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Old 18-02-2018, 19:31   #1
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Need Help on Electrical Plan

I've recently bought a 45 foot leopard cat. It is 20 years old and I'm working on upgrading and fixing a lot of inherited issues. I continue to read and cannot figure out the optimal electrical plan.

I have a 450ah house bank. 420 watts of solar, two wind turbines, 90 amp alternators. I have a xantrex true charge 2 60amp battery charger. A west marine 3000w inverter. I had a xantrex combiner that has failed and is obsolete. two engine start batteries and a battery for a 6kw generator.

I'm currently rewiring a bunch of what prior owners did.

I'm confused on how to put it all together. In an optimal situation, what am I missing and what should go where? I feel like my head is spinning. I've been reading Nigel Calder's book and other resources and I feel like this is a never ending project.

Can anyone advise on an optimal setup, given the items I'm working with? Or even what items I should add and how to link it all together?
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Old 19-02-2018, 01:59   #2
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

Other than the combiner which may not be needed, what's wrong with the setup you have?

I would expect your study advised you to define your daily power requirements as best you can then size the house bank and its charging sources to meet your daily needs in the way you want to live aboard.

I recommend you live with what you have for as long as needed to accurately define your requirements, thoroughly learn the existing system, what works well, what doesn't, the less-obvious features made by the POs, and then adjust the existing setup as needed. Boat ownership is challenging enough without making yourself crazy trying to fix something that may not be broken. Take time to learn what you have while enjoying it.

Good luck!
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Old 19-02-2018, 15:02   #3
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

Thanks, that is pretty good advice for me right now!

A couple of specific issues I'm needing to resolve.

1. Two alternators are wired to the failed battery combiner. When I eliminate this, what is the optimal set up for getting charge to the house bank, from the alternators? Do I need two combiners, one for each alternator? Can you wire the alternators directly to the house bank?

2. I want to add a battery monitoring system to start monitoring my usage and battery performance. Any recommendations on this?

Thanks again for the assistance.
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Old 19-02-2018, 17:20   #4
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

No insult intended, but get several 12 volt books a read Abit. You can wast alot of money just poking around. Why have lots of power and no place to store it. All relates to another.
Jon Payne's book is good, the 12 volt Bible also.
I found that the more I read, one book or another would explain it better than another one and I found something useful in each. Good luck,
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Old 19-02-2018, 17:39   #5
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

Currently reading Nigel Calder. Thanks for the other book suggestions. Im learning more everyday.
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Old 19-02-2018, 23:26   #6
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

idealy both alts would be connected to the house bank (fused) and then you would have a combiner or echo charger between the house bank and each engine battery (so 2 of them)

for the battery monitor. I like the victron 700
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Old 20-02-2018, 08:21   #7
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Brannon View Post
Other than the combiner which may not be needed, what's wrong with the setup you have?

I would expect your study advised you to define your daily power requirements as best you can then size the house bank and its charging sources to meet your daily needs in the way you want to live aboard.

I recommend you live with what you have for as long as needed to accurately define your requirements, thoroughly learn the existing system, what works well, what doesn't, the less-obvious features made by the POs, and then adjust the existing setup as needed. Boat ownership is challenging enough without making yourself crazy trying to fix something that may not be broken. Take time to learn what you have while enjoying it.

Good luck!
Great advice! We left with our cat just after purchase for a season in the Bahamas doing next to nothing to it.

After that year returned to FL and added what we then knew we wanted.

Heres a big one. She was a European boat and wired for 220.

My knee jerk at purchase was to rewire for 110. What we found after that year was 110 was not needed for 90% of things we used AC for. We did install a small 110 inverter with 3 outlets and that did the trick.

In addition most of the world is 220 anyway and the conversion would have been a pain in the arse as we left the states for many years.
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Old 20-02-2018, 09:10   #8
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

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Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Great advice! We left with our cat just after purchase for a season in the Bahamas doing next to nothing to it.

After that year returned to FL and added what we then knew we wanted.
Best advice yet.

I hear about lots of folks buying and upgrading immediately. That might be fine if the vessel doesn't have something you "need" but the problem is you don't know what you need.

Our boat came with genset, water maker, solar, big alts, 2 a/c units and fridge/freezer.

I just knew the solar & watermaker were small and wifey was tickled we could have a/c all day and all night.

We touched nothing and now, 4 months later, we know the solar is undersized but guess what? The watermaker is more than sufficient and wifey doesn't want a/c like she thought she would.

I suggest doing the minimum you can at this time and adding once you know your true needs.
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Old 23-02-2018, 07:51   #9
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Re: Need Help on Electrical Plan

In life, there is CAUSE-EFFECT, as Aristotle pointed out some 2350years ago.

First be sure about your needs, style of life and cruising area, seasons etc..... Test it all, yourself first!, then you may have an idea of the whereabouts.
E.g. Liveaboard, usually 1-2 pcs only but 360days/y have needs different from holiday makers .

Alike, if you love/hate. Marinas..
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