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Old 20-10-2017, 12:16   #1
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Help with power system

Hi there,

I'm a newbie when it comes to alternative power sources and onboard electrical systems. I've purchased a new boat and have been trying to get a grasp of what I need to do to the boat to get it up to speed, but I can't figure out what parts I need in several places and hoped to get some expert advice.

Let me first describe what I have and what I want to do and hopefully someone can offer some advice.

I have 3 batteries, 2 AGM, 1 Gel. 2 are to be dedicated to be house batteries, 1 the start battery.

I have a 30A shore power system currently powering my main AC Panel. I plan to put in a 30A AC power selector (break then make) switch so I can choose between Shore power and my 1000W inverter which will be powered from the house batteries.

When running off the 30A Shore power I want to run a batter charger that independently charges all 3 batteries. I have purchased a Genius marine 3 battery charger for this; which should keep all the batteries topped up while I have shore power. I don't know how to only draw from the 30A Shore power for the marine 3 battery charger without having the possibility of having the inverter powering the charger, powering the battery. (Perhaps an additional main breaker/panel with dedicated 120V 30A outlet?)

Additionally I have multiple additional charging sources including:
1. Engine Alternator
2. 400W Wind Turbine
3. 100W Solar Panel
4. a Second 100W Solar Panel.

Currently the boat has a Phocos 15w PWM (I think) solar charge controller which was previously powered by 3 18w solar panels for solar, the wind turbine is directly connected to the house batteries which are currently wired in parallel.

How to wire the batteries
How should I wire the house batteries? Should I use a 2 battery switch? Should I use another 2 battery switch with combine to link the house batteries to starter battery for emergencies?


Charge Controllers
Do I need a charge controller for each solar and a separate for the wind turbine? or can I get one charge controller that will take from solar, wind and alternator? Can you recommend a model or brand to handle this situation?

From Charging controller(s) to batteries
Do I require a battery isolator so the charging is going from one or multiple charge controllers to only one battery? What brands or models could you point me to that could handle this situation?
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Old 20-10-2017, 12:56   #2
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Re: Help with power system

What you have in mind is certainly do-able. However, it's important to make sure it is done correctly or burned out (expensive) components can happen and possibly even an electrical fire. It would take multiple, lengthy forum posts to explain in detail how to connect everything correctly. Since you labeled yourself as a newbie, I highly recommend getting a local marine electrician to set this up for you. He or she can probably do it in a day and you'll have a higher degree of confidence that it's done right. Probably a good idea to watch what he or she does so you can maintain the system afterward and swap out components, if ever needed. Just my suggestion.
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Old 20-10-2017, 13:25   #3
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Re: Help with power system

John's right. Although one thing that comes to mind is that before you hire a pro, you need to know what you want, 'cuz there are some options as well as Code mandated one right way to do it things.

Here's a sample of the things involved, also includes good books:

Electrical Systems 101
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Old 20-10-2017, 13:41   #4
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Re: Help with power system

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJudson View Post
I have 3 batteries, 2 AGM, 1 Gel. 2 are to be dedicated to be house batteries, 1 the start battery.

I have a 30A shore power system currently powering my main AC Panel. I plan to put in a 30A AC power selector (break then make) switch so I can choose between Shore power and my 1000W inverter which will be powered from the house batteries.

Some inverter/chargers have an auto-transfer switch that starts inversion if shorepower isn't present, so maybe no power selector switch required, depending on what you have or buy.

Generally charging profiles for AGMs and gels are different, so you may not want to service all those with the same charger.

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Old 20-10-2017, 13:47   #5
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Re: Help with power system

ABYC recommendations (not law) for electrical installations are the guidelines you want to follow.
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Old 20-10-2017, 13:54   #6
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Re: Help with power system

I believe you're looking for a transfer switch.

Like this: Go Power! Transfer Switch - Prewired

A good idea to have this switch installed professionally if you're a newbie.
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Old 20-10-2017, 14:15   #7
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Re: Help with power system

My 30 amp input is immediately split into two individually fused 15 Amp circuits. One is a wall socket in a cockpit locker, the other a wall socket inside. My battery charger is mounted in the same locker and plugged in there. The shoreline/inverter switch is inside. Worked for me.
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Old 21-10-2017, 05:35   #8
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Re: Help with power system

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Judson.
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Old 21-10-2017, 09:16   #9
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Re: Help with power system

[QUOTE=CaptainJudson;2503241]Hi there,

I'm a newbie when it comes to alternative power sources and onboard electrical systems.

I have 3 batteries, 2 AGM, 1 Gel. 2 are to be dedicated to be house batteries, 1 the start battery.

