Starter Battery - West Marine Seagel Deep Cycle Gel 97
House Bank - 2 Deka Dominator (8G31DTM) in parallel
Perko 1-2-All Battery Switch
If you stay GEL for start you will need to use a product like the Balmar Duo Charge to feed the GEL proper charging voltage.
The Group 31's are Deka GEL batteries and the same as the West Marine start battery. Deka/East Penn makes the batteries for West Marine..
Amptech 125/108 High Performance Alternator
You have not said what engine this is on but this is a good alternator. A tad old school and based on the Delco 10DN but otherwise a good alt. Ideally if you have a single belt it should be dialed back to about 90A and it will purrr along there all day long.....
Heart Interface incharger 3 stage Alternator Regulator (84-2006-00)
This is a poor excuse for an external "smart" regulator. Pretty featureless, pretty "dumb" for a "smart" regulator..... I would strongly advise moving towards a Balmar ARS-5 or better yet an MC-614 which gives you the ability to derate the alternators output to match your belt, use alternator and battery temp sensing etc..
Guest Charge Pro 5/5 10amp Charger
Sent it to the dumpster where it deserves to live....
The ProMariner Pronautic P or Sterling Pro-Charge Ultra are both EXCELLENT chargers suitable for AGM. These are the same charger sold under to differnt brands (co-developed)
They come standard with 11 pre-set programs plus the ability to create a custom profile. The algorithm is also a smart adaptive learning type which is far smarter than timed algorithms. They also ship standard with a battery temp sensor. By far they have the absolute best remote control display of any battery charger I have ever installed. Worth the money..
2 - 80 Watt MBF80 Solar Panels
Xantrex C12 12 amp Solar Charge Controller
Sounds like a couple of inexpensive Chinese panels and a PWM controller. Never been a big fan of the C12 but it works.. It will work fine, but you could easily do better. If you want to do better I would start with the controller, if you are inclined to do so....
A house bank of 3 AGM Group 31 batteries fits in the existing battery box, and can provide 375ah. If I could make the box deeper, I could accommodate 3 Group 30HTs for a total of 450ah, but the original box would probably need to be cut out, and a custom box built. This may force me to go with the 3 Group 31 375ah house bank, then house a single AGM Group 31 100ah starter battery close by, in it's own battery box or tray.
Can you explain what you are looking to get from AGM's? Is the boat on a mooring or at a dock? Only Lifeline can get you to 375Ah with 3 X G31 and this is not inexpensive.... I prefer GEL batteries to AGM for longevity but Lifeline and Odyssey are about the best AGM's you can get. If staying with Deka buy their GEL batteries not AGM unless it is only a start battery....
With the switch to AGMs, I thought that I should upgrade the engine with a serpentine belt kit.
This is never a bad idea but can get expensive. Unfortunately the AmpTech will not work with the E-Maax or Balmar serp kits and you need an alt designed for those kits, offsets are different, which means more money...
and a higher output alternator with regulator, (150amp+), as well as upgrade the charger.
Keep in mind that a 150A alt should ideally be run at about 120A for the longest life. This is set up in the regulator.. Your 125A alt can be run at about 90A on the stock belt you likely have. This would be 80A if 3/8".
This is a LOT of money to gain perhaps 30A in bulk... Not a "priority" investment IMHO..
At 90A your AGM's will like hit absorption voltage, depending upon where it is set, at about 80% SOC. On a 375Ah bank this means you need to replace approx 110Ah's in bulk or slightly over an hour with your current alt set up for 90A.
At 120A you will do bulk in slightly under an hour. You are really talking about shaving perhaps 15-20 min off bulk for a $1500.00 +/- investment.. If that seems wise to you wallet by all means go for it...
The time from hitting absorption to full charge is identical no matter how large your alternator. Once you hit absorption voltage your batteries decide how fast they can be charged not your alternator or regulator...
I also wanted to upgrade the panel to a combined AC/DC, Blue Sea Systems 360 panel, and add a Blue Sea Systems Dual Circuit Plus Battery Switch with an Automatic Charging Relay.
Not a big fan of the DCP switch as it leaves no way to isolate a failed bank and leaves your only option to combine a good battery with a potentially bad battery. The three switch method is good as is a modified 1/2/BOTH...
For AGM's I generally prefer a programmable device such as a Duo Charger over an ACR but an ACR can work well... AGM's & GEL's like temp sensing because they are less happy with overcharging than flooded batteries. The Duo Charger can give you this for all charge sources feeding it.
I also want to add DC USB charging outlets for charging tablets and phones, (and in the near future for laptops, too
I generally prefer a standard 12V socket then an adapter that plugs into that and outputs USB. This allows you to use the outlet for both USB and 12V socket style items, if needed. It also allows you to inexpensively replace 12V USB adapters when the current specifications of your devices change.
At a bare minimum you want a dual USB capable of over 4A of current if actually plugging two devices into it otherwise they cook themselves.. For example older iPads used 2.1A and new ones use 2.4A. Plug two iPads into a 2.1A dual USB socket and you will eventually cook it. Easiest just to buy the adapters, and they are CHEAP.....
At this point I'm curious about a few things;
Is adding a serpentine belt kit, (and alternator), a better choice than simply adding a higher output marine alternator, (or keeping the existing one)?
If you were my customer I would suggest holding off and adding just a new regulator that gives you MUCH more control over the alt.
Are high output marine alternators from Electromaax
, and Sterling Power
, good ones to consider for this application, (since they price out less than Balmar)?
The E-Maax products seem to be hit or miss for some. I have had good luck but others complain of poor service and product issues.
Balmar is top notch as are Mark Grasser DC Solutions
alternators. Not a big fan of the Sterling regs or alts but they make some other products which are EXCELLENT such as the ProCharge Ultra battery charger.
There is only ONE good alternator regulator and those are the Balmar's..
Xantrex sells a Balmar reg under their name but PLEASE buy one from Balmar. Why? Because you will get COMPETENT tech support not some phone center dolt who has never touched an electrical product in his/her life and is simply reading out of a "cookbook"...
Is it sensible to combine inverter and charger by installing something like the ProMariner TruePower CombiPS
for this application?
Any other suggestions, corrections, etc., are welcome as always.
For a "keep it simple" system I generally prefer stand alone units to combi's unless you "need" 100A + of charging and 2kW plus of inverter.... For inverters I prefer the Magnum's, Victron's or Mastervolt products because some of them are fully programmable...
A stand alone pure sine inverter can easily be wired to its own dedicated outlet and left isolated of the ships AC system. This is less costly and safer for a DIY install..
If you want to tie into the ships AC system it gets more complicated, to do it right, and more expensive, much more.... Also when the charger side or inverter side fail, on a combi/IC, you lose both devices. This is not all that uncommon and things such as a discontinued simple remote control panel often make a $2000.00 inverter charger inoperable and "scrap metal" material...