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Old 15-08-2009, 13:57   #871
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Better battery charging in 1 minute

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 Stationary Maintenance 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:

"Dear Sir,

Freedom Marine 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,

Best regards,

Alexander Detailleur
Sales Manager

Freedom-DRB n.v. / s.a.
Mechelsesteenweg 277
1800 Vilvoorde
Belgium
tel: --32 (0)2 673 27 30
fax: --32 (0)2 675 17 16
email: mail@drbbatt.com"

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!

Legal disclaimer: of course I can not be held responsible for any damage caused by my advise above (-;

Kind regards,
Jef Pijnenburg
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.
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Old 16-08-2009, 08:43   #872
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Thanks Jef
Excellent info., I'll change my battery setting and see if it improves the charge state. I will say that I have a Xantrex battery monitor on board and check the state of charge regularly and have seen the batteries at 90% while on the battery charger, lets see if I can get to 100% with the new setting.

Scott
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Old 16-08-2009, 10:27   #873
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Scott,
Thanks for your appreciation. If your battery monitor sees the current becoming low at 14.4 V, it might wrongly conclude that the battery is full. So the 90 % may have been a flattered figure.
Jef
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Old 17-08-2009, 07:56   #874
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Jeff,

Great info in post #871 on TECSUP HI-TEC charger and well written.
I will also change my Charger setting to "D" and let everyone know how it goes. This is exactly the kind of info we need on the Mahe36 forum and welcome all your effort.
Thanks,
Mark
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Old 17-08-2009, 09:14   #875
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Thanks for this great info Jeff. I am having problems right now so I will try the D position on the charger and see what it does. We had a great sailing day Saturday,between 9 and 10 knots all day.....a little depression moved trough our area in the gulf of Mexico.
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Old 19-08-2009, 13:10   #876
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Jef. I went on the boat today and switched the charger to D position like you said,it takes a second.It went up to 14.5 V.Now my question to you is do I need to leave it on D from now on or go back to the initial setting,by the way mine was on C......Getting anything from FP is almost impossible.
JC.
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Old 23-08-2009, 07:28   #877
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Jean, you have to leave it on D. Otherwise, due to the too low float voltage on the C setting, the batteries will slowly (self) discharge bringing the battery status in the red again. This in case the mains is never disconnected.
If the mains were disconnected and connected again, the charger will find that the state of charge is too low and re-start charging according to the C boost characteristics. This will again not fully charge them.
This only goes for the original calcium batteries!

There is one BUT. Batteries need a lower charging voltage at higher temperatures, and higher at lower temperatures. If your batteries are very hot due to being in the engine room with engine running, AND you were in the tropics, the batteries would overcharge. In this case temporarily go back to C setting.
This overcharging due to high temperatures (and undercharging due to freezing) can be prevented by having an external temperature sensor mounted on the batteries. I contacted Tecsup how to obtain this. Well, they discontinued supplying these. This winter I will find out where to get replacements, or I will make them myself as soon as I know what type of temperature sensor is used. It is probably a standard 2 kilo-ohm NTC resistor.

Then just to make you guys and girls envious: (except fo people like Kev & Jo)
After sailing for 3 months we have finally reached St. Petersburg, Russia. We are the only foreign yacht in the city. It is a beautiful city, we will stay for a total of one week. Then we have to sail back to he Netherlands before the winter, we have 2 months for that.
We hope to miss all the autumn storms, which in this region are the remnants of the tropical hurricanes of the Caribbean. So hopefully you did not have to many of these there in the Miami region...
Kind regards,
Jef and Marin
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Old 24-08-2009, 06:24   #878
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Jef thank you for the informations,I will let you know what happens. St Petersbourg I am dreaming.....Though I also was in St Petersbourg Florida with the boat ysterday....ah ah ah!
Have a safe trip.
JC.
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Old 24-08-2009, 06:53   #879
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Hot Water heater keeps tripping the 110 volt breaker

Fellow Mahes,

My Hot Water heater keeps tripping the 110 volt breaker.

Has anyone had this problem ?
What was the fix ?

I have used it on 110 volts maybe only 4 times. I normally leave the circuit breaker off until I need hot water at the dock or with the generator. This past weekend it just kept tripping the 110 volt breaker.

Help,
Mark
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Old 24-08-2009, 07:12   #880
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Mark. I have never had this problem though I had the red hose blow on me due to overheating.I tell you mine is always off because once you run the starboard engine for half an hour you will get hot water all day long..It could be the thermostat but in order to access it you will need to pull out the water heater tank an that is a job!
May be someone has a better idea.
JC.
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Old 24-08-2009, 10:11   #881
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Sigmar Marine Hot water heater

JC,

Just talked to Paul, the US service tech at Quick USA about the Sigmar Marine Hot water heater. He thinks the breaker keeps tripping because a hose is leaking and some water is getting into the thermostat.
He recommended checking for a water leak. I do get water below the tank so the tech may be onto something.

See attached document for all the info on Sigmar Marine which was purchased by Quick. Contact info is in their also.

Mark
Attached Files
File Type: doc Sigmar Compact Water Heaters.doc (220.0 KB, 32 views)
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Old 26-08-2009, 06:51   #882
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Cotemar my water heater was repair under Warranty. Like you I must have a leak somewhere and I cannot locate it...probably just a few drops.We always turn the water pump off when not in use,just a habit.
Scott may be you can help me since you haveFuruno Navpilot.I keep getting an alarm that tells me "no speed data" the auto pilot is fine and stays engaged other than the beeping that keeps coming on.If I press Auto it will go away and comes right bacvk...Any suggestions?
Thanks.
JC.
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Old 26-08-2009, 10:12   #883
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JC
I had similar problems with the FI30 crap, but since upgrading to the FI50 gear, I've not seen the problem in sometime. I don't know if the data is coming from the GPS or the Triducer (the little wheel on the triducer needs to be cleaned regularly). When I upgraded to FI50 the new transducer did not have a boat speed wheel, so I only get the boat speed from the GPS now. I've learned to turn the alarm tone off or I get "no depth data" alarms every time a boat speeds past me on the ICW (wake screws up the transducer from reading properly).
Don't think I'll be taking the boat out till late next month, it is just to hot to enjoy it.

Mark
I've never had the curcuit blow on the hot water heater, but it makes sense that some water could be shorting out the unit. There is a plastic cover over the heating rod at the base of the unit (VERY hard to get at). I left the cover off on mine so I could get at the temp adjustment screw. I'd have the unit looked at under warranty before I did anything. BTW, did you ever find a source for theHagar breakers?

Scott
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Old 26-08-2009, 11:22   #884
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Scott I always get my boat speed from the GPS since the little wheel on the transducer is always fouled with crap.....that's why I don't understand.I guess I will turn the sound down untill I can figure it out! I am also interested in the Hagar breakers.

JC.
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Old 26-08-2009, 12:13   #885
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JC, I get the "no speed data" alarm from the autopilot when the GPS gives no data, for instance by forgetting to switch it on before departing. The autopilot takes SOD data from the GPS.
If you look in the manual of the Furuno autopilot, you can find that you can go into installation mode, and then call up a screen which informs you (by highlighting) which inpout signls are being received ffom the various instruments. This should include SOG and a lot of other sigbals.
Regards,
Jef, still in St Petersburg
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