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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-26-2006
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How many amps.?

How do I deterrmine how many amps. I am drawing?

We recently installed (3) group 27's of 90amp. each: wired in parrallel for a total of 270amp. This is our house bank wich replaced a 4C. The 4c did not seem to have enough amps. for our needs.

We run systems of Auto pilot, running lights, cabin lights, navigation instruments, Vhf radio, stereo radio, TV, DVD Player......... etc.

All are not on at the same time but occassionally are.

I think the biggest power hog is the Auto pilot.

We learned real fast that it is not resoanble to expect the batteries to run the 12v Refrigerator. It simply draws too much. (When cruising we use ice)

So the question is, how do I determine how much I am drawing at any given time?
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Old 06-26-2006
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Get a battery monitoring device.

Well, you could determine how many amps each device draws, then simply add them up. This would of course require that you know what the devices draw, and what the status of each device was (on or off). This could get tricky very fast-- especially for devices that don't draw steady current (like an autopilot). The best solution is to use an amp monitoring device. This could be a clamp on amp meter, but I use a dedicated battery monitoring device called a Link 10 from Xantrex. Here is a link to a Froogle search for Link 10s.

http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=...oogle&ct=title
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Old 06-26-2006
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Yeah, go with a Link10 - excellent device. You can monitor loads, predict time to charge,determine present status of battery bank, it's great.
Just be sure to set it up correctly to reflect the true capacity of your system.
Takes away the guessing game.
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Old 06-26-2006
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Clamp on DC ampmeter

It is magic.
$150 to $300. Makes you an electrical wizard. You simply need to get to any 'single conductor' and put the clamping loop around it and read the current flow.
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Old 06-26-2006
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Just to clarify for others, the Link 10 is not a clamp-on ammeter, (those are handy, too) The Link10 is basically a little computer that monitors your electrical loads, calculates the amphours left, time left on battery banks, and monitors your voltage levels. It needs to be wired to the current shunt provided. It is critical that you set it up properly to accurately reflect your amphour capacity so that its predictions are correct. It fits in a standard 2" round gauge hole and is about 2 - 3" deep.
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