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  #11  
Old 07-11-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

Leave the batt selector on "Both?" Why? You should trace out your DC wiring and find out how it's designed and installed, first, before you make that decision. The issues are all discussed in that link I sent you, and I know there's no way to to have even started on it yet, so happy reading. But the "Why?" is because your charger should work with the switch in the off position, as if you were leaving the boat. The charger should be wired to the batteries, not to the C post of the switch. If you need to have the switch ON, you should rethink the wiring. It could be wired to the 1 & 2 posts of the switch, which is just the other end of the same wire as if connected to the batteries.

You also seem to be thinking about using a lot of 120V appliances, although I understand the need for the air conditioning.

It would seem to me that you have two choices, without going "all minimalist"

1. Remain as plugged into shorepower and use 120V appliances like you were at home

2. Start learning to reduce your dependency on 120V (except for the AC).

Or something in between. But if you're only gonna be doing a liveabord, as compared to learning how to use boat DC systems in the expectation that you will eventually "pull the plug" , then that's fine, too.

Your boat, your choice. Good luck.

In answer to your energy draw, you really need to do an energy budget, also included in my link. West Marine also has one on their Advisors. http://content.westmarine.com/docume...r/Elecbugt.pdf
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Last edited by Stu Jackson; 07-11-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

For the purpose of this discussion, I am only talking about day to day life at the dock as live-aboards....not un-plugged
I would think that leaving the batt switch on “both” enables the use of the other 12v systems such as water pressure, stereo, cabin light when needed. In the “both” position, any 12v usage would come from both batt banks, using both banks a little less, and keeping both banks at an even state of charge.
Is this correct and will it help with battery life?
My charger is direct to batts, along with the bilge pump. I’m not sure how the refer circuit is connected. I will find out but I would assume it is through the selector switch #2 position (house bank). All other 12v circuits go through the selector (I think).
Stu, after checking out your links ( I have a lot of reading to do), I have no doubt you know what you are talking about so let me know if my thinking is wrong.

As for our intentions about living aboard, that is a subject that I would like to share in another thread. While it is my wife that is spearheading the live-aboard idea (I’m not putting up much resistance) she will insist on a home on the water and not a campout. That is where the dependence on 120v comes in. Baby steps as the saying goes.
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Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg353 View Post
In the “both” position, any 12v usage would come from both batt banks, using both banks a little less, and keeping both banks at an even state of charge.
Is this correct and will it help with battery life?
My charger is direct to batts, along with the bilge pump. I’m not sure how the refer circuit is connected.
If your charger is direct to the batts let the charger do the work and keep the selector on the house bank. Your charger is very small for what you want to do and may not always be able to keep up with the loads and can over heat and have short life if asked to do this type of service day in, day out.

I would strongly suggest a larger charger and one that is fan cooled and that can act well as a power pack/power supply when connected to the batteries.

These chargers will keep the batteries full and larger ones will remain in float even when using normal house loads. Some older chargers revert to an absorption phase voltage when pulled out of float mode by using too much current and dropping it back to bulk or constant current mode.

The newer "world voltage" chargers like the Sterling ProCharge Ultra or ProMariner Pronautic P are excellent examples of these newer style chargers. They also come standard with a temp sensor for the bank which is a critical piece of battery charging. They are very efficient and very tolerant of poor dock voltage conditions.

Feel free to read the link below to get a little more in-depth info on choosing, buying and installing a marine battery charger:

Installing A Marine Battery Charger
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 07-12-2012 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 07-13-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

Thanks Maine...looks like the ProMariner Pronautic 1215 or 1220 will be what I go with.
Do you think the 15a will be OK or should I go with the 20a? I like the idea of running the 12v items with the batteries still floating but I did not know if a 20a would be overkill for my needs. I do not see pulling more than 10a at any given time.

My current charger is mounted on the quarter birth wall but inside the engine compartment(about a foot from the engine). I guess its a blessing that it has lasted this long. It was installed there by the PO.
I think I may install the new unit in the same spot but outside the engine compartment in the quarter birth. The cable runs will not increase and the temp will be lower but I hope the fan noise is not an issue. This will allow easy access to view the front of the unit. Are there any issues with batt chargers inside the cabin?
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Old 07-13-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg353 View Post
Thanks Maine...looks like the ProMariner Pronautic 1215 or 1220 will be what I go with.
Do you think the 15a will be OK or should I go with the 20a? I like the idea of running the 12v items with the batteries still floating but I did not know if a 20a would be overkill for my needs. I do not see pulling more than 10a at any given time.

My current charger is mounted on the quarter birth wall but inside the engine compartment(about a foot from the engine). I guess its a blessing that it has lasted this long. It was installed there by the PO.
I think I may install the new unit in the same spot but outside the engine compartment in the quarter birth. The cable runs will not increase and the temp will be lower but I hope the fan noise is not an issue. This will allow easy access to view the front of the unit. Are there any issues with batt chargers inside the cabin?
Personally I would suggest the 30A model. It will run cooler, working less hard than a 15A or 20A, and has better "lugs" for the battery wire connections. The fan will also run less. This fan is pretty quiet and the nice thing is that it is variable speed so only goes as fast as it needs to, which makes it quieter.

What about in the lazarette up on the bulkhead behind the galley? I have done an O'Day 30 there and it works well and is out of the way.

I would also strongly suggest the EXCELLENT remote display they offer rather than mounting it in the cabin so you can "see the front". It can be added down the road but it is by far the most comprehensive remote display I have seen and will do all but wash your dishes.. It has EVERY feature that the front panel has so no need to look at the charger 24/7/365...
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: Living aboard and battery charging

I just want to echo MaineSail and say that the best way to kill you batteries is to tie them together in parallel. Basically, you'd be defeating all that fancy circuitry in your charger that's trying to match the charge rate to each battery's state of charge. That's OK if you're bringing them back from a low charge or starting your engine, but not on the long term.

For living aboard, a monitoring system is a big plus. It'll give you a feel for your energy budget, and also alert you to potential problems. A high-quality charger, 30A or more, is a must. After 19 years living aboard my present boat, the charger has only been turned off for changing batteries. I got 13 years out of the first set (Surrett), and have 7 on the current Interstates, which has more than paid for the charger.
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