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We have a 2014 Jeanneau 44 DS, and I am amazed how the batteries deplete on a long sail, with just the electronics/radio/GPS/bilge running. I did a 10 hr trip last season and although the batteries weren't depleted I was happy to start the motor and charge a bit as we moved to a mooring. How do people do it leaving a boat on a mooring for extended periods? I notice not all boats on mooring have solar or wind generators set up. Do their owners come out once a week and check on them? What is a reasonable expectation of a battery maintaining the bilge pump alone? Weeks? A month?
 

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A lot of boaters just destroy their boats, due to improper maintenance. Batteries are probably the first to go. Returning them to full charge is necessary to extend life. Solar is the way to go, it rises everyday, the wind doesn't. If the batts are fully charged before departing the mooring, everything is shut off and the bilge pump doesn't cycle, their self discharge over a week or two probably isn't significant. Battery life to run the bilge is dependent on how many cycles the pump requires. A daily convenience pump for 3 seconds isn't going to take much juice. There is no battery bank on earth that will keep up with a real leak until the owner gets back. For that, you want a seriously loud alarm.

10 hours shouldn't be too much stress on your bank, although, it would be notable. Depends on how big your bank is and how well you've maintained them. Do you have a fridge/freezer? Those are big loads, especially to get up to temp the first time.
 

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Thus is 2 different questions:
Power consumption at sea
Power consumption when everything is off.

When off, everything will be off except bilge pump, maybe AIS - Both negligible draw

When Electronics are in just your chartplotters screen brightness may consume close to 4 amps. My old one did! It was amazing.

An iPad screen draws nearly 2 amps because when I have it plugged in and up bright it is lucky to actually charge at all.
 

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You might want to find out why the bilge pump is coming on...
I swear my bilge would have water in it on dry land in the middle of the Sahara.

Already looked into - replaced and it doesn't run much. Sorry, I guess I should have made it clearer regarding how do people handle the long term mooring situation.
As Minne stated solar is what your looking for. I've got a small 50 watt (4 amp) panel that measures roughly 2ft x 2ft. I've got a small boat with only two group 27 batteries though, and only have to power an auto-pilot and chart plotter when under sail. I'll leave it to others to recommend a size for your boat. Although I stay plugged in at a slip, it would have no problem keeping me topped up on a mooring. Just make sure to spring for a decent MPPT controller.
 

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We have a 2014 Jeanneau 44 DS, and I am amazed how the batteries deplete on a long sail, with just the electronics/radio/GPS/bilge running. I did a 10 hr trip last season and although the batteries weren't depleted I was happy to start the motor and charge a bit as we moved to a mooring. How do people do it leaving a boat on a mooring for extended periods? I notice not all boats on mooring have solar or wind generators set up. Do their owners come out once a week and check on them? What is a reasonable expectation of a battery maintaining the bilge pump alone? Weeks? A month?
We leave our boat on a mooring all season with no solar charger. With our coastal sailing habits and our boats simple electrical needs, we've reached a workable system of sailing with minimal charging via the alternator.

First, you may want to look into the bilge pump. Ours is raised about 10 gallons above the deep sump. In that position, the pump never comes on(I test it regularly).

Our manual bilge pump is what we use to clear the bilge. In a week, we might clear a quart of bilge water(stuffing box, anchor chain locker, deck leak?), or the pump won't prime. But that little amount of water can wreak havoc with an automatic bilge pump as it sloshes around. Mostly, the manual pump gives me an indicator that something is leaking if it clears more than normal.

Next, our power needs are pretty small in comparison to most. We have no refrigeration (there's plentiful ice where we sail). New devices (ipads, phones) with a small shipboard GPS don't require much power. Our biggest draw is an wheel pilot, but that's minimal compared to larger systems(our boat has an easy helm).

We like to sail to where we're going, as much as possible. Our house bank (2 Grp 27's) allow us to sail for a few days without worrying about charging, at all.

On the mooring in season - when I make a weekly, or so voltage check - the batteries read about an average of 12.5-6 V. Not fully charged(rare) but not undercharged, seriously.

The starting battery is always fully charged(we have a high-ish output alt).

I keep thinking I'll add a small solar charger but then we find a way to cut power usage and things are working well for us. And I'd worry about overcharging(not a problem now).

We get an average 5 years out of our house batteries which are, last I knew, $100 or less. It's a simple system that works for us.
 

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Long term, you either have solar and/or wind, or you make sure to get out at least every week and motor long enough to recharge the batteries.

The condition and size of the battery bank and the draw of the loads makes a huge difference. You might want to put a Hobb's Meter or cycle counter on the bilge pump, they are simple ($40?) electronic devices these days, that will either show you how long the pump is really running, or show you how many times it has turned on. That gives you an idea of whether it is really stealing power, maybe because of a stuffing box that needs to be repacked, maybe just rain down the mast.

But even when you check all the loads...conventional wet acid batteries take permanent damage (sulphating) after as little as 30 days of just standing still and self-discharging, so putting in solar is going to pay back in the battery longevity.
 

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Hello,

I have had various boats on moorings since 2004. I just installed a small 20W solar panel. Before that, the only charging source was the engine. I sail frequently during the season and motor in / out of the harbor, which takes about 10 minutes. Doing mostly day sails, my batteries would stay mostly charged. Electrical loads are pretty small: chartplotter, autopilor, VHF (mostly just listen), maybe some music. When we cruise for a weekend or a few days we typically stay in a marine and use shore power for elec and to really charge the batteries.

I tend to get around 5 years from low cost, low quality 'deep cycle' group 27 batteries.

