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  1. #51
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    Huh??
    Your comment, "is it worth it in a ute" .

    Why would it not be "worth it" in a ute ? A ute is as worthy a recipient as a caravan, camper trailer, boat etc.....

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Dmax, canopy, draws, winch, fridge, farm, cape, kimberly etc....
    Doesn't make sense

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Although using method 3 I could run the cables to a central point of equal distance or close enough but make the cable lengths exact.
    This is what you were think of so I said is it worth it to go to that much trouble for ute rather than just ordinary parallel especially if you use a VSR.

  4. #54
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    One still only requires a smart VSR for hard core remote touring. Some sort of aux charging device either genny or solar for when the vehicle is switched off.

    From my perspective the choice between a VSR or a dc to dc charger is one which is best determined by two things. 1. distance of the batteries being charged from the crank battery & 2. Pattern of usage.

    I have used both & find that because most of the time I dont discharge our battery capacity below about 70% (giving longer battery life as well as having sufficient 'buffer' capacity to last a week to 10 days of poor solar weather without needing to drive) that the dc to dc charger now works best for us. In the past we had a VSR (2 way Redarc SBI24D) which we used to charge house batteries in our bus together with roof mounted solar to top them up to 100% from what the alternator was able to put into them (about 80%).
    Both systems work well.
    Both systems work better than a VSR alone (no solar).
    The limiting factor of the dc to dc is (in my case) being restricted to a max charge of 40A. This is why one reason I built in the ability to bypass the dc to dc, allowing the 70A alternator to charge at a faster rate if required up to around 80% capacity.

    Distance of batteries from the crank battery is not really an issue in my case as voltage drop is not an issue with the 70mm2 cable, but for most folk who use thinner cable with a longer run to, for example a caravan or camper trailer mounted battery, a dc to dc charger compensates for voltage drop which would occur with many VSR setups.

    EDIT: Oh, & another reason for using the dc to dc this time around was my 'Scottish heritage'. Using a combined dc to dc/solar reg was cheaper than using a VSR & separate solar reg.

  5. #55
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    Doesn't make sense
    Thought you were implying that a humble ute is not worthy of additional batteries

  6. #56
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    From my perspective the choice between a VSR or a dc to dc charger is one which is best determined by two things. 1. distance of the batteries being charged from the crank battery & 2. Pattern of usage.

    I have used both & find that because most of the time I dont discharge our battery capacity below about 70% (giving longer battery life as well as having sufficient 'buffer' capacity to last a week to 10 days of poor solar weather without needing to drive) that the dc to dc charger now works best for us. In the past we had a VSR (2 way Redarc SBI24D) which we used to charge house batteries in our bus together with roof mounted solar to top them up to 100% from what the alternator was able to put into them (about 80%).
    Both systems work well.
    Both systems work better than a VSR alone (no solar).
    The limiting factor of the dc to dc is (in my case) being restricted to a max charge of 40A. This is why one reason I built in the ability to bypass the dc to dc, allowing the 70A alternator to charge at a faster rate if required up to around 80% capacity.

    Distance of batteries from the crank battery is not really an issue in my case as voltage drop is not an issue with the 70mm2 cable, but for most folk who use thinner cable with a longer run to, for example a caravan or camper trailer mounted battery, a dc to dc charger compensates for voltage drop which would occur with many VSR setups.

    EDIT: Oh, & another reason for using the dc to dc this time around was my 'Scottish heritage'. Using a combined dc to dc/solar reg was cheaper than using a VSR & separate solar reg.

    ahhh the old dc-dc vs VSR is raising it's head . One still needs the drive time with a dc-dc for it to be effective as opposed to using the alternator

  7. #57
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    The OP better post some bloody photos before this thread explodes. Still on topic though, I guess

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Thought you were implying that a humble ute is not worthy of additional batteries
    No

  9. #59
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    ahhh the old dc-dc vs VSR is raising it's head .
    Not really, there is a place for both, particularly if solar is involved too. The reason I mentioned that I don't tend to take my batteries below 70% is because used like that the dc to dc spends it's time topping up the batteries to 100% . Thus within a relatively short driving time I can arrive at my next camp & have the batteries fully charged, something that an alternator alone & driving all day cannot achieve.
    So the issue is not dc- dc vs VSR, but rather smart (multi stage) charging vs 'dumb' charging, something a VSR with added solar (solar reg being a smart charger) or a dc to dc charger both do better than the alternator can achieve.

