12 Volt to 12 Volt Chargers

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 16:34
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I have just been to the Newcastle Camping and Caravan show with every intention of buying one of these devices only to be told by a couple of different vendors that they are a waste of time. Could someone with some knowledge in this area give me some advice, my situation is I have a 91 model 80 series diesel with a second battery(AGM Deep Cycle) connected via Redarc isolator, I am towing a camper trailer (connected to the car via an Anderson plug and reasonably heavy wiring)with 2X95 amp lead acid deep cycle batteries. I find that if I am doing short trips between stops the trailer batteries do not get a good charge and I was told that if I added a DC to DC charger in the system that this would solve the problem. After the discussions that I had today I am not sure. Are the 12 Volt to 12 Volt charges only designed for modern alternators that do not put out as much power as the old ones? or would my system benefit from installing one of these units? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I do not want to waste my hard earned money on something that will not give me any benefit. Thanks
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Reply By: Racey - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 16:50

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 16:50
Shaz n Steve, My experience has been similar to yours regarding the charging of auxillary batteries. Since I fitted the DC-DC charger i don't have the problem and my battery is fully charged. I fitted a Projecta 20 amp unit. The DC-DC chargers are just that, a charger. Where as your current arrangement is influenced by voltage drop plus the short run time you mentioned. I would recommend you fit one close to the Aux. Batteries and you shouldn't have the problem any more, evering else being ok.

Cheers
Racey
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:06

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:06
The OP has 200Ah in round figures of battery capacity in his camper....a 20 amp DC to DC charger...installed and working properly...being optomistic and young batteries..... will take at least 6 to 8 hours to change the pair from half flat.

If the cable is heavy enough and the cranking battery and first aux battery are already up to charge, the car alternator may deliver 50 pluss amps initial charge rate...IF the cables are heavy enough.

If a DC to Dc charge is to be installed it needs to be at least a 40 amp unit.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Shaz n Steve - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:10

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:10
Racey thanks for your input what are you driving is it a modern 4 wheeler or an old cluncker like mine?
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Follow Up By: Racey - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 14:21

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 14:21
Shaz n Steve, I have a 200 series cruiser and tow a van and have the charger installed in the van next to the batteries. Works a treat.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 16:58

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 16:58
The first thing you need to understand is..."ya can'a change the laws of physics, Jim".

All lead acid batteries take a finite time to charge, if you are not charging long enough NO charging system will help you.

There are a couple of good reasons to install DC to DC chargers, but they are no silver bullet.

It may well be that the cable to youir trailer batteries is not heavy enough...how heavy is it?

It is claimed that DC to DC chargers will compensate for voltage drop in cables.......Hmm yeh.

First, what is the charging voltage of the alternator in the vehicle now?.....if it is the original or similar it will be 13.8 volts......you will get some improvement changing to a new alternator set to 14.5 ish volts.....but make sure all your batteries are sealed type batteries 14.5 volts will boil the electrolite away in a screw top battery in no time.

Second make sure the wiring between you main battery and the camper trailer is heavy enough...10mm2 would be an absolute minimum..the bigger the cable the better your charge rate will be.

But..remember you are chaging 400is Ah worth of batteries including the starter..that is a big ask for any charging system

You are going to need 6 to 8 hours run time and reasonable revs to even be in the race of charging that lot from 1/2 flat....no matter the chaging system.

Your situation is certyainly not uncommon.....there are thousands of nomads hammering their batteries to death day after day and not getting them back up to full charge.....due to simply insufficient charge time or charge current.

There is no fancy product that will solve this....contrary to what some will try and tell you.

You need to either rn furher or find another charging source...mains, solar,wind or generator.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Shaz n Steve - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:22

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:22
Batman: Cable to the trailer is about 6mm diameter so I would say it was over 10mm2, I have a new alternator and it delivers 14.4 volts at the second battery under the bonnet, I have checked the voltage at the Anderson plug at the back of the car and I have a voltage drop of .02 Volts. So what you are saying is if I put a DC to DC charger in the camper adjacent to the my 2 house batteries that it would not make any difference to the time that it would take to charge them?
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:57

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:57
Pretty much.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:28

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:28
Hi Shaz.
If you are measuring .02 volt drop at the plug – your measurements are not of any use as you are obviously measuring it at no load.
Bantam is incorrect - a DC to DC charger will be a significant improvement over your present arrangement, even with a 20 amp charger.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:51

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:51
This depends on if he is measuring the voltage at the plug while the battery is being activly charged from a low state of charge.

If the voltage is measured at the plug with nothing connected...I agree the measurement is pointless.

Even if the measurement is made with the battery fully charged the measurement is pointess.

Saying that a DC to DC charger would be an improvment even at 20 amps is likewise an equally pointless assertion.

Becuase we have no systematic and valid measurements to prove this.

If there is to be any reasonable assessment we need to know.

The actual size ( size of the copper not the insulation) and length of the copper cables..all the way, battery to battery.

We need to measure the current flowing in those cables when the battery is at a low state of charge with the alternator running at higher than idle RPM.

Then of course we can measure voltage drop at various points along the charging path.

No matter what the source, if there is insufficient charge time, no gadget will help.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:38

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:38
I think I am wasting my breath (or should that be fingers?)
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:45

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:45
Perhaps if you construct a reasoned argument it may help.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:16

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:16
Bantam; the advantages of a DC/DC charger are well documented.
You have some unique views on electrical systems, both 12 volt and 250 volt, and it would be a time consuming task, if not impossible, to change them.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:44

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:44
The advantages of DC to DC chargers are well sold..that is a very different thing.

The real advantages of DC to DC chargers in automotive applications are actually very few.


Over comming voltage drop.....there are arguments about that one.
Limiting charge current.....not always an advantage.

The ability to merge charging sources....not an issue in this thread so far.

Everything else is open to discussion as to it actually being a benifit or even comming into play in particular installations.


Like the advantages of AGM....DC to DC chargers are heavily oversold and like AGM are expensive high profit items that actually present no practical advantage to most buyers.


cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:56

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:56
Bantam your quote;
“AGM are expensive high profit items that actually present no practical advantage to most buyers”

Again their advantages are well documented and it would be a time consuming task, if not impossible, to convince you of the merits of an AGM.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:31

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:31
Shaz n Steve, you said "Batman: Cable to the trailer is about 6mm diameter so I would say it was over 10mm2, I have a new alternator and it delivers 14.4 volts at the second battery under the bonnet,"

Looking at the specs of cable from Jaycar, their 8 gauge cable is 6.5 mm diameter over the sheath, 4.05 mm over the copper. the cable size is given as 7.52 mm2. This will not be heavy enough for either direct charging or driving a sufficiently large DC-DC charger.

I would suggest that you need at least 4 gauge cable which is 21.10 mm2. If you want to persist with direct charging I would suggest neec 2 gauge cable wihich has an outer diameter of 12 mm and 31.15 mm2 of copper in it.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:03

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:03
Dennis mate.... every single technical advance that permits an AGM battery to exist is available in batteries that are not AGM.

A battery with all these technical advantages, but has not had all free electrolite removed produces a battery that for most purposes is superiour to batteries marketed as AGM.

Like DC to DC chargers, AGM is being sold to people, claiming that it is superiour, claimimg it will solve a problem, that it either can not or does not exist....in most situations camping, caravanning 4wd situations AGM presents absoluetly no particular advantage.

The disadvantges of AGM and other "starved electrolite batteries" are also well known..and those disadvantages are mostly due to the reduced fluid content.... the factor that makes a battery AGM

A great many people are paying twice the price they realy need to because they have been sold AGM.

cheers
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:41

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:41
Peter mate.
outside insulation diameter is a conspicuoulsy poor indicator of conductor size.

The jaycar catalogue is an equally poor reference.

