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Old 11-07-2017, 07:49 PM   #1
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Batteries - where to locate them

Hello fellow TFers!
Next spring I plan to modify my batteries setup in order to get a bit more "juice".
Currently my batteries are located in my ER on starboard side (house and start).
I have some space on port side where I can add more.
I also have a separate compartment forward from ER, curently used to store my hoses and power cord, that could be used to store all the batteries.
So my options are keep batteries in ER or relocate all.
About relocation:
pros - forward compartment is less warm than ER (even if ER is not so hot), batteries would be easy to access from top (hatch), compartment located right in the centerline so no unbalance.
cons - will need longer cables from charger (I may be able to relocate the charger in same compartment) and from alternator

Any advice between keeping things as is or relocating?

L.
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Old 11-07-2017, 08:47 PM   #2
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Its preferable to keep batteries, chargers and inverters cool. Performance drops off for everything as temp rises.

But the battery space should also be well vented, even if using sealed batteries, and its not clear that is the case for you forward compartment.
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Old 11-07-2017, 08:59 PM   #3
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You may need to upgrade your alternator (s) if you increase your amp hours. I just last week got a copy of the Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder. Anything you want to know about batteries and charging systems.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:18 PM   #4
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Its preferable to keep batteries, chargers and inverters cool. Performance drops off for everything as temp rises.

But the battery space should also be well vented, even if using sealed batteries, and its not clear that is the case for you forward compartment.
Indeed, my ER is well vented with my 2 blowers and 4 vents but the forward compartment is less vented. It is opened to the ER but via 2 smaller conduct and have no direct outlet.
This is one of cons I did not mention above.

L
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:23 PM   #5
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You may need to upgrade your alternator (s) if you increase your amp hours. I just last week got a copy of the Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder. Anything you want to know about batteries and charging systems.
I have the Calder's and it is a very good and complete reference, however like any other reference it cannot cover all configuration and situation so my question.
Before planning to upgrade my alternator, what would be costly, I need first to find my current alt. output.

L.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:36 PM   #6
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There are many things to consider, Lou.

Low and on the centreline is good.
If possible, I'd suggest relocating your charger rather than extending the cables.

I moved my batteries away from the engine for better access. It allowed me to crawl alongside and get close and personal in my small engine "room". Previously the two battery boxes blocked access, and I had to do all maintenance by reaching down from above.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:50 PM   #7
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The issue with the fwd compartment location seems to be airflow, maybe look at improving it. Vents high and low with the ER should give convection effect.
Consider a second charger. Wherever you move the existing one it will have an extended run to one or other bank. And can it serve another bank?
Can`t see getting around longer battery cables, though that should be ok. The cables should be well protected where they pass through bulkhead panels.
The alternator may have its output or at least the model, marked on it.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:02 AM   #8
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Be sure to wire in the Field Disconnect on the rotary switch for the start batts,

OR a bad move could cost the alt diodes .

A few feet of #14 wire could save a hundred bucks or more.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_tribal View Post
Currently my batteries are located in my ER on starboard side (house and start).
I have some space on port side where I can add more.
I also have a separate compartment forward from ER, curently used to store my hoses and power cord, that could be used to store all the batteries.
So my options are keep batteries in ER or relocate all.
About relocation:
pros - forward compartment is less warm than ER (even if ER is not so hot), batteries would be easy to access from top (hatch), compartment located right in the centerline so no unbalance.
cons - will need longer cables from charger (I may be able to relocate the charger in same compartment) and from alternator

An easy (the easiest?) option might be to split your current banks so that starting (and genset?) is on one side and house is on the other. And then that might also allow you space to increase your house bank even more. That might or might not effect boat balance, depending on whether there's already something on your port side that's offsetting the current starboard location.

If you can improve ventilation in the forward space, anther possible pro might be that you can easily service wet batteries... so save some $$$ on the batteries themselves.

FWIW, our original charger wasn't particularly close to our three battery banks. Didn't notice much of an issue with that. And out alternators are very close to the batteries, so maybe that compensates...

