Recently our friends at Blue Sea Systems posted in their monthly newsletter an article that can be applied no matter who’s battery charger you use…well almost. Their new charger does have functionality that others do not have, like a fourth “phase” and super precise calibration capability. All said, the top three variables they list are keys to success and maximizing battery cycle life. Time will tell how much life expectancy is improved over existing charge profiles, but it looks to me like they are the current winner in the ability to precisely control those three basic parameters. A boat’s comfort and safety relies on the electrical system.
Batteries are the heart of the electrical system and are often the largest single expense. Batteries are sensitive to failure and shortened life if not charged properly. Modern battery chemistries – Gel, AGM, TPPL, Lithium Ion, and current Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) – require adherence to manufacturer’s charging recommendations for reliability. Following these recommendations requires a battery charger both rugged and sophisticated. All battery manufacturers agree – precise control of these variables is critical: • Voltage • Time • Temperature
Batteries may perform poorly and fail prematurely due to a charger’s failure to properly manage voltage, time, and temperature. A well designed battery charger will allow these variables to be correctly set for the requirements of each battery type and will manage them properly in the charging process.
Five critical features that enable batteries to be charged according to manufacturer’s recommendations:
1. User Defined Charge Profiles (Voltages) For setting the charger’s voltages to match the battery manufacturer’s recommendations
2. User Defined Absorption Stage Values For determining when the charger should exit the Absorption Stage in order to prevent overcharging
3. Charge Coordination To insure Charging Relays (ACR) are not operating in conflict with the charger. On shore power with a three bank charger, ACRs are not required as they are when away from the dock and one alternator must charge 3 battery banks.
4. PreFloat – a Blue Sea Systems P12 exclusive For relieving the voltage pressure on each of the three batteries as each is ready in order to prevent overcharging of one battery while another is still charging.
5. Battery Temperature Voltage Compensation To prevent under and over charging in cold or hot batteries
Without going into the technical details of these 5 critical functions, it can be said that they all rely on voltage, time, and temperature control to achieve Battery Manufacturers recommendations. To maximize the life and performance of your batteries, look for a battery charger like the P12 Battery Charger that addresses the five critical features that enable a battery charger to charge your batteries according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.