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ACR + Solar Panel = Engine Bank Drain at Anchor?

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ACR + Solar Panel = Engine Bank Drain at Anchor?

Old 07-06-2014, 06:41 PM
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Question ACR + Solar Panel = Engine Bank Drain at Anchor?

I recently installed a Bluesea ACR on the boat to replace an old isolator that wasn't working. New setup is working great and really happy with the results.

The next step for me is to install a solar panel on the bimini connected to a charge controller on the house battery bank. That way while on the trailer or at anchor the batteries will be charged & maintained.

Batteries are Optimax Bluetop AGMs, 1 for the engine, 2 for house. 3 Total

The ACR connects the two banks when the battery voltage is over 13V. The solar panel puts out about 5a and will put out enough V. I'm in the Caribbean so tons of sunlight (and heat).

My concern is that when we are at anchor with the radio going, solar panel up, the voltage is high enough for the ACR to connect the banks, but the Stereo will be pulling 7A - 15A. So there will be a net loss.

Did I just plan out a great way to draw off my Engine battery while at anchor?


I'm thinking ahead to the next big raft-up party here and the idea was to offset my losses on the house bank with the solar panel but I'm afraid I have just shot myself in the foot... Anyone have an experience with this?

Last edited by netjirk; 07-06-2014 at 06:42 PM. Reason: Clarified what I've tested.
Old 07-06-2014, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by netjirk View Post
My concern is that when we are at anchor with the radio going, solar panel up, the voltage is high enough for the ACR to connect the banks, but the Stereo will be pulling 7A - 15A. So there will be a net loss.

Did I just plan out a great way to draw off my Engine battery while at anchor?
If the draw is more than the output, then the voltage will be below the combine voltage.
Old 07-06-2014, 09:07 PM
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Most ACRs are bi-directional meaning they will charge the lower voltage battery from the one that has the higher charge, providing that a threshold voltage is exceeded.

In your case, I don't see that happening, since the solar panels won't overcome the draw of house battery loads from the stereo. But don't expect the panels to keep-up with the stereo draw, either, but just delay the house battery from running down. Do you have physical room for more panels, or, are you content with only partially replenishing the house battery from solar?
Old 07-06-2014, 09:31 PM
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This is that the manual says:

• If your electrical system is configured with a charging source that cannot supply the full load current being drawn from the receiving batteries, an open/close cycling process can occur. If this cycling
continues, the second battery bank could eventually discharge even though a charge source is present.
If you run into that problem - put a separate switch on the house batteries - isolating them from the starter battery.

Then I would recommend the SunSaver DUO charge controller - it can charge each bank individually with priority settings.
Old 07-06-2014, 09:53 PM
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Your ACR will seperate the batteries below 13 volts, draining only your house battery.
Old 07-07-2014, 03:42 AM
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Thanks everyone! It's a relief to be wrong about this.

Originally Posted by Karl in NY View Post
But don't expect the panels to keep-up with the stereo draw, either, but just delay the house battery from running down. Do you have physical room for more panels, or, are you content with only partially replenishing the house battery from solar?
Karl - The panel is for maintenance when we're away from the boat and to "slow" the drain while at anchor. I'm ok with it just extending the time it takes to drain the battery. There is room for a second panel later on when I have the funds & time.

Thanks again for the replies!!
Old 07-07-2014, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kaz911 View Post
If your electrical system is configured with a charging source that cannot supply the full load current being drawn from the receiving batteries, an open/close cycling process can occur. If this cycling
continues, the second battery bank could eventually discharge even though a charge source is present.
Ok, I ordered an LED indicator light for the dash so I should be able to see if this is happening. I'll make a note of the charge controller should I need it.

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