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Discussion Starter #1
So......here's the deal. I just got a boat and I'm left with the task of wiring it. Its a decent boat that I can't find ANY INFORMATION on...I wouldn't mind replacing all the stock wiring (all new stuff obviously) but I can't find anything about it. I guess what I'm asking is for a little help understanding wiring. I plan on going out...a lot but I am mooring for the time being and won't have a lot of time to charge until I get back home. So I want to know the best way to keep creature comforts (I.E some form of refrigeration, lighting, and maybe my laptop) but not eat up my power...how did most of you reduce the power consumption of your boat while not living like a cave man. I don't have ANY of the wiring in the boat as the previous owner just yanked EVERYTHING out of the boat. I guess the question is really obscure as I don't know so much what Im asking...I want to run enough lighting to keep the boat comfortable, I want a fridge and I want the battery to be able to last me 4-5 days straight...thats what I want help with. So if anyone has a diagram for the boat or something of similar size then fantastic and also a list of things they have used to reduce their power with out reducing their fun... Thanks a lot!

Brett Harding
 

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There is a lot on this site, just search it out. My advice is to read ALOT. 12 Bible is good. Jon Payne is also. There are a lot out there. Try amazon.com. But read first, then ask questions. You will get some great advice. But you need to know what you want first. Like I said search this site, lots of info already here.
 

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Montgomery 17
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Brett,

One thing I think you should reconsider is having a refrigerator on board. I doubt there are many sailboats your size with refers on them. In fact, Most 30's probably don't have refrigerators either. I know my 29' doesn't.

The fridge draws A LOT of power. So, you need something like a HUGE battery bank, an inboard with an alternator (I doubt the Kells has one), an outboard with an alternator (but you will have to run the outboard alot depending on the size of your battery bank), or a generator. All of these things are pretty tough to get on your average 21'er especially a trailerable one.

You may be thinking solar could be the answer but it would take a whole bunch of panels to power a fridge.

First, you need to decide just what you really need on the boat. What you should focus on first is navigation lights, and a VHF radio. Then consider other things like a radio, interior and courtesy lighting, and maybe your laptop.

I think you should focus on everything except the refrigerator first. I do not know how much money you are wanting to spend, but I bet it would take alot of $batteries$ to power a fridge just on one charge for 4 days.

Once you figure out what you need, then you just need to learn the basics of wiring. Basically, everything needs power and a ground. All you have to do is run two wires (power and ground) to the electrical devices from your battery bank.

Once you decide what all you need, we will walk you through the wiring part or point you somewhere that would give you the answer.
 

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Telstar 28
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Brett—

If you want a refrigerator to last 4-5 days on a 21' boat, you're hallucinating... it really isn't going to be realistic, since you'd need a huge battery bank to do so.

What you really need to do is get a good idea of what you're going to be using in terms of electricity. LED lighting will help reduce the numbers, but refrigeration is one of the biggest users of electricity on a boat, unless it is engine-powered, which is pretty unlikely on a 21' boat.

As for planning the system out, you should refer to one of the good books on boat electrical systems, like Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical Manual.

Also, being on a mooring, you'll probably want at least a small solar panel, which can help prolong the time you can go between recharging the batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
well as far as wiring I was looking at spending no more than 1500. i have doen some reaserch and your input was a big help...so...in lew of a fridge I will be a using a colman cooler ^_^. I will be looking at solar panel power but a bit pricy for the boat needing other things first. I might just get an outboard with an alternator to help build a little power when I need it...I would assume it would be like having a small generator...but with the ability to propel myself if need be. It'll make trailering a bit easier i would assume...I bought the 12 volt bible just waiting for it to get shipped so in the mean time...I wait. I will be going with LED lighting. Its a small space so I'll only be using two lights. but either way thanks for the great responses, I found the electrical section in maintenance...TON of info. This is the begining of a beautiful relationship!

~Brett
 

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Ignore these naysayers!

If you want a fridge, get a fridge, but here are my suggestions;

Get a propane (or other fuel) fridge, electric ones will KILL your batteries fast.

Or just jam your needs-to-be refrigerated stuff in an icebox in the lowest part of the bilge. You will have ice for a week around here. (PNW winter)
 

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You will need to look at the whole system.
How much room do you have for deep cycle batteries? That will limit what you can do.
How much charging capacity do you have for those batteries? Shorepower? Generator? 110 volt charger? Engine alternator? Solar panels? Wind generator?
With that you will have some idea of how much power you have to use. Then you can decide what to do with it.

