Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away - SailNet Community

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Old 05-21-2012
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Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Hi All,
I'm still learning "how it works" with my first boat bigger that a day sailer and wonder what the best way to keep the refrigerator (house batteries) and air conditioner working while I'm away for a couple weeks at a time. The air is used in humidity control setting so it will come on every four hours. The fridge will have beer and sodas that I want to keep cold.

My logic tells me to keep the A.C. power on as well as the D.C. with the air cond., refrigerator and battery charger breakers on. I'm not sure about the battery switches. There are two house batteries and a starter. Are there any issues I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance.

Jeff
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Old 05-21-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Probably a dumb question but are you on shore power?
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Old 05-21-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Jeff, I'd forget about the beer and sodas, leave the reefer turned off. It doesn't wear out, can't catch fire, can't run down your batteries, etc. while it is off. The beer and soda will get cold again when you get back. (Throw 'em in a mesh bag and drop 'em to the thermocline, they get cold real fast that way.)

The A/C...I don't know where you or are how bad the mildew gets but many folks would suggest the same thing, turn it off while you are gone. Install some solar fans and let the boat stay hot and ventilated till you come back, less can go wrong.

But if you must run the A/C, I'd run it from shorepower, not battery. If the shorepower is interrupted, you don't want the A/C to be able to kill the batteries, do you?

You'll also have to leave on the battery charger, or at least a trickle charger, since wet cell batteries will self-discharge and take damage in 30 days without some charge. Or leave the charger off (less to catch fire, again) and put in a small solar panel to keep them topped up.

It all really depends on your priorities, how reliable the local power is, etc. You can write down the alternatives for what will happen "if" and see which are the biggest possible problems. Personally, I like things to be OFF so they can't get in trouble.
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Old 05-21-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Your air conditioning runs off of 110v (AC) and your refrigerator runs off of 12v (most likely).

I personally leave mine on 24-7 unless I am away for a long peroid of time. Problem for me is not the beer, it is the condiments or the other millions of things we keep aboard. Problem leaving it on im my opinion is not that something bad will happen, but you will start to get a frost buildup and require more defrosting. A fridge that is left open has a nice smell and stays nice. If you do plan to turn it off, make sure you prop the lid open so that air can circulate or you will have an awful smelling mess when you return (don't ask me how I know).

I seriously doubt your air conditioning runs off of your batteries. I have only once in my life seen a large enough house bank and inverter to run an air conditioner, and I think he had 8 or 10 4-D's. That means inorder to keep your air cnoditioner running, you have to leave the boat plugged into 110v.

That is a tough call. If the water is fairly clear and you are in a hot climate, I personally would turn it on. If the water is trashy or the climate is in teh 80's, I probably would not. Depending on the boat you have, there may be poor ventilation (a real problem with most production boats) which can create mold. The reason you need fairly clear water is (I am assuming) your a/c circulates water to remove the heat and if it gets cloggged up you will get a high head pressure and shut it down. This 'could' damage your unit (it has never damaged mine) but I have heard warnings.

So, there you go. To leave on your air conditioner, you will need to leave on your 110v (plugged into dock). To leave on your fridge, you will have to keep power running to it. Because your fridge will pull ballpark 50ah/day, you better the battery charger going.

Hope that helps.

Brian
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Old 05-22-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Thanks to everyone for the responses. I guess I wasn't totally clear. Yes, of course the air conditioning is on shore power. I said a.c. but meaning alternating current, not air conditioning. I'm going to try leaving it on for the next month to see how it goes. I do like the solar trickle charge idea.
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Old 05-22-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

The only 12v items we leave on while away are the fridges and bilge pump. The only 110v items are battery chargers, ice maker and the air conditioning (also set to dehumidify, not cooling). The inverter is set to manual, so it won't try to run the 110v systems if we lose power. We are plugged into shore power.

Biggest issue with the air conditioners is keeping the seawater strainers clean. A minimum of monthly is necessary, more often in the middle of summer.
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Old 05-22-2012
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jemill View Post
Thanks to everyone for the responses. I guess I wasn't totally clear. Yes, of course the air conditioning is on shore power. I said a.c. but meaning alternating current, not air conditioning. I'm going to try leaving it on for the next month to see how it goes. I do like the solar trickle charge idea.
If you are running your refrigerator, you can forget the trickly charge idea. Youu will need to replinish 50ah/day as an average. THat's a good-sized solar array, charge controller, etc.

Just leave your AC on and the fridge on. If the mainteance gets to be too much, change it. Like Ii said, we leave our on and the problem is the ice buildup and mold problem.

Brian
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Re: Battery & Breaker Configuration While Away

At least in Louisiana not having your AC on can lead to major house keeping problems to keep mold down in just a few days. You could replace the AC with a dehumidifier, but the draw is pretty much the same. However if the boat is going to be left for a long time think about a window unit from Lowes. For about $100 you don't have to worry about the sea strainer, and they are actually more efficient than many boats installed units.

Other than that I always leave on the bilge pumps, battery charger, refrigerator, and one set of cabin lights so when I return I can flip on the lights from the cabin.
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