New Battery Charger needed- specific capabilities - any ideas?

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 17:12
ThreadID: 76092 Views:5021 Replies:6 FollowUps:17
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My 25 Amp Ctek charger is on its last legs. After about 5 years of heavy use and bouncing around rough roads, the temp compensation and fan no longer work. Time for a new charger. The Ctek has been an excellent charger, but I'm after something with more / different capabilities this time.

The charger is often (mostly) used via a Honda 2KVA generator (we are in van full time). Although I have heaps of solar (490 Watts), I also use lots of power (have 360 AH of AGMs in the van, with built in 40 Amp charger, in addition to those mentioned before). I want to be able to get the max charge I can for the generator running time.

My wish list is:
- 40 Amp charger (for when charging the 210 AH of AGMs in vehicle).

- A 'half power' switch to reduce to 20 Amp for when I charge the 100 AH boat battery alone.

- Charge voltage selection for different batteries. I particularly want to be able to select 14.7 Volts for the AGMs.

- Temp compensation

- Good cooling fan (we spend a lot of time in heat of NT)

- Oh, and of course, I want to be able to buy at a good price.

I've seen a smaller 25 Amp charger that seems to meet all the needs (except charge capacity), but have not yet found a 40 Amp one.

So, can any of our battery / charger gurus out there point me towards some chargers that might meet my needs?

Norm C
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Reply By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 17:56

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 17:56
Hello John,

you said you saw a charger which gets all the ticks you mention, except for the max output current?

It wasn't ours by any chance?

Have you considered buying two smaller chargers?

In case one goes down, you still have one left.
You'll most likely be able to double the output by connecting them in parallel to your batteries.
From top of my head you can do this, as long as there is a battery connected, i.e. you shouldn't connect the chargers in parallel without a battery.

I haven't done this with ours, but can do a test on a half empty 200Ah AGM battery if you are curious about the result.

If this works allright, and you take both 25A units for a combined 50A, there will be a discount offer for you.

BTW, our chargers have this 'half power' switch, which makes them suitable down to 50Ah batteries.
The chargers have been tested by the manufacturer to be powered by modified sine inverters, I hope your gennie output is electronically regulated?

Let me know what you think.
Best regards, Peter
AnswerID: 404580

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 17:57

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 17:57
Sorry Norm, forget the wrong name in my previous post....

Best regards, Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:19

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:19
Yes Peter, yours is the one I was referring to. I'd much rather have one charger with all the capabilities, rather than two. But your suggestion is worth considering. I'll keep it in mind for a back up.

A 30 Amp (even 35 Amp) charger is also another compromise ( but not a lot around with that capacity I think), without the half power capability. Fullriver recommends .15 to .35 of the 20 Amp rating of the battery. I think .25 is widely considered to be the best compromise on that.

I'm also in the market for a new 100 or 105 AH DC AGM for the boat (starter for 30 HP outboard and also runs the 55 lb elec motor). Transport costs are the issue for yours as I am in Tassie, then heading over to SA and up to NT for some serious fishing for the winter.

Norm C
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FollowupID: 674272

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 19:09

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 19:09
You're spot on in terms of battery peak current recommendations.

I second Derek's advise on the paralleling of chargers. It's something which could lead to unpredictable results.
BTW, just the other day, someone from Launceston enquired about shipping. It works out to be $71 for a 35kg item from our location in Brisbane.

Hope you'll find a good solution by the time your trip starts :)

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 674285

Reply By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:15

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:15
Hi Norm

I would recommend the big 40A charger be mounted in the van and used as a hardwired charger, it will last longer this way too.

I would then recommend a smaller charger 20A max for the boat, this can be used as a portable unit and also back up charger for the van or car etc.

I have done a test on 2x 20A chargers and although it does work it has problems, you MUST switch them on at exactly the same time otherwise they don't put out the combined 40A. (I do not recommend this method)

Below is the test on a 50% discharged 105ah battery.



Regards

Derek from ABR

AnswerID: 404582

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:27

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:27
There is a 45A unit available but I don't stock them, you can try Durst directly.



