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  1. Well, thanks people... Really helpful. Putting it all together it seems I've got the wrong device, or maybe not, but given what I have got then the best move forward is to also fit either a nasa bm2 (thus doubling the cost of battery monitoring) OR a cheapo ammeter (which is much more appealing), and use the latter to know when to stop charging, and the Smartgauge for all other monitoring, especially to know when to start charging. Is that a reasonable summary? If so, can anyone point me to a wiring diagram to tell me how to connect up a cheap ebay ammeter?
  2. Fitted a new set of 3 batteries, cruised for 4 hours and moored. Should be 100% charge assuming the "fully charged ex factory" claim is correct. Four days later (during which time I operated very little electrics) fitted a Smartgauge. This initialises itself to a default 75% SOC until it learns more accuracy over time, but I overrode this and set it manually to a nominal 93%. According to the manual it will learn accuracy over the first few charge/discharge cycles, but the manual presumes I've got an accurate SOC charge meter connected to guide that process - but of course I haven't (which is why I bought the Smartgauge in the first place). I've only got the engine for charging at the moment, so my instinct is to wait until the SG drops below, say, 90% and run the engine until the SG says 100% (and then another, what, half-hour?) Then repeat... Does that sound like a reasonable plan?
  3. Capnbob

    Hot battery

    Well, I left the engine bay open for 3 hours to disperse the hydrogen, and nothing's been connected since. And, to be fair, it was the charger that claimed to be fit and forget, not the batteries. The grenade reference is a bit terrifying, insn't it? Battery was warm mercifully, not untouchable, so I hope that means some tolerance left. Not that it matters, I'll be binning them soon. I have a part delivery from Tayna now, just waiting for battery 3 which, apparently, DHL lost in transit. Just hope all the cables swap smoothly over from old to new. BTW, vaseline or not on the terminals?
  4. Capnbob

    Hot battery

    Checking the others isn't easy. They are sealed, and also pigs to get at - tucked right in under the steel deck with little clearance at the top of the high sided box for wielding spanners. Thanks for the advice folks.
  5. Capnbob

    Hot battery

    Came back to the boat in the marina after three days away and discovered that the "fit and forget" (Numax/Electroquest) battery charger is going full belt, fan on, with a smell of cooking coming from the engine bay where the batteries are. Switched it off immediately, opened up the engine bay and the middle of 3 (ancient, Numax 110Ah) very warm to the touch. I know these batteries are shot, and replacements are ordered, but they won't arrive before I have to move the boat tomorrow. So what should I do? risk running with the batteries as they are? disconnect just the dodgy one? disconnect all for the run (and will the alternator mind that)? Any timely advice would be welcome.
  6. To be fair I didn't ask about the croc clips - I already know about that. Agree with your general point that assuming ignorance is a good fail safe... I was hoping that siting the charger in the utility room would be a goer, because opening the engine cover to check the charging LEDs would be a pain. I also get voltage drop, so if 25mm2 cable would be ok over a run of about 2.5m then I'm very happy to go with that.
  7. Perfect reply, all I needed, many thanks Alan.
  8. Bought the 30a Fairstone/Electroquest ABC-1230D charger, now need to wire it up to the 3 x 110Ah batteries sitting on the swim at the rearmost point of the engine bay. The 240v end is fine, but worried about the 12v end - 1. Should I take it right back to the battery terminals, or will it be OK to connect to the bus in the electrics cupboard in the cabin? 2. If I do go right to the batteries, can I leave the charger in the engine bay, or fit much longer cables to reach inside the cabin? 3. Advice seems to be to throw away the croc clips (fine), and fit a fuse to the +ve, but not sure what type or capacity. Help much appreciated...
  9. Perfect summary of my own views and experience, and why I posted the original enquiry. I saved £750 a few years back buying cheap Chinese solar tubes in the face of everyone on the relevant forum telling me they'd be rubbish - they've actually performed impeccably. If I had got 4 or 5 "well we've had one for years and it's been great" replies I'd have taken the chance, but just one "I took one like that apart and it was rubbish inside" is enough for a rethink.
  10. Now, that's the sort of personal experience I was hoping for. Thanks for that. Back to Plan A then.
  11. Yes, but the reason could simply be that they are mass produced in factories run by robots supervised by highly skilled but very cheap human workforce, compared with other makes which rely on less automation and more expensive labour. It doesn't necessarily mean they are inferior.
  12. I'm sure I read a thread some time back talking about the pros and cons of buying cheap chinese chargers, but blowed if I can find it now, so am asking direct. After a swift look around at options I keep finding variants of this one on ebay for £70 or less. Very cheap, and of course received wisdom is that, being cheap and chinese, it will soon fail, possibly disastrously, and possibly damage the batteries by not actually performing to spec. OR... I've actually had a lot of very good stuff from China recently, and I have to wonder how bad this can be. Clearly if it IS as good as the spec says - and clearly it's been intelligently specced - it could be a very good budget charger for a boat. What does anyone else think - worth a punt...? Alternative views would be very welcome (especially from anyone with actual experience).
  13. If that's a comment related to the OP - which puts it firmly in the minority - then it's a simple 1500w chinese inverter. All the rest is fascinating, but a bit dense in the context of the original question. (Apart from the, er, banter of course, which is just fascinating).
  14. Well, one example, my sense is that once upon a time Smartguage (SG) was all the rage, but then it changed hands and Merlin sold them poorly calibrated, and that got reported in one or two threads, but the originals are still there saying SG is the bee's knees. It's a fundamental weakness of a forum-based knowledge bank, like this is. Frequently needed information is generally MUCH better dealt with by a Wiki, which provides a single, easily accessed, easily updated page per topic. Forum threads on the other hand start on topic, then tend to drift into communal rows (sorry, "exchanges of views").... as this one nearly did. Also with a Wiki things like "tail current", and "SOC" (which are meaningless to the newbie, but understandably offered as helpful shorthand by those who know what they are talking about) can easily be explained in context. Nobody chooses to ignore the invaluable advice of the manual, or the gigabytes of advice buried in forums, but to most newcomers identifying the real-world meaning from the mountain of words is an uphill struggle. Anyway... in the light of the generous advice offered to my original post, I think I'm going to get a decent mains charger, and learn how to: "use an ammeter and a voltmeter to establish state of charge, especially when charging" (?); hunt down the meaning of "tail current" which I gather is vitally important; calibrate a smartguage and interpret its misleading advice. Although I know the answers to all these are almost certainly buried somewhere within the forums, I'd be grateful for any pointers or summaries...
  15. Very happy to learn, Tony. I have a feeling this was summarised somewhere, but can't track the process down now.
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