charging battery bank with a mains power charger

hi all , I have had several conflicting answers to this question , can you help , if you had a battery bank say 600 amp hours  but your mains ( 110v / 240v )  battery  charge was rated  up to 300 amp hours  , what would happen if you connect it to battery bank to charge  , would it just take long to charge the bank or would it blow up or fuse  .

I only  ask because I have a 300 ah charger and to buy a 600 ah charge is very expensive .

many thanks

Robert


Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 10 #2
    Firstly battery chargers are rated in amps, Ah is a measure of current over time, if you had a charger rated to provide 300Ah, it would be a 300A charger, which I'm sure is not the case. So for arguments sake if the charger is rated at 30A, it would take 10 hours to produce 300Ah, theoretically. Small chargers on large battery banks tend to over stress the charger, unless it's specifically designed for the application, with cooling fans etcetera, otherwise  it would likely shut down on thermal overload before blowing a fuse, although that is a possibility. Without knowing the specifications it's impossible to speculate.
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    Sometimes, I have seen battery chargers "rated" for maximum battery bank storage capacity (say 300 AH @ 12 VDC). There is always the possibility that a very large battery bank could cause the battery charger to overheat (running at maximum current for too many hours).

    Another possible reason for "max battery bank AH rating" would be if they are following other rules of thumbs for charger/battery bank design. More or less, the optimal solar charger recommendation is ~5% to 13% rate of charge (i.e., 100 AH 20 hour rated battery bank, 5 amps to 13 amps). 10%+ rate of charge generally works well for full time off grid. And 5% rate of charge is better for weekend/seasonal usage during sunny weather.

    Battery bank wise, for flooded cell batteries, 10% is, many times, the manufacturer's minimum recommended rate of charge for deep cycle batteries (optimum for battery chemistry). For mains powered (or genset powered), 10% to 20% rate of charge usually works out pretty well (~25% maximum rate of charge). For typical flooded cell lead acid batteries, over ~13% rate of charge can cause battery bank to run hot--A remote battery temperature sensor is just about required for automated charging--Or monitoring the battery bank (i.e., with a generator, 20-25% rate of charge, run until the battery bank is ~80% state of charge, then let the solar array finish the charging at a lower current).

    So, a battery charger rated for a 300 AH maximum battery bank would be charging (at 5%) 15 amps maximum output current. If 13% rate of charge, closer to 19 amps rated output current.

    I have charged a "dead" ~85 AH car battery with a 1-2 amp trickle charger (cheap), and the charger did work and bring the battery back to life--But the charger overheated and popped open the plastic cube (charger case). It was pretty surprising (and unsafe if the charger fell onto the metal car chassis). An example of a poorly designed charge controller unable to manage running at (or over) rated output current for several days. I did replace the battery (I find that car batteries that are over ~1 year or so old, tend to die very quickly if they where taken dead and recharged). Also, I bought a better battery trickle charger (Battery Minder or Battery Tender brands).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cockneybob2cockneybob2 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭

    thanks guys , the charger in question is a 30 amp charger with a max amp hour of 350 , battery bank in question 600 amp hour , I was told that it would charge the 600 ah bank at around 15 amp and not to worry but makes since that the extra amp hours would effect the charger in some  way , ie over heating , guess max amp hours are put there for a reason , not worth the risk .

    many thanks

    Robert

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    A well designed charge controller in a well ventilated location should not overheat no matter the AH rating of the battery bank. And when you have a larger battery bank, it is not uncommon to parallel two or more charge controllers to get higher total charging current (faster charging, shorter genset run time).

    Just make sure you use breakers/fuses inline with the charger to battery bank + cable connections (sized for the wire/cable ratings, and at least ~1.25x the expected max continuous charger current to battery bank). Breakers/fuses (in north America) are generally specified to not blow at 80% or less of rating, and will eventually trip (many minutes to many hours) at 100% or greater of rating.

    Charging a large battery bank is a "difficult load" for electrical circuits. You have have the circuit+charger supplying 100% of rated current for many hours (i.e., 10% rate of charge for 20% to 80% charging, or 6 hours). Nominal house wiring is designed because most circuits have variable/low current needs. I.e., a few lights and a refrigerator that takes 600 Watts (say 5-6 amps on a 15 amp circuit, or 80% of 15 amps = 12 amps max continuous) to start or defrost only averages 120 Watts running.

