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Old 24-07-2014, 21:44   #16
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Get the cheap bank now because in 3 or 4 years time they will be shot and the good batteries will be cheaper.

+1

I would not be advising the "casual battery scientist" to go LiFePO right now. This **** is still in Beta test fellah's.

OP - Go read some of TedSherrin's threads. He is in similar circumstance, in your neck of the woods and is exactly in the dilemma you're in - "What do I do today."

For you my strong advice is - replace the 400 a/h batts. Upgrade the crap charger with a real 25+ amp one. Add 280-350w solar with either MPPT or PWM controller.

Come back in 5 years when LiFePO is out of Beta test. Unless you wanna be a Beta tester/Battery scientist.
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Old 24-07-2014, 21:50   #17
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
I would go with the cheapest FLA's you can get for now, and wouldn't add solar right now. Particularly since you know in a few years you will need to completely reconfigure the electrical system in a few years. Instead I would get a really good battery monitor and really work out what your consumption is over the next few years.

This way in a few years when you do the major upgrade you will have a base of good information, and it won't hurt so much to toss away the stuff you have. And a few years down the road the price for LIFEPO's and solar cells should be a good bit cheaper than they are today.
Another vote in favour of my short term solution. And I do hope you are right about the price of the Lithium technologies in the future...

I really think I do need the solar panels now though, as the current panels are pertty well shot. I get 100Watts out of the four panels combined, but two are on the cabin roof so they are shaded when under way, which brings us back to closer to 60Watts. Not great. I figure get the 300W now, and a controller that is Lithium compatible, prefereably something that is software upgradeable or at least user configurable in some way.

The Aerogen 6 is still close to its rated capacity, which helps, but it still needs an apparent wind speed up around 20+ knots to put out reasonable power, and that's not so common around here, at least, not in the conditions I like to sail in.

Matt
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Old 24-07-2014, 21:59   #18
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Just paid $89 for 6 volt, 220 amp golf cart batteries at Costco. Know there seems to be an Oz tax on everything for the privilege of forever being upside down but would think there would be cheaper batteries than what you are contemplating. If you get even occasional winds into the 20k range and a little sun, seems like your wind gen/solar would keep the batteries charged until you can spring for more solar panels if you are talking just weakend use.

I'd go for the golf cart batteries for ease of schlepping. Just replaced two on my boat and wouldn't want to have lifted more weight than each of those batteries onto the boat from the dinghy. For 24v you'll need to wire four in parallel but you'd need that many to get 440 amps at 12v. Can't see why anyone would go with a 4D or 8D 12v battery unless they know they will never have to move them around.
Don't you mean "series" rather than "parallel" to get 24 volts using 4 six-volt batteries?
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:17   #19
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
+1

I would not be advising the "casual battery scientist" to go LiFePO right now. This **** is still in Beta test fellah's.

OP - Go read some of TedSherrin's threads. He is in similar circumstance, in your neck of the woods and is exactly in the dilemma you're in - "What do I do today."

For you my strong advice is - replace the 400 a/h batts. Upgrade the crap charger with a real 25+ amp one. Add 280-350w solar with either MPPT or PWM controller.

Come back in 5 years when LiFePO is out of Beta test. Unless you wanna be a Beta tester/Battery scientist.
Yes, I have read Ted's posts, and if you look carefully you'll see why these particular batteries grabbed my attention. Ted was quoted $245 for 120AH, so $289 for 220AH is much better than average down here.

And please, anyone reading this thread, the crap charger was one of the first things I removed from the boat. (After the used beach-shoe collection... and the empty sun-tan lotion bottle collection... and the 200 fan belts that did not fit... etc etc.)

Matt
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:17   #20
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

Oops, that should have been in Series for 24 volts. Two in series and those in parallel with another series bank for 12v @ 440 amps.
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:19   #21
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

I try to wait on new technology until closer to the time when it will be needed. Three - four years is reasonably far enough out. That goes for the solar too unless you want something smallish to top off the house FLA batts. Who knows, you may find that you want a different boat, or have different needs by then too.
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:25   #22
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Yes, I have read Ted's posts, and if you look carefully you'll see why these particular batteries grabbed my attention. Ted was quoted $245 for 120AH, so $289 for 220AH is much better than average down here.

And please, anyone reading this thread, the crap charger was one of the first things I removed from the boat. (After the used beach-shoe collection... and the empty sun-tan lotion bottle collection... and the 200 fan belts that did not fit... etc etc.)

Matt
Yup. I am sensitive to where you are. Lots of folks jump in and say go to Walmart not realizing that isn't an option for a lot of folks.

Obviously Ted was concerned about the weight but I am sure you are considering the weight/cost/durability life expectation equation.

I pay attention to LiFePO threads when considering equipment today in the hopes that it is not obsoleted in 5-7 years and solar panels are something pretty safe to add on if eventually switching to a different battery technology.

Oh and in 5-years you'll need to clear out the suntan bottles, shoes, mismatched sailing gloves, broken winch handles & fan belts - but at least they will all be your mess to clean up - LOL...
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:32   #23
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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.

