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MSam 04-01-2002 12:20 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
OK - really stupid question.

My boat has been dockside for 3 years on shore power. So, batteries remain fully charged.

This year I''m moving to a mooring. How do people deal with power issues?

Do batteries maintain sufficient charge to start the engine after a week or two?

I do not want to install solar panels or wind machines to charge/top off batteries. I suppose that only leaves me the option of charging via running the engine (if I have the power to start it). Is it practical to use a small generator to charge instead of using the engine?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Constantin 04-01-2002 07:34 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
How about switching to AGM batteries? They discharge only 1-3% per month. As long as you keep them disconnected, they will be OK. Ours stay fully charged on the boat, all winter (Maine), during haul-out. In spring, they''re still full. That''s a big convenience! Furthermore, AGMs require no significant maintenance... but their initial purchase cost (for quality brands like Lifeline) puts them in the flooded premium class.

In my mind, the biggest question is if your boat is a leaker or not. If your bilge pump engages at all, then some caution should be excercised. You''d have to monitor how many Amp-hours it consumes on average, figuring that stormy conditions probably lead to increased leakage.

With the right batteries and a isolated system (as in the batteries do not suffer from stray currents) your system will only require a quick charge when you return to the boat. The intervals you mention (1-2 weeks) are OK even with flooded batteries as long as they are not needed for other duties (bilge, etc.) Just run the engine with a quality 3-step regulator/alternator and a little time later, your banks will be full.

Peter_pan 04-01-2002 07:46 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
I cruised and anchored all over San Diego last spring for 2 months. I fortunatly have a power boat. I have a monster genny. 6.5kwh. It used alot of gas to do little. you can keep a fridge, freezer and charger going quit well on a small 700 watt Honda. I suggest that you use an independant battery to start your engine at all times. Unless you can rope start it in a pinch. Even cheep Wal-mart car batteries will hold suffiecient charge for over a month to start an engine.
Ole Pete

MSam 04-02-2002 11:45 AM

Mooring and Battery Power
Thanks for your reply.

I was actually thinking of getting a Honda 700 Watt generator. You really think it is sufficient to charge 2 banks of 2 x 6 V house batteries (starter battery is separate)?

I expect to be on the boat during the weekends and using the batteries - so, an appropriate generator might help since I hope to sail and not run the engine (also, using the diesel a lot in a low load state is not great for the engine).


Pangaea 04-02-2002 02:39 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
Hello MSam,
Yes, the generater will work but remember, they won,t be getting a true deep cycle, three stage charge. But I'' ve used them in the past and they will work.
I still have a Honda EX-350 that I used to use. I would hang it from my stearn rail with the exaust pointing aft to keep deadly gasses from entering the cabin and to keep the little oil "spits" from staining my cockpit, I would even go to shore sometimes and let it charge away. Um... may I say though... I personaly think that a turbine would be your best bet.
Can I ask why your so against them?


MSam 04-02-2002 03:29 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
Hi Dennis -

Regarding the turbines - maybe it''s just my lack of familiarity with rigging one up - also think they''re unsightly. Also, I have a hard dingy on davits hanging off my transom and I think mounting a turbine would in that area would be crowded - but maybe you''re right that I should re-explore the option.

Regarding the generator - I figured there are several advantages. The Hondas are super quiet. Also, by plugging the generator into the boat (harnessing the generator''s power from the 15 amp AC recepticle into the 30 amp shorepower socket)I would be able to charge the batteries through the charge regulator (?) and (I think) would get a full 3 stage charge. In addition - the generator would power my AC outlets throughout the boat (I don''t have an inverter).

I haven''t really looked closely at boats on moorings (there are no moorings where I used to keep my boat) - but I would think only a few have solar pannels or turbines - so I''m wondering how everyone who doesn''t have these items gets keeps power up. Maybe just running the engine....

Pangaea 04-03-2002 03:45 AM

Mooring and Battery Power
Good Morning MSam,
Here,s whats up with hooking a turbine up. You'' ve have the mast that the unit sits ontop of, (usually on the transom but also on top of the main or mizzen mast, on the front of themizzen mast or from the rigging) two supports that sit 90 degrees of each other, and three wires, red black and green, exiting through the bottom of the yaw bearing. Thats it! And the installation is really pretty simple, and once you put it up... thats it, period. (at least with the Air Marine).
Now... the problem I had with plugging the ac output from the gen. into the ships ac recepticle is that it made my charger make a strange hum; I didn''t trust that so I hung it on the stearn rail, made- up wires and ran the D.C. output to the batterys. May I suggest that if you choose to do this mount a weather proof plug on the transom and hard wire the D.C. charging wires to the batts. cause they will get in your way and their a pain to set-up and put away.
Solar pannels are very expensive for their performance. I don''t think their worth it unless you are doing some serious crusing and have a large battery bank and even then their only suplemental. They only give their rated power if the sun is shining directly perpendicularly on them and only if the sky is clear and only if it''s day time. If the conditions are perfect, you will only get about six to ten amps amps and thats after paying 800 to1,300 dollars. Their are smaller ones.
My Air Marine starts-up at six Kts. of wind with 1/4 amp of output, 2.5 amps at 10 Kts., 7.5 at 15 kts., 20 amps at 20 Kts. and up to 40 amps. If you want, I''ll get into it further in the next post, there''s much more!
Yes, people run their engines alot and it''s not good to run a diesel at a small load. Besides do you really want to use an expensive engine, worth thousands of dollars, to charge a couple hundred dollars worth of batts?
Well, I gotta go. Talk with you latter.


P. S. Can anybody shed some light on as to why my charger made that hum when ran by the generator?


Peter_pan 04-03-2002 05:31 AM

Mooring and Battery Power
Hi Pangea
Simple explination. Not sure how to spell it. sign wave. diferent types of generators produce electricity in different ways. Some are dirty. could also be sympathetic harmonics caused by the particular cps frequency that your generator was running at. Bottom line no smoke no problem.
Ole Pete

Pangaea 04-03-2002 07:35 AM

Mooring and Battery Power
Hi Ole Pete,
Yes that explains it quite well. I thought it might be something to do with sine waves ''cause I know some inverters hum. Thank you.
You wanna comment on charging deep cycle batts. with a portable generator by any chance?


MSam 04-03-2002 06:23 PM

Mooring and Battery Power
Hi Dennis -

Yes - I''d like to hear more about the turbine. They make turbines that mount in the rigging? That''s interesting. As I mentioned before, my transom is fairly cluttered due to the dinghy. No room to mount on a mast or masthead (I have a center cockpit S-2, cutter rigged). I''ve never seen a masthead mounted turbine, and that is not suggested as an option in any of the literature I''ve read.

Regarding the generator - you mentioned that you hooked the recharging recepticals directly to the battery. I''m wondering, if I went the generator route and plugged into the AC receptical, if the charging would take longer as the three pronged AC plugs are 15 amp plugs - vs the straight 30 amps you get when hooked to shore power?

Another benefit of charging via the AC receptical is it the generator would also power my hot water heater - which heats only via my boat''s AC system or via heat exchanger on the engine. Also, the Honda generators are very very quiet.

I saw Pete''s note on sine wave/non sine wave electrical currents. From what I have read, the small Honda''s are sine wave (and therefore produce the "cleaner" currents).

Although I mention the generator a lot, somehow I feel that it is "cheating" - if you know what I mean. Using the turbine has more of a feel of "living off the land" so to speak.

Still - is it just me? I keep thinking about the many cruising sailboats I have seen - many are kept on moorings and (from my recollection - which may be flawed) - few have solar pannels or turbines. So the must be either using their engines or using a generator to power up?


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