Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 39 Old 02-17-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Back to the OP's original questions;

Absolutely YES!

BEFORE buying a new alternator, make sure that you are making the best use of the alternator and batteries that you have - thus my suggestion that he get a multi-stage voltage regulator. This is especially true if he is motoring a lot.

Solar would /could help. However, I suggest that he start with getting the alternator and voltage regulator squared away first. I have added a small , portable, 60 Watt folding solar panel on my much older, much smaller boat. I use the solar panel to help keep my batteries above 60% SOC (per my SmartGauge - which is a whole other can of worms), and it does a fine job of this on sunny days. The primary load is from my Dometic self-contained 12V refrigerator, which seems pretty efficient to me. This little panel keeps up with my power draw in Rhode Island during the day. The panel cost me ~$130 (now <$100) including a MPPT controller... but this is getting away from his question.

I believe that others have already pointed out that AGMs would charge quicker. However, installing AGMs WITHOUT either (a) adjusting the voltage output of his Hitachi (assuming that this can be done) or (b) adding a multistage regulator would be to set himself up for disapointment as the AGM batteries would likely die prematurely. I see this frequently in the Tacoma truck forums from owners that wanted "the best battery" because their OEM battery died after 4 years. Three years later they are *****ing about how Optima batteries are junk because they killed them in their Tacoma by not adjusting the alternator output.

Read up on Balmar voltage regulators at the link that I posted earlier, and this one from Maine Sail; https://marinehowto.com/programming-...age-regulator/
Totally agree
I have the BalmarAR5. Great info and programming ability.
Both the Shorepower charger and Alternator charger should have these capabilities.

You cant get this Information or flexibility from internal regulators.
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post #22 of 39 Old 02-17-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

I'll disagree slightly in that without knowing what state his current batteries are in, and without knowing his daily usage (he has been guessing at this from his SOC meter, which won't tell him how much he uses), adding any additional components to his system at this time is a waste of money.

He will never have the charging capacity to take advantage of quicker AGM charge times (if this actually exists in practice), so AGM is a waste of money for that reason alone, but maybe he needs to place them out of the way, or doesn't want to ever have to check water levels. Then, gel is a better solution IMO.

I should also point out that he just can't add an external regulator to his system like some are suggesting. The alternator itself needs to be modified for the regulator, and likely the whole shebang needs to be rewired from batteries to alternator on a different circuit than what now exists. It is more than the cost of the regulator itself - particularly if a professional is needed to accomplish.

For all he knows right now, he could be golden with his current setup and usage pattern and just a new set of batteries (of any flavor). Or not. No one knows.

Mark
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post #23 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

There is the immediate fix to his current situation which the batteries may solve when tested but then there is the subject of the thread which the OP has posted - “ Re: Electrical Upgrade on Bennetau Oceanus”.

Many of the suggestions are to do just that. Balmar ACR5 are not that complicated that a DYI can follow the basic instructions provided or if you get stuck call Balmar support ( very good).

Congrats to the OP in wanted to improve one of the costliest systems on the boat and trying to educate himself / herself. It isn’t Rocket science or magic but easily understandable.


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post #24 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

AN electrical upgrade is often a big and expensive project. But it can be done on stages.

I have owned the boat with its OEM system. Over the years I did the following: blue items remain in use

solar panels
new batts - gel
installed monitor multi stage charge regulator
solar charge regulator
upgraded alternator and smart regulator (2x)
new AGM batts added AGM start batt +batt switch, and batt box
added echo charge
installed inverter and outlets w/ breaker panel
added 110v battery charger
added nav light indicator panel
rewire 12v mains w/new busses, ANL fuses, mini, standard and maxi blade fuses
upgraded to Link20 monitor
changed lamping to LED interior and nav lights

Admittedly this adds up to a lot of money and it was a lot of work... almost all done in winter storage when I was not using the boat and didn't need a 12v system. in progress photo of main 12v wiring...

batteries located beneath berth in aft cabin

Future:
new batteries
new 12v system monitor
Attached Thumbnails
2012 batts.jpg   P1020931 (991 x 674).jpg   P1080003.JPG  
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Last edited by SanderO; 02-21-2020 at 07:17 AM.
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post #25 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

The OP stated he was considering an electrical upgrade to allow him to stay on the hook for two days without worry, then back to shore charge. He said his present system does not allow this, but later implied that his batteries may be toast. It is a possibility that with new batteries, his current system will fulfill his requirement without further investment. He stated quite modest electrical usage, so 400Ah of new batteries may easily provide this.

If he does want to invest in his primary off-grid charging source, for $30 more, the MC-614 is a better regulator choice than the ARS-5. While regulators are fairly easy to install, converting the alternator to allow external regulation ranges from simple to needing a lot of experience, or even a professional. For example, if his OEM alternator is an N-type, then he may well be over his head in a conversion. I've not worked on a Hitachi, so can't comment on what is needed to convert it.

