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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-09-2007
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Basic shore power requirements

My 1975 Newport 28 as only one GFC AC outlet in her cabin, and one of the POs had run a 14AWG 2-wire conductor directly from the 30A shore power inlet to the outlet. There is no breaker/distribution box between the inlet and the outlet.

This does not please me, and I haven't used it at all yet. However, my shore power needs are minimal at this point, and all I'd really like to set up is this one outlet and a charging system for the starting and house battery.

I'm thinking that I can get by for now with a distribution box like this and some kind of float charger for the batteries. It doesn't need to be a fancy gadget, just something I could plug into that AC outlet and have it keep the batteries fully charged, yet be of marine constuction.

Any and all suggestions about hardware will be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2007
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That should work, but be aware that the top two slots should be used for a 30A breaker that cuts off AC for the whole boat. I have a panel almost identical to that and the third breaker is used for the few outlets I have aboard. It is a fairly limited system, but I have fairly limited AC needs on my boat.

I would highly recommend you get a charger like this for use on your boat. To use it, merely plug it in... unplug it when you don't need it. However, it would be better if you have space on your boat for a larger AC panel, to get one and get a charger like this, and rig it to a fourth breaker, leaving the third breaker for the AC outlets.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-09-2007 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 07-09-2007
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The first charger is more in my price range right now, but I'm guessing I'd need two of them -- one for each battery -- right?

I also don't understand your setup with the 30A breaker to kill power to the whole boat. If all you have is one breaker going to the AC outlets, isn't that the breaker that would kill the power to the boat? If it's not going anywhere else, why do you need the separate breaker? Is it acting like the "Main" switch on your home breaker panel?

Thanks for all the info!
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The shore power outlets are generally 30 Amp circuits... so you need to have a distribution breaker that can handle that kind of amperage. That's why the two top breakers are needed to kill the incoming AC feed—essentially acting as the main switch on your home's circuit panel.

If you get a battery combiner, like the BlueSea ACR, you can use a single charger to charge both banks. The second can charge two separate banks without a battery combiner IIRC.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-10-2007
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The advert copy for the ProSport is ambiguous. The advert copy talks about "batteries" (plural) and "cables" (plural), but the picture shows only two cables (AC [input] and DC [output], I assume) and, unlike the Truecharge, mentions not the number of batteries.

Nothing like clarity, eh?

jaschrumph, having long experience with just about every kind of battery under the sun (I say "just about" because I assume there must be one or two I've missed) I think I can say with a fair bit of authority that batteries, particularly rechargeable batteries, will take no end of abuse... until you need them most. Then they will demonstrate their displeasure at being ill-treated. Lead-acid batteries can be particularly problematic as they emit hydrogen gas, which is explosive, during charging. So my recommendation would be not to skimp on the shore-power-powered charging system, lest you find yourself having to come into dock under sail some evening, with no running lights but a flashlight or two. No depthfinder. Perhaps no GPS.

Or, worse yet, out in the middle of nowhere, in trouble, with no radio.

Jim
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SEMIJim-

I think the problem is that the largest of the ProSport models can do multiple banks of batteries, but the smaller ones can not... and the photo is of the smallest unit from the looks of it.

Jas-

Skimping on the charging system is a bad idea... not only can it shorten yor battery life drastically, it can leave you with dead batteries when you need them as Jim have pointed out.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Additional points of information, vis-a-vis lead-acid battery charging (from a conversation I just had in another venue):

Friend: "The hydrogen is not corrosive (terribly explosive, however) but some oxygen is released, particularly while (over)charging charged batteries, which accelerates corrosion, and sulphuric acid vapors are often present and they are corrosive."

Me: "I bet it's the sulphuric acid vapours you smell, right? Kind of a sharp-edged, acid-y smell?"

Friend: "Yes. Hydrogen and oxygen are odorless."

So, over-charging and charging at too-high a rate may get you one or more of: Explosive hydrogen fumes, oxygen fumes--which accelerate corrosion, sulphuric fumes--which are corrosive in and of themselves, and excessive battery wear.

Jim
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