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Best on-board battery chargers?

Old 10-10-2014, 06:55 PM
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Default Best on-board battery chargers?

Evening folks,

I'm sure this topic has been covered here many times in the past but unfortunately I don't have time to sit here and read them all night.

I want to install an on-board battery charger for my 24' Albie and I desperately need recommendations and why. I have two batteries and the charger will primarily be used to maintain the batteries through the winter. I am NOT interested in using solar and whatever I install has to be USCG approved for enclosed gas engine compartments. I would like to stay below about $300 - if possible.

I've read what seemed like rave reviews about a particular model and then all of a sudden I'll read several bad ones about the same unit. One reviewer even said the unit he installed was an excellent charger because it was the third one in 10 years he used! REALLY? That made it an excellent charger - because it had to be replaced three times in 10 years? Not in my book! Is that all the service life I can expect to get out of an on-board battery charger?

So how about guys - talk to me - help a brother out!
Old 10-10-2014, 08:39 PM
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Sterling!
Old 10-10-2014, 09:06 PM
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I like my MasterVolt ChargeMaster. The smallest models can be found from about $250-$300. But they are well designed and usually last a very long time.

They have a "digital communications bus" for which you can get a NMEA 2000 converter - so if you later want battery & charger info on your NMEA 2000 net it relatively easy to do. (Please note they have a "cheaper" model called PowerCharger which does NOT have the digital bus and interface capability - but quality on that is great too)

And so far I have seen it spit out 42A while still powering the rest of the boats 12V DC systems. Not all chargers will act as power supply for your accessories while charging.

If I lifted my electric hatch with the old charger running - it would still put a huge load on the batteries and then take a few hours to come back to full capacity. Now I can't see on my battery graph that a huge Amp draw happened at all.

I got my 3 bank 50A Chargermaster for $350 on eBay.
Old 10-10-2014, 09:17 PM
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Thank you gentlemen - anyone else?
Old 10-10-2014, 09:22 PM
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http://www.newmarpower.com/Battery_C...Three_12V.html
Old 10-10-2014, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CLTAMT View Post
Evening folks,

I'm sure this topic has been covered here many times in the past but unfortunately I don't have time to sit here and read them all night.

I want to install an on-board battery charger for my 24' Albie and I desperately need recommendations and why. I have two batteries and the charger will primarily be used to maintain the batteries through the winter. I am NOT interested in using solar and whatever I install has to be USCG approved for enclosed gas engine compartments. I would like to stay below about $300 - if possible.

I've read what seemed like rave reviews about a particular model and then all of a sudden I'll read several bad ones about the same unit. One reviewer even said the unit he installed was an excellent charger because it was the third one in 10 years he used! REALLY? That made it an excellent charger - because it had to be replaced three times in 10 years? Not in my book! Is that all the service life I can expect to get out of an on-board battery charger?

So how about guys - talk to me - help a brother out!
One note - on selecting how many Amp's your charger should deliver. Normally MINIMUM 10% of your batteries total Ah capacity. 15-20% is better. So if you have 2 banks with 100 Ah batteries - then that is equal to total of 200 Ah. So the right charger would be between 20 and 40 Amp.

You should of course check your batteries max Amp charge rate - many have limits of 10 Amp for 8-12 hours, like my current "crappy" Bluetops. But in many cases you can safely put more in (Alternators are not limited and can spit out 40-130 amp) - but some really great AGM batteries like Lifeline you can charge them with very high amps without any damage.
Old 10-11-2014, 05:07 AM
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We switched to Powermania a couple of years ago and have not had any failures. It is the best quality charger on the market in my opinion http://boemarine.ecomm-search.com/se...a&x=-760&y=-68
Old 10-11-2014, 05:14 AM
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We haven't seen any problems from the hundreds of ProMariner ProSport chargers we have installed over the last few years.

There are plenty of good brands out there. We have found MinnKota and Dual Pro chargers to be the most problematic.
Old 10-11-2014, 06:37 AM
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CLTAMT

I am going assume you have either AGM's or Lead Acids and that both are group 24,.27, or 31's. If you goal is to charge the two batteries before heading out, and you are not using any short power + charging at the same time, then a 20 amp prosport or XPS iT would be fine here. Both are made by promariner, waterproof, automatic charge/float based on the bank, and include all AD & DC wires. Connect, plug in, walk away.

