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chucklesR 09-18-2012 07:25 PM

Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
Folks, I'm working on plans to rebuild the "as is" battery system and electricity generation system on my new to me 1987 Irwin 38 CC.

As is is pretty basic.
4 Group 24 batteries installed in the compartment in the center of the salon floor. 320 ah total, new in 2009.
A DC start battery in the engine compartment. Age unknown.
A 12v analog gauge on the distribution panel.
A 20amp Xantrex charger.
A Yanmar 44 jhte with a presumed 55 amp alt.


That it.
Against that I'm running (end state in three years) a 12v refridge, maybe a ice maker (Rum sucks when warm), autopilot, full array of wind, speed depth sensors, tank monitors, radar as needed, chartplotter and all the normal lights and various odds and ends one finds on a cruising boat.
My assumed daily load is 200 AH. The fridge is half that - subject to an upgrade and insulation re-do (and a monitor to eliminate that guess work).

My goal is to never have to run the main engine just to charge batteries.

To run that right now I'm looking at 2 x 240w Kyocera panels - but that might go to three - two on the bimini, one on the davits.
I'll add the ubiquitous Honda 2000 generator for odds, ends, and the Cruisair air conditioner I want to add.
I'm not planning on a wind generator - might add it after we go cruising if we feel short of juice.


So - my first question(s) to the experts

Should I give up on the group 24 space and just put a big bank of 8d's in the engine compartment (it's not really a room on a I38 cc, but it's big enough to put in 4 8'd and still have lots of air circulation.

I don't think mixing and matching is a good idea so how do you rate the idea of 1 bank for the refridge, 1 for the 'house' - with an ACR to bridge if needed. Could I mix battery types if I did this, wet for the easy to get to fridge bank, AGM's for the house bank?

How large a MPPT do I need to get to control 480W of panel going into either one 800ah or two 400ah ish banks? How much larger if I go with 3 panels?
The math I did (not a good thing to watch me do) came out to up to 50amps of juice in good sun. Is that even close?

What are the ramifications of keeping the dinky 50amp altenator when my bank is 800ah - I've heard you can burn the bejesus out of a alt if the bank is more than 4x the output.

TimM 09-18-2012 10:53 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
A man in the same boat!
As we ( the wife and I ) have just bought a 85 Irwin 38cc in July and are thinking about the same things. After a year of looking found ours in Chicago. Now on the hard in Indiana on a two year retirement plan bound for warmer waters.
I like the solar panels and have a hard top to mount them on. Also like the little Honda 2000 for the right moment. Dad had the big battery's on his Morgan 41 OI.
Again I am happy to meet someone in the same boat. Looking forward to reading some great info I can also use. Although have spent many an evening reading great threads.

TimM 09-18-2012 11:03 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
A man in the same boat!
As we ( the wife and I ) have just bought a 85 Irwin 38cc in July and are thinking about the same things. After a year of looking found ours in Chicago. Now on the hard in Indiana on a two year retirement plan bound for warmer waters.
I like the solar panels and have a hard top to mount them on. Also like the little Honda 2000 for the right moment. Dad had the big battery's on his Morgan 41 OI.
Again I am happy to meet someone in the same boat. Looking forward to reading some great info I can also use. Although have spent many an evening reading great threads.

Cruisingdad 09-19-2012 11:30 AM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chucklesR (Post 923723)
Folks, I'm working on plans to rebuild the "as is" battery system and electricity generation system on my new to me 1987 Irwin 38 CC.

As is is pretty basic.
4 Group 24 batteries installed in the compartment in the center of the salon floor. 320 ah total, new in 2009.
A DC start battery in the engine compartment. Age unknown.
A 12v analog gauge on the distribution panel.
A 20amp Xantrex charger.
A Yanmar 44 jhte with a presumed 55 amp alt.


