Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger on a Transit

Discussion in 'Ford' started by jonandshell, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Hi all,

    We have just upgraded to a Sterling 160amp Alternator to Battery Charger on our RWD Chausson/Transit.
    Installation is a bit more involved than a Battery to Battery unit, but the results are well worth it!
    Measured at the alternator, charging a 50% discharged 345Ah battery bank, I am getting 120 Amps at tickover and 155 Amps at 1200 RPM.:Eeek:
    The Transit alternator is specced at 150 Amps.
    Obviously, some of this is running the diesel injectors and engine management.

    The unit has all the benefits of the Battery to Battery charger in that it charges at a higher voltage and increases the useable capacity of the batteries, plus avoids gradual suphation of the plates by incomplete charging.

    If my maths are correct, when skiing it should be possible for the hab batteries to last four days (at a 80% discharge) and be recharged with a 2 1/2 hour run. For those who don't know us, we have a traction battery bank.
    Alternatively, a 1 1/2 hour run every 2 days will keep the batteries topped up.

    The low running times should avoid bore glazing issues for the infrequent times we will use the van engine as a genny.
    Fast charging also uses water, so battery maintenance will be a bit more regular than with our old 50 Amp B2B.:Sad:

    The charger was £309 to buy and out-performs a genny in every way!:thumb:

    If any Funster needs any tips on fitting one of these, I am willing to share my fitting experience.
     
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  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I considered one of these units when I had the RV .. but as we did very little off site camping didn't really have a need, but to my way of thinking, if you are a serious 'off grid' camper this unit coupled with a traction battery bank is a far better investment than either a genny or solar ..

    Some good info and wiring diagrams here ..

    http://www.marcleleisure.co.uk/store/more-docs/SterlingAlternToBattCharg03.htm
     
  3. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Hi John, thanks for that. What are the advantages over the battery to battery system?
     
  4. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    We have diesel-only heating too, Jim (Scotjimland).

    A genny would only provide battery charging and would have no other use to us than maybe running the fridge!

    With this unit, compared with a genny, it is lighter, requires no extra fuel to be carried and releases storage space for beer!:thumb:

    Plus nobody can nick it!:thumb:

    It's just fingers crossed that Charles Sterling's assurances that this will not affect alternator life are correct!:pray:

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKURbJOoICk[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  5. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    More lovely amps!!!!!!

    We have a very large battery bank and the 45 Amp B2B, whilst an excellent bit of kit, hasn't the capacity to keep the engine running times down to sensible levels.

    The B2B unit, despite what you see advertised, is only available as a 45 Amp unit.
    The 100 Amp version, according to Sterling themselves, isn't available until at least May 2013!:Eek!:

    By then, the snow will be gone in Val Thorens!:Rofl1:

    All the alternator to battery chargers currently advertised are available and come in sizes up to an RV-sized 210 Amp version!:Eeek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  6. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    I was looking at one of these a few months back but when I spoke directly to Sterling they told me it was'nt suitable for my 2002 2.8 JTD as there was a high risk of it damaging the ECU. Can't say I really understood why as he did'nt explain very well but it put me off and I'm still debating over a B2B.
     
  7. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    The starter battery output on the A-B charger is simply a loop out via a diode from the alternator output.
    It provides no more variable a charging voltage than the B2B unit. I have checked our voltages and it is comparable to the B2B unit. There are no problems on the base vehicle.

    Sterling's advice to you is a bit puzzling because their advertising literature says the unit IS suitable for ECUs due to the stable output it provides.

    http://www.sterling-power.com/products-altbatt.htm

    When I spoke to Sterling ref. the Transit, all they did was warn of the voltage drops across the original Transit busbars and fuse blocks.

    The only measure required to make the thing work was an ign feed via a diode to the alternator output. This was due to the alternator needing a 12v feed to its output to 'fire up'!
    This is covered in the instruction book. I added the diode as a 'belt and braces' measure to prevent any backfeeding into the ECU electrics. Although this isn't deemed necessary by Sterling.