My Tycab (a major Australian manufacturer of cables and wires) shows #8 battery cable (7.9mm2) as having an outside insulation diamter of 5.75mm, it also shows #6 battery ( 13.6mm2) cable as having a outside insulation diamter of 7.35mm.

The above are standard PVC type insulations.....in recent years there are many harder and thinner insulations commonly on the market.

I doubt that the original posters eyeballing of the cables is an accurate indicator of conductor cross sectional area.
Both the above could be eyeballed as arround 6mm.

lets not throw the baby out with the bath water till we have facts.

now some facts.

At 50 amps, #8 pair of wires will produce a voltage drop of arround 2.2 volts..yes a definite disadvantage...but at 20 amps the voltage drop will only be under a Volt..so with a 14.4 volt alternator there should still be plenty of voltage to effectivly charge the battery.
The voltage drop in the cable WILL slow the charge rate in the early stages but in the later stages it will have bugger all effect.
I'd expect the charge current to be limited to arround the 20 amps due to the conductor resistance....about on a par with a DC to DC charger.
At this conductor size, Id probaly back the 20 amp DC to DC charger as having an advantage..though a small one.


So if the cable comes up to #6 the voltage drop at 50 amps will be arround 1.5 volts and the voltage drop at 20 amps will be less than 1/2 a Volt.

So a relativly small increase in conductor size has made a significant improvement in voltage drop.


If it was my rig, yes I would be wiring in arround #4 battery cable 20mm2 .
At 50 amps we are dropping less than a volt. at 20 amps we are drtopping less than 0.4 of a Volt.

20mm battery cable is still relativly cheap, easy to obtain and reasonable to handle.

I see no need to go heavier.

I also see that 10mm2 cable would not cause the batteries to fail to charge....remember I called it a bare minimum.

Heavier cable or a DC to Dc charger may improve things a little, but there remains the unavoudable fact that batteries take time to charge..and a short drive will not do it.

cheers
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:44

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:44
BTW, the above voltage drop examples work on a 10 meter cable run 20 meters round trip, which I believe would be reasonable in a camper trailer with the batteries mounted near the front.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:12

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:12
Hey Shaz n Steve
I have a 150 prado with the d4d engine.
I had arb do there thing, I was going to have a rearc bcdc1220 installed, at the time I had read about the bcdc1240, I questioned arb about the bigger unit, as it can take a solar charge as well.. I was told by rearc that the 40amp (1240) was an over kill. So left it at that.. When I picked up my car I had found that arb had actually installed the 1240... I only have room under the bonnet for a 65 amp battery. I then took the car to auto electrician to get a Anderson plug, he used a lot heavier cable, and said it would charge both batteries in the trailer no worries, I have been told that the charger needs to be as close as possible to the battery being charged, which mine is no where near when it comes to the trailer.. But I can run the fidge/ freezer ( 70 odd litre up right Waco ) in the camp trailer plus other gear for 5 days, then drive for 2 hours or so, and batteries in the trailer are good to go again.. Think the trailer has about 120 amp in total.. So far no problems... Touch wood! Hope this can help.. Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:04

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:04
Sorry odog mate but I doubt very much that ya trailer batteries are fully charged.....the maths simply don't add up.

The batteries may well have enough charge to go some more days.

But at the very least you will be cycling them way too deep.

Time an time again we hear people complaining they are not getting good service life from their batteries.

OR

That they have done a few weekend or short trips...all fine and beaut...then they go on the road long term and find their batteries die or their fridge defrosts.

As for 5 days oou of a 70 litre fridge and 120Ah of batteries...yeh very hard to believe.

cheers
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:13

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 17:13
Shaz n Steve,

Hmm, doesn't say much for the knowledge of the vendors. What were they selling?
A dc-dc charger is the absolute best solution to maintain those remote batteries.
It will provide them with a multi-stage charging process so that they receive an optimum and full charge, in the shortest possible time.
When you consider the cost of each AGM battery, a few hundred dollars to keep them healthy is a definite benefit.

I use a similar configuration with a 100Ah AGM (in a Sidewinder Flyer pack) in the back of the Colorado Tub controlled by an inbuilt isolator between it and the starter battery. An outlet port on the Flyer provides a connection to the remote batteries in the camper trailer by way of a patch lead and Anderson connectors. I simply run the patch lead out of the tailgate and connect to the trailer input cable.
The camper has two 80Ah AGM batteries and I added a dc-dc charger to maintain these batteries, both while travelling from the alternator and at camp with the addition of a folding solar panel array. The dc-dc charger has both an alternator input and a solar input port.

I find the 100Ah in the tub receives enough charge to keep it healthy, but added the dc-dc charger for the two additional ones in the camper.
I may add another charger for the vehicle auxiliary if I discover it is not getting a healthy charge. This battery is also given a charge from time to time with an AC battery charger to ensure it is fully charged.

As the batteries benefit from the dc-dc charger when connected close to them, I decided to place the charger in the camper, rather than the back of the vehicle as the additional longish cable run to the back of the camper, may have introduced a less than optimum charging routine.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:14

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:14
A DCDC charger is current limited to around the 80% SOC mark, in a lot of typical installs it will certainly not provide the shortest recharge time.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:37

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:37
What a load of rubbish – mine is set at a voltage to give 100% SOC
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:37

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:37
Sorry mate but DC to DC chargers are not the absolute best solution in every case and they may not charge the battery the fastest.

Without exception DC to DC chargers are current limited....in general either 20 ish amps or 40 ish amps.

The single determing factor for battery charging is terminal voltage.
If the alternator has a terminal voltage of 14.5 volts and the DC to DC charger has a terminal voltage of 14.5 volts.
The alternator WILL be capable of a higher maximum initial charge rate than the DC to DC charger, and maintining a higher charge rate for quite some time....if the cabling is heavy enough and the battery has a low enough internal resistance, the alternator may deliver 50 pluss amps initial charge rate to the battery.. a 20 amp DC to DC charger, will be limited to 20 amps.

Read on and you will see why it is not that simple.

IF the batteries are failing to charge fully due to insufficient charge time...multistage charging will be irrelivent.

The only advantage the DC to DC charges have in this situation is

Compensating for voltage drop in the cables.

and

Limiting the maximum initial charge rate where the battery has specified charging limits.


In some cases the multistage charging will in fact be a disadvantage.

The first stage is the current limited stage, where current is limited to the maximum capacity of the unit......this slows chaging in comparison to a vehicle alternator that may be limited at 100 amps pluss.

The second stange is where the battery is gaining charge and has begun to regulate its own charge current...the charger has stopped protecting its self from over current...only now is the DC to DC charger outputting its full charging volatge......the alternator has been banging out its full output voltage for hours and delivering current to match.


The third stage is charge voltage reduction to " float charge" level.
If the battery is not fully charged or near it this wont happen.
In these cyclic charging situations the value of a float charge is questionable.

Any other stages are of little relivence to the matter of the original poster and failing to charge batteries due to insufficient time or charge current.

Indeed in many situations a DC to DC charger will be of no benifit at all......but the salesman wont tell you that.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:24

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:24
Hi bantam
I set mine to a constant voltage of 14 volts (I don't use the multistage setting) and of course it’s current limited to 20 amps (stands to reason - it’s a 20 amp charger). It puts a constant 20 amps into a discharged battery which tapers off as the SOC rises. All batteries taper off whether connected to the vehicle’s alternator or a DC/DC charger.
Having 14 volts available at the caravan’s battery rather than 1 or 2 volt drops on the cabling makes a significant difference.
The size of cabling required to maintain 14 volts at the caravan battery would be impractical or impossible if running off a 13.6 volt alternator (a number of temperature compensated alternators have this output).
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:12

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:12
Peoples idea of impossible or impractical vary.

I do things every day that the previous contractor considered impractical...that is whay I achieve the result..and that is practical.

The original poster does not have a 13.6 volt alternator he has measured at 14. whatever volts.

