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Old 14-07-2019, 05:54   #1
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My very livable electrical system

While we were waiting for our boat I planned the electrical system for over a year. During that time I looked for threads on CF that were comprehensible to a relative layman and encompassed some of the more…exotic things that I wanted to do, and I had difficulty finding them. Now that we have been on the boat for several months I thought I would put together what we have, why I think it works, and maybe even how to do some of it. I have just come across someone that I think was sold stuff that he didn’t need and better choices could have been made and hope that this post eliminates that for someone. This is not a low budget system. It was built for comfort and efficiency. Also, many choices were made for other devices/appliances to enable it to work the way that it does. I figure that I will list what we did and await questions to explain why so as to spark a conversation. The boat is US power, 12/120volts, 60 hz. Lets see how it came together:

We have a very large lithium bank, 1800 amp hours.
There are two Victron Multiplus units in parallel for 6000 watts of inverting power, 240 amps of charging.
A stainless steel arch was built across the back that has legs extending to the transom. 4 LG 360w solar panels are on the arch and provide power to the bank and shade to the cockpit.
A 6kw Northern Lights generator is up front.
Both alternators are stock Valeo’s, but we added the Balmar MC-614 regulators and Balmar Center Fielder to attempt maximum efficiency and ability to charge lithium batteries.
Shore power inlets were modified. Both are 30 amps. Shore 1 goes to the Master Multiplus and provides feedthrough power that is boosted when necessary and will otherwise charge the batteries. Shore 2 goes to two dedicated Victron Skylla chargers. This affords the ability to recharge batteries anywhere in the world. When doing so we will be relegated to inverter power only.

The galley is now all electric and includes:
A Kenyon Silken 2 induction cooktop
A separate portable induction cooktop
A Breville Smart Oven Air
(The only remaining propane is the grill)
Typical Vitrifrigo Refrigerator Freezer
Added large Vitrifrigo freezer in place of nav desk
Exterior refrigerator in cockpit
Breville Barista Plus espresso machine
Bread maker
Portable ice maker

Both air conditioners are Frigomar 16k units with brushless DC inverters. These are integral to the system because they have such a low startup (2 amps. Yes, 2.) and low overall power consumption (6 amps).

Dive compressor is a Nardi Atlantic P. This is a 220v 3-phase unit. We power it through a step up transformer and a variable frequency drive.

Watermaker is a Spectra Newport 400. Expect another post on this.

Did I forget anything?



So, what can we do with this system?
12 volt power is not a problem at all and all refrigerators/freezers are 12 volt.
We can power all of the galley on inverters
We can run both air conditioners overnight on inverters
We can run the dive compressor on inverters
We can power both water heaters on inverters
We can use the washer dryer on inverters
We can NOT do combinations of the above at the same time without close monitoring and starting with a nearly charged battery bank

Now, what we actually do is often different than above because, for example, having hot water much less on the port side is not important to us or a good use of our power. Also, cooking is the largest user of power and we have to watch spikes because of cycling of appliances. We rarely use the air conditioners, but when we do typically only use one.

The generator is where a lot of this system shines. Leopard provides a 9kw generator stock because they have to account for startup loads, particularly of the air conditioners. The problem with this is that it adds 300 pounds to the front of the boat, it burns 50% more fuel, and it is very hard to run it under sufficient load. It is much more efficient for us to use the batteries as much as possible and when they run low power up the genny to recharge. I think it saves like 80% over running the generator to power the loads directly. When we do run it is when I also make hot water and look for other infrequent loads to get it in the 80-90% range of capacity that was recommended to me by Northern Lights.

Finally, what would I change? If anything, I might have added a third Multiplus, but not for inverter capacity. We rarely use more than 4000 watts of inverted power, but I would like to have the additional charging ability so that the generator would run less when I do use it and I wouldn’t have to look for additional loads. Other than that I think the system came out good and I give a lot of props to Just Catamarans in Dania Beach for the installation.

I hope this helps and gives someone some ideas. Hopefully you also have some questions and want to discuss some of what’s above.
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Old 14-07-2019, 06:25   #2
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Re: My very livable electrical system

Nice, and thank you for the write up. Do have any photos that you could post, showing the arch setup, etc? That might be interesting for people to see too.

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Old 14-07-2019, 08:48   #3
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Re: My very livable electrical system

Nice work!

Im mid elec upgrade myself. Im doing many similar things so interested to hear about yours. I am doing a 24v in a mono.

Your LFP bank sounds huge. I havent got mine yet but was thinking 400-600 (at 24v equiv 8-1200AH at 12v) not 1800AH. I do also have 2x 3000W inverters though. I havent done the galley fit out yet but induction was the plan.

Whats the reason you chose a 220v compressor? I was thinking of a 110v Bauer Jr.

