So I'm nearing the end of the first week of my summer cruise
, and electrical life on board is pretty good. My diesel generator
is running fine, and my batteries -- which I tried hard to kill in May -- have come back nicely.
I finally got on shore power
in Dartmouth for three days, and got to really top off the batts and do some equalization
. I tested the specific gravity and all the cells test at 1.26 to 1.27 with a single
exception, one cell (out of 48) which tested at 1.25. That's at 22 degrees C so corrected for temp about 0.003 less. But I think that's pretty good. And I seem to be getting about the right capacity out of them -- pulling 60 amp/hours out of the 420 amp/hour bank reduces the charge to about 85% (according to my crude light loaded voltage test). I'm going to baby the batteries for a while longer and do some more equalization
to try to get out any remaining sulphation. Life on a mooring
with no shore power
and no solar
is hard on batteries
One disappointment I have is my Victron charger/inverter. In general this is a brilliant piece of kit, but the current
limiting feature is not working according to specification. The power boost feature (automatic inverting to supplement external AC power) is supposed to work from 2 or 3 amps. It does not. The minimum current
limit when the inverter
is switched on is 5.5. So that means that I can't use the little Honda
EU10i genset simultaneously with any AC power on board which is really a bummer, since the whole idea of having this genset is to have it purring away in the background while normal life goes on, the inverter
covering any short-term AC loads. Crap.
So the Honda genset is not all that useful. I guess few people would bother to take it out of the laz and set it up rather than put a few extra hours on the diesel
genset, especially if it requires switching off all AC power on board
So for the benefit of anyone considering a solution like this - you will need a minimum of the EU200i with this inverter/charger. That generator will handle 5.5 amps of power (all this is at 230 volts, by the way) which is the minimum the Victron requires to use the inverter. It is really a pity that the Victron literature is wrong on this point. But I'm glad to have a backup source of AC power, and a way to do a long finishing charge on the batts before leaving the boat, I guess.
It becomes increasingly clear to me what a right solution solar
is for anyone living off shore power. It's just what the batts need to stay healthy -- consistent, gentle topping off, without noise
or fuss. I'm not going to do it this year, but maybe next spring I will spring for it.