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  #1  
Old 02-23-2010
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Arrow Gimbled battery box?

Ok so before asking the advice of those more knowlagable than myself I went ahead and designed and built a gimbled batt box. I have it built and designed to handle 30 degree's of heel and it is for 1.....2....3.....4 GC-2 6v batt's. (yes thats 300lbs+!)

For those of you who know the 1st gen catalina 30 design, there is ample room with a little widening of the hole blow the old battery boxes local beneath the navstation.

Is this a good idea or should I scrap it? I did this as I did not want to spill acid and make the batts last longer.
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Old 02-23-2010
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Umm...why would you build a gimbaled battery box?? To support the weight of the batteries in a knock down or capsize, the framing would have to be MASSIVE. If you let that much mass get moving, it generally leads to bad things happening when it has to stop. I would rather have some acid spilled in the cabin than have four 70 pound batteries bouncing around unrestrained.
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Old 02-23-2010
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In Jeeps, the issue is more about strapping the silly things down to keep them from tearing loose (many Jeepers use dual batteries). I would much rather have my boat batteries locked down tightly than wiggling around. I can't see any benefit to giving them the ability to gimble (as opposed to gyre?).
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Old 02-23-2010
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I haven't seen your design, but abstractly speaking I wouldn't want my batteries gimballed. They are heavy beasts, and the less they move, the better.

With that much weight on a gimbal, you will need to limit their motion with some kind of inertial dampener system. Otherwise you are going to have a wildly swinging, abruptly stopping device that may be more prone to spill acid than leaving them how they are.

You will also need to consider the extra chafe/wear and tear on cables with them constantly moving.

The concern about acid spill at angles of heel can be addressed by switching to sealed batteries such as AGMs or Gels. AGMs don't suffer a performance penalty at angles of heel, either.

Any sketches of the design?
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OK so It would be easy for me to lock them down as I have built the batt bracket out of 1 1/2" angle iron and the boat is completely apart now and all testing has been done in my shop. I have accounted for the swinging with tension springs and the wieght is not a problem. BUT I hear the logic in it all. I was just concerned that the heeling would be bad for them as they are not very near the centerline and they are in the only place I can put them w/o hurting my storage and other systems. As to different batt's these are affordable and already mine and new! a 440AH bank.

You guys are saying just leave them locked down irregarless of the heel factor? Also to make room for them I had to cut the old very small box out and really would rather not have to build a leakproof tray. Will this pose a huge issue? I sail in the bay and will maybe see costal a few times over the next few years.

thank you

Josh
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Josh,

Even boats purpose built for "bluewater" do not have gimballed battery boxes/trays. That should give you an idea of how big a concern this is.

For coastal sailing, I would not be worried about spilling battery acid when heeled. The battery box that holds the battery will contain the acid in the very unlikely event some does spill. So it's really not an issue.

It's more important to make sure the batteries are completely immobilized. Moving batteries are dangerous.

If you were heading off-shore, you might look at additional safety and performance concerns relating to the batteries. But most of these are fairly easily solved by getting out of wet-cells and moving to AGMs. The AGMs cannot spill battery acid (don't have any) and continue to provide peek performance even when operating at high angles of heel. Problem solved.
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I'd point out that you state your batteries aren't on centerline, and that you've made a fairly massive gimbaled framework for them out of 1-1/2" angle iron.

Since they're not on centerline, and your gimbaling them, you're effectively creating a fairly large mass that will tip outboard as the boat heels to that side... reducing your stability a fair bit... 300 lbs... moving about is not something to ignore on a smallish sailboat.

You're also adding more weight to an already unbalanced setup.
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Old 02-23-2010
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as to the unbalanced setup I think they (catalina) did a fairly good job of accounting for this. The stove (CNG) and water system and head are all to port while only batteries and hanging locker are to starboard. I will also have the start battery to port so I believe we are safe. The battery tray was gimbled at 1" above the fulcrum so it swings very little, more or less just pivots a bit....BUT I will lock them down and scratch the idea....I did think it a novel idea but more reading here has proven an unnessasry and overly comlpicated one that would be better left out. Now to finish wiring.....$1000 in wires alone!
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Now If I could only stay away from working on the damn things I could sail more!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by degreeoff View Post
as to the unbalanced setup I think they (catalina) did a fairly good job of accounting for this. The stove (CNG) and water system and head are all to port while only batteries and hanging locker are to starboard. I will also have the start battery to port so I believe we are safe. The battery tray was gimbled at 1" above the fulcrum so it swings very little, more or less just pivots a bit....BUT I will lock them down and scratch the idea....I did think it a novel idea but more reading here has proven an unnessasry and overly comlpicated one that would be better left out. Now to finish wiring.....$1000 in wires alone!
Just curious, where'd you buy the wiring?? Sounds like you got rooked.
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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 02-23-2010
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In my experience, spilling acid from flooded batteries is not a huge concern, whether sailing in protected waters or offshore. In many thousands of miles of both, including some very hard rail-down sails to windward, I've never seen a spill from my T-105s.

That said, ABYC requires that flooded batteries be installed in such way that potential acid spills will be contained. So..... sorry, but to be compliant (and surveyors/insurers love to check on this) you're gonna have to rebuild the box or buy proper boxes for the batteries.

Bill
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