That it.
Against that I'm running (end state in three years) a 12v refridge, maybe a ice maker (Rum sucks when warm), autopilot, full array of wind, speed depth sensors, tank monitors, radar as needed, chartplotter and all the normal lights and various odds and ends one finds on a cruising boat.
My assumed daily load is 200 AH. The fridge is half that - subject to an upgrade and insulation re-do (and a monitor to eliminate that guess work).

My goal is to never have to run the main engine just to charge batteries.

To run that right now I'm looking at 2 x 240w Kyocera panels - but that might go to three - two on the bimini, one on the davits.
I'll add the ubiquitous Honda 2000 generator for odds, ends, and the Cruisair air conditioner I want to add.
I'm not planning on a wind generator - might add it after we go cruising if we feel short of juice.


So - my first question(s) to the experts

Should I give up on the group 24 space and just put a big bank of 8d's in the engine compartment (it's not really a room on a I38 cc, but it's big enough to put in 4 8'd and still have lots of air circulation.

I don't think mixing and matching is a good idea so how do you rate the idea of 1 bank for the refridge, 1 for the 'house' - with an ACR to bridge if needed. Could I mix battery types if I did this, wet for the easy to get to fridge bank, AGM's for the house bank?

How large a MPPT do I need to get to control 480W of panel going into either one 800ah or two 400ah ish banks? How much larger if I go with 3 panels?
The math I did (not a good thing to watch me do) came out to up to 50amps of juice in good sun. Is that even close?

What are the ramifications of keeping the dinky 50amp altenator when my bank is 800ah - I've heard you can burn the bejesus out of a alt if the bank is more than 4x the output.

I am no expert C, but here is what I would do and have done. BTW - I am assuming we are outfitting this for cruising. With that assumption:

If I had your access and space, I would probably go with wet cells. I would go with 6v batteries (the 'golf cart'" versus 4 or 8 d's. That way if you lose one battery, you can still keep much of the bank intact. It also costs a lot less. Our house bank is 840 ah (theoretical), giving 420 ah theoretical for 50% SOC. Our realiastic use is probably pretty close to 200 ah/day now without any 110. We do not burn anywhere near 100 ah on our fridge. We are ballpark 45-55 ish depending on temperature and what we run. THis is a ballpark guestimate but probably not far off. Other than really isulating your fridge, keep it stocked and access it from the top as much as possible to save electricity. Another trick is that when packing, keep the meals and things you will go to first on top. We also place things in exactly the same space everytime so that we can go straight to it when reaching in - therby minimizing our time letting out the precious cold air.

If you have a lot of space, I guess you could use the icemaker. Mom and dad have a portable one that runs off of 110v and draws 2 amps, I think (20-25 ish at 12v). It makes ice in like 7 minutes! It recyles the water as it is doing it. It is really cool. They wanted to get us one, but we declined. For one thing, we don't have the space (it is large). Second, it is a large power draw. You will need to run her ballpark 30 minutes to make ice for all four of us. Instead, we have finally made the aluminum ice cube trays work. Basically, we keep a ziplock bag filled with ice and when it runs out, dump the trays and refill with filtered water. It makes big ice cubes which actually is nice because they last longer in the heat. SOmetimes, we will go to the marina and get ice too. It runs from 2/bag - $3 bag depending on your location. Gonna have to buy a lot of ice to equal the cost and elec useage of that ice maker. My opinion as a cruiser (which mom and dad are too... so you are seeing two different view points).

I would choose an Outback MX60 MPPT charge controller for those panels. Here is your real world in southern lats: I have 4- Kyocera 130w panels for 520 watts total. I generally see 200ish ah/day out of them on a decent day. On some days, I will see 220+. Cloudy days, not much. I have no really good data here, but after two days or so of clouds, I am looking for alternative charging (my diesel generator). SO using that ratio: 520w = 200 ah/day or every watt = .38 ah/day. So, using your 480watts, you are realistically looking at 185ish ah/day total on average. Do note: I have a solar arch and ZERO shading. If you put those panels on your dodger and they shade at all, you will see drastic drops in that output.

