Battery Charger

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Battery Charger

Post by bigralph » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:10 pm

Alright - as an update if you read my live aboard post, I'm buying a 1990 F32 tomorrow and will live aboard for at least 6 months. I'll be doing some light cruising aorund the Chesapeake and planning a trip to Fl via the intercoastal towards early summer.

With that said, the battery charger is covered is salt spray. It works, according to what we saw on the survey, but it's one of the low-hanging fruit things for me to replace on an overall reno of the boat.

Wants: 30 Amps - seems like 30 amp is widely available at many harbors in my area. There are 3 banks now, to inlcude the genset 12V. I will be using my brand new stereo that's on order and en route as my primary entertainment at the pier and underway. Someone correct me, but I believe all of the lighting on-board is DC. In time, because I'm a geek, I'll probably replace the existing DC bulbs with LEDs. My fridge is AC; it's a lowes dorm model, but it works and is better than throwing $600 at a dual source right now. I'll be using the head on-board some, so the DC freshwater pump will get a workout. I don't know if the hot water heater is DC, but I would be extermly surprised if it was. That wouldn't make sense to me from instict, but hey maybe I'm wrong. The boat will spend most of the spring pierside, so battery conditioning is important. So, all in, I see mostly small loads, like less than 30 amps by a long shot.

I've been to West Marine and Bass Pro because I wanted to see and touch the device before I bought. Bass Pro was having such a good sale and I've been using the heck out of my Sea Ray that I bought a Pro Mariner 20A (10/10) for the Sea Ray. They did a nice job with somewhat idiot-proof protection and cabling, but the leads are only 5'. Their factory recommended 15' leads are $49/pair and the 5' lead extneders are $29/pair at Bass Pro. Based on the layout, it looks like I would need 2 5' leads extensions and one 15' for the genset. So, the Pro Marine 3Bank 20 Map is $199. I'm just curious if anyone knows the life expectancy of this brand.

The Pro Mariner will repriortize current to the bank it notices that has the greatest draw. So, if the genset battery only needs a 13V, 3A maintenance trickle charge and I'm using the hell out of both regular banks for my hotel loads, then, the Pro Marine will reprioritize the remaining 7A from the genset and send proprotionate to the needs of the banks. So, I could have something like 16/11/4 (just a theoretical example). Anyway, that seems like a cool feature that I've only seen advertised on the Pro Marine.

The next option is the MINN Kota 30 Amp (10/10/10) from Bass Pro and it was $299. It seems heavier and more industrialized and uses custom leads, leads I can create. That seems like a bargain, except I think their charging algorithim is different from the Pro Mariner, which I liked.

Then when I looked on-line I saw a brand I'm pretty familiar with from other work, Xantrex. I liked their gear for Solar PV projects, but the price was a budget buster. I alos saw a Charles Marine that looked good, but no reviews.

I'm looking for any feedback.

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Re: Battery Charger

Post by Redfin » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:17 am

Hey again!

I replied to a later post of yours about the stereo, but both posts were somewhat of a while ago... Maybe you've gotten all this figured out by now?

Pretty much all bezel lighting is DC. In fact, most things on boats, including fridges and water heaters, are made to run off both AC and DC, but primarily DC. It's actually pretty simple to convert AC to DC, just not as easy visa versa (inverting). In even more fact, most electrical on boats and cars is all DC, and they're pretty much all standard 12v systems.

I'd have a marina suggest you the specs on a battery charger and then price out models that meet or exceed the specs. I have no real recommendation on brands.

Since this is an older post, let me know of any challenges you're facing and ill try to point you in the right direction for a proper solution!


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Re: Battery Charger

Post by Vitaliy » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:39 am


A 30 AMP systrem would deffinately charge the bateries faster obviously, but almost every trjan ive seen thus far has a 20 AMP 2 or 3 bank setup for chargers.

As far as replacement you just need a charger that has a FLOAT feature, or TRICKLE CHARGE, so that your bateries arent constantly being overcharged and are filled as needed. on MY f36 my charger craped out a while ago and i replaced it with a MASTERVOLT system, 3 bank 12 volt 30 AMP, it wasnt expensive in one bit since i got it at ebay (west marine had it for $425) and it even has a health meter built in, its extremely compact and noice free, ... owercharge

hope this helped
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Re: Battery Charger

Post by prowlersfish » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:58 am

Redfin wrote:
Pretty much all bezel lighting is DC. In fact, most things on boats, including fridges and water heaters, are made to run off both AC and DC, but primarily DC. It's actually pretty simple to convert AC to DC, just not as easy visa versa (inverting). In even more fact, most electrical on boats and cars is all DC, and they're pretty much all standard 12v systems.
Not sure where you getting your info , But most boat systems are made to run on DC or AC not both . The exception would be the fridge That runs primarily on AC and can run on DC . Although many boats will use a AC only Fridge .And there are DC 12volt only fridge systems but you manly find them on sail boats . Most water heaters are AC and some use the engine coolant as a heat source also . I don't think you will find many boats with a AC/DC water heater .
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Re: Battery Charger

Post by gettaway » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:42 am

I believe that the "30 amps" you refer to in Marinas is in reference to the AC shore power load available to each slip. a 40 amp "smart" battery charger should only draw about 7 amps AC at full output.
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Re: Battery Charger

Post by ready123 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:54 am

What model generator?
Many generators charge their own batteries when running and so there is NO need to hook the Genny battery to the main charger!
When not in use the Genny battery has no load and should maintain it's charge for many weeks between running the Genny!
I would not have my Genny battery in your chargers circuit..... That would reduce the number of legs/banks to be charged by the charger by one.
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