    When charging a battery bank, it is very easy to run the charger at 100% of rated output (and input current) for many hours--Which tends to heat the wiring and stress the breakers--And why I like to run battery charging circuits at 80% of rated power (or 1/0.80=1.25x rated continuous load current).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cockneybob2cockneybob2 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭

    hi bill the charger in question is not a charge controller it is a mains charger that you plug into  your house supply , if your were charging a flat battery in winter , I would use it when I had shore power to keep the battery bank topped up .

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    I understand. For example (since I do not have any details)... Say you have a 30 amp @ 12 VDC charge controller that runs on 110 VAC mains. Designing the DC wiring (charger to battery bank, put fuse/breaker near battery bank--source of "high current" if there is a short circuit/charger failure):
    • 30 amps * 1/0.80 NEC derating (same as multiplying by 1.25) = 37.5 amps ~ 40 amp wiring+fuse/breaker for protection minimum.
    I suggest a minimum of 0.05 to 0.10 VDC drop when charging a 12 volt battery bank... Say you have 6 feet from charger to battery bank, one way, 30 amps, 0.10 volts max drop (high voltage drop means batteries look "fuller than they really are" and slows down charging):
    http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html?material=copper&wiresize=0.8152&voltage=12&phase=dc&noofconductor=1&distance=6&distanceunit=feet&amperes=30&x=88&y=16

    4 AWG wire 6 feet (one way run) will have a voltage drop of:
    Voltage drop: 0.089
    Voltage drop percentage: 0.74%
    Voltage at the end: 11.911

    Using the NEC table for wire/current ratings (fairly conservative):
    https://lugsdirect.com/WireCurrentAmpacitiesNEC-Table-301-16.htm
    4 AWG is good for 70-95 Amps (at room temperature, depending on insulation chosen--Your breaker would be "legals" at 40-70-95 amps--The 4 AWG wire is "good" for the current)...

    And then for the AC input of the charger... Assume 80% efficiency (some chargers are worse, others are better):
    • 30 amps * 14.75 volts charging * 1/0.80 charger efficiency * 1/110 VAC mains * 1/0.80 NEC derating = 6.3 amps @ 110 VAC (estimated)
    A typical 14 AWG North American House circuit is rated for 15 amps maximum (breaker rating), if you derate by 80%:
    • 15 amps * 0.80 NEC derating for continuous current = 12 Amps max continuous...
    So, using my above guesstimates, you can run just about 2x of these chargers from one 15 amp circuit @ 110 VAC (it is safe, you are just approaching the "false trip" of a circuit breaker or fuse at ~12.6 amps @ 110 VAC for two 30 amp chargers--You probably would never have any problems--But this is how an "engineer" would approach a "reliable design" with margin of safety factors--legally, you are below 15 amps).

    Note that charging connections to battery bank should be ring/lug bolt-up connections. Alligator clamps are only reliable for short term usage--Not good for long term permanent installation (alligator clamps tend to go "high resistance" over time).

    Does this long post help/make sense?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cockneybob2cockneybob2 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭

    hi bill , sorry to say it doesn't help as we are talking about 2 different thinks here , I don't have a charge controller , what I do have is a 240 volt ( I am in England ) 30 amp metal battery charger that you plug into your electric sockets at home , just like if you plug in a kettle or a tv , the 240v 30amp charger is rated to go up to a battery bank of  300 amp hours , the original question was , what would happen if I tried to change a 600 amp hour battery bank , would it blow up the charger or just take twice as long to charge , does the make any since

    regards Robert

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    What voltage is your battery bank?

    Connect the charger to your battery bank (less than 80% SOC) and see how hot the battery charger gets after charging for 15-60 minutes of charging.

    If the a.c. battery charger does not get hot, you probably are fine. And yes, the battery bank will take longer to charge.

    - Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cockneybob2cockneybob2 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    Thanks , charger is 24 volts
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    That is a good size battery bank.

    The voltage drop for 24 volt bank would be around 0.1 to 0.2 volts max drop. And around 29.0 volts charging.

    Watch out for the charging voltage. Many simple ac chargers tend to overcharge batteries and may not even have a float / maintainer voltage of roughly 27.0 volts (battery fully charged and hold a lower voltage).

    Of course of you have agm or type of battery,  the voltages are different.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cockneybob2cockneybob2 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    Thanks , it only has a standard and boost change so as there is no rush to charge , guess it would be safer to put it on the slower standard charge and forget the boost setting
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,775 admin
    Boost charge is usually used to jump start a car with a dead or low battery (>>30 amps dc current for a few minutes).  No reason to boost charge your battery bank with the charger.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
Sign In or Register to comment.