You could consider taking the opportunity to increase your charging capability, maybe. Use the original charger for one bank (your start bank?), and add an inverter/charger for the house (located very near that bank). Which could also give you an inverter in the system, if that'd be useful.

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Old 11-08-2017, 06:46 AM   #10
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There are many things to consider, Lou.

Low and on the centreline is good.
If possible, I'd suggest relocating your charger rather than extending the cables.

I moved my batteries away from the engine for better access. It allowed me to crawl alongside and get close and personal in my small engine "room". Previously the two battery boxes blocked access, and I had to do all maintenance by reaching down from above.


It would be the same for me, by moving the batteries out of the way I would gain access to the engine from the side. Currently the starboard side is occupied by the charger, 2 group 31 and the starter batteries.

L
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
The issue with the fwd compartment location seems to be airflow, maybe look at improving it. Vents high and low with the ER should give convection effect.
Consider a second charger. Wherever you move the existing one it will have an extended run to one or other bank. And can it serve another bank?
Can`t see getting around longer battery cables, though that should be ok. The cables should be well protected where they pass through bulkhead panels.
The alternator may have its output or at least the model, marked on it.


The ER and forward compartment are separated by the holding tank. There are opening on the side and bottom of the holding tank but it is not really vented per say, there is no direct vent to the outside.
I will need to replace my charger or add a second one as at 20Amp it would be on the low side of the scale if I add some juice. I may keep this one for the starter battery and add one for the house, not sure yet.

L
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by FF View Post
Be sure to wire in the Field Disconnect on the rotary switch for the start batts,

OR a bad move could cost the alt diodes .

A few feet of #14 wire could save a hundred bucks or more.


Yes it is wired and I take great care not to play with this switch. In fact I never used it yet as I never add any issue of depleted start batterie that would require help from house bank.

L
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
An easy (the easiest?) option might be to split your current banks so that starting (and genset?) is on one side and house is on the other. And then that might also allow you space to increase your house bank even more. That might or might not effect boat balance, depending on whether there's already something on your port side that's offsetting the current starboard location.

If you can improve ventilation in the forward space, anther possible pro might be that you can easily service wet batteries... so save some $$$ on the batteries themselves.

FWIW, our original charger wasn't particularly close to our three battery banks. Didn't notice much of an issue with that. And out alternators are very close to the batteries, so maybe that compensates...

You could consider taking the opportunity to increase your charging capability, maybe. Use the original charger for one bank (your start bank?), and add an inverter/charger for the house (located very near that bank). Which could also give you an inverter in the system, if that'd be useful.

-Chris

I have only a baby Yamaha generator aboard so no genset battery. Like you mentioned the benefit I see with forward compartment is easy access from above as currently the way the batteries are setup it is a real pita to access them. I am pretty sure I will need to increase my charging capacity as if not it will take days to get a full charge back. But as my typical usage curently is 2 to 3 days at anchor followed by weekdays at the dock it may not be an issue. I may start first by keeping the same charger ( capable of 2 banks charging) and add a new one later if needed.

Thank you all for comments, much appreciated as usually.

L
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:03 AM   #14
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You can always add something like this, there are a variety out in the market.

Zephyr Industries Battery Box Ventilator | Specifications and Prices
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:14 AM   #15
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You can always add something like this, there are a variety out in the market.

Zephyr Industries Battery Box Ventilator | Specifications and Prices


Yup this is something I was thinking, to run a duct on the side of my holding tank with a very low power fan just to make a light air flow that would be enough to vent the forward compartment.

Thank you for the link.

L
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:54 PM   #16
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So much to think about when moving battery banks while upgrading the system. It's a big step to recable the large cables. How far do you want to go? If you do it right the first time, future upgrades and mods will become possible without major headaches.

Have you considered all of these issues?

Weight transfer effect on lateral balance/listing?
Venting (not critical with AGMs)
Temps
Access (especially important with FLA)
New maintenance requirements
New charging requirements
Batt size to maximize space efficiency but manageable weight/size
cable length and size re: 3% loss
Battery switching and location of switches
Need ability to tie banks for start?
Shore charger quality and capacity
Alternator quality and capacity
Alternator recabling direct to batts?
External or internal alt voltage regulation
Combiner vs isolator vs neither
Costs
Yamaha gen continuous load limits for shore charger sizing
Inverter?

