Battery Charger Set-up

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:36
ThreadID: 120358 Views:4221 Replies:15 FollowUps:0
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I have finally got around to some activity on changing our battery set up. We are moving from 3 batteries to 4 - using the AC Delco M27MF's. We had the original (3) AC Delco's replaced under warranty & purchased a 4th. We had a plactic battery box made which fits length wise across the hold under the bed. At the same time I have removed the BT charger & am installing the 30Amp Victron unit. My question is in relation to the location of the charging cables from the charger to the battery bank. Should these be on the first & fourth battery, that is at the extremities, or is the positioning irrelevent? I wonder also about the location of the solar input cables or again is the positioning irrelevent. Andy
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:47

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:47
As you probably already be aware it's very hard to get any technical specs out of ACDelco, even recommended charging voltages. Answering your question as best I can, yes 15 volts and very plus seems far too high for elevated temperatures! There's a few ways you can check. During the Boost cycle keep the charge rate below 20% of total A/h capacity (the higher the ambient temp the lower the voltage this needs). Set the Absorption period to 10%-15% total A/H, and Floating to about 1-2% (the latter probably equates to 13.2-13.4 volts). Another way is to keep the battery electrolyte at less than 50 degrees C - but tha's no help with sealed batteries but case temperature gives a very rough guide if the battery is out of the sun and any cooling breeze. Sorry cannot help more than this - but if you follow the above you'll at least be safe. Incidentally - the M27MF is one hell of a good battery! Collyn
AnswerID: 560918

Reply By: Andy1 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:48

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:48
Thanks Collyn.
AnswerID: 560919

Reply By: Turist - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:49

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:49
Can anybody tell me why the battery charger and batteries currently supplied by BT are not up to standard as indicated by the previous postings.
We have 3 x glass matt batteries, 3 panels and a 50 amp BT charger.
Everything works perfectly.
Our inverter loads are small, we only use it for breadmaker and small appliances.
The 3 panels keep the fridge (190 l) running even with 2-3 cloudy days, although thats about the limit before the charger has to go on but the 50A charger soon knocks everything into shape.
Currently the van is parked, has been for 2 months and we have a perfect float charge of 13.8 amps.
If you are serious about travelling to remote areas then my advise is KISS. (Keep It Simple...)
I was (Until retirement) the Australian agent and importer for the European "Viking" battery chargers. Consequently I have had some experience with battery charging and testing equipment) We had all types of chargers available and personally I would not consider fitting a sophisticated switch mode charger to a van travelling on corrugations.
Transformer based chargers are more simple in construction, more robust and in most cases can be repaired by any competant technician.
Try getting service on a switch mode in Broome or Brewarrina.

Thats my say, now it's time for my pills.
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Nobody is getting any younger.

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AnswerID: 560920

Reply By: Bushtracker42 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:50

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:50
I just realised the size of the photo I attached, so
I have added it to the web site – under a new album called power


What a week.

First we had hail on Saturday and have some smallish
dents. Looking at if we will claim on insurance.

Tuesday brought a new issue (see attachment). Guess
who is looking at lightning protection?

We have exhausted all other scenarios and it could be

Direct lightning,

A fault in the solar regulator which made the batteries do

Lightning which killed the unit and made the batteries do

BT advised there are C/B between batteries and the
solar unit, and have asked to reconfirm where these are (can’t find
mine), but from talking to the Techncians at work <30 amps on a non dead
short would still do the damage and the C/B would not trip.

Congo is off next weekend, and
now on a focus to review Car/Panel/Charger system to see what options exist.
Lightning arrestors for the panel supply cables on order already.


Gary Harding

TriSys Engineering/III

AnswerID: 560921

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:51

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:51
I cant believe how all of a sudden switch mode chargers are crap. They are getting a bad wrap from BTi because of various reasons and purport to a better charger than the likes of Mastervolt or Victron. The main reasons they are crap seems to be corrugations make them fall apart and lack of power quality will utterly kill them. I have personally screwed a Trucharge 40 in the cargo bay of a BT18. This BT then did a 5 month trip in the outback .... INCLUDING the punishing Gibb River Rd. I personally went to look at it on return as I had the same model ...well what do you know it worked perfectly for the whole trip. It had no shock/protection between it and the wall of the BT it was just screwed straight onto the wall via its base. My Victron Phoenix has two certifications in this area ....... Vibration : IEC68-2-6 10-150hz 1.0G Shock : IEC68-2-29 1000 times XYZ+/- 10G/16ms Its all gobbly gook but they are tested to a reasonable standard for shock/vibration and will take more than people think. If corrugations kill electronic chargers what about the other electronics in the BT ..... the solar regulator ... inverter electronics .... the electronics in the sound systems .... any other circuit board ...strange they survive ??? As far as bad power in the outback goes ..... my charger runs on crap power ..... Specs: Nominal input range : 120v -240v AC Minimum working Voltage: 90vAC Maximum working Range: 265v AC Frequency Range: 45 -65 Hz Does outback power get worse than this ??? ....90-265 volt range and 45-65 Hz ! Hopefully the next thing wont be that they charge a battery better than a switch mode charger ..... Because of the associated problems of fitting other than BTi chargers I RECOMMEND that people GO for the BTi Charger ...they work well and will take the punishment ....and have a great warranty. I use my original BTi charger as a spare in the event of failure. In all fairness though my Victron and Trucharge chargers are not the crap they are being made out to be ..... Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ..Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 560922

