NOCO 3 Bank Charger

NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby EtnaInst » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:27 pm

The original charger in my E-15 having given up the ghost, I got a NOCO GEN3 charger from Amazon. (They were watching -- the price went up just before I finally placed the order...)

This is a 3-bank charger rated at 10 amps per bank. It measures 11" long, 7.25" wide, and 2.9" high and is in a potted (sealed) housing. There are 3 battery cables, each about 3/8" in diameter and 60" long, ending in a pair of ring terminals suitable for 3/8" studs.

To avoid voiding the warranty, I attached my own cables to the ring terminals (embedding the results in a nice wad of electrical tape for now). These cables were made from 48" automotive trailer hookup cables (4-position). Now each tractor (E15 and I-5) can be plugged into the NOCO, which sits for now on a workbench.

Later, when the weather is warmer, I may consider mounting the NOCO in place of the E15 charger, but for now it is convenient to be able to charge (or top-off) either tractor. It seems to do a nice job of getting all of the (new) batteries filled equally, each 2-battery bank being processed independently.

Since the snow has melted and the tractors have been idle for several days, I've been able to monitor the NOCO's power consumption. When the batteries are full, it will take a peek every 24 hours and do a small fill-up charge that lasts a couple of minutes. Over a 5-day period, with full batteries, it has drawn an average of about 11 watts, or about .26 kWh per day (or $0.03 per day at our electric rates.)

It is somewhat disappointing to no longer enjoy the humming and buzzing of the original charger. Those sounds always made the tractor seem alive! On the other hand, it is good to be able to just let the charger do its work without worrying about over- or under-charging.
Larry Chace, Ithaca, NY I-5 and E15
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby Geo » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:34 pm

As usual, very detailed information- Thanks Larry! Those of us depending on the sun for our survival require data like this. "Over a 5-day period, with full batteries, it has drawn an average of about 11 watts, or about .26 kWh per day" -perfect information for planning the daily draw on our system. Not bad at all!!!!! :o
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby morninghill » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:42 pm

Thanks also, Larry. As Geo says those of us depending on the sun need/require this level of detailed information for our success. This website is so wonderful, I'm not sure I will ever actually get anything else done, Lance
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby Robaroni » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:55 am

Hi Guys,
I'll check out the charger. I'm starting to look into the charger I'll design. What Iwant thee final charger to do is charge each battery individually with sensing to equalize individual batteries. I'll likely use the LTC 1625 from linear as I just finished a design with it and I'm pleased with the outcome.
I'll post the circuits here and I may have my board house do pro boards if it works well.

Rob
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby colinmcc » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:17 am

I bought the same charger, NOCO GEN3, with 3 12v outputs from Amazon last autumn for my E8. I wasn't sure if it was ok to run it on 3 12 v batteries which were series connected to give a 36 v string, so I called the factory helpline. They confirmed that it is fine to use on 'our' battery strings, and told me that each of the 3 12v outlets was totally isolated from each other, so I'm assuming(?) that it will keep all 3 batteries equally fit and healthy no matter if 3 'wired in series' or 3 separate batteries.
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby roberttroll » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:34 pm

colinmcc wrote:I bought the same charger, NOCO GEN3, with 3 12v outputs from Amazon last autumn for my E8. I wasn't sure if it was ok to run it on 3 12 v batteries which were series connected to give a 36 v string, so I called the factory helpline. They confirmed that it is fine to use on 'our' battery strings, and told me that each of the 3 12v outlets was totally isolated from each other, so I'm assuming(?) that it will keep all 3 batteries equally fit and healthy no matter if 3 'wired in series' or 3 separate batteries.


Yep - I use a MinnKota 3 bank charger. This style charger is completely isolated, so there are no issues connecting each battery even if they are already in a string. They are great, and will keep the batteries in tip top shape. I also run desulphators which are kind of a voo-doo topic.
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby colinmcc » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:29 pm

I notice that most circuits involving relay/contactor 'coils' include a snubber diode in parallel with each coil to soak up back emf when power to the coil is cut off. For example Jeff's Alltrax conversion shows added diodes presumably to protect the Altrax.

I wonder if when adding an electronic battery charger(s) such as we are discussing here, (or any other modern electronics that may be added) snubbers should also be placed on the relay coil(s) to protect the charger electronics?

One reason I ask is I fitted a shunt and digital volt/ammeter to my E8, (cheap/Chinese/Ebay) it worked fine for about 8 on-off cycles then the display expired and only a few of the led segmments now light up. The unit was rated to measure 100A, 50V DC so should have been ok, just the E8 motor used, no mower. I know that electronics tend to expire early if they are going to, so I may have just been unlucky, but it did cross my mind after the event that it might have been back emf from the contactor coil that took it out.
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby morninghill » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:06 pm

Good point, Colinmcc, about the snubber diodes.
The Chargers with 3 isolated 12 V chargers are a big improvement in battery management over a single string 36 V charger. what I would like (ha ha) would be a 6x6 V isolated charger. Thanks Robaroni for working on Chargers. Improved battery charging can add up to a large savings in battery cost over time. Lance
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby colinmcc » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:45 pm

Lance,

I've been investigating the subject of 6V chargers, the only one capable of any output is the Soneil 604CC which apparently supplies 2 amps, hardly enough for our use.

In the course of Googling and contacting various suppliers I contacted Darryl McMahon of Econogics ( http://econogics.com ) who replied:

I don't have a good answer for you.

I have been on the look-out for an affordable, reliable, quality, 5 amps or higher, 6-volt charger for years. I have not yet found one. Soneil does make a unit (604CC) that supplies 2 amps. That's not enough current, and the units themselves have a spotty reliability record. I have tried them, and so has one of my customers, and neither of us were happy with the result. So, I don't recommend them (and I don't sell that model anymore).

I have heard from a couple of folks that have tried the same approach with 6-volt chargers from other manufacturers, usually after they have seen their chargers fail and they come to me looking for another solution.

I have just convinced Soneil to produce a 60-volt charger after a couple of years of discussion. Perhaps it is time to go back to them about this idea (a six-pack of 6-volt chargers designed for golf car batteries for our tractors and for golf cars). I know the golf car manufacturers are not interested; we have had that conversation.

So, it's not my preferred approach, but I am stuck with the 36-volt series string charger.

Would you be willing to pay $300 or $400 for a six-pack charging system? I'm trying to get a sense of what this is worth to the end-user/owner. How much current do you want it to put out in bulk charge phase? 5, 10, 15, 20 amps? This affects the size of the magnetics, power components, fuses, wiring. How much intelligence do you want in the system? Display features? Or would you be satisfied with a separate monitoring and display system? (I am about to start carrying the BattSix system for a system monitor.)

I welcome your thoughts on what this charging system should do, and what the consumer is willing to pay to protect their $600 to $1000 battery investment.

Darryl McMahon

Econogics


I have invited him to join our forum and perhaps we can all persue this futher?

Colin
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Re: NOCO 3 Bank Charger

Postby morninghill » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:45 am

Thanks for looking into this. At one time I tried, and found nothing, so you're doing better than that. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that golf cart folks don't care, oh well. I have been hoping that the battery management system work being done for lithium-ion batteries might yield help even in charging our lead acid batteries. Time will tell. I'm getting ready to buy a new battery bank for the E 16 so I've been thinking about this a lot. Lance
PS.Nice to have someone else out here in the Elec-trak netherworld :!:
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