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Old 01-01-2019, 06:03 PM   #1
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Default Battery Separator (Isolator) Functionality?

Happy new year folks!

Does anyone know if a battery separator (isolator) will disengage and engage based only on the connectivity of the ground signal? More specifically, will it disengage the relay when the ground signal is disconnected 'floating'?

Like others I'm running into a problem where my lithium house batteries are keeping the bi-directional battery isolator connected to my chassis battery since their resting voltage is over 13.2V which is the magic number that connects the two battery systems.


This specific isolator is the Eaton / Sure Power 1315-200.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:03 PM   #2
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You could consider changing it back to an isolator.

I have the same problem with a Xantrex Echo Charger. Only way to stop it is to turn it away from the lithium batteries and back to the LA. No more problem.

Looks like a switch needs to be installed somewhere or return to an isolator. Would be nice if you could change the switch point from 13.2 to 13.4 volts. Is there such a separator yet? Certainly there will be one someday soon.

A switch in the ground line would be ideal if it works that way which was your original question. Try it.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:27 PM   #3
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The simplest solution for my coach, for a number of reasons I won't go into here, was to route the ground wire of the separator through the NO contacts of a small 12v relay, whose coil is energized by the chassis ignition switch. That way, the batteries are isolated with the ignition off, but connected with it on, once the chassis battery reaches the 13.2v threshold.

I could have done almost the same thing with a simple electromechanical relay-type isolator, but the route I took was less work and expense for me. Also, a simple isolator would no longer isolate the batteries at less than the threshold voltage, though I'm not sure how important that is.

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Old 01-01-2019, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmittell View Post
The simplest solution for my coach, for a number of reasons I won't go into here, was to route the ground wire of the separator through the NO contacts of a small 12v relay, whose coil is energized by the chassis ignition switch. That way, the batteries are isolated with the ignition off, but connected with it on, once the chassis battery reaches the 13.2v threshold.

I could have done almost the same thing with a simple electromechanical relay-type isolator, but the route I took was less work and expense for me. Also, a simple isolator would no longer isolate the batteries at less than the threshold voltage, though I'm not sure how important that is.

Larry
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A lot of the benefit of using a separator is that most of them are now bidirectional, so that you can keep he starting battery charged when you are on shore power or solar. This can be important in storage so you don't need a separate trickle charger for the starting battery or on a vehicle that starts a bunch of timers or wakes up computers every time a door is opened or closed, which happens a lot when camped and can kill a starting battery.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
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A lot of the benefit of using a separator is that most of them are now bidirectional, so that you can keep he starting battery charged when you are on shore power or solar. This can be important in storage so you don't need a separate trickle charger for the starting battery or on a vehicle that starts a bunch of timers or wakes up computers every time a door is opened or closed, which happens a lot when camped and can kill a starting battery.
I understand the benefit, but OTOH, if the batteries are permanently connected together, which is the case as long as the lithiums are north of 13.2v, why bother with a separator at all? Just hook 'em all together. This particular thought has bothered me for some time.

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Old 01-02-2019, 12:55 AM   #6
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I understand the benefit, but OTOH, if the batteries are permanently connected together, which is the case as long as the lithiums are north of 13.2v, why bother with a separator at all? Just hook 'em all together. This particular thought has bothered me for some time.

Larry
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You can get most all advantages with an auto and manual separator like Blue Sea makes. In the auto mode it will work like a normal separator and connect when it sees "charge level" voltage on either side, but you also have connect or disconnect from a remote switch so you can turn it off or on when you want to over ride. This way you would still be able to get the starting battery charged, or jumped, if needed. They work well with lithium, I have heard as they have good versatility.



We opted for the manual only version of the same separator as it is better suited to being able to charge AGM batteries without overcharging if they are full when you start or get full, and save all the hassle of full battery output signal and relays being needed.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:15 AM   #7
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IMO the optimal configuration is to have a dumb isolation relay controlled by the ignition and a Trik-L-Start to get chassis-battery maintenance. Simple and robust.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:39 AM   #8
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IMO the optimal configuration is to have a dumb isolation relay controlled by the ignition and a Trik-L-Start to get chassis-battery maintenance. Simple and robust.
I'm convinced you're right. But I'm sticking with the Sure Power separator with the relay patch so I needn't figure out how to mount a different device. But I'll add a Trik-L-Start, as you suggest.

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Old 01-02-2019, 03:37 PM   #9
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Great discussion. I just didn't know if the separator would function like a 'dumb relay' by switching the ground signal. Sounds like it will.

If this doesn't work out for some reason, the dumb isolation relay is the next step for me.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:27 PM   #10
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A seperator is a relay and, as such, it needs both sides of the circuit to operate. It will not operate without a proper ground. An isolator, on the other hand, is a diode which allows current to flow in only one direction, it does not need a ground.
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