First, I'd like to wish all the sailors & cruisers around the globe a Very Merry Christmas
and the Happiest of Holidays to you and your families & friends. I have posted several question on this sight and have always received overwhelming helpful and positive responses.
Now for the dreaded business at hand....
Background: I live up by Detroit and have signed on to be boat slave and first mate for a 3-person crew sailing out of Punta Gorda, FL to Belize
on my good friend's 1970 Charley Morgan
38. It is our intentions to start our trip on Feb. 1, 2016. I was down there recently doing prep work, running tests and practicing drills, etc. And will be down again to celebrate NYE. As one might surmise, not much of the mechanical and electrical
systems in this boat are original with plenty of DIY fixes over the decades. We working on a "modest" nut reasonable budget
. We have discovered some inconsistencies relative to the boats charging
systems that result in insufficient charging
of the house batteries. And yes, before I get flamed here too much, I have have been doing hours and hours of research
into this subject. Being a retired IT guy, I'm also the boat's Chief Information Officer and have some basic knowledge of electrical system
3HM 27 HP diesel
(most likely a LR-155, but it's ID label was painted over during a engine
rebuild) with internal regulator
that was recently tested to be putting out 45 amps.
While the single
and the 2 house batteries are all flooded acid batteries, they have little else in common ("one house battery" is actually two 6V batteries wired in series),
The 1/both/2/off battery
selector switch currently switches between the two house battery banks,
There's a 3-post, diode isolator that distributes the alternator's charging output to each battery bank, but the alternator's sense wire is the original wiring
off the ignition switch.
The shore power
is smart and can charge up to 3 battery banks. It's charging output leads are currently connected to the battery posts on the isolator.
panel is directly connected to one of the house batteries.
Our (perceived) challenges:
#1. The alt is sensing only the starting battery's charge, so when that battery is fully charged the alt effectively shuts down thus not fully charging the deep cycle house batteries.
#2. We'll never truly know what model Hitachi alternator
we have due to the "nice" paint
job, it seems to putting less amps than it's rated for, it's internally regulated, and generally believed to as a fellow sailor stated "not worth a pile of mouse poop".
#3. We're woefully ignorant as to how to effect improvements to this mess.
#4. The charging system is probably got more small, unaccounted for voltage drops due to the hodge-podge of cables
My humble thoughts:
#1. We should replace the current
alternator with a good externally regulated model.
#2. Based on #1 above, we'll need to acquire a external, probably smart, voltage regulator/monitor and/or something else that monitors, prioritizes and charges all the batteries fully.
#3. Disconnect & remove the diode isolator totally.
#4. Connect the shore power
directly to each battery bank.
My 20 questions:
#1 Anyone care to take a shot at ANYTHING I've written so far, particular the tentative fixes?
#2 Assuming an alternator replacement is a must, any recommendations for brands, sizes, regulation method, etc.
#3 Assuming a new externally regulated alternator, any thoughts/recommendations for what to buy? How to sense which batteries need charging? How best to save/reserve the staring battery?
#4 Best method for connecting in the shore power charger and the solar
#5 Should the battery selector switch switch between either of the two house batteries or between the house bank and the starting battery?
#6 Anyone know any experts in these matters close to Punta Gorda, FL?
#7 What have I missed? Any additional thoughts, suggestions, recommendations or worse?
#8 I'm ready for drink, anyone care to join me? I'm buying!
As always, your time, efforts, advice, thoughts, words, care, jokes and anything and everything else are very much appreciated and will be played forward as best I can!!
Happy Holidaze All!!!
Livonia, MI/Punta Gorda, FL