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Author Topic:   Blue Sea Systems Battery Switch
pete r posted 09-01-2013 08:42 AM ET (US)   Profile for pete r   Send Email to pete r  
I was looking at upgrading my battery switch on my 1998 21' Conquest, after seeing a video of the Blue Sea Systems Battery switch with SI Charging Relay, making it fully automatic.

I am impressed by the fact that you can separate your batteries and the simplicity of only needing to dial one location on the switch.

What do you guys think of the switch and do you think the SI relay is a bit of over kill.

jimh posted 09-01-2013 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am using a Blue Sea Systems Battery Switch, Model 5511e. See e-Series_Dual_Circuit_Plus_Battery_Switch

I am not using an automatic combiner relay with starting isolation. I considered this product and rejected it because of the complexity of the circuit, the vast number of additional accessories required to install it according to the manufacturer's recommendation--their cost was greater than the relay itself--and due to the availability of a better option: a dual charging output from my modern outboard engine, a BRP Evinrude E-TEC. See more about this topic in

If you do not have the option of an auxiliary battery charing output, a feature found on most Evinrude and Yamaha outboard engines, then using the more complicated circuitry of an automatic charging relay with starting isolation is a reasonable option. I would have used that on my modern outboard engine installation, an Evinrude E-TEC, if the outboard did not offer a better method.

pete r posted 09-01-2013 06:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
Thanks Jim,

The 5511e was the switch I was looking at too.
I'm happy you thought the SI relay was not required. I too hate over complicating electrics so I was pleased to hear of your holiday experience when not having battery worries.

The cost of both switch and relay here in Aus would have cost around $200.
The switch alone should set me back almost $100.

Now I have the 250 Honda, I thought I best take the initiative and make best use of it's state of the art charging system.

jimh posted 09-01-2013 08:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I did not express myself clearly. Let me try again. If I had not had a better option, I would use the automatic combiner relay with starting isolation.

I think the Honda outboard may have the option of an auxiliary charging output. You should look into that. I think it is a better option than using an automatic combiner relay with starting isolation.

To use an automatic combiner relay without the starting isolation seems to me to be pointless, as the moment of worst effect in having the batteries combined occurs at starting. Using the starting isolation is the best method of preventing the batteries from being in parallel at the moment of starting.

ericflys posted 09-01-2013 11:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for ericflys  Send Email to ericflys     
I installed the BlueSea Add-a-battery system on my boat. They now make it in two versions depending on the size of the switch and ACR you want. Mine is a combination of the two with the mini switch and full size ACR. I found the system to be a pretty straight forward install. When I installed it I called BlueSea and talked to one of their engineers to inquire about the necessity of all the fuses shown on their wiring diagram. It turns out most of them do not have to be installed, greatly simplifying installation and reducing cost. I have experience with both the BEP system and the BlueSea system and I greatly prefer the BlueSea system.

I don't have the option of an auxiliary charging output on my engine, but it would seem to me that using the BlueSea system would be better, if your batteries are in the console. It's one less wire coming from the outboard through rigging tunnel, which gets wet and has increased opportunity for chafing.

Any of the options mentioned are way better than a 1-2-Both switch in my opinion.

pete r posted 09-02-2013 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
I thought the new type switch seemed a good idea. All that 1+2 and both on the old switch is confusing and you forget to switch across anyway.

Perhaps I should talk to a Honda dealer and find out what they suggest.
The Honda may have an inbuilt spike controller/manager.

ericflys posted 09-02-2013 01:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for ericflys  Send Email to ericflys     
Honda sells the BEP system, so I assume thats what your Honda dealer will recommend. It is a good system, but I prefer the BlueSea system as it only uses one simple switch to control it, and the ACR/VSR is a "smart" one with additional features like time delays.
pete r posted 09-02-2013 02:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
I've just got off the phone to Honda.
They are confident my new motor will not interfere with my electronics and I should be OK with the old switch.
Saying that, I was not sure if he was familiar with the later Blue Seas 5511E switch.

He suggested the Honda motor produced so much constant ample charging amps that he couldn't see a need for any additional management system.

My Honda dealer should be back from holiday tomorrow so I'll check what he has to say too.

jimh posted 09-02-2013 07:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't see any aspect of the availability of charging current as being a remedy for the battery voltage sag during starting. The entire reason for having two batteries, one dedicated to starting and one dedicated to powering electronics, is to keep the two systems separate so that the voltage sag at engine start does not affect the battery powering the electronics. The reply you received from Honda seems to be ignoring that concern entirely.

The question to ask to Honda is in regard to the availability of a second battery charging output which is isolated from the main battery charging output.

The BEP system of using three switches to control the battery circuitry is a good design and gives more options than the ON-OFF-EMERGENCY switch of the 5511e. I considered the BEP three-switch battery control option, but I discarded it because I did not see that the additional circuit configurations it made possible would be so useful that it could justify the added complexity of the three-switch approach. Also, at that time, distribution of the BEP devices was not quite as good as the Blue Sea Systems devices. I could buy the Blue Sea Systems device from my local dealer.

pete r posted 09-02-2013 07:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
Thanks Jim,

I have a better understanding of my old switch now and must operate it as designed.
Every so often there is a break through in technology and we are offered more automation with electrical systems.
I think with a little bit of effort, incoporating new technology you can recycle the old and enjoy it again as a more safe and comfortable product.
In this case it may be unnecessary complication and expense.

I think now, I will still be a happy camper providing I remember to use the switch it's intended purpose.
ie start the motor on 1, charge both batteries on all when motoring and switch to 2 when only the house battery is required to run lights etc.

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