Yes indded all batteries taper off...this is why they take a finite time to charge and a DC to DC charger may be of no advantage whatsoever.

If you read all my posts on this matter, you will note that I have written that one of the few advantegs of a DC toDC chargers in this situation is compensating for voltage drop in the cables.

we have not proven that the OP has a 1 or 2 volt drop and he certainly does not have a 13.6 volt alternator.

Even IF the original poster is experiencing some voltage drop, he may still be delivering more than 20 amps to his batteries...if he is indeed delivering more than 20 amps steady charge rate to his batteries a 20 amp Dc to Dc charger will be of no advantage.

As the charge current tapers with the increrasing SOC this voltage drop will also taper off to near nothing..AND given time the batteries will still fully charge.

BUT all this is conjecture, because we do not know the size of cables nor have we any voltage and current readings.

I continue to maintain..IF voltage drop is not a problem a DC to DC charger will presnt no advantage in charge rate.

AND even with a 20 amp DC to DC charger operating at its greatest advantage..it will still take more than 6 hours to chage the 200ish AH battery bank from half charged.

Any assertion that a DC to DC charger will provide any advantage in the absesnce of any hard data is a false one...and one that is all too often foist upon unsuspecting travelers.

I don't know how many peope ehave coughed up $200 pluss for no need and no result....but there certainly will be hundreds if not thousands.


Lest not insist that a gadget will solve a problem when the problem may not exist.

If the problem is as I suspect insufficient charge time...no gadget will solve that.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:22

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:22
Bantam; even at 14 volts at the alternator, without a DC/DC charger it is impossible to achieve that at the caravan battery.
Find yourself an engineer and check it out.
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:40

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:40
Dennis Ellery,

Simple fact, Optima connected via a simple VSR, approx 50 minutes to charge the Optima for 0% SOC to 95% SOC.

20A DCDC charger around 3.5 hours to do the same, rubbish a DCDC charger will also provide the fastest recharge, you need to look at the specific setup and work out what's the best approach on a case by case basis.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:46

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:46
Simple; because that is a simplistic view.
Optima is a low resistance battery and close coupled to an alternator it will charge very quickly.
At the end of the line on a 10mm cable to a caravan – different story.
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:57

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:57
Yes as was yours "a DCDC charger will always charge faster".

Simple fact is DCDC chargers are current limited to around 80% SOC, where the alternator is putting out the same voltage as the DCDC charger can generate ie 14.4V and the battery is close to the alternator or connected via suitable cable, the alternator will always charge much quicker to the 80% SOC point as it has a much larger current generation capacity, and from then on at about the same rate.

The only time it won't is with a battery that can't accept high recharge currents and why would you use these in this application?

As I stated each install needs to be looked at on a case by case basis, in the case of a large caravan where the battery is located a long way from an alternator a DCDC charger may well do a better job.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:07

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:07
Your misquote - Yes as was yours "a DCDC charger will always charge faster". This wasn't mine.
Your quote “Simple fact is DCDC chargers are current limited to around 80% SOC”
Maybe yours is – mine isn’t and I can set it as high as 14.8v
If you want the maximum charge rate - buy a charger that’s matched to the maximum charge rate of the battery. With a standard 100 a/hr – about 20amp. This doesn’t apply to low resistance batteries such as Optima and Concorde Lifeline, which can accept in excess of 5 times this rate.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:57

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:57
Dennis a standard 100Ah battery will accept a hell of a lot more than 20 amps.
A standard wet cell cranking battery in good condition will cop pretty much a 1 hour charge rate for short period..that is 100 amps for a 100Ah battery.....generally in cars connectec t alternatirs though they will run at arround 50 60 amps for a short peroid them setle to arround the 20 to 30 amps.

Its only certain pissy low spec AGMs that can't cop a decent charge rate.

Many of the better spec AGMs will cop better than the 5 hour rate. some publish no current limit.

If you baught the cheap Fullriver that many people are sold..yep ya stuck with the 20 amp limit...this is why you buy a DC to DC charger...to slow the charge rate.


If however you where sold the more expensive Fullriver item, it would cop close to 1 hour rate AND outcrank many wet cell crankers.
Ive said it before and I'll say it again...most generalisations conceringing batteries and charging systems are unreliable.

We need to deal with specifics

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:33

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:33
Dennis,

Of course your charger is current limited, if it is a 20A charger its output is limited 20A, if it wasn't and you connected it to a battery that will accept more than 20 amps and any large capacity battery that is discharged will, it would burn its self out. You really should actually find out how your charger works.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 13:33

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 13:33
Bantam

The benefits of a good quality AGM like Lifeline (and others) are many – a few are; long life, high efficiency and high charge rate acceptance. They are expensive to start with, but not if costed over their whole life, when you consider that you will get over twice the life out these (if used to specification) compared to the cheaper batteries.

I had the cheaper Fullriver in the caravan, which I pensioned off after 6 years (it still had full capacity at that stage). It was an excellent battery but I wanted the higher charge rate of a Lifeline.

I now have a 150 ah Lifeline AGM which I regularly charge at a rate of 100 amps.
It’s quite capable of taking an inrush of 600 amps or more, if my charging equipment would provide it.

DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR BATTERY - IT WILL END UP IN ORBIT

At your charge rates (100 amps into a 100ah battery) a Lifeline or similar quality AGM will absorb about 95% of the charge.
Your wet cell, being of high resistance, will have significant loses in heat and gas and can’t absorb anywhere near 95% if charged at these rates. If held for a prolonged period you will boil your electrolyte.

Lifeline / Concorde has never had a report of one of their batteries experiencing thermal runaway.

Another advantage of these batteries is their extraordinary shelf life – mine after 3 months it’s still over 12.8volt, without being on a float charge.

I could go on, but what’s the point – the information is easily available on the net - if you wish to seek it out.

For a bit of education get yourself a copy of “TECHNICAL MANUAL For Lifeline Batteries Document No. 6-0101” available on line from their website.

There are other publications - but this is a good starting point.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:05

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:05
As I have said before....seems I'll have to say it again.

Every single benifit attributed to AGM can be had in a floodded battery, or another form of battery.

In fact there are a couple of battery manufacturers that sell more or less the same battery as " true AGM", sealed lead acid ( not claimed as AGM), GELL and flooded.....it is not the same battery but more or less the same battery with a critical major difference.

Generalised claims about AGM simply mean very little.

There is a great variation in the design and performance of AGM just like every other battery on earth.

As to the beinifts typically attributed to AGM

Long life.....this is mostly due to changes in the composition of the plates and changes in electrolite chemistry.....a very large proportion of non AGM batteries now use exacty the same changes to a greater or lesser degree.

Higher efficiency...again due to the very same changes that lengthen the service life.

Higher charge acceptance...guess what...due to the same changes.

Lower self discharge.....OH heere again due to the same changes

Higher efficiency.....and another atribute due to the same changes.

and last but not least,
Cycle depth tolerance...batteries with the modern plate composition and improved acid formular will have far better deep cycle tolerance than the same plate structure in the old composition.

The biggest change in lead acid battery technology has been the addition of calcium and other metals to the plates and the change in electrolite chemistry from a simple sulphuric acid.

These changes alone have produced considerable improvements in batteries.

These changes substantially reduce gassing during charging.....this is what permits us to seal batteries and for the sealed technologies including AGM to exist.

These changes also improve nearly every single attribute of a lead acid battery considerably.


This is why we now have N70 batteries that produce arround 100Ah capacity an improvement of arround 35% over the basic technology.
The basic technology N70 that IS still available comes out at arround 65Ah.


AGM in its self has one and only one advantage and that is..... improved leakage performance....every other advantage that is claimed for AGM is not due to it beeing AGM.

BTW..can any of the pro AGM posters describe exactly what makes a battery AGM....come on exactly.


