Hi all, a very long one:
I have been reading that people are not satisfied with the standard batteries, and want to upgrade in battery capacity and type.
Last year I was also unhappy how long the batteries would last during longer trips, and I was blaming the autopilot
. However, last winter I found out what is going on:
I found out that after having the batteries on the charger continuously for 2 months, the batteries were quite empty. The battery indicators showed the batteries to be below 50 % charged. These are the indicators on top of the batteries. Yes, you need a mirror to view this. So what was going on?
I have been studying a bit on the batteries and the charger. Useful link is Welcome to Battery University
. This is what I found:
- The batteries are "Freedom Marine
Free calcium batteries". These batteries need a higher charging
voltage than standard open lead-acid batteries: a charging voltage in the boost phase of 14.8 V. In the float phase they need a voltage of 13.8 V.
- The Tecsup charger which is mounted standard has 4 setttings, a,b,c and d. Look in the manual. C is for standard open lead-acid batteries, this is the factory default setting. This gives a boost voltage of 14.4 V and a float voltage of 13.4 Volts. Fountaine Pajot
, when mounting the battery charger, leave it in the factory-default setting.
This means that default:
- When charging with mains, the batteries are charged slower and no fully.
- When the battery is charged without disconnecting for a long time, the float voltage will be 13.4 instead of 13.8 V. This means that the batteries will actually (self)discharge when on the charger!
I have sent the battery manufacturer an email
asking for their recommendation. Here is their answer:
Stationary batteries are lead calcium batteries and should be charged with a higher voltage than normal lead open batteries. Your tecsup charger indicated two possible positions for lead calcium (first position with deep cycle application and last (4th) position with normal use).
We suggest to first try to charge the batteries with the A position (TAKE CARE of electronic equipment
as the voltage goes up to 16V / disconnect if needed) and then put the charger in D position. If you frequently deep discharge the batteries then we recommend to frequently charge with the deep cycle possition.
Keeping batteries in discharged position do harm batteries. Discharged batteries with negative temperatures can freeze and be destroyed.
Hope we were of any help,
Freedom-DRB n.v. / s.a.
tel: --32 (0)2 673 27 30
fax: --32 (0)2 675 17 16
This confirmed my own ideas. My next step was asking Fountaine Pajot
for confirmation. They have asked the battery supplier and Tecsup to come with a joint advice, and would come back to me. This was over half a year ago, and I have heard nothing from them since, even after repeating the question. I have urged Fountaine Pajot to answer, not for my own peace of mind, but expecting that many people will have incomplete charging, and it's not good for the batteries either to have them half-discharged all the time.
I have waited with writing this on the forum to give FP a chance to confirm, however reading about all your battery issues I decided to inform you all.
I have set the charger in Miss Poes to "d". I have also mounted a Nasa BM-1 battery monitor
which is pretty cheap
when ordered in the UK.
The situation has improved very much. The batteries charge to 100 %, so you can really use 150 ampere-hour. Our ship uses on average 5 Amps during the day, 7 A at night. Which means that you can have a day-night-day sail of around 30 hours without charging, which we have already done a few times this summer. Voltage stays above 12.0 V, contrary to last year.
Charging goes very well, I see the maximum of current
of 40A from the mains charger, and I have seen values of 70-80 Amps from the engine
. An hour of engine
charging gives you 10 hours of sailing.
Please note that the alternator
(Volvo engine generator) will not fully charge the batteries, since this one gives only 14.4 V. I have asked Volvo
whether it is possible to connect an alternative alternator regulator
. They advised against this, since the alternator is not suited for connecting another regulator
Also note that if you have solar
cells, you also need a voltage regulator with higher boost & float voltage for optimum result. There are some, but not many.
Hope that this information is useful to you, and not too technical. The summary is: I advise you to set the charger to D setting, see the manual. This is a 1 minute job, you just have to remove a cover on the charger and flick a dip-switch. First disconnect the mains!
disclaimer: of course I can not be held responsible for any damage caused by my advise above (-;
Now in Helsinki, after the weekend to sail to St. Petersburg. Yes, Russia
Had 44 knots of wind
last Wednesday when crossing from Tallinn, Estonia, to Helsinki, Finland
. Sailed on 4 m2 of jib
only, still at moments over 9 knots. Wind
from 100-150 degrees. Great ship.