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post #11 of 138 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

Welcome to the grid
We have a victron to monitor usage as well is charge

540 ah is plenty unless you want to be running a condominium. Remember usable amp hours are 1/2 of your total bank.

With the victron you can figure out our electric diet . How much you use and or each piece uses. From there you can figure out how to manage it. Doutful a heater figures in as it uses mega amps. Refrigeration dies also.


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post #12 of 138 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

Does you new Jennaeu have a generator? If not you'll be like the 95% of us. You need to also match your batteries, and charging mechanism to prevent uselessly spending money, or burning up/ sufficating any battery bAnk you have.

Electrical systems require some reading up on.. but most can easily understand the basics.


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post #13 of 138 Old 04-08-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

I am actually looking forward to delving into this stuff more, although I wouldn't consider myself OCD about it, it's the kind of thing that interests me.

As it stands right now we don't have any charging methods other than alternator or shore power. Generators have always been a pet peeve of mine, so at this point I anticipate my focus to be on clean, quiet energy sources.

Currently our cruising style has us frequently stopping in places that have shore power available, but I expect that will change now that we have a bigger faster boat, and will certainly change once I retire and we have time to venture to more remote locations for longer periods of time.

I underestimated how much power the Webasto draws, just based on the voltage drop it creates when it cycles on. I don't anticipate using it at all in the summer, but early and late season does get chilly at night. We didn't leave the heat on continuously, and we threw an extra blanket on the bed and turned it off overnight.

I don't think our boat is overly power hungry, with refrigeration being the main load. We don't use the power winch for much other than hoisting the main. I would assume if we used the auto helm a lot while sailing could consume a fair amount of power. That is something else I have never had, so I'm not sure how much I would use it. I am guessing only for short periods while I make trim adjustments etc, and maybe while I eat lunch. I'm the kind of guy who likes to be on the helm!

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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

You certainly don't need a generator, but you do need something more than an alternator, while out cruising, to be able to efficiently get a lead acid bank to 100% charge routinely. The alternator can play a role, but tons of solar or wind gens can help. Unless, of course, you're willing to replace the batteries more often. Either that or upgrade to Lithium, which doesn't care if you get back to 100%.


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post #15 of 138 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

Shock - do you know how old and how much use the batteries on the boat have had? That can make a big difference in what to expect from them going forward....

I would definitely second the previous suggestions about getting a Balmar Smart Gauge and a Victron battery monitor. These are awesome pieces of kit that will give you all the info you need to understand and manage your batteries and electrical system. Voltage readings alone can be somewhat useful, but they can also be very misleading.

And, if you haven't already check out Mainesail's Marine How To website....tons of educational material there!

For a point of reference, I have two 6V 215AH golf cart batteries on my boat, powered primarily by 400W solar, and can regularly go several weeks at a time without having to run the engine for a long period or plug into shore power.....running refrigeration, lights, VHF, chartplotter, autopilot, etc. as well as charging phones and laptops.

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post #16 of 138 Old 04-08-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

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Originally Posted by bigdogandy View Post
Shock - do you know how old and how much use the batteries on the boat have had? That can make a big difference in what to expect from them going forward....



I would definitely second the previous suggestions about getting a Balmar Smart Gauge and a Victron battery monitor. These are awesome pieces of kit that will give you all the info you need to understand and manage your batteries and electrical system. Voltage readings alone can be somewhat useful, but they can also be very misleading.



And, if you haven't already check out Mainesail's Marine How To website....tons of educational material there!



For a point of reference, I have two 6V 215AH golf cart batteries on my boat, powered primarily by 400W solar, and can regularly go several weeks at a time without having to run the engine for a long period or plug into shore power.....running refrigeration, lights, VHF, chartplotter, autopilot, etc. as well as charging phones and laptops.
The batteries were replaced in 2016, and as far as I can tell they have spent most of their life on a smart charger at the dock. It is a 2011 boat and only has 650hrs on the engine, so I don't think it was used a lot.

I suspect I will use the current battery bank for a few years and then upgrade to modern battery technology once I have figured out what our needs are. We have an enormous battery compartment...we currently have 5 lead acid 12v batteries and we have space for one more at least!

