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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 offline
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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 offline
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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 04-18-2018, 02:26:39 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

These multi stage regulators that are intended to be used with automotive *alternators* are actually much simpler than they appear. They depend upon the inherent current limiting design of the *alternator* (which is also the reason alternators put out low current at low speed)

So they are essentially a dual voltage regulator with a timer and a batter temperature sensor.

They start out at the high voltage setting. If the battery is low and / or the load is otherwise high, the generator (alternator) cannot generate enough current to reach the voltage set point. The regulator is simply applying full field current. This is the Bulk stage.

When the current taken by the battery and the loads diminishes sufficiently that the higher voltage setting can be reached, you have now entered the Absorption stage. The regulator maintains this voltage and the timer starts running.

When the time runs out (usually user adjustable) the regulator switches to the lower voltage Float stage. It will remain there presumably until the engine is stopped and restarted.

Although they may have a number of user adjustable parameters, they're basic operation is nowhere near as complicated as it seems!
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:44:35 PM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newoldstock View Post
That make some marine regulators that charge and float to prevent overcharge.
That might be an option.
Marine regs are what we are discussing here

---------- Post added at 01:44:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:35:06 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanman View Post
These multi stage regulators that are intended to be used with automotive *alternators* are actually much simpler than they appear. They depend upon the inherent current limiting design of the *alternator* (which is also the reason alternators put out low current at low speed)

So they are essentially a dual voltage regulator with a timer and a batter temperature sensor.

:
Yeah, I think I was "over thinking it" comparing it to Ferro-resonate and SCR controlled chargers I have dealt with before.
I think it is time to pay my money and see what happens. I have 3 trucks to do, so give one a good try before outfitting the rest.

The thing that threw me, was unlike most applications that use these, they are not being recharged when they are not being used, but they are permanently involved with the rest of the trucks systems.
I choose the Delco 25SI for chargeing because it is brushless, low output and can handle near 100% duty cycle.
I've tried others, and they all can't handle the duty cycle long term.
The 25 SI will give 55 amps or so at idle and reaches its 75 amp limit a few hundred RPM above that.
I'd rather a long slow charge than to have 160 or 180 amp unit try and recharge quicker.
I had a 160 amp Prestolite on it for awhile, and the reg would over heat and shut off at sustained high output.
The Delcos have given good service with few if any failures. The don't call them the "Gray Ghost" for nothing, they outlast the engine overhauls.

Thanks to all for their input
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:26:41 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

I would agree that longer and slower with heavy duty, conservatively rated equipment is generally going to be better, so long as the running time is sufficient to do the job.

You've got me curious about the type service these trucks are in. I am perpetually curious about these sorts of things.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:38:09 PM
gnucklehead gnucklehead is offline
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Default Re: Multi Stage Battery Charging Odd Application

Any regulator with on-battery voltage and temperature monitoring should be an improvement.. Multistage regulators are great, but better suited for very long runs. Any real regulator/alternator pair should have no problem charging a battery while supporting a load Personally, I like Balmar. I don't know big rig trucks, but I do know marine systems.

Last edited by gnucklehead; 04-18-2018 at 04:00:10 PM.
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