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Old 05-18-2008, 12:29 PM
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Default 4 Battery wiring question

Hi,
I was just trying to re-wire my battery banks into a configuration that will be more useful and fault tolerant. I just want to verify that I'm not doing something completely wrong here. I'm most uncertain about wiring the negatives. The goal is to have a two battery house bank that I can either enable one or both batteries for. It also gives me fault tolerance since I could flip either starting switch to 2 and use the house for starting. If the house switch were set to all, both house batteries could be called to service for starting an engine. I also have all the flexibility around charging. I can switch either starter switch to "all" and charge up the house bank if needed while underway. When at the dock, I have a three bank charger that should work well.
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Question, is it ok that all of my negatives are not wired together? I effectively have two negative circuits grounded at their respective engines. Any other big problems with this plan?


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Old 05-18-2008, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Some thoughts/ideas:

All of the negatives need to be connected together

Get the Yamaha Auxiallary Charging Leads and connect each engine to a house batt.

At the dock, you will need to use the switch to parallel the 2 house banks as you only have a 3 bank charger

Change the wire color on Switch 3 Post 2 to Batt C from Black to Red

I don't see a disadvantage to paralleling the 2 house batts into 1 bank to simplify things

Check this out :

http://www.bepmarine.com/Clusters-179.html




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Old 05-18-2008, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Here's an easy way to do it with ON/OFF swithes instead of 1,2,off switches which IMO are a pain in the bottom.

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Old 05-19-2008, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

1. Yes, all the negative terminals must be connected. The cables you use should be at least as heavy as your starter cables. This is necessary because if you use the house battery(ies) for emergency starting the negative cables have to carry starter motor currents and you don't want to risk a fire.

2. No, don't use the diode isolators suggested above. They have a built in voltage drop and your batteries won't get a full charge.

3. Yes, I agree with the suggestion to combine the two house batteries into one battery. Either eliminate one or put them both in parallel. There are no advantages to having dual house batteries and there are some disadvantages.

4. Add a couple of Combiner 100s if you want and the whole system will be fully automatic. Both switches can stay permanently in the #1 position except for emergency starting. You won't have to remember to switch to BOTH each time you start an engine so the house battery will get charged. And more importantly, you won't risk running down a starting battery with house loads when you forget to switch back to 1 after turning an engine off.

When either (or both) engines are running the House battery will be charged safely. The Combiner100 will only supply power to the House Battery as alternator capacity becomes available and that will prevent overload. *Warning*: a Diode Isolator charges the LOWEST battery first which can overload an alternator. The Combiner100 gives priority to the starting battery and only diverts charge to the House battery after the starting battery has a charge.

You get the added advantage with the Combiner100s that they are bi-directional. This means you can put a single output shore power charger on the house battery and both starting batteries will get charged too. Plus while underway, if using only one engine, the other starting battery will also get charged after the house battery has received a charge.


I've re-worked your schematic to show the changes. You can omit the Combiner100s if you trust your memory to switch every time you start or stop each engine.

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Old 05-19-2008, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Great replies. Thanks everyone. Couple follow-up comments.

Everyone is in agreement that all negatives need to all be connected with the same gauge as my starting batteries. I'll get this taken care of for sure.

The one benefit I noticed with having the ability to split my house bank into two banks is to eliminate noise that I was receiving through the amplifier from various house devices when I had the two batteries run in parallel. My washdown pump was the worst, but I was even receiving noise from nav lights being turned on. If I wire the amp directly to house battery 1 and run the house stuff all off house battery 2 (effectively now having a Stereo House and house house bank), all the noise was gone. I've heard filters could help with this but haven't investigated fully. If I could solve this, I don't see any reason not to permanently wire the two house batteries together in parallel permanently. Well, my two house batteries are different types and ages, so I would buy another brand new battery if wiring together permanently, which I was going to do anyhow.

The C100s look pretty good and not too expensive. I have a 3 bank charger at the dock so I don't think I'd have to rely on the alternators to charge up my house except for on longer trips where electrical hookups aren't always available. In these cases, I'd have to flip the switch to all while underway, then remember to switch it back.

I'll also look into the alternate alternator output from the engines. Wiring these directly to the house batts would also eliminate the need to switch back and forth between all and 1 for charging purposes. I understand that I could starve my starting batteries of replenishment if the house batts were very low. C100 comes in handy here.

