Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:10 pm

Lowka53 wrote:http://www.boatdesigns.com/Boatowners-Mechanical-Electrical-Manual/productinfo/12-490/ you probably should get this book it has what you are looking for in it. 8)


Just down loaded the 3rd edition to my Kindle. :mrgreen:

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galamb
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby galamb » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:43 pm

I opted for a battery switch with automatic charge relay from Blue Seas.

google "add-a-battery kit 120A" (should take you to the blue seas site and have a read).

Basically it isolates the house battery(ies) and their load from the starting battery, but when the motor is running, it allows the alternator or stator to charge both banks. In case of a weak starting battery, you can combine the banks to turn the motor (as with any battery selector). It's the ACR (automatic charge relay) that is the real benefit of this little kit. The ACR is also available by itself if you already have a selector switch.

It was relatively inexpensive (I'm thinking I paid about 100 bucks during a boat show) after getting the run down of how it worked from the rep.

Something to look at..

(should have added - for my shore power charging I got a 30amp total, 3 (feed) charger from ProMariner - 2 feeds for the house, 1 for the starting battery - but is dynamic, in that it senses (something) and can up the charge a little on one of the feeds, dropping the other two a touch (still 30 amps max). It first charges the starting battery and then switches it to a float charge, then throws most of the charge at the house bank. Again, I'm cheap, got it from ProMariner's "refurb" shop for about 1/3 of the $400'ish bucks list price)
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raymacke
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby raymacke » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:58 pm

A three stage charger is a must, especially considering how expensive decent batteries are.

I have a temperature compensated 40 amp Xantrex Truecharge 2 which will handle up to 3 banks. Since it is mounted in a cabinet and not readily seen I added a remote panel so I can easily check the progress. The idea is it can charge two house banks (only using one currently) and the starting battery "individually" making sure each gets what it needs with out overcharging one to peak the other. There are several brands of this type of marine charger available.
http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/battery-chargers/truecharge-2-2.aspx

There are several choices for batteries types and prices vary with type and size. I read a lot on the subject and finally came to the conclusion for our use Golf Cart batteries seemed to offer the most bang for the buck. But even just within that class there are varying degrees of quality. If we were living aboard might have opted for a more expensive brand but with my limited knowledge and experience on the usage I decided to just go with a pair 6 volt GC batteries purchased from WalMart for about $70 each. I provided space for the possibility of four (two 12v banks) but for the time went with just two (one bank). Completing our fourth season in the next month or two and so far all has worked out well.

Like galamb we also added the Blue Seas Automatic Charging Relay and as he states it works very well. Once installed it requires zero intervention and makes managing charging sources a snap. This may not sound like a big deal until you realize the manual switching that is needed to do this if you don't have one of these. Make a mistake and you may inadvertently discharge you starting battery along with your house bank. Or even worse mess with the manual switch(s) while the engine is running, get them in the wrong position isolating the batteries from the engine and blow out sensitive electronics like a GPS. (Don't ask how I know this!) Yes at about $100 it is a bargain. http://www.bluesea.com/products/7610/SI-ACR_Automatic_Charging_Relay_-_12_24V_DC_120A

It also appears to me that a good regulator/monitor is important

Our monitoring system is very basic and consist of just a LED voltage gauge. When on board we leave it on all the time and can watch the battery level. I did not mount it at the electrical panel as I wanted it in a more readily visible location. It is mounted on the side of the Admiral's seat where I can see it from the helm seat when underway or from in the berth at night or the saloon during the day. You can see it in the photo below. There is a second gauge mounted to the left for the second bank if ever added. Although probably a good idea, I don't have an amperage gauge to monitor the draw. Our usage is normally fairly mild. Small florescent lighting at night (LEDs now a better choice) and on hot nights a camper style roof vent fan as well as two small fans in the berth. In the evening we do run a 19" LCD TV for several hours. Although the load by the newer units is surprising low but it does add up. The big drag is my wife's single cup coffee maker in the morning running through the 1500w inverter. But it is a short term load and tolerable. We would probably be better off with a 12v coffee pot and eliminate the loss through inefficiency of the inverter.

If running the lights, TV and coffee maker at night/morning we do usually need to recharge the single bank the next day. Don't think we could get through 2 days of this usage without it. But if I am alone I don't run the coffee maker or the TV (use my 10' tablet for movies) and can go 3 or 4 days with no problem (probably longer).

