Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Battery Shuffle

Old spot
Hullabaloo currently has a starting battery for the engine and 2 6v house batteries to run everything else; which is pretty much our cabin, anchor and nav lights and our bilge pumps as necessary (rare). At this time they all get charged by the engine and will later also be charged via solar panels and a generator. Since owning the boat the two house batteries have provided more than enough energy for our currently limited needs but as we add more watt-sucking equipment and prepare to live aboard full time we really need to add more .

The problem was that our storage area under the stairs was limited and the starting battery took up a big chunk of that prime real estate. So we moved the starting battery into the compartment under the lazarette to make room. Now we just need to build boxes for 2 more 6v batteries and hook it all up...all with about 1/8 of an inch to spare. 

New spot
The key here is to have enough battery juice for our needs without going way over the top and having a billion amp hour battery bank. That would be nice (maybe) but we lack the space and the money necessary. We think we'll be okay with 4 house batteries.

However, if we are in need of a 'Come to Jesus' speech on this, we're certainly all ears.

4 comments:

  1. We did this dance earlier this year. (http://svsmitty.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/battery-upgrade/)

    So here are a couple comments I have based on what I learned:
    1) I don't see any over current protection (i.e. fuses). What do you guys have for fuses?
    2) When you go to add the additional 6 volt batteries you have to buy 4, not 2. When you put the batteries in a single bank they have to be of the same age and wear. You even need to check date codes when buying the new ones.
    3) What batteries do you plan to get? I found the Duracell from Sam's Club (made by Deka, a respected company, and then labeled as Duracell) to be the best buy. About $115 each for 230 ah batteries.
    4) What are you using for battery boxes? It looks like wooden ones. That doesn't provide any type of acid protection. When I put mine in I used the cheap black boxes. I found these after and wish I had them when I did my install. http://www.allbatterysalesandservice.com/browse.cfm/4,573.html
    5) Securing the batteries. I have found that those in the know don't like the plastic straps that come with the batteries/boxes. I went with upgraded straps from the boxstore and stainless steel pad eyes.
    6) Orientation. If I think I understand the location of the batteries correct, you need to turn the 6 volts 90 degrees. They need to go port to starboard the long way, not bow to stern. With them bow to stern, the plates get exposed when you heel. This could leak acid and reduce the life of the batteries.
    7) What's the battery switch/distribution setup like? We use the 1/2/Both/Off switch for use distribution but have the charge sources go straight to the house battery with an ACR to get it to the starter/reserve bank.

    Just some thoughts. I got all of the very little bit of knowledge I have on electrical systems from this guy: http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects.

    Good luck and fair winds,

    Jesse

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jesse! Those are all great questions.....for Ron! I think he has it all planned out, I'm just not electrically inclined enough to pay attention to any of it.

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  2. svsmitty is totally correct. Especially on points one and two. You must buy 4 all at the same time. Also wondering out loud if you've given thought to any inverter? Battery runs to an inverter can cost hundreds of dollars, so closer is better here. Also, about half of the cruising world thinks you only remove about half your amp hours before recharging, but there is a trend pushing it to 60%. Will this meet all your future needs? So if you get 4 230 amp hour batteries at 6V, you should try hard to never draw more than 250 amps without a recharge. What are you going to use to monitor amp consumption? Link 10's are great, but not being made anymore. But there are others that do the same thing. Weekend sailing and cruising are two different setups. Good to hear you're going with solar and wind. I have 270 watts of solar, and an Air X wind machine. I wish I had double the solar.

    Best of luck, tell us what you end up doing.

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  3. The whole battery arrangement/system is an ongoing project, we haven't made all of our decisions on it as of yet, this post was just to discuss the need for a little rearrangement in battery location. We already have an inverter and I'm not sure that placing the 6v perpendicular to the the bow is possible with the space we have. We certainly have a lot to still think about with all of this and we'll make updates as they happen. Thanks for the feedback!

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