Digital control (software) uses computer lines of code, digitally burned into a memory processor in the Advanced Regulator. This means that very complex information and mathematical processes can be processed which would be impossible for the hardware system to do. It is the next generation of control, more and more you will see the term digital control appearing on different products.
In order to make the new unit truly universal, the one system can be programmed for 12V or 24V operation, a simple link switch is provided to convert the unit.
Most other makes of Advanced Regulators are pre-set systems which do not process any information but simply run through a pre-set cycle regardless of what is actually going on. The Sterling digital system scans all the ongoing processes every two seconds and adjusts it to meet any changes, which may have occurred in the time, it has a active control system.
This unit can be used as a stand-alone regulator as well as in parallel with the original regulator. The standard unit can be used up to 24V 300 amp alternator in parallel with the alternators original regulator but only about 24V 100 amp by itself. However, the new Digital High Performance model is good for at least 24V 300 amp by itself if required.
Most other manufacturers fail to recognize the fact that the world has more than one type of battery. There are now four main groups, open lead acid/traction, sealed /gel, gel ( Europe) and AGM. To charge these batteries to their best ability there are four totally different charging curves / temperature curves and safety criteria with each battery type. In order to maintain the universal aspect of our unit it is important to tell the unit what type of battery you have, this ensures the maximum charger for that battery type. Failure to have this facility is inconceivable and means that the unit would be set at the minimum requirements and as such, would be a waste of time for open lead acid batteries. One wonders how the competitors manage.
Most other systems are a fixed trimming system, where the high charger rate cycle is predetermined in hardware and never changes; i.e. the cycle is the same for 400 amp hour battery which is empty as a 10 amp hour battery which is full, clearly this is not correct. The Digital Regulator calculates the high charger rate based on the following information.
These three criteria dramatically affect the charge rate settings of the digital unit. After the unit has processed the above information, it sets the high charge rate timer. The end result is a different time rate every time to take into account all the variables.
This is a very important aspect for everyone. The reason for this is very simple, if you check other makes, you can find 12 – 15 different products to do what the Sterling one will do. The problem with this is the public must supply correct information about their alternator and batteries to ensure they receive the correct Advanced Regulator. The end result is that regulators are being sent backwards and forwards all over the world because the information is not correct. It is almost impossible to identify most alternators and as a result a local chandlery will only stock a Sterling Advanced Regulator as it fits all alternator types.
All good battery chargers are constant current 3 – 4 step. This is recognized as the best charging type curves. The Sterling Advanced Regulator converts your old fashion constant voltage alternator into a modern 4 step constant current battery charger, it’s that simple.
The different battery types require different charging curves. Failure to offer this selection to the customer will result in under achievement of a regulators' potential and the possible destruction of your batteries.
The performance and benefits of an Advanced Regulator are beyond dispute, however, an Advanced Regulator, which has been incorrectly installed or fails, can have devastating effects on a boat. It will destroy the batteries and could easily set fire to cables.
Sterling takes all this into account and recognizes that some boats on which these regulators are used have poor wiring and other faults. Because of this we scan the system every two seconds and if all the parameters are not within our pre-set values then the unit will switch off and tell you the fault. This in my opinion is the most important aspect of this type of device, a point not shared with our competitors.
This is very important as all regulators can fail for different reasons. If an Advanced Regulator fails closed then the alternator will work at full power and destroy everything around itself. Simply turning the regulator off will have no effect, so in the event of a Sterling system failing or tripping, for whatever reason, we physically break the field wire guaranteeing that the Advanced Regulator will stop working.
This enables the unit to be used with the ElectoMaax high output alternators (or other brands), even in the most abusive high temperatures.
Most Advanced Regulators have no real information being transmitter to the operator and as a result one has no idea what is going on. I find this unacceptable, so we give the following information:
One battery temperature sensor is supplied with the unit. This will adjust the output charging curves with the battery temperature.
This unit can monitor the alternator temperature and switch off the control unit in event of high alternator temperature. The Advanced Regulator will automatically re-engage when the alternator cools down.
Most Advanced Regulators monitor the battery temperature to perform the task as explained above, but what is the point of monitoring the temperature if in the event of a battery going over temperature you do nothing about it? Sterling software will pick up the high temperature and in the worst case of a battery boiling, will switch off the advanced regulator and display a warning.
In the event of the battery voltage going too high the unit will switch the regulator off and display a warning.
This is the most common trip used. In the event of poor wiring, incorrect installation, or any fault in the system, the alternator voltage will rise too high; the unit will trip out and display a warning.
This unit comes complete with a flat L.C.D. screen, 2 line, 16 digit display with a background light and alarm. This unit will display alternator voltage and temperature, battery voltage and temperature, all the system settings and in the event of any of the alarm functions being activated, it will display a help screen explaining what is wrong and what to look for to fix it.
There are many good reasons to leave the standard regulator in place, one of them being that, in the event of a Sterling failure or any trip condition of the advanced regulator, your standard regulator will automatically take over and allow the journey to continue but at a lower charge rate. If your Advanced Regulator does not offer this feature then you will lose the use of the boat during any failure.
The unit has the ability to connect to an interface; however, we are a little ahead of our time. The protocol has not been standardized for this feature to be effective as yet.
Some people don't want to fit temperature sensors, the choice is yours, the software will pick up if you use it or not and control accordingly. Most other makes insist a temperature sensor be fitted.
A big problem with temperature sensors (why people don't like fitting them) is that they are on a battery. If someone changes the batteries and breaks or open circuits the temperature sensor wire, most Advanced Regulators will destroy your batteries by over charging them. Not so with a Sterling. In the event of a failure of a cable break the Sterling software will pick it up within 2 seconds and return to the default settings and carry on safely.
A common fault when fitting an Advanced Regulator is the old split charger diode or relay is that it is not up to handling the new performance and it fails. This will result in the destruction of the other battery bank, as the battery sense wire will be isolated from the alternator (but not with a Sterling, again our software jumps in and saves the day).
In the unlikely event of the Advanced Regulator failing then most regulators will fail closed and destroy all your batteries (would it surprise you to know that the Sterling software will jump in and save the day again?).
This is not uncommon, people change batteries and break the alternator sense wire, as a result the Advanced Regulator has no reference voltage and will destroy all the batteries on the boat, that is unless you have a Sterling (OK, it’s getting boring now). Guess what? It protects against excessive voltage drops in negative cable. Most Advanced Regulators give a warning or switch off if a fault develops or is already in the positive cable, but the new Sterling also monitors and protects the system from the more rare but just as dangerous faults in the negative cable. Our unit checks the voltage drop from the battery negative and the true negative at the alternator and if the connections are not good or the cables are too thin, then an alarm will be issued and the system will shut down.
The remote control gives active information on the L.C.D. display such as Alternator voltage, Battery voltage, Alternator temperature, Battery temperature, set up details, time remaining on high charge etc. This unit not only displays all the fault conditions but also gives a detailed text scroll on the screen about the faults and what to do. Thus, ensuring on hand information in the case of a problem, even with the advanced regulator being switched off, a voltage display and alarm function is still in operation, making the unit useful at all times. A simple plug in lead ensures simple plug and play operation.
The unit can either be panel mounted, flush mounted or surface mounted.
Backlighting ensures perfect visibility in daylight, direct sunlight and at night