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Old 30-03-2022, 06:35   #1
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Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Hi Everyone,



I figured I'd start a thread to share and document the electrical re-fit/upgrade my co-owner at myself are doing to our 1973 Ericson 27. When complete, she will have a 460AHr LiFePO4 house battery, a Victron 2kVA Inverter/charger, and full remote monitoring/telemetry of the system.


Background:



The Boat:


The boat herself is a 1973 Ericson 27. She was originally sold with outboard propulsion, but was upgraded to an inboard Diesel (Yanmar 1GM10) in 1983. Since then, she has been lovingly maintained, and lavishly upgraded. These upgrades include hot & cold pressurized water in the galley, as well a properly refrigerated ice box, using a Dometic CoolMatic conversion kit. We've also put in modern electronics (sailing instruments, tiller-pilot, AIS, and modern VHF).



Unfortunately, her electrical system hasn't really kept up. Until this upgrade, she had a pair of 90AHr Flooded deep cycle batteries for both starting and house loads. With everything that's been installed, we now consume about 50Ahr/day even when we're trying to be careful.


Goals:


When thinking about what we wanted on the boat, our reference trip that we wanted to be able to achieve was a week long trip from Vancouver to Princess Louisa Inlet, where we could spend 3 to 4 days at the dock in PLI, without having to run our engine to recharge. As my co-owner and myself get into our early 40s, we're also starting to appreciate more and more creature comforts.


Based on this, we put together the following set of requirements:
  • Enough storage to run reasonable loads for 4+ days.
  • Easy access to AC power.
    • Ideally allowing the use of a small induction cooktop on shorter trips.
  • Full integration of all components
  • Remote monitoring of the system when not aboard
  • Rapid charging of the house bank when the engine is running
    • But also control so that a large alternator doesn't overwhelm the 1GM10



The Upgrade:


House Battery:


The new house battery will be a DIY 460AHr LiFePO4 battery. It will be built out of 230AHr EVE cells, in a 2p4s configuration. The battery itself will be managed by a REC Active BMS. The battery itself will be in a compression frame, and strapped down/protected to ensure its safety. Electrical protection will be provided by a 400A Class T fuse.


Inverter/Charger:


We have selected the Victron MultiPlus Compact 12/2000-80 for this project. Initially because it was the smallest 120V/60Hz inverter/charger that Victron makes, but afterwards, we realized that it's enough power to a) run a single burner induction cooktop, and b) it can be used to run our hot water tank if we so choose. The power-boost functionality of the unit also lets us plug into our friend's dock power, which tends to trip the breaker if you draw more than 10A from it.


High Side DC System:


What I refer to as the "High Side" DC system consists primarily of the Inverter/Charger, and the other charging sources (Solar + Alternator). These systems will connect through a Victron Lynx Distributor. The power from the battery is controlled through a Blue Sea Systems 7713 remote battery switch. This will allow the REC BMS to drop the charging sources if something goes wrong. Because this is unlikely to ever be tripped, as all the charging sources are controlled by the BMS (through Victron's DVCC functionality), I didn't want to spend the continuous power required to keep a normal contactor closed.



Low Side DC System:


The low side of the system is basically what amounts to the current DC loads on the boat. We will be tidying up the wiring using a Blue Sea SafetyHub 150 as a DC distribution power. BMS control over the load side will be through a Victron BatteryProtect 65, which provides more than adequate current handling for our DC loads.


Because we're telemetry geeks, our DC loads will be monitored using a Victron SmartShunt configured for Energy meter mode. This will also allow the DVCC function to properly account for DC loads (such as the ice-box, or USB chargers).


Alternator & Regulator:


Given the size of our battery, we quickly came to realize that the stock alternator on our 1GM10 wasn't up to the task. It's a nominally 35A Hitachi alternator, which realistically means it can probably pump out 18A continuous. By the same token, we also recognize that our 40 year old 1GM10 has all the power of a geriatric squirrel. As such, we started to look at our options.


In the end, the solution we have chosen is to go with a Wakespeed WS500 regulator, driving a modified 85A Hitachi alternator. We chose the Wakespeed as it will fully integrate with the REC BMS, allowing the BMS to control the current output from the alternator. It also has a number of features that allow us to control how much load it is putting on the engine.



The configuration plan is to have the regulator keep the alternator essentially idle below about 1200rpm. This will keep the drag on the engine minimal when we're at idle and/or putt-putting around in the marina. From there, it will ramp up to full power. The other feature we intend to add is a toggle switch that will allow us to cut the alternator output in half (or maybe more) when we flip it, basically a "more power" switch.



