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Old 02-12-2010, 11:42 AM   #1
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Charging multiple battery banks

I need some help from the expertise of the group. I have two battery banks. 1) two deep cell batteries for starting the motor and chassis accessories and 2) two deep cell batteries for the coach to run the house lights and accessories. The chassis batteries are charged by the engine alternator and the coach batteries are charged by charger running off of 110v from shore or genny power.

I want to keep the coach load off of the chassis batteries so I don't run the risk of not being able to start the engine. Is there a way of having both the alternator charge the coach batteries going down the road and the 110v charger charge the chassis batteries when plugged in?
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

Yes, there is a device called a 'battery isolator'. Basically it is a couple of LARGE diodes that allow the alternator to charge both battery banks without the risk of 'backflow'. Here's a picture:
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

How would I connect the isolator or would I need two given there are two charging sources?
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

You would need two. That way the alternator can charge both battery banks, and the AC charger can charge both banks.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

The switch is another option. With the two isolators everything would be automatic, no switches to worry about. You can often find them on sale for around $40-$50 each. Just depends on the budget and personal preference.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

Here is a wiring diagram for running two isolators. I did not draw in the ground connections because they are all just connected together in a common ground setup. These are all the POS connections.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

I have run isolators before and they are relatively easy to install. Surpower is prolly the most common. Their website will have some diagrams.
Determine if there is some sort of diode that prevents current flowing to your alternator if you are charging via shore power or generator. I am sure there is but make sure. Wouldnt want to smoke your alternator. You will need to know the amperage and manufacture of your alternator, ie 130amp/delco and/or internal regulator etc. Whoever you source it from should help you.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:18 PM   #8
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

Thanks so much for all the information - very helpful. So with the double isolator set up, going down the road with the generator on, do I need to do anything. Will both "chargers" running concurrently cause any problems?
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:44 AM   #9
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Re: Charging multiple battery banks

Running both is no problem. It is a DC circuit, so whichever source has the highest voltage will 'flow the electrons'. The charger will not feed back to the alternator because of the isolator and vice versa. The great thing about the isolator is that whichever battery bank is discharged the lowest will present the greatest voltage differential and take the greater amount of the charge. It is a wonderful automatic setup.
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