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Old 29-03-2010, 01:51   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Melbourne
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Smart Regulators

My yacht has a 75Ah house battery, 30A Hitachi alternator and a small (5W) solar panel. In between sails (mostly day-sails, occasional overnighters) I find the house battery is running down. I run the engine for 45min to an hour on day trips, longer for overnight.

It seems from what I've read and heard that a smart regulator would allow the existing alternator to charge the battery much more quickly, and to a higher percentage charge, in a given run time.

Seems no point getting a bigger battery, as I'm confident the problem is in the charging capacity. I guess I could swap the alternator for a 50A one. Increasing the solar panel would help between trips, but not much when I'm out for a few days.

Sooooo....... I'm looking into smart regulators, and I'm having trouble finding anyone here in Oz who has actually installed one and can comment from experience. There's one brand from the UK called a Sterling that looks well-priced. Love to hear from any of you clever blokes who've actually put one in: was it worthwhile? Are they that good?

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Old 29-03-2010, 03:49   #2
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Location: Newcastle, Australia
Boat: Beneteau 393
Posts: 101
Perhaps you need to disconnect the battery between sails? Or does it run the bilge pump?

Work out why it is discharging between sails? Why doesn't the solar cell keep it topped up?

How long are we talking? Days, weeks, months?

It might be a leak to earth? Something is drawing the current. What do you leave on while you aren't sailing?
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Old 29-03-2010, 05:01   #3
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Smart regulators are moderatly difficult to fit. They do work and will increase the charging from you engine. They are normally the first step in upgrading a charging system, but in you case I am not so sure.
If your alternator is putting out say 15A on average and a smart reg boosts this by 30% will only give you another 4.5Ahrs when run for a hour a day. A modist gain for a lot of work.
Even a 10w solar pannel over a week will give you 3 times this amount. If you could charge your battery via solar and leave with the battery fully charged, this should fullfill your electrical needs for day sails and overnight excurions.
Some more detail on your electrical consumption, number of days betwwen trips etc would be a great help in providing advice.
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