Now I'm up against a new problem, and it's interesting...but also a pain in the butt. Please, keep the help coming, I clearly need it!
I think you really want to back all the way up and start by throwing away everything you have existing and even all the stuff you bought cheap
at least in a virtual sense. The key to all this is to start by setting up the energy budget
. You can have everything you want so long as you don't run out of power. That is the basic rule
You could have 100 batteries but you can't recharge all of them and eventually most of them would be dead. It means the power you use in a 24 hour period has to be replaced in a similar time period. You can make it any way you like but if you don't make as much as you use you can't continue the game
based devices that use high amp loads are very very bad. Volts X Amps = Watts. Read the UL labels on any device or use the above "Kill A Watt" device. Now do the math. A 1200 watt microwave uses about 10 amps at home but on the boat it uses 100 amps at 12 volts. But it takes some extra amps to make the amps it requires. How many minutes can I run the microwave before the battery
bank goes dead? Not long! On normal bank 20 minutes would be a practical limit and no more. When you look at what it takes , you may not like the time it takes to recharge the batteries for that 20 minutes.
Start by working out amp-hours by device and look at when they get used. You'll find the AC to DC Inverter is just worst device known to a sail boat. The cheap
ones waste more power than the good expensive ones. You do lose a bit of power converting power from one to the other. They are more at home on a twin screw trawler
with dual alternators.
If you consider the batteries as a holding tank
for the power you make whenever you can, it is easier. Unlike all the other things you have worked with you don't have a lot of power to work with. You really want to eliminate as much usage as practical. Making amp-hours is a PITA! It also costs you money
- a lot of money!
There are quite a few threads in this electrical
section on all the details, but I would start with an overall schematic of all the parts
to the system based on an input / output study of how you expect to use power. Ripping out all the wire on the boat seems advised and replace with good tinned copper wire all neatly routed, marked and properly color coded and include a detailed diagram. That is a serious job.
Toss all electrical panels
, isolators, and fuses
that may already be there and use all new stuff. RE-evaluate all electrical devices that consume, create or control electrical power. You'll want both 12 volt and a 120 volt systems and maybe even a 220 volt (international) system as well. Once you can compute the loads you can size the bank, then work on charging
systems that you might employ. The whole charging system needs to be synced so you have smart 3 or 4 stage voltage regulation based on battery type. This allows the charging to be as fast as possible without trashing the batteries. If you price
out 280 lbs of batteries you'll know why.
This really should be a total bottom up and top down redesign before you start the destruction part. There can be a lot of choices to make and they all should work close together and be optimized for a lot of reasons. Running 12 volts DC power means wire size issues everyplace due to voltage drop over distance. This means you have to have detailed plans or you won't know how much wire to buy. Good marine
grade tinned copper wire is not cheap! Don't even think about using household wire! High amp loads on DC wires can burn up the boat easily. Special details for a windlass
are required - not optional.
You really should go through all the material in this entire section. Some of it makes more sense after you read it a few times and can sort through the ideas. You can find a lot of examples as well as arguments. Some of the suggested books
may be handy. It also helps if you can find some brand new expensive boats and peak inside the panel and see what a great pro job looks like. Since you have done aircraft you have most of the idea. Making good water
tight connections is tedious. There are about a million shortcuts you can take to kill yourself.