How much does a block of ice cost that can last a weekend vs a big bucks installation?

You might consider a small portable refer that can plug into A/C or D/C. You can cool it down at home where you pack it, keep it cool plugged into the car on the way to the boat. Then add a block of ice to keep it cold on the boat. You might also be able to plug it in while motoring to give it a boost.
Take a look here: Cooler - Water Coolers - Refrigerators - Freezers - Beer Dispensers - Wine Coolers
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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Our second boat was a 25 footer with a Honda outboard. The electrical consisted of two small batteries, the nav lights a radio and a couple of interior lights. We used a candle lantern for an anchor light. We used an ice box that needed ice about every third day. It never occurred to us to worry about power, because in the summer, we really didn't use any. It wasn't until the boats got bigger and we got refrigeration that I paid attention to power consumption. Now we've become enslaved. But the beer is cold!
 

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A list of good books

Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, by Nigel Calder
The 12 Volt Bible, by Miner K Brotherton and Ed Sherman<O:p</O:p
Boating Magazine's Powerboater's Guide to Electrical Systems by Ed Sherman
Sailboat Electrical Systems, Don Casey, 1999 International Marine
Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring, by Charlie Wing
Your Boat's Electrical System, by Conrad Miller and E. S. Maloney
Managing 12 Volts, Harold Barre 1997 Summer Breeze Publishing

Basic Electricity New Boatbuilders Home Page - Basic Electricity DC Page 1
 

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Telstar 28
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A small 25-50 watt solar panel and good charge controller will go a long way to keeping the batteries in decent condition if you keep the boat on a mooring.

If you want a fridge, get a fridge, but here are my suggestions;

Get a propane (or other fuel) fridge, electric ones will KILL your batteries fast.

Or just jam your needs-to-be refrigerated stuff in an icebox in the lowest part of the bilge. You will have ice for a week around here. (PNW winter)
You must not know a whole lot about the non-electric, non-engine powered fridges. They're not designed to be used on most boats, since they NEED TO BE LEVEL to operate safely. They can be used on multihulls, and are stock equipment on some catamarans... but they are not suitable for a 21' monohull.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well, for an update. I've picked the 12 volt bible clean and even found a video at a library close by that used the book as a reference. So far here is the plan...I know I have a small boat, BUT regardless I am going to go with a 400AH battery bank. I have 2 100ah deep cycle batteries now (optima blue top...supposedly good for 350 cycle charges from 0% to 100% but I won't let it get below 50% anyways so....yeah) I am going to get two more. I am refitting the boat with an Ice box. the original ice box was side door...And from my understanding cool air sinks...doesn't make much sense to let moisture rich cool air come out every time I open it so I got a template for a top feed ice box. I am going to wire the batteries together using the positive side and from my understanding it will stay at the 12 volt range but add together the collective amp hours together...and Im all for that. The only major power draw I will be using is my laptop but Im running nav software on it too...I think i am just going to retrofit a dc to ac converter (like for a car) for now until I can set aside time to learn AC....im leaving that alone till I get a better understanding. I won't be using but 2 lights on the boat and the laptop when moored. I AM looking at getting a decent water turbine in a few months cause some brands can be converted to wind when moored. I replaced my outboards alternator with a 110 amp smart regulated alternator and I should be able to get roughly 60 ah back a day from that by running the engine for an hour or so...either way all is well I think with this plan I should be able to keep my usage down to about 50 AH a day. thats my plan. Hope I am making some headway....some input on this setup would be nice. I have plenty of room on the boat as far as storage for fuel and maybe in the future a generator for emergencies...
 

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This must be a pretty wide and deep boat to fit 400Ah of battery on board as well as a large supply of fuel. I'm trying to figure out how to fit a 3rd Group 27 (height restrictions) into my house bank and I'm on a 30 foot.

Could you post a photo of your outboard? I couldn't drive a 100A alternator with my Atomic 4 without causing belt problems.
 

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Spam, Food of the Seagods
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I tried to find a picture of the inside of a Kells 21'. I did see the outside of a 23' and it probably similar.

I am working on a Santana 21' for my winter hobby time. Going to be my "Gunkholer". :p

I enjoy the challenge of making a small sailboat comfortable. Everything needs a place or I can not need or want it! :mad:

I placed an AGM battery down below on the starboard side for when I use a Trolling motor to move in and around the docks. Now the boat lists (Tilts) to the starboard side. So, I bought another AGM to even it up! :laugher

Just wanted to be sure you take into consideration weight distribution. :rolleyes:

I wanted to keep the original Fuse panel as it has the company name inscribe on it. There are holes for up to 4 circuits (May add one more).

