COMMON Trollbridge QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
You can see the specifications for the Trollbridge24 or the Trollbridge36.
Please review the following FAQs and if necessary, email help is available nearly 24/7 at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW IT WORKS:-
GO TO REGULAR COMBINER HELP
Q Which model of Trollbridge or Combiner should I use?A There is a simple QUESTIONNAIRE you can fill out that will analyze your installation and give you detailed instructions, a shopping list and a schematic.
Q What gauge wire should I use?A Trolling motors should be connected with 6 gauge wire.
Q How come the Trollbridge24 only has 10 gauge wire?
Why does shortening the leads on the Trollbridge24 void the warranty?
Q If I have a long wire run to the batteries or motor, is it OK to shorten the Trollbridge leads?A In general the answer is no, the small resistance of the 10 gauge wires protects the Trollbridge24 from overloading battery to battery current when they are put in parallel. 6 gauge or heavier wire would not protect the Trollbridge24. The short 10 gauge wires do not have any significant effect at normal operating currents.
Q Do the trolling batteries have to be the same size?A Normally Yes but since the Trollbridge24 keeps the batteries in parallel when the motor is not running, their voltage gets equallized so the answer is No. If they are different sizes it is preferable to put the larger capacity battery as the bottom of the two in the 24 volt stack so it can also support house loads.
Q Can I mix new batteries with old ones?
Q Can I mix one brand with one from a different manufacturer?
Q Can I have parallel batteries to increase capacity?
Q Do batteries in parallel have to be "matched"?
When the old one eventually dies, it will drag the new one down but this always happens whenever two batteries are in parallel and one dies, the only difference here is it is going to happen sooner than it would had they both been brand new. So big deal, you gained some residual use out of the old one and the new one will not be permanently damaged - just charge it up again. If you used a Combiner100 for charging your starting batter will not be run down.
The bottom line is the batteries in parallel provide more power - never less - than either one on its own - it just may not be the "ideal" way to do it.
Q Will batteries of different sizes get fully charged?
Won't the smaller battery get overcharged if put in parallel with a large one?
When they are in parallel, they are AT THE SAME VOLTAGE. You can't overcharge one and not the other. The regulator on your alternator will cut charging off.
Q Do I still need a multiple output charger?A No. Connect a single output charger, or the charging line from your tow vehicle to the starting battery and the Trollbridge24 will charge the trolling battery.
Q Do you make a higher power version for 24 volt anchor winches, bow thrusters, etc.?A Yes we have a 500 amp version that can handle loads up to 16 horsepower. Send us an email to email@example.com for ordering information.
Q Do I need fuses or circuit breakers in the battery leads?A OPTIONAL. For safety all batteries should have a circuit breaker or fuse however if the batteries and the Trollbridge24 are in close proximity a breaker in the blue wire circuit to the trolling motor is sufficient. The Trollbridge24 has internal fusing in the event of internal failure of the electronics. Your starting battery should already have a circuit breaker going to your accessories and the Trollbridge24.
IF YOU DO FUSE BATTERY LEADS BOTH MUST BE FUSED. If you fuse only one it could dump the full overload on the unfused battery cable.
Q Why does my '24 VOLT' light stay on when I turn the trolling motor off?A There is a 20 to 30 second time delay before reverting back to parallel to save switching in case it is just a temporary stop.
Q I can't see the "24 VOLT" light. Do you have a remote indicator?A If you download the owner's manual there are instructions there for adding a remote indicator.
Q Why can't I connect anything to the "trolling" battery?A With or without a Trollbridge24, the second battery of a 24 volt pair will have its negative terminal at +12 volts and its positive terminal will have +24 when set up for 24 volts. If you run your depth finder, for example, from the top battery its negative side will be getting +12 volts and its positive input will be at +24. This puts 12 volts on the depth finder but if it has a metal transducer that is in contact with the water, it will be at +12 volts so it can cause serious electrolysis problems. On a metal boat it could cause a short and blow a fuse.
Q Won't I have to re-balance the batteries with loads on the bottom one?A No, about 30 seconds after you turn off the trolling motor they will be put back in parallel. Current will flow from battery to battery if required to re-balance the batteries.
Q How long must I run the engine to re-charge the TM battery between fishing spots?A It depends on two things, the amount of current the TM draws and the amount of charging current the main motor puts out.
Q Which schematic and how many batteries do I need?
In small installations using a Trollbridge24 you can reduce the installation to just two batteries and still have 24 volts for the TM, saving the weight and cost of one battery. There is the starting/house battery plus the second of the 24 volt stack. The Trollbridge24 charges them both in parallel and any alternator should have capacity to handle this load. The house/starting battery is usually selected to have the larger capacity. The disadvantage is you risk leaving too little power to start the engine if you are not monitoring voltage closely.
