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Old 24-03-2011, 14:50   #1
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More inverter/charger questions

I have through a great stroke of good fortune -- and through the incredible kindness of certain yachtsmen who don't even know me -- secured a mid-river mooring in the River Hamble. I'm so happy that I'm -- to quote one former girlfriend of mine -- peeing down both legs. This is the most coveted berth in all of English yachting -- they say here, when a son is born, the first two things you do are to put his name down on the waiting list at Eaton, and on the waiting list for a Hamble mooring. The waiting list is about 15 years for the most common sized berths.

The new berth is almost free, which is a great relief after the nearly $20,000 a year I was paying in a certain marina on the Hamble. And it's in the middle of the river. So obviously there's no shore power. And hence this thread.

I think I will not need solar or wind. I never leave the boat for more than a month at a time, so I think the batteries will be ok on their own. But for life on the mooring, I will need an inverter, so I don't have to crank up the genset every time I need AC power. A small part of the money I will save on the marina can be invested in this.

I am pretty much sold on the Victron inverter/chargers, which have great functions like using the inverter to supplement shore power when you have momentary loads which exceed your shore power capacity, and automatically cutting back charging current when the power is needed for something else. The big question is what size. I have 440Ah * 24v of house batteries, so theoretically I could use charging capacity up to 110 amps. But it seems kind of brutal, pumping 110 amps * 24v = 2.7kW into the poor battery bank. On the other hand, I will want to be loading up the generator (6.5kW Kohler) and keeping the generator runs to a minimum.

Has anyone here faced this problem? Any advice?
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:06   #2
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

Well done on the mooring, we used to live up at Foulkes yard, really miss The Jolly Sailor.
TBH you want the charging time to be at a minimum, but you don't want to abuse the batteries. I believe the Victron chargers have temperature monitoring for the batteries, this would be the way to go for high charging rates to ensure they are happy.
We were running over a 1000amp/hour battery bank with a 80amp charger which required several hours of charging, which can be annoying.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:16   #3
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

Congratulations on the mooring! Loved your description :-)

Unless you have AGMs or Gels, you'll certainly want some form of charging....solar or wind...for the periods you're not on the boat.

It is NOT OK to leave flooded batteries for a month without charging. They have a high self-discharge rate, and will surely sulfate and lose capacity if you do that.

At a bare minimum, I'd invest part of your yearly "savings" in a solar panel and controller to maintain the batteries. The batteries will be happier, and so will you because you won't have to replace them every couple of years.

Bill
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:20   #4
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post

At a bare minimum, I'd invest part of your yearly "savings" in a solar panel and controller to maintain the batteries. The batteries will be happier, and so will you because you won't have to replace them every couple of years.

Bill
LOL He's in ENGLAND! Everyone knows the sun never shines there! Better go with the wind genny!
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:22   #5
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

Don't bother with solar on the Hamble, trust me on this. Wind gen can be useful if your far enough down the river.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:22   #6
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

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LOL He's in ENGLAND! Everyone knows the sun never shines there! Better go with the wind genny!
Yeah, that's the rap on Merry Old England.

However, an adequate solar array with an MPPT controller will continue to put out usable amps even with heavily clouded skies. On one of my client's boats, with two 135-watt panels wired in series and an MPPT controller, I saw 8-11 amps output even during severe thunderstorms!!

I'd just favor solar over wind because it's much simpler, more trouble-free, long lasting and less hassle.

JMO,

Bill
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:24   #7
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

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LOL He's in ENGLAND! Everyone knows the sun never shines there! Better go with the wind genny!
A popular myth. I also believed it. But I spent 52 days at sea in these waters last year (that doesn't count the days at anchor, or living on board in the marina). I was only rained on seriously two of those days. Right now (I'm writing from on board) it's above 20 degrees C, and brilliant sunshine. I think the English, who love to complain, give their own weather a bad name. I am rained on much more often in Florida. I think solar would work ok here.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:27   #8
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Congratulations on the mooring! Loved your description :-)

Unless you have AGMs or Gels, you'll certainly want some form of charging....solar or wind...for the periods you're not on the boat.

It is NOT OK to leave flooded batteries for a month without charging. They have a high self-discharge rate, and will surely sulfate and lose capacity if you do that.

At a bare minimum, I'd invest part of your yearly "savings" in a solar panel and controller to maintain the batteries. The batteries will be happier, and so will you because you won't have to replace them every couple of years.

Bill
Inspect a panel that works with light not sun I have forgotten the name.
I use a solar panel and a Rutland 913 he is definitely right about the batteries being happier and if you have an automatic bilge pump switch so will you.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:30   #9
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Yeah, that's the rap on Merry Old England.

However, an adequate solar array with an MPPT controller will continue to put out usable amps even with heavily clouded skies. On one of my client's boats, with two 135-watt panels wired in series and an MPPT controller, I saw 8-11 amps output even during severe thunderstorms!!

I'd just favor solar over wind because it's much simpler, more trouble-free, long lasting and less hassle.

JMO,

Bill
But solar only works well when it is dead overhead or you have a system that follows the sun any other angle and the amps are reduced.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:39   #10
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

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A popular myth. I also believed it. But I spent 52 days at sea in these waters last year (that doesn't count the days at anchor, or living on board in the marina). I was only rained on seriously two of those days. Right now (I'm writing from on board) it's above 20 degrees C, and brilliant sunshine. I think the English, who love to complain, give their own weather a bad name. I am rained on much more often in Florida. I think solar would work ok here.
Like I said solar isn't the best option, I know many liveaboards on the Hamble and southern England who have tried everything.
Primary power from batteries and inverter system, primary charging comes form engine or generator (usually generator) secondary charging from wind generator Kiss or Air X, forget the little ones rutland etc.
Solar was a last resort and only if the right gear came at the right price i.e very cheap or free. Everyone I knew who used solar said don't bother.
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Old 24-03-2011, 16:39   #11
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Re: More inverter/charger questions

I’m moored in the outer harbour in Lowestoft and last weekend I installed a Rutland 914i together with a 1000w inverter. The inverter is for “Occasional” use so I set that up with its own isolator so that it is totally dead when not needed thus keeping the draw down. The 914i puts juice into both battery banks even at low wind speed (it was showing input at only 8 Knts). Although I have obviously not been able to test it thoroughly, early indications are that the 914i begins to charge in lower wind speeds than the 913 and has as much as a 30% output improvement at higher wind speeds. The guy on the next pontoon has a bunch of solar panels and the seagulls just love ‘em. He is forever cleaning the things and his shore power cable seems to be a permanent fixture so I’m going to leave solar alone at the moment. Don’t know if this helps.
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