Durst-Australia

Regards

Derek
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:38

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:38
Thanks Derek. You might have missed that I already have a 40 Amp charger mounted and hard wired in the van. The one I'm after is to charge the 2 AGMs (210 AH) in the vehicle and (separately) the 100 AH one in the boat. 20 or 25 Amps is fine for the one in the boat. It is also fine for the 210 AH in the vehicle, but takes a lot longer than a 40 Amp and needs more gennie running time, hence my wish for a 40 Amp / 20 Amp in one charger - if such a beast exists.

The 25 Amp CTek did both jobs for a few years and was fine. I guess I'm just trying to push the envelope a bit and improve efficiency.

Norm C
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FollowupID: 674276

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:52

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:52
Missed that yes, I will give it some thought.

Regards Derek
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FollowupID: 674279

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 00:09

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 00:09
Norm,

you want the BCS-1245C which has 45/22.5A switchable.
Same as in Derek's Durst photo.

Would be curious what's written on their price tag...

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 674352

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:12

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:12
Thanks Derek and Peter. The Durst 45 Amp looks like it might fit the bill.
Surprisingly, from their web site, it seems that temp compensation is an optional extra.

I fear it might not meet my 'don't want to pay too much' requirement-we'll see. I've emailed Durst and will post the outcome.

Norm C
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FollowupID: 674378

Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:50

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:50
Norm,
The only charger I know that offers 20 Amp and 40 Amp in a single package are the ProMariner's.

Might pay to have a look here: Protech

Have a look at them, they may do what you require. If they don't, so be it.

Geoff

Geoff,
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AnswerID: 404592

Reply By: _gmd_pps - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:51

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:51
I had a similar problem but decided to use two chargers.
I have a Xantrex 50Amp 3 bank charger and a Xantrex Truecharge II 20Amp in the truck charging on request my two starter batteries and one of the 440Ah banks when not connected to the camper where the 50Amp 3 bank charger tops up both 440Ah banks.

I have purchased several of the Xantrex on ebay (also for friends and put in their caravans).


http://cgi.ebay.com/Xantrex-TrueCharge-2-Battery-charger-20AMP-3-BANK_W0QQitemZ370335266441QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_2?hash=item5639b3b689

http://cgi.ebay.com/XANTREX-TRUECHARGE-2-40AMP-3-BANK-12V-CHARGER_W0QQitemZ260520094702QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3ca8352bee

I actually purchased from the Canadian mob. (Xantrex sits in Canada).

In my book these are the best chargers. Very solid built, flexible adjustment with remote panel (50Amp).

Multibank chargers have the advantage that you can charge banks without switching them parallel.

The terminals, casing and general built is top of the range. Metal casing, no cheap plastic, but lots more expensive when you buy in OZ.

There is one problem though: We have 250V+ at times here and the charger does not like it and goes into fault mode until the supply voltage is within range again. It is a 100-250V auto input. This only applies to the 20Amp though. The 50Amp has not problem with the higher supply voltage.

good luck
gmd




AnswerID: 404593

Follow Up By: _gmd_pps - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:53

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:53
I should mention that the supply voltage problem does not exist with my generator.
good luck
gmd
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FollowupID: 674281

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 00:40

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 00:40
gmd,

and in case of an insurance claim, the buck stops with?

Or did you follow Australian regulations and got your imports approved by an electrical safety body, and c-ticked, with your approval numbers screen printed on the case?

Some of these units of yours even go into shut down because they can't stand 240VAC overvoltage and 250VAC is right at the top end of their tolerated input voltage.
There is actually a reason why many Australia sourced electrical goods are more expensive - in many cases they're specially modified at their place of manufacture overseas, to accommodate our extraordinary high input voltages, plus additional requirements like creepage etc.

Look at your lower voltage Canadian imports. One day something will give in them, and if they cause a fire or personal injury or worse....thanks very much, and good luck indeed.

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 674354

Follow Up By: _gmd_pps - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 02:21

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 02:21
save your breath .. you talk nonsense
Projecta and other cr@p sold here is specified at 220V not even 240
Xantrex is sold here as well and is the top of the range. The import is just cheaper but the same product.
Especially modified ?? roflmao ..
have fun
gmd
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FollowupID: 674357

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 09:29

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 09:29
gmd,

hmm, you think if other's break the law, you've every right to do the same?