One last question. Where do you recommend I should wire my two bilge pumps? I have a primary and a backup. I figured I should wire the backup from something different from the primary just in case my house died. Should I run the primary pump from the house and secondary pump from one of my starting motors?

Thanks again for all your replies.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Quote:
yandina - 5/19/2008 12:18 PM

<2. No, don't use the diode isolators suggested above. They have a built in voltage drop and your batteries won't get a full charge
While I agree with most of your post, and also love the new pre-made combiner systems which are available, the statement is no longer valid. It is an old falicy that battery isolators will not "charge batteries completely".

I have 4 AGM batteries that stay at 100% all the time, via my battery isolator. My isolator has a .6 volt drop on it. My Yamaha's (as with ALL the new motors) put out a rediculous amount of juice making the voltage drop meaningless. There is a few benifits to using isolators instead of combiner's, they are muchg easier to install logically, and they tend to fail alot less as there is nothing to them. They are very easy to use hooked up per my diagram. Turn the switches on to use the boat, turn them off when done. Your battery's will always be completely charged.

Lastly, you can easily substitute the isolator in my diagram with a combiner.
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

If you are having amplifier noise problems when sharing other items on the same battery, the trick is to run the amplifier power supply leads (positive AND negative) back to the house battery independent of other wiring. The big source of noise is when an amplifier is sharing the positive or negative wiring with another device. As the current draw of that device goes up and down, the voltage drop along the cables back to the battery goes up and down with it. If your amplifier is sharing these wires it is getting the noise fed right into it.

It is not uncommon to wire bilge pumps directly to starting batteries so they are independent from house loads

There is nothing wrong with putting different size, age, chemistry etc., batteries in parallel. The problem of matching batteries only applies to using them in series.

Agreed, if you spend most of the time on shore power and the batteries are fully charged when you go for a 1 day run, you don't need Combiners.

Yes, Diode isolators have a 0.6 volt drop in them. That is OK if the regulator in the alternator has been set 0.6 volts higher to compensate. As for being "easier to install" I don't agree. The Combiner has 3 leads. One goes to each battery positive, the third goes to ground. You are not making any changes to engine wiring and you don't need to have the alternator cable available. 3 battery posts are easier to find and identify that alternator wiring inside an engine.

Diode isolators need cooling and they can be destroyed in less than 1/1000 second with a voltage spike. Because of warranty and reliability problems, the isolated outputs on new engines are being left out. At least one engine manufacturer is now sending their customers to us when they need to charge an auxiliary battery.

"and they tend to fail alot less" LOL - please don't create unsupported statistics. Our biggest source of customers are those that have got tired of replacing failed diode isolators. You are lucky to get 90 days warranty on a diode isolator. Combiner100s do not have any voltage drop, do not put out wasted heat and have an unlimited warranty. We have sold over 30,000 during the last 15 years, all on unlimited warranty. We get about 8 returns a year of which typically 75% have nothing wrong with them. That calculates to an annual failure rate of 0.007% for Combiners. Where did you get your Isolator statistics?

You cannot substitute a combiner for the diode isolator in the schematic. Combiners do not connect to the alternator.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

My statistics are unsupported? I hate to inform you, but about 90% of ALL boats manufactured and sold today, are sold with a battery isolator as standard equipment. In fact, I have never even herd of one failing. Your the first to mention it. The only complaint I ever hear is about the voltage drop which was a problem back in something like 1945 when alternators didn't put out any power.

Where do you work where your getting these returns? I have personally replaced a combiner that failed. I have never had to replaced an isolator or herd of one getting replaced, but I don't deal with many of them so that doesn't mean much.

Like I said, I also like combiners, but there is nothing wrong with using a battery isolator. And again, they ARE easier to understand and wire. Post a diagram of my system, with combiners installed, so ALL batteries are charged from ALL engines and chargers, and simple ON/OFF switches can be used to operate the system without having to know what needs to be turned on and off and when. Convince me you can make an easy to wire and more importantly operate circiut with combiners with 3 banks, 4 batteries, 2 motors.
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Hi Yandina,
Thanks for the tip about the amplifier noise. I actually did end up wiring it directly to the battery but also happened to turn my switch to 1 so the house was separated. I'll switch it back to "all" and give it a try.

I think I'll just add the one negative wire so all negatives are connected and call it a day. I may add the combiners down the road if I find myself playing with switches for charging reasons a lot.

