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Author Topic: Battery system for distance cruising  (Read 859 times)

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Set2sea

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Battery system for distance cruising
« on: February 28, 2019, 11:08:39 AM »

This season will mark my families 6th year with our cat34.
We are planning on taking a one year cruise on the boat in two years. This cruise will have myself, wife and our two boys that will be 8 &10 leaving New England and heading for Florida, hopefully the Bahamas and who knows from there.

One of the upgrades we will need is refrigeration. I know, I will need to upgrade the electrical system and I am planning on adding solar.
I have been reading on this site and it seems that the way to go is with a somewhat high output alternator and four 6 volt house battery bank and a dedicated 12 volt starting battery.

When I start reading on this site, most of the conversations get deep with details pretty fast and I end up jumping from one link to the next. I did go the Wiki under batteries and read the write up on a golf battery set up.
Currently I just have a two 12V battery bank. My mechanic that just did a valve and injector job replaced my alternator and external regulator with what I think is a pretty standard auto alternator with an internal regulator. His reasoning on going internal was to simplify the wiring. I kind of unknowingly said okay.

So I guess my question is this, with running a refrigeration system (which I have not picked out yet) and solar (which I have not designed yet), is the aforementioned battery set up the way to go, hands down? I know there will be other electrical upgrades along the way but I am just looking for this answer as a starting point.
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Paul Barrett

Stu Jackson

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2019, 12:43:05 PM »

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So I guess my question is this, with running a refrigeration system (which I have not picked out yet) and solar (which I have not designed yet), is the aforementioned battery set up the way to go, hands down? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yes, hands down, best bang for the buck and space.

Real cruising:

1.  read everything by waterdog

2.  Read Wealsea's journal, link in the 101 Topics, they did Great Lakes thru the Erie Canal to the Bahamas and back.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Ron Hill

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 01:46:28 PM »

Paul : You didn't mention your hull #.  Stu made a good suggestion and I might add to look at Hank Recla's Mainsheet tech note article on the basic system of 4 golf cart batteries, hi output alternator and external regulator. He details everything even down to the size & # of the connectors you'll need.
Don't know what your mechanic took off, but you can always carry them along as spares.  Once you get out of the U.S.A things  (especially parts) get scarce, hard to get and expensive!!

You've got a couple of years so best advice is to spend a couple of months reading and come up with a master plan before you start to change things!!

Good Luck, a few thoughts   :thumb:
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Jon W

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 04:19:54 PM »

If you’re going to start reading, several of us added write ups of our electrical upgrade projects to the Tech WIKI “electrical” section under “panel, wiring”. Most have schematics. In my case I included a complete parts list, a schematic, a cable/wire list (with wire/cable ID’s, gauge, connectors, length, and voltage drop for each wire/cable), plus lots of photos, and a link to a very detailed forum thread that I started when I was in your shoes. Certainly not the only way to upgrade electrically, but gives a good overview on a way in one place.

I also have write ups on adding a second bilge pump, increasing propane, increased storage if you get bored. Easiest to find under my name in the Boat/Author section. Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 04:35:04 PM by Jon W »
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Jon W.
s/v Della Jean
Hull #493, 1987 MK 1, M25XP, Manson Supreme 35
San Diego, Ca

Roc

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2019, 09:48:27 AM »

Wow Paul, this trip sounds great!!  We cruise the Chesapeake and will be on battery power for 3 or 4 days at times.  Now that's probably not as long as you might find on your adventure, but what I found that helps is to first reduce the amount of power you need.  What I mean is change all your lights to LEDs, which use a fraction of the power.  Also, change out your anchor light to LED.  beefing up the insulation for your fridge is also a must do.
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Set2sea

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2019, 10:39:38 AM »

Thanks guys. I will read up in those areas!
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Paul Barrett

Set2sea

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2019, 10:50:11 AM »

Thanks guys. I will read up in those areas!
Hello Roc,
We will definitely be going thru the Chesapeake. I looks like there are some great spots. I am planning on having some time to explore.
I just have a couple of more lights to go LED, all of my mast lights are already LED.
I redid my galley counter last spring and insulated the ice box as much as we could. You are not talking going inside with insulation and making box smaller are you? I'm doubting people have done that?
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Paul Barrett