As for
DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR BATTERY - IT WILL END UP IN ORBIT

yet another throw away line...you have no idea what other peoples batteries will do.

BTW I have read the Life Line Technical Manual, along with most of the life line documentation...and a great deal of other manufacturer documentation too.

These documents are well written and helpfull, but it must be understood that some of the content is perculiar to Life Line product and can not be relied upon as generally correct.

Sorry but 3 months is not extraordinary shelf life.
Most good quality current technology batteries should hold a charge for 3 months no problems.


compare like with likie and apples with apples.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:09

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:09
Bantam
"DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR BATTERY - IT WILL END UP IN ORBIT"
That wasn’t a throwaway line.
I’d never forgive myself if you did something silly and blew yourself up.
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:15

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:15
Hey bantam
Only say what I see... Ran the fridge day and night, and a cpap machine at night, ( for breathing while I sleep) at tantangra dam 5 days, drove back to Queanbeyan 2/2.5 hours, check the charge and well up in the green on the gauge... I'll tell you how it goes in a couple of weeks, doing an 8 week trip to WA.. Just had operation on throat, so won't be needing the cpap machine anymore.. Let ya know how the batteries go. Cheers
Some people want it to happen, some people wish it could happen, others make it happen!

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:18

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:18
"well up in the green"...yeh well that does not sound like fully charged to me.

I know damn well, that a flat, half buggered battery that wont start a car, can go on my dynosour 5 amp charger for a couple of hours and have enough to start a 4 cylinder petrol car....but I don't believe for a second that it is fully charged.

If you have a 100Ah battery and a 100amp alternator......you may very well bang 70 to 80amp hours of charge into that battery over a couple of hours...but that last 20 to 30% of charge will take a quite a bit more time.

Now these batteries..exactly how big are they.

A good single N70 sized battery is about 100Ah measured at the 10 hour rate.
If you are getting 5 days aout of a 70 litre fridge, is sugest you have more like 200Ah of battery

So these two batteries you have....how big are they.

cheers
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Reply By: KevinE - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:23

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:23
Hi Steve,

I've just been through the same scenario;

I have a D22 Ute with heavy cable running from a VSR under the bonnet, back to an Anderson at the rear bumper. This hooks up to another Anderson that has heavy wire to my 105ah deep cycle Aux battery in the CT.

Having read all of the posts on forums about the subject, I'd convinced myself I needed a DC/DC charger to charge the battery properly.

So, I gathered the cash & headed off looking to buy a CTEK D250S (the one that seems to tick all the boxes in posts on forums)

The 1st shop I visited was handy to home & would have sold me one, but I figured they were asking $100+ over the odds! So I went back where I'd bought 12V stuff before.

The next shop I went to was a 12V specialist shop where I'd bought stuff before. I told him what I wanted, he gave me a price, I was happy with it & I got the cash out. He went to get a unit from behind the counter & turned & asked me what vehicle would be running it?

When I told him it was a D22 & that I'd bought the VSR & heavy cable off him, he said "you don't need a DC/DC charger with that cable, D22's run the old type of alternator"

I must have looked puzzled, because he volunteered to check the power at the rear Anderson for me for free, which he did. After he confirmed that I didn't need a DC/DC charger, I thanked him gleefully, put my cash away & went home.

Apart from integrity, why would someone who sells DC/DC chargers for a living tell me I don't need one if I do? It's his bread & butter!!!

Cheers,

Kevin.
AnswerID: 526072

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:48

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:48
Quote "When I told him it was a D22 & that I'd bought the VSR & heavy cable off him, he said "you don't need a DC/DC charger with that cable, D22's run the old type of alternator"

I must have looked puzzled, because he volunteered to check the power at the rear Anderson for me for free, which he did. After he confirmed that I didn't need a DC/DC charger, I thanked him gleefully, put my cash away & went home."

Kevin, I think you were misinformed. Measuring your alternator like that is a waste of time. You need to check the voltage whilst the vehicle is in operation.

My D40 charges at 14.4 to 14.7 V when first started, the cooler the day the higher the temperature. After about 20 minutes running the voltage drops to 14 V or less. When the motor is well warmed up the charge voltage will be 13.9 on a cool day not towing and I have seen the voltage as low as 13.5 V towing on a warm day. I have seen a 0.1 V difference between towing and running solo.

I don't think the bloke you were dealing with knows anything about alternator temperature compensation.
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Reply By: Slow one - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:50

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:50
Cetek make a unit called a smartpass that allows an 80amp charge until the batteries reach a certain voltage. It is wired up with a 25amp dc/dc charger that then finishes the final charging.

Have a look at the Ctek site.
AnswerID: 526075

Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:36

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:36
Yes they do but if you have the voltage to start ie 14.4V why would you spend hundreds of dollars on something that's needed?

They first section of the smart pass is a simple VSR, it will switch to the DCDC charger when the current drops below 20 amps, ie it will go into DCDC constant current charging mode, it's max output voltage is 14.4V is 14.4V it will then swap to constant voltage charging.

So if you have 14.4V to start with the VSR part will be active till the current drops below 20A around the 80% SOC mark and approx battery voltage of 14.4V at this point DCDC charger will kick in but as the voltage is already 14.4V will go straight to constant voltage charging at 14.4V the same as the alternator is putting out. You have spent many hundreds of dollars on something for no real gain, in an under bonnet scenario a simple VSR would perform the same.

If the battery is mounted in a caravan then yes things may change, you need to look at the intended install and work outs what's gives the best bang for buck.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:38

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:38
So if the alternator delivers 14.5 volts and the dc to dc charger delivers 14.5 volts..what possible advantage is there.

Any voltage drop will be its greatest when the charge current in highest, and will be virtually nonexistsnt when the battery is fully charged and the charge current is minimum.

SO..what advantage does this device present.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:07

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:07
should have read "something that's not needed"

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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:14

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:14
Where did you get 14.5 volts from. Mine only puts out 14.2 volts as do most others.

Back at the van/trailer the voltage is now lower. The smart pass will allow 80 amps to the trailer battery so it partially charges very quickly. It then switches to the dc/dc charger to charge the battery fully.

Charge your camper battery fully with your alternator and when it is fully charged put it on a smart charger and see how much more it charges to it's full potential. 100%.

I can walk out to my vehicle and van in the morning and I can assure both deep cycle aux batteries will be around 13 volts. Really fully charged.

Now Bantam let the the pedantics begin.

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:50

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:50
Looks like there are more people who don't know about temperature compensation in alternators.
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 07:00

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 07:00
Please read this slooooooooowly.

A statement was made further up in the post that you can't put in sufficient charge into a battery because the dc/dc charger limits the amount of current.

My answer is above, you can do it in conjunction with the smart pass. End of story.

If you are talking about me not knowing what a temp compensated or ecu controlled alternator is. I HAVE ONE.



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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:50

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:50
The difference between 14.4V and 14.2V will be negligible, any voltage of around 13.8V and above will fully charge a battery, the only advantage of higher than this is it will speed up the charging process.

As for temperature compensation as used in alternators, lets actually get this right, temperature compensation has been used since cars first had batteries, generators had a form of temperature compensation as did the electromechanical regulators used in the first alternators, it is not new!

All alternators are temperature compensated to so that they lower the charge voltage as under bonnet temperatures increase to protect the cranking battery which is usually mounted in the same temperature environment from being overcharged as it heats up.

In newer model vehicles they have increased the amount of compensation far beyond what is required to protect the battery so that they can lower fuel consumption and pollutions emissions at low engine speeds, devices are readily available that can be easily installed in most vehicles that will restore the alternator output voltages to normal levels.

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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 10:10

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 10:10
Slow one,

That was not what was written, current limiting will not prevent a battery from fully charging providing the end voltage is sufficient to fully charge the battery, it will just slow the charging process.