I dealt with all these issues in advance of my major recable job and proceeded with the project in stages to allow me to phase in all the upgrades over time. In my case, the planning started with the physics of the job (size and access, battery, cable and switch location) then moved to my electrical needs and wishes via a detailed schematic. From that schematic, I was able to source components and prices and plan the stages of upgrade.

Maybe it's easier to do it all at once, but my budget wouldn't allow it.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
So much to think about when moving battery banks while upgrading the system. It's a big step to recable the large cables. How far do you want to go? If you do it right the first time, future upgrades and mods will become possible without major headaches.

Have you considered all of these issues?

Weight transfer effect on lateral balance/listing?
Venting (not critical with AGMs)
Temps
Access (especially important with FLA)
New maintenance requirements
New charging requirements
Batt size to maximize space efficiency but manageable weight/size
cable length and size re: 3% loss
Battery switching and location of switches
Need ability to tie banks for start?
Shore charger quality and capacity
Alternator quality and capacity
Alternator recabling direct to batts?
External or internal alt voltage regulation
Combiner vs isolator vs neither
Costs
Yamaha gen continuous load limits for shore charger sizing
Inverter?

I dealt with all these issues in advance of my major recable job and proceeded with the project in stages to allow me to phase in all the upgrades over time. In my case, the planning started with the physics of the job (size and access, battery, cable and switch location) then moved to my electrical needs and wishes via a detailed schematic. From that schematic, I was able to source components and prices and plan the stages of upgrade.

Maybe it's easier to do it all at once, but my budget wouldn't allow it.


You are right so many things to think about and I often tend to overthink too much
So let see some answers:
1. How far: forward compartment is around 4 to 5 feet from where the batteries are currently, and also 4 feet from the alt and the charger.

2. Weight transfer: new place is right on centerline, mid ship so balance would be nice. Removing 2 group 31 from ER starboard would certainly have an effect and on port I have a 11gal water heater. This could be compensated by storing tools and heavy stuff in place of the batteries.

3. Venting: this is my main concern, may be addressed by running a duct on the side of holding tank if space permit, this is something I will need to check.

4. Temp: will be lower in new place, even if my ER is not getting really hot, it remains that the ER is warmer than the forwards compartment.

5. Accessibility: would be far better in forward compartment.

6. Maintenance: not more than current.

7. New charging requirements: May need more beefy charger this could be addressed as a second step. Donít want to change the alt though.

8. Battery size: would be a bunch of gc2.

9. Switch is in fact not nearer to the forward compartment than the current batteries location.

10. Ability to tie house bank to start: this is currently the case but never needed to combine house and start to startup. Hopefully will never have but who knows.

11. Shore charger: current one is a marine 20 amp 2 banks charger. Not brand new but working fine. Depending on the need I will see to replace or add a second one ( think of a 60 amp one) but plan this as a second step if the one I have does not meet the need.

12. Alt: it is new and working fine but still need to find capacity. Will check this when the ice melt

13. Alt recabling: think to keep the same cabling model if I can say just replace cables and reroute to new location.

14. Int/ext voltage regulator: to my current knowledge it is internal but need to confirm

15. Combiner/isolator/none: currently have a diode isolator, not the optimal setup though. May opt for something smarter that could still keep some bucks in my wallet

16. Costs: always a big consideration. Highest cost will be batteries. Some cable cost do not really matter. Would not want to change the alt though. Just want to keep this under control.

17. Yamaha baby gen is continuous 1400watts 110v. Only used in case of but not a regular use. Plan is to add solar as a phase 2 of the improvement plans

18. Inverter not needed at this point, everything runs out of 12v aboard. May think to add a small one to run the expresso machine but not sure I want to go that way.


Like you mentioned I look at this to be done in steps and to do it right.
I will for sure make a schematic of what I plan and post it here ( will take some time though but no hurry boat is wrapped for some months now)

L
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_tribal View Post
You are right so many things to think about and I often tend to overthink too much
So let see some answers:
1. How far: forward compartment is around 4 to 5 feet from where the batteries are currently, and also 4 feet from the alt and the charger.

