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Old 07-25-2016, 09:47 AM   #101
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FF beat me to it. As long as your charger is set correctly, keeping the batteries topped up doesn't use up much water. Add a watering system and then you would be bullet proof. If the access is easy, consider the golf cart option. Cheap at one of the big box stores. You just have to have some cables made and that isn't too bad. GCs are a lot easier to move around than the big boys.

On my sailboat I replaced 2 4Ds with GCs. Great upgrade. On my current boat, I still have the original sealed LA house bank and thruster batteries. The boat is 6 years old and the batteries are going strong but I had to replace the generator start battery and the PO had already changed the engine start battery.

When it comes time to change my house bank, I am considering using GCs again for economy with a watering system. If my wife wins the lottery I may go with fireflies. :-)
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:56 AM   #102
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#1 on your hit parade should be getting rid of the excessive fridge and freezer load.

I have said this before, so regular readers will skip this part: My boat came with a fridge that used excessive power. By replacing it with a 12 v unit, I cut the power requirement to less than 1/3 of original, I was adle to cut my battery banks to 1/2 of what I started with, add a 12 v freezer and get long life out of LA batteries.

With both a fridge and freezer, I power then with a set of 4 x 6v Golf cart sized LA batteries. I also have a single 4D LA for starting 2 propulsion engines and one genset. The alternators are: 120 amps on one engine, regulated by a "Smart regulator, 50 or 60 (have to look to be sure) with internal regulation on the other engine, linked only to the start battery.
Shore power and Genset power both go through a Xantrex MS2000, that is 100 amps of charge and of 2000 watts of inverter. I put this system together 12 years ago. After 10 years I swapped out the 4 GC batteries, as they were starting to show signs of weakness. This year I did the start battery, as it was also showing signs of weakness. Remember, these are all LA batteries, so cheapest to replace.

The most important aspect of this system is load control.
Your AC Fridges have to go. Then you can start to relax.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:36 AM   #103
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I can tell you that when i next replace batteries it will be with carbon foam. By my calculations, the cost per amp is less than other options even though the initial outlay might be more.

Of hours see if reasonably priced and save lithium batteries are available by then, i might consider them.

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Old 07-25-2016, 11:25 AM   #104
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My thoughts on replacing batteries:
If I had to replace batteries today, I would not spend a lot of extra money on a technology that promised an extra long life. Assuming that the promises come true, battery technology is advancing so fast, and the price is dropping so fast, that anything purchased today will be hopelessly obsolete and grossly overpriced tomorrow. Instead, I would install lower priced batteries, that may only last 5 years, and then upgrade to something much better, and much cheaper.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:53 PM   #105
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[QUOTE=koliver;463584
My boat came with a fridge that used excessive power. By replacing it with a 12 v unit, I cut the power requirement to less than 1/3 of original...
[/QUOTE]


Why did the original use so much power? Was it larger? Frost-free? simply inefficient? Or...?

I'd have thought can't be all that much power loss just from using an inverter on an AC-only fridge... and wouldn't have expected simply eliminating an inverter by changing to a 12V unit would save all that much (2/3)... so would expect there was something else involved?

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Old 07-25-2016, 03:32 PM   #106
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Ranger:

The original was a Norcold AC/DC.
The replacement was of the guts only, so all other variables were not in play. I still have the box, the computer fan behind, all the same insulation, etc.

The Norcold was actually an AC only fridge, with its own internal inverter, so that when on DC power, it had to power the inverter and the fridge, so consumed more than 12 amps, while running.

The replacement Danfoss DC unit consumes 2.7 amps when running (including the computer fan that is in the same circuit).

So actually the difference is more than 4 x better once I got rid of the AC fridge.

My Xantrex inverter, when running unloaded, consumes over 5 amps, so disciplining myself to leave it off except when needed also helped with battery management.

Friends have household fridges and get by, but they are leaving that 5 amp inverter draw on all of the time. If your fridge runs, on average, less than 1/2 of the time, then the extra inverter amperage for the off cycles alone uses another 60 amp hours every day. When the fridge is cycling on, the inverter continues to use another 60 amp hours a day, for an extra load of 120 AH/day that could be avoided, in addition to the inefficiencies of the AC fridge.
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Old 07-25-2016, 03:58 PM   #107
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Keith

My experience with our dual voltage refrigerator is similar. I just checked with 12 vs 110 volts and note an approximate 5 amp at 12V difference in power draw, favoring the 12v side.

That however is an instantaneous reading and to more accurately note the difference a full day or so draw down test would be required.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:22 PM   #108
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Dave - I suggest getting a hold of Bruce Schwab and talking with him directly. He doesn't just sell Firefly batts (also sells lithium batts), and his expertise is in boat electrical/charging/storage systems. If nothing else he will give you some valuable advice!

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Is this a dead thread? Hope not. Need to buy new batteries on my new boat. Have a weird mix. House bank totally fried comprised of a mix of types and sizes, 6 4D lead acid 1 4D AGM and 1 8D AGM. 8D AGM was once the main engine start battery and the 4D AGM is just loose in the engine room and blocking access to various things so I want it out. I want to revert to having a dedicated engine start battery so that leaves just the 6 4Ds for the house bank. But wait, those 6 4 Ds are split into three isolatable pairs and 4 of them are in 8D sized boxes. I'm told that mixing 4 8Ds and 2 4Ds would be a no no so, if that's true, seems like my best choices are, 1; 6 new AGM 4Ds, 2; 6 new Oasis G31 fireflys, I guess that should be fireflies?, or 3; mix 4 8D and 2 6D commodity lead acid batteries knowing it isn't a great install but they are cheap. Chargers are old, a generator or shore power supplies Trace inverter/charger, a 240 volt 50 Hertz Charles shore power euro-charger, and a 130 amp alternator on main engine. Two chargers have AGM settings but may not be customizable enough for the carbon foam batts. I am embarrassed to admit I have no idea how the current and voltage from the main engine alternator to the batteries is regulated. Anticipate that boat will be away from shore power and at anchor or mooring for extended periods of time. I won't want to be running generator enough to top up batteries and do not expect to be running main enough daily, or even weekly, to get batteries from 80% SOC to 100%. That argues for greater bank capacity but also suggests that Firefly may be more forgiving of abuse. Given all I have read I think same sized AGMs might be worst choice for me. What do you think? And thanks in advance for wading through all the details. dave
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:58 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koliver View Post
Ranger:

The original was a Norcold AC/DC.
The replacement was of the guts only, so all other variables were not in play. I still have the box, the computer fan behind, all the same insulation, etc.

The Norcold was actually an AC only fridge, with its own internal inverter, so that when on DC power, it had to power the inverter and the fridge, so consumed more than 12 amps, while running.

The replacement Danfoss DC unit consumes 2.7 amps when running (including the computer fan that is in the same circuit).

So actually the difference is more than 4 x better once I got rid of the AC fridge.

My Xantrex inverter, when running unloaded, consumes over 5 amps, so disciplining myself to leave it off except when needed also helped with battery management.

Friends have household fridges and get by, but they are leaving that 5 amp inverter draw on all of the time. If your fridge runs, on average, less than 1/2 of the time, then the extra inverter amperage for the off cycles alone uses another 60 amp hours every day. When the fridge is cycling on, the inverter continues to use another 60 amp hours a day, for an extra load of 120 AH/day that could be avoided, in addition to the inefficiencies of the AC fridge.
Sounds like you have some serious problems with your electrical system. My two door, 7 cu ft Norcold fridge consumes only 3.2A at 12V DC, and 0.4A at 120V AC. You didn't say which model of Xantrex inverter you have, but I note from the Inverter Comparison Chart in the WM catalogue, that there are no inverters with an idle current over 0.6A, and some are as low as 0.16A.
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Old 07-26-2016, 05:33 AM   #110
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Spending big bucks for a super batt set is only worthwhile if they get used.

If you are casting off NOW for a 3-4 year adventure , they might be worth the pri$e.

If you are sitting dockside playing Bestitis , they are a waste of currency.
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Old 07-26-2016, 05:54 AM   #111
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You guys are so 'yesterday'; keep up there at the back of the class...


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Old 07-26-2016, 05:57 AM   #112
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Quote:
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Ranger:

The original was a Norcold AC/DC.
The replacement was of the guts only, so all other variables were not in play. I still have the box, the computer fan behind, all the same insulation, etc.

The Norcold was actually an AC only fridge, with its own internal inverter, so that when on DC power, it had to power the inverter and the fridge, so consumed more than 12 amps, while running.

The replacement Danfoss DC unit consumes 2.7 amps when running (including the computer fan that is in the same circuit).

So actually the difference is more than 4 x better once I got rid of the AC fridge.

Ah. Interesting. Almost sounds like an especially inefficient internal inverter? Or maybe going faulty, on its last legs at the time?

Our fridges are also AC/DC but work the other way, i.e., always on DC (Danfoss) with its own internal converter that comes into play when we feed it AC (shorepower or genset).

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Old 07-26-2016, 09:25 AM   #113
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"My experience with our dual voltage refrigerator is similar. I just checked with 12 vs 110 volts and note an approximate 5 amp at 12V difference in power draw, favoring the 12v side.

That however is an instantaneous reading and to more accurately note the difference a full day or so draw down test would be required."

Tom:

I did this almost 20 yrs ago. At the time I had a failure in the fridge, so I took it to the then local expert, "Freddy Freezer" at North Shore Refrigeration. He has retired and passed the mantle on to the present day owners of the shop, but they are still the go to guys for marine refrigeration in North Vancouver.

Fred convinced me I would be happier with a replacement of the dual voltage unit with a Danfoss 12v, and my own amperage reading bore that out. I was able to downsize my house batteries to about 1/2 what they had been, on that change alone, despite adding a second Danfoss DC freezer.

I know inverters are now more efficient, unloaded, than the Xantrex MS2000 that I put in in 2004, but mine still works as designed, so there will be no changing up.

The point I am trying to make is that load control is perhaps more important than the choice of batteries. If you get your load under close control, you will find your battery management is a much less stressful job, and may even lead to choices that were not possible before the load reduction.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:45 AM   #114
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I'm not sure this is thread to start this discussion but it's relevant. So what size house bank do you have on the boat? We have gone to mostly led lighting, have a Sea Freeze super insulated fridge/ freezer with a 12 v compressor. In short have done most of energy saving upgrades that make economic sense... Even with these upgrades, the boat's house bank is about 1600 amp/hrs..
The battery bank is sized for our needs with a little overkill. Except for the initial expense is there any reason not to have as much battery capacity as physically possible?



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Old 07-26-2016, 12:44 PM   #115
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Except for the initial expense is there any reason not to have as much battery capacity as physically possible?

Nope,

Most cruisers can not get the house bank to 100+% every night , so the set slowly looses capacity.

In 2 or 3 years , even with the same loads , "oversized" may have shrunk to just right.
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Old 07-27-2016, 07:14 AM   #116
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Quote:
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Except for the initial expense is there any reason not to have as much battery capacity as physically possible?

Nope,

Most cruisers can not get the house bank to 100+% every night , so the set slowly looses capacity.

In 2 or 3 years , even with the same loads , "oversized" may have shrunk to just right.
Very True!!!
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