Lastly, the Wakespeed will communicate over the CANBus, communicating with both the Victron and REC equipment to manage the power, and also pumping NMEA 2000 data out which we can pull in from our instruments.



The alternator itself is an 85A Hitachi that was given to us. We had it rebuilt by a local alternator shop, and had them modify it for external regulation. While working on it, they replaced the bearings, and rectifier, and did a general cleanup on it. Beautiful work for $180 or so.



When we do eventually re-power (probably to a Beta Marine 16 engine), the Wakespeed will be transferred to the new alternator/engine.


Solar:


Given her small size, and that she's rigged with all lines leading to the cockpit (for single handed sailing), there isn't much room for solar on board. That said, we're adding a pair of 24V, 60w solar panels to the top of the dodger. It's not much power, but will hopefully at least make up for all the instrumentation if shore power goes away. The two solar panels will be wired in parallel (as one is likely to always be shaded by the boom), and will be controlled by a Victron MPPT.


Down the road, we may pick up a foldable/portable solar panel (Bluetti SP200 or similar) that we can deploy while at anchor or at the dock.



Engine Starting System:


One of our early choices was to keep the engine starting system separate from the house battery. This is largely due to a concern related to the extremely low internal resistance of LiFePO4 cells, and how that might play with the starter motor/solenoid. As such, we have chosen to stick with an inexpensive group 24 starting battery for this purpose.


The battery itself will only be used to start the engine. It will be maintained by an Orion TR 18A DCC charger, and monitored by a Victron BMV-712. Furthermore, the Orion TR itself will be controlled via its on/off connector using the relay in the BMV. The idea of the latter is that we can better control when the Orion is operating. It's internal "alternator detection" is unlikely to work well directly off of the Lithiums due to their flat voltage curve.


Monitor & Control:


At the core of our system will be a Victron Cerbo GX. It will be used to monitor the entire power system, as well as other boat sensors. The BMS, Alternator regulator, Inverter/Charger, shunts will all communicate through it. We will also use it to monitor tank levels (especially fuel and the holding tank), as well as monitor & manage our bilge pump.



As our marina doesn't have WIFI, it will get connectivity to the outside world via a Netgear Nighthawk LTE router. This will allow us to remote in and check on the boat as required.


AC Power System:


One of the other goals of this project is to bring our AC power system up to what I would consider relatively modern safety standards.



In our lazarette, we will be adding a weatherproof box holding both a galvanic isolator (Promariner FS30), and an ELCI breaker (ASI 32A 120v DIN rail breaker). This will then wire directly to the Victron Multiplus. A second, output breaker from the Multiplus will in turn feed a 3 circuit distribution panel.



Conclusion:


So yeah, this is a big project for a small, old boat. But she's a good boat, and we like her.


Now that I've written this all down, my plan is to diagram up each of the sections above, and add these diagrams to the post.


As we build out the system over the next several weeks, expect more posts on this thread, along with progress photos.
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Old 30-03-2022, 06:58   #2
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Interested in what your total investment was of the electrical upgrade. Did you do the installation yourself or did you need to contract it out?
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Old 30-03-2022, 07:12   #3
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Quote:
Originally Posted by maine50 View Post
Interested in what your total investment was of the electrical upgrade. Did you do the installation yourself or did you need to contract it out?
In terms of costs, we're probably in the neighbourhood of $8,000 Canadian dollars. Some of the stuff was sourced used/on eBay (why we have two Victron battery monitors, I accidentally won two auctions), but most of it was purchased from various official vendors. The big ticket items were the Multiplus, the BMS, the Wakespeed regulator, and the LiFePO4 cells themselves.

As far as the installation/build, yep, we're doing that ourselves. While my Engineering degree isn't in heavy duty electrics, I do have a fair bit of experience in that realm, and in my day job have done a lot of system integration work. So this project is fun for me.
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Old 10-04-2022, 22:26   #4
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Well, after a couple of weeks of being away on business, we're starting to make progress on our project. Attached are two images. The first is a (very rough) schematic of the electrical upgrades we're planning. It's not fully complete, but captures the major components of the system.


The second is our first dry fit of the battery into the battery box. The battery will be built out of the 8 cells pictured. The two white plastic parts are the end caps of the compression fixture for the battery. They will be snugged up on either end using 4 1/4" stainless steel allthread and aluminum angle bars between the pairs of rods. The plastic sheets between the pairs of cells is thin HDPE binder dividers, added as an extra layer of abrasion resistance between the series cells.



