altSmart chargers are not new, but they are getting smarter all the time and that’s a great thing.

In almost every issue of Canadian Yachting, we suggest you add some new or upgraded piece of equipment to your boat and virtually everything runs on electricity. The highest draw equipment onboard would be your windlass, air conditioning and refrigeration, but new entertainment systems, navigation equipment and galley items can all add big load increases.

Complicating this, battery manufacturers are always working to improve the performance of their products and new batteries can change the “charging profile” of the battery bank. Also, boaters sometimes replace only one battery vs. all the batteries in the bank which, again, changes the charging profile.

Smart chargers have been developed to deliver more effective three-stage charging and to better accommodate variations in new battery characteristics, but there are some key considerations. First, the boat builder originally specified a charging system that would work with the OEM batteries. This system likely anticipated that charging would be at the dockside through the week (so over long periods of time) and the charger would be matched to both the batteries and the OEM equipment that draws power.

If you have upgraded or added equipment, the original system may become taxed to the max. At that point, some owners increase their battery bank capacity with more, or larger batteries, but that demands an increase in charging to match that capacity.

Another consideration is the way the boat is used. With all that new equipment, time at anchor and away from shore power may stress the system beyond what the boat builder ever anticipated and if you are running the generator just to re-charge batteries, it may not be under sufficient load, wasting fuel and potentially damaging a diesel genset over time.

Next, there’s a new issue that we just learned about in a conversation with the engineering manager for one of the biggest manufacturers of marine charging systems. It seems that some people assume all new batteries act like the new lithium ion batteries. Some of us have rapidly become accustomed to the amazing new lithium ion technology and its performance. Among those who have recently replaced their battery banks, a few boaters now expect that they can deeply discharge the new batteries (like they do their computer batteries for example), then expect them to recharge in a few hours.

If you bought lithium ion batteries like the Mastervolt Li-On MLI 12/320 (See Canadian Yachting November 2009, page 46) then OK…but new conventional lead acid batteries just don’t perform like that.

There is confusion out there for sure.

There are four main types of batteries you find in marine use in larger boats:

1) Traditional lead acid flooded cell batteries

2) Absorbed glass mat (AGM) which is still lead and acid but of a very different design

3) Gel batteries, again using lead and acid but with much different characteristics

4) Lithium Ion (available in a few different variations)

Traditional lead acid batteries, often called flooded cell batteries, should always be maintained with a full charge and these types of batteries can only be discharged to typically, about 50% without suffering some irreversible damage.

This damage is called “sulfation” and when a battery drops below a full charge for long periods of time, hard lead sulfate crystals can fill the pores in the plates rendering it almost useless.

New, high technology lithium ion batteries can literally be discharged to 80% and then, can be recharged to full capacity in a surprisingly short time. These batteries have special battery management systems built in and they require very special chargers too. Lithium ion is in a totally different class.

For the other types of batteries, new high-tech “smart chargers” can improve both overall performance and also charging times.

Charles Industries recently introduced their new IMC Charger line. These are state-of-the-art battery chargers specifically created for harsh marine environments and they feature configurable settings with a revolutionary “man-machine” interface which is a touch-panel control.

Among the key features are that these are four-bank programmable chargers with independent 12/24 VDC selection and they are available in 20 amp increments from 20 to 120 amps to best match your boat’s battery set up. A Limp Home Mode on the 40 amp units and above allows power flow to continue operation at a lower output level if one power module fails. There is also a smart alarm package provides output failure, high and low voltage and battery failure with audible alarm but the main advance on these chargers is the Display Technology and Configuration.

Simple intuitive menus for fast configuration of AC input voltage, DC output voltage, charge current, charge mode, battery type, battery fault indicator and over temp indicator with auto current reduction are controlled by a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) for easy viewing.

Another leading electrical specialist is Mastervolt who recently completed a system-wide upgrade of its top-end battery chargers – the Mass Charger range – to make them even tougher with greater resistance to heat, vibration, humidity, and condensation.

Life in an engine room can be a bad environment for batteries and chargers. A special cooling process means the Mass Charger range can operate at full power, continuously, in an engine room with the temperature at a blistering 45o C, and the vibration rating is to the demanding IEC60945 standard.

B.C.-based Xantrex Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, expanded their Truecharge 2 Battery Charger Series with the introduction of their 60-amp charger expanding that series of smart chargers to include 20, 40 and 60-amp models, each designed for maximum versatility and performance.

They call these smart chargers because they do so much more than merely charge the battery. An example is the ProNautic P series of chargers that have twelve digitally-controlled performance charging profiles with finger tip selection. A ProNautic P can charge, condition, maintain and even re-condition batteries while extending battery life through a complex series of charging steps.

ProNautic P models automatically remove stress on a fully charged battery by incorporating a built-in conservation mode that reduces float voltage when the unit does not register a load greater than 5 amps over a 72-hour period. Packed with intelligent features, the charger systems automatically recondition batteries to improve battery life and reserve power performance every 21 days if in a state of short- or long-term storage.

It is smart indeed! And, it is smarter still to go to your marina or repair yard to get a properly qualified technician to install any of the items discussed here. Even just installing a set of new batteries can be complicated because the charging profile will probably have changed. The charger needs to have the correct charging profile to work to maximum effectiveness.

The charger needs to be a minimum of two feet up from potential bilge-water splashes, as far as reasonable from heat and vibration, connected with suitably heavy gauge wires and tightened so there is no area of higher resistance.

Really, considering the electrical load demands in modern cruising yachts, it makes sense to pay the pros to get the right outfit for your needs. Smart chargers for smart boaters!

SUPPLIERS
www.mastervolt.com
www.charlesindustries.com
www.xantrex.com

By Andy Adams

Destinations

  • Prev
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...

 Killarney

KillarneyStory and Photos by: Jennifer Harker

We’re aboard Attigouatan, a Pursuit 2260 that normally lives life as a friend’s cottage boat, running back and forth from dock to dock. This will be her longest run in four years, travelling the approximately 120 kilometres (80 miles) northwest from Parry Sound to Killarney, threading our way through the northern reaches of the stunning 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay’s eastern shoreline.

Her name evokes an early indigenous name for Lake Huron – Spirit Lake. 

Read more about Killarney....

  

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This photo from a CPS member shows how talented boaters are. Brenda Cochrane from Kelowna BC, a ...
The first part of this blog will show that not every day is blue sky and sunshine in the Bahamas!
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...
Don’t miss this brilliant photo double header
In honour of Launch Day, our POTW this time comes from Wendy Loat in Port Credit. This shot, taken ...
Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building ...
On the Easter Weekend, the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club from Vancouver Island, had its first ...
We were finally able to get a SIM card and data plan on our phone Monday morning. We could now ...
It’s Friday afternoon at the Newport Yacht Club in Stoney Creek, and that can only mean one thing - ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

 

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440By Zuzana Prochazka

There are few things more satisfying than watching someone thumb their nose at tradition and introduce something revolutionary that kicks convention to the curb. French designer, Philippe Briand, has done just that for Jenneau’s new line of Sun Odyssey family cruisers. By starting with a clean sheet, Briand re-thought how we move about on deck and below, and the results on the Jeanneau 440 are game changing.

Jeanneau unveiled the first hull of their 440 in Annapolis with dramatic flair. On command, the plastic that sheathed half the boat...

Read more about the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440....

 

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...
We are all looking to gain a little more time these days, and technology is often the route we ...
While they are no longer a part of the CPS Flare Program, Fogh Boat Supplies and Fogh Marine, both ...
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...