And for the bilge pumps, I'll wire the primary bilge to my house bank directly and wire the secondary directly to one of my starting motors just in case.
Thanks
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Birdman,

Nice diagram. Another advantage of diode based isolaters over combiners is the current only flows in one direction. The hot wires are separated. One bad battery won't bring all of the banks down with it.

I don't want to hijack the thread, but what brand of isolater do you have installed on your boat?

Thanks

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Old 05-24-2008, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

OK, as for where I am, I own Yandina Ltd., and invented the Combiner in 1993. We are a small company but we have sold over 30,000 so I get a lot of feedback. If the combiner you replaced was made by us, it was under warranty and you could have had a free replacement. How long is the warranty on your diode isolator?

Actually your reference to alternators back in 1945 being a problem with voltage drop is just the opposite. In those days where everyone had lead acid batteries, the regulators on alternators were very crude and would allow voltages as high as 15 volts or more. If they had used isolators back then there would be no problem with voltage drop. As the voltage regulators and the batteries became more sophisticated they set the maximum voltage of regulators to 14.2 volts, the voltage above which batteries will start to bubble. If you have a diode isolator you will only get 13.6 volts getting to your battery. If the regulator is adjustable or has an external sense wire, you can set it up to 14.8 volts so you will get a full charge. Also, diodes capable of carrying charging currents did not become available until the 1960's. Just because I'm a girl it doesn't mean I'm blond, I've been in this business for 49 years, I remember when the first press-in alternator diodes became available.

Your 90% of boats having isolators is again totally wrong. The few that do have them frequently come to us for combiners. Our Combiners are now standard equipment in some OEM boats, emergency vehicles and military equipment. Yamaha discontinued them in some of their motors and if the customer needs one, they send them to us.

And, Bill, The hot wires in a combiner are also separated. A Combiner is NOT a PARALLEL switch. A Combiner will NEVER allow one battery to discharge into another battery. And with a combiner, it your house battery failed, you can still charge the starting battery because a Combiner does not attempt to charge the second battery until the first one has a charge. That is NOT the case for diode isolators. Diode isolators charge the LOWEST battery first so if one battery is bad NEITHER get a charge and you risk overheating your alternator.

Hey, I'm not the least biased on this subject.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

yandina - Still hard at work peddling your wares I see. Been do this for well over a year and I also see you still haven't signed up as a vendor or even bought a wheel. Come on Sparky, knock the dust off that check book and do the right thing. Or back off pushing your products. Not biased? It's gotta suck to invent a product, sell 30,000 of them and not have enough pride in the product to be biased towards it... For what it's worth I prefer combiners over isolators... That's just my choice and I don't sell either.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Actually I do plan on joining but this board is very expensive. We are only a small company - myself and 3 employees. We are a paying sponsor on two other boards that are much cheaper. Later this year when the Trollbridge36 is (re-) released we will join and I have to say the board owners here have been very tolerant toward me. The least I can do is sign up as a vendor and pay for some advertising. It is a big decision for a small company.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Quote:
Jim Z - 5/24/2008 11:10 PM

