Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Pedro, CA
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Re: Cal 31
Last summer I needed to replace the 12 VDC motor and right-angle transmission for my anchor windlass. Both of these had failed due to salt water intrusion. I went from a 700 watt unit to a 1000 watt model. This has greatly improved the windlass's ability to haul up 100 ft of 3/8's chain and my 15 kilo Bruce anchor. I also decided to upgrade the battery system at the same time.
I wanted to be able to use a small microwave or a 1 hp vacuum cleaner as well as power my laptop and other minor AC accessories. I also wanted to have a separate, isolated, starter battery so that if I draw my house bank down, I can still start the engine. What I ended up with is an 1800 watt inverter/40 amp charger combo, a 90 amp alternator, and two group 31 AGM batteries plus an isolated group 27 AGM for starting. This has worked out very well. I can even run my 1500 watt electric tea pot (while the engine is running - though this is pushing it I think). My only complaint is that when shore power is charging the batteries the fan is pretty noisy. I mounted it just above my head in my berth above the house bank of batteries. This was the best place to put it in order to keep the digitally controlled unit out of the (hot) engine area.
I also installed a battery "fuel gauge" which can show me the percent of charge left, the voltage on either the house bank or the starter battery, and the amps in or out. The latter feature has led to my intention to replace all my incandescent and halogen bulbs with LED units. I am particularly concerned with replacing the anchor light which is drawing 1.4 amps! I am going slow on replacing the house lights as the LED units are expensive!