartments reduce the volume of the engine compartment by 40-50%.  I'm sure that makes my compartment run hotter than most.

  • May 09, 2014 1:19 PM
    Reply # 1551099 on 1551077
    Dick Mills wrote:

    By the way, Tate, I looked up that Xantrex splitter device.  It costs $125, as much as a new battery, and I don't see what it accomplishes more than a $3 diode.

    Dick,  to answer this important question let me defer to one of the marine service industries electrical experts.  MaineSail is the creator of

    Here is what he has to say about diodes as isolators:

    Diode Isolaters:

    Idolaters, as in diode isolators, are not horribly reliable, do not play well with things like solar or wind and have a myriad of major issues such as voltage drop and the inability for a "smart" charger, wind controller or solar controller to see bank voltage and turn on..

    No competent marine electrician I know of has used one in years... With Echo's, Duo's, B2B chargers, VSR relays etc. there is no longer any need for diode isolators or the myriad of issues that go along with them. We no longer use buggy-whips either.. Very Happy

    I ripped one out two days ago that helped DESTROY three battery banks in less than two years. Chronic under charging will do that.. Alt was set at 14.2V batts were seeing about 13.2 - 13.6V after the diode isolator, depending upon the load. These are batts that needed 14.6V.... Alt was a problem, charger was a problem and the isolator made both of these problems MUCH worse.

    Standard ACR/VSR relays, Yandina, Blue Sea etc. are extremely reliable as are Echo Chargers and Duo Chargers. The Duo may not work for all situations because it trips off if a bank needs more than 30A and there is minimal hysteresis built into it for it to get the battery to where it will take less than 30A in repeated try's.......  The Sterling B2B (DC to DC or battery to battery chargers) is also good but pricey and bulky.
  • May 09, 2014 1:55 PM
    Reply # 1551131 on 1549969
    Deleted user
    Our split charge diode is by Sterling and has been problem free for almost 5 years now.
    I suppose that there might be other ways to isolate the starting bank from the house and at the same time keep it exposed to the alternator charging source while underway, however this approach has worked for us. 

    We use a compact Sterling 'smart' 3 stage charger connected to the alternator that automatically compensates for the one volt voltage loss through the diode.  Seems to work well. No problem so far.

    Also in my previous post I meant to say that batteries should not be located in the engine compartment because of the heat issue.


    Tom (W42) Second Line
  • May 12, 2014 7:45 AM
    Reply # 1551796 on 1549969
    Tom makes an interesting point about placing batteries outside the engine compartment.

    I would like to ask other W32 owners.   If you place batteries outside the engine compartment, where do you find to put them?  How many?  What size?

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