With regards to the smart pass, if we have a battery mounted under the bonnet and an alternator that is outputting around 14.4V then there will be very little difference in the charge times of a simple VSR and the smart pass setup.

The smart pass will act the same as the VSR till the current going into the battery drops below 20 amps, this occurs when the battery is around the 80% SOC mark which also corresponds to a battery terminal voltage of around 14.4V (refer to the ctek documentation)

Once the current drops below 20A the CTEK charger will kick in and would normally continue to constant current charge till the battery voltage reaches 14.4V. In this scenario however the alternator has already charged the battery to 14.4V via the VSR part of the smart pass so the charger will now switch to constant voltage charging as it has already reached its maximum permissibly output voltage ie the same as the alternator is already putting out.

In this situation the DCDC charger section provides no worthwhile gain at all and you would be better off just installing the CTEK VSR part without the DCDC charger.

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Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 13:01

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 13:01
Guess he just put his camper trailer batteries in the engine bay. Then he won't need anything. Because the OP stated in the camper trailer.

Go and blue with old olcoolone.




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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:35

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:35
I used to think DC to DC converters were a great idea, but now i think they are a waste of money and can slow your charging down.

For the same or less money buy 160W of solar panel AND a MPPT charger, and have at least 80W on the camper while you drive.

Your batteries will take a high current charge when really flat, and the combination of the car charging and solar charging will make sure your batteries are 100% full. PLUS you get a solar set up for free.
AnswerID: 526086

Follow Up By: Kevin.Hutch - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 08:08

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 08:08
Boobook I Agree 100%, a solar panel and MPPT regulator for float charging and use the car alternator for bulk charging.

At worst the solar panel will extend your battery life, it may even cope with all your load. Vans spend more time parked than travelling so why not go for a charger that works when parked.

Kevin H.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:29

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:29
Yes I agree that even a solar system that is inadequate to stand alone will provide a considerable advantage in the original posters situation.

Every hour that solar pannel is sitting there with the rig stationary it is making SOME contribution....even if it is incapable of offseeting the whole demand, it will offset some.

It may be the difference between the batteries comming fully up to charge in the next days drive and not.

It may be the difference between the battery spiraling lower and lower each day, till the fridge defrosts and the battery dies.

It may be the difference between the battery having a very short and disapointing life or a long and happy one.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - Tony N (WA) - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:40

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 20:40
OK to Bantam & Dennis ,
similar situation starter battery under bonnet to deep cycle through solenoid no problems'
now battery in c/trailer also deep cycle should power for this battery be from starter battery or alternator,
driving a Nissan d40 but it's not a variable voltage alternator
Cheers Tony N
Dum_Spiro_Spero."While I breathe, I hope"

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:01

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:01
Tony it won’t make much difference – very little volt drop between the starter battery or a direct connection to the alternator.
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:17

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:17
Tony,

You should always connect to the starter battery or aux battery terminals, the reason being the reference point for the alternator voltage regulator is either the positive battery terminal of the cranking battery or very close to it on external voltage sensing alternators which most are these days.

In some vehicles there can be quite a big difference in voltage between the cranking batteries positive terminal and the output terminal of the alternator under heavy load, voltage differences of 1V to 2V higher at the alternator output terminal are not uncommon.

This could mean for example with the alternator supplying 14.4V to the cranking battery the alternators output voltage at its output terminal could be 15.4V or higher!

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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:27

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 22:27
To elaborate a tad more, if the alternator has internal voltage sensing then the alternator terminal would give the best regulation, or on an ecu controlled alternator setup such as the Mazda BT50 etc accessory loads including DCDC chargers should be connected to the positive battery terminal and the vehicles chassis earth point.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:22

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:22
Hi Tony,
Some would choose the auxillary battery terminal if you have a voltage sensitive soleniod between the batteries – just as a precaution to protect the starter battery against faults in the caravan.
With your altenator - as for connecting the starter battery or the alternator terminals for charging the caravan battery the difference is miniscule – most would choose the battery terminal as it is easier to access.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:56

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:56
Quote - "driving a Nissan d40 but it's not a variable voltage alternator"

What exactly do you mean by that? See my FollowUp in reply 6.

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Follow Up By: Member - Tony N (WA) - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:15

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:15
thanks for quick replies guys, might do as you suggested Dennis & through in a solenoid, I'll make sure it's fused properly as well,
sorry PeterD tried to be technical, perhaps should have said as Leigh pointed out "internal voltage sensing or ecu controlled alternator.
My D40 is 2006 hence standard type alternator, evidently Nissan didn't start putting ecu alternators until 2010 or 2011
Cheers Tony N
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony N (WA) - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:21

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:21
oops sorry Shaz & Steve for bandicoot'n your thread but subject was open & all the tech heads seemed to be firing well, couldn't miss the opportunity
Cheers Tony N
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:38

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 00:38
Tony, you have a very similar model to my 2007 one. They have temperature compensation in the alternator. My model does not have ECU control of the alternator.

Get yourself a multimeter. Make up a lead for it with a cigarette lighter plug on the remote end. Plug it into the socket that is not ignition switch controlled (it reflects the voltage at the battery if you only have the meter connected to it.) Next time you go for a run of over half an hour, switch the meter to the 20 V range and observe it as you start the motor and drive. You will then learn the truth.

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Reply By: Brian 01 - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:11

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:11
Steve,
First point that I will make is that the Ctek unit is not recommended for use on low alternator voltage vehicles due to its relatively high cut-out point, all other brands seem to be able to handle the lower voltages quite well.
Contrary to what is being said on this thread, DCDC chargers such as the Redarc etc. compensate very well for line losses.

Here are the comparative figures of a test that I recently carried out in response to another such thread on this forum.
The figures are accurate but you can bet they will be disputed by the die-hard direct alternator charge dinosaurs
Sorry about all the dots and dashes but it seems to be the only way to get a chart on here.
The vehicle is a 100 series Land cruiser with 110 amp alternator.
Charge cables are 2 metres long 13mm2
The 2 crank batteries are in normal charge condition.
There are no accessories in use to stress the alternator or prevent it from outputting a decent current.
The auxiliary battery is a Century Marine Pro 600 in good condition, it is a hybrid battery so will accept a faster charge than will a normal flooded deep cycle battery.
I have used a flooded battery so that specific gravity readings can be taken to determine true Soc more accurately than can be done by simple voltage readings.
It has been discharged to a rested voltage of 12.18v which is approximately 55% Soc

Specific gravity reading of 1.170 which is a tad under 50% Soc
......................... Time...............Crank V.................2nd Battery V..........Chg Amps
Engine off.............10:30.............12.86........................12.18.....................0
Connect 2nd bat....10:33.............12.80.........................12.25....................2.10
Engine running......10:34.............14.10........................12.78...................14.50
----------------------10:35-----------14.09---------------------13.09----------------12.30
----------------------10:40-----------14.08---------------------13.30----------------10.90
----------------------10:50-----------14.04---------------------13.34----------------10.10
----------------------10:55-----------14.02---------------------13.36-----------------9.80
----------------------10:00-----------13.97---------------------13.35-----------------8.32
----------------------11:10-----------13.97---------------------13.36-----------------7.00
----------------------11:30-----------13.97---------------------13.40-----------------6.22
Specific gravity reading of 1.175 indicates Soc to be a bit over 50% which is not much better than where it started
Charge terminated and battery connected to Redarc BCDC1240 set to Std LA
Engine off----------11:40-----------13.84---------------------12.86-----------------0
Charger goes straight to Absorption mode, not expected, and not sure why.
-----------------------Time----------Charger V------------2nd Battery V...........Chg Amps
Engine running----11:45------------14.70---------------------14.40----------------25.86
----------------------11:50------------14.70---------------------14.43----------------23.70
----------------------11:55------------14.70---------------------14.44----------------21.35
Charge terminated.
Demonstrates that the DCDC charger is able to put in around 4 times what the direct alternator charge was able to do even after the alternator had been at it for an hour.
Total charge put in by alternator in one hour, about 10 Ah.
The charge from the alternator, which has the ability to provide 110 amps, never got over 14.5 amps into a battery which the DCDC charger proved could still take at least 25 amps even after 1 hour on the alternator.

