What's the best charging system? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-18-2008 Thread Starter
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What's the best charging system?

My generator gave up the ghost. Considering wind and solor
to replace it and add 6d batteries. We have a 50 gulfstar ketch. Any thoughts
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-18-2008
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Stay with the generator. Very difficult to be completely self sufficient on solar and wind especially if your use of electric is typical for a 50 footer. I am assuming live-aboard. Are you living aboard and cruising or just weekending?
What are 6d batteries? Do you mean six 4D's or six 8D's? Do you know your daily A/H usage?

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-18-2008
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I agree a generator is a reliable option.

More information about how you use the boat would allow for a recommendation that better meets your needs. If you are a cruiser that wants to run the engine or generator as little as possible, a high output alternator can be a good solution. You can get a 270 amp alternator (or even higher) that can quickly charge batteries (assuming the batteries are high quality and can absorb that charge rate). If you choose a generator, you must also use a battery charger or some sort. You would have a hard time finding a charger that will put out 270 amps.
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Steve...a 270amp alternator will destroy the bearings on most small marine engines due to the side loading. You can divide the load in half with a custom pillow block assembly in front of the engine to share the load if room is available. You are right about the batteries though. Very few will accept a 50% of capacity charge rate. Odysseys will and I think Lifeline also.

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Yes, it may not be the right choice for northbay, we really need more info. I was just pointing out that a (properly installed) alternator can be a very powerful charging source. In some situations it's the best way to go. I use a generator myself.

I've seen a setup with a 270 amp alternator that has been in service for years and has many ocean crossings with no engine bearing problems. The boat runs a freezer, fridge, and two small air conditioning units off an inverter. The only charging source at sea is the alternator.

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Steve...a 270amp alternator will destroy the bearings on most small marine engines due to the side loading. You can divide the load in half with a custom pillow block assembly in front of the engine to share the load if room is available. You are right about the batteries though. Very few will accept a 50% of capacity charge rate. Odysseys will and I think Lifeline also.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-18-2008
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I hope they carry a spare alternator. It isn't good to have a single point of failure. I'd also point out if they lose their engine, they're borked. IMHO, it is better to have some redundancy when it comes to charging the batteries. Having a genset, engine alternator, solar panels and wind generator would give you far more flexibility in an emergency.

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Yes, it may not be the right choice for northbay, we really need more info. I was just pointing out that a (properly installed) alternator can be a very powerful charging source. In some situations it's the best way to go. I use a generator myself.

I've seen a setup with a 270 amp alternator that has been in service for years and has many ocean crossings with no engine bearing problems. The boat runs a freezer, fridge, and two small air conditioning units off an inverter. The only charging source at sea is the alternator.

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There's not one right answer here. Not until you define the criteria can you say what is "the best charging system." That's why I said, if your goal is to run the engine or generator the least number of hours (to keep up with your demand) it's hard to beat an alternator. If you want system redundancy then, it's not likely your first choice.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-25-2008 Thread Starter
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I had originally thought 100 to 150 amps now figuring more between 80 and 110. Plus, what is done about hot water if you go with solar/wind or is this not considered a issue?
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If you're using solar/wind and only really need hot water for showers and such, using a solar shower or solar water heater can be a very effective solution, especially in the tropics.

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I had originally thought 100 to 150 amps now figuring more between 80 and 110. Plus, what is done about hot water if you go with solar/wind or is this not considered a issue?

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RE:Hotwater...
1. Take showers on days when you have run the engine to move the boat or charge the batteries fully.
2. Pay for showers at marina's...generally $3 or so
3. Use solar showers as Dawg suggests
4. Do 1 gallon showers...save your water jugs and heat water on the stove...supplement with the 80 degree water in your tanks in the tropics!

BTW..suggest you stay with wet cells if you go solar and wind. AGM's NEED to be 100% charged every couple of weeks.

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