2. Weight transfer: new place is right on centerline, mid ship so balance would be nice. Removing 2 group 31 from ER starboard would certainly have an effect and on port I have a 11gal water heater. This could be compensated by storing tools and heavy stuff in place of the batteries.

3. Venting: this is my main concern, may be addressed by running a duct on the side of holding tank if space permit, this is something I will need to check.

4. Temp: will be lower in new place, even if my ER is not getting really hot, it remains that the ER is warmer than the forwards compartment.

5. Accessibility: would be far better in forward compartment.

6. Maintenance: not more than current.

7. New charging requirements: May need more beefy charger this could be addressed as a second step. Don’t want to change the alt though.

8. Battery size: would be a bunch of gc2.

9. Switch is in fact not nearer to the forward compartment than the current batteries location.

10. Ability to tie house bank to start: this is currently the case but never needed to combine house and start to startup. Hopefully will never have but who knows.

11. Shore charger: current one is a marine 20 amp 2 banks charger. Not brand new but working fine. Depending on the need I will see to replace or add a second one ( think of a 60 amp one) but plan this as a second step if the one I have does not meet the need.

12. Alt: it is new and working fine but still need to find capacity. Will check this when the ice melt

13. Alt recabling: think to keep the same cabling model if I can say just replace cables and reroute to new location.

14. Int/ext voltage regulator: to my current knowledge it is internal but need to confirm

15. Combiner/isolator/none: currently have a diode isolator, not the optimal setup though. May opt for something smarter that could still keep some bucks in my wallet

16. Costs: always a big consideration. Highest cost will be batteries. Some cable cost do not really matter. Would not want to change the alt though. Just want to keep this under control.

17. Yamaha baby gen is continuous 1400watts 110v. Only used in case of but not a regular use. Plan is to add solar as a phase 2 of the improvement plans

18. Inverter not needed at this point, everything runs out of 12v aboard. May think to add a small one to run the expresso machine but not sure I want to go that way.


Like you mentioned I look at this to be done in steps and to do it right.
I will for sure make a schematic of what I plan and post it here ( will take some time though but no hurry boat is wrapped for some months now)

L
IIRC this project arose out of your quest for enough power to run your fridge.
Did you ever determine what amperage your fridge requires, how much of the time it is drawing that amperage? That seems to me to be the basic starting point. I am also convinced that replacing a power hogging fridge is much better than beefing up all of your power systems to make a power hog happy. I say this from some experience: When new to me, my boat had an inadequate power system for the requirements of the fridge. I had a "marine 40 amp charger", a pair of ordinary alternators, putting out the usual OEM amperage, about 50 per side, but through the usual OEM regulators, so incapable of charging the house batteries. Those were a pair of 8Ds, not even deep cycle, and a second bank - pair of 4Ds, again not even deep cycle. There was a generator but the charger limited its usefulness to a max of about 35 amps, dropping quickly to an average input to the batteries of 20 amps.
Once I learned a little about the systems, over a period of several years, I made some very drastic changes and some very simple changes.

1 Got rid of the power hog fridge. It drew over 10 amps when running, and ran more than 1/2 of the time. I now have a DC only, Danfoss, drawing 2.7 amps, less than 1/2 the time.

2 Got rid of the second battery bank. No longer required

3 Changed the primary House batteries to 4x 6v GC. Not stressed, as I recently replaced them after over 10 years of great service.

4 Added a "Smart" regulator. Mine is from Ample Power, but there are several good ones out there. Other than changing the fridge this is the most significant change you can make, and should be your top priority. All input power should come through a "Smart" three stage charging system.

5 Got rid of the "Marine charger". Its characteristics may work for a boat that is always plugged in, but if you spend any time on the hook, extends the required charging time unnecessarily, as it limits the amps that your batteries can receive to fit its own profile. In your case, 20 amps will slow your charging to around 10 amps, so that you will need to be plugged in for a week between usages of your boat.