The next level uses three batteries. A starting battery, a house battery and the second of the 24 volt stack. By putting a battery combiner between the starting and the other two, you protect the alternator because it won't start charging the auxiliary batteries until the starting battery gets up to voltage. The combiner will then deliver the alternator capacity, over and above that needed for the starting battery, to the house battery and to the 24 volt battery through the Trollbridge24. With this level you don't connect anything to the starting battery other than the combiner so it will always be protected from accidental discharge. When charging a severely discharged house/trolling battery you will see the light on the Combiner cycle on and off as it meters available charge to the other batteries. This will extend charging time but protects the alternator from overloading. Lights, instruments and house loads are connected to the "house" battery. When the TM is not in use, the house and the trolling battery are in parallel so both are available for house loads.
If you want to isolate the house battery and dedicate two batteries to the TM only you graduate to four batteries. In the schematic below, the starting motor (always) has highest priority for alternator output, the house battery has second priority and the trolling batteries get what is left over. The combiners isolate the functions so one application will never discharge the battery intended for another.
Q A NOTE ON BATTERY SIZING.
In the past it was preferable to match the two batteries in a 24 volt stack so they would charge and discharge equally. This is no longer necessary with a Trollbridge24 because whenever the TM is not in use they are put in parallel and equalize their charge rapidly.
Schematic A: In this circuit the starting battery is doing three functions - starting, house loads and trolling. The Trolling battery is used for trolling and house loads when the TM is not in use. To avoid the starting battery being run too low to start due to using the TM, its capacity should preferably be larger than the trolling battery. That way if the TM runs the battery too low the trolling battery will be the first to give out while there will still be enough charge in the house battery to get started. As a rule you should avoid deep discharging of batteries to maximize life, even with deep cycle batteries.
Schematic B: In this circuits the only load for the starting battery is the starter motor. It will never have to support house or trolling functions. So it can be sized quite small - the minimum specified by the manufacturer. For the other batteries, the guide for schematic B: applies.
Schematic C: The advise for A: and B: applies here however there is no longer any need to make the house battery larger than the trolling motor since there are two batteries dedicated only to the TM. They should be matched in size so you are not wasting capacity that won't be used. The house batter can be sized appropriate to what lights/instruments you run but can typically be smaller than the trolling batteries.
Q How does a Trollbridge equalize the batteries?
Q The specifications say that the batteries are "equalized" when the trolling motor is not running. What does this mean?
First we need to understand what "equalizing" is.
Whenever you have battery cells in series to make a 12, 24 or 36 volt battery, the charging and discharging current flows equally through every cell. If they are all equally charged then they will all end up discharged together. Unfortunately they are never matched perfectly so to avoid damage as you use the power from a battery, you have to stop taking current out before the weakest cell is discharged. But when you go to charge them all back up, again the same current flows through all the cells so the cell that has the highest residual charge will be the first one to be fully charged, long before that weak one is fully charged.
When discharging your limit is the weakest link in the chain, when charging, the limit is the strongest link in the chain. The difference between them is lost capacity.
The higher the battery voltage the more cells you have in series so the more cells, the more chance for different states of charge and the more important it is to match battery characteristics - size, age, manufacturer etc.. If you have a 100 amp-hour in series with a 250 amp-hour battery, you can only get 100 amp-hours out of it, not half, 175 not the larger, 250 and not the total, 375.
Charging the batteries equally becomes more important when one battery is sharing duty with instruments, lights, or engine starting. Making it larger than the other one is a solution but if you are charging them with a 24 volt charger that extra capacity will never get re-charged because the smaller battery will already be fully charged before you start on the extra capacity in the bigger one.
When the trolling motor is not running the Trollbridge puts the batteries in parallel. Now any extra capacity or imbalance ends up as current flowing from battery to battery until they are at the same level of charge. While this is not equalization at the CELL level, it does overcome the disadvantages of charging batteries in series at 24 or 36 volts and it allows multiple use and different size batteries to be used.
Even 12 volt batteries need occasional equalizing to bring the weakest cell up to capacity. Equalizing is the process of overcharging the stronger cell(s) in order to force enough current through the chain to charge up the weak one(s). More information on equalizing.
Q Are the Trollbridges compatible with LITHIUM batteries?
Q What is the difference between the TROLLBRIDGE 24 and the TROLLBRIDGE 12X24?
Q I hear a buzzing sound when I try to run the trolling motor.A This is caused by the voltage to the Trollbridge24 dropping too low under load. This can be caused by a bad battery connection, a bad battery, or a short to the trolling motor. Double check all the battery connections and check battery voltages.
Q I only get 12 volts output. The green light does not come on.A Normally a load must be applied to the blue wire output from the Trollbridge24 to cause it to switch the batteries in series and give 24 volts.
Q The Trollbridge24 green light stays on all the time.A Some trolling motors with electronic controls continue to draw some current to run their electronics even when the motor is OFF. The Trollbridge24 detects this load and treats is as though the motor is still running. You should provide an on/off switch (typically a circuit breaker in the blue lead output circuit) to disable the trolling motor when not in use. This will allow the Trollbridge24 to go back to parallel mode and will save the batteries from discharging when the boat is not in use.