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Discussion Starter #1
I already have the Wirthco Battery Doc, it did fine our our first outing with Hiyo Silver on the two week trip to Florida--which is to say it
is installed.
I also have the Projecta IDC 25 sitting in a box waiting to be deployed.

If I stick with the Battery Doc I have the ability to start the van battery if dead from the house batteries.
I don't think the Projecta has this ability.
If I go with the Projecta I gain the 'smarter' 3 stage charging of the batteries.

Nice to have options eh but curious what you guys/gals would choose.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi MM,
The IDC seems like a pretty impressive unit, and if you already have it, I'd be inclined to try it. I'm still a little skeptical of the need to provide 3 stage charging of the house battery from the van alternator/battery, but it may prove to be a useful capability and may let you get more life out of the house battery. The included solar charge controller also seems like a big plus.


For the jumpering the van battery from the house battery, I think you could work something out -- like the switch mentioned above.
As an alternative, I've started carrying one of small lithium batteries that are made for emergency starts of dead batteries: https://www.amazon.com/Bolt-Power-D...1-fkmr1&keywords=lithium+battery+starter+bolt
Its a bit mind boggling that such small units would be able to start a car with a dead battery, but I've actually had occasion to use it, and it works -- also lots of youtube videos from people who have used them successfully to start cars with dead battery even under difficult conditions. Mine will also charge phones and even run a laptop -- you could take it with you in the boat :)

Gary
 

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Regarding jumping - I have had great success with the miniature Lithium jumper from Costo -- I've used it three times on cars and trucks and about the same on Harleys.

Absolutely amazing and great gift idea -- https://www.costco.com/Lithium-Jump-Starter-And-Portable-Power-Bank-.product.100312116.html
I just noticed that Harbor Freight has a new lithium jumper on sale... gets great reviews. I can't figure out how it (and yours) works so well... seems like it just wouldn't be strong enough.
 

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Based in what I know now, I would go with the Projecta. I was leaning to the Sterling 12v to 12v charger, but the charging profile of the Projecta looks closer to what Lifeline recommends.

I say I am leaning in that direction, because I am still planning the electric system for our ProMaster. I have been monitoring the output of the van alternator, and it is a steady 14.4-14.2v. This is spot on with Lifeline's recommendations for absorption charging.

So why am I complicating things with 12v-12v? Our travel style takes us to a places with electricity every third night, and our drives in the PM range from 5-8 hours, so you can see, with a BtoB system we should have a well taken care of battery, taking advantage of three stage charging most of the time. There will be no room for solar up top, and we won't deploy portable panels often enough to make carrying them worthwhile.

All that makes an alternator/ isolator system attractive too.

If I had solar in mind, I would give the IDC a toss.
 

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I like the warm fuzzy feeling I get knowing that it drops to a float charge at a lower voltage. something about the constant high voltage didn't seem right to me and it was always on my mind on a long trip. The alternator in my van puts out between 14.6-14.7. So far my projecta has been performing great! I'm not looking back and don't miss the battery doctor. now in regard to your question about the jump start, I'm looking into one of those small jump packs and I also tend to throw in a smaller deep cycle battery that I use for a trolling motor on a small boat in the van when we go on a trip just to power some small 12v lights for outside and if I ever needed a jump I could use that battery to. and lastly I could pull the driver seat and uncover the house battery if I absolutely needed a jump and had no other options. so for me the projecta beats out the battery doctor in my mind hands down. No regrets on my install of the projecta
 

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I have decades of experience on boats and vehicles of the house battery being continually charged at the same high voltage as the starter battery without any problems. If the starter battery can "take it" so can the house battery! Three stage chargers are a solution looking for a problem -- an industry way to make more money. We all did just fine before smart chargers.