And I agree - take all this stuff plus a generator and throw in a shore power 120v system which needs to interface with it and things get complicated ........

Hope this isn't TOO MUCH information!!!

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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:14 am

Noice! :!: :mrgreen:

Graham, Ray, great input.

I'm kind of familiar with the components you guys are using and I'm getting more comfortable as I continue my research. As of right now, I'm planning on an engine starting bank and two separate house banks. It would be real convenient if one house bank could run all systems at peak load for at least 24 hours. I'm not sure yet if that's going to be doable, but it would give plenty of time to charge the other bank.

For propulsion I'm going with a small marine diesel inboard. I'd like an old school job with a big flywheel. I should be able to spin as much alternator as would be needed. I also wouldn't mind one that could be hand started like the old Sabb's and Bukh's. If something went way wrong electrically, I'd still have propulsion power.

Another issue I'll have to deal with, which Ray has obviously done, is to incorporate an inverter for using 110 volt items such as a TV, dvd and roaming satellite dish. :?

Basically, at the end of the day, I want to replicate everything my RV does. It'll be more complicated for a variety of reasons, but if I can do it and it be reliable, it would be awesome! Once we are both retired, I'd like to cruise the Great Loop at least once and be comfortable while doing it. I also don't wish to pay a bunch of boat slip fees at marinas.

Rick

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raymacke
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby raymacke » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:26 pm

Our "entertainment system" is also fairly basic but works well for us. As I mentioned we have a 19" LCD TV. It is stored mounted on a bulkhead but moved to the galley countertop when used. The heart of the system is my old, no longer activated Motorola X2 cell phone and it serves a couple of functions. For one, we use it as a blue tooth transmitter to send music to the saloon's am/fm cd player. Second, at home I compress movies (about 800 mb average) and store them on the X2's 32gb memory card. If I need more space I have extra cards. The X2 works well because it has HDMI out so with a cable I hook the phone directly to the TV and use it as a player normally holding about 30 to 40 movies - no disks to mess with!

Although we have the 1500 watt inverter I usually just plug both the TV and the old phone (USB for power) into an inexpensive inverter like the one pictured below. It just plugs in to a cigarette lighter type 12v outlet which we have all over the boat and cost about $20. Mine is a 100 watt unit and it runs both with no complaints. Why use it? Although, I have never hooked up the meters to check it for sure, I am just thinking for the light loads required for the TV and phone the smaller unit may be more efficient than running the big inverter. Plus I already had it and it seems to work well.

I mention this because I thought it might be of interest to others that have more minimal electrical systems. You don't need a 120V system or a big ($$) inverter to take along a decent TV.

"roaming satellite dish"
That would move things to a whole new level! :P
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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:23 am

Ray, wow! I don't guess I've ever seen a cell phone with a HDMI output. The manner in which you're using it for movies, is pretty damned clever. :idea: I also have admired the neat, clean job you did on your wiring. I've read through your SeaQuinn blog and really enjoyed it.

I was doing some reading last night on li-on batteries. Oh my, these things are awesome, in every way but price. From what I looked at yesterday you can get a 300ah lithium in the range of $2,500 to $3,500. Obviously that's quite expensive, but, if you factor in the fact that you can discharge them much further than you can glass mat or gel batteries, plus they charge much, much faster, combined with a longer over all life span, they end up being less expensive. (allegedly) :shock:

I've been reading these guys exploits vis a vis 12 volt house banks: http://www.technomadia.com/2011/11/lith ... tery-cost/

Lots of food for thought.

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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:37 am

Oh, also, to touch on the satellite topic. We've had Direct TV for years at home, so, when we decided to start up the RV deal, the wife made it clear she wanted a mobile dish system. We bought our TT new, and negotiated it into the purchase. Since its a TT and not a motor home, I didn't need a roaming unit, just one that would find its signal once we arrived at our destination. We ended up with the Winegard RT8000S mini dome. It works very well and only cost $1,200 installed. That plus the AC and shower combined with a nice location keep the wife happy. :wink:

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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby raymacke » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:27 pm

Although some phones don't have a separate HDMI plug they still may have the ability to output the signal. My current Samsung S3 falls into this category but Samsung makes an adapter to do this. (photo below) Works on both the S3 and newer S4. Also allows USB connection at the same time so you can keep the battery charged while using the phone as a player. Playing movies is a fairly high drain on the phone battery as my X2 only will run about 2 hrs without the charger attached.

