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Old 02-04-2014, 15:00   #1
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Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

Hey all,

Just need a bit of guidance here (also thanks for all the knowledge I've gleaned as an unregistered user!). Electric is not my strong point.

My batteries (3 lead, deep-cycle I think) just passed the point of no return: the bilge is maintaining but not enough power to turn the engine. The batteries are good, I just haven't run the engine that much, the slip's real close to the lake .

Shore power is an option (at $175 + a monthly min. charge) but I'd like to invest in something that I can keep/take aboard, is green & clean, etc. I'm a day sailor at the moment, so there's time to let the charger (wind or solar) sit & do its thing. I have a trickle charger to plug into a wall socket (110V?, if I had shore power).

Anyone have advice on what, if any, charger might be right to bring the batteries back & maintain them?

Thanks much!
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Old 02-04-2014, 15:06   #2
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

I would take the batteries out and take them to a battery shop for testing and changing. If all ok put them back. Make sure you charge them with your alternator as you return from sailing. Then hook them up to a solar charger to keep them topped up while you ar away.
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Old 02-04-2014, 15:36   #3
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

If your only electrical use is bilge pumps it won't take much of a panel to keep them fully charged
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Old 02-04-2014, 17:30   #4
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

If you already have a battery charger the cheapest thing is to get a small generator. A few years ago I got a 800W unit from Harbor Freight for $90 and took it out and charged my batteries. That is a less that going to the dock and you or course get to use the generator again.

After getting the batteries charged you then have top plan on keeping them there. That is how I spend $1600 last on a solar setup.
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Old 02-04-2014, 17:58   #5
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

You got a generator for less than $100?
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Old 02-04-2014, 19:47   #6
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

Harbor freight not really a long term product , but works when arrives. I'd be skeptical of a true 800 watts.
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Old 02-04-2014, 21:24   #7
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

You will probably get by just fine with a small solar panel for daysailing and bilge pump. That is as long as the pump doesn't run a bunch. Get a ball park estimate of your daily wattage use and size the panel accordingly. If the panel is too large, you'll need a controller or chance blowing up the batteries. Don't need a fancy controller if you decide to go with a bigger panel for occasional night time trips or more intense electrical consumption.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:28   #8
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

yeah I'm known liar
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:34   #9
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

What?
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:44   #10
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

I've always used small solar panels to keep batteries charged in dingy's day sailors, and runabouts. A small 10 watt panel will do the job, if you have two banks it's best to have two small panels. They are less than 100 @ West, Defender, etc. Shore power is fine but not at that price...
s
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:55   #11
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

As others have suggested, solar is best for this, and probably all you need.

Note that lead-acid batteries are ruined by leaving undercharged. Sulfates build up on the plates. Sometimes they can be brought back by equalizing and using some other tricks, but the won't be salvageable if they have been left completely dead for a long time.

So I agree with the suggest above that it would be a good idea to take them to a battery shop and have them checked and, if possible, restored. You could do it yourself at home if you have a three-stage battery charger with equalizer function; there is plenty of information on CF (and elsewhere in the Internet) about how to do it exactly.

If the batts are shot, then you will need to replace them at the same time you install your solar system.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:11   #12
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
yeah I'm known liar
Not saying that, but a generator whether a "true" 800W or not for $90 is a heck of a deal, unlikely to be the normal everyday price, but if it is, I want one
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:31   #13
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

You really don't want one, and if you did want to find a cheap, loud, short lived, gas hog, Chinese junk, overrated generator shouldn't be a problem. I just checked harbor freight $120, and it's the exact junk I thought it was. Why not get a eu2000 and have it for 10 years and not piss off other sailors. Buying cheap junk is always more expensive in the long run. I'm totally the anti-frugal, rarely is any cheap non marine substitute anywhere near as good as the proper 3x expensive option. As a car mechanic I used to tell people anyone trying to save you money is doing a dis justice to you and your car. Cheaper parts=junk, do it later= double the cost.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:34   #14
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

It's the difference between the Home Depot $500 generator or $2100 honda. The Honda will make rated power and lasts years, the Briggs no way.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:37   #15
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Re: Dead Batteries: Rechargeable w/ Solar or wind?

I live off all-solar and am very happy with it. There are LOADS of threads on this topic. For all the information on solar systems you will need, take a look at handy Bob's page. It's quite verbose but if you can get through all the text it's golden advice. HandyBob's Blog « Making off grid RV electrical systems work
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