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If anyone out there is shopping around for a multi-battery charger for your boat, I just wanted to share my experience with a great product from Atkinson Electronics. Before I go on, no I don't work for and am in no way affiliated with Atkinson Electronics. They haven't offered me any incentives for giving this review and I won't be asking for any. I just think it's important to let folks know when you found a product that you're really impressed with, especially if it's one that's not well known and American made.

So anyway, I was looking for a gizmo that would use the outboard charging circuit to charge the batteries for my 24V trolling system but which would also allow me to charge all the batteries from an AC wall outlet simultaneously (i.e. no more moving the charger to the next battery). There's a ton of products out there and I looked at most of them with a variety of designs and wide variety of prices. A number of products looked great but generally had a hefty price tag.

Then I stumbled across Atkinson Electronics, located in Utah, who makes several different models of marine battery chargers for 12V and 24V systems. Their chargers are built right there in their Utah facility, in small batches. I'm guessing many of the component parts are of foreign origin but still, it's nice to find a product designed and built in the USA. You can actually call and talk to the designer/engineer if you have any problems. I ordered their "MBCM-24" to install in my 24V 3-wire system and am impressed with the heavy-duty quality construction, all epoxy potted. Atkinson has been around since 1976 and manufactures a variety of electronic equipment, mostly for industrial applications.

In a nutshell, you wire up the MBCM-24 to your starting battery and trolling motor batteries. The MBCM-24 senses when the outboard charging circuit is running and switches the trolling motor batteries over to 12V parallel and charges them, unless the starting battery is running too low and then it waits for the starting battery to charge up first. Once the outboard is off and no longer charging the starting battery, the MBCM-24 switches the trolling motor batteries back to 24V series and you're ready to run the trolling motor. This is how it works in "AUTO" mode. Flip the switch on the MBCM-24 and it will go into "12V ALL" mode, forcing the trolling batteries into 12V mode for charging from a wall charger. Just connect your wall charger to the starting battery, and the MBCM-24 will charge the trolling motor batteries at the same time. You can use the regulated charger that you probably already have sitting in the garage. As a bonus, if your starting battery goes dead on the water, you can use the MBCM-24 to start the boat with the trolling motor batteries. Just flip the switch to "12V ALL" for 2 seconds, then flip it back to "AUTO" and you have about 15 seconds to start the motor with the trolling batteries. The MBCM-24 comes with a three-wire pigtail so you can install a remote switch at the console to change the MBCM-24 from "AUTO" to "12V" mode or OFF (in which case it just works like a normal 24V system). I installed the remote switch using a $5 toggle switch from eBay and some 18ga wire. Works great, no digging around under the back deck to switch modes.

Best of all, it was priced at $195 plus $15 shipping. I ordered it over the phone with a credit card. I love this thing and highly recommend it.:thumbup:

If you're interested in learning more, here's a link to their website:
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