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Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

Solar/Wind/Charging/Batteries

Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by BigGB » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:34 pm

I have been wondering if anyone else has something similar to the Xantrex echo-charge to keep a start battery topped up off of a house bank during the charging cycle. Given the increasing reports of poor service response and the $150+ price for this little device, as good as it is, it seemed like something else might be able to do the same trick.
As I often do...I found something similar on the RV forums that Winnebago is installing at the factory and the discussions on the forums are pretty favorable. It is called the TRIK-L-START and it sells for $50 bucks. a pdf sheet on the product: http://www.lslproducts.com/UTLS_Broch.pdf

Reading both brochures, it seems like both work on similar principles and that the main difference if that the Xantrex provies 15amp charging vs 5amp on the Trik-L-Start. It seems to me that 5 amps is more than sufficient for a start battery....especially at 1/3 the cost.

I would be interested in hearing if any members have used this product on their boats and what their experience has been.

(One thing I would do would be to substitute marine terminals and add a couple of in line fuses to the positive leads for marine use.)
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by chuck » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:59 pm

I have to say that as a service tech I am a big critic of Xantrex, seeing first hand all of the problems and failures. BUT, I have never seen the echo charger fail and I have one on my boat that works just fine and keeps my start battery very happy. Chuck
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by stormalong » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:57 pm

Looking at the TRIK-L-START, it is a very limited device, only 5 amps and a blocking diode, even a Schottky diode means a voltage drop. It is a different type of device vs. the Echo Charge and other battery combiners. Most battery combiners are relays with no significant voltage drop and much higher current capacity. They are activated when they sense a charging voltage level on either of the batteries attached to it.

There are several alternative products:

Yandina.com (buy through them or Defender)

Blue Sea Systems

BEP

And I think several others. This is commonly called a voltage sensitive relay or a voltage controlled relay.

Do not get the Ample power one. It has a very low (relatively) current capacity and is a pain to install. I used to have one.

I currently have the Yandina one from when it was sold by West Marine. It has been flawless in the last ten years of use. It also is backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Brian
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by Paul L » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:17 pm

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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by Catamount » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:10 am

As I understand it, the Xantrex Echo Charge (and the Ample Power device) are fundamentally different animals from the Battery Combining relays such as from Yandina and Blue Seas.

The Echo Charge is supposedly a DC-powered battery charger.

The battery combining relays are just switches.
Tim Allen
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by Bill Trayfors » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:43 am

Yes, Tim is right. The EchoCharge is a different critter altogether. It is NOT a battery combiner. Nor is it a "battery charge relay". It is "online" continuously.

The EchoCharge is a voltage-follower device, that is, it follows the charging protocol set by the actual battery charger, alternator/regulator, etc. It has voltage control circuitry as well, and will not overcharge your batteries. (I watched mine while I was equalizing my house batteries @ 16VDC, and the voltage to the start battery never got above 13.4VDC which is fine).

I agree with Chuck re: Xantrex stuff. However, like him, I have an EchoCharge on my boat and it has been flawless for several years. I also install them for clients. BTW, you can get them for a lot less than $150.

The Balmar Duo-Charge is a good alternative for some situations. It is programmable and has a 30A current limit. Being programmable, It is not a simple voltage follower like the EchoCharge. However, it also has a design flaw which in some situations could be a problem, e.g., when there is more than a 30A current draw on the start circuit for more than a very short time. It is supposed to be current-protected, but it isn't. They know about this and, hopefully, are going to fix it. But, for most boats that don't have such a lengthy large current draw after the engine starts, the DuoCharge is a very good device.

I believe there are a couple of other such devices, but I don't have any direct experience with them.
Bill
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by BigGB » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:17 am

Thanks everyone for the comments.
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by Auroras Captain » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:27 am

Check out this link. I've been using the idea without problem for several years now. I had the diode and got the TCB at the local auto parts place.

http://www.fourwinds-ii.com/v2/?c=library&i=simpler

Ted
May all your landfalls be expected,
Ted


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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by Brilliant » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:32 am

Like Ted, I installed the "Simpler Solution" about 7 years ago and it has performed flawlessly. Yes, there is a voltage drop of about .1 vdc, but I've always had plenty of power to start the engine. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Cheers,
Pete
s/y "Brilliant"
Moored NAS Jacksonville, FL
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by bobatkins » Sun May 07, 2017 9:57 pm

I searched all over the place for a repair/maintenance manual but I couldn't find anything. My inverter is in a fairly tight spot and removing the cover wasn't obvious. It looked like I might have to disconnect the DC cables and possibly even have to remove the unit from where it is mounted.

I spoke with a guy who works on these and he explained that once the screws on top and the side are removed, the cover just slides back a couple of inches to clear the DC terminals on the side and then it can be lifted straight up and off the unit.

I found a 25A spade type fuse clearly visible from the top of the unit on in the Echo 1 position on an internal board. It tested bad and replaced it. Curiously there was place for a second fuse for the Echo 2 charger. Hmm, I wonder if that enables the Echo 2 charger on my Freedom 20 that is only supposed to have one Echo charger. :-)

I wanted to contribute back to this group so I made a video so that others will have a clear idea of what it takes to remove the cover and replace the fuses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE_qg-G5UDg
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by RBEmerson » Mon May 08, 2017 7:46 pm

I strongly recommend the Magnum Energy Smart Battery Combiner : http://www.magnum-dimensions.com/smart-battery-combiner

I've compared the Echo Charge and SBC back to back. The Echo Charger is now sitting in a "free-cycle" somewhere. Only because I couldn't properly recycle it.
Eat more moose, 17,000 wolves can't be wrong...
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by FAST FRED » Wed May 10, 2017 6:48 am

IF your charge is coming from the engine operating , there is nothing better than a std RV $18.00 solenoid.

It is triggered closed by the ACC position on the engine key switch. Change to a Cole Hersey key switch if there is no Acc on yours.

IF the charge is wind or solar to the house batts once a week turn the key switch to acc (how you would listen to the radio in a car) and the start batt will be charged .

KISS
FAST FRED
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Re: Xantrex Echo Charge vs.

by RBEmerson » Thu May 11, 2017 12:00 am

RBEmerson wrote:I strongly recommend the Magnum Energy Smart Battery Combiner : http://www.magnum-dimensions.com/smart-battery-combiner

I've compared the Echo Charge and SBC back to back. The Echo Charger is now sitting in a "free-cycle" somewhere. Only because I couldn't properly recycle it.


I forgot to include that Xantrex customer support is among the worst I've encountered. Some people, myself included, are quite
proud to say "this is a Xantex-free boat". I'm just sayin'...
Eat more moose, 17,000 wolves can't be wrong...
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