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Old 23-02-2012, 00:04   #1
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Newbie Simple Question

I have aquired a Ruffian 23 which only has a few cabin lights and a VHF radio

There is no power on the pontoon to charge, I am spending spare funds on getting her in the water.

I know very little (well ok, nothing) about electrics and have spent my life shying away from anything to do with them.

So my question is can I just use a battery for my simple power needs and then take it out at the end of the day and charge it at home ready for the next outing. I'm worried it might just ruin the battery if it keeps running empty.

The cost of solar/wind power at the moment puts it at the bottom of my "must have" list but I do want some power.

Thanks in advance

Pete
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Old 23-02-2012, 00:19   #2
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Re: Newbie simple question

Short answer, yes. The caveat is; you will need to purchase a "deep cycle" battery. A regular car battery will rapidly go bad if it gets run down. Also, remember that an outing will be very short if you have no way of recharging the battery on board. The length of your outing will determine the size of your battery.
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Old 23-02-2012, 00:28   #3
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Re: Newbie simple question

Thanks for your quick reply.

At the moment on my friends boat we are day tripping to other harbours so not much call for power. I would do the odd overnighter when I get the boat into the water but again just need some cabin lights.

This is a particular "how long is a piece of string" question but would a deep cycle battery say 115Ah run a few internal cabin lights for an evening?

A wind generator will be on my list for the coming year

Cheers

Pete
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Old 23-02-2012, 00:45   #4
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Re: Newbie simple question

You can keep from ruining your battery by figuring out how much power you use. If your lights draw 1 amp and you leave one on for 1 hour that consumes 1 amp-hour. Deep cycle batteries will have their amp-hour rating on them. Discharging the battery around 50% gets you the most energy out of the battery over its lifetime. So a 100 amp-hour battery should most often not be discharged more than 50 amp-hours. So you can leave one 1 amp light on for 50 hours.

Get at least one or two LED lights, they usually use 0.1 amp, so 500 hours for one light.

Look at your VHF to see current draw. Probably something like 0.3 amps when it's on. 1-2 amps receiving, speaker making noise, 6 amps transmitting on high power.

John
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Old 23-02-2012, 00:47   #5
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Re: Newbie simple question

Oh my, 115 Ah would be enough to power 4-5 cabin lights and the anchor light for a couple evenings. You would have no shortage of power. Without getting too technical:

Assuming 20 Watt lights and 4 hrs of use per day then,

20W / 12 V = 1.66 Amps
1.66 A * 4 hrs = 6.64 Ah per light = ~30 Ah per day for cabin lights.

Since I am sure the wattage differs, feel free to use this to estimate your power needs. The wattage (or amperage) of the lights should be stamped or printed on the base of the bulbs.

The electrics of your boat is something that you should be comfortable with. Find a book or an electrician friend to explain to you what all is happening. Someday something will quit working, and it is generally cheaper to fix it yourself, provided you know the basics. The electrical system on your boat is relatively simple, and a couple of hours will be sufficient to familiarize yourself with the electrics.
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Old 23-02-2012, 00:56   #6
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Re: Newbie simple question

Quote:
Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
You can keep from ruining your battery by figuring out how much power you use. If your lights draw 1 amp and you leave one on for 1 hour that consumes 1 amp-hour. Deep cycle batteries will have their amp-hour rating on them. Discharging the battery around 50% gets you the most energy out of the battery over its lifetime. So a 100 amp-hour battery should most often not be discharged more than 50 amp-hours. So you can leave one 1 amp light on for 50 hours.

Get at least one or two LED lights, they usually use 0.1 amp, so 500 hours for one light.

Look at your VHF to see current draw. Probably something like 0.3 amps when it's on. 1-2 amps receiving, speaker making noise, 6 amps transmitting on high power.

John
Cheers for this, most probs the first time I have understood a post on this subject. The boat has those mini striplight things at the moment so I will change them for a few LED's when we put in new headlining, does anyone have any recomendations for decent ones?

Pete
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Old 23-02-2012, 01:06   #7
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Re: Newbie simple question

I assume it has an outboard? Does that deliver a trickle charge?
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Old 23-02-2012, 01:14   #8
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Re: Newbie simple question

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I assume it has an outboard? Does that deliver a trickle charge?
It didnt have an outboard when I got her but a friend is giving me an older 4hp one so not sure about it at the moment.

Do they usually have an alternator of sorts to produce charge like a car?

If so how do I get to it ??

my outboard knowledge is up there with my electrical knowledge, sorry!
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Old 23-02-2012, 02:07   #9
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Re: Newbie simple question

many outboards have a small socket on the side that produces a small trickle charge. not all but many.
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Old 23-02-2012, 03:37   #10
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many outboards have a small socket on the side that produces a small trickle charge. not all but many.
Well there you go. You learn something new every day.

Thanks for all replies, I've gained more knowledge on here today than I have learnt this year :-)
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Old 23-02-2012, 04:23   #11
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Re: Newbie simple question

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Well there you go. You learn something new every day.

Thanks for all replies, I've gained more knowledge on here today than I have learnt this year :-)
Welcome aboard, Pedro! Glad that CCF has been of help. Don't forget to hit the thanks button when you like a post - it doesn't take long and can make a member's day!
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Old 23-02-2012, 04:38   #12
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Invest in a small solar panel (flexible type that can be rolled up and stored) and maybe some LED bulbs and you'll never need to take the battery off the boat.
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Old 23-02-2012, 06:38   #13
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For a small boat for lake cruising, I'm thinking a small (30 Watt) solar panel to charge/maintain a 12v battery, used to run navigation lights and the esssential instruments like a depth finder and charging cellphones. A seperate lantern for anchor light (camping type, battery powered) and some of those cheap battery powered led tap lights for lighting up the interior.

Also, a couple of handheld GPS units. Minimal wiring, and easy to find replacements. A jumbo pack of spare batteries, and you'll be good for a long time. Bonus points for rechargeable batteries for the lantern, tap lights and GPS. Double bonus points if you can keep it all AA batteries...
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Old 24-02-2012, 00:00   #14
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I bought two of these 10w panels and wired them in parallel with no controller.

I have 100a/hr battery and run instruments, autopilot, radio every weekend. Occasionally run lights at night.

I get 8 hours of good sun all week and in 4 months since installing the 5 day lay off during the week tops the batteries up nicely.

I think I paid about $40 per unit.
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Old 24-02-2012, 00:40   #15
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Re: Newbie simple question

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I bought two of these 10w panels and wired them in parallel with no controller.

I have 100a/hr battery and run instruments, autopilot, radio every weekend. Occasionally run lights at night.

I get 8 hours of good sun all week and in 4 months since installing the 5 day lay off during the week tops the batteries up nicely.

I think I paid about $40 per unit.
The only slight technical hitch with that is that I live in Scotland and we get about 8 hours of decent sun a month
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