Blue Seas New Smart Charger

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Keeping batteries fully charged is a science that cruisers have to master sooner or later. If todays high-capacity AGM batteries arent managed properly, valuable amp hours in can permanently trickle away through sulfation, as we saw in our test of AGM batteries (See Fighting Sulfation in AGMs, PS May 2015). Good battery management means complete re-charging that matches the charging profile of your battery, and this means an accurate sensing of battery voltage. As we saw in our recent report on battery monitors (see Best Battery Monitor Test Update, PS October 2017) a good monitor will also keep track of temperature, as this can be a limiting factor in charge acceptance rate.

Blue Sea smart BatteryLink system

The Blue Sea BatteryLink waterproof 20A charger is the big brother of the popular 10 amp version. Of course, the more powerful 20-amp version has ability to attend to a larger battery bank-up to about 200 Ah. Like the BatteryLink 10A it is compact, measuring about 5 x 7 x 2 inches and the internal components are sealed, so it can be mounted close to the battery bank and low in the hull without worry.

The critical element is the internal 65 amp automatic charging relay, which detects when a charging source is present and automatically combines the two batteries to be charged simultaneously. It links them when a DC charge above 13 volts is applied to either battery-no matter the source. When there is no charge, or the load on one battery falls below a pre-set level (12.75 volt) it disconnects them.

When you hook up to shorepower, the BatteryLink becomes your shore charger, effectively taking the place of a 20A three-stage charger, maintaining two bank systems of between 60Ah to 200 Ah. The small unit will appeal to midsize cruisers looking for a robust single system to maintain their batteries and prolong their life. Scheduled for release in 2018, it is not yet priced .

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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