    Usage pattern is everything. If a VSR alone meets someone's needs, & the simplicity & lower cost of installation compensates for shorter battery life making that choice is both valid & sensible.

  10. #60
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Agree. Pattern of usage and load sharing from a large battery bank is key. There are VSR's out there that allow a back charge of the battery bank via solar, dc-dc etc...and that's the way I'll be going. VSR with solar and mppt.

  11. #61
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    So, can the VSR, MPPT and a Ctek DC-DC charger be all parallel-ed to the aux battery without any additional relays. So when voltage drop stops charging from the alternator, then the DC-DC carries on, all the while solar doing it's bit through the MPPT. (I had a MPPT until it failed!)

  12. #62
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    There are VSR's out there that allow a back charge of the battery bank via solar,
    Yep, the two way 'D' (for Dual) model Redarc VSR I mentioned previously that we had in our bus is just that & it worked well. With the batteries paralleled with the crank battery via this type of VSR there is a small added bonus which can be utilised. On a sunny day with both camper & crank batteries fully charged the threshold voltage at which the VSR disconnects the two batteries is lower than the fully charged crank battery, thus giving a little extra capacity for camper use. However assuming the crank battery is a wet battery, if that 'little extra' isn't used within a short time of the sun going down the wet battery voltage drops a little & drags the camper battery voltage down with it until the VSR reaches separation voltage. Swings & roundabouts .... not remotely an issue of concern, just one of interest.


    On MPPT, I have mixed feelings. There are way more regs out there which are marketed as MPPT where the letters printed on the case are about all that differentiates them from a standard PWM reg. A good quality MPPT reg is worth having, but such a thing is not available for under several hundred dollars. If not wishing to spend that much a reasonable PWM reg is just as good if not better. Personally if I had to choose between MPPT & temperature compensation (with battery mounted sensor) I'd go for temperature compensation every time. Having installed the Redarc BCDC 1240 (which is MPPT) my biggest regret is that it doesn't have this. As a solar reg my previous Morningstar Tristar (PWM) was far superior. The two Fullriver DC150's it is connected to were still going strong last I heard & were then 10.5 years old.
    A mate who had a top of the range Blue Sky MPPT reg & travelled for 3 years overland to the UK & back found the MPPT of far more benefit in the Northern hemisphere than in Australia. Unfortunately despite it's good reputation & high cost it karked it somewhere in one of the 'Stans.

  13. #63
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    So, can the VSR, MPPT and a Ctek DC-DC charger be all parallel-ed to the aux battery without any additional relays. So when voltage drop stops charging from the alternator, then the DC-DC carries on, all the while solar doing it's bit through the MPPT. (I had a MPPT until it failed!)
    If you use a dc to dc charger, it also has the function of a VSR to protect the the crank battery from over discharge, so a VSR is superfluous.

    I'm not 100% certain, but believe the Ctek Dual dc/dc can be used as a combined solar reg & dc -dc, & possibly allows fixed solar & alternator to both work concurrently, (although I see no benefit with this, & potentially it could make any fault finding more difficult I'd have thought) With the Redarc BCDC1240 an additional relay is required if auto switching between alternator & solar is desired. It either solar or dc -dc. This is what I have. Start the motor & charge is dc -dc. As soon as ignition is turned off solar kicks in (in daylight hours of course )

    With a two way VSR & separate solar reg (no dc-dc) there is no problem having solar & alternator charging at the same time, but no benefit other than not having to be concerned about the two sources somehow battling it out!

  14. #64
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    If you use a dc to dc charger, it also has the function of a VSR to protect the the crank battery from over discharge, so a VSR is superfluous.

    I'm not 100% certain, but believe the Ctek Dual dc/dc can be used as a combined solar reg & dc -dc, & possibly allows fixed solar & alternator to both work concurrently,
    What I mean is that the DC-DC has a current limit and more amps can be delivered by the VSR, or isolating relay, until such time as voltage drop inhibits further charging. The DC-DC charger can then carry on!

    Yes, my Ctek facilitates solar as well.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    The limiting factor of the dc to dc is (in my case) being restricted to a max charge of 40A. This is why one reason I built in the ability to bypass the dc to dc, allowing the 70A alternator to charge at a faster rate if required up to around 80% capacity.
    .
    I would think that would be useless as the VSR only bring the Aux battery in parallel and the ability of charging over 40A would be questionable unless you disconnected the main battery and the alternator is them only feeding the Aux battery. A DC DC charger is better value.

