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Battery xcharging - Mooring

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gregcope View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gregcope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Battery xcharging - Mooring
    Posted: 20 Feb 2011 at 8:51am
Hi All,

I am thinking about battery charging.  I plan to keep my CO32 on a mooring, so a shore powered battery charger is not much help.  Although I like wind turbines, I hate the noise some make.  So a default becomes solar panels.  I appreciate that in the UK the solar panel efficiency is a bit rubbish!

We presently have a twin 75Ah battery bank.  I doubt this will increase by much.  Our electrical load is quite low as we are not planning any night sailing, and if we do I would look to fit LED lights.  No plans for Radar either.  Present usage would be lighting (plan to switch some key bulbs to LED), engine starting, bit of Depth/GPS.

We presently do not have a fridge, so this is the only electric hog I can foresee.

Any ideas, suggested locations, and especially pictures?
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George Isted View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote George Isted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 2:45pm

Hi Greg,

Like yourself, I keep my boat on a mooring without the ability to plug in so have to keep an eye on the batteries; I would make the following comments and suggestions. The first one being that the boat has been in it’s current configuration for some time and if you are going to make improvements to the power usage by adding LED bulbs etc then your power requirement is going to go down not up therefore there is a pretty good reason for changing nothing.

 

Before spending money on solar panel to add to your existing electrical system I would take a close look at what you have got already and how it can be improved.   The first thing I would suggest is to invest in a battery monitor of some type as there is not point in trying to improve the system unless you know where you are now, it may be that you never (or rarely) dip the batteries below 75%.  Once you have a monitor you will have far greater confidence in running batteries down in the knowledge of how much you are doing this by.  I have a cheap and cheerful Nasa BM1 and it works well.

 

If you are still concerned about power my next step would be to increase the capacity of your batteries, I have a pair or 110A/hr batts that are used for both engine start and domestics and this is more than enough capacity for our cruising duties.   In addition to a larger battery bank I would then consider fitting a smart multistage regulator controller for your standard engine alternator, this boosts the charging ability of your alternator significantly.  I have a Stirling advanced charge regulator but there are similar systems made by others.

 

If all of the above did not work I would then start looking at solar or wind power.  After all, a Contessa is such a beautiful boat it would be a shame to unnecessarily clutter it with additional kit.

 

FYI if you do fit a fridge there are a number of boats that have done this and at some point we will have a technical paper on this to download.   An alternative option that a few boast have used (including my own) is to buy one of the portable Waeco fridge units.  From my usage and from speaking to others a fridge on a Co32 (in the UK) will use on average 22-28 A/hrs in a 24 hour period.

 

This possibly isn’t the answer that you were looking for but I hope it helps

George Isted
Contessa 32 "Concerto"
Co32 Class Captain and Measurer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gregcope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 8:13pm
Thanks George.

On the aesthetics front I was considering a semi-flexible pannel, that should only be obvious from the top, and neither a rigid pannel with associated frame, or a gantry.

Interesting that you run the fridge on your present setup which is similar to mine, including the mooring.

Do you have a shore battery charger, or just rely on the engine alternator+charge regulator?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wisdish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 9:11pm
We have used our Co32 extensively each summer, with standard bulbs for lighting, and the fridge Geoge refers to (I will complete the technical paper shortly - honest) without any major problems with battery capacity. We have found that the charging from normal engine use is sufficient. However we do have a somewhat larger domestic battery bank (3 x 105 Ah batteries).

We have just bought a SmartGauge battery monitor (available from Maplin), which we have heard very good reports of; this is slightly pricier than the NASA BM1, but has the advantage of being significantly more sophisticated in the way it calculates battery capacity, and does not require a current shunt. This should give us more accurate information on how much battery capacity we are actually using and we will soon find out whether we really need all those domestic batteries!

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Quote George Isted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 9:21pm

Hi Greg,

Yes I do have a shore power battery charger, it is a Stirling multi-stage type that you can leave on all the time then plugged in, to be fair it doesn’t get a huge amount of use but does the job well.

