Battery Charger Replacement

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richie30's picture
richie30
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Joined: 12/12/07
Posts: 127
Battery Charger Replacement

My battery charger still works, I believe it is  the original that came with our 1998 Catalina 36. Is there any reason to replace it on spec? And if I did, any recommendations? Thanks, Rich

Rich

Richard & Joan Bain
PAZZO Hull#1670
1997 Catalina 36 MK11
Bayfield, Ontario

My Day Job Below
www.richardbain.com
www.bineapress.com

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Sojourn
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Joined: 7/14/08
Posts: 95

Hi Rich,

I'd let sleeping dogs lie.  Our original car battery charger is over 40 years and works fine.  However, if you do decide to change it out, you might want to consider an inverter/charger combo (/2,000 Watts AC/100 amps DC is a good size).  We use ours when we anchor, as our summer trips are usually 6-7 weeks at a time.  Anchoring is one of the joys of cruising.

When at a anchor you can operate small appliance, i.e., coffee machine, toaster, charge various other devices.  We try to charge our computers, drill battery, Winch-rite electric winch handle when motoring.  They, generally, require longer charge times so the constant DC input of the alternator takes the load of the batteries.  Our handheld VHF radio charges with AC as well as the walkie-talkie head sets we use when anchoring.  Modern boats are loaded with rechargeable devices.  Inverters help with small devices when away from shore power.  I might add, we have solar panels to deep the boat's batteries charged.

Hope this helps.
 

Lou Bruska
Sojourn
1985 C-36 TR MKI #495
Eldean Shipyard
Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI) Lake Michigan
Rallyback@comcast.net

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Chachere
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Joined: 10/27/10
Posts: 795

No opinion as to whether you should let the sleeping dog lie; I imagine it depends on whether the existing charger does what you want (multi-stage charging, equalization, etc.) in terms of charging.  Or, as Lou mentions, the possibility of having a combination with an inverter (we are pretty much all 12V DC, so rarely have need of one, but YMMV).
 
Former C36 owner and marine tech extraordinaire Rod Collins has an article on the subject at his website:
https://marinehowto.com/installing-a-marine-battery-charger/
We went with his recommendation of the Sterling ProCharge Ultra (we have the 40 amp) when our old charger punked out, and have been pleased with it.
 

Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

richie30's picture
richie30
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Joined: 12/12/07
Posts: 127

Thanks!
good info!
Rich

Rich

Richard & Joan Bain
PAZZO Hull#1670
1997 Catalina 36 MK11
Bayfield, Ontario

My Day Job Below
www.richardbain.com
www.bineapress.com

RDC
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Joined: 5/4/19
Posts: 9

Hi Rich,

I think whether or not you choose to replace your battery charger depends upon how effectively it actually charges and what your expectations and plans are for your battery bank(s).

We replaced the battery charger in our 1995 Catalina 36 MKII in August of last year.  We did so because we needed to replace/upgrade our current house bank, and determined that the existing charger wasn’t really adequate for the new set of batteries.  We replaced our two Interstate 12V 4D house batteries (117 lbs. each) with four Trojan T-105 6V golf cart batteries (just 62 lbs. each), which we wired to create a 12V 450Ah bank.  Our existing charger, a Newmar PT-25 generated only 25A of current, and most certified marine electricians recommend a charger that can deliver at a rate of 10% to 13% of a battery bank’s total capacity (for flooded lead acid batteries, which the T-105s are).

After a fair amount of research, we chose the Sterling Power ProCharge Ultra 1260, which can produce up to 60A of current (about 13.3% of our new battery bank’s capacity).  The PCU 1260 is a state-of-the-art charger with many useful features, including several preprogrammed charging profiles and a fully programmable profile that can be set to the specific charging recommendation for any battery.

A problem with many of the older “smart” chargers is that their charging profiles (i.e., bulk > absorption > float) are no longer capable of producing the voltage and current combinations that most battery manufacturers now recommend for their products.  This was the case with our Newmar charger, which was 17 years old at the time.  And many “old” chargers, particularly those originally designed for automotive use, are actually ferroresonant chargers, which often either seriously over or undercharge a battery.

I guess all that to say perhaps you want to first determine your existing charger’s output capacity relative to the size of the battery bank it supports, and whether or not it produces the charging profile that’s actually appropriate for your existing batteries (or for the batteries you may want to install in the future).

Robert

Robert & Josie Clyde
SV Kyrios (Hull #1388)
1995 Catalina 36 MKII
TR, WK, M-35AC

kgatesman
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Joined: 12/17/18
Posts: 8

I installed a pro mariner on my mechanics recommendation.   It certainly works better than the original, and for $200 provides peace of mind.  

Battery management has come a very long way.   Old things not broken tend to not break.   If I was confident the existing one performed well, I'd fix something else.  

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