  16. #66
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    I would think that would be useless as the VSR only bring the Aux battery in parallel and the ability of charging over 40A would be questionable unless you disconnected the main battery and the alternator is them only feeding the Aux battery. A DC DC charger is better value.
    I don't have a VSR.
    However, yes my manual switch would parallel the Aux & crank which the alternator then 'sees' as one large battery. How much of the alternator's full output would 'flow' in those circumstances would depend upon the level of charge in the battery. I'm not sure why you think that this would not be over 40 amps. If the batteries were charged enough that they could only take 40 amps or less (the usual situation) I wouldn't bother to parallel them as the dc to dc would indeed better charge the aux batteries. One of my earlier posts mentioned other advantages to being able to bypass the dc to dc charger.

  17. #67
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    I don't have a VSR.
    However, yes my manual switch would parallel the Aux & crank which the alternator then 'sees' as one large battery. How much of the alternator's full output would 'flow' in those circumstances would depend upon the level of charge in the battery. I'm not sure why you think that this would not be over 40 amps. If the batteries were charged enough that they could only take 40 amps or less (the usual situation) I wouldn't bother to parallel them as the dc to dc would indeed better charge the aux batteries. One of my earlier posts mentioned other advantages to being able to bypass the dc to dc charger.
    In answer to my previous question, is your DC-DC simultaneously working with direct alternator output to the aux batteries?

  18. #68
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    In answer to my previous question, is your DC-DC simultaneously working with direct alternator output to the aux batteries?
    If you're asking if the dc-dc charger is connected directly to the alternator..... no, I've never heard of anyone doing that. If you wanted to do that I think you'd probably buy a smart alternator regulator.
    Alternator charges the crank battery & the crank battery is connected to aux batteries via the dc -dc charger - see the wiring diagram I posted earlier.

  19. #69
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Grrrr. I can't for the life of me find the particular VSR I was going to use. It's made by some guy on the Sunshine or Gold coast. A rather opinionated chap too. Oh well, keep searching

  20. #70
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    If you're asking if the dc-dc charger is connected directly to the alternator..... no, I've never heard of anyone doing that. If you wanted to do that I think you'd probably buy a smart alternator regulator.
    Alternator charges the crank battery & the crank battery is connected to aux batteries via the dc -dc charger - see the wiring diagram I posted earlier.
    No, My Ctek has direct connection to the starting battery which is for all intents, direct to the alternator.

    So, what I am wondering, big wire from the start battery to both the dc-dc and the aux battery, whilst dc-dc is also connected to aux battery. Thus big amps to low level aux battery by direct connection, and as voltage rises on the aux battery, the dc-dc keeps topping it up.

    I did glance at the diagram earlier but it was a bit fuzzy, and wasn't sure what was what and the extra relays. Will look again .


    Edit: looking again, the schematic seems to show direct alternator charging OR dc-dc charging, as opposed to what I am interested in, being direct alternator AND dc-dc charging.
    Last edited by phild01; 4th Jan 2017 at 12:50 AM. Reason: took another look at schematic

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    I don't have a VSR.
    However, yes my manual switch would parallel the Aux & crank which the alternator then 'sees' as one large battery. How much of the alternator's full output would 'flow' in those circumstances would depend upon the level of charge in the battery. I'm not sure why you think that this would not be over 40 amps. If the batteries were charged enough that they could only take 40 amps or less (the usual situation) I wouldn't bother to parallel them as the dc to dc would indeed better charge the aux batteries. One of my earlier posts mentioned other advantages to being able to bypass the dc to dc charger.
    I got confused between your old and new. As for parallel tow batteries one fully charged and one half charged I have doubts weather you can fully utilize the alternator output. Saying that I have not see evidence on way or the other as you would have to measure current flows in each battery.

  22. #72
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    I got confused between your old and new. As for parallel tow batteries one fully charged and one half charged I have doubts weather you can fully utilize the alternator output. Saying that I have not see evidence on way or the other as you would have to measure current flows in each battery.
    My understanding is that when you parallel batteries that are at different levels of charge they will equalise their voltage over a fairly short period of time. Once equalised the alternator will be charging them all as one larger battery & the amount of current accepted is then just a function of level of charge, no different to a single battery.