 

No problem with running the fridge with my setup, last year we left it running 24hrs a day when on a family holiday including three days on a buoy in Alderney with no charging, engine started fine.  However I do keep a close eye on the batteries with the monitor and tend to keep them above 60% charge (or 40% discharged).

 

I agree a semi flexible panel will be best and will follow the line of the deck when fitted, I think Calypso (the new Rogers boat) has one in front of the hatch garage.

George Isted
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Co32 Class Captain and Measurer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gregcope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 9:41pm
Mark,

A tech fridge guide would be very handy!

George,

Like Alderney and trying to persuade my partner that the young family would love the beaches, just need to get used to sailing!

Hatch Garage was an idea, as either side of that gets shaded by lines going aft to the cockpit, and liable to being trodden on, where as that is more isolated, although shaded by the boom - but I supposed that would happen to either location.

Just need to look at Spray hoods getting in the way.

Either a Shore powered battery charger or a pannel would solve my present winter job of removing the batteries to charge them.  Interesting job as they are not light!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nardus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 8:05am
I`ve seen some nice examples on top of a sprayhood. If nicely done with a flexible panel its `s only visible from above. I`ve taken measurements and there would ben enough place to mount an 600x900mm solarpanel.
Ben H
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark Hillmann Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 10:05pm
On Milly Brown we use a couple of small semi-flexible solar panels forward of the spray hood and mounted above all the ropes leading back to  the stoppers.  Stepping on the ropes was less fun than stepping on the panels.  With a regulator they keep the batteries fully charged for your return to the boat.
They run:

Lighting:  All LED except the tricolour, I failed to rotate the bulb mounting by 180 degrees for the led bulb and left the old one in.
Instruments including AIS radar, which all take little current,
Chartplotter:  It is the illumination on ours that takes the current, we turn down the brightness unless using it.
Fridge: With the thermostat turned down to cool it while the engine is running, it seems OK ticking over at a higher temperature all the rest of the time.

Our digital voltmeter / ammeter shows the panels will not cope with:
Laptop - the more modern ones seem to use more.
Heating (starting and stopping it uses a heavy current), or the
VHF/navtex:  I was surprised how greedy that is.  The handheld is more use going in and out of harbour short handed, which is when the radio is normally used.  It gets forecasts OK and lives on, needing infrequent charging.  DSC has made channel 16 a lonely place in the Irish Sea and Scottish west coast. 

On night passages our single 110 amp hr domestic battery may need one boost if we have not been careful.  On longer passages we have a towed charger which allows extended use of the laptop, VHF and heating, unless the wind drops.   

Mark Hillmann

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Post Options Post Options   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 8:42pm
 Like you I have a fairly feeble battery set up but limited requirements for power.
 My Small Aerogen 25 has been superb.   It is spinning as we speak and has been for the last 15 years, and probably 10 years before that.   The only things that I have replaced are two sets of bearings costing a few pounds.   In all normal wind speeds it is silent.
  I have it mounted on a short pole so it operates in the slot between the deck and the boom.   This means it is also more in tune with the scale of the boat.    It would be a danger underway so it is tied off,  but for charging up between trips, on my swinging mooring, I would not be without it.  I never seem to run out of juice even though I run my engine to the minimum.
 Solar panels are great but finding a bright spot can be a problem.   Perhaps a portable unit on the foredeck?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nyaminyami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 10:17pm
Hi George
This is a very helpful post. I'm looking at optimising our battery charging as we too are on a river mooring and can only use a charger if we visit a marina, which is not very often. Our current set up is x2 75amp hour batts for engine and domestic use. I'm thinking about beefing up the domestic battery, but will stick with 75amps for the engine starter. I'm not too keen on adding another alternator, so am interested in what you've done. We've got a Yanmar 2GM with the standard 50amp output alternator. I've looked up the Stirling website: did you use the Digital Advanced Aternator Regulator? This seems a lot less than going the additional alternator route. I presume you had to add the field control regulator wire[this looks fun]and did you also install a battery isolator?

Many thanks for any advice


Simon
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