    Hope this helps, Rory.:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  8. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Thanks
    Not sure what to do now as it was Charles Sterling I spoke to:Doh:
    Off to Spain for 5 weeks on Wednesday but would like to do something before going skiing next year.:thumb:
     
  9. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    I can only think they might be worried about confliction with your existing split charge system.

    If you were to leave your original split charge system in it's present form, you could find you are effectively connecting your A2B hab battery output to your starter battery output via the split charge relay. This is the same case with the B2B charger and requires an isolating relay for your Hab batteries to isolate them when your engine is running.

    However, Jock and Rita have a Hymer with an Electroblok and theirs appears to not not activate it's internal split charge relay when another charging scource is present, as we discovered at Newark this year. Their Sterling B2B runs just fine with no vehicle mods at all.:thumb:

    The B2B is much easier to install and, Sterling advised, you can run 2 in parallel! This will provide double the output to your batteries and from your wallet!:Rofl1:
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Very important.

    But most of us have el-cheapo leisure batteries, whether these would take the rapid charging for a long time is the question. Or would we be buying new batteries on a regular basis.
     
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  11. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Good point Brain!:thumb:

    Quality open lead-acid batteries are a must for these Sterling devices.

    There are settings on the units for AGM, gel and sealed lead-acid batteries, but the lower voltages and subsequent extended charging times make the investment in a Sterling system questionable.
     
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  12. CHRI$

    CHRI$ Funster

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    bump:Smile:
     
  13. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Charles Sterling is the foremost battery and and charging expert. His products which are primarily designed for the marine market,excellent value for money and preform well.

    However to claim that your charging the lesiure battery at 155Ah from a 150Ah alternator, whilst simultaneously replenishing the engine batteries ongoing demands of running the engine and associated electrical equipment is impressive bordering on bewildering!

    What equipment was used to measure a 155Ah charge rate? most multi meters peak at about 20Ah We at Van Bitz can calibrate and measure up to 500Ah but accurate equipment is very expensive, and not normally in the domain of members of public.

    What gauge cable was used to carry the 155Ah and how long was the run? (the distance between the leisure batteries and the alternator) these are all interesting factors that will help people decide which system to choose:Eeek:

    Eddie
     
  14. CHRI$

    CHRI$ Funster

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    alternators rated at 150 amp will happily push out more than 150 amps,although not good for the alternator as its only rated at 150amps continuios use,as for the multi meter, availible on ebay for as little as £20 rated upto 500 amp dc:thumb:
    as for the cable i know the one i built has cable rated at 700 amps,not sure what OP is useing:Smile:
     
  15. aba

    aba

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    i think the OP works in the fork lift domain so would have the accurate testing equipment.
     
  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Love that construct.

    Stage 1. Place victim on high pedestal.

    Stage 2. Kick pedestal from under him.

    Victim hits ground very hard.
     
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  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I just love that one Brian :thumb:.
     
  18. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    LOL I know. Frankly connect the batteries using 50mm Sq section and a 200Ah rated relay and you'll have all the power you'll need.

    Eddie
     
  19. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Eddie, just read the bloody post before you pass dispersions on my observations.

    The amperage, as stated, was measured at the alternator. This was done with a quality clamp tester.
    Go back to what you know, I'll get back to work fitting a new 600 Amp inverter to a VNA. Truck.
     
  20. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    By the way, the heavy cable and big relay solution described will give a high amp charge rate into the battery bank for a short time. When I tested this solution, I saw 90amps into the battery bank.
    However, this soon tapers off, whereas the Sterling unit keeps the voltage higher and keeps putting more current for longer.
    A standard alternator output will not fully charge a lead acid traction battery. Vehicle alternator outputs are kept lower to prevent gassing of sealed automotive starter batteries.
     
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