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Old 11-03-2018, 09:23 PM   #1
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Default Batteries, chargers, profiles etc

Lately we have been seeing quite a bit more interest and questions related to batteries, both type and brand, and chargers of all kinds. I think this is very a very good thing because a lot of the information floating around the internet is less than stellar, IMO, and information from the manufacturers is often extremely biased and full of claims that aren't not exactly true, again IMO. We have seen, many times in the past and now, statements made about how well a certain charger worked for people and how perfectly it charged batteries. I think comparing their observations to the charging profiles would be very beneficial for all of us.



I will put a few charger profiles and a couple of Lifeline charging instruction statements for reference. The chargers are ones that I am familiar with and have been mentioned in other discussions. It would be desirable for anyone who has a charger manual that gives detailed charging profiles and instructions to put a scan of them in a post so we can get more of cross section of brands and styles. Same for batteries.



This thread is meant to be in addition to the currently running battery selection one and petco's charger recommendation one as a place to collect information and discuss it without garbaging up the other discussions.



There likely will be lots of personal opinions on much of this stuff, which is great, and I would also encourage anyone who has battery monitor data to back up opinions to post the monitor data and monitor settings, as that can be critical for others to repeat the results.


Here are the Lifeline battery charging instructions for their AGM batteries. The don't show a profile chart in the manual any more.







Here are add on instructions to maximize battery life for deep discharge situations.






Here is the Magnum ARC50 remote charging profile when set to using a final stage of float. Note the options available in the note in the center of the graph for the transition to float. This is the critical piece of the charging profile for long battery life. All of the options are fully setable, and using amps is the preferred method IMO, and will meet the above Lifeline charging requirements completely.


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Old 11-03-2018, 09:41 PM   #2
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One of the chargers mentioned in the other discussions, and very often in the past, is a Progressive Dynamics charger with a Charge Wizard pendant.


Here is the charging profile for the Charge Wizard. Note the 4 hour, non adjustable, absorption time, as this is what can make a charger over or under charge batteries. The PD chargers also don't have temp compensation, so these are voltages you will get even at high and low temp where a volt or more difference could be required to protect and charge the batteries. The big plus is that if you watch what the charger is doing via a battery monitor, you can force it into whatever charge stage you want, preventing over or under charging.




Another unit mentioned recently was the Zamp digital display solar controller. Here is the charging profile from the Zamp manual.





Here is what Zamp says about the transition from absorption to float. Note only two amp settings at .5 and 1.0 amp, which is very low, and also only 4 hours of maximum absorption time which appears to be non settable. While controlling by amps is the best, you need to be able to set the correct amps in the charger and allow it enough time to get there, which I don't think would happen with the Zamp. The Zamp can have temp compensation, a plus.



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Old 11-06-2018, 02:05 PM   #3
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Here are a couple of battery charge profiles from the Trojan battery manual.


This is for their true deep cycle batteries, which are pretty much the standard choice for lots of folks. The list charge rate at a desired 10-13% of capacity for wet cells. Note the fairly high charge voltage and the "full" battery current of 1-3% of capacity. They also show a "mini equalization" stage at the end of every cycle, which is becoming more common with manufacturers, even for AGM batteries.








Here is the AGM curve for the Trojan versions, which seems to be similar to most of the the charger voltages for AGMs. The recommended charge current for them is 20% of capacity. Note the "full" charge current of c/200 or .5% of capacity, which is the same as the Lifelines.






As you will find for nearly all battery manufacturer desired profiles, there is no mention of charge times, except that it will vary with how deep the discharge is. The desired charge cycle is controlled only by voltage and amps.
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:52 PM   #4
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Here is what IOTA says about the charge profile they get with their optional "Charge control module" which is an addon like the Charge Wizard for PD.


Quote:
BULK STAGE
- During this state, the charger will operate either at Full Current output or Constant Voltage output
depending on the discharged state of the battery. A discharged battery will dictate the voltage and force the charger into constant-current operation. As the battery charges, the charger transitions to a constant-voltage operation.This BULK STAGE will continue for either 225 minutes or until the battery voltage reaches the “High Trigger” value (whichever occurs first). At this point, the BULK STAGE will operate for another 15 minutes before switching to the
ABSORPTION STAGE.


