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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

Pardon my ignorance on the matter of batteries and such!

I will have a boat with two batteries (house and starter). I will have a dock with shore power.
Question:
Do I NEED anything else? For example, a charger?
If I have no charger, then I assume the batteries will only be charged while the engine is running. Is that sufficient for day-sailing?

Thanks.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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What you NEED is a good understanding of your boats basic electrical system.

Do you HAVE any of the following?;
  • shore power connector
  • battery charger
  • Echo Charger or ACR
  • Solar Panels
  • wind generator
  • battery monitor
  • accurate diagram of your primary electrical system
there's probably a bunch of stuff that I am forgetting...

It is likely that either battery will only be charged if the battery selector switch is in the correct position for that battery. If this is the case, then you will need to recharge your start battery after starting your engine. You will also need to remember to switch from the start bank to the house bank if you spend a night on the hook. You will also likely shorten the life of one or both of your batteries.

I know of one person with a system like yours that primarily day sails. His boat is kept on a mooring. He simply turns the switch to 1 or 2 depending on whether the day of the month is even or odd. He is happy, does not want to know more, and he plans to replace both batteries every 3 years.
 

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A charger would work with shore power. But figure out the house needs and what each item draws and how long you expect to use it then determine if your house battery has enough amp hours to accomodate. The beauty of a solar panel is that during day you can use that energy w/o having to run motor, assuming not at dock.

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"What you NEED is a good understanding of your boats basic electrical system. "
Hear hear!

Keja, I'd suggest a trip to any chandlery, or online, to find a basic book on 12-volt systems, batteries and chargers. You can approach the batteries on a boat two or three ways:

1-Curse at them constantly while perpetuating or ignoring problems
2-Curse at them constantly while perpetuating or ignoring problems and throwing gobs of money at them, i.e. replacing batteries every two or three years
3-Learn how to inspect the entire system, charger(s), cables, batteries, power loads, and set up the entire system so it is running properly.

Number three really is the least exciting way to do it, but also, the least expensive in the long run. $20 for a basic book, $20 for a basic multimeter, and you're on the way.
 

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Congratulations on the new boat! So what is she? Where are the pictures?!!? :)

Regarding what you NEED, as you can probably tell from the responses above, it will depend on your anticipated use. Tell us a little more about the boat, where you'll keep her, and what you expect to do with her (day sail, live aboard, long-term cruise, etc.)

Edited to add: Harbor Freight Tools is giving away multimeters this month, no purchase necessary. Print the coupon from their web site and visit a store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the informative responses.

First, my boat is a C&C 27 MKIII. I have a shore power connector, two batteries and of course, the panel for battery 1 and 2. Other than that, no charger, solar/wind or any other source of electricity.

I have sailed other people's boats, but never owned my own. So I will be primarily day-sailing for this first season.

hellosailor, I like option number 3. I am more than happy to put in the work to ensure I have a proper and well maintained electrical system.
 

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because she will be kept on a slip, a good battery charger, and a galvanic isolator would be wise investments.

I have an Iota dls30/iq4, which is an OK charger. if you have the coin, Sterling engineering makes some nice units.

For the GI, a ProMariner failsafe unit rated at 30 amps, or whatever is necessary to match your shore power supply would be OK. again, if you have the budget, a Charles isolation transformer would be great, if heavy.

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I would start the year off with just adding a modest charger. After a season or two you will understand your needs better. Often you get caught up in buying toys for the new baby and much of what you buy the first year because it was "essential" never gets used. Better to do really necessary repairs than to spend on frivolous things. Not saying charging is frivolous but I have seen people spend a lot of money on a solar set up when thy get free electric at the dock just because they liked the sound of cruising . Better to find out what you really need. But some charging is important and you might find a charger somewhere on the boat since you do have shore power.
 

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Hey,

IMHO, you need to decide what your plan is BEFORE you do anything.

If you will use the boat by going there in the morning, motoring out of the slip, raising the sails, sailing for a few hours, then lowering the sails and motoring home, you don't need to do anything.

If you plan on spending time aboard in the slip, running a fridge, TV, Computer, and sound system, you will need to some changes.

If you plan on sailing off for a few days or longer, spending nights at anchor, with some electronics to run, you will need some different gear.

Figure out what you want to do with the boat, and THEN decide on what to do.

Barry
 

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I suggest that the GI is more important than the charger. Also, I would not consider a used charger. YMMV

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Congrats on new boat Keja...Suggest you determine condition of
batteries 1st and foremost and then how to maintain and monitor them. Check out "load testing" and "specific gravity" both easy but checking with a multimeter will be a good start.
Monitor battery voltage after day sailing a few times.
Did you said you have shore power... follow wires...thinking just might be attached to a charger.
As you indicated you will be day sailing at first, if your batteries are in good shape you may be good as is.
Suggest you take some time and practice approaching dock under sail in any case.
for what its worth...I keep my 30 fter with one bank for start and house, constisting of 2 group 27 batteries, on a mooring (have charger I dont use) Use modest solar panel and keep a batt booster on board which I had to use only once in 20 yrs.
I buy batteries every 7-8 years in any case. (usually still good)
Useage is moderate with no refrig.
and never have any electrolisis (spell?) problems not connected to shore power.
Spend approx. 20-25 days on anchor in a good year.
Hope this helps,
Hugo
 

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Hey,

Like Hugo, my boat is on a mooring. I don't use solar or any other power. I run my engine 5-10 minutes to get out of the harbor and then another 5-10 minutes to get back on the mooring. For day sails where all I use is the chartplotter and instruments, and listen to VHF, the short engine use is enough to keep the batteries charged.

I get 5+ years of life from a set of Costco marine deep cycle batteries.

If I go away on a 3-4 day cruise, I may stay in a marina for 1 or 2 nights. The other nights will be at anchor or on a mooring. When I stay in a marina I might connect to shore power, or maybe not. If I don't , running the engine for an hour or so is enough to keep the batteries up. My electric use is pretty minor - no refrigeration, microwave, blenders, etc. I have a few LED or CFL lights, charge phones and computer, run a radio, etc.

So, assuming you don't have a battery charger but do have shore power, I would sail the boat as is for the first year. Make sure you have a decent meter so you can check battery voltage on a regular basis. As long as the volts don't show a steady decrease you will be fine. If you do see the voltage decreasing on the house bank you will need to run the engine longer to charge them up.

Good luck,
Barry

Hey Barry. It will be option 1 and 2 in the first season. What do you suggest for that?

Option 3 in the following seasons.
 
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