This year I decided to 'upgrade' and bought 2 Golfcar 6V batts for the house and one real deep cycle for the engine. With the small solar panel to keep everything charged I hope to get 6+ years from this set of batteries.

Barry
 

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Unless the bilge pump is actively running, which is rare, the pump draws no current from the batteries. Therefore, even a small solar panel, one similar to those that are placed on the dashboard of a car and plugged into the cigarette lighter socket, are more than sufficient to maintain a fully charged state.

In my case, my big drain is my refrigerator/freezer, which draws 5 amps when running. The thermostat maintains the RF temperature at 40 degrees, and it kicks on and off about every 5 minutes, runs for about 2 minutes, then shuts down again for another 5 minutes on days when the outside temperature is 90 plus degrees f. With 500 ampere hours of house batteries, it takes a very long time to drop the house batteries SOC to 60 percent. My 100-watt solar panel takes care of this on bright, sunny, summer days.

All the best,

Gary :cool:
 

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I manage to live on a mooring for several months using two 75 watt old Siemans solar panels. That includes running at least one sometimes two Engel refrigerators. You might want to look at some of the little things that draw current onboard. Things like your propane gas relay:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: RETHINKING PROPANE: Energy Savings
Leaving it on when underway or at the mooring and not cooking can add to the unnecessary amp draw.
 

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I manage to live on a mooring for several months using two 75 watt old Siemans solar panels. That includes running at least one sometimes two Engel refrigerators. You might want to look at some of the little things that draw current onboard. Things like your propane gas relay:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: RETHINKING PROPANE: Energy Savings
Leaving it on when underway or at the mooring and not cooking can add to the unnecessary amp draw.
Isn't that solenoid a normally closed one though? As in, it only draws power when switched on, and none if switched off and closes in the event of power loss? It would only draw current if the rocker switch is turned on near the stove, or are you saying that the relay itself draws one amp at all times?

I'm asking as I use a two burner folding stove with 1 lb propane bottles near the companionway on my boat, but my experience with stoves, solenoids, and relays are limited to when I'm chartering.
 

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Isn't that solenoid a normally closed one though? As in, it only draws power when switched on, and none if switched off and closes in the event of power loss? It would only draw current if the rocker switch is turned on near the stove, or are you saying that the relay itself draws one amp at all times?

I'm asking as I use a two burner folding stove with 1 lb propane bottles near the companionway on my boat, but my experience with stoves, solenoids, and relays are limited to when I'm chartering.
Yes, you are correct it will only draw power when energized. But, if people get lazy in not it turning off when they are on board and just use the the stove valves to turn on the burners it is becomes an amperage sucker. I got rid of my on board propane system and also just use the one pound canisters on a single burner. I use the oven for pan storage (took out the burner there too). A much simpler system with less electrical components to fail. Plus no worries about aging propane hoses leaking.
 

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My batts are generally topped up and we conservatively use electrical draws. Changed to all LED lighting and don't have an electric frig. Solar keeps them up when we're not aboard... and high output alt works a charm. AP has a mos fet drive and uses little amps too.
 

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Another factor is parasitic load. Some electronics will have a small draw, even when they are off. To preserve a battery bank, if you have a lot of toys, it's best to disconnect it from unnecessary loads, while away. This can be done with On/Off switching of the battery cabling to the breaker panel/bus, with a bilge pump directly wired.

I have a feeling the OP charges at a slip and was just wondering about what people do at moorings, after suffering such a capacity loss underway. If at a slip, they would have one of these issues:

The bank does not have the capacity they think (lowers due to age)
There are more loads on the bank than considered (fridge, electric toilets, fresh water pump)
The bank is not actually fully charged, when they leave the slip (faulty charger, bad connections)

I'm not sure how the OP is assessing battery capacity, but voltage, while loads are applied would read lower than normal. An amp/hr counter is only as good as it's operator, in that they must be told the proper capacity and be calibrated for full.
 

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....

The bank does not have the capacity they think (lowers due to age)
There are more loads on the bank than considered (fridge, electric toilets, fresh water pump)
The bank is not actually fully charged, when they leave the slip (faulty charger, bad connections)

I'm not sure how the OP is assessing battery capacity, but voltage, while loads are applied would read lower than normal. An amp/hr counter is only as good as it's operator, in that they must be told the proper capacity and be calibrated for full.
This is an excellent point. Always a good idea to have plenty of batt capacity and large banks.... Presumably at some point some high output charging source such as a high output alternator will be called on... when motoring and this will of course replenish the batts as they can take all of amps going in.

As much as we love to sail and probably hate to motor... I find it makes sense to use and maintain the auxiliary and consider it the main charging source. I use the motor in the harbor, approaching and leaving an anchorage and some motoring when there is no wind and motor sailing when it makes sense.

I have a pair of 8Ds and a high output smart charged alternator. We are frugal with use of electricity.... no wasteful and have no problems living at anchor or on our mooring electricity wise. But we don't have a 12v frig...it's engine drive and so when we run the engine we cool the fridge, make hot water and replenish the batts.... and frequently we are going somewhere doing this.
 

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I've been keeping my boats on moorings for over 35 years. For most of that time, i had no solar or wind charging, just relying on the engine alternator to keep the batteries charged. Like BarryL, I would typically get 4-5 years out of a pair of Group 27 dual purpose batteries on my previous boat. Now have a small (20 watt) solar panel to help keep the batteries topped off on my current boat. I've never had an issue with the batteries going dead on the mooring, though I am pretty careful about monitoring the system.
 

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Being that it takes a really long time motoring to get batteries completely topped up, and that batteries last longer if SOC is kept as high as possible, it would seem to make sense that boats on moorings should have bigger battery banks than ones that live plugged in.
 
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