  23. #73
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Looking again, the schematic seems to show direct alternator charging OR dc-dc charging, as opposed to what I am interested in, being direct alternator AND dc-dc charging.

  24. #74
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    Looking again, the schematic seems to show direct alternator charging OR dc-dc charging, as opposed to what I am interested in, being direct alternator AND dc-dc charging.
    Correct.

    I'm don't think you can do what you want. I suppose you are wanting to increase bulk charge current whilst retaining the smart charging to 'top up'? If I were to use direct charging I would monitor the aux battery voltage on the driving cab monitor & when I judged the reading equated to around 70% charged, I'd switch over to dc-dc.

  25. #75
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    Correct.

    I'm don't think you can do what you want. I suppose you are wanting to increase bulk charge current whilst retaining the smart charging to 'top up'? If I were to use direct charging I would monitor the aux battery voltage on the driving cab monitor & when I judged the reading equated to around 70% charged, I'd switch over to dc-dc.


    Won't the voltage readout just display charging voltage of more than 14V, regardless, or does the switch disable any charging?

    Edit: Ok, the switch is 3 way, the rest is a bit fuzzy.
    But it would be a bit of a hunch how charged the batteries are with such short term disablement.

  26. #76
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post


    Won't the voltage readout just display charging voltage of more than 14V, regardless, or does the switch disable any charging?

    Edit: Ok, the switch is 3 way, the rest is a bit fuzzy.
    But it would be a bit of a hunch how charged the batteries are with such short term disablement.
    There are two switches, although only one is relevant to our discussion.

    The irrelevant one was a protective measure. My battery monitor can only handle up to 100 amps & I was concerned that if I used the winch & drew a lot more than that that potentially it could fry the battery monitor, so ended up putting in the switch (Switch 'Y') which effectively took the monitor out of the circuit, My thinking was that after winch use I would have to bring the batteries back to float voltage & then reset the monitor. As it is the monitor seems to be capable of surviving so the switch was unnecessary .

    The main switch (Switch 'X') only switches between either paralleled or dc -dc. When the switch is in the off position between the two, if the engine is not running the batteries are getting solar charge. If the engine is running with the with the switch in the off postion then no charging is occurring. The relay which switches between solar & dc-dc is controlled by the ignition switch. If I switch to parallel without the engine running both aux & crank battery are solar charged.

    You're right.
    I haven't had the aux batteries low enough to test what voltage readings I'd get from 'direct' alternator charging. My expectation is that intially the reading would be lower than 14.4v, but would rise to this fairly quickly. It would sit at this for a predetermined period of time (can't recall how long), & I could then monitor the state of charge on the battery monitor. When travelling in the vehicle full time one builds a familiarity with the operation of the system so i would expect to be able to make a judgement as to how long I might be best to leave it switched to parallel before switching back to dc-dc. Hmmm, then again perhaps I wont build familiarity as it's a function I hope not to need very often - only likely in circumstances such as having been camped wthout driving for a period of poor solar weather followed by getting bogged & needing to winch whilst the batteries were fairly low. At that point getting some charge back into the batteries as quickly as possible would be the objective, getting them back up to float could wait for another sunny day.

  27. #77
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    This is the VSR I was thinking of getting. The only difference between it and others that I can see is it seems to leave the batteries coupled until 12 v is seen at the cranker rather than 12.8. His reasoning is that it's better to be drawing from 2 or 3 batteries limiting overall discharge which then supports his claim (according to him) that the alternator will recharge way faster than any dcdc could ever hope to for a given amount of drive time. He also claims that it's only calcium/calcium batteries that require over 14.5 to reach 100% SOC (which is true) so any battery will charge to pretty much 100% with 13.2+ . He is fiesty and defends his product ( he makes it) on various forums with gusto. You can click on "isolators" to see his full range. The other feature of his gear is the output can be split or coupled.

    SC80 - 90 amps Standard Isolator | TRAXIDE - RV | Traxide - RV

  28. #78
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    that the alternator will recharge way faster than any dcdc could ever hope to for a given amount of drive time. He also claims that it's only calcium/calcium batteries that require over 14.5 to reach 100% SOC (which is true) so any battery will charge to pretty much 100% with 13.2+ .
    All assuming big fat cables, and is where dc-dc chargers come into their own.
    I would like to see more data suggesting 13.2 is enough to bring AGM to 100%!

