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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 08-14-2010
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Batteries and various electrical systems

Hey guys as some of you know I am notw the proud owner of my lttle 27 foot watkins sailboat that I plan to live on soon, wel the batteries died in it I knew they where old and expected this but need to do something soon to fix it. My plan is to run 2 optima blues for the engine starting and nav lights, stuff outside of the cabin. But for the house battery I have access to LIFEP04 Litium batteris and I am not worried about the use of them at all I am just trying to find a inverter/charger that i can use with these types of batteries. I am also wanting to replace the old Dc panel with a new one and I would li,e something that is a fuse block and switch panel in oneand Im not sure where to find that. If you know where to find these items that would be great or point me toward certain companies that could help me that would be great. Also I would like some advice on marine 110 or my shore power setup I would like to replace that as well so it is all new so I know that ist is in good shape before I plug in so any advice there. I have done A/C Wiring before but I know marine applications often are very different due to the corosive resedsten gear they use so any help in these areas would be great.
Thanks
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Old 08-14-2010
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Hi
I do not know of any invertor/charger that has a setting for lithium batteries and doubt one exists. I would suggest a good deep cycle battery or multiples for the house bank.
I would run one optima blue for starting and run the nav lights off the house bank.
All marine wire should be stranded and tinned for corrosion resistance. End connections should be crimped with the proper crimper and the best connectors have heat shrink. Here's a link to good wiring practice and the tools to use. Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Blue Seas makes everything you need in terms of panels (both fused and with breakers), buses, switches and main fuses as well as a lot of information under "resources"
Blue Sea Systems
Their items are available from Jamestown Distributors or Defender as well as any other good marine outlet.
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Thanks, its not a big deal to have the inverter/charger I can do separate rigs, I have used lifep04 in electric vehicles for years and love the compared to the typical batteries used because they are about 1/3 the weight and last a lot longer and better yet they don't fume. Thanks for the tips and links.
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I would think lithium batteries are more expensive per AH.
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Well the weight saving and life as well as on a LIFEP04 i can use 80% of the battery with no harm while lead acid, gel, agm ect. at best can only use about 40% So it all depends, I get them at cost so for me not horribly priced and figuring one set will last me about 10 years is another benefit.
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A good deep cycle battery like the Trojan T105 is good for 8 to 10 years if taken care of and not taken down more that 50%. The Exide GC4 is comparable in life for less money. With the Exide you are looking at less than $200 for 225 AH @ 12 volts. Weight is not a huge issue unless it is in the wrong place.
How much per AH for the lithium?
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Last edited by mitiempo; 08-14-2010 at 04:35 PM. Reason: add
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On the lithium battery Im looking at 400Ah with 80% battery use lasting my about 8-10 years but of course the cost is a good bit higher.
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Old 08-14-2010
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"On the lithium battery Im looking at 400Ah "
Come on, tell all. That's about $600 worth of AGM batteries, so it must be, what, $1500? for the LiOn?
And you're going to run it naked, without any charge controller system?
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Old 08-15-2010
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I'd point out that Lithium-based batteries are FAR MORE SENSITIVE TO CHARGING VOLTAGES. You need to have a charger designed specifically for Lithium batteries. Overcharging them usually results in really bad things happening—like bursting into flames.

Whatever saving you gain in buying the batteries you will likely lose in buying the specialized equipment needed to properly charge them.

As for replacing your DC panel—BlueSea makes a great variety of fuse and circuit breaker panels that would be suitable.

As for the Shorepower setup, it depends on how complex a shorepower setup you're looking to have. For a boat the size of yours, I'd recommend getting the shorepower panel that looks like this:



Which is available at Sailorsolutions.com.
For a 27' boat, you really shouldn't need more than that.

The main difference between wiring a boat and wiring a house is the type of wire used and how it is terminated. Boats move, and as such, the wiring used must resist fatigue that is cause by vibration and movement. Boat are wet environments, and boats on salt-water have the added corrosive effects of salt to deal with. Marine grade wire is pre-tinned for corrosion resistance and finely stranded for fatigue resistance. Proper marine wire termination consists of using adhesive-lined heat shrink terminals. The adhesive allows the heat shrink tubing to fully isolate the crimped connection from the environment and the crimped terminal gives a solid, reliable and mechanically secure connection to the wire and terminal. For more information on how to terminate marine wire, see Maine Sail's excellent tutorial. Of the brands of marine wire available, I like Pacer and Berkshire over Ancor due to their greater flexibility and much lower cost.
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Old 08-15-2010
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Walmart might be your friend here.

Get a couple of Marine 27s $70 each good no quibble warranty,

15 amp marine charger will do the job. $45

Schumacher Digital Power Inverter $58
•1500 watt peak / 750 continuous watts
•Two 110-volt AC household outlets

BTW DO NOT GET A COMBINED CHARGER INVERTER Why coz when it goes wrong you may lose BOTH ! Bummer

Don't skimp on the size or type of wire tinned is a must like everybody says.

If I was pinching pennies I would use terminal blocks the type you can cut to length with screws but West marine have a good selection of slightly more expensive terminal connector blocks, however you need crimped connectors.

Whatever you do make sure you have fuses in every circuit and maybe a master breaker.

You are of course going to use a variety of colours = there is a ABYC guide to colour coding but whatever you do be consistant and make a diagram as you go along and LABEL EVERYTHING.

Last edited by TQA; 08-15-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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