Alpen Steel | Renewable Energy

~ Charging Multiple Battery Banks Onboard

 A few words about chargers

Charging multiple battery banks onboard most yachts is not as simple as installing a multi-bank charger. Many consumers and installers believe that a charger with dual or triple outputs is all that you need, even when the battery banks are of different size and capacity.

A installation of 2 battery banks, where one bank is used for engine starting and the other is used as the "house" bank should only use a dual output charger if the battery banks are sized the same or within 10-15%.

If you have an average size starting battery and a very large (by comparison) house bank, the best solution is to install separate chargers on each bank. The starting bank will usually get by very well with a 3 stage charger in the 5-10 amp range. Even if you have dual starting batteries there is a great charger available with a dual output of 10 amps.

The charger for the house battery bank should also be a 3 stage charger and not be sized any larger than 10-15% of the battery bank capacity. (15% is maximum) Battery chargers that are larger than the recommended size will not charge the battery bank as well as a charger that is sized at 10% of the battery bank. 

 Many times we have recommend a charger that was smaller than the customer thought was required. The main reason for this is the newer technology of 3 stage chargers. 3 stage chargers rated at around 20-25 amps will out perform an older taper charger rated at 50 amps in time to charge and the quality of the charge.

Older technology chargers started out at the maximum current they were capable of delivering and very shortly started to taper off rapidly. Some of these chargers never shut off, they just kept cooking and cooking the batteries. This continuous cooking resulted in excessive water usage, higher temperature and shorter life.

The newer 3 stage chargers will put out their rated output from the start of the charge cycle and maintain that output until the battery is charged to about 80-90%. Then the charger will taper the charge until the battery is charged.

When you install a charger that is larger than the recommended 10% rating it tends to be tricked by the rapid increase of the battery voltage and therefore will turn off before it has brought the batteries up to the 80-90% charge level.

We are very picky about the chargers that we sell. Many of the well known chargers are some of the worst units around and you will never find them in our store.


Contact us for our recommendations for your charger requirements.

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