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Old 01-09-2004, 09:11   #16
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Curtis:
Your 264 Amp-Hour electrical energy budget is VERY high usage, even were it to include refrigeration (which yours doesn’t).
How on earth do you anticipate using 20 Amps continuous for 12 Hours + 2 Amps Continuous for another 12 Hours (12V) - or some such ?
It would likely take about 12 Hours of engine running time (@ minimum 2500 RPM) to replenish 264 A/H with a 35A Alternator (perhaps 8 Hrs /w the 55A Alt) and even more time at idling or slower engine speeds.

The Charles 5000 series Chargers claim to be “Multi-Stage”, but they only have two modes:
Bulk Charge @ 14.4VDC (or 14.1V if you buy the “Gel” unit), and Float Mode @ 13.65VDC - which is too high to leave permanently connected as a “maintainer”.

Although Charles makes mechanically sound equipment, well put together & durable - their technology is several strokes behind the pace (somewhat archaic). I wouldn’t really recommend any Charles Industries equipment (that I’m aware of).

Big Alternators only help if you’ve got big batteries (batteries have an acceptance rate that limits how fast you can recharge them) and an external regulator.

I believe you’re absolutely right - a Fibrillating Phizbitz is the one-size-fitz-all solution to all of everyone’s problems.
I’m taking pre-orders @ $1,000/each, and will begin design then production after I accumulate a backlog of 1,000 orders.


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Old 01-09-2004, 09:27   #17
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264 amp/hr per day wow, that must be in harbour with the AC running. Suggest you look at this again with 2 different numbers - the at sea and the in-harbour stuff. AC would normally only be considered if hooked up to shore power, but you will of course need to make sure the charger/inverters are sized correctly. If this is the number that you are using at sea, then get a generator, and let me know which harbour you are in do that I can understand why one boat has sooooo much lights on
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Old 01-09-2004, 09:29   #18
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Curtis:

I didn’t mean to panic you about your new C-Charger - it will do just fine.

You could wire a cheap ($20 ?) Spring-Wound Timer (say 6-12 Hour) c/w “Hold” feature, in line with the 120V Power Supply. 120VAC Shore power - timer - charger.

Simply plug in the charger when you’re leaving the boat, and set the timer to go “off” after 8-12 hours.

The following switches have a “Hold” feature to allow for continuous “On” when you’re attending the boat.
Tork #A506H (6 Hr) or #A512H (12 Hr)
Intermatic #FF6HH or #FF12HH
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:38   #19
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GordMay once whispered in the wind:
[B]Curtis:
Your 264 Amp-Hour electrical energy budget is VERY high usage
Well, I guess that reinforces the need for sage advice!

Here is how I calculated the load...started with a spreadsheet that I found on sailnet and went from there:
Code:
Appliance		draw	hours/day  consumption

Laptop computer		3.00	8.00	24.00
Anchor light (standard)	2.00	14.00	28.00
VHF	receive	        0.50    18.00	9.00
	transmit	5.00    0.40	2.00
GPS		        0.50	18.00	9.00
Instruments		0.50	18.00	9.00
Stereo/tape deck	2.00	12.00	24.00
Bilge pump		4.00	0.10	0.40
Autopilot	        2.00    4.00     8.00
Fans (7)		3.50	12.00	42.00
Cabin Lights		10.00	2.00	20.00
Phone Chargers		2.00	2.00	4.00
Running Lights		6.00	14.00	84.00
				              263.40
I took a wag on the current draw and overestimated the time things would be used. I also recognize that I won't be using the running lights and the anchor lights at the same time. I figured this was an absolute MAX use scenario. Don't have an autopilot yet so it is a wag, too.

Please show me the error of my ways!

