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View Poll Results: How often whule off grid do you fully charge your batteries
every day 14 25.00%
every second day 3 5.36%
every third day 8 14.29%
every 4-5 days 6 10.71%
every 6-7 days 1 1.79%
once a week 8 14.29%
less often than once a week 16 28.57%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21-12-2016, 11:49   #1
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Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

So for cruisers out there, how often do you get you batteries to full charge while off the grid (not at a slip on shore power)?

For this thread full charge will be considered to be when the batteries have been at absorption voltage for at least an hour and accepting less than 1% of the battery amp-hour capacity from a charge source that under the conditions was capable to producing a lot more, meaning that the battery acceptance was limiting it.

No right answers, not even any wrong answers as they are your batteries. But just what is really the common practice out there as I'm questioning my sanity.

Please vote on the poll!!!
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Old 21-12-2016, 12:01   #2
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Sailorboy,

This is a constant issue during the five months at achorages. Basically, our battery bank only reaches a full charge when we very rarely pull into a marina, or set off on a 24hr passage. After that, it's a slow and progessive decline. So my answer is less than once per week.

This upcoming season I hope to partially solve the problem by installing a second battery charger. Our 10kw generator currently has one Mastervolt 24/50 charger, we will be adding a Mastervolt 24/75 in order to put in more juice faster.
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Old 21-12-2016, 12:02   #3
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

I fully charge basicly every day . I figure without refer ( and that's most of the time) I only use 5 to 10 ah a day recharge with 100 watts solar. So I figure I'm fully charged every day by noon.
I know not typical usage .
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Old 21-12-2016, 12:20   #4
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Every day.. We have 900W of solar and usually hit your parameters by 1:00pm on a good sunny day. Now that its winter, I will sometimes run our generator for 30-60 min if I notice a heavy overnight draw and I know it will be cloudy. It ensures we "cross zero" every day (we call crossing zero where we have put back the amps we drew the night before). We are adding wind in the next month or so to help.

Back in the summer, we crossed our zero mark by 10:30AM every day.. Amazing how the sun angle makes that big of a difference!
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Old 21-12-2016, 12:52   #5
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Maybe every few days?
Means getting the Honda genny on for a couple of hours early to get up to absorption then let the solar do the rest while keeping up with the fridge etc. Plus it's winter so not so many hours sun, and it's low.
An hour at absorption won't do it, at a guess maybe 4?

I doubt many get really fully charged every day, takes a long time.
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Old 21-12-2016, 12:58   #6
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

My 38L Engel freezer drinks about 40ah per day. TV often runs 6 hours @ 5 ah, theres another 30ah. So my genny, running my Sterling pro 12/60, runs for over 2 hours per day because I never let the loaded (say 3 amps freezer load ) soc get below about 12.4 -12.5. The bank is 480 agm. The windlass is 900w every 3 days or so but when hauling or even dropping chain the genny and charger are running.
Nutribullet makes a frozen strawberry smoothie every day. 900w. Jigsaw, angle grinder run often.
Bread maker on average every 10 days. Usually bread comes from a shop somewhere. Going to Tasmania on about 3rd Jan so bread maker will be every 3 days.
Laptop, tablet, multiple things getting charged every day. Instruments, lights, tillerpilot, etc.
Only have one 135w solar panel. No wind.
Without my 2000/1600w (Ryobi , very ordinary but has run every day for 3 years) genny life is impossible.
On the hook, 24 x 7 for over 7 years.
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Old 21-12-2016, 14:07   #7
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post

For this thread full charge will be considered to be when the batteries have been at absorption voltage for at least an hour and accepting less than 1% of the battery amp-hour capacity from a charge source that under the conditions was capable to producing a lot more, meaning that the battery acceptance was limiting it.
Keep in mind that a lead acid battery is not going to be "full" after a 1 hour absorption. If it's accepting less than 1% of Ah capacity (1A for a 100Ah battery), after 1 hour at absorption voltage, something is wrong such heavy sulfation..

This chart shows a Trojan SCS-225 charging from 50% SOC to 100% SOC fed by a .15C charge source or 15% of "rated" Ah capacity. This battery was fairly healthy, just a couple months old, & delivering within 4.6 Ah's of its rating after a 20 hour capacity test..

It took 6:58 minutes for the battery reach full charge from 50% SOC.. The absorption duration to attain full charge was 5.1 hours at 14.6V (measured at battery terminals with accurate voltage sensing).

If it was charged at Trojan's specified 14.8V the absorption duration would be slightly shorter but this customer only had a charge source capable of 14.6V. This customer thought he could charge his bank to full in two hours..

As batteries get older and become more sulfated the time at absorption voltage actually needs to be even longer.

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Old 21-12-2016, 14:29   #8
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Full charge as described by sailorboy everyday, full charge as descibed by Mainsail rarely, but intend on rectified, or at least improving in this area.

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Old 21-12-2016, 14:33   #9
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

Cruisers don't live in a perfect world of battery charging!!! I for one aren't going to install 900W of solar to charge my $500 worth of batteries, and I'm not going to listen to the generator run for 5 hours to do it either (the battery charger wouldn't even do it as it thinks that batteries are full when they are still AH out and it switches to float and I have to put it into equalize to get the voltage back up).

All about about balance living on a boat, not about the best care of batteries.

My current thinking is every third day is a reasonable balance.
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Old 21-12-2016, 14:53   #10
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

My reckoning is that keeping the batteries topped up extends the life.
My batteries cost me US$1,100 so two hours a day listening to a horrible generator is worth the noise.
On top of that, getting batteries from taxis, into the dink, on and off the boat is a major pita.
Been doing it this way for 7 years and it works.
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Old 21-12-2016, 14:58   #11
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

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My reckoning is that keeping the batteries topped up extends the life.
My batteries cost me US$1,100 so two hours a day listening to a horrible generator is worth the noise.
.
Yes of course recharging fully everyday is good for the batteries.

But what you you think the cost of running that generator for 2 hours a day is?
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Old 21-12-2016, 14:59   #12
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

The average cruising boat can get by on solar alone , obviously depending on loads. Im upgrading to 450-500w of solar combined with two mppt's, and im fairly confident that I'll get close to realistic battery charging from this. Getting enough back in as early as possible in the day is the key.

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Old 21-12-2016, 15:08   #13
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

At this point I can honestly say never when off shore power. I rarely run the engine long enough, dont want to run the gas generator, my wind is great for bulk when it blows but not so good for absorption, and my current solar regulator sucks. I will rectify the solar side next season, but I still doubt Ill get to full charge. I voted for "less often than once a week but I kinda wish you had an option for never.

Now, I do think my system is (or will be) good enough. Last season we were only on the dock for five days out of three months. We did ok even with the poor solar controller. But Im certain I was never fully charged.
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Old 21-12-2016, 15:17   #14
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

800W of solar does it just about every day. If overnight usage was heavy, I'll hit them with the alternator for a while just after sunrise to give it a good start.
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Old 21-12-2016, 15:39   #15
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Re: Getting batteries to Full Charge, how often?

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Yes of course recharging fully everyday is good for the batteries.

But what you you think the cost of running that generator for 2 hours a day is?
Good question. In US $ / day. 80 cents for generator amortisation and ditto fuel. I carry a spare 100 litres in plastic berries.
We're all different but for me its a no-brainer.
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