Next step will be to glass in the box to the boat, paint the wood with appropriate waterproof paint, and build up the wiring for both the series connections and the BMS to properly build out the battery.
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Old 10-04-2022, 22:52   #5
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

So I don't know about the REC BMS, but when I built my homebrew system on my old boat I used a 7713 for the discharge relay.

However, due to the design of my Orion JR BMS pulling to ground when an alarm state was triggered while the 7713 needing a +12v trigger, I had to invert the relay wire from the BMS.

Again, not sure if it would apply to you but a possible stumbling block. It's not hard to do once you figure out what the problem is.

More details here:
https://www.saildivefish.ca/lifepo4-...-orion-jr-bms/
https://www.saildivefish.ca/lifepo4-...scharge-relay/

and where I got the idea from:

http://honeynav.com/wp-content/uploa...oney-notes.pdf (scroll down to 'Background on parasitic power')
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Old 10-04-2022, 23:21   #6
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
So I don't know about the REC BMS, but when I built my homebrew system on my old boat I used a 7713 for the discharge relay.

However, due to the design of my Orion JR BMS pulling to ground when an alarm state was triggered while the 7713 needing a +12v trigger, I had to invert the relay wire from the BMS.

Again, not sure if it would apply to you but a possible stumbling block. It's not hard to do once you figure out what the problem is.

In my case, because of the pre-charge controller, I need to implement exactly the same solution as you outlined there. The pre-charge output is a low-side NMOS FET. As such, I too will need to invert that output. A PMOS FET and a couple of resistors is exactly what I was planning. If I was using the REC directly, it would have been fine as it's just a dry contact relay output for the high-side control.



I am very glad to see that someone else came up with, and successfully implemented the same solution as I was intending.
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Old 12-04-2022, 00:18   #7
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Shouldn’t the shunt (it looks like you have a Victron Energy SmartShunt) be located on the battery negative where you have a small terminal fitting shown? You want that shunt to see all the power drawn from/pushed to the battery, not just the DC loads. What is tracking the AC loads and charging?
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:12   #8
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Quote:
Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
Shouldn’t the shunt (it looks like you have a Victron Energy SmartShunt) be located on the battery negative where you have a small terminal fitting shown? You want that shunt to see all the power drawn from/pushed to the battery, not just the DC loads. What is tracking the AC loads and charging?

So in this case, I'm using the Smartshunt as a DC energy meter for my DC loads, rather than as a battery monitor. This lets Victron's DVCC (Distributed Voltage and Current Control) properly compensate for my house loads. So, if my house loads are, say, 16A (refrigerator is running, ipads and phones are charging, and starter battery is charging) and the BMS is requesting 2A, the Cerbo will actually request 18A from the charging sources.


The main system shunt is a standard 500A/50mv shunt, monitored/measured by the BMS itself. That is what is going to provide my system with its SOC calculations and total current in/out of the battery.


As I said in my initial post, I'm a sensor and telemetry geek. There are actually 4 shunts in the system. The main house battery shunt, the DC Energy Meter for my DC house loads, a third to measure the alternator output (monitored by the wakespeed), and a BMV-712 used to monitor the starter battery. The latter is mostly there because yours truly unexpectedly won an eBay auction, so I figured I'd put it to use. (though I'm also using its relay to control the DCC charger that keeps the starter battery topped up).
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Old 16-04-2022, 17:12   #9
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Well, after a bunch of work, the battery is together and working. REC is now configured, and measuring the state of the battery. Now waiting on the epoxy for the two bearers for the electrical backing board to cure.


Picture is of the newly assembled battery (normally has a lid over it to protect terminals) and an unpopulated Class-T fuse holder. Photo was taken while the REC was being configured.
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Old 23-04-2022, 22:55   #10
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

A few photos of the work that was completed today. Completed running all the 2/0 high-current wiring. All lugs are torqued down to spec. As you can see in the third photo, it's pretty tight space to be working in, but remarkably everything seems to be fitting. The ventilation in that space under the quarter berth is actually better than one would expect, as it's open to the void in the transom, which ventilates through a pair of mushroom vents.


In the end, my educated/Engineering guestimate on how much 2/0 was needed was nearly bang on. Including the bonding run to the Inverter/Charger, there was 7 feet of black, and 9 feet of red cable involved. All that was left was a couple of 6" or so offcuts. I'm pretty pleased, given that stuff is $11.50/foot CAD.