As to the Direct TV antenna - I know there are marine units available and have always been interested in how they work. I have only messed with a home unit once but found they were very picky about precise aiming. In a motorhome running down the highway or boat rocking with the waves alignment must go on continuously. I am sure it takes a pretty "smart" device to get this done.
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby red » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:38 pm

not sure what battery company specs you saw but li on batteries are trouble in confined spaces when it comes to charging they generally are very finicky those batteries are what grounded the 787 dream liner for catching fire when on the ground hooked up to ground power and charging might want to save so money and get some good gel cells or just make sure how you plan to charge wont cook the lithium ion's

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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:14 pm

raymacke wrote:Although some phones don't have a separate HDMI plug they still may have the ability to output the signal. My current Samsung S3 falls into this category but Samsung makes an adapter to do this. (photo below) Works on both the S3 and newer S4. Also allows USB connection at the same time so you can keep the battery charged while using the phone as a player. Playing movies is a fairly high drain on the phone battery as my X2 only will run about 2 hrs without the charger attached.

As to the Direct TV antenna - I know there are marine units available and have always been interested in how they work. I have only messed with a home unit once but found they were very picky about precise aiming. In a motorhome running down the highway or boat rocking with the waves alignment must go on continuously. I am sure it takes a pretty "smart" device to get this done.


Ah, it attaches through the charging port. I learn something each time I log into these forums. :mrgreen:

The roaming dishes do indeed calibrate as needed. I've traveled in a motor home that had one and it worked flawlessly. Pretty cool system.

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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:18 pm

red wrote:not sure what battery company specs you saw but li on batteries are trouble in confined spaces when it comes to charging they generally are very finicky those batteries are what grounded the 787 dream liner for catching fire when on the ground hooked up to ground power and charging might want to save so money and get some good gel cells or just make sure how you plan to charge wont cook the lithium ion's


Red, as I understand it the newer lithium iron phosphate batteries are much less trouble than earlier types. The neo-hippy dude in the link I shared above goes into some interesting detail on these. 8)

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galamb
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby galamb » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:43 pm

Yes, there is some strides being made in the lithium battery market (the new hybrid cars for example) but that technology is still very expensive right now and not without a few bugs of it's own (remember the Boeing 787 problems recently) - still "leading edge" stuff.

(note how your cell phone or laptop battery which used to last a couple days when new now needs charging after a couple of hours - the "half life" of the lithium, even the newer stuff "still sucks")

Likewise, the "spiral grid" technology that was flogged a few years back is falling off. Exide battery (even before their bankruptcy issues) had already put out notice that they were either completely discontinuing or drastically scaling back most of their S.G. offerings.

So, unless you are planning a live aboard where you will spend months on the water and travel super long distances without seeing land, the plain old deep cycle technology is still the best bang for your buck on an amp per dollar (of cost) basis, with the AGM versions (at a slight premium) being very safe for marine use.
Graham

Yes, Plywood is "real" wood :)

A "professional" is someone who gets paid for their work - it doesn't necessarily mean they are good at it :)

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El Jefe
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Re: Advice and Opinions Please DC and Shorepower System

Postby El Jefe » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:39 pm

galamb wrote:Yes, there is some strides being made in the lithium battery market (the new hybrid cars for example) but that technology is still very expensive right now and not without a few bugs of it's own (remember the Boeing 787 problems recently) - still "leading edge" stuff.

(note how your cell phone or laptop battery which used to last a couple days when new now needs charging after a couple of hours - the "half life" of the lithium, even the newer stuff "still sucks")

Likewise, the "spiral grid" technology that was flogged a few years back is falling off. Exide battery (even before their bankruptcy issues) had already put out notice that they were either completely discontinuing or drastically scaling back most of their S.G. offerings.

So, unless you are planning a live aboard where you will spend months on the water and travel super long distances without seeing land, the plain old deep cycle technology is still the best bang for your buck on an amp per dollar (of cost) basis, with the AGM versions (at a slight premium) being very safe for marine use.


You didn't read the info at the link, did ya? :mrgreen:

Besides, I've got at least 2 years before I need to make a decision. I've still got study plans coming in. I don't expect to start on a hull till this coming spring. I do plan to do a certain amount of living aboard and want to do the great loop eventually.


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