ABSORPTION STAGE
- This state is limited to 240 minutes (4 hours) during which the charger will operate either at Full Current output or Constant Voltage output depending on the discharged state of the battery. During Full Current output, the charger is providing its full current rating and will slowly increase the battery voltage to the “Absorption
Stage” voltage. At the end of the 240 minutes, the charger will revert to the FLOAT STAGE.


FLOAT STAGE
- This charge state holds the batteries at Constant Voltage for a period not longer than seven days. During this state, the charger not only floats the batteries, but it can also provide load current up to its maximum rating for other loads without depleting the battery capacity. The FLOAT STAGE will end when either the battery voltage drops below the “Low Trigger” point or at the end of seven days when the IQ4-X initiates an equalization stage to remove sulfate layers from the battery plates. In either situation, the unit exits the FLOAT STAGE and enters the BULK STAGE.

This seems to indicate that the IOTA uses the very common 4 hours, unsettable, of fixed, timer based, absorption time. What this meas is that that if you batteries were below about 20% discharged they will be undercharged by some amount, and if they were full when you plugged in (like from driving or solar) they will overcharged at full voltage for 4 hours.


Both of these conditions is bad for you batteries, and depending on your use patterns could shorten their life a lot.



A typical bad stacking of events might be that you are on shore power all night and then off the get breakfast. You come back and plug in and it chargers your full batteries for 4 hours of overcharge. You then go off for hike and come back and plug in and get another 4 hours of overcharge. Then you drive to the dump station and again plug in when you return and get another 4 hours of charging. By then you got 12 hours of full charge voltage overcharging time on your full batteries in just one day. Especially AGMs will not like that, wet cells will use more water but survive a bit better. This is very similar to the Progressive Dynamics profile but with no manual over ride available.


It is possible they check for full batteries before starting the charge, but I didn't see anything about that, or might have missed it. If they did do that, you would eliminate the overcharging situations in most cases, but would be trading that improvement for having more undercharging events.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:15 PM   #5
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Here is copy of a statement for the EVO-RC-Plus smart remote for some of the Samlex inverter chargers.


Quote:
ABSORP EXIT AMPS (Table 4.3, Screen No. 20)
Parameter “ABSORP EXIT AMPS” is used to set the value of the charging current at which the charger will exit the Absorption Stage and transition to Float Stage when the following "CHARGING PROFILE" option is selected.
• 2=3 Stage Type 2
Programmable range is 0 – 20A. Default value is 4A.

This would indicate that the charger is measuring the amps out of the charger and can be set to end the absorption stage based on amps, which is a good thing. The problem comes in that it is also measuring any and all coach 12v loads that are running, which can severely mess up when the charger transitions to float. 220ah of AGM batteries would be at 1.1 amps to get the .5%C that Lifeline wants, so even having light on would mess things up. If you have solar at the same time, the charger will see lower than the amps it should and stop early, if you have just loads on the charger might never go to float until the absorption timer runs out.


This is an inherent issue with any charger that measures the amps internally, and Samlex even mentions that using their "adaptive" automatic timer based algorithm will get messed up if loads are on while charging.



The Blue Sea chargers have a similar issue, as they to measure the float transition amps internally.


I would think that any charger with an algorithm that checks the bulk charging time to calculate the absorption time without measuring the amps would have the same issues if any loads are on. In the real use world, this would make the more sophisticated algorithm chargers very in accurate in an RV unless you had multiple battery banks that you could charge one at a time with the loads on the other bank.


This all shows the importance of measuring only the amps to the battery if you are going for the best in charging control. If there isn't a shunt to do that measuring, it gets very difficult to do. I did manage to do get the loads isolated on our Blue Sea charger when we had it, but that setup will only work on a multibank charger that measures the amps separately to each bank, and I think Blue Sea is the only one that does that.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:40 PM   #6
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It appears some of my attachments disappeared into cyberspace, these are from the first two posts.