Battery discharged back down to 12.07v, rested for 2 hours and began another charge on DCDC charger.
--------------------------Charger in Boost Mode
--------------------Time--------Charger V-------2nd battery V----------Chg amps
Chgr off-----------3:00------------0----------------12.07-------------------0
Chgr on-----------3:01-----------13.90------------13.44------------------35.90
---------------------3:03-----------14.10------------13.65------------------34.86
---------------------3:04-----------14.20------------13.66------------------34.65
---------------------3:05-----------14.20------------13.66------------------34.45
---------------------3:10-----------14.40------------13.84------------------33.53
---------------------3:13 Charger goes to Absorption mode
---------------------3:14-----------14.60------------14.15------------------32.76
---------------------3:20-----------14.71------------14.35------------------29.70
---------------------3:40-----------14.70------------14.34------------------17.90
---------------------4:00-----------14.72------------14.46------------------15.17
Charge terminated.
Demonstrates that DCDC charger inputs considerably more amps to the second battery than does the direct alternator method.
Total charge put in by DCDC charger in one hour, about 25Ah.

Disconnected battery terminal voltage now at 13.83v which would appear to indicate a good Soc, but specific gravity reading of just 1.195 indicates true Soc to be just 60%.
Battery voltage 3-1/2 hrs later at 7:30pm is 12.8v (100% Soc?) but S.G. of 1.225 indicates only 75% Soc.
Battery voltage next morning is 12.55v, S.G. is 1.240 which is consistent with about 80% Soc.
This is due to surface charge having been absorbed into the plates overnight and shows the importance of rested voltage measurements, and the folly of assuming your battery is fully charged just by a high voltage reading.
A few points can be seen from these figures.
1. The Redarc DCDC charger does not stay at a constant current until the battery reaches 80% Soc, in fact, it has dropped to roughly half the original current by the time the battery reaches 60% Soc.
Why is this? Simply because the opposing voltage of the second battery has risen due to surface charge absorption delay.
2. The Redarc DCDC charger has reached 14.4v within 10 minutes of beginning its charge, not 3 hours as has been suggested. At this stage the battery is still at less than 60% Soc, not 80% as has also been suggested.
3. In the first chart, the alternator output voltage remains fairly constant within a range of 0.13v. A diode fuse would realistically add 0.6v to the output which could conceivably add a few more amps in the early stages until the crank battery voltage rose to that level or temperature compensation/ECU controls cut the voltage back again.
For alternator controlled vehicles where the voltage can fall well below 13v, even the diode won't help much as the figures would again be similar to or less than those shown.

The results are repeatable for anyone who wishes to do the same test.
The doubters can bitch all they like, the test was done honestly, the figures are up there, and I am not interested in getting into a debate about it.
AnswerID: 526102

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:36

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 23:36
Yes Brian these figures are credible - I too have done similar tests.
The advantage is even greater when charging a battery at the end of a long connection such as in a caravan.
I haven’t bothered to list my results on this post as many wouldn’t understand them or either wouldn’t take the time to decipher the data.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:50

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:50
Firstly.
The time taken with this test is not long enough...it is not even a full charge cycle.....this brings into question the validity of the test.

One or two hours...of for goodness sake.

Second
Any advantage the DC to DC charger may have, can easily be attributed to the terminal voltage of the charger and nothing else.

You terminate your test with the alternator charged example with the battery at 13.4 volts...you terminate your DC to DC exampe at 14.4 volts...A FULL VOLT DIFFERENCE.

Third.
I gather this vehicle was not driven, but sat there at idle.....hardly giving the alternator a fair go.

I have curves for the alternator in my vehicle, it shows it does not produce rated current output ( 100 amps) till a shaft seed of 5000 rpm, that equates to an engine speed of arround 2500 rpm on my vehicle. At engine idle speed of arround 600-800 rpm its output is arround 30 to 50 amps.......by the time vehicle electrics load and charging losses are factored, you woul be lucky to be putting 15 amps into the battery.......Hmmm funny that...that is what you measured.

Fourth
You point to specifc gravity and beeing a more accurate indicator of charge.
You have not accounted for the variations in acid SG in the battery during the charge process.
It is well known that the SG of the acid varies thruout the battery.....the SG will increase at the top of the battery and remain low at the bottom of the battery PARTicularly at low charge rates.

Its called acid stratification.

So unless the battery is mechaically agitated...like it whould while driving, is vigorously charged thus creating agitation from gassing or is left to equalise..for some time.
Reading of SG taken at the top of the acid pool will be very inaccurate.

We where drilled on this when I was an apprentice.....we logged SG and voltages on large battery banks weekly.....and we where required to rest the batteries before measuring either.
AND we used big ass chargers that would produce enough charge current to agitate the electrolite.

Then there is the question of condition of the battery.
I have a marine battery that if left idle will not accept much charge, and will take at least 2 days to produce a "fully charged" light on my 7.5 amp multistage charger and only then when the charger is switched to boost mode at 14.5 volts.
discharged and recharged a couple of days later it recharges much more willingly.

We have no knoweledge of how old your test battery is , what condition it is in or how it has been treated.


NOW if you want a valid test, it needs to be done apples for apples...start with an alternator that has the same maximum charging voltage as the DC to DC charger.
Do the tests over at least 1 full charge cycle...that means charging for at least 8 hours and resting overnight.
Use batteries of a known condition that have been cycled, equalised and tested so their behaviour is known
AND with the vehicle moving so the engine runs at at least 2500rpm.

Then you have the beginnings of a valid test.

As it stands, any differences can be put down squarely at terminal voltage.

cheers
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:53

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:53
HI Brian

Your first set of figures are I believe with direct charging ???
If so it would seem to me that you have excessive voltage drop in the cables.
IN the order of 0.5V!!
Of course. that will make a substantial difference in the charge rate!!
Are you using a diode type isolator??
I suggest the redarc went straight to 'Absorption' because it saw the battery had been charged to 14.4V
Any La battery in good condition will very quickly rise from a steady state of 12.7/12.8V to14.5V when even a few amps are put into it
I have seen that many many times with even simple single stage chargers
As you have correctly posted & seen, it is the absorption time that finishes it off to 100%SOC
An alternator non ecu reg does somewhat similar if the drive time is long enough & the voltage is held around 13.8V[ reduced current input]

you have not given your cables or run length
but i would suggest that the voltage input at the Redarc would be interesting
also are those amp readings into the battery or the ALTERNATOR output
OF course if the Redarc input voltage is low the alternator has to put out more amps to obtain the watts input!!
ie if the Redarc ouput is 14v@ 20A = 280W & the input voltage at its input is only 12V, then 280W/12V=23A
That is neglecting losses in the Redarc, not sure of their claimed efficiency but expect no better than 90%
so actual alternator output would be more like 25.55A.


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:05

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:05
" The Redarc DCDC charger does not stay at a constant current until the battery reaches 80% Soc, in fact, it has dropped to roughly half the original current by the time the battery reaches 60% Soc."

So it is actual even slower charging the battery, I went by Redarc specs which say it will maintain 20A or 40A etc to around the 80% SOC point, clearly your chart shows that it can't even supply 40A at a 50%SOC!

I seem to recall someone stating in another thread that it keeps ramping up the voltage to maintain the charge rate which an alternator can't do, seems the Redarc can't either.

