Batteries and Charging - How do you power your boat?

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jsa
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Batteries and Charging - How do you power your boat?

Postby jsa » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:04 am

Hello everyone,

I was wondering how you all power the electronics on your boats? The electrical part of sailing is kind of new to me, and I want to make sure that I am setting up a system that will be reliable and not force me to waste money unnecessarily.

I'm currently running everything the way the original owner had set it up. He did a lot of great work and installed some nice features.

To give you an idea of what I am working with, we currently have two marine starting batteries linked together. Well, one is a marine and the other I believe to be a standard auto. I believe I will want to replace them with marine deep cycle batteries as soon as possible. Does anyone have advice on batteries?

Those batteries power the following: switch 1: anchor lights (two stern and masthead), switch 2: running lights, switch 3: original cabin lights, switch 4: 3 led strip lights, marine am/fm stereo with four speakers, and bilge pump.

Everything with the exception of the bilge goes through a pull switch that cuts off power when not in use. The bilge can remain on standby and it operates on a float switch.

I recently received a 10 watt solar panel and I'd love advice on how to best utilize that as well. Do any of you use solar to charge your batteries? If so, I'd love some tips on setting it up.

How do you all charge your batteries?

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the Holidays.

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astrorad
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Postby astrorad » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:39 pm

I have one AGM battery that starts the motor and powers the lights, depth sounder and bilge pump. Lights and sounder powered from switch panel. Bilge pump direct wired from battery thru inline fuse and three position switch...auto-off-manual. Battery is charged from 20 watt solar panel mounted on rear push pit rail. Solar panel goes to a 4.5 amp Sun Guard charge controller model SG-4 which is mounted on the battery box.
It seems to do the job so far.
Bill

jsa
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Postby jsa » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:30 am

Thanks Bill,

I haven't really heard of AGM batteries until your post. It seems like a deep cycle AGM is a really good choice for sailboats from the little research I've done.

Do you think they are worth the extra price over traditional marine deep cycle flooded batteries?

I was also thinking that a solar charge controller would be a good idea. Do you leave your panel up all the time? Is it permanently mounted or removable. Does the controller do a good job of keeping the battery from overcharging?

Thanks for the input.

I believe I'm going to head to the lake for one last sail of 2016. We've had some freakishly warm weather here in NC.

James

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astrorad
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Postby astrorad » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:18 pm

JSA...I bought the AGM battery from a store in my area of s.e. Wisconsin called Blaine's Farm and Fleet. I think that it was about $118 on sale but I can't recall what the amp hours rating is. I'll try to take a look at the battery tomorrow and tell you what rating it is. I keep the battery on a West Marine battery maintainer in the garage all winter.
The SunGuard charge controller is a computer controlled unit that is supposed to automatically adjust to the type of battery it is connected to. I will have to see over time how well it does.
My solar panel is mounted to the aft push pit rail and is not detachable. I have it covered with a this plywood panel and plastic bag for the winter.
Bill

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Guster
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Postby Guster » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:58 am

James,

It all depends on how you use your boat. I normally just day sail and occasionally spend one night on the water. I have a 105 amp hour deep cycle and it is more than enough for what I do. The CD/Radio is the biggest single current draw on my boat at about 1 to 1-1/2amps. I switched all the lights to LED, with every one of them turned on they draw about 1.2amps. I could have the boat totally lit up, crank the tunes all night long and be good for several nights. I have a bilge pump but I don't think it has ever run other then when I test it. I'm currently installing a depth sounder, not sure how much that will draw.

I usually charge the battery when I'm not on the water with a trickle charger. I have an inboard motor that charges when it is running. I also have a 25W solar panel that I was intending to use if I ever spend more than a couple of days away from the dock. (hopefully this next summer)

I purchased an AGM battery for our pontoon boat last year. (Probably the same one as Bill as it was from Farm and Fleet) It seems like a nice battery, probably better than the traditional deep cycles. But we have never had a problem with the traditional deep cycles on the C22. Usually we get about 6 years out of them.

Those little 10W solar panels don't put out enough to damage your batterie so you wouldn't need a solar controller.

Good luck.
Dan
70's Barnett Butterfly "Blue Jean"
1980 Mutineer "Guster"
1976 C-22

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astrorad
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Postby astrorad » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:44 pm

James, I checked my battery and it is a 55 amp hour battery. The name on it is Duration Extreme and it has a 3 year full replacement warranty and an 8 year prorated warranty.
Bill

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Postby EmergencyExit » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:53 am

We are wet slipped, and use a single deep cycle battery charged via shore power into a 'NOCO Genius GENM1 4 Amp 1-Bank Waterproof Smart On-Board Battery Charger'.

No solar power, but boat is mostly a day sail use, probably never be more than an overnighter..

