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Old 15-02-2006, 12:52   #46
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Hey Micheal.

I'd like to hear more about that setup?

Could you post it here. Or maybe send me a PM?

Like ot hear more about that idea!!
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Old 17-02-2006, 17:39   #47
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I am planning to upgrade my electrical capability. I am not good on the electrical engineering issues and there seem to be many views. I do not consume alot of power. Refrigeration is off engine and ice. I'm running lights, music, windless - no micro, tv, ac, water maker. We short term cruise and weekend sail. I hate docks. The boat does not even have shore power. I need a reliable and expandable 12V system. Typical use is 3 day self-sufficient weekends and then she sits on the mooring. I am considering H O Alt, system monitor, external smart regulator. Already have isolater/combiner. May want to add solar to help keep batteries topped if appropriate. Also interested in an invertor, if practical, for tools and such, but not needed. My yard electrician recommends AGM batteries. SSCA had recent thread warning against them. For my use, what is practical. We motor out the channel - 1/2 hour - and back. I want to maintain a reasonable bank (currently maybe 300amp) to insure excess capability and plenty of juice for the engine start. Any thoughts or help please on the overall plan and battery selection in particular ? English only, please.

Larry
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Old 18-02-2006, 08:10   #48
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Larry

Couple of thoughts for you. First I would separate the engine start requirement from a house bank. For coastal cruising you can put in a sealed group 27 start battery that will do a great job of getting the engine going.

Recognizing that all three battery types wet cell, gel, agm are all lead acid batteries. What gel and agm do is not have sulfuric acid in a liquid form, rather it is suspended. From what I have read agm batteries have some peculiarities with regard to how you charge them -- the key being you have to bring them to 100% after every discharge. Gels are sensitive to voltage. Wet Cells are dealing with the water. All have + and - issues. Obviously what ever type you decide on make all the batteries that type and don't forget to set up your charger and regulator to the correct charging curves.

I'm a KISS guy when it comes to batteries. Give me old fashion thick plate deep cycle wet cells. They tend to be able to take the most abuse however you need to maintain them. Depending on the room you have I would consider a start bank [1 group 27] and a house bank [possibly 2 6v golf cart batteries in series] or a couple of 12v in parallel depending on how big your battery box is. Using an 'echo charger' or equivalent will let you charge both bank even with one charger or alternator.

Good luck
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Old 18-02-2006, 08:32   #49
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Hey Jon - I am running similar questions on SSCA board, so please pardon my "cut & paste".
My use does not make it practical to properly manage my battery bank. There is no way to recharge fully without running the engine for much longer than needed. Running the engine without load is bad for the engine. I think the answer may be to be happy slowly killing my batteries. I haul for the winter so I can equalize in fall and maintain over winter. I planned to upgrade to the high output alternator to bring 'em up faster, and to purchase the AGM's because they are supposed to accept charge faster. I think what I read is this reduces the capacity over time, and may shorten life, but I do not know if this means 6 years rather than 10. That is acceptable to me. Slowly killing my batteries may be as good as it gets. There is a point where spending more no longer makes sense. I'm not yet sure where that point is. The upgrade I outlined in my post above is $3K. I may not need it all, but since this boat may go caribe, I want to lay the groundwork for a system that can stand alone for long periods of time and will have more aux use, or additional energy source thru solar. I have one bank, with a preexisting 3 separate switch (engine, parallel, panel) set up wired so the alternator charges all 3 batteries every time (guy could not remember to set Guest switch to "all") but then the bank feeds separately to panel ( two lead acid for panel - one big mother lead acid for engine - engine start battery can be fed thru separate parallel switch to also feed panel). Big $ to remove all this and start over, and the yard electrician does not think I need to. He understands my "style" of use, and recommends the AGM for quick recovery. I have a big acid burn on cabin sole by quarter berth from last owner's mishap, so sealed batteries seem appealing. (anyone know how deep into teak that burn probably goes ?)