Reply By: Luvntravln - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:52

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:52
Anyone have any suggestions for resolving the "associated problems of fitting other than BTi chargers". I am certainly in hearing their opinons. I am leaning towards the TrueCharge 40 for my 400 amp bank, and if that is insufficient you can extremely easily parallel in another 10/20/40 simply using a "screw driver" and two parallel wires that Xantrex will supply. That makes an 80 amp charger with a RRP of $2000. Thoughts? tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 560923

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:53

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:53
Accepting an OKA is not a BT but I've had a switch mode charger bolted rigidly to the massive RHS frame of the truck since 1996. In that time it has travelled over 150,000 km of which over 75% was off-road - including many crossings of the Tanami and the Gibb River Road. It's never missed a beat. Ditto the switch mode power supply for my computer. Ditto my laptop computer. Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 560924

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:54

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:54
Exactly ! Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 560925

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:55

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:55
I am definitely a novice in this field, but I was advised to upgrade our battery charger when we changed from 3 batteries to 4, something to do with 25amp charger taking too long to put the charge in and causing heat over a long period. We now have a 50amp BTI charger and now that I have sorted out the generator problem couldn't be happier with it. Yesterday I was shown the new BTI chargers that have more stiffening supports in them to stop vibration noise from the transformer. My question is "Does the 30Amp Victron unit that Andy is considering, have a high enough output to charge 4 batteries in a reasonable time and not cause heat problems?" Over to the electricians for comment. Brian
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AnswerID: 560926

Reply By: Andy1 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:56

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:56
Intertesting that you should ask that question Brian as I was about to ask Collyn the same thing. Today I connected up the four batteries up in the shed & hooked up the charger for the first time - all are out of the BT as I am modifying the hold layout for four batteries across lengthwise. The 50Amp Victron is the same physical size but I hope not to have to outlay the $'s. Andy
AnswerID: 560927

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:57

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:57
Brian, Normal flooded sizing usually stipulates 10 % ... AGM, gels 20-25% ... Of course any chargers life is shortened (from heat generated) if under sized for the job ... sightly less with fan cooling but less none the same. I can only comment on my installation ...I have 255amp capacity with a 30amp fan cooled charger ...more than enough ! My BT charger is 35 amp making it an ideal backup. Dont forget Chargers in BT's dont cop a flogging anyway (sole charging source) .... most of us have 3-4 solar panels up top. When sizing systems for your BT please check with BTi as to the charging requirements of your individual Bushtrackers. (I love my new political correctness) Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ... Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 560928

Reply By: Luvntravln - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:58

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:58
Mr. Mom, you brought laughter to my throat and tears to my eyes. Political correctness - with Cindy's permission you redefinied the term. Kewl tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 560929

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:59

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:59
I was in BIG trouble to-day ...Cindy only allowed me to take 3155 breaths in the last 10 hr period !! I really needed 3156 ..... I thought it was my tight undies but alas I was just short of breath !!! [smile] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker (This now common signature is a reflection of the authors thoughts and not necessarily the thoughts of Bushtracker Int., the BOG or its affiliates)
AnswerID: 560930

Reply By: Luvntravln - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 05:00

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 05:00
Given your new attutude, I think your signature line should be amended to read: Explore this Great Land ... Do It Easy ... Tow a Politically Correct Bushtracker tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 560931

Reply By: Andy1 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 05:01

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 05:01
Well, subject to a few minor completion items, the job is done! New battery box installed, the 4th battery in place & Victron 30 Amp Charger installed. We will be having the 4th solar panel installed by BT some time late Feb/early March. My only concern now is the capability of the Victron to travel over corregations etc. Only time will tell. See "Andy's photos" for final result. Andy
AnswerID: 560932

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