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Author Topic: House bank upgrade  (Read 353 times)

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Greene84

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House bank upgrade
« on: July 16, 2020, 06:48:59 AM »

 New owner here. Just purchased our first Catalina, hull 292. We need to move the boat from St. Joseph, MI to Duluth, MN. I would like to upgrade the house battery bank to four Trojan golf cart batteries and relocate the starting battery. I have read through many of the other posts regarding electrical upgrades. At the point I was hoping to just upgrade the batteries now and deal with other upgrades later. Is it possible to just upgrade the batteries for the journey without upgrading to an echo charger or making other upgrades? 
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scgunner

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2020, 07:28:49 AM »

Don't quote me but I believe the stock C34 was delivered with two batteries, 1 starting, 1 house. Upgrading the electrical system is a topic that has been written about chapter and verse, your options in this area are practically limitless. Since you're new to the boat and want to upgrade the electrical system adding house batteries is probably the easiest and cheapest way to go until you figure out what kind of system you'll actually need.

There shouldn't be any problem wiring additional house batteries into your system. I've added additional house batteries over the years, I started with one, then added two more, and just recently added one more.
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Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

Stu Jackson

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2020, 07:55:41 AM »

Quote
Is it possible to just upgrade the batteries for the journey without upgrading to an echo charger or making other upgrades? 

Yes, definitely. 
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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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Greene84

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2020, 12:06:32 PM »

Thank you for the help. I was also wanting to install a solar panel. Is there any reason I canít tie it directly to the house bank? 
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KWKloeber

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2020, 12:15:46 PM »

Quote

Is it possible to just upgrade the batteries for the journey ....


Yes, absolutely.  In fact an option is to "upgrade" that way permanently.  I will submit that most (>50% of) sailors don't need the charging fluff and their boat bucks might be better spent in improving charging efficiency and/or capacity, than automating it.  (Just my biased opinion which will no doubt create pushback.)  It's very easy to do, you simply treat the system as two banks -- the (4) house and (1) "other" battery.  It's also relatively simple to wire it so the house is two banks (of 2), and the "other" a third bank.

I say "other" because (my opinion again) most sailors are better off having an emergency (reserve) battery than one to start the engine every time.  It's the simplest setup and consumes near $0 boat bucks.  This is especially true if the boat is tied to a shore charger every night. 

On a mooring or relying on solar or extensive cruising can introduce complicating considerations.

Quote

I was also wanting to install a solar panel. 


For what purpose?  Are you on a mooring or is it just for supplemental charging, cruising, etc?


-Ken
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Greene84

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2020, 12:42:00 PM »

It would just be for supplemental cruising. Overkill?  Was looking at adding a 20A solar panel.
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Ron Hill

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2020, 02:19:05 PM »

Guys : The original batteries from the factory were 2 group 24 lead acid wet cell batteries - not even deep cycle!!

Greene : 20A solar panel is a BIG panel!!

A few thoughts
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Colonel Butler

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2020, 04:36:46 PM »

I have a 2006 MkII so am not sure that my information applies 100% to an earlier model. This week I am 80% complete of a conversion of the two 4D batteries (2 banks) to a house bank of 4 x golf cart 6v batteries and a new starting battery located under the aft cabin berth. If this is where you want to get to in the future, why not start out with installing the four golf cart batteries and splitting it into 2 banks as a temporary configuration and reconfiguring when you add the separate starting battery.

A few things that I learned from my install... The house battery trays are just a bit too small lengthwise to take two golf cart cells. I had to cut and extend them by 7/8". Also, the wiring diagram in my owners manual showed a different cable size than actually installed from the factory. I advise you do your own calculations for selecting cable sizes.

I installed the Blue Seas ACR rather than the Xantec Echo Charger to keep both banks charged under alternator or shore power charger.

To minimize starter cable run length, I installed a new starting battery isolator switch in the kick panel of the aft cabin berth.

Hope this helps. I will post a final wiring diagram with cable sizes once I finish the project.

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KWKloeber

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2020, 04:41:28 PM »

Quote

for supplemental cruising. Overkill?


NO additional power is EVER overkill if you need it.  The sun is free.  (Well, of course not counting capital cost and OM costs.)

I am guessing a little here how you use her but
- If mainly day/weekend sailing, and occasional cruising or occasional night on a hook, and normally tied to a charger, I would keep mine KISS.  2 banks -- house and emergency. 

No changes to the system other than running a cable to wherever you locate the emergency battery.  Easy peasy.  Split the house if you want to (requires one additional switch) or do it down the road.

