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Author Topic: Electrical Systems 101  (Read 18158 times)
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Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



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« on: October 29, 2010, 08:55:36 PM »

Over the past decade or more, "regular" electrical topics come up repeatedly.  In developing responses to questions, many of us use the handy links to earlier discussions.  I've developed this "Electrical 101" topic, which is a group of links to popular subjects and those discussions.   Many of them include links to other websites and message boards, since boat electrical systems are not boat-specific.  Many thanks to Maine Sail, not only for his contributions to this message board, but for his "Musings with Maine Sail" on www.catalinaowners.com: http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/forumdisplay.php?f=135 and his own website:  http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects

You could buy a few good books (see Reply #7 below), or you could read this stuff. Very Happy Good luck.

**************************************************
**************************************************

Here are some good "intro" courses for Electrical Systems:

The All-Important Energy Budget:

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,3976.0.html


Record of Daily Energy Use of 100 ah per day:

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6353.msg41471.html#msg41471

Largest House Bank 101 (by Nigel Calder)

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5807.msg45046.html#msg45046

Alternator/Batteries & "The Basic" 1-2-B Switch BEST Wiring Diagrams

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4949.0.html

The Ample Power Primer  http://www.amplepower.com/primer/primer.pdf

Battery University  http://batteryuniversity.com/

OEM 1-2-B Switch Wiring History  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4949.msg30101.html#msg30101

Basic Battery System Descriptions (bottom of page one, then to page two)

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=104505

another good discussion, scroll to the top to start:  http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=680363&highlight=duo%20charge

Alternator heat, Regulator Controls, Small Engine Mode

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.0.html

Small Engine Mode - discussion with link to the picture of the toggle switch: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.msg27149.html#msg27149

Ammeters & Shunts 101: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6032.0.html

Breaking in New Wet Cell Batteries:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6353.0.html

Understanding Batteries http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6488.0.html  with a link to another website

Battery Acceptance by Stu  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4787.0.html

10-18-13 LINK BROKEN Battery Acceptance (a very good Maine Sail presentation and further discussions)   http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=114054  

10-18-13 LINK BROKEN  Battery Acceptance Observations by Maine Sail
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=674108&highlight=battery%20acceptance

Overcharging with Combiners or ACRs The MYTH:
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,7052.0.html

AGM Battery Issues (from Maine Sail)  
http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=124973

AGM Battery Issues and the Blue Seas Dual Circuit Switch (from Maine Sail) "DARN AGM Batteries"
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=848465&highlight=darn%20agm

Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams - all three http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4548.0.html

Alternator Regulators - The Differences between ARS-5 and MC-614 Units (see reply #5)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=1103132

How Alternators & Regulators Work PLUS External vs. Internal Regulators (by Maine Sail):  http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=125392

Universal M-25 & M25XP Alternator Bracket Upgrade & Alignment  IMPORTANT

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,7917.0.html


Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams  This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6604.0.html

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring:  The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=137615

Golf Cart 6V Battery Wiring  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,7162.0.html

Stu's Wiring Diagram  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4623.msg27335.html#msg27335

Power Share Feature for Link 2000 Controlling Honda Generators
Very helpful hint to control generators and 20A shorepower
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,1474.0.html

Solar Systems:  Selection, Installation & Controllers by Maine Sail  SUPERB

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/solar_panel

How to Wire a Battery Monitor by Maine Sail:  http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=125606

New SMART GAUGE Battery Monitor  http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/smart_gauge

Converting a Leece Neville Alternator to External Regulation  by Maine Sail
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4879.0.html

Alternator Sources by Maine Sail  (Reply #16)
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5686.15.html

Wiring a new charger From Maine Sail:  http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=136765

Echo Charger Use Warning from Maine Sail:  http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electrical-systems/72295-xantrex-echo-charger-rant.html

Installing Battery Selector Switches (the "posts" in the back don't physically match with the switch positions on the front)  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6911.0.html

removed dates added 7/30/12 Very Happy

Engine Starting Loads - Amp Draw Data (by Maine Sail)

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=102027

Battery Fuse Sizing with tables (from Maine Sail)

http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=130775

WalMart Battery Source

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=136852

Battery Equalization

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=148505

SMART PLUG by Maine Sail

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=159096&highlight=smart+plug

Differences between Balmar MC-614 and ARS-5 Regulators

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=160744&#post1102540
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=1053410&highlight=ars-5
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 01:32:51 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2010, 03:07:50 PM »

Here's another good one:  http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electrical-systems/70350-battery-bank-design-recommendations.html  It's looong but covers a lot.

It also includes links to some other wiring diagrams that mirror the options we've been presenting over the years.

Another one that includes a few very succinct system descriptions, particularly Reply #4 by Brian, as well as Maine Sail's always cogent discussions:  

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electrical-systems/71944-advice-needed-2-bank-battery-system-working-one.html

Here's an excerpt from Brian's description summary:

1. Take the alternator output off of the starter and run a new heavy gauge wire to the house bank positive - with a fuse near the battery bank.  Remove the small #10 or #12 wire between the alternator and the starter.

2. Take the shorepower charger's output off the start battery and leave it only on the house battery positive - again fused near the battery. If you have solar panels or a wind gen the output also goes direct to the house bank.

3. Buy either an Echo Charge or an ACR (automatic charge relay) and wire it to the house +, start + and ground. For a single start battery I prefer the Echo Charge. It passes up to 15 amps to the start (aux) battery when a charge current is sensed and stops when the charge current is no longer present. At no time does it parallel the batteries.  [See the Echo Charge Warning in the post right above this one.]