Oh and in 5-years you'll need to clear out the suntan bottles, shoes, mismatched sailing gloves, broken winch handles & fan belts - but at least they will all be your mess to clean up - LOL...
Yeah, what the heck is with those things? It's freaking me out, it happens on boats, it happens on bikes, it happens with ski gear, it happens in the garden and it happens with the welding gear.

Glove gremlins!
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:39   #24
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by hlev00 View Post
I try to wait on new technology until closer to the time when it will be needed. Three - four years is reasonably far enough out. That goes for the solar too unless you want something smallish to top off the house FLA batts. Who knows, you may find that you want a different boat, or have different needs by then too.
Good points, though I would really like to think I would not be replacing the boat for twenty years or more... might be kidding myself there, but I want it to take me till when I want to go back to a trailer sailer, or a motor boat. Can't imagine wanting any other large-ish sailing boat.

I figure the better solar now would make weekending more enjoyable, and would save me from having to plug the boat in at the pen. The 240V lead becomes ANOTHER thing to disconnect and put away before getting under way, and I like a quick getaway.

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Old 24-07-2014, 23:01   #25
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

If your just weekending a 220AH bank may be all you need for now.
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Old 24-07-2014, 23:11   #26
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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If your just weekending a 220AH bank may be all you need for now.
+1

I charter a fair bit. I am the "bad charterer guy" the charter comes with a full tank of gas.

I run the engine "a lot."

Charter companies must replace batteries a lot. It would be cool if someone who owns a charter company were a regular here. I am guessing 50% of all CF posters really just operate their boats like charter customers. Another 25 like dinghy sailors and another 25 as off the grid cruisers.
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Old 24-07-2014, 23:17   #27
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
"I would go with the cheapest FLA's you can get for now, and wouldn't add solar right now. Particularly since you know in a few years you will need to completely reconfigure the electrical system in a few years. Instead I would get a really good battery monitor and really work out what your consumption is over the next few years.

"This way in a few years when you do the major upgrade you will have a base of good information, and it won't hurt so much to toss away the stuff you have. And a few years down the road the price for LIFEPO's and solar cells should be a good bit cheaper than they are today."

Matt,

IMO, it is hard enough to try to anticipate your needs 4 yrs. from now. Inevitably, our own usage has crept up over the years, and I expect yours may, too. It's a common experience on cruising boats. So, with that in the background, if you haven't already done it, Stumble's suggestion to really work out what all your consumption is, and especially on your longer boat stays, as a guideline both for current consumption but also for future. Just my 2 cents' worth.
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Old 24-07-2014, 23:25   #28
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
+1

I charter a fair bit. I am the "bad charterer guy" the charter comes with a full tank of gas.

I run the engine "a lot."

Charter companies must replace batteries a lot. It would be cool if someone who owns a charter company were a regular here. I am guessing 50% of all CF posters really just operate their boats like charter customers. Another 25 like dinghy sailors and another 25 as off the grid cruisers.
I'm the total opposite. I am actually experimenting with sailing out of the pen at the moment, rather than using the engine. But then... my engine is pretty evil.

So, for the sake of my power planning, I am assuming NO charging from the engine, then anything I get is a suprise bonus.

Matt
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Old 24-07-2014, 23:31   #29
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post

Matt,

IMO, it is hard enough to try to anticipate your needs 4 yrs. from now. Inevitably, our own usage has crept up over the years, and I expect yours may, too. It's a common experience on cruising boats. So, with that in the background, if you haven't already done it, Stumble's suggestion to really work out what all your consumption is, and especially on your longer boat stays, as a guideline both for current consumption but also for future. Just my 2 cents' worth.
Yeah, unfortunately with my totally fried battery bank it is more of a pen and paper excercise for me. We have an excellent battery monitor, and I am no slouch when it comes to electrons, but unless I pinch a couple of car batteries, AND find time to go sailing with them, it's all conjecture.

And of course, I want at least a semi-decent battery bank before I start weekending for real, otherwise it will be a miserable trip. As it was, bringing the boat the 500 miles from Melbourne was made much less enjoyable by the horrid realisation that the apparently OK battery and charging system was completely stuffed. Everything in that chain of failures has been rectified now, EXCEPT the batteries themselves.

Anyway, by the sound of it the short term FLA solution is not false economy and it will give me a chance to test the accuracy of my assumptions on battery capacity before investing in something more expensive like Lithium.

Matt
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Old 24-07-2014, 23:40   #30
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Re: Short term smart solution, or false economy?

I wouldn't sacrafice utility now thinking you will do something else later. I would build a battery bank now that meets your needs. Test the boat for a few months without more solar, but if you need it, then get it now not later.

In my mind the point isn't to try an rough it until you can go with what you want. Instead build the right system for what you are doing now, then rebuild it when the time comes to do something else.

What I see all the time is people building a boat for what they may do, and spend a lot of time and money of useless (to them) systems. Then by the time they finally leave for duration crusing the stuff is worn out, corroded from non-use, or outdated.
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