I wasnt going to bother with air cond, but your setup has peaked my interest.

Its certainly nice to hear it all works nicely.
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Old 14-07-2019, 09:16   #4
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Re: My very livable electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
Nice, and thank you for the write up. Do have any photos that you could post, showing the arch setup, etc? That might be interesting for people to see too.

Ask and ye shall receive! Click image for larger version

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Old 14-07-2019, 09:22   #5
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Re: My very livable electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Q Xopa View Post
Nice work!

Im mid elec upgrade myself. Im doing many similar things so interested to hear about yours. I am doing a 24v in a mono.

Your LFP bank sounds huge. I havent got mine yet but was thinking 400-600 (at 24v equiv 8-1200AH at 12v) not 1800AH. I do also have 2x 3000W inverters though. I havent done the galley fit out yet but induction was the plan.

Whats the reason you chose a 220v compressor? I was thinking of a 110v Bauer Jr.

I wasnt going to bother with air cond, but your setup has peaked my interest.

Its certainly nice to hear it all works nicely.
Thank you!

They actually changed the motor for a three phase so that we could use the frequency drive to decrease startup surge. I'm told that drives for other motors are nearly impossible to find in the needed size range. This allows me to have otherwise undersized components like the generator.

Are your inverters in parallel?
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Old 14-07-2019, 09:25   #6
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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Ask and ye shall receive!


What dinghy is that? Is it the fancy carbon one from NZ?
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Old 14-07-2019, 09:26   #7
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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Originally Posted by Sawbonz View Post
Thank you!

They actually changed the motor for a three phase so that we could use the frequency drive to decrease startup surge. I'm told that drives for other motors are nearly impossible to find in the needed size range. This allows me to have otherwise undersized components like the generator.

Are your inverters in parallel?
Yes Inverters in Parallel
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Old 14-07-2019, 09:50   #8
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Re: My very livable electrical system

Sawbonz-- Great job and while I'm doing an upgrade on our mono, I'm limited on battery capacity... so your 1800AH is causing serious envy.
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Old 14-07-2019, 12:34   #9
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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What dinghy is that? Is it the fancy carbon one from NZ?


It is an OC Tender from NZ and while they do make a carbon one, this is not it. Carbon was something like $1000 more and the weight difference wasn’t important to me. As it is we are only about 215 pounds including the motor.
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Old 14-07-2019, 12:35   #10
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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Yes Inverters in Parallel


Great. Some people I’ve seen have set them up one to a side of the boat, but that’s not ideal. You then have to worry about load balancing as well as total load.
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Old 14-07-2019, 14:42   #11
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Re: My very livable electrical system

How do you synchronize the inverters?
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Old 14-07-2019, 21:11   #12
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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Great. Some people I’ve seen have set them up one to a side of the boat, but that’s not ideal. You then have to worry about load balancing as well as total load.
It sounds like we are doing it similar. I run all AC, including the galley induction stoves, welder, and hot water on the boat through the Inverters.

Shore power doesnt power any boat AC except for the batt chargers. They are 'Global' voltage (90-250vac) so it doesnt matter what I plug into.

Of course with big loads like the welder and hot water I am running the engine or generator as well to keep the batteries from getting drawn down too quick.

The hot water is also heated with the heat exchanger so isnt such a big load.

The welder is a big load but for the 'duty cycle' it averages out fine.
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Old 15-07-2019, 00:07   #13
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Re: My very livable electrical system

“How the other half sails...”.

Onboard welding gear is a new one on me
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Old 15-07-2019, 01:42   #14
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Re: My very livable electrical system

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“How the other half sails...”.

Onboard welding gear is a new one on me
Yes not so common. But every time I get it out to play with something on my boat without fail I get numerous requests from others to do stuff for them.

They are cheap at $450 including a mask etc and useful. Feeding them with power is the biggest trick. Which is one of my motivations for a lot of inverter capacity.

I learnt to weld in my apprenticeship a very long time ago. I wanted an arch made on my boat. The local welder was as usual inundated with work. So I just bit the bullet and got my own.

It hasnt taken so long to get the hang of it again. Welding is definately a practise thing. The more you do the better you get. The local shop I got the welder from even threw in some lessons which was enough to get me used to the settings and away again.

Once you have one you would be suprised how much use you get outta it.
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Old 15-07-2019, 09:08   #15
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Re: My very livable electrical system

I'm in the process of making an arch as well. Mine will also have the traveller on top as well. 1.5" SS 316 tubing I've been told is standard but nobody has said what the thickness should be? Anyone have thoughts/experience with this?

I too have a Bauer Jr running off a gas engine to be switched out for an electrical engine. To reduce start up loads, simply open all the compression chambers bleed valves then close them one at a time which is easy.
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