Regarding the C Charger, you didn't panic me. I bought it because I had AMEX points that I needed to spend and it was the only decent thing I could find SO it was basically free.
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Old 01-09-2004, 23:14   #20
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If you really are drawing that much current, then it will be the main reason why your 200AH of bank is getting down so low. So I would check them as Gord stated after a Charge. Usual settle period is 1Hr after your charge has finished, you would then taks a voltage reading.
All the comments made have been full of info and accurate. However, maybe a little confusing. So to recap some basics.
1:Test the batteries as Gord stated, to see if they are OK or not.
2:A "real" deep cycle battery is different to a start battery. In fact there are three main types as far as cycle design goes. Starting, designed to deliver high current quickly but for very short duration. Mid level combination sometimes called a Traction battery. These are a sort of both world type, but not perfect in either. And then the pure Deep cycle, which is designed to release the charge at a lower rate and over a longer period.
3:Your battery must be able to supply your demand.
4:You have to be able to put back in, what you have taken out. How much you replace in what time frame is also important. Starting batteries don't like the current shunted back into them to fast. Deep cycle do.and so.....
5:A good charger is essential, if you want your batteries to last and maintain good current supply over their discharge cycle. A three step charger is best. A multi bank is better, as I stated above, the start bank likes a different charge than the House bank. Just for reference, a Deep cycle likes a good hard high current charge to start with and is usually hit with 13.8V. Then when it reaches about 75 to 80%, the next best is to up the voltage to 14.5V and step down the current. This allows the battery to reach a full charge. Then finally, a drop back down to about 13.5V as a trickle charge. But the battery is monitored both voltage and temperature wise for all those rates above and will be modified to suit the situation.
6: And finally, A standard charger will never fully charge a Deep cycle. Never leave a standard charger permanently charging. It will boil the battery. Some cheap trickle chargers are not good to be left charging a battery full time either.

I am working on a three step design that is significantly cheaper than the real macoy's. It is in test at the mo and is looking good. But I want to make sure it is perfect before I recomend it to anyone. I will keep you posted and if it works out OK, I will tell you all how I built it. Yes it is a real three step charger.
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:11   #21
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electrical usage

Curtis,
With your set-up it is not possible to keep the batteries charged up while cruising (no marinas). Even if you cut your usage in half you will not be able to charge up without a heavy duty alternator and an external regulator. The standard internally regulated alternator cuts back to nearly nothing after a very short time. When I replaced my HD alternator (crapped out on me, my fault it got coated with insulation dust and burnt out)with the standard one it was impossible to charge up the batteries with the engine. I even tried tricking it by killing the engine and re-starting . Even if you run the engine for five hours daily there is very little chance that you'll be able to replace even 100 amps with the standard set-up. As you have to run your engine anyway to cool down the fridge, upgrading the electrical system would be a good investment ( could be done for less than $1000, HD alternator, ext 3 stage regulator, re-wiring). This doesnt include new batteries. Two new 4D's would be nice if you've got the room. If you intend to keep the boat for a little while money spent on upgrading the electrical system will not be wasted.
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:19   #22
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Thanks for the summary, Alan.

Yes, I have some homework to do.

I'll research my consumption to see if I'm over-calculating something....the usage time is probably fairly accurate but I have no idea if the current draw for my actual equipment is correct.

I guess one remaining, pressing question is, will a very simple, basic system come close to meeting the typical coastal cruisers requirements? OR, does everyone eventually end up getting a big marine alternator, external regulator, and monitor?

thanks for the help, everyone. This is quite an education.
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:49   #23
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Batteries