There is also the matter than a converted small OEM alternator does not necessarily provide a huge leap forward in charging ability. Some will plain burn themselves out, and others will only put out larger current for a small amount of time before they dial back to low current due to heat. Again, I can't speak as to the Hitachi in this regard.

However, it is always a good thing to upgrade electrical systems. Personally, I'd start by checking the batteries and replacing if needed. Then I'd focus on the charge system wiring. Most OEM wiring is too small in this regard, and the charging wires often don't go directly to the batteries - instead, using other less optimal wiring paths to return. Of course, making sure all contacts and connectors are clean and good. These things will need to be done before an alternator conversion to external regulation, so they are on the glide path in upgrading.

And make sure any upgrades and wiring are as neat and good-looking as SanderO's!

Mark
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

What Mark said...
My boat's electrical system at purchase was suited for weekend / stay aboard on a mooring/anchor use.

As I figured out how I wanted to use the boat... I made all sorts of upgrades for the use... solar to trickle charge the batts... because the boat stayed on a summer mooring was the first upgrade.

When I got around to convert my "ice box" to a refer... I decided to use engine drive and use a freezer temp design. I realized I used the motor for a few hrs each weekend... so why not get more amps out of it when I did. This lead to a larger alt with smart staged regulation.

When I decided to head south to the Caribe for a few years... I decided to increase batt capacity...


My last and most major upgrade was upon return from the Caribe... when I needed new batts... I decided to upgrade all the main wiring, busses, fuses add a higher output alt and a new monitor and smart regulation. Batts went in in the Spring and the wiring upgrades over the next winter lay up. This last bit of work took several weeks of planning, layout, and so on. In the process I produced wiring diagrams for the boat... some of them are attached.

Wiring should be labelled... not all of mine are. It's essential if you have to trouble shoot,
Attached Thumbnails
1 - Electric Schematics - 12v main power.jpg   1 - Electric Schematics - 110v AC wiring.jpg   1 - Electric Schematics - 12v monitor.jpg   1 - Electric Schematics - engine.jpg   1 - Electric Schematics - mast wiring.jpg  

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Last edited by SanderO; 02-21-2020 at 10:00 AM.
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post #27 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

An alternative to the navigation light installation that @SanderO has posted is to mount the running/navigation light switches at the helm.

I grew tired of having the same dialog with crew every time that I wanted to turn the running or steaming lights on;
me at the helm: "Please turn the running lights on."
crew down below: "how do I do that?"
me: "flick the switch that says 'Running Lights' to the 'ON' position."
crew "what switch, where?"
me: "the switch panel is under the companionway ladder. I pointed it out to you when you came aboard. You watched me flick some of the switches on before we got underway."
crew: "Oh, you mean this big black knob that says '2, ALL, 1, OFF'?"
me : "No, to the left of that there are two rows of switches. Find the one labeled 'Running Lights' and flick it on."
crew: "OK - got it"
[ audible click ] [ chartplotter goes off ]
me: "did you just flick a switch?"
crew: "yes"
me: "which one?... Nevermind, can you please come up here and take the wheel?"
Now I simply flick the switch that I want while at the helm. The LED on the panel goes from red to green to indicate that which circuit is active. This also freed up 3 breakers on the main panel.


[EDIT] For some reason SailNet flipped the second picture upside down...
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DSCF1975.JPG   2018-06-13 12.56.55.jpg  


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Last edited by eherlihy; 02-21-2020 at 12:50 PM.
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post #28 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
An alternative to the navigation light installation that @SanderO has posted is to mount the running/navigation light switches at the helm....
Well sure... if you have crew. I sail most often alone and with my wifey who knows how to do only a few "sailing things".;; like turning "things" on or off. Her main concern is safety and I don't have to tell HER to turn on nav or anchor lighting. Also I don't remain behind the helm but forward in the cockpit... protected and more comfy and closer to my instrument displays and AP and engine controls. And if I have to flip a switch it takes a few seconds to go below and do it.

Whatever works for how you sail!
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

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Well sure... if you have crew.
It also makes it easier for me when I single hand. I remain at the helm when I single hand. If the weather is snotty, I put the windshield up on the dodger, and the bimini up over the cockpit.

Agree, whatever works for you.


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post #30 of 39 Old 02-21-2020
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Re: Electrical upgrade on Beneteau Oceanis

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
It also makes it easier for me when I single hand. I remain at the helm when I single hand. If the weather is snotty, I put the windshield up on the dodger, and the bimini up over the cockpit.

Agree, whatever works for you.
sure... I don't have a bimini and set up the boat to be operated from the forward more protected location. When I come along side... for fuel or water etc... I do the final bit by hand steering.... and that and steering to a mooring pick up buoy is the only time I am at the helm... except when conditions are such that I can steer better than the AP.... or it's just thrilling to helm the boat.

Doing the helm is the most boring thing to do in 99% of sailing.

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