Instead of ditching your current charger, you might also consider doing what I did: I have two completely indpendent systems. My starter/generator battery can be brought in or out of the main bank. It has a small charger (xantrex 10amp) and that is all it needs to charge. I would use a agm or dry cell type battery (Optima). You could do the same and use your current charger for this side bank. For the rest of the bank, I would go with a Xantrex type Charger/Inverter. I know there are other options, but I use the Xantrex Prosine 2.0 Inverter/charger and the thing has worked flawlessly. It watches your power coming in, whatches out for the batts (temps, high and low voltage), and can be custom set to your specific charge routine (my lifelines). I also like it because I can set the 110 in voltage breaker size, so that when running other things off that circut (a air conditioner, for instance), the charger will not pump or draw more amps than what you have the breaker size programmed for. It automatically switches to inverter seemlessly when unplugging from dock power or generator which keeps you from ever having to reset all your clocks or other sensitive electronics. Also, per TOm Neale, the power it puts out is very clean (electronics). Lastly, it automatically switches off of inverter if it sees power coming in so you are not inverting while charging. Its a great system and has worked without incident since circa 2006. The inverter has made our life aboard and at anchor very comfortable. DO be aware though, te cabling for that thing are 0000 or larger. The cabling is a pain to run and expensive.

I have an 80 amp alternator on my engine. No way it is going to charge that bank without running a long time. However, with a large solar array, it is less of an issue. I have never turned on my main to charge the batts. It is inefficient and loud and heats up the down-below. I have, however, turned on the main to warm the water or made a good excuse to go somewhere for warm water. Since you are getting a generator, just think of the main as your backup. You will run your generator at times to charge the batts. But it is good to do this anyways since doing a good recharge is good for your batts. And quite candidly, you will find that you are moving (via motor) a lot more as a cruiser than a weekender. Why is another discussion.

I am not a big fan of wind. Can discuss this if you want, but instead just go a large solar array with a backup or two (gen and main).

I would not screw around with one bank for fridge, one for house, etc. Instead, just one large bank that you have to watch and manage. I would not worry about lights too much. THe new LED's really drop the use. Under sail, our autopilot and radar are the killers, fyi.

What else can I help with? Again, these are my opinions and real world observations as a cruiser. BTW, when are you heading off? Are you going to come down to the islands? WHat's your itin?

Brian

hellosailor 09-19-2012 12:25 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
I'd second Brian. On some other points.

"4 Group 24 ... in the center of the salon floor. 320 ah total, new in 2009....or 8D in the engine..."
Three or four year old batteries might still be good, have you tested thei condition?
Wet cells anyplace where they could be flooded, i.e. in the bilge, are a bad idea since salt water in batteries liberates chlorine gas and chews out your lungs. Sealed batteries would be a better idea if you keep them there (lower more central mass) but the engine space is probably drier. Use of an engine blower to keep them cool when the engine is running & when it has just been shut down would probably make them happier too, and the 8Ds should give you more capacity.
And so far, the lithium batteries are not embarassing themselves by failing young or blowing up, so if you don't replace batteries now, keep an eye on that option.

"A DC start battery in the engine compartment. Age unknown." Again, test condition. If it works, keep it. If not, you buy another SLI battery and since that's "spare" vs the house bank, small and cheap isn't a sin. Use an echocharger or other automatic combiner to keep that charged, not the a/b switch.

"A 12v analog gauge on the distribution panel."
Just reality check that with some digital readings. I met one that ranged from about 10-18 volts, and if you adjusted it to read "11.5" for a dead battery versus "14.4" for charging, it would always be off by more than one volt on one side or the other. Some of them are good, others not.

"A 20amp Xantrex charger."
Wet batteries can charge at 20% of their rated capacity, sealed ones higher. With your existing 320AH of capacity, assuming you only cycle them to 50% (160AH) then you "should" be using a 40A charger. If you upgrade the bank or the battery type, you could use even more power from the charger.

