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Darwin

Installing an Isolator

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Darwin

I’m installing a battery isolator and a switch for my two batteries. I want the standard setup with a house battery and a starting battery. My 1996 Sunsetter LX has only one cable connected to the battery (besides stereo stuff) and it is a big 2 gauge wire that I assume runs to the starter. Is this the cable that I connect to the battery switch Feed terminal? If I understand everything correctly (which is a big “if”) this would mean that fuse panel in the dash would still be pulling power from my starting battery? I’m ok with this if it means I don’t have to run another wire. Plus, I’m only really concerned about running my stereo amps and tower lights off the house battery.

Also, which wire is the alternator charge wire? Does anyone have a wiring diagram of the alternator? I was looking at it this weekend and there appears to be 3 wires running to the alternator, 1 black, 1 orange, and 1 purple. I have no idea which one is the charge wire that I need to run to the isolator.

BTW, if you are interested, here is a webpage that explains the advantages of an isolator/switch combo setup. It really helped me.

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chadwick02

What isolator did you get?? None of the ones ive ever seen require hookup to any of the alternator control wires, they simply use the heavy 2 gauge wire and automattically "sense" the current.

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Darwin
What isolator did you get?? None of the ones ive ever seen require hookup to any of the alternator control wires, they simply use the heavy 2 gauge wire and automattically "sense" the current.

I got a Guest 2401A isolator like this one:

http://www.marine.com/product_info.php/cPa...roducts_id/5560

Here is the diagram in the instructions:

post-5335-1210099501_thumb.jpg

Also, the webpage I linked to in my first post describes the same kind of setup. I really don't know jack about all things electrical so I probably shouldn't be messing with any of this stuff... LOL! Whistling.gif But this looked pretty easy and I already bought and mounted all the stuff so I'm kind of committed at this point.

Anyway, apparently to setup my system as the diagram shows (and that linked page described), I need to run a wire from the alternator output/charge terminal to the isolator and I don't know which terminal on the alternator is the correct one. That's what is holding me up at this point.

I'm sure I can call the manufacturer for questions about the isolator/switch setup. But I figured you guys would know more about Malibu Indmar alternators than the Guest people would. So I'm here pleading for your help... Dontknow.gif

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Darwin

Chadwick,

How would I integrate a switch into the setup you described?

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EZSnow

The terminal that does the charging on the alternator is the big stud with the nut on it. If your isolator is parsing out the charging flow this way or that, I'd think that's the one it needs. If you're going to have persistent high-current demand, the bigger the wire, the better. It will allow the batteries to be charged by the alternator more quickly.

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chadwick02
Chadwick,

How would I integrate a switch into the setup you described?

I guess I dont quite understand what you mean by a switch? Do you mean a simple on/off switch? If so, then you can just put a switch inline on the positive cable going from the battery. Any heavy duty 12 volt switch would work - you can turn it on and off to isolate the battery. BUT, as the article you linked to says, that requires thinking and always being constantly aware of how that switch is set. I've got enough to think about while im on the water, and I did not want to have to think about what switches were on and off and worrying about if the boat would start or not. There are several options for "automatic" battery automation, a search on this site for "stinger", "isolator", or "hellroaring" will provide lots of good info, and in my opinion the last option is the best for me(but of course, the most expensive). Because of that I got one of these:

BIC-95300B%20install.jpg

Thats a picture of a hellroaring BIC 95300B, and the diagram shows how to hook the system up as a backup battery. It is very easy to hook up, it only requires running one extra wire to your electrical system (a heavy 2 awg wire to your main battery OR to your starter). All the other wires go to a switch or 12v+.

In a nut shell, you connect the unit to your 2nd battery and to the rest of your electrical system (or your main battery, or your starter…, which ever is easier since they are all connected). This set up automatically does the following:

- while the boat is running it allows charging of both batteries at the same time (it combines them)

- while the boat is off it ISOLATES the seccond battery from the entire system, maintaining its charge

- when it comes time to start and your MAIN battery is dead, flip a little switch on the remote module(that connects to the 3 small wires shown in the picture) and it 're-connects the 2nd battery' to give you enough juice to start. Once started immediately flip the swich back, and the alternator will continue charging both batteries until you turn the engine off, and then it disconnects the backup battery until you move the switch again.

