I'm a newbie to boats, but I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron. I've recently moved aboard a 37' Brown Searunner trimaran
, and I'm loving every second, learning
to fix wood problems, engine
, etc, etc. Now it's time to tackle the electrical system
, which are working somewhat decently but there's just not enough battery
capacity and the Link10 monitor
is apparently dead. I've been working away at the system, but I'm thinking it might just be time to start from the bottom and work my way up, instead of trying to patch and repair what's here.
Seriously, so far most of what I've done is tear out old, unused wiring
... and there's a *lot* of it! Runs of 20-year-old wiring
from one end of the boat to the other, with the ends lopped off years ago and decaying electrical
tape sealing off the cut ends, that sort of thing. I haven't removed anything that's actually working, just the stuff that's obviously not in use. The main electrical
"area" is 200% cleaner now - it still looks like a rats nest, but now it looks like the rats at least went to trade school
I'm thinking it's time to rip (most of) it out and build a firm foundation, then add the working current
stuff back in bit by bit.
My goals with this system:
- I will very rarely be attached to shore power
. I do not have moorage, and intend to spend most of my time at anchor
, cruising around the Gulf Islands. Currently I have a small gas generator
, but eventually I would like to add photovoltaic panels
, a wind
turbine, and possibly a water
- I'd like to have a decent amount of reserve power, ideally enough to run a small computer (mac mini with a draw of about 35w) for a couple of days.
- I'd like to use modern, reliable components that will allow me to expand the system (ie, add solar) slowly, as I can afford to.
So, what I've come up with so far is a pair (or more) of large AGM
batteries for the house bank, a separate starter battery
for the engine
, an intelligent charge controller and a monitoring system.
- What brands of AGM
batteries have you had great experiences with? Any bad experiences?
- I've been looking at the Xantrex 'Freedom Marine' charge controllers/inverters. Any opinions on these? Any other recommendations?
Any other tips? I've been reading sites where I can find them, but it seems like most designs center around being attached to shore power
most of the time. Hell, I just pulled out all the wiring for the shore telephone and television connections - I don't own a TV and I've been 100% cellular for years.
I'm wide open to recommendations of sources of reading, etc, also - though ten words of advice from someone with hard-won experience trumps a thousand words from generic technical manuals
any day of the week.