I have a 30A shore power system currently powering my main AC Panel. I plan to put in a 30A AC power selector (break then make) switch so I can choose between Shore power and my 1000W inverter which will be powered from the house batteries.

When running off the 30A Shore power I want to run a batter charger that independently charges all 3 batteries. I have purchased a Genius marine 3 battery charger for this; which should keep all the batteries topped up while I have shore power. I don't know how to only draw from the 30A Shore power for the marine 3 battery charger without having the possibility of having the inverter powering the charger, powering the battery. (Perhaps an additional main breaker/panel with dedicated 120V 30A outlet?)

Additionally I have multiple additional charging sources including:
1. Engine Alternator
2. 400W Wind Turbine
3. 100W Solar Panel
4. a Second 100W Solar Panel.

On your 30 A shore power your charger should be set up to maintain your batteries. The idea of using an inverter when not on shore power sounds strange. The alternator should have been on an automatic switch so if you run the engine at the dock the charger only accepts shore power. This is a very routine installation. Given the small secondary sources, I would suggest setting them up as a single combined source for a max 5 A at 110 V to only feed the charger when engine and shore power are off. Simple in concept but no job for an amateur. Hire a pro!
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Old 21-10-2017, 10:44   #10
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Re: Help with power system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
The idea of using an inverter when not on shore power sounds strange.

???

Using the inverter when not on shorepower or generator power is quite common.

???

-Chris
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Old 21-10-2017, 12:32   #11
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Re: Help with power system

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
???



Using the inverter when not on shorepower or generator power is quite common.



???



-Chris


Mine pretty much stays on all the time, it goes into sleep or search mode when there is no AC power being used.
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Old 21-10-2017, 19:43   #12
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Re: Help with power system

Thanks for the welcome to those of you who welcomed me (@GordMay) , I appreciate it.

Thanks for the advice to those of you who had thoughts to share, I appreciate those too.

To those of you who suggested I hire a pro, I may hire someone for some of it, but while I am new to Sailboat electrical, i'm not new to electrical wiring. There are certainly some differences especially with ABYC standards, but for the most part we are looking at the types of wire, types of connections, spark proofing and such. I'm not intimidated and I do my research; which is why I've come to this forum (as one avenue of many) to make sure I do things right. But better safe than sorry right, I also appreciate your concern for my well being. I've got a wife and 3 kids in the boat so nothing will be left to chance.

@Albert30Shill - Interesting did you use a specific cord for that split? Not sure if that's how I would want to go, i think I'd like all 30A going to the AC System for when the charger isn't running. In fact when the charger is charging all 3 batteries it could be using 30A itself.

@Peregrine1983 - Yeah, I am looking for a transfer switch. Bang on, thanks for that, bookmarked, and very likely will be buying it. It takes care of most of my concerns from the shore-power/charger/inverter side of things, my only concern is I'm not sure I want it to switch automatically, if I forget to unplug something from the AC system and I disconnect from shore power I might want to have to manually switch over rather than power the fridge or water heater off my house batteries.

@stu jackson - Thanks for the pointer to the electrical 101, I haven't read it yet but its now on my reading list.

---

Does anybody have any answers on the Charge controller side about managing inputs from multiple charging sources (2 solar and 1 wind plus an alternator) ? Do they all need separate charge controllers or is there a single controller I can use? How should I manage charging the individual banks (house and starter) and am I better off with 2 separate house banks, or should I parallel the two batteries into one bank? These answers may be in the Electrical 101 section which I haven't read yet (apologies if so).

Thanks for all of your help everyone!
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Old 21-10-2017, 20:27   #13
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Re: Help with power system

The GELL and the AGM'S have different charging profiles, you need to go with one or another, unless you run two separate charger's, one fot the GELL and the other for AGM, i would replace the GELL with another AGM and use one charger.
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Old 21-10-2017, 20:36   #14
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Re: Help with power system

Quote:
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In fact when the charger is charging all 3 batteries it could be using 30A itself.
No where near 30amps AC, more like 4-5 max.
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Old 21-10-2017, 20:46   #15
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Re: Help with power system

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The GELL and the AGM'S have different charging profiles, you need to go with one or another, unless you run two separate charger's, one fot the GELL and the other for AGM, i would replace the GELL with another AGM and use one charger.
You may be right, especially from the wind and solar, I don't know that the alternator knows any difference between them. I was hoping there was an isolator or charge controller that would help handle this for me. The shore power charger that I'm using is a NOCO Gen3 Marine charger, it assesses 3 individual banks and charges them using the appropriate profile individually (https://no.co/gen3).
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