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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

A shunt goes in the battery negative line, as close to the battery as you can get it, before the battery is connected to the rest of the system. You can place a DC clamp meter in the same location.

Reason being that no matter where things are powered from, they all normally join into a ground bus that goes through that ground cable, so you can measure the consumption of everything from that spot. Then all you have to do is rig a wifi webcam to broadcast a view of that meter from that inaccessible place to somewhere you can watch it.(G)

For the best life of wet lead batteries, you actually don't want to use more than 50% of their capacity, 30% of you can get away with it. Or you can go down to 80% but that's really going to use up the batteries fa$ter.

There are also low-voltage cut-outs that you can install. The good ones are adjustable, you can set it to 11.9 volts and if you draw the battery down that low, it cuts off all power until you reset it. (Usually manually, some by remote fob.)

The voltage after loads have been shut, the resting voltage, is what you want to measure by. If the batteries drop a little lower when loads are on, it just means you really need some more battery to keep running those loads.
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
I underestimated how much power the Webasto draws, just based on the voltage drop it creates when it cycles on.
This is a diesel heater, correct? If so, then shouldn't the power be only for the fan (and maybe a small fuel pump)? If so, then that shouldn't draw more than 5A, and only when running - no? If similar to an AC runtime, then maybe 50% duty cycle, so 60-70Ah over 24hrs. Not too bad.

Disclosure: I don't know anything about these and am only guessing.

Mark

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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
The batteries were replaced in 2016, and as far as I can tell they have spent most of their life on a smart charger at the dock. It is a 2011 boat and only has 650hrs on the engine, so I don't think it was used a lot.

I suspect I will use the current battery bank for a few years and then upgrade to modern battery technology once I have figured out what our needs are. We have an enormous battery compartment...we currently have 5 lead acid 12v batteries and we have space for one more at least!

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We've got 6-6volt Lifeline AGM for720 ah. Daily diet in mid summer with refrigeration running is 65 ah. That includes many LED , radar and chartplotter and charging of phones etc. Caframo fans (3) and refrigeration use most of power. Don't forget the pumps etc. 360 usable ah. We never worry about electricity. Alternator is a 100 amp Balmar with ACR regulator .
AGM charge more quickly...but more expensive. Wilth proper equilization they have lasted 9-10 years and 500 cycles. That more thann covers their added exp see need of AGM.

The new lithium are super expensive and worth it if your sailing is mainly cruising or you switch from a desiel engine to electric. For most of us this type of battery is not cost effective.
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post #20 of 138 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: Realistic expectations for my house batteries

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
We've got 6-6volt Lifeline AGM for720 ah. Daily diet in mid summer with refrigeration running is 65 ah. That includes many LED , radar and chartplotter and charging of phones etc. Caframo fans (3) and refrigeration use most of power. Don't forget the pumps etc. 360 usable ah. We never worry about electricity. Alternator is a 100 amp Balmar with ACR regulator .
AGM charge more quickly...but more expensive. Wilth proper equilization they have lasted 9-10 years and 500 cycles. That more thann covers their added exp see need of AGM.

The new lithium are super expensive and worth it if your sailing is mainly cruising or you switch from a desiel engine to electric. For most of us this type of battery is not cost effective.
We’ve got 4ea 27 series AGM house batteries and one 24 series starting battery—also AGM. They are now 9 years old. We have dock power, but rarely use it. Motoring down the channel and back keeps the batteries charged for day sailing. When cruising, we might run the motor for about an hour per day to maintain hot water (via engine coolant) and to keep the voltage up to assure the 12V refrigerator keeps the beer, wine and perishables cold. We have a 70A Balmar (having downsized from 100A to minimize risk of damage to our 3GM30F water pump bearings from high loads) and have a Balmar smart charger set for AGMs. We don’t have a battery monitor, but have voltmeters on the panel to monitor bank voltages. We try not to get down to 50% SOC and normally keep the voltage from dipping below 12.3V. That has worked for us, so we don’t miss a monitor.

Our batteries stay in the boat for the winter and I periodically check them. As of last week the batteries are all at 12.5 V or higher. They have not been charged since haul out in October. Love these AGMs!
Agree that Lithium would not be cost effective for our use.
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