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  #21  
Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
I can't over emphasize the value of having TWO BANKS of batteries to go along with a robust solar power system.
Otherwise you are setting yourself up for a guaranteed slow decline.

Two banks provides you a lot of wonderful benefits!
I would urge folks to consider not doing this. It's not just me who does not advise this but Nigel Calder and most marine electrical experts advise against this as well.

I set up cruising banks all the time and the benefits of a single large bank are less cycling depth, which equals longer life, and the benefit of the Peukert effect which gets cut when you cut the banks in two.

I tend to suggest one large bank for reasons beyond even what Nigel Calder touches on. It is more efficient to charge one bank than two unless using 100% free energy. Even then with solar or wind the time allotted to "finishing" two banks is less efficient due to the longevity of the time in bank acceptance limiting and the time the "finishing" charge takes.

The single larger bank will also not be as dramatically affected by Peukert effect and you'll actually wind up with more usable amp hours out of a single larger bank, with the same daily load, than you do with two smaller banks with the same daily load. By cutting the bank in half you lose both the positives of size on DOD and the Peuekert effect.

For example a bank with a Peukert of 1.25 and a average load of 8A it looks like this:

100Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 88Ah's
200Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 211Ah's
300Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 351 Ah's
400Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 502 Ah's
600Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 834Ah's
800Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 1200 Ah's

By using a single larger bank and considering the Peukert effect it means that your bank will have shallower discharges, not just because it is one large bank, but if the average load stays the same, and you increase bank size, you will actually get more out of the larger bank due to Peukert.

And rather than go into a huge explanation repeating what Calder has already written about I will just post it here:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Calder
(By Nigel Calder)

IS IT BETTER TO HAVE ONE OR TWO BATTERY BANKS FOR HOUSE USE?

The popular arrangement of having two house banks alternated in use needs scrutiny before I go any further.

LIFE CYCLES: As we have seen, the life expectancy of a battery in cycling service is directly related to the depth to which it is discharged at each cycle - the greater the depth of discharge, the shorter the battery’s life.

This relationship between depth of discharge and battery life is NOT linear. As the depth of discharge increases, a battery’s life expectancy is disproportionately shortened. A given battery may cycle through 10% of its capacity 2,000 times, 50% of its capacity 300 times and 100% of its capacity around 100 times.

Let’s say, for arguments sake, that a boat has two 200-ah battery banks, alternated from day to day, with a daily load of 80 Ah. Each bank will be discharged by 40% (80 Ah of one of the two 200 Ah banks) of its capacity before being recharged. The batteries will fail after 380 cycles, which is 760 days (since each is used every other day). If the two banks had been wired in parallel, to make a single 400 Ah battery bank, this bank would have been discharged by 20% of capacity every day, with a life expectancy of 800 days, a 50% increase in life expectancy using exactly the same batteries.

But now let’s double the capacity of the batteries, so that the boat has either two 400 Ah banks, or a single 800 Ah bank, but with the same 80 Ah daily load. The two separate banks will be cycling through 20% of capacity every other day, resulting in a total life expectancy of 1,600 days. Doubling the size of the battery banks in relation to the load has produced a 210% increase in life expectancy. The single 800 Ah bank will be cycling through 10% of capacity every day, resulting in a life expectancy of 2,000 days - a 25% increase in life expectancy over the two (400 Ah) banks, and a 250% increase in life expectancy over the single 400 Ah battery bank!

There are two immediate conclusions to be drawn from these figures:

1. For a given total battery capacity, wiring the (house) batteries into a single high capacity bank, rather than having them divided into two alternating banks, will result in a longer overall life expectancy for the batteries.

2. All other things being equal, any increase in the overall capacity of a battery bank will produce a disproportionate increase in its life expectancy (through reducing the depth of discharge at each cycle).

FOR BATTERY LONGEVITY, A SINGLE LARGE (HOUSE) BANK, THE LARGER THE BETTER, IS PREFERABLE TO DIVIDED (HOUSE) BANKS.
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  #22  
Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Thanks MS, figured it was better coming from you.
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  #23  
Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
I would urge folks to consider not doing this. It's not just me who does not advise this but Nigel Calder and most marine electrical experts advise against this as well.

I set up cruising banks all the time and the benefits of a single large bank are less cycling depth, which equals longer life, and the benefit of the Peukert effect which gets cut when you cut the banks in two.

I tend to suggest one large bank for reasons beyond even what Nigel Calder touches on. It is more efficient to charge one bank than two unless using 100% free energy. Even then with solar or wind the time allotted to "finishing" two banks is less efficient due to the longevity of the time in bank acceptance limiting and the time the "finishing" charge takes.

The single larger bank will also not be as dramatically affected by Peukert effect and you'll actually wind up with more usable amp hours out of a single larger bank, with the same daily load, than you do with two smaller banks with the same daily load. By cutting the bank in half you lose both the positives of size on DOD and the Peuekert effect.

