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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 09-08-2013
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Do I need a battery charger?

In the process of buying my first boat (1989 Catalina 30). As far as electric system, all I know right now is that it has 2 group 31 AGM Deka Intimidator batteries. The boat is currently connected to shore power, but I would keep it on a mooring.

Exactly how does the battery charger work? Is it related to shore power, or does it have a role when on a mooring?
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Old 09-08-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

You have a choice of how you want to learn about this stuff. Everybody learns differently. Some will ask questions on the internet. Others will buy books. Some can use the internet with searching. I've found the West Advisors online or in their catalogs are a very good point to start.

The West Advisor: West Advisor Articles

Scroll down to electrical.

You could also start here:

Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101

Your best bet on a mooring is solar.
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Old 09-08-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

The battery charger will only work when connected to shore power. If you are keeping the boat on a mooring, I'd look into solar panels to keep the batteries topped off. Of course, if you use the boat frequently and use the motor a fair amount, you probably won't need solar panels.

It all depends on how you use the boat. If you spend a lot of time onboard either at a mooring or swinging on the hook, (not running the engine) you will need some method to keep the batteries up, either a solar panel or wind generator.
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Last edited by chuck53; 09-08-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

Thanks for your responses. It is evident that my next step is researching solar panels. I'll be back.
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

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Originally Posted by armandolio View Post
Thanks for your responses. It is evident that my next step is researching solar panels. I'll be back.
What are your plans for the boat? how do you plan on using it?
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

definitely a daysailer with an ocassional overnight weekend cruise on Biscayne bay or upper Florida Keys.

Last edited by armandolio; 09-08-2013 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

Even a relatively small panel should work for you, depending on your electrical load of course.
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

Yep solar.

A mooring boat really benefits from solar or wind.

The key thing to understand is that as batteries approach a full charge they start charging more slowly. No matter how powerful your alternator is a lead acid battery needs several (perhaps many) hours of charging to hit 100%. The bottom line is that a boat with only the alternator rarely runs the engine long enough to make this happen.

The second thing to understand is that battery lifetime is heavily related to the state of charge. So a battery that spends most of it's life at 100% is going to last a lot longer than one sitting at 80%.

So solar is an excellent complement to the alternator on a mooring boat. The alternator can provide bulk charging and bring the battery to 80-85%, then the solar can top it off over a couple days.
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Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

How about this panel, low cost, low wattage....??

1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
Brand Thunderbolt Magnum Solar
Maximum Output 24 V, 1.5 Watt
Wattage (watts) 1.5
Accessories Included Cigarette lighter adapter and battery terminal clamps

Rich
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Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Do I need a battery charger?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnuzzolo View Post
How about this panel, low cost, low wattage....??

1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
Brand Thunderbolt Magnum Solar
Maximum Output 24 V, 1.5 Watt
Wattage (watts) 1.5
Accessories Included Cigarette lighter adapter and battery terminal clamps

Rich
1.5W?

That's nothing. For ~$100 you can get a 20W panel and a "real" MPPT controller.

1.5W is not worth the effort. If you really want a lighter plug controllerless solution you can go to ~5W but it's still barely worth the effort (I know because I did it and then replaced it the very next year.)
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