Roc

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2019, 01:13:50 PM »

No not talking about making a smaller box.  I took some drawers out to access the area around the fridge compartment.  I used insulated foam panels with low expansion foam to hold them in place.  Did the best I could with being able to access the inside areas.  People have drilled holes and shot foam inside the areas that aren't accessible, but I didn't do that.
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Roc - "Sea Life" 2000 MKII #1477.  Rock Hall, MD

waterdog

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2019, 03:22:32 PM »

I bumped into Dawn Treader (a MK1) recently in Mexico.   Peter has using lithium which would be the ultimate battery set up for distance cruising, but I think it is still in the enthusiast category.    Knowledgeable user required. 

Golf carts are your best choice. 

For the alternator, if you are going big, a few things.   You need temp compensation, a belt system upgrade, and external regulation.    You will fry alternators and wear out water pump bearings if your system is not well designed.   Consider one of the moderately sized Leece Neville units with internal regulation.  Can't beat it for simplicity.    Assume you will need to replace an alternator offshore in the middle of the night.   How complex do you want the job to be? 

Solar.   You cannot have enough.   When you think you have enough.  Find a way to put on more.    I have an 1100 Watt system and I am thinking of putting another 600W on my arch as we cruise full time on our cat.
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Steve Dolling
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DaveBMusik

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2019, 03:53:10 PM »

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


2.  Read Wealsea's journal, link in the 101 Topics, they did Great Lakes thru the Erie Canal to the Bahamas and back.


Tried to take a look but got this:

Sorry, we couldn't find that page.
The page you are looking for may have been moved, updated or deleted.

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Dave Burgess
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2019, 05:33:36 PM »

Tried to take a look but got this:

Sorry, we couldn't find that page.
The page you are looking for may have been moved, updated or deleted.

Sorry about that.  It was hosted on Chicago's All Catalina Fleet 21 website.  They may have deemed it legacy.  :D

I'll try to contact the owner and see if it's still up somewhere.

Thanks for letting us know.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 05:33:58 PM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Paulus

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2019, 04:35:10 AM »

Paul,
You should figure out the amount of energy you need in a 24 hr period and proceed from that point to the upgrades of your electrical system.  Upgrading to LED lights is a great improvement.
Inverters and Tv etc use a lot of energy. 
Paul
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DaveBMusik

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2019, 05:32:45 AM »

Investigate Firefly batteries as well. Expensive but many of the benefits of Lithium. They are hard to get but becoming more available.

https://www.bruceschwab.com/advanced-energy-storage-systems/firefly-energys-oasis-group-31/
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Dave Burgess
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Set2sea

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2019, 09:35:18 AM »

For the alternator, if you are going big, a few things.   You need temp compensation, a belt system upgrade, and external regulation.    You will fry alternators and wear out water pump bearings if your system is not well designed.   Consider one of the moderately sized Leece Neville units with internal regulation.  Can't beat it for simplicity.    Assume you will need to replace an alternator offshore in the middle of the night.   How complex do you want the job to be? 

Solar.   You cannot have enough.   When you think you have enough.  Find a way to put on more.    I have an 1100 Watt system and I am thinking of putting another 600W on my arch as we cruise full time on our cat.
Waterdog
You have me confused with the internal/external regulator - You said go with external but then you said get "moderately sized Leece Neville units with internal regulation". (?)
I am going to try to read up on the pros and cons of internal/external regulation?
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Paul Barrett

Stu Jackson

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Re: Battery system for distance cruising
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2019, 10:24:40 AM »

Paul,

Steve aka waterdog, sold his boat a few years ago and I do not think he's around here anymore, he's sailing a 40 ft catamaran, most likely in MX by now.

His 1500&3600 Mile Report & 5000 Mile link is here:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5270.0.html 

There is also a link to Cruising Spares in the 101 topics.

The Electrical 101 Topic has a post by Maine Sail about internal vs. external regulation.

I think his point was, IIRC, that swapping an internally regulated alternator when out at sea may be easier than an externally regulated one.  However, if your externally regulated alternator has a Ford plug for the stator and tach, it's easier, I think.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 10:41:59 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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