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Old 20-10-2015, 15:40   #1
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Electrical?

When purchasing a new sailboat, is 12 VDC or 24 VDC electrical system better?
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Old 20-10-2015, 15:47   #2
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re: Electrical?

12v more common for parts pieces etc.
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:01   #3
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re: Electrical?

24vdc will support smaller wire sizes with less voltage drop for a given power draw. This means it tends to be the default now on boats larger then 50' But the selection of equipment is more limited so you tend to have 24-12 converters on board for some equipment. Really it depends, I would prefer a large boat with 24V, but I would leave 12V on a smaller one.
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:06   #4
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re: Electrical?

24v is better by a mile. More important, maybe essential, with high current draw equipment on board like bow thrusters, windlasses, electric winches. On smaller vessels without any of that, without an inverter, and running only lighting and electronics, it's not very important.

ALL high current draw equipment is available in 24v; some of it is not even available in 12v. Lighting in 24v is no problem. Some electronics are hard to source in 24v, but for these a simple, inexpensive, and efficient dropper will easily deal with it.
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:07   #5
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re: Electrical?

The sailboat that I am looking at is a new 44 ft. With AC, generator, water maker, autopilot, plus electronics package, electric winches,etc
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:27   #6
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re: Electrical?

Go with 12VDC. At least on this side of the Atlantic, it's not even worth considering 24V for a 44 footer due to the unnecessary complexity and additional expense involved.

Bill
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Old 20-10-2015, 17:14   #7
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re: Electrical?

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Go with 12VDC. At least on this side of the Atlantic, it's not even worth considering 24V for a 44 footer due to the unnecessary complexity and additional expense involved.

Bill
I would agree with this if there is no bowthruster or electric windlass involved.

Otherwise -- not. There is not so very much complexity or expense. 24v is the norm with trucks and buses, so not really odd.

12v is tolerable for light loads, but for big ones like bowthrusters it's pretty awful, requiring giant cables or extra battery banks -- talk about expense.

Did you ever have a 6v car? If you did, do you remember what a revelation it was when you went to 12v -- how much better all the electrical gear worked? Same thing exactly when you go from 12v to 24v.
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Old 20-10-2015, 17:37   #8
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re: Electrical?

As others have said, 12 volt needs much bigger wire sizes for long runs. As Thomas Edison found out. At some point, you can't run big enough cable. Small cable causes your equipment to draw more amps, making heat. Sometimes burning out motors, contacts and may start fires.
The other problem is finding 24 volt equipment. Ebay has several people selling 12 - 24 volt converters.
I solved it by running ac thru an inverter. My windlass has a 240ac motor. Ac motors, contacts, etc., are cheaper, too.
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Old 20-10-2015, 18:13   #9
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re: Electrical?

Not sure where you are, but I'll give you my philosophy in Canada. If I can't fix it with spares from Canadian Tire, I don't buy it. 24 volt stuff is hard to find at Canadian Tire.

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Old 21-10-2015, 08:38   #10
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re: Electrical?

On a modern 44' with electric winches and windlass I would tend to lean 24V. But really you could go either way in that size range. If the boat had minimal systems I would stick to 12V but with the boat you describe there would be advantages to 24V in wire size and potential for voltage drop issues. As other said you will need a 24V to 12V converter (these are common from names like Newmar and Victron) which causes some efficiency losses which you should be aware of.
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Old 21-10-2015, 11:45   #11
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re: Electrical?

Despite what has been said here by the 24v proponents, in my experience, 24v equipment (not just electronics) is much more difficult to find and usually more expensive. Other than that I would go for 24v because of the benefits as described. I have worked on boats with either 12v, or 24v, and hybrids with converters. If you go with a hybrid get an extra converter as a spare. They seem to have a short half-life. I'm sure there are people out there whose converter has not failed in a long time but I have replaced a lot of them. 24v is better for thrusters but not necessarily for windlasses.

I have seen many, many larger boats who will have a dedicated 12v battery in the bow to handle windlasses and thrusters to avoid the long runs of big expensive cable. It is more common on powerboats but it has been used on larger sailboats. You need starter type batteries since the usage is short and intermittent with some kind of small charger to replenish. There are issues with all of these setups, just like every system on a boat - tradeoffs and compromises.

I would not buy a boat in the US with 24v but that is just me. I suggest you do a search for a variety of boat parts, e.g. bilge pumps, starters, water pumps, converters (absolutely required for most electronics), etc. and see if the prices are comparable and whether you have as good a selection, and then make up your own mind on whether you think it is for you or not. Smaller wire is a major benefit for 24v boats - weight and cost. But you don't usually put lots of new wire in to boats until they need a major electrical refit so the price difference will only be a major factor (for wiring) when it comes to that. I believe 24v boats are harder to sell (in the US) so you might actually get a better price. I could be wrong on that but it just seems that way to me.
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Old 07-11-2015, 23:06   #12
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re: Electrical?

For 44 foot, definitely 12 volt. Thruster, Windlass? Run the appropriate size cable, it's a one time cost. The harder getting 24 volt stuff will go on for life. Around 60ft, consider 24V, 75 and up, it's pretty much a given.
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Old 07-11-2015, 23:36   #13
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re: Electrical?

My boat is 44' and has a 12V windlass (and just about everything else). We have appropriate-sized cables from the windlass / control box to the busbars and breakers located just forward of the companionway. This works just fine. There's no way I would opt for the hassle and expense of a 24V system just to have slightly cheaper windlass wiring.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:19   #14
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re: Electrical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Go with 12VDC. At least on this side of the Atlantic, it's not even worth considering 24V for a 44 footer due to the unnecessary complexity and additional expense involved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would agree with this if there is no bowthruster or electric windlass involved.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EngNate View Post
For 44 foot, definitely 12 volt. Thruster, Windlass? Run the appropriate size cable, it's a one time cost. The harder getting 24 volt stuff will go on for life. Around 60ft, consider 24V, 75 and up, it's pretty much a given.

It's not at all uncommon to install 24V thrusters -- in an otherwise 12V boat -- as a completely segregated system of thruster, batteries, charger, and related wiring.

Often that also adds ability to place the thruster batteries very close to the thruster itself, usually another good thing.

Presumably the same could apply to electric windlasses.

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Old 08-11-2015, 06:03   #15
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Re: Electrical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would agree with this if there is no bowthruster or electric windlass involved.

Otherwise -- not. There is not so very much complexity or expense. 24v is the norm with trucks and buses, so not really odd.

12v is tolerable for light loads, but for big ones like bowthrusters it's pretty awful, requiring giant cables or extra battery banks -- talk about expense.

Did you ever have a 6v car? If you did, do you remember what a revelation it was when you went to 12v -- how much better all the electrical gear worked? Same thing exactly when you go from 12v to 24v.
Right on target, Dockhead, as usual. To those who say 24v kit is harder to source: it isn't.
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