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Old 05-09-2015, 18:06   #1
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Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

Hello all fellow cruisers, I had some wonderful advise on my electronics decisions through CF contributors, so thought I'd see if anyone with real life experience on their electrical needs might be willing to share with us newbies? We have a budget of around $3000 for batteries, solar and all "the fixins'". Wind looks expensive so I've already nixed that. We have now been on the boat long enough (with swollen AGM 6v's and no way of charging except with motor or generator) to know we use around 200 Ah per day so we would like to have between 300-400 Ah usable if possible. We have twin 18 horse diesels w/Lucas 55 amp alternators (appear factory). Any real life experiences & suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 05-09-2015, 18:57   #2
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

New batteries, and as much solar as you can fit
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Old 05-09-2015, 20:15   #3
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

$1250 for 200ah of lithium, that 160 usable, which will be enough when you're not using lead acid. 500watts of solar (2x250ish @$1w) , Midnite Kid Controller w/Whiz Bang junior ($350). DONE. Besides mounting. We have lived and cruised our boat with refrigeration, tv, fans, tablets, etc, etc. We just added 200ah more to accommodate running a watermaker.
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Old 05-09-2015, 23:12   #4
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

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$1250 for 200ah of lithium, that 160 usable, which will be enough when you're not using lead acid. 500watts of solar (2x250ish @$1w) , Midnite Kid Controller w/Whiz Bang junior ($350). DONE. Besides mounting. We have lived and cruised our boat with refrigeration, tv, fans, tablets, etc, etc. We just added 200ah more to accommodate running a watermaker.

I'm interested in why lithium? I can see lithium for a separate engine start battery, but what is the advantage for house loads over a typical deep cycle marine when weight is not a factor? Just curious.


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Old 06-09-2015, 02:11   #5
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

The main benefit is huge charge acceptance rates so that generator / engine running time is minimised. Not much advantage if main charging source is solar though.


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Old 06-09-2015, 06:37   #6
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Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

There are other advantages to lithium that include but are not limited to:
Energy density (weight and size per amp hour)
Charge acceptance
Cycles before replacement (perhaps the best item when calculating cost)
Percent of usable capacity

Downsides:
Charging complexity
Initial cost


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Old 06-09-2015, 06:44   #7
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

Lithium has a bunch of advantages. One is the low internal resistance, ie faster charging. Two is no voltage sag (13.1resting so 12v electronics function better), three 80/20 discharge rule (more usable ah ), four rated @ 2500 cycles (@10c btw, we will never see that kind of load, even running our watermaker), five being the weight reductions.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:50   #8
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

As far as charging, as long as you are using a smart controller that you can input the voltages, you'll be fine. The only alternator that could possibly mess with lithium is the Balmar that can be set to output @14.6v. That is the highest voltage these packs can go. I never charge over 14.0v. You just dont need to with this chemistry.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:24   #9
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

For 200 AH of consumption, At least 800 AH of standard lead acid deep cycles, 600 W of solar, and 400W of wind (if average wind =15 knots or higher in your neighbourhood).

You should rarely have to charge with engine. L-ion are a waste unless you are charging with high output alternator. I recommend solar first, wind second, alternator last for charging.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:50   #10
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

"a typical deep cycle marine" battery


Many deep cycle marine batteries are not really deep cycle. Many, in fact most of the ones I've seen are not supposed to be discharged beyond roughly fifty percent. I would consider golf cart batteries if you don't want lithium or some of the other, newer battery types. Golf cart batteries can be completely discharged and they won't suffer like most marine "deep cycle" batteries.


I know several individuals who are using their golf cart batteries for well over ten years and one is on his nineteenth year of the same batteries. Naturally, he takes care of them, and has a proper system. Still, it's rare to get marine batteries to last that long. Also, someone else pointed out that the orientation of the batteries is important; they should run athwartship, not fore and aft.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:53   #11
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

Sorry folks it seems you are the experts. I decided to use 3+1 x 225Ah lead acids and do not discharge under 11,3V Emergency... usually I need fm 13,8 to 12,80 and all will be recharged by 10A solar panels.

QUESTION: Why should I use deep cycle AGM's???
I consider the problem not in the ability to discharge down to 2V as most untis refuse working below 11V BUT in the problem to recharge the loss of say 12V again.

Think therefore AGM's are bloody useless.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:00   #12
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

New wet cell batteries, Solar panels and regulator. Just a volt meter for checking battery state of charge should get you there for $3k
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Old 06-09-2015, 20:56   #13
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

Ok so presuming lead acid of some sort is the decision. They should be fully sealed (AGM, Gel, etc.). If you intend to race the boat this is absolutely mandatory at this point (in the ORC REGS). But common sense dictates this too. Otherwise do a roll, or even an near roll, your cabin is full of battery acid.

If you don't care about his risk, then you can do away with tie down straps too. And probably about a hundred other safety features that are built into your boat.




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Old 06-09-2015, 21:07   #14
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Re: Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

Bit of a stretch if secured properly. Yes they can leak but they do have caps and wont leak much if the caps stay in place. Plus really only a major concern if you have seawater in your bilge. With that said, my money is still on lithium.
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Old 06-09-2015, 21:23   #15
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Starting fresh w/$3000 budget, help?

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Bit of a stretch if secured properly. Yes they can leak but they do have caps and wont leak much if the caps stay in place. Plus really only a major concern if you have seawater in your bilge. With that said, my money is still on lithium.

Pretty sure you will have at least some sea water in you bilge after you have completed roll.

Agreed on lithium, that is what we have.


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