  29. #79
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    He reckons he has done the research over 20+ years of R&D etc..... And big fat cables are mandatory as far as I'm concerned in any installation. Bigger is always better, always. 6B&S is the bare minimum IMO. I scored a 30mt roll of marine (tinned) 6B&S twin sheathed which I'll common together to make one fat cable for each + & - run. That should give me battery cable size throughout.

  30. #80
    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    This is the VSR I was thinking of getting. The only difference between it and others that I can see is it seems to leave the batteries coupled until 12 v is seen at the cranker rather than 12.8. His reasoning is that it's better to be drawing from 2 or 3 batteries limiting overall discharge which then supports his claim (according to him) that the alternator will recharge way faster than any dcdc could ever hope to for a given amount of drive time. He also claims that it's only calcium/calcium batteries that require over 14.5 to reach 100% SOC (which is true) so any battery will charge to pretty much 100% with 13.2+ . He is fiesty and defends his product ( he makes it) on various forums with gusto. You can click on "isolators" to see his full range. The other feature of his gear is the output can be split or coupled.

    SC80 - 90 amps Standard Isolator | TRAXIDE - RV | Traxide - RV
    Ah yes, Tim, aka 'Drivesafe'. He may well have a reasonable product, but his defence generally presents in the form of rubbishing any alternative, which I must admit has an opposite to desired effect on me.

    The idea of having a lower cut out threshold voltage making a bit more of the crank battery capacity available for aux use is reasonable, but I'm less certain about some of his other assumptions & assertions. He's been banging on about them for years & one has to wonder why, if he has a product which is superior to anything else on the market, why it is that other manufacturers have not followed his lead. I could well be wrong, but I suspect that most of his arguments are about merely supporting 'differentiation' of his product.

    If you are happy with the lower cut off threshold no problem, but I suspect that apart from utilising extra capacity from the crank battery (& potentially shortening it's life?) that the faster charging etc is 'spin', but I have no evidence for that suspicion one way or the other.

  31. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    This is the VSR I was thinking of getting. The only difference between it and others that I can see is it seems to leave the batteries coupled until 12 v is seen at the cranker rather than 12.8. His reasoning is that it's better to be drawing from 2 or 3 batteries limiting overall discharge which then supports his claim (according to him) that the alternator will recharge way faster than any dcdc could ever hope to for a given amount of drive time. He also claims that it's only calcium/calcium batteries that require over 14.5 to reach 100% SOC (which is true) so any battery will charge to pretty much 100% with 13.2+ . He is fiesty and defends his product ( he makes it) on various forums with gusto. You can click on "isolators" to see his full range. The other feature of his gear is the output can be split or coupled.

    SC80 - 90 amps Standard Isolator | TRAXIDE - RV | Traxide - RV
    Notice that are ll claims there are no posted figures to substantiate them. When I looked at his Roll Royce system SC80-12 I was turned off a the uses a cheap auto re settable circuit breaker. These things have two uses one for caravan brakes where the power is supplied for a short time and it will be in fault mode for short time and the rubbish bin.

    He's saturated the forums about pushing his product but as I said before there are no facts to support his claim.

  32. #82
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Yep, totally agree Bros. it would be good to have or build a variable cut out for the cranker though. 12.8 is too high IMO

  33. #83
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    Ah yes, Tim, aka 'Drivesafe'. He may well have a reasonable product, but his defence generally presents in the form of rubbishing any alternative, which I must admit has an opposite to desired effect on me.

    The idea of having a lower cut out threshold voltage making a bit more of the crank battery capacity available for aux use is reasonable, but I'm less certain about some of his other assumptions & assertions. He's been banging on about them for years & one has to wonder why, if he has a product which is superior to anything else on the market, why it is that other manufacturers have not followed his lead. I could well be wrong, but I suspect that most of his arguments are about merely supporting 'differentiation' of his product.

