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Sargent 328

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Sargent 328 Empty Sargent 328

Post by Molly3 Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:17 pm

Is it possible to change  the charging  current  on sargent 328 controle panel to accommodate an agm  or lithiam battery ?
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Post by roli Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:19 pm

I personally can’t answer that but if you phone Sargent they will tell you
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Post by Molly3 Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:24 pm

Thanks but not really the answer I was hoping fore .
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Post by inspiredron Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:48 pm

AFAIK it can be adjusted for AGM batteries but as the unit predates lithium technology that is very unlikely. If I remember well the Sargent 328 instructions, reproduced in your A/S manual state somewhere that the connection of a gel battery requires an adjustment which has to be done by a dealer.

From Sargent literature on EC328
A) Type / Selection
For optimum performance and safety it is essential that only a proprietary brand LEISURE battery is
used with a typical capacity of 75 to 120 Ah (Ampere / hours). A normal car battery is NOT suitable.
This battery should always be connected when the system is in use.
The PSU is configured to work with standard lead acid leisure batteries, and in most cases is also
compatible with the latest range of Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) batteries. Before fitting non-standard
batteries please check that the charging profile described in 3.2 is suitable for the type of battery by
referring to the battery documentation or battery manufacturer.
Some vehicle installations can cater for two leisure batteries connected in parallel. In these cases it is
recommended that two identical batteries are used.
The battery feed is fitted with an inline fuse between the battery and the electrical harness, and is
usually located immediately outside the battery compartment or within 500mm of the battery. The
maximum rating of this fuse is 20A per battery. If two or more batteries are fitted the maximum total
fusing value must not exceed 40A. 
I hope that helps.


Last edited by inspiredron on Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added extra info from manual)

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Post by PLOUGHLIN Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:09 pm

Section 4.2 of the Sargent EC328 manual says the battery type can be changed "within the PSU unit".
This might be achieved within the "hidden menu" options, accessed on the control panel by pressing and holding the up and down arrows together until it beeps, then scroll through with the left/right arrows. I doubt it caters for lithium batteries though.

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Post by Roopert Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:32 pm

Agreed - the EC328 is a decade old design, so it won't support any of the Lithium battery technologies.

Be careful when modifying settings in the hidden menu - it's fairly easy to get the panel locked up if you make changes without knowing the consequences. It should not be possible to cause any permanent damage, but it's irritating when it happens nonetheless...
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Post by Molly3 Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:03 am

Thanks for replies I read the Manuel and it dose say the charging profile can be changed but no info about how to do it so I asked on hear , i did not know about the hidden menu .any information about it  would be appreciated
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Post by Roopert Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:38 am

I can't really add anything to what Ploughlin has already said. I have never seen any documentation describing the content of the hidden menu and what each option does, though most of it is obvious, from what I can recall.
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Sargent 328 Empty Re: Sargent 328

Post by inspiredron Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:33 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:Section 4.2 of the Sargent EC328 manual says the battery type can be changed "within the PSU unit".
This might be achieved within the "hidden menu" options, accessed on the control panel by pressing and holding the up and down arrows together until it beeps, then scroll through with the left/right arrows. I doubt it caters for lithium batteries though.
I haven't tried to access hidden menu and haven't before heard of one on the EC328. There are up, down and left arrows but no right arrow on mine.  I'm puzzled.

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Post by PLOUGHLIN Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:05 pm

inspiredron wrote:
PLOUGHLIN wrote:Section 4.2 of the Sargent EC328 manual says the battery type can be changed "within the PSU unit".
This might be achieved within the "hidden menu" options, accessed on the control panel by pressing and holding the up and down arrows together until it beeps, then scroll through with the left/right arrows. I doubt it caters for lithium batteries though.
I haven't tried to access hidden menu and haven't before heard of one on the EC328. There are up, down and left arrows but no right arrow on mine.  I'm puzzled.

Yes, only left arrow, memory not what it was. hugegrins

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Post by inspiredron Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:54 pm

Ah, I am relieved. However, I do have a hazy recollection of unintentionally changing the "type of EC328" at some stage so maybe I did get into a hidden menu. Won't play to we get home from current trip.😃

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Post by Molly3 Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:55 pm

According  to alpha batterys the the sargent 328 can't be used for agm unless a AGM  charger is added, the 328 will only charge agm to 85% full ,
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Post by Roopert Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:54 pm

Having re-read the EC328 user manual it seems that there is no adjustment of the charging profile - it is what it is, as described in Section 3.2. They do explicitly say that the charger works with most types of AGM battery - by that I guess they mean that it will charge, but it just won't charge very well!

I did also check the "hidden menu" the other day, and the only option that I have in my version of the firmware is the type of system that the control panel is connected to - there are no other options.
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Post by Johnuready Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:47 pm

If you take the ec328 out and open it up you will find a cheap charger controller. These units can be manually set from the front panel of the controller. Your lithium battery should have BMS fitted that takes care of the battery management. I know about my charger controller because I changed it out for bigger unit capable of taking a 120w Pv panel. My charger controller is not set to lithium but I can see my BMS on my home made battery taking care of the voltage cut off’s as you expect in a fully built battery. You have to remember that the the Sargent controller is two channel, one for the Vechicle Battery and one for the leisure battery. You can only set one profile for both batteries hence the BMS in the lithium battery sorts itself out. Auto sleeper Broadway 2011.
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Post by Roopert Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:29 pm

Isn't this thread getting confused now? I ~thought~ that the original question related to the mains charger, but now we seem to be referring to the solar charge controller. The two are (obviously) completely different.

