Charles’ new battery charger is a good example of how old-time electrical manufacturers are getting into microprocessors, info screens, and boat networking—and hence into your helm and my electronics columns. The IMcharger, as in Intelligent Marine, really is pretty smart. It can feed four battery types—gel, lead acid, AGM, or NiCad—in up to four 12- or 24-volt banks, even if they’re mixed, using any sort of U.S. or foreign A.C. feed. IMcharger’s processor is already programmed with the various types’ optimal charging profiles, which are tweakable, as are parameters like charging priorities and float levels. An owner or installer sets up and controls the charger using the membrane buttons and the display, which is gas filled to handle high engine-room temperatures.
The panel also indicates what the charger is up to, the voltage/amperage of the various banks, and with optional probes, temperature, too. And you can get an accessory remote panel to monitor this information in the wheelhouse or an optional NMEA 2000 interface so you can mind it on many copasetic N2K displays. The IMcharger is expected to ship in July in eight sizes—from 10 to 120 amps—with prices ranging from approximately $500 to $2,200. Charles also has a new INcharger (Intelligent Industrial Charger) series, which is similar except these models use old-fashioned linear charging transformers instead of high-frequency, switched-mode types, which means they’re more expensive and much heavier but likely longer lasting and less electronically noisy. (That’s another thing I learned on Lake Pontchartrain.)
This article originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.