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Old 11-08-2019, 05:06 PM   #1
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Hot battery separator, is this normal?

While searching for a lost tool under the seat, I happened to touch the battery separator (Sure Power 1315-200) and found it very hot. I got out my infrared thermometer and measured it at 150 degrees! The van engine had not been running since yesterday, so the only input was the solar panel (single 160 watt panel). Solar input reading from the charge controller read 3.5 amps and the house battery read 13.5 volts. That was early afternoon.

Now, with the sun further down and the panel in partial shade the separator temperature is 107 degrees, solar panel input 0.3 amps, and house battery voltage 12.8 volts.

Maybe the separator is always this hot at high noon. Anyway, it got my attention enough that I made sure to vacuum up all the dust bunnies nearby in order to prevent fire.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:43 PM   #2
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It is a solenoid based device, so when it is actively connecting the two batteries, current is flowing through the coil to pull the contactor in and make the circuit. So, when your panels are providing power, it will be consuming a small amount of that power to engage, and making heat. 150F is a little warm, but if it is in a location where it doesn't get a lot of airflow (and that's what the picture looks like) then I could see that being reasonable.
That's why I don't like simple solenoids like that. Proper industrial contactors have a pull-in coil on a PTC and a hold-in coil, so they take a pulse of power and then drop way down. Of course industrial contactors aren't cheap, either, so you pay your money and you make your choice.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:16 PM   #3
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Many of us use Blue Sea solid state battery separators......


These don't burn nearly as much solar energy as heat in a solenoid type contactor....more juice goes to charge the battery.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
Many of us use Blue Sea solid state battery separators......


These don't burn nearly as much solar energy as heat in a solenoid type contactor....more juice goes to charge the battery.
Yep, I would upgrade that old isolator personally. I'm a big fan of the Blue Sea 7610. I think I've bought 7 or 8 of them now for different rigs, mine and others.

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Syst...3305599&sr=8-1
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
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As others have said it is normal for the Surepower Separator to generate heat, due to the continuous duty solenoid. Other issues that could add to that heat would be loose terminals, not fully torqued terminals will add resistance and generate heat. Also there can be contact resistance that is built up on the internal terminals, this also will generate additional heat.

If your solar controller is in "float" with a reading of 13.5 volts and 3.5 amps, I wouldn't suspect either of those issue, except it is hard to tell with solar, as it could be limited from sunlight input.

Also as others have said Blue Sea Systems offer a couple ACR's that are not continuous duty. The 7610/7611 are both "solid state" or FET based units. I don't generally recommend these units with alternators higher than 120 amps. Also if you were to change with existing wiring which i expect 2 awg, than the unit would be derated for 100 amps . ( This is because of heat transferred from cable to FETS). These units use 175mA while closed and 15mA while open

The other units commonly used are 7620/7622, these units use a magnetic latch relay, still used one coil, but based on polarity at the coil a magnetic latch will hold open or release plunger. The 7622 adds a manual knob, that you can change state even if the unit has no power. The 7620/7622 exceeds the current specification of the existing Surepower 1315-200. The 762X series uses 13mA both open and closed, but does use 7A when changing state.

If transitioning to either of these units the terminals on the existing cables would most likely need to be replaced as the bluesea terminals size is 3/8 while existing surepower was 5/16.

I have a spreadsheet with the comparison of the bluesea units
]



You can also check out this from bluesea ChooseACR


-greg
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:22 AM   #6
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Alternatively, quit screwing around with solenoids that get hot and go to an all electronic solution which costs more, but is more reliable and lasts longer. That Blue Sea ACR is a mechanical solenoid with a plastic cover...still gets hotter than blazes and still slaps opened and closed mechanically.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:08 PM   #7
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We had one in our SMB and it actually got so hot it caught on fire. That was about 4 years ago. Given where it was located (under the gaucho) it was pretty dangerous. Luckily we were driving the van at the time so we stopped and were able to put it out before incurring any serious damage. We changed it out for a Blue Sea 7620. We haven't had any problems with it.

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Old 11-14-2019, 02:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
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We had one in our SMB and it actually got so hot it caught on fire. That was about 4 years ago. Given where it was located (under the gaucho) it was pretty dangerous. Luckily we were driving the van at the time so we stopped and were able to put it out before incurring any serious damage. We changed it out for a Blue Sea 7620. We haven't had any problems with it.

Ed
Until your post eruddick, the conversation about upgrading seemed informative but one of those things I scribed at the end of my current list....your input is a little concerning. I'll be checking the heat on mine after the next drive, and more than likely upgrading in the next couple months.
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:25 PM   #9
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To 86Scotty & Scalf77 - Thanks guys, for technical reasoned answers and suggestions with detailed information. Every time here I learn something new.
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalf77 View Post
.... The 7610/7611 are both "solid state" or FET based units.....


The other units commonly used are 7620/7622, these units use a magnetic latch relay......
-greg
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Originally Posted by jumpshowhigh View Post
That Blue Sea ACR is a mechanical solenoid with a plastic cover...still gets hotter than blazes and still slaps opened and closed mechanically.

As Greg stated above the Blue Sea 7610/7611 are solid state (FET) based units, and the 7620/7622 based units have a latching relay....so neither of these burn anywhere near the power of a solenoid based separator.
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