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Old 25-08-2016, 11:56   #16
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by ObiWanSand View Post
Thanks for interesting post, Panacea!

Very informative, although I have to admit I can just barely follow the lingo. However growing up on a farm having to deal with all kinds of machinery I have some practical knowledge and presently reading up on the theoretical stuff, as we plan to set of on our coconut milk run (hopefully all the way) next summer.

This may be off post, apologies should that be the case, however I wanted to ask you this as you say you have automotive background.

I have several friends who are car mechanics (but not sailors!) and I've had a few discussions with them regarding batteries and charging systems. Chiefly they claim that lead batteries are old tech and that most cars use some kind of Li battery these days, supplied by a powerful alternator. My objection that they may be too dangerous on a boat where, rather forcefully, put down. They claimed Lithium tech with modern BMS are at least as safe if not more so...Sulphuric Acid is no walk in the park either they claim.

So my question is; Have you given any thought to having your battery bank made up by LiFePo4 batteries? And then beefing up your alternators (we plan to buy a cat) to at least 120 A?

Could write quite a bit more her, but I've already written too much, interested in your (and others...) take on this though.

Brgds

Oddvar
Have never seen LI batteries in a conventional car, maybe hybrids or electric but not standard cars.

They are expensive and in MHO new tec and I don't quite trust them in a boat. The possibility of thermal run away (read Chernobyl) is to great for me.
With the life span of good LA flooded 5-9 yrs can't see the advantage.
I do know several sailboaters that use gel or AGM because to the possibility of knock down or heeling too far (acid spill), but as a trawler owner I figure if I heel that bad long enough, battery acid in my water proof batt box it the least of my problems.
Most new smart chargers and solar controllers can be set for AGM and Gel, don't know about LI
As I mentioned in a previous reply not really interested in up grading my alts and regs as I primarily anchor and do not rely on engines to charge batt bank

Call Trojan batt co tech support they are more than happy to answer all questions and help you plan your system.
My biggest problem as previously stated was getting my charger to go into absorption stage when the solar had already brought the voltag up to 13v+
Just came up from boat ( home at dock now) shut down AC power to charger for 2 min loaded batt bank to reduce voltage to <12.7 and viola charger entered bulk then absorption.
If you don't have a gen and charger, yes you'll need to upgrade to external smart regs for your alternator to do this and would recommend 120A min depending on the size of your bank minimum is 10% charge amps for the amp/hr rating of your bank.
Feel free to ask questions, like I said I don't know everything but that's what this forum is for, mutual education and safer more enjoyable cruising.
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Old 25-08-2016, 15:10   #17
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

When I had an earlier cat in the 1990's I had my electrician put a resistor on a separate circuit via a flick switch that fooled the alternator regulator into thinking the batteries were lower than 13.9-14.1 charge rate voltage. Thus able to charge the batteries longer before being regulated back to the above normal charge voltage. That was a great to get them right up. With both cats I've owned I also found a wind generator was needed to keep batteries fully charged whilst cruising, living aboard. With this set up and for our usage I never had battery worries and with the led constant read out volt meter I was able to monitor any possible changes in the system, eg the beginning of a battery collapse, etc.
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Old 25-08-2016, 16:44   #18
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by PaulMarion View Post
When I had an earlier cat in the 1990's I had my electrician put a resistor on a separate circuit via a flick switch that fooled the alternator regulator into thinking the batteries were lower than 13.9-14.1 charge rate voltage. Thus able to charge the batteries longer before being regulated back to the above normal charge voltage. That was a great to get them right up. With both cats I've owned I also found a wind generator was needed to keep batteries fully charged whilst cruising, living aboard. With this set up and for our usage I never had battery worries and with the led constant read out volt meter I was able to monitor any possible changes in the system, eg the beginning of a battery collapse, etc.
Great idea!
It's been years since I was on the inside of an alternator, family used to own a company that rebuilt 200 of them a day!, but I'm quite sure these are one wire systems, if so would require internal mods to the alt, lots of work, if the voltage sensing wire is external, would be simple and in expensive.
I think at this point I'll just turn off power to the charger for 2 min and let the voltage drop to below 12.7v (tried it today and it works fine) use the charger powered by generator. I need to run gen anyway to make and heat water. But ya it sure would be nice to use the Alts to recharge while under way. At his point the Alts will just replace what's used while running I.E.:refer, radar, gps etc. but when the sun comes up the solar will over ride the alts anyway, (set at higher voltage, ( don't run at nite these days, although leave for long passage before sunrise)

