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Technical questions : FAQ

Sizing : chosing the right equipment

  • Yes without problem. On DOLPHIN PRO charger a specific winterizing charging program is available in order to keep-up the battery.

  • While challenging to explain, Power Factor Correction (PFC) and PFC chargers require less incoming energy to provide the same output of their non-PFC counterparts. PFC is measured by how efficiently the AC sine wave is used. In a non-PFC charger, the circuitry has a delayed reaction to the alternating current in the incoming sine wave. When PFC is utilized, the circuitry ‘anticipates’ the rise in voltage, eliminates the delay and allows the circuitry to use the incoming AC more effectively.

    Here’s an example to try and clarify this concept. When two 80-amp chargers were compared at full output, the non-PFC charger was drawing over 14 amps where the PFC charger was just over 9 amps.

    The end result of the PFC advantage is more amperage available for the other AC devices installed in the system

  • The first and most important thing to consider is the location of the charger. Higher voltage AC travels better over long distances, where the DC does not. Due to this situation, the charger should be mounted as close to the battery as possible. If the AC source is 9 meters / 30 feet from the battery, your voltage drop of 9 meters / 30 feet of AC wiring will be much less significant than the voltage drop of 9 meters / 30 feet of DC wiring.

    Next on the priority list for consideration is the charger size. Your maximum charger amperage should be 20% of your battery bank size (in amp-hours). If you have a large bank, you can use one of the chargers on the market that are ‘stackable’. This means that you can install two 40-amp chargers to get 80 amps of charge. The most effective way is to have the chargers synchronize (or stack) with each other so the charge algorithm works efficiently. This prevents one charger from assuming a fully charged battery because it mistakenly ‘reads’ the voltage of the other charger.

    Next you must consider the future of the system. If you plan to eventually add an inverter, you might consider the benefits of an inverter/charger combination unit. Since an inverter and a charger share many of the same components, installing a combination unit in your system allows cost savings realized from duplicating redundant components. When using separate units, one will always be idle while the other is in use. So for hardware weight and size efficiencies, a combination unit is recommended.

  • The examples I have used are for the absolute ideal scenarios using a liquid battery, a proper sized charger, and a moderate temperature.

    However, the battery’s reactions to voltage differential changes with different temperature levels. When a battery is warmer, it has an easier time accepting current, but when it’s colder, it has a higher resistance to current. So, more complex chargers utilize a battery temperature sensor to determine the ability of the battery to accept a charge and will adjust the voltage (higher voltage when cold, lower voltage when warm) to give an optimum charge, and to regulate the temperature of the charging battery. The voltage difference is minimal (typically .03 volt for every degree variance from moderate temperature), but makes a difference in the battery’s longevity.

  • With limited knowledge of battery charging, one might believe that a 400Ah battery bank, charged by a 400-amp charger, should fully charge from a completely discharged status in about an hour.

    However, a charger that large would cause so much heat build-up in the battery that it would be completely destroyed before too long.
    On the other side of the spectrum, a 5-amp charger would not damage the battery, but would take over three days to charge! So … what’s the optimum charger? The general rule of thumb is C/5, or Capacity (in amp-hours) divided by 5. So an 80-amp charger is the right size for a 400Ah battery bank (400/5=80). When rounding is necessary, always round down because your battery bank will degrade over time and your C/5 rule will eventually meet.

  • Actually, in a new installation, the battery should be specified first, before even considering the charger. Why? If the charger is determined first, it may limit your battery choices. On the other hand, there are so many charger types that you can always find one (or stackable charger units) to match your battery bank.

    First consideration is the size, next is battery chemistry. If you decide
    on a gel battery or an AGM, ensure your charger has the algorithm to match the battery type, and the temperature compensation to effectively charge the bank.

    Another consideration is input voltage. If you plan on using the charger in a worldwide environment, ensure you select a charger that can operate on a worldwide voltage range. A US-only charger (120V 60Hz input) would certainly be damaged by plugging into European (230V 50Hz) power. However, DOLPHIN Charger can take a wide window of input voltages and still function as designed.

  • It is well known that all storage batteries – vented or VRLA lead acid or nickel cadmium – require different charging voltage at different temperatures. When cold, the battery requires higher than normal charge voltage in order to deliver maximum possible performance. When warm, charging voltage must be reduced to prevent overcharging and consequent loss of electrolyte.

    When the battery is located in a well-controlled environment temperature compensation adds little value. In contrast, temperature compensation is absolutely essential when batteries are located in outdoor cabinets or other areas subject to extremes of temperature. These facts illustrate the value of temperature compensation:

    • When a battery that is 32 degrees C / 90 degrees F in temperature is charged at the correct voltage for 10 degrees C / 50 degrees F it will be boiled dry in three months.
    • When a battery -7 degrees C / 20 degrees F is charged at the correct voltage for 10 degrees C / 50 degrees F it will fail to charge – and thus fail to deliver its specified performance.


    Using a charger equipped with automatic temperature compensation can prevent both of these problems.

  • Yes without any problem, exept on the Dolphin Premium 10A and 15A where there is a manual switchover. This will not affect the performance of your DOLPHIN charger.

  • Our chargers charge and float lead-acid batteries at a different voltage than gel-cell batteries. You should not mix battery types because you are going to compromise a battery if you charge it at the wrong setting.

  • The value of both float and equalize/boost/high rate voltages is determined by the battery manufacturer, and depends on the chemistry and construction of the battery. Deviating from the recommended values, except where needed to adjust for temperature, will under or overcharge the battery – both of which will reduce the battery’s life and performance.
    DOLPHIN charger includes different battery specification program. On DOLPHIN PRO up-to 10 charging programs are available. For example in case of AGM batteries select the AGM charging programs.