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:14

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:14
Hi
Cannot edit but some other points
As far as I am aware ALL the non ecu alternator regs are 3 Stage[Always have been. even the old elctro mechanical types]

AS one would see if they have an ammeter fitted
First stage full alternator out put IF the battery will accept it
2nd stage, reduced voltage,= reduced charge current

3rd stage, rarely seen unless the a Ammeter is reading actual alternator output ,' NO OUTPUT. ' field current reduced to zero to prevent overcharging.
I totally agree ,the newer vehicles with ecu controlled alternator will not satisfactorily charge any battery to 100%
A DC/Dc charger is almost essential unless one is prepared to use a voltage boosting diode in the battery to alternator sense circuit!


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:22

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:22
HI
A correction to my 2nd last post
I see at one stage you actually had a full 1.0 V loss in the cables with direct charging!!
AND that was with only around 14A
THAT to my mind is unacceptable for any purpose on a 12V set up
8% loss with just 14A no wonder the battery did not charge

PeterQ

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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:29

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:29
"----------------------11:30-----------13.97---------------------13.40-----------------6.22"

Using Redarcs calculator as you love Redarc:

4 Mters of 6 B&S cable

Cross sectional area = 13.3mm2

Cable temp 25C

Max current 6A

Estimated voltage drop .03V

Don't know what cable you were using but if you were getting .43V something fishing is going on and the validity of your testing is suss to say the least.

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:56

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:56
HI Brian
Your quote"Steve,
First point that I will make is that the Ctek unit is not recommended for use on low alternator voltage vehicles due to its relatively high cut-out point, all other brands seem to be able to handle the lower voltages quite well.
Contrary to what is being said on this thread, DCDC chargers such as the Redarc etc. compensate very well for line losses."

Both statements I agree with particularly the last one
THEY compensates for line losses they do not correct the line losses
Those losses are still there, possibly wasting alternator capacity If the alternator has other loads
.A volt or two is not be critical in low voltage applications , but in 12V systems it causes big problems
I do hope those who use D c /Dc chargers watch how hot those cables feeding the dc /dc charger get !!
They do have to carry MORE than the CHARGER'S output current, anything from 10% to possibly 40% more!

that can be seen from Brian's tests I expect he is using a 20A charger yet the alternator output is much higher

Howeve I would suggest Brian has a high resistance connection somewhre in his system as the voltage drop with 2Mof 6B&S with 10A current flowing should only be around 0.052V =0.37%
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 14:48

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 14:48
HI Leigh
Volt drop tables & cals can always be a problem , one needs to be certain as to if they are based on "Run ' Length or ACTUAL length of single cables
Mine was correctly based on run length[perhaps I should have stated that ]while yours is correctly based on actual length of single cables
So Both our answers are RIGHT
Just in case some do not understand
whichever way it goes ,there is something seriously wrong with either Brian's figures or his set up
PeterQ
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:12

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:12
Remember friends, there are 3 certainties in this life.

DEATH

TAXES

VOLTAGE DROP.

Don't get over obsessed with the voltage drop...there will always be some.

The single biggest issue in this argument is the charging voltage.

And that charging voltage varies much more than the voltage drop.

Increase the charge voltage at any point by a full Volt and the charge rate will increase considerably.

cheers

cheers
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Follow Up By: Brian 01 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:56

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:56
To clarify a few points here, and that will be the last from me as this will just go on ad infinitum.
1. Oldtrack..Surely you jest. Excessive voltage drop with just a 4 metre circuit length of 13mm2 cable, and the cable specs were posted.
No isolator of any sort was inserted between the batteries on direct charge.

2. Bantam.
To your first point, do you honestly think that the rate of charge to the 2nd battery would have miraculously increased given more time?

To your 2nd point. Of course the increased current can be attributed to the DCDC higher charger voltage, that's the whole point of them.

To your point 2A. If you look closely you will see that both charge times were of one hour duration, and the DCDC test started at a lower voltage but ended up a whole volt higher.
What does that tell you?

To your 3rd point. the vehicle was stationary but engine revs were set at 2000 RPM which is equivalent to about 100kmh. How fast do you drive? And that crap about vehicle motion stirring up the electrolyte, it just keeps getting better.

To your 4th point. Anyone with any real knowledge of battery chemistry would be aware that acid is heavier than water and will therefore gravitate to the bottom of the battery. Specific Gravity readings will always be lower at the top of the cell not the bottom as you state.
The rest of your post is basically rant so I'll leave that alone.

3. LeighW.
To your statement " So it is actual even slower charging the battery"

Did you even read the figures, the DCDC charger is at least 2.5 times
faster.
Do you also believe, as Bantam does, that the charge rate is going to miraculously increase as the battery voltage gets higher.

The charger is obviously ramping up its voltage to maintain the charge rate within its capabilities.
A look at comparative voltage versus charge current for the alternator at time 10:34 shows volts at 14.10 and current at 14.5 and for the DCDC charger at time 3:03 shows volts at 14.10 and current at 34.86, yet you still claim the direct alternator to be better???

With regard to the later posts by Oldtrack and LeighW about presumed excessive voltage drop in the wires, or faulty connections.
I have to assume that you're not both kidding here.
Consider the indisputable fact that the total voltage drop in any circuit is equal to the sum of all of the individual voltage drops in that circuit.
So....'Let's look at the charging circuit route:-
From crank battery negative terminal, through black connecting lead (which will have some resistance and voltage drop across it), through the 2nd battery (which will have high internal resistance and voltage drop across it, decreasing as battery becomes charged), through red connecting lead (again some resistance and voltage drop across it), back to crank battery positive terminal.

Now.. allowing for normal voltage drop in the connecting wires, where do you suppose the rest of your unexplained voltage drop is occurring?
Perhaps you might consider the internal resistances as a prime candidate.
A couple of questions

1. Have either of you ever connected a flat battery to a fully charged one and seen both voltages instantaneously equalise?
2. Have either of you ever connected a charger with a say 14v output voltage to a battery at say 12v, and seen an instantaneous jump in voltage of the flat battery to that 14v?
The answer to both questions would have to be no because it won't happen, so did you put that difference in the two voltages down to just the resistance of the wiring, or poor connections without ever considering the voltage drop across the internal resistance of the battery?

There was no excessive voltage drop or poor connections, the results are entirely in keeping with expected figures.

That's it from me.
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 22:01

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 22:01
Brian a simple calculation shows you couldn't possibly obtain the voltage drop you did using the specified cable at the current you have quoted, therefore your measurements leave a lot to be desired or you have fabricated the readings!

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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 22:57

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 22:57
For those following:

Using Brians own figures:

V1 V2 Vdrop Amps Resistance of cable
14.09 13.09 1V 12.3 .081
14.08 13.3 .78V 10.9 .071
14.04 13.34 .7V 10.1 .069
14.02 13.36 .66V 9.8 .067
13.97 13.35 .62V 8.32 .074
13.97 13.36 .61V 7. .087
13.97 13.4 .57 6.22 .092

It seems in Brians test setup the resistance of the cable changes as the current does!

I would suggest Brian has a serious measurement issue or he has very unique cable!

As a matter of interest if you check out Redarcs calculator it indicates 6B&S will have a resistance of approximately .005 ohms for a 4 meter length, and a calculated voltage drop of .06V for 4 meters of cable carry 12.3 amps, this varies markedly from the 1V drop Brain measured during his testing.

I suggest that Brain goes back and tests properly.

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 23:44

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 23:44
HI Brian
I do not jest
You figures show a large voltage difference from one battery to the other with only 2M run of 6B&S cable in between
[quote]Enginerunning..
....10:34........14.10........................12.78...................14.50
-10:35-----------14.09---------------------13.09----------------12.30
{end quote]

1.32Vlost with 14.5Aover a2M run length of 6B&S cable
I'msurprised that an electrical engineer would not immediately suspect something was wrong to have such a voltage loss with that current!!

