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Old 02-03-2015, 12:15   #1
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Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

Hi forum,

I'm a little frustrated and need a bit of help troubleshooting. To keep this to the point, the specs on my boat can be found here:

I'm a little troubled because I just recently installed 3 x 230ah Trojan AGM batteries. They were fully charged and we went for a weekend cruise and the Mastervolt MASS Sine 12/2000 2kW 220V AC Inverter kept on shutting off and couldn't power these two small draw dehumidifier/heaters

I could run a larger heater we had the first night, but not the second night, and I'm just not sure why since I think I have way more battery power than necessary plus we were topping them off all day with 2 x 100W solar panels, plus we ran the engine for an hour, so they had to be charged, right?

Any tips on where to start looking I'd appreciate... Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:35   #2
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

When we had problems it was because the charger wasn't charging because we hadn't connected one of the negative wires at the bus. Do you have a charge indicator for them?

Have you observed the solar charger actually charging?

Have you followed all the wires you touched in the first place to confirm that they got reattached properly?
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:48   #3
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

YoloSF

One of those heaters will draw aprox 8AH X 2 =16 AH . How many hours did you run them for.

Greg
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:50   #4
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by Hartleycruiser View Post
YoloSF

One of those heaters will draw aprox 8AH X 2 =16 AH . How many hours did you run them for.

Greg
During the day and overnight. Let's say 14 hours... If I have 3 x 230ah batteries, shouldn't I have way more than enough juice if I start with the batteries at 100%?
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Old 02-03-2015, 13:04   #5
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

If you ran the heaters for 14 hours you would use 30% ( 224AH ) of your total capacity just with the heaters .
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Old 02-03-2015, 13:12   #6
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by Hartleycruiser View Post
If you ran the heaters for 14 hours you would use 30% ( 224AH ) of your total capacity just with the heaters .
OK, maybe I overestimated how much battery power we had/underestimated how much the little heaters use. We were also using up other instruments/electronics on board, so maybe the battery bank was charged less than I thought it was. I did try running the heaters while the engine was running as well and it kept tripping the inverter as well. Is that because the batteries were that drained or do you think something may be failing?

My Mastervolt Battery Monitor BTM remote monitor is off on the Voltage reading (reads 12.xV but with my multimeter I'm reading 14.55V while it's on bulk charge)

How do people keep their boats heated? From what I understand, 230ah x 3 is a very large battery bank, how does everyone else do it on smaller battery banks without a diesel heater?
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Old 02-03-2015, 13:15   #7
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

Many 'land' devices are made cheap and can be really inefficient in terms of startup and thermal efficiency. On land you basically have a big fat elec power source that can tolerate many inefficient devices.

A boat with a 2000W inverter doesnt have the capacity to deal with these inefficiencies. It might not be your batteries or inverter / charger that are the root cause here.

It often takes some experimentation and measurement analysis to determine whether a plugged in device is good enough to be allowed on the boat.

As a rule we dont run persistent high current loads of our inverter. Not because the batteries and inverter can't handle it but because land heaters are mostly poor performing and inefficient. We also like to recharge our batteries using solar. We only use the generator as an exception.

We use a diesel heater off mains supply and we heat our hot water at the same time. Overall system complexity is higher but performance and reliability improves. The metric for this is my wife saying she's comfortable.

Something to think about.


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Old 02-03-2015, 13:54   #8
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
Many 'land' devices are made cheap and can be really inefficient in terms of startup and thermal efficiency. On land you basically have a big fat elec power source that can tolerate many inefficient devices.

A boat with a 2000W inverter doesnt have the capacity to deal with these inefficiencies. It might not be your batteries or inverter / charger that are the root cause here.

It often takes some experimentation and measurement analysis to determine whether a plugged in device is good enough to be allowed on the boat.

As a rule we dont run persistent high current loads of our inverter. Not because the batteries and inverter can't handle it but because land heaters are mostly poor performing and inefficient. We also like to recharge our batteries using solar. We only use the generator as an exception.

We use a diesel heater off mains supply and we heat our hot water at the same time. Overall system complexity is higher but performance and reliability improves. The metric for this is my wife saying she's comfortable.

Something to think about.


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Thanks. I do understand that land electronics are not going to have the limitations we have electrically speaking on a boat. But it would be nice to know that when it's cold we can run an electric heater if we have to! We're not planning on cruising in cold areas so it doesn't really make sense for us to invest in a diesel heater.