    If you are happy with the lower cut off threshold no problem, but I suspect that apart from utilising extra capacity from the crank battery (& potentially shortening it's life?) that the faster charging etc is 'spin', but I have no evidence for that suspicion one way or the other.
    yep, a lot of smoke and mirrors with him on the forums

  34. #84
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Yep, totally agree Bros. it would be good to have or build a variable cut out for the cranker though. 12.8 is too high IMO
    That's sort of what I was thinking too. He may have missed a potential market. He could have made a product with settable or configable cut-offs and let the user decide what setting are best for themselves.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Yep, totally agree Bros. it would be good to have or build a variable cut out for the cranker though. 12.8 is too high IMO
    I'm sure there is at least one VSR on the market with user settable thresholds, but for the life of me I can't recall the brand. I seem to remember coming across it & thinking it was a good idea. The barely functioning memory cells suggest to me that it had a blue case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisp View Post
    That's sort of what I was thinking too. He may have missed a potential market. He could have made a product with settable or configable cut-offs and let the user decide what setting are best for themselves.
    Some may like variable cut out some not. It would be OK with the battery new but when it get a bit of age on it I would feel better with a higher voltage.
    It would have been easy to set up test rig and run number of tests comparing his VSR with others on the market and publish his data but this is missing.

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    This is the user adjustable VSR I was thinking of. Programmable Voltage Sensing Relay 12VDC | Amelec Australia

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    Cool. I'll make some enquiries.

    had my own little battery moment today. I had a N70ZZ calcium on the charger in the workshop. It had been on for a few hours just as a top up as it's a spare and just sits on the ground on a piece of ply. Anyway, turned the charger off. Picked up the grinder to cut some metal. Some sparks from the grinder went near the battery and ka boom. 1 exploded battery. Never seen it before. Work shop is well ventilated and a really stiff breeze blowing right through today.

    Hosed out the workshop and hosed down the walls. Hosed everything that had acid on it. The 2 end cells were pretty empty but the middle 4 were still full. What to do next. Tip the acid out into a plastic oil drain tray. Then pour the acid into a old oil container. Sweet. Just need to dispose of the acid. Now the silly bit. Told my neighbour about it and he said just neutralise it with some bicarb or lime. Easy. Ok, lets pour a little it into a plastic bucket and neutralise it. I reckon no more than 300 ml of acid and bi carb added a touch at a time. It wont neutralise. Just keeps exotherming. Add water to cool it down. Now I have 1 sealed container with just acid and I poured the exotherming acid/water mix ( about 5 lt) into another sealed container ( lid is OFF) and I'm wondering what to do. Keep adding bi carb and hope it neutralises ? I can't put the lid on the container until it finishes neutralising if it ever finishes

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Cool. I'll make some enquiries.

    had my own little battery moment today. I had a N70ZZ calcium on the charger in the workshop. It had been on for a few hours just as a top up as it's a spare and just sits on the ground on a piece of ply. Anyway, turned the charger off. Picked up the grinder to cut some metal. Some sparks from the grinder went near the battery and ka boom. 1 exploded battery. Never seen it before. Work shop is well ventilated and a really stiff breeze blowing right through today.

    Hosed out the workshop and hosed down the walls. Hosed everything that had acid on it. The 2 end cells were pretty empty but the middle 4 were still full. What to do next. Tip the acid out into a plastic oil drain tray. Then pour the acid into a old oil container. Sweet. Just need to dispose of the acid. Now the silly bit. Told my neighbour about it and he said just neutralise it with some bicarb or lime. Easy. Ok, lets pour a little it into a plastic bucket and neutralise it. I reckon no more than 300 ml of acid and bi carb added a touch at a time. It wont neutralise. Just keeps exotherming. Add water to cool it down. Now I have 1 sealed container with just acid and I poured the exotherming acid/water mix ( about 5 lt) into another sealed container ( lid is OFF) and I'm wondering what to do. Keep adding bi carb and hope it neutralises ? I can't put the lid on the container until it finishes neutralising if it ever finishes
    Don't put a tight fitting lid on it if you have used baking soda - is it will produce carbon dioxide and pressure. You don't need a jar of acid exploding too! Just keep slowly neutralising it.

    Anyway, the incident is a reminder of the dangers of lead acid batteries. If a cell voltage goes over about 2.45V that cell will gass as the water will disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen in the perfect ratio to be explosive. I'd guess that your battery may have a faulty cell or it was out of balance (unequalised) and a cell or two gassed. Even sealed lead acid batteries have vents to release any excessive pressure and can release gas.

    I strongly suggest never disconnecting a battery charger at the battery while the charger in on - as there is a remote chance of a spark and if the battery has gassed - it could explode in one's face.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Oh, and it is (add) acid-to-water, not water-to-acid if you want to dilute it. And use a face shield too.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Not sure what the go was with the battery. It's not that old and came out of my pajero. Sealed MF calcium/calcium. At least it exploded exactly how they are meant to. Even though I was facing away from it, the explosion seemed somewhat controlled and I got no acid on me at all despite being only 2 mt away. The neutralising mix is now in a 20 lt plastic oil contaner - heavy construction like a fuel tank. My biggest concern is the heat from the exotherm. I could sit the container in a bigger container of water to keep it cooler.

