Charging options for small boat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-03-2010 Thread Starter
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Charging options for small boat?

Here's the situation: I've recently come into a Northern 1/4 ton (Mirage 24, essentially) and I need to find a way to charge the battery. It will be sailed primarily on weekends during the summer, and the electrical demands are limited- a cabin light, nav lights, depth sounder, knot meter, and VHF radio.

There doesn't appear to be an alternator or charging circuit on the outboard (1992 Evinrude 8hp 2 stroke), and the previous owner used to charge the battery by taking it home and hooking it up to an automotive charger. I've got access to shore power, but no AC system on board.

My initial thought was using a portable automotive battery booster as needed, although I have no idea if this is the best approach. Another option may be solar, although deck space is limited and we don't exactly have the sunniest weather in these parts! Are there any other options I may be missing? Any suggestions for how to keep the battery full?
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-03-2010
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I would buy a small 110v battery charger and use a 30A plug adapter that adapts to the 110v 3 prong with a standard outdoor extension cord. Keep this connected during the week and your battery is good for the weekend.

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post #3 of 15 Old 08-03-2010
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Originally Posted by cdhickey View Post
Here's the situation: I've recently come into a Northern 1/4 ton (Mirage 24, essentially) and I need to find a way to charge the battery. It will be sailed primarily on weekends during the summer, and the electrical demands are limited- a cabin light, nav lights, depth sounder, knot meter, and VHF radio.

There doesn't appear to be an alternator or charging circuit on the outboard (1992 Evinrude 8hp 2 stroke), and the previous owner used to charge the battery by taking it home and hooking it up to an automotive charger. I've got access to shore power, but no AC system on board.

My initial thought was using a portable automotive battery booster as needed, although I have no idea if this is the best approach. Another option may be solar, although deck space is limited and we don't exactly have the sunniest weather in these parts! Are there any other options I may be missing? Any suggestions for how to keep the battery full?
Was in a similar situation with my VIctory 21. the previous owner also lugged the batteries back and forth.

I tied a flexible solar "panel" to the deck and never worried about power again. I had plenty of it! The flexible panel you can step on, jump on, etc.

I did not use a charge controller because the panel was small enough to not overcharge the battery. (And lugging a battery means a dead battery which means an early death for the battery anyway.) So it was a very simple installation.

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post #4 of 15 Old 08-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdhickey View Post
Here's the situation: I've recently come into a Northern 1/4 ton (Mirage 24, essentially) and I need to find a way to charge the battery. It will be sailed primarily on weekends during the summer, and the electrical demands are limited- a cabin light, nav lights, depth sounder, knot meter, and VHF radio.

There doesn't appear to be an alternator or charging circuit on the outboard (1992 Evinrude 8hp 2 stroke), and the previous owner used to charge the battery by taking it home and hooking it up to an automotive charger. I've got access to shore power, but no AC system on board.

My initial thought was using a portable automotive battery booster as needed, although I have no idea if this is the best approach. Another option may be solar, although deck space is limited and we don't exactly have the sunniest weather in these parts! Are there any other options I may be missing? Any suggestions for how to keep the battery full?
with the loads you outline, a 15 watt solar charger would likely keep up with use just fine. leave it on the cabin top when in use, when you go sailing simply stow it away in the quarter berth. keep a voltmeter on board so you can check state of charge occasionally, and if you find your charge is not keeping up, plug in your battery charger to top off the battery. yes, it is not marine rated, yes, it is not the reccommended choice, but for 4 or 5 SUPERVISED hours a week of use, it won't be an issue. Check with your marina, though, before use- some get pissy about seeing Motomaster battery chargers on boats.
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-03-2010
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I agree with the flexible solar panel idea.

The automotive charger approach has shortfalls - if you leave it connected too long the simplistic car charger can overcharge the battery; running non-marine AC from dock to boat is asking for an accident. On a small boat keeping a car charger around to top up the battery is fine while you are puttering around the boat but don't leave it hooked up while you are gone.

Even in Newfoundland there should be enough sunlight to keep the batteries up on a daysailer/weekender.

Do you have US-spec 30A outlets or EU-type 16A outlets on the dock?

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-03-2010
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I agree with the solar recommendation. Your back will thank you for it!


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post #7 of 15 Old 08-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions- it looks like solar might be a decent longer term option. Any suggestions on reliable suppliers for the flex panels?

@SVAuspicious - we've got US standard 30A outlets on the dock.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-05-2010
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For many years now I have had a small solar panel,mounted on my sliding hatch-it charges two 80 AH deep cycling batteries.Again no engine charger.
It quite happily keeps batteries topped up for weekend sailing and powers up a small bilge pump which the wooden sixty five year old boat needs.In fact one of the batteries deserves an award-its well over 10 years old!
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-05-2010
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Can't comment on the flexible style, but I just bought a 15A rigid panel at Tractor Supply. It was approx $120 and had a controller, blocker diode and three different ways to connect to the battery.
You should also check Harbor Freight Tools, Home Depot and Lowe's.
Paul
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-05-2010
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I'd be interested in what the 3 different ways are.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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