Starting batteries, especially for diesels, need to produce huge amperage and with their thin, multi-plate construction tend to fail suddenly often on a cold morning. I have always recommended that folks living in cold climates replace the battery after 4 winters; those in warmer climates after 5 years. House batteries, on the other hand, generally fail gradually and the user replaces when the battery seems to have insufficient capacity.

Most Promasters have been on the road less than 5 years. How many of us have actually had starter battery failures? Are we worried about something not likely to happen? I always recommend for both boats and vehicles, especially as they now have sophisticated, computerized electrical systems, that absolutely no connections or alterations be made to the vehicle system except to parallel house batteries to the starter battery. A simple high amperage switch, a switch controlled relay/solenoid, or an automatic voltage controlled combiner such as sold by Blue Sea is all that is necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK thanks for the thoughts.
Now here is my problem-
14.1 and 13.6 :(
I went to the manufac's website on my
VmaxTank 6 volt batteries.
Here it is, see if you see what I see multiplying by 2-
https://www.vmaxtanks.com/V6-225-6Volts-225AH-Deep-Cycle-High-performance-AGM-Battery-_p_48.html

So my recommended charge is 14.1 correct? I do think so, and
that is way less than what is reported from users of the Battery Doc via the starter battery.
The Projecta IDC 25 is 14.4 I think.
So either way I go I am potentially overcharging the coach batteries. VmaxTank says 10 years possible
if I did it the correct way.

Solar charge controller and Samlex Inverter-charger are already programmed (by me) for 14.1 and 13.6.
Maybe I'm missing something.
 

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I see no problem in mixing an AGM house battery bank with a flooded starting battery -- their chemistry is the same. The flooded battery has liquid electrolyte and the AGM has essentially the same held in glass mats soueezed between the plates without excess fluid covering all. The AGMs are "sealed valve regulated" having pressure containing caps. These allow some pressure buildup within the battery so gases are contained and recombined so no fluid is lost.

If the house battery bank is composed of 2 or more batteries I suggest they be the same type and age so they are discharged equally.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
SeaPro I hear ya, and I know your years of practical experience.
I'm going in this charging thing believing that the van battery is AGM and
I know my house batteries are AGM.
That said the Projecta is installed. Correctly? Well I can't say with 100 percent certainty :)
But the manufacturers specs said 14.1 for my AGMs, and every other AGM I see is 14.4 or greater.
No problem, I just set the Projecta to Gel which is 14.1.
Too cautious? Probably.
Won't matter in a 100 years!
Hey, may not matter in days with the world as is.
 

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Gel cells (relegated these days to very specialized applications where extremely severe vibrations are encountered or extremely long -- like 20 years -- standby are desired) are definitely best charged at a lower voltage than flooded or AGMs. Also note that our digital voltmeters and the internal sensors within most chargers are only accurate to one tenth of a volt and are often off by two tenths!
 

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Seapro,

I think I read that you use the Blue Sea ACR. I read on their site that it be installed only when "the largest battery bank cannot exceed group 27". What do they mean by this? Are they talking about the physical size of the battery or batteries above a certain amp hours capacity?
 

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I use the Blue Sea ACR model SI-ACR rated for 120 amps. I have used this in 2 van applications and 1 boat application where the house battery is a size 8D AGM rated about 230 amp hours. I don't care how big the alternator or van battery is because the charging current never gets near to 120 amps due to the internal resistance of the battery being charged. In fact, careful study of posts on various threads of this forum concerning fusing of the wire from the van battery (thus alternator) to the combining relay shows that many of us fuse this wire for only 80 or 100 amps. We are not blowing 100 amp fuses. The Blue Sea product rated for 120 amps has done well for me and others. Unless your house battery is substantially oner 300 amp hours the internal resistance should keep the charging current below 100 amps.
 

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Seapro, what gauge wire did you use with the ACR? Would it be acceptable to use two Blue Sea 187 Series circuit breakers on this?
 

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I can't recall for sure but I think I used size 6 wire as my runs are short. I prefer fuses than circuit breakers for this application.
 
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