She's fully charged when you leave the dock, and the emergency remains charged.  If you check its voltage, say, if you are going to be on a hook (just to make sure it's charged) you have NOTHING extraordinary to do. 
Leave the selector on (1) and the engine and solar will charge the house bank.  You don't need to replace any energy on the emergency unless you, well, had an emergency. (i.e., house was down far enough that it wouldn't crank the iron genny.)  AND at that, how many times can you turn over a car engine w/ a fully charged battery?  Do we need to recharge the battery to crank a 2nd time in a row?  A 3rd time?  A 4th time?  Starting a properly maintained diesel uses about 1/10 amp-hour of battery energy.  That's a load of starts before a reserve battery absolutely needs recharging.

An aside - even if we need to charge the reserve battery, what's so onerous about turning a switch from (1) to (2) or (both)?  We have a vessel with a hundred adjustments that we live to and love to turn and twist, and pull and release, and yank and crank, and tweak and swear at -- but it's too difficult remembering how to charge two banks. Really?
It's fine if one has an excess amount cash to blow, or for some reason NEEDS the automatic fluff -- but the majority don't NEED it, they WANT it.  And that's ok but it is what it is.

Off my cabin fever "back to KISS basics" soapbox.  LOL


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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
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Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

Stu Jackson

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2020, 05:35:06 PM »

It would just be for supplemental cruising. Overkill?  Was looking at adding a 20A solar panel.

Good idea, but 20A sounds incorrect.  If it's 20W, which is how panels are rated --- in watts --- then it's not very useful other than being good to keep up a bank if you're on a mooring and leave the boat for a week and don't plug in.  You'll come back to full batteries.

All the rest of the recommendations (all of which are quite valid and well meaning - long term, for you) are pretty premature for your original question and short term goals.  All good nonetheless, but take it one step at a time.  Get your house bank together, connect the solar panel to the house bank with a controller, and get the boat home. 

Remember, an echo charger or ACR or combiner, simply takes the place of B on the 1-2-B switch when charging sources are present.  No hurry for you.

Then we can point you to all your options, 103% of which are already in the Electrical Systems 101 Topic:

Electrical Systems 101   http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5977.0.html

Good luck.  Safe journey.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 08:26:12 PM by Stu Jackson »
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Jon W

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2020, 08:59:08 PM »

On my 1987 MK1 I upgraded to 4 6v Trojan T105 house bank. I did not need to modify the size of the battery compartment, but did need to fill in the recessed pans at the bottom of the battery compartment.

I posted a pretty detailed write up with text, photos, schematic, cable planner, parts list, etc in the Tech WIKI. A few other owners have also posted write ups. Reading through the Electrical Systems 101 section and reading the owner write ups will help you design your own system to meet your needs.
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Jon W.
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scgunner

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2020, 07:50:55 AM »

Greene,

By the responses I think you can see what I mean when I say limitless options. All good recommendations by the guys, and they're all good for increasing capacity, but they're all tailored to the needs of the individual owner. The hard part is figuring out exactly what you need for your boat usage. The best way to do that is to use the boat, how much you need will begin to reveal itself. Increasing storage capacity(more batteries)is a good start.

I'll agree with KWKloeber, whatever you do you can't have to much power.
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Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

mainesail

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2020, 08:35:59 AM »


An aside - even if we need to charge the reserve battery, what's so onerous about turning a switch from (1) to (2) or (both)?  We have a vessel with a hundred adjustments that we live to and love to turn and twist, and pull and release, and yank and crank, and tweak and swear at -- but it's too difficult remembering how to charge two banks. Really?
It's fine if one has an excess amount cash to blow, or for some reason NEEDS the automatic fluff -- but the majority don't NEED it, they WANT it.  And that's ok but it is what it is.

Yet every year we find this level of simple too "onerous" for many boat owners who blow their alternators and damage marine electronics from turning the battery switch while the motor is running. In a perfect world every switch would be make before break, but as they age and are ignored as a wear item, many owners who don't even pass through off wind up with blown diodes. Most of our customers are on a mooring or are full time cruisers who want simple, flip the switch to ON, and they also desire automatic, meaning never touch the switch unless there is a bank failure.

Today, LiFePO4 BMS load dumps account for the majority of blown diodes we see, but folks still blow them using the old 1/2/B or by accidentally turning the switch off when the motor is running. The also blow them by thinking they have a "start" and "house bank" and continually flipping back and forth between banks. With a 1/2/B you have two "everything banks" meaning either bank does both starting and house duties. Charge management devices lead to piece of mind for many, and this can't be discounted no matter how many times you tell them the reserve battery will be fine for a number of weeks, human nature forces them to want to charge them and this leads to errors..


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Greene84

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2020, 08:47:44 AM »

Jon W-  thanks for putting out such a detailed account of your upgrade. I will be using that as my reference.

Iím going to hold off on solar for now. Going to get the house bank dialed in and get the boat home. Thanks again for all of the support.
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Jon W

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Re: House bank upgrade
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2020, 10:27:14 AM »

Glad to help. Itís a good idea to read through the other write ups as well. There are some differences.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 10:39:25 AM by Jon W »
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Jon W.
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