Larry
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Old 18-02-2006, 08:47   #50
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Killing the engine

This gets mentioned often, that fact that we kill the engine by charging the batteries, or we glaze the cylinder walls when motor sailing. So we use a gen set to charge the batteries. That does not make sense to me.
The alternator is placing a load on the engine, not huge but still a load. I have not heard anybody explain this situation to me, in a satisfactory manner, including my Yanmar dealer. A good clean running engine should be able to charge the batteries. Plunk it in gear if you want some more load. I agree that there could be some carbon build up in some engines, but I do not consider the problem to be as large as some folks say.
Small outboard motors run for years at trolling speeds. You would think they would load up being two strokes.
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Old 18-02-2006, 08:54   #51
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While someone smarter will hopefully tell us why an engine not under load is bad, the fact remains if it takes 2 hours (or anything close) to top batteries, I am not going to sit on a mooring or anchor with engine in reverse for any period of time. I still seem to read that you cannot top off batteries if you do not charge for a long time, so those that do not park at a dock and plug in are out of luck. I don't motor much. I don't sit at docks. It may be best to simply replace batteries more frequently.

Larry
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Old 18-02-2006, 08:57   #52
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Larry,
For the sake of simplicity have you considered a 25 amp smart charger coupled with one of the small inverter generators like the Honda EU 1000? The size of a briefcase, can take it home/camping for jobs if needed, resale value, 110V supply for power tools, quiet and above all a nice red colour. This is the option we have gone with to back up our solar.
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Old 18-02-2006, 09:01   #53
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Larry

Only other thought I have since it sounds like boat lives on a mooring is have you considered either solar or wind?

I would think adding a large solar panel or two would over time bring the batteries up the rest of the way while boat is sitting especially if there is minimal load on it.

ps won't duplicate conversation on other board..
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Old 18-02-2006, 09:21   #54
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Yes - small gas generator is possible. Seems to be popular on sport fishers and the like. Since I am minimalist, and do not store gas on board - actually row the dink - never used the honda that came with boat - it is just "one more thing".

The solar seems like a possible way to "top off" during the week, and I am just starting my learning. Yard electrician is not strong on solar, so I will have to go it alone. I am not sure the solar satisfies the constant trickle that battery bank is supposed to get. My thinking was to add the solar once I figure out the system. Solar is a plus, but perhaps not an answer to "battery maintenance". Anything to consider with my "phase one" specific to planning to add solar ?

Larry
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Old 21-02-2006, 05:42   #55
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Larry, we use the Honda EU1000 and Xantrex 20 amp smart charger to take care to the battery bank (house bank T105s) while at anchor for extended periods. We upgraded the alternator aboard our Bristol 31.1 and use a Balmar external regulator to keep up the charge while moving under power. Most of our previous boats were ice boxes for cooling but we installed DC refrigeration on this boat and certainly enjoy it. But with a DC refrigeration system, you start a long process of figuring out how to supply that DC. We are still considering both solar and wind generators. We feel that there is not nearly enough room for solar panels on this size boat to make a difference; still considering the wind generator. So we will probably just live with our current setup for now; it has worked OK for a couple of years now. We have had larger boats in the past, but I do not want to return to that route just to get more space for things like bigger battery banks and solar panel mounts. Just 2 cents worth....
Roger
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Old 07-06-2009, 13:44   #56
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An update!

Gord was absolutely right, most of our anchorages have been in very light wind locations and the wind generator while, anchored, underperformed. A major cause is a line came loose once and broke a blade. I then cut all the blades down to match the broken blade. I'd wager this signficantly affected my out put. Point is, they are higher maintenance than I'd originally presupposed. I have since got replacement blades, but have not remounted the generator. I'll do so some time this summer, just to continue the evaluation.