I have posted & has Leighof the Calculated voltage drop over that length
using the above figs for 14.5A it should only be 0.052V

Perhaps you have some other reason for your readings if so we would be interested?
AS it stands the exercise is worthless IT cannot be used for any comparison purpose
IF those sorts of voltage lossesare accptableto you then no wonder you consider a dc/dc charger essential


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 23:54

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 23:54
Hi Brian
By the way we do not need a lecture in circuit resistance, what makes up a circuit etc voltage drop etc
I am not that senile yet


BUT perhaps YOU have not given ALL the detail

YOU SAY the only thing between the TWO batteries is a 2M run length of 6B&S cable!!

The voltage drop in that cable is very easily calculated for any t current flowing. an exercise has been done for both 6A & 14.5A,
can YOU fault THOSE figure??
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:00

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:00
Brian mate your experiment is findamentally flawed in so many ways, and your reasoning is likewise fundamentally flawed.

1. don't obsess about the voltage drop.....the first and fundamental flaw of this experiment is that the Dc to DC charger outputs a full Volt more than the alternator.....voltage drop or no voltage drop that is why the dc to dc charger works better in this case.

2.No I am not claiming that the rate of charge mirraculously did anything...but I have seen batteries particularly old ones plenty of times start with a low charge rate and improve over several hours.


For this test to be valid the test battery has to have a proven consistent behaviour, before the test.

As I say if you are comparing a 13.8 volt alternator with a 14.whatever volt DC to DC charger you are not comparing apples with apples...try the test with a 14.something volt alternator and see how you go.

The point of dc to dc chargers is not to increase voltage...you can do that with a $2 fuse diode in most cars.

The purpose is to compensate for voltage drop in cables....which is not the problem here.

As for "acid stratification"
This is a very well documented issue with batteries...yes acid is heavier than water...but it is not that simple and it is well known that SG can be uneven thru the depth of the cell.

The difference in specific gravity is very small, and when there are other influences on the fluid such as heat and rising gass, the heavier acid may remain at the top of the cell resulting in inaccurate and inconsistent readings...THIS is why your SG readings do not agree with your voltage readings.

Unless the acid is agitated my either motion or vigorous gassing, it takes time for the SG to equalise thru the depth of the cell.

Do you also understand that in a wet cell battery, the top part of the plates is more active under charge than the bottom part of the plate...particularly at low charge rates and the early part of the charge cycle..
The reasons are interesting ...but the result is more acid and more heat is generated at the top of the cell.

Result..acid stratification, hotter but heavier and more concentrated acid remains at the top of the cell with cooler and lighter acid and water at the bottom.

None of your figures prove anything appart from your method and conclusions being unreliable.

Seems you know just enough to draw an incorrect conclusion.

cheers
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:05

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:05
Oh on the matter of alternator RPM.

Do you have curves for your alternator and or have you tested the output of your alternator.

Have you logged the alternator behaviour into the test batter on its own.

OH are we not forgetting that the alternator is a full volt lower in charging voltage to the DC to DC charger.
Nothing else matters because of this gross error in comparision.

cheers
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:08

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:08
HI Brian
RE [Quote oute]
So....'Let's look at the charging circuit route:-
From crank battery negative terminal, through black connecting lead (which will have some resistance and voltage drop across it), through the 2nd battery (which will have high internal resistance and voltage drop across it, decreasing as battery becomes charged), through red connecting lead (again some resistance and voltage drop across it), back to crank battery positive terminal.[end quote]

WHAT ALOAD OF HOGWASH
Do you actually think we are 6years olds that we do not know what constitutes an electrical circuit k
How the hell where you measuring those voltages
Surerly with the direct charge setup you were reading voltage at EACH batteries tern minals
or do you have some strange method that normal electrical people do not use??

PeterQ
ps Do not squib out NOW!
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FollowupID: 808344

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 01:42

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 01:42
HI Brian
As for the rest of that LOOONG post of your'
IT is full of misunderstanding, although it looks good
I must go now but I WILL COME BACK tomorrow LATE to go through THAT

BUT just to confirm, you are an ELECTRICAL engineer ???

Because you do not seem to know where or how to do some simple measurements tr determine voltage drop from one source to it's load

Perhaps that is why you have needed a DC 'DC charge
Still waiting for YOUR explanation as to how you can get such a large voltage difference from one end to the other of such a short heavy cable under a relatively light load current for a
cable rated@ around 80A.???
r
PeterQ
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FollowupID: 808349

Reply By: Member - wicket - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:05

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:05
Hey Shaz and Steve

Bet you're sorry you asked ;)
AnswerID: 526114

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:05

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:05
The single most important thing to understand is.

When making assessments of the viability or improvements in battery systems we MUST compare like with like.

The snake oil merchants of the battery and charging business rely on people seeing an improvements where the comparison is not like for like.

Of course a properly chosen $400 AGM battery will perform better and last better than a $100 old technology battery ( particularly a claped out one)....that does not mean AGM was required or advantageous...the customer may well have seen the same or better improvement from a good current technology wet cell battery at $200.

No doubt if a DC to DC charger with a 14.2 volt charging terminal volatge is installed in a vehicle with a 13.8V alternator and overly light wiring...the Dc to Dc charger will produce a higher state of charge and faster.

But a $2 diode fuse may produce the same or similar improvement.

Certainly a 14.2- 14.5 volt alternator combined with adequate wiring will produce the fastest possible charge rate.....particularly where a low impedance battery that has no effective current limit is used.

Been having these arguments for years, but people want to believe the expensive option is best...they do not want to hear about like for like comparisions and that fairly modest but well engineered systems can outperform the expensive choices.

cheers
AnswerID: 526132

Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 15:08

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 15:08
I tend to find a 240v to 12v DC charger with a suitably long extension cord the best option.
AnswerID: 526141

Follow Up By: Shaz n Steve - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:55

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:55
Well
It appears I have opened a can of worms. I would like to thank everyone for their input and I think I might take a trip to a reputable auto electrician and get him to check out my set up. Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 21:50

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 21:50
Hi Steve\
Best of luck in finding an AUTO Electrician who really understands!!!

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:19

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:19
Shaz n steve...the can of worms was opened long ago....the worms of mis-information and mis-understanding have multiplied fed by dishonest salesmen and poorly educated installers to such a point that the whole floor of the figurative battery shop is crawling with them.

As oldtrack says...good luck fimnding an autolecy that actually knows how this stuff works....there are only a few arround.

There are also some who know their business, but would rather take the extra $1000 for an expensive solution, than a simple one that is adequate.

The forums are getting post after post from people who have systems that plainly do not work.....no arguments about finer points here...do not work..who have been to autolecys.

It realy is a sorry state of affiars...and all I can do is encourage you to gain at least a basic understanding so you know what you are being sold.

cheers
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FollowupID: 808345

Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:48

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 20:48
HOW LUCKY AM I

that I don't know anything about 12 volt power ??? I paid some bloke who knows about the stuff $1500 to supply and fit a 130 amp hour AGM battery to the back of my ute with a Redarc dc to dc charger plus install half a dozen 12 volt sockets to run my fridges, lights and other accessories which run 24/7 and now I just drive around the country with one fridge keeping the meat frozen and the other supplying me with icy cold beers with no problems whatsover !!!

I can only imagine what it would be like to spend a night around the campfire with some of the people who expressed their thoughts (and knowledge) of the above topic ? ( tartan hats, slippers and pipes come to mind )

To Shaz n Steve - I hope you got the answer you were looking for !


Happy and Safe travelling
( preferably with all batteries charged )

Gazz
AnswerID: 526157

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:23

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 00:23
AH...ignorance is bliss.
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Reply By: ModSquad - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:13

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:13
We think this is getting a bit circular and full of chest beating experts. The thread has long since stopped providing useful info to the OP. To save their in box from further trauma, the thread will be locked.

The Modsquad.
Moderation is just rules

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AnswerID: 526181

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