Might add another battery and solar later tho..

jsa
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Postby jsa » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:27 am

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all of the input.

So far the boat is mainly used for day sailing with the occasional overnight stay. I expect that to continue if not increase. So, I will most likely look into purchasing an AGM deep cycle. Hopefully one should do the trick. I was recently given a nice battery charger/tester that I can use on land, so between that and solar I should be able to keep them topped off.

Unfortunately, shore power isn't an option at our club. We actually just cut the power to our dock, mainly for safety reasons.

James

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Postby Capt. Bondo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:14 pm

I have an AGM battery, a small solar panel that fits in the window (think its a 1.6 amp) and the Chrysler outboard also charges the battery when running. When we were in the Apostle Islands this summer we went for 4 days with out shore power to charge. We were docked at night so there was no need for an anchor light. Under way we would have the depth sounder, VHF and stereo on. Motor was ran for docking and undocking.
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Postby CaptainScott » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:28 am

We used a standard car battery on our C22. Blem from a local distributor.

She was a day sailor with the occasional caught after dark. I added Shore power however only used it for storage 1 year.

Normally use we used a solar panel from harbor freight with a controller.

Our draw . . . . .
All lights converted to LED. Interior and running.
VHF
Stereo
Depth
Electric start on motor.

The panel was set in the cockpit to catch as much sun as possible and put away while she was sailed.

This more than covered our needs. She was off grid for a couple of years this way.

Super simple setup.

Scott

jsa
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Postby jsa » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:53 pm

Running the anchor lights is one of the biggest concerns for me. I've been avoiding using the battery at anchor by using a translucent gallon jug with an led flashlight inside of it. With the handle cut off, the flashlight fits right into the top of it and shines downward into the jug. It creates a very bright 360 and also creates a great flood light for the boat. I run it up the backstay to a desired height. It will run for several nights on two AA batteries. The jug also serves as a bailer, if needed.

I have a mooring on the lake inside of the wake zone and can also sleep there if needed without an anchor light, but there is just something about sleeping at anchor that I really dig.

I really appreciate everyone's input. It is very helpful. I'm trying to learn and practice as much as I can.

How does an outboard charge a battery? I wonder if mine could. It's an 80's 6hp Evinrude.

James

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Postby Reality » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:43 pm

I'd convert the anchor light (and any others possible) to LED. The power consumption is fractional compared to old incandescents.

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astrorad
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Postby astrorad » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:55 pm

James...the motor would have an alternator so it could charge the battery while motoring.
Bill

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Postby C22Bob » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:06 am

jsa wrote:
How does an outboard charge a battery? I wonder if mine could. It's an 80's 6hp Evinrude.

James


James,

Some older outboards have an alternator that supplies some DC voltage which you can route back into your battery for charging. Much the same way a car alternator works. If your's doesn't have an alternator you may be able to retrofit with a special kit. I retrofitted my old Suzuki 6HP with a kit I bought online for a few bucks. Basically just a rectifier diode device. Before going to a lot of trouble though, keep in mind the output of the alternator on a 6HP motor is not that much, and full output is only at full throttle. At full throttle you could probably run a couple of nav lights with it. Don't expect a whole lot :)

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Guster
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Postby Guster » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:44 am

James,

Here is a link to a battery charging kit that fits the 6hp Evinrude. Unfortunately the kit is unavailable on this site but it may be helpful to reference these part numbers when searching the web. Ebay may be your best bet.

http://www.marineengine.com/parts/johns ... &sid=37242

The Stator and rectifier are the two main components you will need. Everything else could be cobbled together.

I have a 15hp evinrude on a different boat that I installed a charging kit on. It does a great job charging that battery. It puts out around 5amps at full throttle.
70's Barnett Butterfly "Blue Jean"

1980 Mutineer "Guster"

1976 C-22

jsa
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Location: North Carolina

Postby jsa » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:12 pm

I eneded up getting a new 12V Deep Cycle Marine Battery. I couldn't splurge for an AGM at the moment. It already seems to be doing a better job than the cranking batteries the original owner had installed.

With the new battery and new solar charger I hope I won't have to make a battery purchase for quite some time.

Now my question is...

Do you disconnect your battery when you aren't using the boat for a week or more? I have a pull switch that shuts off everything but the bilge. Should I worry about battery drain when the wires are connected to the battery? I may need to invest in a multimeter at some point.

Holiday
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Postby Holiday » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:46 pm

You probably want to leave the battery on if it powers your bilge pump.

I changed my running light bulbs to LED bulbs and it makes a great difference for night sailing.

In the past I have had a 5W fence charger solar panel and a 30 amp hour gel cell wheel chair battery. This ran the lights maybe once a week in the summer and kept the bilge pumped out year round in Western NC. this was on an open cockpit boat with a boom tent up to help shed rain.


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