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Old 31-01-2011, 17:37   #31
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If you have your 3 or 4 battery charging sources ALL go to the large house bank only, like I do, then your separate engine cranking battery will have no charge source at all without a combiner. The combiner simply senses when the house battery is up to 13v, which means that it is being charged and is pretty far along, then it "combines" (or connects in parallel) the house bank to the engine battery, which charges it as well. When the house bank charging is over, the house bank quickly goes below 13V, and the combiner disconnects the engine battery from the house bank.

It is now imposable to drain your engine battery as well, by using things on the house bank, because they are no longer connected. Our system has worked great for 15 years...

The idea is to omit the old way of using diodes in dual lines going to each battery. It created a V loss in the line, confuses the regulators, and since both batteries were being charged at the same time, all the time, the engine battery tended to get over charged, because it was almost full from the get go, yet gets hours of charging anyway, because the house bank is only at 50%.

There are lots of ways of doing it, but this is the simplest and least vulnerable. At least it was in 96 when I wired it up. There may be an even better way now?
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Old 01-02-2011, 18:32   #32
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hummm, this is a new to me cat, so I think i will do more obsrvations before I pump more money into the system. We really have not lived aboard yet and I have yet to put my desktop, moniters and other real life power suckers on there yet. The second wind gen is purchased, but i have not installed it yet.

I plan to liveabaord in the next few months, so I will get you updated! Thanks all for the input thus far!

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Old 01-02-2011, 19:54   #33
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Really informative discussion folks. We are just getting started with this part of the plan. I have converted all nav and cabin lights to PWM LED's. I selected the Simrad 8" chart plotter because it uses an LED backlight. Our PC will be a carefully selected note book using about 12 to 18 watts. The AIS will probably be a Watchmate stand-alone that uses very little power and can run without the chart plotter or other network devices. Radar is broadband. I am a little stuck with the old Simrad auto-pilot. I've not yet calculated the amp-hours we will run but have concentrated on changing systems to minimize. My big users will be the refirgeration and autopilot I think. We are a bit limited on space because of the mizzen boom which extends well beyond the transom. I think we can install a hard bimini top for solar collection but this will be sheltered partly by the main. A wind generator could be mounted on offset brackets from the transom well aft and outboard but this would be nasty. I saw an add for thin solar panels i could glue tothe deck - any experience here folks?
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Old 01-02-2011, 20:49   #34
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We are a bit limited on space because of the mizzen boom which extends well beyond the transom. I think we can install a hard bimini top for solar collection but this will be sheltered partly by the main.
Not a big deal most of the time, Ours is rigged like this. I haven't thought it too much of an inconvenience yet.

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A wind generator could be mounted on offset brackets from the transom well aft and outboard but this would be nasty. I saw an add for thin solar panels i could glue tothe deck - any experience here folks?
What's wrong with just mounting it on the mizzen? We put ours up about 3/4 of the way on a compact bracket. The gen can't spin 360 but the boat will spend most of the time pointing into the wind.
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Old 01-02-2011, 21:26   #35
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I would agree that the mizzen is an excellent place for the wind gen, as well as a spare VHF antenna (or the separate antenna for AIS). Others place the radar there.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:36   #36
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Thanks folks but the back stay splits about where a generator might sit and there is the radar/air horns/loudhailer/radar reflector on the mizzen already. 2 VHS antennas on top and a Windex and stern light as well. The additional complication is that the mizzen staysail also claims that territory. I am thinking that a post at one side of the transom and offset may be the only way. There is also not much space for solar panels or the RIB. I was considering the thin glue-down solar panels and paving open sections of deck.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:30   #37
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I sure wouldn't put a protrusion for a wind machine on the backside of a pretty boat like that.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:46   #38
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I suppose the alternate might be a hydro generator. I hear they occasionally attract very large fish too.
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Old 02-02-2011, 14:18   #39
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We used a tow generator on a number of passages and it produced plenty of power to run the A/P and other gear but it was a big pain to deploy and especially to retrieve. No matter what we tried, we always ended up with a lot of thick twisted spaghetti in the cockpit. It was also hard to get the tow length right and when it eventually jumped out of a wave behind us it would "over spin" and twist itself in knots. Eventually we sold it.

I second the idea of a "combiner" type device for charging the engine batts. I don't like the diode approach due to voltage drop and regulator problems and I shied away from switches since they invariably get forgotten or get switched while charging and cause problems. We opted for a device which is actually a very small battery charger and our engine bank is not directly connected to any other charging sources. The device connects between the house bank and engine bank and only switches on when the house bank is above about 13V (therefore charging). It takes power from the house bank to run a small three-stage regulated charger. It has worked perfectly for over 10 years.
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Old 02-02-2011, 14:36   #40
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Jeff,
can you tell us the make & model of the device? A simple wiring schematic would also be nice.
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Old 02-02-2011, 14:51   #41
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It's called an "Eliminator" by Ample Power. I don't know if they still sell them since we bought ours about 12 years ago, but I did find this link just now:

www.amplepower.com/products/elim/index.html

The device doesn't have large charging current capability but that has never proven to be a problem for us. The idea is to not connect your engine bank to anything other than the starter and the Eliminator. You connect all your charge sources and all other loads to the house bank.

A nice thing it also allows you to do is use different battery types for start vs. house and since it is a dedicated charger it won't over/under charge the engine battery based on voltage sense on the house bank.

When we wired ours we actually did put in an emergency parallel switch between the banks with the thought that if the device failed and/or the engine batt was dead we could always connect the two banks manually. But we've never had to do that.
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Old 02-02-2011, 19:42   #42
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Is that true of the newer models with the so called quiet blades?
'so called' exactly

But there are blades manufactured (in Portugal) that are nearly silent. The question is how much power do they deliver then?

I believe the 'Breeze' (hahaha) is half the X output anyway, isn't it?

Given the marginal difference in the roar (0 so called noise) I would stick with the X then.

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Old 02-02-2011, 19:46   #43
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Our first hydro generator got snapped off by something big and the spare unit we had was also taken, I guess by the same thing.

Luckily, then I woke up and found we do not have one.

barnie.
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Old 02-02-2011, 19:48   #44
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I believe the 'Breeze' (hahaha) is half the X output anyway, isn't it?
The Air Breeze is 200 watts; the Air-X is 400. But the Air Breeze is incrementally more quiet that the Air-X. It generates far less than half the noise.
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Old 02-02-2011, 20:11   #45
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The Air Breeze is 200 watts; the Air-X is 400. But the Air Breeze is incrementally more quiet that the Air-X. It generates far less than half the noise.
'so called' ...
'incrementally'...

Ad please stop using the word 'noise'.

It is only noise if you ask the proud and hated owner. If you ask anybody else in vicinity, they will tell you a different story.

There are other more powerful and quiet makes around. Go get them instead. None is as light and compact as the Air machines though.

;-)
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