If I may repeat myself. You owe it too yourself to read " Living on 12 volts with ample power " by David Smead. I think you can get info by doing a search using " ample power " BC Mike C
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Old 02-09-2004, 15:25   #24
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What does everyone end up getting?? Well no one system is exactly right or wrong. It depends on so many variables. I think the two major deciding factors would be Boat size and intended use. Then a close third would be cost. There are many other factors that come into play as well. This is how I have set up my system.
On the 12V side, we have a power hungry boat if we want it to be. 12V to 230V 2KW inverter. Electric pressure water, twin showers, one electric head, Macerator pump on grey water, which is seperate holding to main sewerage or can be combined via a valve. This depends on were we are moored at the time, but that is another story. Large Three way fridge freezer. Large cool box electricaly cooled. A lot of internal lighting, as well as a lot of outside lights. Normal raft of electronic instruments, including Radar. VHF, 12V CD/AM/FM, amplified TV/FM arial. A very large Windlass winching all chain and large plough anchor. 6 Bilge pumps, a bilge blower, gas detector with twin tanks and auto shut off valves. Surprising how much current that draws. Later an SSB will be added along with computor navigation to back up the chart plotter.
On the 230V side, we have Microwave, Electric Kettle, Toaster, Oil heater, dehumidifier. A Stereo/DVD system and TV.
We are in a Marina with shore power. So we have a 3 step system looking after the banks all the time we are in the Marina. All house requirements come off the shore power while in the Marina.
We have 400AH of main house banks (and not sure the actual rating,) but a twin bank of starting batteries. Both banks can be linked if needed.
We have a 5KVA genset with it's own start battery and this produces both 12V and 230V. We have a good alternator on the main engine. But should something happen to the engine alternator, the 230V genset can charge the banks via the 3 step charger. Should the 3 step fail, we have the 12V from the Genset to charge with. Should the Genset and alternator fail, we have solar panels as well. Should the Sun fail, we are stuffed Eventually I wouldn't mind wind generation, but it's not really needed at the mo.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:36   #25
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Wheels

I am like minded, why have one fallback system when you can have 4 or 5. Yes you can manage without electricity, (Slocum did) but we sail for enjoyment, and a lot of the items we use to make life plesant are powered by electricity of one form or another. Unfortunately electricity and salt water are not really compatible and thus gremlins occur. Alternator on engine, solar panel, wind/water driven generator, shore power, and also a stand alone generator seem to be sufficient preperation.
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:01   #26
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Times change

Times change or maybe we get older and require more creature comforts. When I first went cruising (1990) I upgraded the electrical system. HD alternator, 3 stage reg and heavier wiring. Main draw was the fridge (holding plate spillover system). First year away I added a windbugger. Had a little 200w inverter. Most boats I met did not have an upgraded electrical system.

This year my new boat has a HD alternator etc., Kiss wind generator, 2000 watt inverter and I will add a 2kw Honda generator which coupled with the 100 amp charger should help on those windless days. I was going to add a couple of solar panels but opted for the Honda. Might add the panels later. The electrical requirements have increased - freezer and fridge, electric windlass, radar, chartplotter, sewing machine, food processor, microwave (have one on the old boat but it was used mainly for storage because we didn't have an inverter) . This setup is typical of most boats I meet. The boats seem to be bigger too. In the last few years my 36 footer was usually one of the smaller boats in the fleet. I would guess that the average cruiser is now 40 ft. At least I am holding the line at no tv or dvd player although those low draw flat screen jobs look real neat.
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:02   #27
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I have just purchased a LCD TV for the boat. 17" widescreen, and it will also take a feed from the puter, so a good screen for the passage planning. As a bonus it is also multistandard so should work all round the world. I have also got a tiny 12v multiregion dvd/mp3 player which complements the TV, now what did I do with my copy of "A Perfect Storm"
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Old 03-01-2005, 19:30   #28
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Battery usage capacity modeling tool

There is a websit put up by a gentleman by the name of Constantin VonWentzel. Asside from being an excellant discussion on refitting a Prout catamaran, it contains an excellant battery modeling - comparison spreadsheet. It allows one to enter ones usage by a fairly detailed break down of the equipment one would have and how long one would run it. It then accounts for charging sources. Finally based upon this information it allows one to compare the utility and cost of any number of battery options. It is OUTSTANDING! Eye opening all around.

This tool and others can be found at:

http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/index.html

I highly recommend it.

Keith
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Old 20-07-2007, 00:27   #29
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I am working on a three step design that is significantly cheaper than the real macoy's. It is in test at the mo and is looking good. But I want to make sure it is perfect before I recomend it to anyone. I will keep you posted and if it works out OK, I will tell you all how I built it. Yes it is a real three step charger
hows this getting on Alan?
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Old 20-07-2007, 01:06   #30
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Huh?!? Are you pointing at me? When and where did I say that??
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