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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-17-2008
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Help from electric system guru's

I'm looking at the electrical system on my new-2-me Pearson 31 and thinking of ways I can spend some money.
Currently I am experiencing no problems with the system, but I would prefer to solve any problems before they arise. My usage now is mostly daysailing with an occasional overnight. She is kept in a marina plugged into shorepower (30A) when not in use. I am planning a coastal trip for next spring with no more than 1 or 2 nights on the hook before a marina stop (Admiral's rules) and wish to plan my electrical system for that time. Leaving specific amp/hours aside I would value ya'lls input on where I can get the most bang for my buck?
Engine/Alternator: Yanmar 20gm20f with OEM Hitachi alternator
Batteries: 2 Everstart 27dc-6 115 aH arranged as 2 seperate banks (probably don't have space easily available for anymore than 2 batteries).
Charger: Newmar RM 2020

Thanks in advance
Michael
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Old 07-17-2008
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Michael, your set-up sounds fine to me.. so long as you keep the charger going and don't pop anything.

If you're not experiencing any problems, I'd say leave it alone. If it ain't a new boat, I'm sure there are plenty of other things to fix!
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Old 07-17-2008
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Yes, if it works, and works well, then leave it.
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Old 07-17-2008
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if it ain't spoil don't fix it.
that said, what I would do is to beef up on Bank 1 (house & start) and have a small 60AH on Bank 2 as a back (not to be use till trouble comes knocking). Bank 2 would connect to Bank 1 via a battery Combiner hence #2 will often be charge when Bank 1 is charge via engine.
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Last edited by trantor12020; 07-17-2008 at 05:20 AM. Reason: additional comment
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Old 07-17-2008
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As set ups go, you are probably okay especially given that you don't have room for more batteries anyway. There's a whole bunch of gadgets and enhancers you could throw money at (ACR's, monitors, inverters super whoppdie quick charge gizmo's etc) but for basic cruising you don't need them.

Well, you might want an inverter - I have a 100w and 300w that use 12v plugs, they are suitable for low power appliances (tv, laptop etc..) and a 700w that alligator clips to the battery terminals that I've never actually needed to use (yet). 54 bucks at WM, just in case the Admiral decides she really needs the hairdryer (600w version) is worth it.

Everstart batteries are made for Walmart by Excide or Delphi; the deep cycles by Delphi. Assuming yours at 115ah are in fact deep cycle they go for mid-60's or so each. If you really want to spend some money replace them with AGM's instead of lead acid, but only if your current charger will handle AGM's charge rates. When replacing them make sure the new ones will fit and try to match them up. You don't really need 'dual purpose' and all the start/house stuff because that little Yannie isn't a diesel truck motor any deep cycle can handle it (purists can now start hissing in the back ground) Just don't crank the motor for more than the 5 seconds it should take to start it.
Do carry a generic jump starter (40 bucks from walmart) as a just in case. They make good ones with air compressors etc.. built in for a couple bucks more.

If you can find the room for even one more battery, make another bank and double up the bank you currently have as a 230ah bank - your batteries won't cycle as much.
Now if you really want to spend some money, get a motorcycle starting battery and make it bank 1, just for starting - that little Yanmar doesn't need much. The batteries are small and can fit anywhere you can run the proper wire size to it. Then wire your two current batteries into a single bank, more ah's per bank prevent cycling.

There's a couple ideas for throwing money at - if they don't work PM me and I'll send you my paypal number
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Old 07-17-2008
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Must be nice to have money to burn

Michael, what I'd do, in your position (and, come to think of it, we're kind of in your position) is I'd consider getting some type of battery condition/usage monitoring in place. If you contemplate an expansion of your battery capacity, number-/type-of-batteries-wise, make sure it's expandable/simple/flexible enough to handle potential future configurations.

My reasoning is this: You can't determine the state or condition of something without being able to observe or measure it.

We plan to cruise, some day. I had planned, before we did that, to certainly replace our two group 24 batteries with group 27 batteries. I had contemplated one-or-more of: Upgrading the Xantrex TrueCharge 10TB to a 20A charger, obtaining a small (?) solar panel that could at least offset the instruments while under sail, or getting a relatively sophisticated monitor of some type.

Then I bought a meter that looks like the lower-right meter in the left-hand group of four at the top of this page, only in a panel with a 6-position rotary switch, brand new, for a whoppin' $5 at a friend's garage sale and figured it would do for the battery-monitoring thing for the nonce.

So that's my upgrade.

Have fun

Jim
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Old 07-17-2008
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How old are the batteries, and how long have you owned the boat, Michael?

If the batteries are older than 3 years, or if you don't know their age, I would consider upgrading these $50 Walmart batteries. The peace of mind that you will gain will be worth it. Search the forums for battery threads and specific brand reccomendations. (I would opt for AGMs).

My assumption here is that everything in the DC system is working well. You should spend some time inspecting / cleaning all the contacts and cables. I would also invest in a can of Marine Battery Terminal protector (~$5) and a terminal cleaner (brush).

-Ed
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Batteries

If you want to move up a notch in batteries get four 6 volt golf cart batteries. Put two in series to provide a 12 volt cell. You'd have to look up the sizes but they may not take up any more room than you are using. The have much thicker plates, more capacity, and are a tougher battery in general. You can use what you have, but if you are looking to upgrade, this is a good way. Many coastal cruisers use them. The next step up from there (if you were planning to go once around) you would be looking at a set of mining car batteries.
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Old 07-17-2008
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If you're only planning on spending 1-2 nights on the hook, your current system is probably pretty good for that purpose. However, I think a larger house bank might be a good idea, even though you say you don't have room to expand it.

The reason I'm recommending a larger house bank is that if you're at anchor for two days, a 115 amp-hour battery bank only gives you about 50-60 amp-hours of electrical power before you should really recharge the battery. That is only 25-30 amp-hours per day. If you're using a standard anchor light, which can burn about 2 amps for each night...that will be about 16-20 amp-hours of electrical use alone.

Using a lead-acid battery for more than 50% of its capacity drastically shortens its lifespan, so it should be avoided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TxLnghrn View Post
I'm looking at the electrical system on my new-2-me Pearson 31 and thinking of ways I can spend some money.
Currently I am experiencing no problems with the system, but I would prefer to solve any problems before they arise. My usage now is mostly daysailing with an occasional overnight. She is kept in a marina plugged into shorepower (30A) when not in use. I am planning a coastal trip for next spring with no more than 1 or 2 nights on the hook before a marina stop (Admiral's rules) and wish to plan my electrical system for that time. Leaving specific amp/hours aside I would value ya'lls input on where I can get the most bang for my buck?
Engine/Alternator: Yanmar 20gm20f with OEM Hitachi alternator
Batteries: 2 Everstart 27dc-6 115 aH arranged as 2 seperate banks (probably don't have space easily available for anymore than 2 batteries).
Charger: Newmar RM 2020

Thanks in advance
Michael
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Old 07-17-2008
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Thanks

Thanks all for the prompt responses. Now for follow-up questions:
If I were to combine my current batteries into one bank (they are about 2 years old ehrily) and add a motorcycle battery as a dedicated starter or dedicated backup, What type of CCA do I need to be looking at?
Would this be a good place for AGM with it's lower discharge rate?
Would my current battery charger (Newmar RM2020) be able to handle mixed banks (Wet-cells and AGM)?
Also would I need to install an echo charger to ensure that I can stay on the house bank and keep the back-up charged at all times?
Thanks again in advance,
Michael
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Last edited by TxLnghrn; 07-17-2008 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Typo
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