Three circuits are already labeled so I just keep as is. I have ordered new fuse/switch replacements. Will even have little lights to show when something turned on.

I will have Volt and AMP meters mounted above my panel for the $200-300 Blue Sea look at a cost of $54, excluding wires.

For myself, the electric will be experimental as I will have a small refrigerator (Waiting on some spec info now from the manufacturer) and central AC (air conditioner and highly experimental). These two may only work when tied to the umbilical cord at the dock. Lot of number crunching going on now.

My electric concerns will revolve around the trolling motor, refrigerator and AC. If not for playing around with these, I have all the electric I need. The trolling motor being the most important. I not want a Dinoburner engine! I want to smell and hear the sea. :D

I will have Red wires (Positive) and Black wires (Negative). I think the bilge pump I bought has white and brown wires, so there are a few cases of varied colors.

I wanted special lights below to make my boat different from the norm. Electroluminescent strips are what I want to experiment with and I will build a simple inverter to power them as 12-24 Volt DC not work. I have a few store bought inverters, a small 400W and a larger 3000W, but, can not learn if we not build it ourselves.

I may have some bright lights, maybe something for reading, but, they not what I plan to use for primary low amp lighting. :confused:

I will have some LED stuff for fun.

Will it all work? Will know by this summer, if, I can stay on schedule. It cold today so I sit in a warm home and e-mail companies for some numbers. No cell phone or inet at the remote boat dock.

The refrigerator for $150 +/- can be donated to a college student next fall if it not work. The $125 AC may be beyond help when it not work, which we (I have friends involved) think may be a flop. Space being more of a concern than the electric.

The 50W Solar panel will not be able to keep pace with the AH usage, but, we hope it give a little time before we have to reattach the umbilical cord.

We are looking at building a small wind generator from a treadmill motor (or something similar), maybe it help.

This all takes a lot of downloading manuals/schematics, reading and emailing companies for specs. Then actually going beyond my numbers and experimenting.

I hope the picture work to help with ideas of utilizing space. This a plastic tub from wal-wort. If, my measurements are correct, 3-4 of these will slide under my cockpit for storage. The first in is least used stuff and furthest back. Small rope attached to each one help pull them out. There is still some room to the side to slide my sculling oars.

Well I not good at explaining things and may not have actually helped. But, I was excited to see someone else wanting to fix up an old 21' sailboat and hope you get it all to work for you.

Old sailboats never die, they just get new poly tarp sails. Well mine may be canvas drop cloth. But, that's another long story that I may not be good at explaining. :eek:
 

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Ya know--

The more time we spend on my boat the less power we use.

A small battery powered boom box is more than enuff for a small boat.

Most of the light is provided by red led lights placed around the cabin for night sailing. A small oil lamp provides light for most everything else and it's light output can be adjusted high or low depending on you mood. Three 12v cabin lights are hardly used at all.

The vhf on listen draws verry little power.

We get into a habit of up at dawn and down at dark.

We may explore all day long just motoring and looking.

Sometimes winding up that 800# keel to get over skinny water or lowering the mast to get under that 13' bridge to go where few sailboats can.

Some days we just head off shore and chase the wind.

We provision for 3 days in two ice chests and after that we are ready for a trip ashore to restock.

The little 8hp outboard is equiped with a 6 amp charger that keeps the batteries top up when running at 1/4 throttle. Battery bank consists of 2 group 27 batteries the same as the tow truck uses (not deep cycle).

I also have a the charging system of the truck hooked to the boat to insure the batteries are fully toped off when we arrive at the launch ramp. A 2/30 charger is hard wired to replenish the batteries at the dock if we do that.
 

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You have got an alternator, powered by an outboard, that can deliver 110 A continuous? without ending up in flames?
How does it cool?
The one on my ship is the size of a melon and is rated at 100 A continuous but man its appetite for cooling air is phenomenal.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I hadn't fitted the alternator on yet. I was having a friend that was going to help me fit a bracket together for it but there isnt enough room for ventilation and I think it will EAT belts so Im just going to start from scratch on my plans , make it bare bones and add things as I need them..I bought two 12volt 225AH batteries they weigh about 95 lbs each and I have them on bth sides of the boat. making it even lol there is a TON of storage on my boat. so is not a problem
 
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