Thanks everyone. I'm definitely trying to plan for future needs, not just immediate needs. So I did some additional reading (Nigel Calder, etc.) on batteries and chargers, in addition to these posts. I'm also headed to the boat this weekend, where I'll be able to get more specifics on the current wiring.
A couple things to clarify. I don't currently have a separate starting battery. There are just the two single identical batteries, one in each bank. I believe (will verify) that the 1/2/BOTH/OFF switch is currently between the alternator/regulator and the batteries--standard issue for 1984.
So I have a rough plan for the future, which I may revise after using the boat. The future plan is different from my immediate plan. I am limited work at this time to items that I need to do to bring the boat home from new england. Even the battery charger isn't necessary, but I might do it anyway.
- Add a separate battery for starting to bank 2
- Combine the two existing house batteries in parallel to bank 1.
- Wire the alternator/regulator to house bank 1
- Add echo charger between house bank 1 and starter battery (bank 2), as both SD and Nigel Calder recommend if you have one alternator
- Possibly rewire battery charger (see question 4 below)
- Utilize battery config as is, one house battery in each bank, charging determined by 1/2/BOTH/OFF switch
- Add battery charger
So now I have some more specific questions about specifically adding the battery charger:
1. I know you don't know my specific boat, but in general, what are some good locations for the charger? My Sabre 34 layout is out of yacht design 101. Batteries are under the Q-berth, cockpit locker is opposite the Q-berth, nav station next to Q-berth, galley opposite, etc.
2. Does AC power come into the boat, through the MAIN AC breaker, then to the charger? Or does it come into the boat, split to a separate charger breaker, then go to the charger? Or go through both MAIN AC and charger breaker?
3. After the charger, does the charger get wired straight to the batteries, or go through anything else?
4. Future install question only: If I do add a separate starting battery and then combine the 2 house batteries and add an echo charger between, do I just wire the battery charger only to the house bank and let the echo charger handle the starter (the alternator would be set up like this)? Or do I use the multiple outputs on the battery charger to charge them both (not using the echo charger)? If I did the latter, would it mess up the echo charger or alternator/regulator?
Sorry for all the questions, but thanks as always for the help!
1984 Sabre 34 Mk I
Last edited by josrulz; 01-21-2009 at 12:01 PM.