What this does is change your 1/2/both switch to a "use" switch and not a charge switch. It still lets you decide which battery to use for any load but the charging is automatic.

The easiest way to use this system is to use the house bank for everything and keep the auxiliary battery for emergency use. When you arrive on the boat turn the switch to 1 (house I assume) and turn it to off when you leave. Engine starting is easily accomplished by the house bank.

And there is no chance of error.


Added 7/8/11:  And if your echo charger or ACR breaks, then simply use the B position on the switch but ONLY when charging sources are present! !  Backup, backup, backup. Stu

Hawk's Electrical System  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6507.0.html  A very interesting discussion of how Tom's system evolved from input from this topic and how he runs his boat - he decided to use his 1-2-B switch instead of an echo charger and has moved his AO to the house bank.  A very nice compromise that works.

The "concept" of using BOTH (except when charging) and to COMBINE a bad bank with a good one is just plain WRONG.  Please, don't do it.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 01:46:10 AM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 05:31:58 PM »

And another that sometimes links back to the earlier posts:

Engine Starting Issues - that pesky negative ground connection on the engine and that also pesky hidden starter fuse from the start button (look under your alternator)  

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5159.0.html

It All Depends on How It's Wired
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 05:50:44 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2010, 12:10:47 PM »

One of the most helpful tutorials ever:

http://www.amplepower.com/tech_docs/index.html

Use the Tech tab to download the Ample Power Primer and associated wiring diagrams.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 02:45:07 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 02:37:11 PM »

Wiring & Installing Battery Monitors by Maine Sail

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=125606

and an interesting followup discussion - why ONLY voltmeters can't really tell you much about the state of your batteries

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=132776&page=2
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 09:03:30 AM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 02:43:07 PM »

Another good wiring diagram from Ken Juul, much ike Jim Moe's wiring diagram in the C34 tech wiki

Ken's:
http://www.c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Wiring_Diagram_with_4_6v_golf_cart_batteries_and_starting_battery_on_Luna_Loca

Jim's:
http://www.c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Catalina_34_Electrical_System_Upgrade

Link to C34 Tech wiki Electrical:
http://www.c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Electrical
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 01:18:22 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 10:53:05 PM »

Updated C34 Tech wiki basic wiring diagram with echo charger:

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6225.0.html
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 10:57:18 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 10:34:01 PM »

BOOKS

Every so often folks ask: "What book should I buy to learn electrical stuff about my boat?"

The appropriate answer is: "Depends on how you like to learn."

Go to a chandlery and read a few in person, and start by buying one that you think suits your "level" and is "readable" to you."

A good starting list is provided by West Marine in the their online Advisors (and usually in their catalogs, one of which should be in your house and the other on your boat).

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/WestAdvisorView?langId=-1&storeId=11151&catalogId=10001&page=Recommended-Books-on-Marine-Electrical-Systems
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 11:56:55 AM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 08:10:56 PM »

Important Considerations for AGM Battery Use  (by Maine Sail)

http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=104505
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"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011, 10:01:40 PM »

Wow!  What a great post by Maine Sail.  Great observations on acceptance rates depending on which battery is first in the charging chain.

On a slightly different but similar note, Nigel Calder had a good article in this month's (May) Sail magazine on the perils of some of the new high acceptance rate batteries like TPPL (Thin Plate Pure Lead) and Lithium Ion batteries.  I haven't used these (or even researched them) but it looks like great new technology that will greatly reduce charging times for sailor's battery banks.  However, because the batteries can accept such a high charge rate, the alternator is at or near its maximum capacity for a relatively long period resulting in overheating.  Nigel has offered some ideas on how to deal with these high acceptance rate batteries.

Do we have any thoughts or experience on TPPL or Lithium Ion batteries? 

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Std Rig, Wing Keel, M35A Engine
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Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2011, 11:42:09 PM »

Dave, not with the new battery technology, but surely with reducing alternator load and heat:

Small Engine Mode (read the link to the hot alternator topic, too)

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4669.0.html
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Dave Spencer
Forum - Petty Officer 2nd Class
****

Karma: 0
Boat Name / Hull Number: Good Idea Sail #1279
Model Year: 1994
Home Port: Lion's Head, Ontario
Posts: 140


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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2011, 08:43:09 PM »

Thanks for the great links Stu. 
I thought that someday I would surely have a question that this group can't answer. Now, I'm not so certain.

 
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Dave and Kathy Spencer
C34 #1279  "Good Idea"
Std Rig, Wing Keel, M35A Engine
Boat - Lion's Head, Ontario
People - London, Ontario
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2011, 09:42:48 PM »

Dave, you'll find this is as applicable to AGM batteries as it is to the newer technology.  AGMs have high acceptance rates that can tax even high output alternators.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2011, 09:58:59 AM »

For everyone installing a battery monitor:  The "Gotcha Algorithm" thread, a "MUST READ"

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4922.0.html

DEFAULTS are factory settings that are made to be modified to suit your setup.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 01:30:45 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
Stu Jackson
C34IA - Secretary
Forum - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
********

Karma: 51
Boat Name / Hull Number: Aquavite #224 1986 SR/FK, M25, NZ Rocna 10 (22#)
Home Port: Alameda, CA
Posts: 5409



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2011, 11:05:03 PM »

Engine Start Problems, with a good discussion of various issues.

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5159.0.html     
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
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