  • DOLPHIN charger includes different battery specification program. On DOLPHIN PRO up-to 10 charging programs are available. For example in case of AGM batteries select the AGM charging programs.

Installation : mount and cabling

  • Anywhere except gas engine room as the unit is not ISO 8846 certified. Due to high level of electronic performance the DOLPHIN battery charger can provide full power without derating up to 65 degrees C.

  • If one battery bank should be connected please use the terminal DC1.

    On a DOLPHIN, you will NOT need to jumper the unused positive terminals to one of the positive terminals that you are using so that the charger will “read” a battery on each lead.

  • If one battery bank should be connected please use the terminal DC1.

    On a DOLPHIN, you will NOT need to jumper the unused positive terminals to one of the positive terminals that you are using so that the charger will “read” a battery on each lead.

Charging advices

  • The term multi-stage charging means that the voltage differential changes throughout the charging cycle. We’ll use the typical 12-volt liquid lead acid battery as an example.
    The first charge stage would be the BULK stage which gets as much current into the battery as fast as possible without damage. The charger will attempt to discharge 14.4 volts at its maximum current in order to achieve the charge. Anything higher can cause heat build-up; lower will slow the charge rate. With this in mind, once the voltage differential equalizes (battery voltage meets the charger voltage, approximately 85% charged), we enter the absorption stage.

    In the absorption stage, the charger maintains the 14.4 volts, but the current will slowly drop as the battery increases in resistance (caused by an increase in charge level). Absorption stage will top off the battery state of charge. Once the battery is “full”, the charger will drop its voltage to 13.4 and transition to the float stage. The float voltage level is high enough to keep the battery “full”, even if DC loads are turned on, but low enough to prevent persistent gassing of the battery which can cause long term damage.

  • A microprocessor-controlled battery charger is designed to provide fast, safe and efficient charging to a wide variety of battery types and sizes. Advanced microprocessor-controlled algorithms monitor the charging process to avoid battery damages caused by overcharging. Simply put, the charger collects information from the battery and adjusts the charge current and voltage based on this information. This allows the battery to be charged quickly, correctly, and completely when using a microprocessor-controlled battery charger. Because of this, fast charging does not have negative effects on the capacity of the battery and on battery cycle-life. The multi-phase charging process ensures that each battery gets the power it needs in a manner that is best for the health of the battery ensuring that all of the energy is properly absorbed by the battery whether it’s a Conventional, AGM, Gel Cell, Marine or Deep Cycle battery. Microprocessor-controlled battery chargers can remain connected to the battery indefinitely and will not overcharge or damage it. Microprocessor controlled battery chargers are faster, safer and certainly more efficient than "old school" transformer type battery chargers.

  • When an automatic charge is performed, the charger stops charging and switches to the Maintain Mode (Float-Mode Monitoring) automatically after the battery is fully charged. Automatic chargers are more forgiving on the battery than manual chargers but are not designed for indefinite or maintenance use. Automatic chargers use a cycling process (see Maintain Mode) to prevent overcharging the battery.

  • When the CHARGED LED is lit; the charger has started Maintain Mode. In this mode, the charger keeps the battery fully charged by delivering a small current when necessary. If the battery voltage drops below a preset level, the charger will go back in to Charge Mode until the battery voltage returns to the full charge level, which at this point the charger will return to Maintain Mode. The charger automatically switches between Charge Mode and Maintain Mode as necessary. The CHARGED LED will cycle on when the battery is at full charge and off when the voltage drops below a preset level and the charger goes into Charge Mode. The cycle will continue, and the CHARGED LED will stay on for longer periods of time as the battery becomes more fully charged. The voltage is maintained at a level determined by the BATTERY TYPE selected.

  • The value of both float and equalize/boost/high rate voltages is determined by the battery manufacturer, and depends on the chemistry and construction of the battery. Deviating from the recommended values, except where needed to adjust for temperature, will under or overcharge the battery – both of which will reduce the battery’s life and performance.

    DOLPHIN charger includes different battery specification program. On DOLPHIN PRO up-to 10 charging programs are available. For example in case of AGM batteries select the AGM charging programs.

  • Yes without any problem, exept on the Dolphin Premium 10A and 15A where there is a manual switchover.
    This will not affect the performance of your DOLPHIN charger.

  • The following equation will give you a good idea of how long it will take to charge batteries.
    Total Amp Hour capacity of the batteries
    ————————————————
    Total amperage output of charger
    = Total Hours To Charge Batteries
    Example: 100 amp hour battery / 10 amp charger = 10 hours

    If you drain your battery half-way (50%) then you would need to put 50 amps back into it. Based on the above equation it would therefore take you 5 hours to charge the battery.

    If you have more than one battery, you will have to add up the amp hour capacity of all the batteries and then divide it by the total amp output of the charger to get the charge time.

Warranty

  • Dolphin Charger products are designed and manufactured to go for many, many years. This is why most of them now come with a 4-year warranty since November 2018 (3-year before Nov 2018). Should you nevertheless experience trouble with your Dolphin Charger unit, please follow this simple, three-step procedure:

    (1) first, download the relevant User’s Manual, and follow our troubleshooting instructions. This should do the trick. It doesn’t ? Go to Step Two

    (2) contact your marina’s preferred marine electrician to check whether anything is wrong with your electrical installation (or jump to Step 3 directly). Nothing wrong with your battery bank and electrical system? Then follow Step Three

    (3) contact your local Dolphin Charger importer/dealer: he/she will be able to advise you further. You can find a dealer near you through our new interactive world map