We'll see how it works out on next cruise.
Would have never thought of the resistor! Got me thinking, will definitely go down into the engine room and check it out you've got me thinking.
Thanks for your input
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Old 25-08-2016, 17:04   #19
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

It took me a long time to work this out. Most regulators are set to conservatively, and batteries are killed by this conservatism. I have deep cycle 6v batteries. When I'm on the boat ,which is most of the year ive custom set my morningstar so it never goes into float, it stays in absorbtion all day. When motoring I switch the balmar off after a couple of hours and then back on to keep that voltage up.
Default settings tend to get in the way of maximizing charging. Very few need to worry about over charging, well in the case of deep cycle lead acid anyway.


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Old 25-08-2016, 17:18   #20
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
It took me a long time to work this out. Most regulators are set to conservatively, and batteries are killed by this conservatism. I have deep cycle 6v batteries. When I'm on the boat ,which is most of the year ive custom set my morningstar so it never goes into float, it stays in absorbtion all day. When motoring I switch the balmar off after a couple of hours and then back on to keep that voltage up.
Default settings tend to get in the way of maximizing charging. Very few need to worry about over charging, well in the case of deep cycle lead acid anyway.


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Sounds like a good idea, how did you set the Morningstar to do this?
I also have a Morningstar (TS-mppt-60)
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Old 25-08-2016, 17:34   #21
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

Very interesting thread, a lot of which is over my head, at least for now.

But, here's the question... If you had the opportunity to start over, what would you choose? The reason for my question is that my boat recently took a lightning strike which took out the inverter/charger and all the batteries (amongst other things), so I'm in the market for a new system. The boat has a 9kw genset that, along with shore power, runs the Freedom 30 inverter/charger to charge a set of 4 group size #31 wet cell batteries. I don't have any large loads running off the batteries - the air conditioning, water maker, hot water heater and reefer all run off AC only, though given the opportunity in the future I would consider switch to DC for the reefer and water maker. I'd also like a clear upgrade path to add a solar panels in the future, to reduce dependence on the generator. Given all that, what would you experts recommend? And what questions have I not even asked myself? It's hard to know what you don't know...

Regards,
David


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Old 25-08-2016, 18:04   #22
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
Very interesting thread, a lot of which is over my head, at least for now.

But, here's the question... If you had the opportunity to start over, what would you choose? The reason for my question is that my boat recently took a lightning strike which took out the inverter/charger and all the batteries (amongst other things), so I'm in the market for a new system. The boat has a 9kw genset that, along with shore power, runs the Freedom 30 inverter/charger to charge a set of 4 group size #31 wet cell batteries. I don't have any large loads running off the batteries - the air conditioning, water maker, hot water heater and reefer all run off AC only, though given the opportunity in the future I would consider switch to DC for the reefer and water maker. I'd also like a clear upgrade path to add a solar panels in the future, to reduce dependence on the generator. Given all that, what would you experts recommend? And what questions have I not even asked myself? It's hard to know what you don't know...

Regards,
David


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Sounds like you have a more than adequate genset.
9kw is a large gen
First off you need to estimate your amp/hr usage and size your bank to match
There are many resources for this on the net.
Don't quite understand why you would have a 9kw gen set with such a small batt bank.
Sounds like you are set up for living on the gen vs inverter or batt power.

Question is "how high is up?"
If you don't have a battery monitor (amp/hr gauge) get one. Run it for 24 hrs with normal conditions i.e.:refer, tv, lights, electronics, etc.
Multiply by at least 2x (I like 4x)
So if you use 200 a/hrs in a 24 hour period you need an 800 amp/hr bank.

Then you need a charger at 10% of that (80 amps min)
All depends on usage!!!
Need more specifics on you situation.
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Old 25-08-2016, 18:20   #23
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
Very interesting thread, a lot of which is over my head, at least for now.

