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Leisure battery chargers
Smart or trickle charger?
Sunday,5 November, 2017
8:08 am
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Sunday,20 November, 2016
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We need to buy a charger but have read different advice.  A Chandler recommended the Sterling battery charger pro-12volt 30amp but I have read that a smart charger is better than a continuous charge ie CTEK or Numax.  We live aboard and are connected to shore power but need to keep our batteries charged so that our 12volt fridge can be kept on when we are away from the boat for a couple of days and also that we are not totally dependant on running the engine to recharge which is a problem when going out early in the morning or getting back late.  Novices to living aboard so any advice welcome.

Sunday,5 November, 2017
9:52 am
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Not sure what you mean by Smart charger. 

You need a 3 or 4 stage charger. First stage is bulk, second is Absorption, third is float. All that will be automatic. The fourth stage is equalisation which is a mode you switch on manually to give a higher than normal voltage into the batteries to help prevent sulphation and to equalise the voltages on the individual batteries in the bank.

Generally when you first plug in the charger will go to bulk. This may be for a few seconds or several minutes depending on the state of charge of the batteries. The charger will then switch to Absorption and may stay on this for several hours before switching to float. On a shoreline your batteries will spend most of the time on float. 

Some chargers have various settings so you can program it to your requirements. Some have selectable preset charging programs. A good read of the manual is required. 

Do not use a car charger. 

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

Friday,8 December, 2017
8:24 am
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Friday,8 December, 2017
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pearley said
Not sure what you mean by Smart charger. 

You need a 3 or 4 stage charger. First stage is bulk, second is Absorption, third is float. All that will be automatic. The fourth stage is equalisation which is a mode you switch on manually to give a higher than normal voltage into the batteries to help prevent sulphation and to equalise the voltages on the individual batteries in the bank.

Generally when you first plug in the charger will go to bulk. This may be for a few seconds or several minutes depending on the state of charge of the batteries. The charger will then switch to Absorption and may stay on this for several hours before switching to float. On a shoreline your batteries will spend most of the time on float. 

Some chargers have various settings so you can program it to your requirements. Some have selectable preset charging programs. A good read of the manual is required. 

Do not use a car charger.   

“Do not use a car charger”, what are the car chargers here you mean? if I have a Bestek 2000w power inverter, can I use it in my boat? It is useful to start the engine. Is it OK? 

Friday,8 December, 2017
8:53 am
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Car chargers, even a number of ‘Smart Chargers’ do not have adequate control when the battery is near fully charged and are only intended for short term use such as overnight and if left permanently  connected  damage your battery. A proper marine charger can be left connected 24/7 with no chance of damage if properly configured.

An inverter is only designed to convert 12 volt DC to 230 volt AC. Not designed as a battery charger  to enable you to charge a flat battery so as to start an engine though if it was a you had and you have access to a shoreline then it might just put enough life back into the battery. Goodness knows what it will do to the inverter though.

You don’t say what you want to run from the inverter but, assuming it is this model  then it is a modified or quasi sine wave and many modern appliances or electronic equipment will either not work at all or be damaged. Either way, it would need it will need hard wiring to the battery. That cigar lighter plug will soon melt under the load. 

If you are only using the inverter to run a laptop then you would be better to consider a 12 volt adaptor such as sold by Malins that come with selectable output voltage and several different plugs to suit your device. 

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

Friday,8 December, 2017
10:01 am
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Pearley, I think that this user is making spam posts. I have deleted two already which contained links in them. As this post doesn’t have any links in it, I have left it there so that your reply isn’t wasted.

Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”

Friday,8 December, 2017
6:14 pm
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Can’t edit my last post but that bit about using the inverter to put a bit of life back into your batteries is rubbish. Of course an inverter needs 12  volt to provide the mains so cannot be plugged into a shoreline. Most boats will have separate domestic and starter batteries so if the latter is flat you just need to jump across from one to the other.

The only time I’ve had a flat battery I just put a screwdriver across the domestic isolator switch and the starter one but you need to know what’s what. 

Sorry for the total crap in the earlier post. 

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

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