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    Let it cool before adding anything else to it. The water bath idea to cool is probably a good idea if it is safe to move it. Maybe search for a sulphuric acid msds and read up before doing too much more.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Read up on it and controlling the exotherm temps is the biggest issue, particularly in the high % stuff. If it spills on the ground it's not a problem, just pile on the bi carb. In a container or recycling unit they just add water to control the temp. I don't want to end up with a 20 lt container of neutralised acid of which 300ml is acid. That's nuts. I have seen some reference to 1 pound of bicarb per 1 pint of acid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisp View Post

    Anyway, the incident is a reminder of the dangers of lead acid batteries. If a cell voltage goes over about 2.45V that cell will gass as the water will disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen in the perfect ratio to be explosive. I'd guess that your battery may have a faulty cell or it was out of balance (unequalised) and a cell or two gassed. Even sealed lead acid batteries have vents to release any excessive pressure and can release gas.

    I strongly suggest never disconnecting a battery charger at the battery while the charger in on - as there is a remote chance of a spark and if the battery has gassed - it could explode in one's face.
    Good advice. I too had a battery explode once. Only a small starter battery on a quad bike. Breather tube had become blocked, pressure built up. Turned the ignition key & Kerbang! Split the battery wide open. Very lucky not to get sprayed with acid. Scary stuff indeed. My assumption is that in conjunction with the buid up of internal pressure it must have had an internal short to spark the explosion.

    Just on the gassing - wet batteries will always gas if being properly charged on a smart charger/solar regulator. Fom Ringtail's experience in a well ventilated area it brings home the danger that some folk unwittingly put themselves in by mounting wet batteries inside the confines of a vehicle/camper, increasing the risk of explosion. And then to make things worse place a regulator, inverter, fan or other potential source of a spark close by.

    Glad your experience left you unscathed Ringtail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    had my own little battery moment today. I had a N70ZZ calcium on the charger in the workshop. It had been on for a few hours just as a top up as it's a spare and just sits on the ground on a piece of ply. Anyway, turned the charger off. Picked up the grinder to cut some metal. Some sparks from the grinder went near the battery and ka boom. 1 exploded battery. Never seen it before. Work shop is well ventilated and a really stiff breeze blowing right through today.
    You were extremely unlucky as the spark must have enough energy to ignite the mixture and it would have been right on top of the battery as the hydrogen will quickly combine with the air and become non explosive.

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    wow, thought I was only away for a day or two...
    I could only get hold of 20a dc breakers from jaycar at short notice last week, so I put them in. Ran the system for 4 days and it worked nicely, given it had a load the whole time though. A knowledgable neighbour had a quick look at the setup and thought it was either overcharging or bad wiring as suggested here. Happy to get the breakers suggested here also.
    img_8344.jpg
    A couple of things before I get roasted. Inverter is even bigger than I said. Ideally I would have more isolating switches. Missing some cable ties, but you get the idea.
    Photo is with the new breakers installed- crimp connectors but was thorough putting them together. I have left the system on with a load from the inverter while away. Solar cable to the mppt and into the batteries is 4mm2 DC solar cable, not the thin stuff.
    I'm was getting 17v roughly from the panels, 13.8v max to the batteries, I have set the mppt to sealed led acid.

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    What is the best way to dispose of the swollen batteries? The damaged one have been out of the system for a few weeks now but still pretty big in size.

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    I'll roast you then. You have not set the load supplies up from the batteries the recommended way it should be the same as the solar supply. If you go any bigger is solar which you should you need to double up the solar controller to the battery cables.

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    The inverter has the capability of pulling 460+ Amps from the batteries for a surge load & over 230 Amps continuous so needs a heavier cable, in fact i think it would need to be significantly thicker than your solar supply cables.

    Recyclers will often take dead batteries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    I'll roast you then. You have not set the load supplies up from the batteries the recommended way it should be the same as the solar supply. If you go any bigger is solar which you should you need to double up the solar controller to the battery cables.
    Ok, will fix that too, sorry thought was only from controller to batteries.

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