But, here's the question... If you had the opportunity to start over, what would you choose? The reason for my question is that my boat recently took a lightning strike which took out the inverter/charger and all the batteries (amongst other things), so I'm in the market for a new system. The boat has a 9kw genset that, along with shore power, runs the Freedom 30 inverter/charger to charge a set of 4 group size #31 wet cell batteries. I don't have any large loads running off the batteries - the air conditioning, water maker, hot water heater and reefer all run off AC only, though given the opportunity in the future I would consider switch to DC for the reefer and water maker. I'd also like a clear upgrade path to add a solar panels in the future, to reduce dependence on the generator. Given all that, what would you experts recommend? And what questions have I not even asked myself? It's hard to know what you don't know...

Regards,
David


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Sounds like you have a more than adequate genset.
9kw is a large gen
First off you need to estimate your amp/hr usage and size your bank to match
There are many resources for this on the net.
Don't quite understand why you would have a 9kw gen set with such a small batt bank.
Sounds like you are set up for living on the gen vs inverter or batt power.

Question is "how high is up?"
If you don't have a battery monitor (amp/hr gauge) get one. Run it for 24 hrs with normal conditions i.e.:refer, tv, lights, electronics, etc.
Multiply by at least 2x (I like 4x)
So if you use 200 a/hrs in a 24 hour period you need an 800 amp/hr bank.

Then you need a charger at 10% of that (80 amps min)
All depends on usage!!!
Need more specifics on you situation.
Brand wise magnum inverter/charger Is great
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Old 25-08-2016, 19:10   #24
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Originally Posted by Panacea2183 View Post
Sounds like you have a more than adequate genset.

9kw is a large gen

First off you need to estimate your amp/hr usage and size your bank to match

There are many resources for this on the net.

Don't quite understand why you would have a 9kw gen set with such a small batt bank.

Sounds like you are set up for living on the gen vs inverter or batt power.



Question is "how high is up?"

If you don't have a battery monitor (amp/hr gauge) get one. Run it for 24 hrs with normal conditions i.e.:refer, tv, lights, electronics, etc.

Multiply by at least 2x (I like 4x)

So if you use 200 a/hrs in a 24 hour period you need an 800 amp/hr bank.



Then you need a charger at 10% of that (80 amps min)

All depends on usage!!!

Need more specifics on you situation.

Brand wise magnum inverter/charger Is great

The boat is new to me, and right away, before I even got to know the systems, it got hit by lightning. So I need to replace a bunch of stuff without the benefit of using the old and finding out all its deficiencies. So how do I make wise choices for the new system? How do I estimate usage when I don't have a frame of reference? What came first, the chicken or the egg? I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place...

Can you recommend some good online references that will help me ask the right questions, and not embarrass myself too badly? ;-)






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Old 25-08-2016, 20:15   #25
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

you need 24-48 hours at a dock to get batteries 100%. you'll never do it in the water. but you'll get close
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Old 25-08-2016, 20:17   #26
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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Sounds like a good idea, how did you set the Morningstar to do this?
I also have a Morningstar (TS-mppt-60)
Hi, I have 300watts of panels and use a simple morningstar duo charge. The duo charge can be hooked up to a laptop which then allows me to custom set it. When not on the boat (like now) I just flick a dip switch and the regulator functions on default settings.

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Old 25-08-2016, 22:14   #27
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

In troubleshooting my own solar/wind installation, i sort of tripped over this guy. Handybobsolar @blogspot.com. He is rv oriented but its all killywinkles in the end. Some highlights: morningstar makes the most user friendly controllers. Most controllers and chargers are set for too low a voltage. Most cabling is too small for maximum efficiency. Controllers should be very close to the battery bank. More batteries do no good if the pv panels are not able to top them off daily. Etc etc. I learned a lot .

Additionally, the pros and cons of series vs parallel wiring with shading effects of rigging etc is another subject altogether that has a dramatic effect on PV panel output.

Cheers
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Old 26-08-2016, 06:07   #28
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

200 AH 12 V Lithium Battery -- $2,400 X 2

Some boats have them - not mine.
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Old 26-08-2016, 07:42   #29
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

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That's just the start of things. Is your alt externally regulated, and at what setting?
And where does your alternator measure voltage? At the alternator like most systems meaning that the voltage at the batteries will almost always by low, or at the batteries themselves?
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:59   #30
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Re: So you think yours batteries are charged?

Please, MULTIPLY Amperage by Time

Ah is correct
A/hrs means nothing

12,7V is dangerously too low for any big appliance!!!! As V goes down, the A drain increases and electric engines can toast....
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