"A Yanmar 44 jhte with a presumed 55 amp alt." Probably. And there's probably an 80A drop-in replacement for that, same diameter just deeper. Since a spare alternator is always a good idea, look for an 80A replacement, upgrade that to an external regulator so it really does something, and put the 55 on the shelf as a spare.

Running any alternator (or even the charger) at 100% capacity heats it up, shortens the life.

The fridge, the loads, the energy budget...if the 34/vs/8D meets the needs, done deal. if not, you might have to consider lithium with their higher cycle capacity.

"I'm not planning on a wind generator" and bear in mind it needs a separate dump controller too. Nice way to keep a big hot water tank hot, otherwise, "more stuff!"

" rate the idea of 1 bank for the refridge, 1 for the 'house' "
No, only one big bank, more efficient cycling. Plus the SLI as a starting backup. And never mix types.

"How large a MPPT do I need" Find the max amp rating of the panels, match or exceed it on the MPPT. Or watt ratings, etc. If you're putting the panels in series/parallel, the voltage and amperage shift, so you've got to consider that when you look at the ratings.

500W of panels? At a nominal 14V charging power? 500/14= 36 amps, so a 40-amp rated controller would be "just enough" and a 50A rated one a better idea. 60-75A would allow you room to add a third panel in the future. (Fast rough numbers.)

Cruisingdad 09-19-2012 12:48 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
I personally would not put any battery in the engine compartment. FOr one, it gets hot in there no matter how many blowers you have and that's not ideal for the battery. Two, the high heat alters the charge rate voltage and when talking about the heat inside a engine compartment, it could really be alterered. A low, secure, cool place is best for batteries.

I do like the EUropean regulations though - putting a VHF only battery that is above the waterline. I think Alex (Giulietta) had to do this. Good idea.

Brian

Maine Sail 09-19-2012 01:45 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cruisingdad (Post 923958)
I personally would not put any battery in the engine compartment. FOr one, it gets hot in there no matter how many blowers you have and that's not ideal for the battery. Two, the high heat alters the charge rate voltage and when talking about the heat inside a engine compartment, it could really be alterered. A low, secure, cool place is best for batteries.

I do like the EUropean regulations though - putting a VHF only battery that is above the waterline. I think Alex (Giulietta) had to do this. Good idea.

Brian

AMEN!!!!!! This is one of the worst trends I see on boats. I have bank of a two year old dead 4D's fried due to HEAT and lack of any temp compensation. When this boat is used the engine bay hoovers at well over 100F for up to 10-12 hours after the HUGE diesel engine is shut down. I have measured it at 120F.

I once measured the batteries 30 hours after the owner had used the boat for the weekend and the batteries were still at 96F even though the engine bay was below 80F. Charger was in float and the current was about 1.5A so it was not temp due to charging. The lead takes time to warm up but tends to hold the heat long after the engine bay has cooled down.. I am to the point where if I am working on his boat I ask that the owner not use it the day before I get there because it is a sweat box. :eek:

Now I have to pay a couple of young muscle heads to get the batteries out of there. Heat is REALLY, REALLY bad for batteries and drastically shortens life. The worst part is I rarely see an engine compartment mounted battery with any sort of temp compensation. Owner has finally decided to go with 6V batteries this time and I am moving them out of the engine bay. This is his third set of batteries in 8 years and the middle bank was AGM $$$$$....

I have a sail boat I work on where the starting battery is in the engine bay. It is fed via an Echo Charger so not being "cooked" voltage wise but the start battery needs replacement every three years or so. The house bank is in its seventh season, and is cycled, where the start battery never is, just starting loads.. The house bank rarely if ever breaks 70F due to location where the start battery is often in the 90's and low 100's...