6 installed a new, "Smart", three stage charger capable of delivering 90 amps continuously. It is rated at 100 amps. This also has the added benefit of giving me a 100 amp inverter, so I can use the microwave without running the genset.

7 installed a large capacity alternator, 130 amps, feeding through the "Smart" regulator, so that feed is not cut off after starting the engines, as the old alternator/regulator combination was set up to do.

8 installed a battery monitor, to keep an eye on what was actually going on. Mine is also from Ample Power, but there are several good ones out there. This is the least important part of the electrical refit.

9 installed a highly visible voltmeter as a quick reference to battery condition.

With the change in the fridge, all of the other changes became simple. I did most of these changes in the first 5 years of owning the boat, so have had 15 or more years to test the reliability of the rest of the system and I am happy with all of it.

I think the changes you are proposing for your boat would be much simpler if you tried a similar approach.

I hope I haven't misinterpreted what I have read in your posts and if so I apologise for going way off in the wrong direction.
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Old 11-09-2017, 04:08 PM   #19
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IIRC this project arose out of your quest for enough power to run your fridge.
Did you ever determine what amperage your fridge requires, how much of the time it is drawing that amperage? That seems to me to be the basic starting point. I am also convinced that replacing a power hogging fridge is much better than beefing up all of your power systems to make a power hog happy. I say this from some experience: When new to me, my boat had an inadequate power system for the requirements of the fridge. I had a "marine 40 amp charger", a pair of ordinary alternators, putting out the usual OEM amperage, about 50 per side, but through the usual OEM regulators, so incapable of charging the house batteries. Those were a pair of 8Ds, not even deep cycle, and a second bank - pair of 4Ds, again not even deep cycle. There was a generator but the charger limited its usefulness to a max of about 35 amps, dropping quickly to an average input to the batteries of 20 amps.
Once I learned a little about the systems, over a period of several years, I made some very drastic changes and some very simple changes.

1 Got rid of the power hog fridge. It drew over 10 amps when running, and ran more than 1/2 of the time. I now have a DC only, Danfoss, drawing 2.7 amps, less than 1/2 the time.

2 Got rid of the second battery bank. No longer required

3 Changed the primary House batteries to 4x 6v GC. Not stressed, as I recently replaced them after over 10 years of great service.

4 Added a "Smart" regulator. Mine is from Ample Power, but there are several good ones out there. Other than changing the fridge this is the most significant change you can make, and should be your top priority. All input power should come through a "Smart" three stage charging system.

5 Got rid of the "Marine charger". Its characteristics may work for a boat that is always plugged in, but if you spend any time on the hook, extends the required charging time unnecessarily, as it limits the amps that your batteries can receive to fit its own profile. In your case, 20 amps will slow your charging to around 10 amps, so that you will need to be plugged in for a week between usages of your boat.

6 installed a new, "Smart", three stage charger capable of delivering 90 amps continuously. It is rated at 100 amps. This also has the added benefit of giving me a 100 amp inverter, so I can use the microwave without running the genset.

7 installed a large capacity alternator, 130 amps, feeding through the "Smart" regulator, so that feed is not cut off after starting the engines, as the old alternator/regulator combination was set up to do.

8 installed a battery monitor, to keep an eye on what was actually going on. Mine is also from Ample Power, but there are several good ones out there. This is the least important part of the electrical refit.

9 installed a highly visible voltmeter as a quick reference to battery condition.

With the change in the fridge, all of the other changes became simple. I did most of these changes in the first 5 years of owning the boat, so have had 15 or more years to test the reliability of the rest of the system and I am happy with all of it.

I think the changes you are proposing for your boat would be much simpler if you tried a similar approach.

I hope I haven't misinterpreted what I have read in your posts and if so I apologise for going way off in the wrong direction.


No apologizes needed and thank you for your input.
You are right all this came first from this damned fridge But thinking about this made me also think to the batteries location and was wondering if it would not be a good idea to move them.
Like I wrote, I often maybe think too much

L
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:40 PM   #20
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Electrical and ER projects can often turn into a much bigger job than the idea which initially inspired the job. It reminds me of the children's book,
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