For example a bank with a Peukert of 1.25 and a average load of 8A it looks like this:

100Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 88Ah's
200Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 211Ah's
300Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 351 Ah's
400Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 502 Ah's
600Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 834Ah's
800Ah bank, Peukert 1.25, load 8A = 1200 Ah's

By using a single larger bank and considering the Peukert effect it means that your bank will have shallower discharges, not just because it is one large bank, but if the average load stays the same, and you increase bank size, you will actually get more out of the larger bank due to Peukert.

And rather than go into a huge explanation repeating what Calder has already written about I will just post it here:
WOW! I had never heard of this concept.

Not to argue this, but we added the second bank of 1200 AH, besides the original 1200 AH, because the single bank was draining while charging, and therefore not getting back up to a full charge before nightfall.

So by the morning that bank was pretty weak, and we played catch up all day, until eventually I had to start an engine.

After adding the second bank, I would charge one bank, while draining the other, and would switch / reverse their roles each day.

That worked - theoretically endlessly.

So apparently what this Peukert affect means to that, is that I should have only added the 1200 AH / additional batteries to the same bank. Hmmmmmm...

I'll have to do some research on this, because I just loved being able to isolate and control each individual bank. And, when I chose to I could bring them both into the same "role".

I think I would still wire things that way, but would be able to control over 1000 AH bank(s) individually, as I found "worked" for me.
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

I wonder if Nigel is taking into account the drain vs. the solar charging process?

I understand what was writtent there, about the effect on the life span... but if I am slowly draining more than the charging is making up for, it is worse to be out of power than to theoretically have hundreds more days of battery life.

Dead batteries are dead. That is not good at all.

All of the 2 banks were AGMs. I wonder if that makes any difference.
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Doug,

If you had a 1200ah bank draining to the point where you had to start an engine to charge it in less than a day I have to wonder what kind of washer/dryer electric stove and air conditioner you were running.
That you had two banks that size leaves me speechless. The weight alone (24 type 31's, or 8d's), just wow.

Obviously you would have to have a inboard diesel to charge that 1200ah , the 25% it's going to WANT at bulk charge would be 300 amps. Not your typical alternator set up.
You did / do know that batteries need to have that 25% of capacity for bulk rate charge right?
Unless you are waving a couple hundred square feet of solar you can't be meeting the need of that sized bank.

No way you are doing that on solar that fits on a boat

We're talking a couple hundred ah of batteries and portable generators, not 9kw Northern Lights that can throw out a couple hundred amps.

Like I said, my 300w makes 9ah, more than I'm using even when sailing and running my instruments and autopilot.
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
I wonder if Nigel is taking into account the drain vs. the solar charging process?

I understand what was writtent there, about the effect on the life span... but if I am slowly draining more than the charging is making up for, it is worse to be out of power than to theoretically have hundreds more days of battery life.

Dead batteries are dead. That is not good at all.

All of the 2 banks were AGMs. I wonder if that makes any difference.
AGM's need to be topped off at least monthly. Not doing so will kill them quick.

How big was your solar array?
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

MainSail, THANK you for that information. I WILL be researching that to better understand what I am doing. Not to mention that Evelyn has her Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, so I will run this by her.
I still like to be able to control seperate banks. Though if I understand the limits / thresholds related to this Peukert effect, I can make better decisions.
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
AGM's need to be topped off at least monthly. Not doing so will kill them quick.

How big was your solar array?
We had (4) 215 watt Evergreens.
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Doug,

If you had a 1200ah bank draining to the point where you had to start an engine to charge it in less than a day I have to wonder what kind of washer/dryer electric stove and air conditioner you were running.
That you had two banks that size leaves me speechless. The weight alone (24 type 31's, or 8d's), just wow.

Obviously you would have to have a inboard diesel to charge that 1200ah , the 25% it's going to WANT at bulk charge would be 300 amps. Not your typical alternator set up.
You did / do know that batteries need to have that 25% of capacity for bulk rate charge right?
Unless you are waving a couple hundred square feet of solar you can't be meeting the need of that sized bank.

No way you are doing that on solar that fits on a boat

We're talking a couple hundred ah of batteries and portable generators, not 9kw Northern Lights that can throw out a couple hundred amps.

Like I said, my 300w makes 9ah, more than I'm using even when sailing and running my instruments and autopilot.
We had, (and have again), a fully electric boat.

B&G auto helm (used 12 amps whenever she flexed her muscle)
FrigoBoat refrig
FrigoBoat freezer
Marine Labs Water Maker (SERIOUS POWER DRAINER)
Splendide Washer / dryer powered through a 5000 watt inverter
Numerous pumps
Hot water tank
computers
(2) 18,000 BTU A/C systems
radar
lights
(2) TVs
etc.....
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Are portable generators safe?

Oh, and we would last 3 days until I needed to do something about it.

UNTIL I added the second bank! Then we never had to start anything.
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