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Old 12-02-2018, 09:38   #16
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
You say that as if generators and the fuel they consume don't also have significant weight and take up significant space.

They're also significantly more complex, require routine maintenance, and increase trips to the fuel dock.

Personally I'd rather fill a generator locker with batteries.
Batteries store electricity, solar and generators make electricity. You need to establish a cycle where generation equals consumption. You can generate any way you feel comfortable with. I personally use my engine and have minimal solar for backup, others have different setups.

The size of the battery bank determines how often you need to recharge but you still need to recharge. In practice, those with smaller banks run the engine/generator every day for two hours, those with larger banks run it for twice as long, half as often. It is very similar for fresh water (tanks vs. watermaker capacity) by the way.

In my setup, I burn one gallon of diesel making at least 350 Ahrs which is enough to make 125 gallons of water. If the engine is used for propulsion as well, the efficiency is double that. It also heats the water for free. It is hard to beat that with solar, even if you factor in an engine replacement cost every 10 years or so (I did replace the original engine a year ago, after 34 years).
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:39   #17
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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Originally Posted by kmacdonald View Post
Don't 12V battery banks over 500 Ah become less attractive than a generator? The weight and complexity of charging large banks and the ability of a generator to run AC seems to favor generators instead of large battery banks.
Your lat. and desire for creator comforts would help.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:57   #18
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

Your information indicates you have a Catalina 22. If this is the case, do you even have room for a large bank of batteries?

What are you planning on running and how are you planning on using it? For example, if you are just day sailing, a properly insulated ice box might be quite sufficient, as opposed to a refrigerator. It might even be sufficient for a weekend jaunt.

Air conditioning may not be needed if you have a couple of good fans. I installed a few cafrmao fans, using around a third of an amp, and they really eliminate the need for air conditioning on all but a very few nights.

There may be other work-arounds too. LED lights for example can greatly reduce your power needs.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:48   #19
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:06   #20
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.
Best response yet.
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:19   #21
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.
Yes, the best advice, and not just for batteries.
I think that a lot of people feel that "bigger is better" but that doesn't necessarily go for batteries.
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:30   #22
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.
I agree with the basic point, but you need to put the boat together enough to enjoy the first season and have your partner enjoy it. If you aren't going to setup the major items prior to exiting then you need to plan to end up in a location where these things can be done economically and with quality installs.

Some things are just so much easier and cheaper to do when you are near major, home base type supplies. I think batteries, chargers and rewiring are some of those things.
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:38   #23
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
Your information indicates you have a Catalina 22. If this is the case, do you even have room for a large bank of batteries?

What are you planning on running and how are you planning on using it? For example, if you are just day sailing, a properly insulated ice box might be quite sufficient, as opposed to a refrigerator. It might even be sufficient for a weekend jaunt.

Air conditioning may not be needed if you have a couple of good fans. I installed a few cafrmao fans, using around a third of an amp, and they really eliminate the need for air conditioning on all but a very few nights.

There may be other work-arounds too. LED lights for example can greatly reduce your power needs.
I missed the 22'. Not a bunch of options other than eliminating as much usage as possible. A Honda 2000i might be an option on deck for some needs. Generac makes one for 2/3 the cost.
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Old 12-02-2018, 15:05   #24
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.


Great advise ,Sailorboy
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Old 12-02-2018, 15:25   #25
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

Being more comfortable for ocean crossings with some redundancy and being also on a tighter budget than many who are writing here, this is what has worked for us...
To give the anchor, engine and halyard winches and the bow thruster short cable runs we have three separated 12V batteries of about 100ah each in the bow, engine room (amidships) and stern. They can be switched together for charging or mutual support as required.
To supply them there are three solar panels and a small wind generator as well as a towline generator, as well as a larger wind generator which can be slung in the rigging if we are at anchor for a while.
We also have a small 1KVA satchell-style petrol generator, slung by its handle in a weatherproof cabinet with a 240V kitchen exhaust fan permanently attached to its output. This charges through a 240VAC-to-12VDC 40-amp battery charger. The main engine alternator can also supply an unregulated charge of about 30 amps (at about 9 times the fuel cost of the 1KVA genny)
None of these sources will individually supply all our needs all the time, but in different circumstances each will be playing the major role. In emergency the 1 KVA genny takes only about 2 minutes to put sufficient charge into a completely flat engine battery to start the engine - or it can also boost a failing anchor winch or bow thruster or halyard winch.
A lot of people would see our arrangements as messy and ad hoc. But our experience is that self-sufficiency requires a lot of adaptability and what the military call defense in depth, aka redundancy.
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Old 12-02-2018, 16:33   #26
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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In the end, you know nothing till you have cruised a while and found out what YOU would like on YOUR boat. And I mean you need to be out doing what you feel is the standard boat life for you for months.

This is why I keep saying to not do a bunch of add-ons etc. on your boat till your have been cruising a while and have the reality of your cruising established.
Sounds like good advice, and it may be depending on what "going cruising" means to a person. If your going to be coastal cruising or visiting islands close to the mainland and then returning then I'd say that this is great advice.
If however you are leaving the USA and crossing oceans or even just heading off to the Caribbean but dont plan on bringing your boat back for a few years then maybe not
The USA is the cheapest place in the world to buy equipment for cruising sailboats and if your not coming back for awhile you'll wish that you did your due diligence and made your buying decision before you left as it's a lot more money to buy equipment for your boat in other locations plus you may find it hard to get the level of expertise you need outside of the USA.
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Old 12-02-2018, 17:56   #27
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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I'd much rather have my 800W of solar and 1000Ah of batteries than a generator
Agreed. Especially if I have a sailboat without any fuel on board.
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Old 13-02-2018, 05:30   #28
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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I'm not sure that makes any sense. Nobody wants to listen to a generator runnning all the time. The loads a boat uses are quite light compared to what even the tiniest generator puts out. It's really inefficient to run even a dinky 1Kw Honda noisemaker to service even 15A (180W) worth of house lights and refrigeration. Better to run the goddamnednoisybox to charge up your batteries in a couple of hours then enjoy the quiet.

We've got 720Ah @24V of LiFePO4 batteries. Works just fine with a 7Kw generator running every three days or so for about 5 hours. We can invert for all the AC we need.
Wait. You're saying you can run your a/c for a whole night off of your 720 Ah bank? And run your genset every three days? I want your setup.
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Old 13-02-2018, 05:59   #29
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

I think he means a alternating current, not air conditioning.
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Old 13-02-2018, 06:06   #30
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Re: Feasibility of Large Battery Banks

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I think he means a alternating current, not air conditioning.
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