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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-20-2007
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House Battery Selection

If I have overlooked an article, or other thread that has previously covered my question, please point me in the right direction.

I need a bit of assistance and advice in the selection of a house battery and charging system for my 22' sailboat. We plan on using the boat most weekends, and an occasional week-trip. We located on the coast of Maine, and don't plan on straying too far from home.

As for equipment, we have all the necessary running lights, cabin light, VHF, depth, chart-plotter, and probably not much more. (the outboard is started by hand) Solar charging is probably the only charging source we'll have available.

I know that the best bang for my buck would be a couple of 6v flooded batts, such as the T105, but I'm not too comfortable sleeping on top of them. I do want to keep cost and expense to a minimum, but also know that I must purchase the proper equipment.

Would anyone like to give some advice as to battery type, capacity, and charging (which brands and styles of smaller solar panels work best)??

Thanks...
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Old 06-20-2007
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No problem "sleeping on top of them". They won't bite, and while you're sleeping at night there's unlikely to be a charge on them from the solar panel(s)...unless the full moon is a heck of a lot brighter in Maine than I remember :-)

With your minimal needs, just about any deep cycle battery will do. Find one which will fit into the available space, preferably with at least 100AH capacity.

Charging is going to be the problem. You've got lots of foggy days up there, and even sunny days aren't too long or bright. Unless you have the ability to charge at dockside, you're going to need a healthy-sized solar panel to keep the battery charged. I'm no expert on solar panels, particularly their use in Maine waters; maybe someone else could comment.

Another possibility for charging is a small generator....the Honda 1000EU or even a smaller one.

Nothing kills batteries faster than chronic undercharging, so be sure you have a way...however...to keep your batteries (i.e., your investment) charged.

Bill
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Old 06-20-2007
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Bill,

I have always been under the impression that "sleeping" over a wet cell was a bad idea. I have always been instructed that wets (though the argument could be made for any battery) need their own compartment, with no electrical connections inside the compartment, either vented to the outside or where the gas can freely escape.

Now, I agree that if they are not being charged they are likely not gassing, and would have no effect, but what if you were running that genny at night, or the engine at night?

I am not contradicting you, I am asking if I am wrong. DO others, Hello for instance, have thoughts on this?

- CD
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Old 06-20-2007
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Assuming that the wet cells are properly ventilated, so you can't breath acid vapors while awake or asleep, I still think sleeping on them is a bad idea. Sleeping UNDER them would provide way more protection from cosmic rays, tortoises dropped by passing eagles (that's what killed Aeschulus, wasn't it?) and other hazards.

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Well, what if you were sleeping under them and they poped? (smile)

I do not remember the specifics on ABYC. I would have to look that up.

Still, another reason to go with AGM's.
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My comments were directed toward the original question, which came from a guy with a 22' sailboat and whose outboard, apparently, is not to be used as a source of charging. He stated that solar panels were the only source of charging. So, sleeping over flooded cells most assuredly wouldn't be a problem.

I don't think it would be a problem for most folks, either. I have four T-105s under my aft cabin berth, and two under my V-berth. Been there for many years. No problems. Many boats have batteries under their berths. And holding tanks, which are much worse, IMO :-)

Battery compartments should be well vented, of course, but flooded batteries generally don't emit a lot of toxic fumes unless they're heavily discharged and being heavily charged. Or equalized. So long as the battery compartments are vented, and the cabins are well ventilated, I don't think there's any cause for concern.

Of much greater concern is carbon monoxide emitted from running machinery. That's why I never run a generator while sleeping -- diesel or not -- and keep cabins well ventilated if the main engine is running.

Bill

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The major risk of nasty toxic fumes from wet cell batteries is if they are exposed to seawater—chlorine gas will form IIRC. Other than that, they're not that bad. Hydrogen is so much lighter than air and very good at escaping... unless you've intentionally not vented the battery compartments, it is very unlikely to trap enough hydrogen for any serious explosion risk.
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Hi Bill,

Thanks for the reply.

I have always been under the impression otherwise. The truth is that it probably would not make a difference, in all reality. However, assuming you could find or make another spot for the, would you not agree it would be worth the trouble? I know you are responding to this thread... I am asking your opinion on more of a general question.

Thoughts?

- CD
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Sea water and a salt water boat are real possibilities. ALso, depending on the confinement, it is in theory possible that enough fumes could not escape to build up in the area below. What if the person were smoking?

Again, these are theoretical questions, for the most part. I am not asking what is probably ok, I am asking what is RIGHT way... AND I SURE AM NOT QUESTIONING BILL (though I might dissagree a bit, smile).

- CD

PS Next we will start up on a dynapate and lightning bill... smile!!
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I'm with Bill on this one...have slept on 2 8D's at both ends of the boat for years (before converting to AGM's)...I don't think there is any reason to find another spot. Just ventilate when you are doing an EQ charge.
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