I'm also not sure whether all EC328's had the same built-in solar charge controller but, if that's what we are talking about here, the inbuilt one is not actually a particularly cheap one - though the one in mine was certainly quite an old model by current standards. That's understandable, because the EC328 was first made around a decade ago. The original solar controller - if that's what we are talking about now - is a dual-channel PWM-based one, and my experience of it is that it's actually quite good. I did eventually replace mine with an up-to-date model but the performance of that is not hugely better.
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Post by Johnuready Tue Sep 28, 2021 8:09 am

The original charger controller will not handle a panel bigger then a the panel fitted to the motorhome. If you fit anything bigger it will not regulated the voltage below the magic 15.4 volts and will trip the onboard electrics. My best move was to fit a Victron MPPT charger contolller directly to the leisure battery and fit a bigger panel. The good quality Victron MPPT will keep the voltage down and I have never tripped the Sargent Over voltage protect since.
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Post by Johnuready Tue Sep 28, 2021 8:23 am

My 2011 EC328 will still charge my lithium battery when turned on and the Liesure battery. The charger in the EC328 is an off the shelf power supply. Your new Lithium battery will have its own BMS and will sort out the charging. I built my battery with 4 cells and used a BMS called “Overkill” never looked back with no power anxiety. Also fitted a second Victron MPPT Charger Controller for a portable panel outside that tracks the sun far better than my flat roof PV panel.
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Post by Johnuready Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:54 am

The charger controller fitted to the 2011 Broadway is a poor quality PWM but it will run with the 80w panel that was factory's fitted. It’s the 10 amp model available for less than £20. I changed it out for the 20 amp model approx £25 far less from AliExpress. This new 20 amp version would not regulate the bigger panel as it’s a PWM controller and would trigger the high voltage cut off on the Sargent box. I spoke with Sargent who suggested the 15.4 volt trigger was being hit by using a bigger panel and the PWM charger. They suggested that for an easier life fitted a Victron MPPT connected directly to the battery with bigger panels.
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Post by Roopert Tue Sep 28, 2021 2:08 pm

Why the repeated posts about solar controllers?

As far as I can tell, the OP wants to know about the 240V charger, not the solar controller.
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Post by Johnuready Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:16 pm

I can see on my Leisure battery BMS:

10 amp charge when the EC328 charger is on hooked up to the main power

6 amp charge when the EC328 charger is off and the engine is running.

Hope that helps.
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Post by Molly3 Tue Sep 28, 2021 6:11 pm

Thanks for replies,for those that are interested, I found some helpful information on the Alpha battery web site  regarding AGM  and sargent  charges  .  the  sargent charger is not suitable for agm batterys and is unlikely to charge agm above 85 %  Due to the low output. Charges  of that   era cannot  be adjusted to agm  ,  Worth a read.
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Post by Johnuready Sun Oct 03, 2021 6:11 pm

My knowledge of a EC328 on a 2011 Broadway. I have no software configuration on battery chemistry from the control panel. I’m not sure how the Intelligent power supply perfoms when charging on bulk through to float voltage and how much charge it would put into an AGM battery.  It also has a split charger profile between the Vehicle and Leisure Battery adjusting the output voltage. A clever unit for lead acid batteries.  On my unit I was also able to switch between using the vehicle or Leisure battery, that stretches your power a bit with alarms protecting low voltage. I would suggest only use this on good batteries.


You could though put a PV panel on the roof connect it directly to a good MPPT charger controller and set that to AGM. That would insure the battery was always fully charged to the required AGM profile. 

Or fit an external Battery to Battery charger and again set the leisure  battery output to AGM. 

You could consider a drop in replacement Lithium, would be 4 times the cost, removes battery anxiety for a normal user.
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Post by Molly3 Mon Oct 04, 2021 5:57 pm

Thanks for comments I have 2 x  105 amp batterys that has served me well for over  4 years , I don't expect them to last much longer  . Lithiam ticks all the boxes  .alpha batterys 100 amp power road 
£ 499 is very tempting .
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Post by inspiredron Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:49 pm

Molly3 wrote:Thanks for comments I have 2 x  105 amp batterys that has served me well for over  4 years , I don't expect them to last much longer  . Lithiam ticks all the boxes  .alpha batterys 100 amp power road 
£ 499 is very tempting .
But the Sargent EC328 won't fully support Lithium (or properly AGM according to some replies here) -  Wasn't your initial enquiry about AGM?


Last edited by inspiredron on Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Taking a/c of previous replies)

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Post by Molly3 Mon Oct 04, 2021 11:48 pm

inspiredron wrote:
Molly3 wrote:Thanks for comments I have 2 x  105 amp batterys that has served me well for over  4 years , I don't expect them to last much longer  . Lithiam ticks all the boxes  .alpha batterys 100 amp power road 
£ 499 is very teonlyrose mpting .
But the Sargent EC328 won't fully support Lithium (or properly AGM according to some replies here) -  Wasn't your initial enquiry about AGM?
Yes it was i  found  sargent 328 is not suitable  for agm, needing 14.6 volts ,328 ,is 14.4  .but some drop in replacement lithiam battery's need 14.4  so could be ok ??the bms in lithium monitors  the  charge.,.Little  more research needed before buying lithiam .
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