I also have a customer with a flag blue hull and the batteries are behind the settee seat backs. The compartment is well "insulated" due to the seat back cushions and I have pulled them away and measured 130+ degrees inside the battery compartment due to the sun baking the dark blue hull.... Doh'.. Batteries lasted about 2 seasons. I moved them to a cooler locations and they are still going at 4 years with no other changes..

8D's or 4D's are my absolute last choice in batteries. With the exception of a few, such as Dyno, some GEL's and some AGM's, they are all really a "dual purpose" battery and not a true deep cycle even if labeled as such.

You can also fit more Ah's in a smaller foot print by using 6V batteries. As an example 4 6V GC2 batteries take up less foot print than do two 4D batteries yet give you 65Ah's - 120Ah's more in capacity depending upon brand...

I still think Chuckles can fit 4 6V batts in there and from the looks of it he might just have the height.

If he does not have the height the Lifeline GPL-4CT is the same height as a 12V battery but in a 220Ah 6V. Full River also makes a "shorty" AGM 6V but I prefer Lifeline to Full River..

The following quote is from a study conducted by Sandia National Labs on the effects of temperature on batteries.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sandia National Labs
The optimum operating temperature for the lead-acid battery is 25C (77F). As a guideline, every 8C (15F) rise in temperature will cut the battery life in half. VRLA, which would last for 10 years at 25C (77F), will only be good for 5 years if operated at 33C (95F). Theoretically the same battery would endure a little more than one year at a desert temperature of 42C (107F).


chucklesR 09-19-2012 04:50 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
Good to see you out there Tim - my blog is Journey in Patience most of the stuff will there as well.
Right now it's mostly about my old boat, but will have lots of Irwin in the next couple years.

I'm looking forward to 'working' with you over prep time.



Do me a favor please - if you go to your boat in the near future measure out the battery compartment in the sole - I need to know if I can fit 6v's in there :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by TimM (Post 923822)
A man in the same boat!
As we ( the wife and I ) have just bought a 85 Irwin 38cc in July and are thinking about the same things. After a year of looking found ours in Chicago. Now on the hard in Indiana on a two year retirement plan bound for warmer waters.
I like the solar panels and have a hard top to mount them on. Also like the little Honda 2000 for the right moment. Dad had the big battery's on his Morgan 41 OI.
Again I am happy to meet someone in the same boat. Looking forward to reading some great info I can also use. Although have spent many an evening reading great threads.


chucklesR 09-19-2012 05:18 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
Brian, MS, HelloSailor

Thanks for the feed back - especially from CD/Brian - having it from a cruiser helps.
The Gemini's 80w, 3 optima's and 12C controller with an XBM was okay for that boat because of the propane refridge freezer - this boat and it's intended use are so much different I'm really feeling out of my league.

Brian, going cruising about October 2015, ICW to Fla, then island hopping around counter clockwise most likely - KW to Cancun style, then onward around the rim. Nothing set in stone, but heavily toed into the sand.

MS, I hear you on the heat. Idea scrapped firmly. Let's say I go with 6v's as described and 4 of them fit in the compartment I've already detailed. Is it safe to put the other 4 within 8 feet of 0/0 cable and make it one bank - without excessive voltage drop killing me?

Hello, that bank isn't 'in' the bilge - it's well above it, high and dry.

I may alter my davits to hold two panels - I'm looking at the specs and it says a 240w is 65 x 40 (average, roughly). That's a big chunk of sky.
Current davits:
http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/j...psa12dff40.jpg

Really weren't made for that much panel - and they are too low to duck under when using the ladder.

TimM 09-19-2012 06:13 PM

Re: Irwin 38 CC Battery and Charge rebuild
 
An amazing amount of information. I will have to read this several times to even ask an intelligent question. Would you, could you add two more of the same size battery's in the salon sole to a remote location? Say under the V berth or in the stern lazaret (trunk). Given a white hull and low to the waterline. An arch is also on my mind along with a Bimini located array even though shade impedes the creation. Don't some types of panels stand shade better? This is all very,very interesting.


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