This is the simplest system they make. You dont have to think about it untill you cannot start your boat. When that happens, flip the swich, start the boat, and flip the swich back. Isolating, charging, combineing...etc is all done automatically. There are no moving parts or mechanical contacts like in the stinger units, so voltage loss and malfunctions are at a total minimum.

More info on this particular set up can be found here: http://www.hellroaring.com/simple.php

This set up, including the remote module, cost me somewhere under $250. Yes, it is more than other systems, but TOTALLY worth it. That money is well spent IMHO to eliminate the good chance of having a dead battery while having a boat full of people (embarrassing) or even worse, having a dead battery when a sudden storm sets in (dangerous!!)..etc.

The guys at hellraoring are AWESOME and will walk you through this and answer all your questions. Tracie and a bunch others have used these products. Very well built.

Sorry for writing a chapter book, I hope this helps you.

- Chad

Edited by chadwick02

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chadwick02
What isolator did you get?? None of the ones ive ever seen require hookup to any of the alternator control wires, they simply use the heavy 2 gauge wire and automattically "sense" the current.

I got a Guest 2401A isolator like this one:

http://www.marine.com/product_info.php/cPa...roducts_id/5560

Here is the diagram in the instructions:

post-5335-1210099501_thumb.jpg

Also, the webpage I linked to in my first post describes the same kind of setup. I really don't know jack about all things electrical so I probably shouldn't be messing with any of this stuff... LOL! Whistling.gif But this looked pretty easy and I already bought and mounted all the stuff so I'm kind of committed at this point.

Anyway, apparently to setup my system as the diagram shows (and that linked page described), I need to run a wire from the alternator output/charge terminal to the isolator and I don't know which terminal on the alternator is the correct one. That's what is holding me up at this point.

I'm sure I can call the manufacturer for questions about the isolator/switch setup. But I figured you guys would know more about Malibu Indmar alternators than the Guest people would. So I'm here pleading for your help... Dontknow.gif

Somehow, I entirely missed this post before I wrote my novel above. Sorry.

I am not familiar with that set up, and right now being that it is 1AM my brain is functioning even less than it normally does and I cannot even begin to understand that diagram you posted. It looks far more complex than the hellroaring set up. The first thing I would do is confirm the output of your alternator. That isolator is rated at no more than 70 amps, and I'd be willing to guess that is real close to the maximum output of your alternator. If it is rated less than the max output of your alternator, I would not use that device.

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Darwin

I thought I would give an update since this may be of interest to other people.

I contacted Indmar and they told me that the stock alternator on my engine would put out 55 amps and the orange wire was the charge wire. So I hooked up the isolator and switch according the diagram I attached to a post earlier in this thread. The wire coming from the starter was connected to the feed terminal on the Perko switch and I ran some new battery cable from the alternator charge terminal (orange wire) to the feed terminal on the isolator. Grounded the house battery to the starting battery.

Here is what happened:

I took it out on Sunday and watched the voltage gauge like a hawk. It never got above 11.5 or so. That kind of freaked me out. I had read that one of the problems with an isolator was the inherent voltage drop across terminals. But I thought this was supposed to be less than a volt. I was seeing more like a 3-volt drop. I also ended-up running down the starting battery. I have no idea why. It was fully charged before I launched. Luckily my other battery stayed around 11 volts the entire time we were on the lake. I tried switching the Perko from 1 to 2 to All while driving around at various points but could never seem to get the starting battery to charge up past 8 volts or so.

I guess the alternator was only "seeing" that the house battery was low and so the starting battery wasn't getting a charge? I forgot to ask Indmar if there is an external dedicated sense wire on the alternator. But for some reason I don't think there is-- does anyone know? Anyway, the whole reason I wanted an isolator was so I wouldn't have to worry about which battery was being or needed to be charged. Needless to say, I was unhappy with the results.

So I completely un-hooked the isolator and re-connected the orange wire to the alternator. I left the Perko switch installed and charged up both batteries. I took it out yesterday for about 5 hours and didn't have any problems. Voltage when running was about 14 for each battery. We sit around quite a bit on the water just listening to tunes and swimming... so I have to pay attention to which battery is selected. But it's not that big of a deal and, frankly, it seems like much less work than trying to make this damn isolator work how I want it to. I’m sure I’m probably doing something wrong, but at this point I’m tired of working on the boat and just want to play on it… haha. Maybe next winter I’ll go the Hellroaring route or some other option.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone.

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