Rick et al was very much right, the output of the Hitachi alternators is definately sub-optimal. I seriously contemplated the external regulator, but, have made no moves toward that as of yet. The optimal solutions seem to center arround a controller that could regulate and synchronize the output accross the two engines. Once again getting into an expensive solution. But, if charging from the engine is still in an energy plan, there is definately room for improvement in this area.

The portable generator has been a very pleasant surprise. It was not something I'd originally considered. It has become such a termendous boon, that I am looking at a more permanate mounting and running solution.

The solar panels, aside from the expense, have been the most pleasant way of generating energy. Amazingly consistent output, even up here on the Chesapeake. Once installed, the only thing I have had to do is wipe them off periodically. I will augment with additional panels, just have to figure out how to get some of those good tax breaks!!

I am using my engines less, now that I have no place I need to reach. I just put up the sails, crank some tunes and enjoy the ride. Even when slow.

Cheers all, fair winds.

Keith
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Old 07-06-2009, 14:57   #57
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I dont know about you guys but I find the constant increase from idle to running rpms of the honda a pain ( well that was until mine got stolen!).

as to the general case

(a) If you have a DC heavy boat, you need all the charging sources you can get

(b) DC refrigeation needs HO alternators

(c) ROI on boats and their equipment, are you all mad!!.
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Old 07-06-2009, 15:13   #58
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<Chuckle> I have DC refrigeration (exclusively).

ROI on boats. Hard to argue with you there!
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Old 07-06-2009, 17:27   #59
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Will someone provide a link to a cost effective 3 stage regular
thanks
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Old 07-06-2009, 19:20   #60
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pirate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strygaldwir View Post
An update!

Gord was absolutely right, most of our anchorages have been in very light wind locations and the wind generator while, anchored, underperformed. A major cause is a line came loose once and broke a blade. I then cut all the blades down to match the broken blade. I'd wager this signficantly affected my out put. Point is, they are higher maintenance than I'd originally presupposed. I have since got replacement blades, but have not remounted the generator. I'll do so some time this summer, just to continue the evaluation.

Rick et al was very much right, the output of the Hitachi alternators is definately sub-optimal. I seriously contemplated the external regulator, but, have made no moves toward that as of yet. The optimal solutions seem to center arround a controller that could regulate and synchronize the output accross the two engines. Once again getting into an expensive solution. But, if charging from the engine is still in an energy plan, there is definately room for improvement in this area.

The portable generator has been a very pleasant surprise. It was not something I'd originally considered. It has become such a termendous boon, that I am looking at a more permanate mounting and running solution.

The solar panels, aside from the expense, have been the most pleasant way of generating energy. Amazingly consistent output, even up here on the Chesapeake. Once installed, the only thing I have had to do is wipe them off periodically. I will augment with additional panels, just have to figure out how to get some of those good tax breaks!!

I am using my engines less, now that I have no place I need to reach. I just put up the sails, crank some tunes and enjoy the ride. Even when slow.

Cheers all, fair winds.

Keith
Keith, I agree with your points about wind vs solar. We have both, but the solar puts out a lot more amps on average than the wind gen. I just bought 2 more solar panels on E-bay since Margaret wants to buy an Engle freezer. The extra panels will increase our output from 330 to 440 watts and that will also help with the watermaker we plan to build this summer.

I installed two Xantrex external regulators a couple years ago and I'm happy with them. I didn't install any hardware to equalize the output of both alternators and haven't seen a need for it. The external regulators, however, caused another issue. The regulators would shut down the alternators after batteries reached float stage and solar/wind picked up all the loads. When the alternators shut down, my tachometers quit. I had to install switches to turn off my solar panels so the alternators would pick up the "underway" loads and keep the tachs working. The switches work when I remember to turn them off. I also bought the optional temperature controls for the voltage regulators. If the alternator or battery temps get too high, the regulators will throttle back on the charging current. I don't know how well the temp controls work, but alternators and batteries are still healthy.
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