Your reaction of disbelief when it comes to safety standards, tells me that you can't be bothered investigating the issue further.
Let me give you a brief overview of the situation:

It doesn't matter if 'the same product' carries the approval numbers of other Australian importers.
If your own import doesn't carry your approval numbers, you're breaking the law.
And there is a reason for this, which I don't want to elaborate on right now.

Importers of electrical goods, like us, are obliged under Australian law to have their product certified by two Australian authorities, before it can be legally sold in Australia.
Let me give you an example:

I'm in possession of a 12V20A battery charger. It's a sample unit from an overseas manufacturer.
On close examination I found some missing components on its circuit board, turns out they're input/output EMI filtering components. Also, the minimum clearances between live copper tracks and the casing weren't met, and/or additional insulation was omitted. The ground wire wasn't connected to the case (most likely to prevent the earth leakage switch in the meter box from tripping, in case of dust/insect buildup inside the unit).
When asking the manufacturer about it, the reply went like this - oh we sell tens of thousands of these units to our African customers, and hardly ever receive a complaint....

Now I'm not saying that these particular Canadian units are of shoddy build quality, but you'd be surprised to find out how manufacturers are 'fine tuning' their production processes and component selection in order to cut costs to the bare minimum.

They are actually 'adjusting' the internal component makeup of their product according to the target markets legal requirements.

One last question: do you really want to see Australia go the same way as some poor African countries?
Or isn't it better to have regulations in place, putting a floor under these things, i.e. provide a certain level of safety for users of these products?

Best regards, Peter

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FollowupID: 674374

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:01

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:01
" incase of an insurance claim the buck stops where" ? SO where does it stop with YOUR imported merchandise , exactly the same b/s , " adjusting the internal component makeup according to the target markets LEGAL requirements " Whats wrong with that ?
"tens of thousands to our African customers and recieve hardly any complaints " sounds like a VERY GOOD recomendation.
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FollowupID: 674377

Follow Up By: _gmd_pps - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:02

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:02
Dont make me laugh again : Australias high standards ....
like electric wires thrown over the roof which should be under render,
like minimum diameter water pipes which makes the pressure drop to nothing when one has a shower in the house, and and and ...
CE and other standards are my guide Australia has to follow a long way.
have fun
gmd
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FollowupID: 674401

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:46

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:46
In Australian homes, building wires are actually tucked away in wall/floor cavities, or run in plastic conduits on their surface.
The practice of 'wires thrown over the roof' only exists in your dreams after watching too much Kangaroo Jack...

We use water saving shower roses, which won't make the pressure drop a great deal...

Australian electrical safety standards, and EMC standards are actually based on CE standards - with Australian amendments...

Which part of the world are you from?

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 674408

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 14:19

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 14:19
Ok Mr Battery value , when was the last time you climbed into a roof cavity ? Wires thrown over the roof / ceiling every where , Tucked away ? in your dreams , if tucked away there would be 4 roof insulation installers still alive today.
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FollowupID: 674425

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 14:46

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 14:46
You've hit the nail on the head.

Due to accidents like these, Australian regulations and standards are being updated and amended all the time.

And you want to rely on some overseas standards in the hope that they cover Australian peculiarities?

Anyway, this discussion is leading nowhere and it's off topic most of the time, so that's it from me.

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 674431

Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:57

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:57
G`day Norm,
This mob, http://powerstream.com.au, have many types of high quality chargers including a 40 amp model.
They also have improved Gel batteries that are made for Marine or RV applications capable of being charged at 14.8v - 50 amps, which is fast charging.

It may be worth your while to check them out.

I have no connection with this company other than being a very satisfied customer.

Regards,

Scrubby
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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AnswerID: 404595

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 17:53

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 17:53
I've ordered a Durst 45 Amp charger. Aust made and good reputation for quality. Has half power (22.5 Amp) switch. Models avail with 2 and 3 charge outlets. Selectable output voltage. Seems to meet all my needs. I'm paying $660 plus GST, which I think is a good price for a charger with this capability and quality.

It will give me excellent flexibility in charging my many batteries, so I'm happy with the outcome.

Thanks to those who responded, particularly Peter and Derek, who both suggested I look at Durst and gave me other advice by PM. Best part is that both these guys sell chargers, but didn't stock one that met my desired characteristics. Rather than try to convince me I needed something different, they gave advice that helped me find something that met my needs. Thanks guys.

Norm C
AnswerID: 404949

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