yandina - Still hard at work peddling your wares I see. Been do this for well over a year and I also see you still haven't signed up as a vendor or even bought a wheel. Come on Sparky, knock the dust off that check book and do the right thing. Or back off pushing your products. Not biased? It's gotta suck to invent a product, sell 30,000 of them and not have enough pride in the product to be biased towards it... For what it's worth I prefer combiners over isolators...
Actually I've always appreciated the posts Yandina makes - I would MUCH rather see a product vendor come in, make some reasonably well supported technical posts, and help others out, then simply pay to advertise their items. I am not 100% sold on the idea of a combiner OR isolator in my config, but if I had 2 engines and 3+ batteries I would probably go with a combiner based on her posts.
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:08 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Quote:
yandina - 5/25/2008 10:25 AM Actually I do plan on joining but this board is very expensive. We are only a small company - myself and 3 employees. We are a paying sponsor on two other boards that are much cheaper. Later this year when the Trollbridge36 is (re-) released we will join and I have to say the board owners here have been very tolerant toward me. The least I can do is sign up as a vendor and pay for some advertising. It is a big decision for a small company.
Blah blah blah... We've had this discussion before Yandina and you claimed the same thing. 30,000 units X $75 = $2,250,000. I know you can buy C100's for less butC150's are more so let's assume that's a conservative average. My guess is there's a couple bucks in there somewhere for at least a wheel...
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Quote:
Flot - 5/25/2008 10:37 AM
Quote:
Jim Z - 5/24/2008 11:10 PM yandina - Still hard at work peddling your wares I see. Been do this for well over a year and I also see you still haven't signed up as a vendor or even bought a wheel. Come on Sparky, knock the dust off that check book and do the right thing. Or back off pushing your products. Not biased? It's gotta suck to invent a product, sell 30,000 of them and not have enough pride in the product to be biased towards it... For what it's worth I prefer combiners over isolators...
Actually I've always appreciated the posts Yandina makes - I would MUCH rather see a product vendor come in, make some reasonably well supported technical posts, and help others out, then simply pay to advertise their items. I am not 100% sold on the idea of a combiner OR isolator in my config, but if I had 2 engines and 3+ batteries I would probably go with a combiner based on her posts.
My beef for the past yearwith Yadina is that they claim to notto be bias and to not have the money for even a wheel.Right... Some of the advice has merit but to what extent is it just a sales pitch? Although I prefer combiners I also believe isolators work. If they didn't work I firmly believe a site like this would ferret them out and there's plenty of proof to the contrary here.

What about all the other businesses that have bought wheels and/or become vendors legitimately? Was their money spent in vain? Somebody please tell me where you can get free advertising to nearly 80,000 registered and qualified users plus who knows how many guests?
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Quote:
Jim Z - 5/25/2008 8:08 AM


Blah blah blah...* We've had this discussion before Yandina and you claimed the same thing.* 30,000 units X $75 = $2,250,000.* I know you can buy C100's for less but*C150's are more so let's assume that's a conservative average.* My guess is there's a couple bucks in there somewhere for at least a wheel...
Don't I wish. You obviously have never been in business for yourself.
We sell at least 10 times as many C100 as C150 so the average retail price is about $55. Over 80% of sales are through distributors so we don't get that price. By the time you factor in cost of materials, payroll, taxes, rent, and overhead, we make about $10 profit per Combiner. Divide that by 15 years and that is $20,000 a year income. Fortunately I also own a bar to support my hobby!!!

I was not aware of the "wheels" until it was mentioned here. I have corrected that omission.

And my comment about bias is obviously satire, I am highly biased.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:06 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Business owner or not it doesn't take an MBA to figure out that you've plugged and sold enough of your product just through THT to pay for a $30 wheel... Many times over I'm sure. Just curious, but in that overhead you mentioned is there a little 71' steel ketch used as the R&D/test vessel? Don't get me wrong, one of the reasons this country is so great is free enterprise.

I'm just saying that selling under the guise of unbiased advice to me isn't right and since I'm the only one that seams to have a problem with that here I'll back off.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Forgot the link...

http://www.yandina.com/boatPict.htm
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: 4 Battery wiring question

Like I said above, Jim, I heard about the "wheels" when you mentioned it. I immediately purchased three. Until then I thought the wheels were based on the number of posts. They are not showing on my profile but hopefully they will eventually.

Yes, I lived aboard Yandina for 14 years. It was owned by me personally, not by the business. In fact I started this business in 1992 while on the boat to get money to purchase new sails and the business has been running ever since.

To buy the yacht I sold my house in Las Vegas. The boat was built in 1966 so its cost when I purchased it in 1989 was just about what I got for the house in Nevada. There is a difference between assets and business income, the subject of discussion. I try to keep the business in the black without putting personal savings into it. They have separate bank accounts and separate accounting. After selling the boat I put the assets into some rental houses and my restaurant/bar so counting those, I have three businesses running. Prior to leaving Las Vegas, I spent about 30 years in the gambling industry, first in Australia and later in the USA. I ran the electronics division of Bally Manufacturing in Chicago for 10 years and I was a lecturer in micro-computer programming at Northwestern University.

I turned 69 last week and although I no longer live aboard, I enjoy passing on the experience gained to others. I've never been Bass fishing so unfortunately my advise in that area is extremely limited. That gives it an apparent bias along the battery and electrical lines where I do have extensive experience. If you followed my posts on live-aboard and cruising boat forums you would see that the emphasis there is not on my products.

Thanks for your continuing support and the excuse to publish my history.
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