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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems > Battery Charging Assistance
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Thread: Battery Charging Assistance Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-08-2012 04:28 PM
asdf38
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
What's the advantage of turning off the switch, vs. turning all breakers except the bilge pump one off?

If the bilge pump is wired through a fuse, how will you know if it blew the fuse (unless the boat sinks)?

It's good to have an indication that the bilge pump has failed, that is provided by a tripped breaker.
The idea is that you can flip the main battery switch and walk away from the boat knowing that everything that should be off is off. Otherwise you rely on yourself to remember to flip all the individual switches to the correct state (on or off) and you might mess that up. You could leave a light on in the V birth and kill the battery, thus killing the bilge pump, or forget to leave the pump on with the same result.

The breaker/fuse indication is an issue if you're worried about it. One option would be an indicator LED. Bluesea sells small ones that use about 2mA, you could wire it to the bilge pump circuit all the time if you wanted. There is also nothing stopping you from wiring a discrete breaker not fed from the panel and putting it in a visible spot.
06-08-2012 03:47 PM
mitiempo
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

While not everybody turns the main switch off when leaving the boat many do. If the bilge pump was on a breaker it would be off with the rest of the panel.

The bilge pump should be fused for the pump used, usually between 3 and 10 amps. This avoids the issue of a sticky float causing melted wiring or worse. Most panels like Blue Seas use 15 amp breakers which is too large for most bilge pumps while appropriate for the 14 awg wiring commonly used.

Many powerboats are delivered with the bilge pump(s) wired direct to the batteries and fused with a momentary switch for manual operation installed in or near the panel.

Confirming that the bilge pump works with the manual switch should be done regularly.

Many use the Rule type of bilge pump switch with internal fusing and manual/off/auto positions. The addition of a breaker before this is not necessary.

Many advise the VHF be installed direct and appropriately fused as well, the theory being that in an emergency situation it will work even if it is the last item to do so.
06-08-2012 03:34 PM
MarkSF
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

What's the advantage of turning off the switch, vs. turning all breakers except the bilge pump one off?

If the bilge pump is wired through a fuse, how will you know if it blew the fuse (unless the boat sinks)?

It's good to have an indication that the bilge pump has failed, that is provided by a tripped breaker.
06-08-2012 03:26 PM
mitiempo
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
If you leave the switch off, won't the bilge pump then be disabled?
The bilge pump should be wired direct to the battery through the appropriate fuse - not through the panel.
06-08-2012 03:24 PM
MarkSF
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I agree
And to add one thing - most often the shorepower charger is wired direct to the batteries. If this is true in your case the switch can be off when on shorepower. I would check the charger outputs to be sure.
If you leave the switch off, won't the bilge pump then be disabled?
06-08-2012 02:32 PM
nolesailor
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Thanks for the responses everyone...and Stu, thanks for posting those links, they were helpful in further explaining the 1/combine/2/off switch...

Thanks again,
Brian
06-02-2012 12:59 PM
Stu Jackson
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Figure out what you have, most likely the alternator output goes to the C post of the 1-2-B switch. Then try these improvements:

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams [added 9/21/11]

[added 1/31/2012] This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com

You should never have to leave your switch ON when you're away from the boat. The charger should be able to go directly to the house bank for charging.
06-01-2012 11:09 PM
mitiempo
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
That said, dealing with the switching is a big pain. A great upgrade is a battery combining relay, or an echo charger (I just installed a relay). Lots have been written about them here. Both serve to effectively combine the batteries automatically when the alternator is running. This means that if you can start off the house bank (you nearly always can) then you can avoid switching at all. Just switch to house motor, sail, motor - no switching. The starter battery is just there in-case you leave the lights on and kill the house.
I agree
And to add one thing - most often the shorepower charger is wired direct to the batteries. If this is true in your case the switch can be off when on shorepower. I would check the charger outputs to be sure.
06-01-2012 10:57 PM
asdf38
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

That all sounds good to me. I think the easiest way to sum things up is to say that the batteries should only be on All or Both when they are charging. Any other time combining dissimilar batteries means that one battery will end up charging the other. This just wears them both down over time. It's probably ok to start from all/both only if you're trying to save time or avoid forgetting to switch to all/both after the engine is running. But it's probably ideal to avoid combining batteries until after the engine is running.

That said, dealing with the switching is a big pain. A great upgrade is a battery combining relay, or an echo charger (I just installed a relay). Lots have been written about them here. Both serve to effectively combine the batteries automatically when the alternator is running. This means that if you can start off the house bank (you nearly always can) then you can avoid switching at all. Just switch to house motor, sail, motor - no switching. The starter battery is just there in-case you leave the lights on and kill the house.
06-01-2012 04:24 PM
night0wl
Re: Battery Charging Assistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolesailor View Post
NightOwl,

Thanks for the extensive response...when I first started reading I wasn't sure I could provide all the requested information...but all of your assumptions were correct!

I think switching to the house battery while out makes good sense, and combinging when charging/plugged into shore power. A silly question: is the starting battery usually bank 1, or does it not matter, configuration wise, if it's 1 or 2? I will need to confirm, but I seem to recall the Catalina literature indicating bank 1 was house, bank 2 was starting. Didn't know if there was a general rule of thumb, and if I'm backward, would indicate re-wiring, etc, by a previous owner.

Thanks again for your post!

Brian
Doesn't matter...manufacturers wire boats differently. Actually, I should may dealers wire them differently since batteries are installed at dealer prep.

For Beneteau (my manuf), we dont even have the traditional dial based battery combiner. Instead, Beneteau currently uses a set of 3 twisting knobs. The first is a common negative, the second is engine bank, the second is house bank. Same concept though...various combinations of pegs in the vertical position activate and combine the battery banks.

But the concepts still hold. When charging, combine....when on shorepower, doesn't matter, and isolate your engine bank in order to be able to start the boat in case you run down your house bank too low!
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