I have the XPS units in stock, factory refurbished, for $90 + shipping. We back it for 90 days. I would encourage you to check out my ebay feedback in the link below and search these forums for confirmation of our quality and service.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. FYI current smart chargers have a lifespan of about 3-5 years. Sure they could last longer, but environmental factors ( hot Florida sun, etc) and above average use can shorten the lifespan.

Thank you
Jason
Old 10-11-2014, 07:01 AM
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Can I ask why you won't consider solar? I added a solar panel to maintain my batteries (2 starting + 1 house) and I am blown away by the performance. I have power at my slip and went with solar because the charger is simpler and requires nothing to plug in. Total cost was around $400.
Old 10-11-2014, 07:18 AM
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Thank you folks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it! You've given me some things to research this weekend. Kaz911 and ChargerGuy, both are lead acid but I'm not sure of the Ah rating or the group size but I will check on that when I go up to the boat in a couple of days. I've had the boat a little over a year and I believe the batteries were new at that time. Would the group size be indicated on the battery?
Old 10-11-2014, 07:38 AM
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Select a charger that is appropriate for the batteries.

This is the Lifeline Technical Manual. This is the best AGM manual available.

This reply shows the battery manufacturer's recommended charging current for flooded cell batteries and for AGM batteries.

The Charles 5000SP chargers are well-made. The one I installed on my boat has been a work horse for many years.

The construction has an aluminum bathtub extrusion for heat dissipation helping to ensure long-life.

Last edited by wingless; 03-29-2018 at 06:20 AM.
Old 10-11-2014, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by I'm on a boat View Post
Can I ask why you won't consider solar? I added a solar panel to maintain my batteries (2 starting + 1 house) and I am blown away by the performance. I have power at my slip and went with solar because the charger is simpler and requires nothing to plug in. Total cost was around $400.
Hi Ioab - I just had a boat lift installed at our lake house and I had 110vac service added at our dock. I thought about solar but was concerned about where to place the panel on the boat, and to gain access to the batteries I would have to leave both access doors open to route the wires and that would give me a rather large air leak into the transom and bilge area where I have an engine bay heater. What I was hoping to do was install a shore power buss in the transom area and mount the connector jack under the aft end of the gunwale where it would remain high and dry. That way I can plug in the charger and heater in the winter months without difficulty.
Old 10-11-2014, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CLTAMT View Post
Thank you folks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it! You've given me some things to research this weekend. Kaz911 and ChargerGuy, both are lead acid but I'm not sure of the Ah rating or the group size but I will check on that when I go up to the boat in a couple of days. I've had the boat a little over a year and I believe the batteries were new at that time. Would the group size be indicated on the battery?
Yes it would. Likely part of the model #. If you cannot find it, just post the battery model #. Group 24-31`s are close, so either way a 15-20 amp charger would be fine. More amp = faster recharge. The chargers I am suggesting also send the amps where needed. So if one battery is full, the dead one gets all 20 amps.

thanks!
Jason
Old 10-11-2014, 07:58 AM
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Ship n shore by schmacker.
Old 10-11-2014, 08:30 AM
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Charles Marine or Newmar. those are the best.
Old 10-11-2014, 09:05 AM
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I want to vote for NOCO chargers, they are a smart charger, reasonably priced, reliable and work well... http://www.geniuschargers.com/GEN2
Old 10-11-2014, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by finadict View Post
I want to vote for NOCO chargers, they are a smart charger, reasonably priced, reliable and work well... http://www.geniuschargers.com/GEN2
I don't think this is an election...
Old 10-11-2014, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
I don't think this is an election...
Sure why not - all opinions count! Keep em coming!
Old 10-14-2014, 06:22 PM
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Noco are solid. We use the 3 bank with AGM all the time. Rugged construction, easy to set up and mount. We also integrate 300 watt solar with controller for self-contained solution.

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