I guess I'm just a bit confused about how people cruise around San Francisco where it can drop to the 40s (F) at night and get pretty cold inside the boat without using an electric heater (assuming they don't have a diesel heater either). I mean, we're young and on a budget, but we're still in a large well equipped Beneteau (at least it was sold to us like that). We can put up with the cold by wearing more layers, but I can't imagine some older "yacht club" couples spending the night on the boat when it gets down to 50 degrees or so. So I'm just wondering how they do it and how we can get to that point. Or maybe my interpretation of cruising in the cold is totally different...
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:06   #9
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoloSF View Post
Thanks. I do understand that land electronics are not going to have the limitations we have electrically speaking on a boat. But it would be nice to know that when it's cold we can run an electric heater if we have to! We're not planning on cruising in cold areas so it doesn't really make sense for us to invest in a diesel heater.

I guess I'm just a bit confused about how people cruise around San Francisco where it can drop to the 40s (F) at night and get pretty cold inside the boat without using an electric heater (assuming they don't have a diesel heater either). I mean, we're young and on a budget, but we're still in a large well equipped Beneteau (at least it was sold to us like that). We can put up with the cold by wearing more layers, but I can't imagine some older "yacht club" couples spending the night on the boat when it gets down to 50 degrees or so. So I'm just wondering how they do it and how we can get to that point. Or maybe my interpretation of cruising in the cold is totally different...
Trawler lamp

Catalytic heater (I have a Coleman. REI has more expensive ones.)

I do this anchoring out every week or so all year round, spent two nights in Aquatic Park last week, for example.

I have a 1500 inverter, and a 390 ah house bank, would NEVER use an electric heater on it.

You can add a bus heater to your engine/water heater loop, but it only works when the engine is running and hot.
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:08   #10
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoloSF View Post
I guess I'm just a bit confused about how people cruise around San Francisco where it can drop to the 40s (F) at night and get pretty cold inside the boat without using an electric heater (assuming they don't have a diesel heater either). I mean, we're young and on a budget, but we're still in a large well equipped Beneteau (at least it was sold to us like that). We can put up with the cold by wearing more layers, but I can't imagine some older "yacht club" couples spending the night on the boat when it gets down to 50 degrees or so. So I'm just wondering how they do it and how we can get to that point. Or maybe my interpretation of cruising in the cold is totally different...

What's the water temps out there? Maybe many are running reverse cycle aircons in heat mode... on shorepower at the dock or with a generator running while underway.

-Chris
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:15   #11
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Trawler lamp

Catalytic heater (I have a Coleman. REI has more expensive ones.)

You can add a bus heater to your engine/water heater loop, but it only works when the engine is running and hot.
I didn't even know about these but form a quick search, looks like it might be a very good option and it takes up less room than the big/inneficient "land" electric heater I have on board now. Not sure what a bus heater is, but I'll research is as well.

If you're at Aquatic Park you know EXACTLY the kind of cold I'm talking about! haha (I'm right next door at Pier 39...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
What's the water temps out there? Maybe many are running reverse cycle aircons in heat mode... on shorepower at the dock or with a generator running while underway.

-Chris
I have Crusair 1 x 12,000 BTU, 1 x 7000 BTU Air Conditioners which I tried running but they would just trip the inverter as well. I'm not sure if this is because maybe the batteries were too low by the time I tried? I have to do a bit of research on how much energy they consume... I think this is what I have installed:
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:20   #12
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by YoloSF View Post
I have Crusair 1 x 12,000 BTU, 1 x 7000 BTU Air Conditioners which I tried running but they would just trip the inverter as well. I'm not sure if this is because maybe the batteries were too low by the time I tried? I have to do a bit of research on how much energy they consume... I think this is what I have installed:

I've read that most inverters don't do so well with ACs, especially at start-up and I'd guess even more so if the compressors both happen to fire at the same time, i.e., without a soft start capability. (No first-hand experience, though.)

You could check out the AC's amp draw and so forth and then experiment a little; if the ACs run on shore power but not on the inverter with fully-charged battery banks... too bad.

In any case, it might be that other folks are using a genset to run ACs while underway.

-Chris
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:23   #13
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I've read that most inverters don't do so well with ACs, especially at start-up and I'd guess even more so if the compressors both happen to fire at the same time, i.e., without a soft start capability. (No first-hand experience, though.)

You could check out the AC's amp draw and so forth and then experiment a little; if the ACs run on shore power but not on the inverter with fully-charged battery banks... too bad.

In any case, it might be that other folks are using a genset to run ACs while underway.

-Chris
Fischer Panda genset's getting installed back on board next week, so I'll have that power. I just wanted to know the capabilities of the boat without the genset since I'd only like to run it as a back up if possible.

What's the difference between running the engine vs. the genset? Should I get the same results?

You guys have been so helpful so far, thank you so much for being so patient with me!
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:36   #14
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

You have 690 total amp hrs. Away from shore power you have about 30% of that available to you unless you have solar/wind power or generator.
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Old 02-03-2015, 14:40   #15
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Re: Troubleshoothing help: Can't run appliances

You better get a book. Based on this thread you have WAY more to learn than what is going to be possible on a forum.

And don't go all nuts on me as just trying to help you.
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