The Lifeline profile text explaination







Here is the deep discharge adder for Lifeline





Here is the Charge Wizard profile





The Zamp profile





If anything else is missing, let me know, as the originals did show here on my desktop, but not laptop, but do now show.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info on the new Samlex remote. I saw it on their site but it seemed to only meant for use with the new F series. The manual shows that it can be be used with other EVO models.

The “ABSORP EXIT AMPS” is a nice addition as long as the user is aware of the issue with loads and or inputs that Booster points out. It appears that you have to choose either the ending amps or the adaptive profile. Maybe the next iteration will let you choose both so you still have the protection of the timeout forcing the exit from absorption stage.

If you run solar through the Samlex aux DC inputs I think it might be sufficiently aware of the input to factor it into the the charge profile.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:46 PM   #8
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We lived with the load affecting the transition amps of quite a while before I modified the Blue Sea charger to move the load so it didn't mess it up, and while I would say it is better than no amp control, you only have a couple of options of how to handle it. It gets particularly hard if you have a separator and power going to the starting battery if you don't have an isolated multibank charger.


* You can add increase the setting enough to always allow the charger to go to float when you hit the load plus what the batteries are using, it will not let the batteries get all the way full a lot of the time.


* If you have a battery monitor that is measuring the battery amps, you can just check it occasionally and see when the amps to to the transition amps plus you minimum load like detectors. When you get there, shut off the other loads for a couple of minutes and the charger should go to float.


* Only plug into shore power at night when you can more easily have a consistent load that you can allow for.


All will work to varying degrees, with the last two being better than the first, but all won't be perfect.



Because of the absoption timers that look like you can piggyback onto the amps shutoff, you at least get out of absorption eventually, and it has temp compensation, so for those reasons would probably be a bit better than running a Progressive Dynamics unit manually off a monitor. Option 2 would be similar to the PD, but with less hassle, I think, but not a lot. The temp comp is a big deal in the difference between the two units.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:54 PM   #9
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How did you move the load for the Blue Sea charger?

Looks like there are 5 profiles for the Samlex now. Two are for lithium. The other three are:

0. Adaptive
1. Set absorb time
2. Set ending amps

I can get the updated firmware for my unit. I think ending amps is the way to go for storage at home. I'm not sure what's better for in use charging. I have to think about it. You can save settings to SD card so it's fairly easy to have a few profiles ready to load.

How does the Magnum setup accomplish accomplish ending amps charging without loads affecting it?
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:06 PM   #10
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The Blue Sea charger has been mentioned a few times, as it does measure and control the float transition from amps, measured internally, but it has a separate amp reading and setting for each of it's 3 banks.


You can make the Blue Sea accurately charge from the amps to the coach batteries only if you are willing to do a bit of extra wiring and add a time delay relay circuit (I used a solid state timer relay and powered a bigger capacity relay coil with it).


To do the setup:


* Wire the coach batteries to bank 1 and the normally closed contacts on the large capacity relay.


* Wire the "in" of the time delay relay and the normally open contacts of the big relay to bank 3 on the charger.


* Wire the "load" of the time delay relay to the coil + on the big relay


* Wire the common of the big relay to coach distribution panel and starting battery separator (if you want both way charging and have an automatic separator).


* Wire the big relay coil - to ground.


The way it should work when you use it


* When on batteries the charger is off the battery power goes through the normally closed relay contacts to the coach. Neither of the relays is activated.


* When you plug into shore power,


1. The charger does a check to see if it sees a battery, and if it does (it will see the coach batteries connected to it) it will initiate charging for all 3 banks whether they have anything on them or not.


2. Once the time delay relay times out, it will activate the coil of the large relay and switch the coach batteries to the loads off, and switch on the output of bank 3 to the loads to run them.



The coach batteries are isolated on bank 1 at this point, so you can have the float transition amps set to exactly what you want and get exact full with no overcharge.


When you shut unplug shore power, the charger goes off, the relays deactivate and you are back running on the batteries.


This only works with the Blue Sea because it has the correct set of features on it and will maintain the right voltage on all 3 banks if just one of the banks has a battery in the circuit.


You need the time delay because when the charger does it's initiation check it will fault out for the test signal going through a big relay coil. The solid state, low power, time delay relay does not run any current until it times out, so it allows the charger to get though the startup tests.
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