Onboard Smart Chargers
Smart chargers can detect the current (voltage) left in a battery, determine exactly how much juice to shoot to it to perfectly recharge it, and then hold it there as long as 110-volt AC power is going to the charger. These chargers monitor the battery or several batteries simultaneously, continually adjusting the charge level or even turning it off, depending on the battery’s need.
Pro Sport 20
Automatically charges house and cranking batteries while monitoring power levels. Multistage profile decreases current as batteries approach full charge, maintaining but not overcharging.
How It's Made: Potted circuitry is waterproof, but optimum mounting positions are still above the waterline. A 20-amp output is available for two batteries. LED readouts indicate AC connection and charging status on each battery. Charger dimension: 10.75" x 7.25" x 2.5"
Charging Profile: 12- and 24-volt systems for flooded, gel and AGM.
Amps/Watts Output: 20 amps are distributed between two batteries as charger circuitry determines the need.
Tip: All batteries must match in profile.
Best Choice When: Compact mounting in smaller boats and positioning near bilge water is mandatory.
60-amp charger keeps up to three house battery banks perfectly charged after heavy use and long periods of nonuse. A remote controller can be mounted in any convenient area, keeping charger hidden.
How It's Made: The drip-proof plastic housing protects from spray and splash and features profile-select and charge-mode information on an easy to read panel on the front. A remote control/monitor panel attaches with a cable. Charger dimension: 13.38" x 6.7" x 3.54"
Charging Profile: All batteries must be the same type or have the same charging parameters.
Amps/Watts Output: 60 amps total output. Unlike competition, it can recover zero-volt battery.
Tip: Mount above normal bilgewater level since it is not potted for watertightness.
Best Choice When: Power demands call for multiple house batteries to serve heavier household needs, as in cruisers or other overnight craft.
Guest 20-Amp Dual Output Onboard Charger and Alternator Module
On shore power, it monitors all batteries, directing current where most needed. Under way, the alternator module diverts alternator power from a fully charged cranking battery to the house battery.
How It's Made: Fully potted for watertight performance, this charger can be right at home in a cramped bilge. Without the alternator module, it works only as a 110-volt onboard charger. Charger dimension: 8" x 8.9" x 3" plus alternator mod, 4.1" x 6.8" x 2.8"
Charging Profile: Flooded cell
Amps/Watts Output: 10 amps per output
Tip: Mount where LED charge status indicators can be easily seen.
Best Choice When: Charging flooded cell batteries.
Tip: Portable chargers still have their place, but in most boats, a permanent charger left on board solves many logistical problems. It’s often watertight, spark-proof and less prone to creating stray currents. When used dockside it keeps the batteries charging while you’re using them for pumps, lights or whatever. We think that every boat should have one.