What gives you a charge? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 48 Old 05-11-2019 Thread Starter
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What gives you a charge?

After reading Maine, and so many others as well as talking with innumerable cruisers I see there’s no consensus on batteries. It’s almost as bad as anchors but a bit less charged.lol
So as I look to a load test and a decision on my 6 year old agms was wondering what you choose and why. Please add how the boat is used.
See 6v golf cart, Chinese flooded, and the like on one side and Lifeline AGMs, Fireflys in the middle and then the ultimate of LFP after extensive preparation before hand. At all levels everyone says they’re happy campers while cruising. Actually more interested in the downside of this decision as horror stories tend to be more informative.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #2 of 48 Old 05-11-2019
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Re: What gives you a charge?

I have 2 Duracell labeled 6V golf cart batteries from Sam's Club powered by a Balmar 70A alt with MC-614 regulator, two 195W solar panels with a Victron MPPT controller, and a 40A Sterling ProCharge shore power charger. 32 ft live aboard boat, with refrigeration, typical nav gear and lights, autopilot, VHF, stereo, etc. and charging for laptop, handheld VHFs and cell phones. All LED cabin lights.

All charge sources go to the house batteries. Echo charger takes care of the start battery.

Cruise periodically, with numerous 3-5 day outings and some 2-3 month trips. Have had the batts 3 years now, and they are still functional. In Bahamas this winter had my altenator fail and went almost 3 months on solar only, with 3 nights in there at a marina and connected to shore power. The batteries took a bit of a beating but have mostly survived. Will replace them next fall befor I head back out, though.

At $90 bucks per battery this is the best value approach for me. It's a physical challenge to replace them, though, so very thankful this only has to happen every 3-4 years.

Andy
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post #3 of 48 Old 05-11-2019
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Re: What gives you a charge?

We chose LFP after many years of GC FLA and haven't found the downside yet. Of course, there are people who have ruined expensive LFP installations, and given what I read on the web, I expect a large bolus of failed LFP in the years to come. Putting together an LFP bank is not rocket surgery, but I am amazed at many of the people I see charging into this area almost gleefully refusing to do even the most basic self-education. There are now dozens and dozens of "drop in" companies selling batteries as fast as they can slap them together. This won't end well.

Otherwise, put some basic protection circuitry in place, and keep your charge sources at appropriate levels, and you will be fine with LFP.

Note that basic protection circuitry and appropriate charging are also necessary for lead batteries, although people seem to enjoy killing them while fretting about how difficult it is to keep LFP.

FWIW, I spend less time on our LFP now than I did on our FLA. Like zero time, where I had to water the FLA, monitor them daily for charging purposes, worry about which loads to run at which times of day, etc. The LFP's is like being on shore power - we don't worry where the power is coming from and how/when it is being put back, and we use whatever power we need whenever we need it.

Mark
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Re: What gives you a charge?

Makes perfect sense. Canít understand spending big bucks for no good reason. See long term cruisers doing something similar as well. They are cheap, available and donít require special skills to live with.

s/v Hippocampus
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Re: What gives you a charge?

Mark what was your final cost? Did you diy the installation? How did you educate yourself to get it right?

s/v Hippocampus
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Re: What gives you a charge?

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Makes perfect sense. Canít understand spending big bucks for no good reason. See long term cruisers doing something similar as well. They are cheap, available and donít require special skills to live with.
I had observed several other long term cruisers that had gone this route successfully. The key is to suck it up and spend the money to get good charging gear so that the cheap low-tech FLA batteries can live as long and happy a life as possible.

Andy
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Re: What gives you a charge?

Still the science behind Li sure makes them sound like the best choice. Especially if youíre a full time cruiser and when you average out the cot over the years t doesnít sound to bad. Still uncertain to real cost of Li

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post #8 of 48 Old 05-11-2019
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Re: What gives you a charge?

I have six 6v flooded cell golf cart batteries in my house bank, two 12v FLA in my start bank and a separate 12v FLA on my anchor winch. My last set of Trojan 105ís lasted just on ten years with nominal maintenance, occasionally showing the tops of the plates and they never gave me any trouble. Consequently I replaced them with US Battery (far less expensive in NZ) of a slightly higher spec.

For charging I have an 80A Hitachi on the engine that does only the start and anchor winch batteries. I also have a big-frame 150A Prestolite alongside a 120A Bosch on a frame in front of the engine. These charge the house bank but can be combined with the start bank if required. These alts have switches to the fields so they can be isolated, run independently or together. Both are on smart regulators.

Then I have a solar array of 280W as a passive input when not on the boat as well as a wind gen that only runs when Iím on the boat. Wind gen is a Rutland so itís low efficiency. It tops out at about 15A but charges from 5kn of wind and itís nice and quiet.

Iím planning before our next trip to the islands next year, another 4 panels (600W) added to the solar array which will zip onto the soft roof over the cockpit. With this Iíll only need the run alternators for high demand appliances (water maker, electric califont, microwave), all normal boat demands will be met by the solar array and wind gen.
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Re: What gives you a charge?

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Originally Posted by bigdogandy View Post
I had observed several other long term cruisers that had gone this route successfully. The key is to suck it up and spend the money to get good charging gear so that the cheap low-tech FLA batteries can live as long and happy a life as possible.
The reality is that with a little care, cheap lead acid batteries can last really well. I totally agree with spending money on charging systems rather than expensive batteries. But then perhaps Iím just scared of highly technical stuff going wrong at inconvenient times.

Seems to me that buying lithium tech for four times the cost of lead acid may in the long run not be as cost effective. I reckon four consecutive sets of lead acid will outlast a set of lithium. An opinion, not a fact.
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However long ago...i read a thread mark started..getting the lead out.
I looked into lfp and said...this is a no brainer deal.
And im a seriously budget cruiser...
One of my better decisions.
Solar runs me...engine hasnt run for 2 months.
Check voltage in morning...yep as expected. Check voltage late aft...yep as expected. Only maintenance has been checking bolts on connections at 6 monthish intervals..make sure snug.

If i had a major brainfart and ruined them...id buy same thing again.

I hate batteries but these have been my buds...
Done diy
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