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Author Topic: Equalizer or converter for 12 volts? Where to buy?  (Read 1432 times)
belfert
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« on: May 16, 2006, 04:58:46 PM »

My main house battery bank will be 24 volt to supply the inverter, but I will still need a fair amount of 12 volt for lights and such.

Do I want a converter or an equalizer for this?  Where is a good place to buy one?  The Vanner equalizer is popular, but not the easiest thing to find.

Brian Elfert
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 05:57:26 PM »

Brian,

I have the Vanner, and am very pleased with it.

Try Luke, ABC or any bus outfit. See if you can get a used takeout.

Mine was a take out and got it for about a third of new. 

Not much in them to go wrong.

Cliff
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2006, 06:16:21 PM »

An interesting approach might be to use DC -DC converters from the electronic industry.  For example, this one avaliable at Digikey.com
http://rocky.digikey.com/WebLib/Artesyn%20Technologies/Web%20Data/BXB150%20Singles.pdf
These are capable of outputting 12 volts at 12 amps or so.  They are somewhat pricey, $145 or so.

Another option is an unregulated converter from newenglandsolar.com - they have a few variations on page 56 and 57
http://www.newenglandsolar.com/catalog_pages/catalog57.htm
although again, somewhat pricey.

Some ebay possibilities- there are often very nice converters abaliable for a song, but you have to kinda know what you are doing to use them.
As an example, searching dc converter in the business/industial section, this guy has some that convert 24 to 12 at one measely amp, but for only 12 bucks.  You could distribute them around using more than one...
    Item number: 7618525325   
...............

My favorite way of dealing with this is to use two batteries hooked in series for your 24 volts, and center tap  them to get all the 12 volts you want.  The trick is to use two separate 12 volt alternators to charge the two batteries, one hooked from ground to the center tap, and the other one totally isolated from chassis with nylon mounts, it's frame hooked to the 12 volt tap and it's output hooked to the 24 volt end of the batteries .
  Doing it this way, each battery has it's own alternator and you can draw whatever you want to from 12 or 24 volts without danger of unbalancing the batteries, as the alternators being dedicated to each battery keeps them happy.  I've done this with 24 volt and 36 volt systems and the results are great.  Plus a  2nd alternator might be a bit to install, but it's a LOT cheaper than a 24-to-12 converter and you can have virtually all the 12 volt current you want instead of being limited to 10 amps or so.

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belfert
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 06:42:58 PM »

...............

My favorite way of dealing with this is to use two batteries hooked in series for your 24 volts, and center tap  them to get all the 12 volts you want.  The trick is to use two separate 12 volt alternators to charge the two batteries, one hooked from ground to the center tap, and the other one totally isolated from chassis with nylon mounts, it's frame hooked to the 12 volt tap and it's output hooked to the 24 volt end of the batteries .
  Doing it this way, each battery has it's own alternator and you can draw whatever you want to from 12 or 24 volts without danger of unbalancing the batteries, as the alternators being dedicated to each battery keeps them happy.  I've done this with 24 volt and 36 volt systems and the results are great.  Plus a  2nd alternator might be a bit to install, but it's a LOT cheaper than a 24-to-12 converter and you can have virtually all the 12 volt current you want instead of being limited to 10 amps or so.

A Vanner capable of 40 amps is only like $450 or even less at times.  Two large 12 volt alternators and the work to mount them is probably going to be around the same cost.

Brian Elfert
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Dale MC8
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 07:38:09 AM »

I checked the Vanner website and found a dealer near me. Called them and bought a 'reconditioned' equalizer at a very good price.
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Dale MC8

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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2006, 01:46:33 PM »

I got a new 60 amp Vanner equalizer on eBay last summer for around $165.  This'll provide 12 volts and will equalize the batteries at 60 amps.  To charge the batteries, I got a 60 amp Progressive Dynamics converter/ charger.  This is the one with Charge Wizard and 3 stage charging.  It's also new and was around $145 with shipping on eBay.  A large cont. duty relay will tie the 24 volt house bank to the start batteries when the alternator is charging.  For a little over $300, this seemed to be the best solution for me.

David
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