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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion Antique Generators and Old Electric Motors: Questions and answers about restoring and showing old power generation systems.

Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application


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  #1  
Old 04-17-2018, 01:23:00 PM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

Ok bare with me here.
I have deep cycle battery banks on my semi's, and find the need to use multi stage charging to get the most out of the cells and to make them last.
At 1st blush, it would seam one of the multi-stage regulators from Balmar or Sterling might fit the ticket. But some info I am getting say not so, I guess these regulators are designed to work and charge a battery bank that is not in use, that is to say, there are no loads on the system while charging is taking place so the processors can determine what charge rate (Bulk, absorption, or float) is needed. With a load on the system, it seams it may remain in bulk with its higher voltage setting, defeating the whole purpose of the multi stage system.
Right now I am using the stock automotive style voltage regulator, and if set to a point that does the best in cold weather, overcharges is warm, if set for warm, under charges and take too long to charge in cold weather.
For a while I was running different hot and cold weather setting on the voltage reg, but this is neither practical nor effective as weather can change from day to day.
Does anyone have any experience with these multi stage regulators?
Sterling suggested I isolate the batteries and charge separate from the running load which is neither practical, nor seam like a good idea to have an automotive alternator without a battery to stabilize the output.
None of the trucks have starting batteries they are either air start or use a supercapacitor for cranking.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:09:08 PM
Vanman Vanman is online now
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Default Re: Multi stage battery chargeing odd application

I assume that the proposed voltage regulator employs a shunt in order to enable it to monitor battery charge current?

If so, connect the loads between the generator and the shunt. That way the regulator will only monitor battery charge current, regardless of system load.

It is not strictly necessary to monitor battery current in order to achieve a full charge. The absorption stage can merely be set to an adequate length of time. Of course this is not as ideal.

I would not consider any regulator that does not employ a battery temperature sensor.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:45:34 PM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Re: Multi stage battery chargeing odd application

Neither of these employ a shunt on the main feed, I believe they may use field current to reach a set voltage as a substitute. Both have battery temp monitor optional or included but not required.
The std automotive regulator uses neither and just hold to a set voltage.
The problem I see is any DC load will throw off any calculations, and separating the batteries and charging separately is not a viable option.
http://www.sterling-power-usa.com/Pr...regulator.aspx
http://www.balmar.net/multi-stage-regulators/
http://www.sterling-power-usa.com/St...rycharger.aspx
Links to the regulators and one to the alt to battery charger
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:13:57 AM
Vanman Vanman is online now
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Default Re: Multi stage Battery Chargeing Odd Application

Hmm, if they do not employ a means of determining charging current, then they would be tailoring the charge profile based on time and voltage alone. Load in addition to that of battery charging should not materially effect proper charging, only the required duration to reach full charge. The exciting current is going to vary over a wide range as generator speed varies, and so would not be a viable method of determining output current. Indeed I have a really nice inverter charger that does not pay attention to battery charging current as regards the charging profile. If I had DC loads on the system, it would simply take longer to reach the absorption stage. No harm otherwise.
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Old 04-18-2018, 08:37:55 AM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

But with a continuous DC load, wouldn't it quickly pull the voltage down once it hit absorption and then go back to bulk? Result is it never really gets an absorption or float charge and oscillates between bulk and absorption?

Humm, thinking more about it, the charger may just "see" a larger battery bank so might work, like you say taking longer to reach float, and needing more current when it is in float. Since the alternator has the capacity to handle both (it is doing it now with a fixed voltage setting) it should have no problem maintaining whatever the voltage settings is in the charge profile.
I may have been over thinking or looking at it wrong, the alternator can provide 75 amps of current regardless if the reg is set for 14.6 (bulk) or 13.2 (float). So it comes down to what the reg uses to set the profile. I have a good ammeter on the truck (100-0-100) that has a 270 deg sweep, so can see down to 1.5 amps with reliability.
I guess it may come down to trying it and seeing how it responds.
May have to add the companion 270 deg sweep voltmeter until I know how the system works, the std voltmeter in the trucks are all but useless.

Last edited by cornbinder89; 04-18-2018 at 09:12:47 AM.
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Old 04-18-2018, 12:59:09 PM
Newoldstock Newoldstock is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

That make some marine regulators that charge and float to prevent overcharge.
That might be an option.

A battery isolator ( big diode or two ) that drops the voltage to a float level from the deep cycle batteries might work too.
It sounds like you have plenty of time to charge but no way to drop to a float.
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:45:18 PM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Re: Multi stage Battery Chargeing Odd Application

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanman View Post
Hmm, if they do not employ a means of determining charging current, then they would be tailoring the charge profile based on time and voltage alone. Load in addition to that of battery charging should not materially effect proper charging, only the required duration to reach full charge. The exciting current is going to vary over a wide range as generator speed varies, and so would not be a viable method of determining output current. Indeed I have a really nice inverter charger that does not pay attention to battery charging current as regards the charging profile. If I had DC loads on the system, it would simply take longer to reach the absorption stage. No harm otherwise.
Ok I read thru the paperwork that came with the reg. It uses an algorithm to set the time based on how long the battery take to go from start up of the engine to .3 volt below bulk charge voltage, the amount of time that takes determines how long the units timer runs for Bulk charge and how long on absorption before it goes to float. The longer it takes to get to that .3 volts less than reg setting, the longer the unit holds it at bulk charge voltage and the longer the absorption voltage before for going to float.
Given that, it sound as long as the truck loads are on in the start-up phase, they will be taken into account for the timer.
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:39:42 PM
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

That is interesting. More sophisticated than my Trace Engineering inverter charger, which just has a user adjustable timer for absorption. I think it comes set for three hours. I suppose it doesn't really matter if it's longer than necessary, as long as it is long enough.

It would appear that other loads on your truck will lengthen the time spent at the higher voltage, but I don't see that that is really going to hurt anything. Might help to equalize the cells a bit.
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