Next step will be wiring up the DC load side, the AC feed and distribution system, and the control electronics. However I have to head off on a week-long business trip, so it will have to wait.
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Old 24-04-2022, 00:23   #11
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Looking good. I had to use 2x 120mm^2 wires between the inverter/charger and load bus and between the battery and the charge, discharge and negative busses so I feel your pain working with those big wires.

I assume the black box on the end of the battery box is your BMS? Does it talk via CANBUS to your Cerbo and/or the Lynx?

It looks like your inverter/charger is located in the same compartment as the battery. I think you will need active ventilation to ensure the hot air from the Multiplus doesn’t affect the battery.

Hopefully you can install an exhaust air duct to bypass the battery area and wire in an exhaust fan so that the Multiplus’ hot air doesn’t warm the battery. With our Quattro we were able to use its relay output to turn on a couple exhaust fans (100mm computer fans) when the Quattro fan turns on. That needs an additional assistant twice in VE.Configure to turn the fan on and off.
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Old 24-04-2022, 00:47   #12
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Quote:
Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
Looking good. I had to use 2x 120mm^2 wires between the inverter/charger and load bus and between the battery and the charge, discharge and negative busses so I feel your pain working with those big wires.

I assume the black box on the end of the battery box is your BMS? Does it talk via CANBUS to your Cerbo and/or the Lynx?

It looks like your inverter/charger is located in the same compartment as the battery. I think you will need active ventilation to ensure the hot air from the Multiplus doesn’t affect the battery.

Hopefully you can install an exhaust air duct to bypass the battery area and wire in an exhaust fan so that the Multiplus’ hot air doesn’t warm the battery. With our Quattro we were able to use its relay output to turn on a couple exhaust fans (100mm computer fans) when the Quattro fan turns on. That needs an additional assistant twice in VE.Configure to turn the fan on and off.

Yeah, the black box is a REC Active BMS. It integrates with the Cerbo and our Alternator regulator via CAN BUS. The Lynx is just being used as an oversized distribution block, I don't actually have the bits to read the fuse state (though I may hook up 5V to it so the LEDs light up).



They are in the same void under the quarter berth there, but I'm not too worried about it (yet). Aft of the Multiplus (the top) is a large void that makes up our transom, which in turn has a couple of mushroom vents. We'll keep an eye on things, but I'm not too worried. Especially since the whole thing is against the hull, and sail the waters of the PNW, so the bilges/voids tend to stay pretty cool on their own.
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Old 28-05-2022, 12:36   #13
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Hi All, thought I'd share a few final photos of the upgrade.


The system has been working great, we had a very successful maiden voyage a week ago, faithfully supplying power on both DC and AC. For most of the trip, we just left our inverter on, though we generally had the breaker to the hot water tank off.


The first photo shows the main electrical compartment. It still needs some tidy up on the wiring, but it's all working.



The second one shows our big alternator (85A) on our small engine. Interestingly, due to the good airflow (due to the lack of engine behind it), the temperature probe on the alternator has never read higher than about 65C. Most of the time, we run it at half power, and it will happily pump out 35A continuously, with no noticeable loss of power.


The last photo was taken in our Lazarette, and shows the Wakespeed WS500, the Starting Battery, and the Orion DCC charger that maintains the starting battery. The real success to this project has been the Wakespeed. It fully integrates with the REC BMS.



During our trip, we deliberately let it run into the top of the battery, and everything worked beautifully. As we got towards 100% on the battery, the REC commanded everything to drop the current limit, and as the WS500 complied. By the end of the absorbtion stage, it was maybe putting out 0.5A. The REC then dropped the voltage limit down to around 13.8V, and for the next 10 to 15 minutes the alternator did zero output (or as close to 0 as it can while still maintaining tach output), and the DC loads on the system brought the battery down to the new voltage. After that, it just generated enough power to maintain the house loads, letting the battery current sit at 0.

Extremely slick, and I'm very happy.


The last task that we have to do, though, is get some metalwork fabbed up so that we can permanently mount the solar panels on our dodger. But we're close!
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Old 02-07-2022, 06:18   #14
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Thank you for the excellent documentation. It is remarkable how you packed so much into a small boat.

What are the advantages of using the lynx?

Since we are 95% on a mooring using 12vdc, using solar and alt with wakespeed ws500, and just 200ah lfp what parts would you suggest dropping out to simplify the system other than the multiplus?
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Old 02-07-2022, 07:36   #15
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Re: Upgrading Sagres's Electrics

Could I humbly suggest the wiring could be usefully tie wrapped up or conduited to present a neater and organised approach.
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