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Old 05-20-2016, 12:17 PM   #1
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House bank sizing and battery choices

I'm thinking of replacing my boats house bank. This is not an emergency replacement, its part of what I am thinking of as a regular maintenance interval. The Batteries will be 7 years old next season, so this gives me some time to think about it.

The good thing is that I have a pretty good idea of how we use the boat, and our generator when on the hook which comprises of almost all of our cruising time.

I do not want to just re-create what the previous owner chose which were four L16HC Interstate batteries rated at 420 Amp hours, and making a 840 amp hour bank. I want to start fresh and determine what would be best for my cruising style. Perhaps that will be what the PO chose, perhaps it will not.

Starting with my loads...

With all our stuff onboard we draw between a low of 30 amps to a high of nearly 50 amps DC (not counting the microwave). We average somewhere in the low 40 amp range, with less during the sleeping hours.

Then we have our charging capacity...

We have a 150 amp smart charger built into our inverter/charger. We can limit the output as needed to match the batteries selected, but generally I see it max out as a little over 100 amps into the batteries since our loads are still there.

One of our engines is equipped with a Balmar 150 amp alternator as well. This has a smart regulator and we often see it at around 100 amps into the battery bank.

Now our style...

Our generator plays a vital role in our cruising style. Since it is very quiet, and our boat has allot of electric items we do not really really try to minimize its use. Generally speaking we need to run it in the mornings to make breakfast.
We need a couple hours to make water, and a couple hours to do a load of laundry. In the evening we need an hour or so to make dinner.

We do not sit in one place all day on the hook. We move around a bit, looking at things, moving from fishing hole to fishing hole, etc... I'm guessing three hours a day minimum is running the main engines.

My guesstimates....

Based on all this I'm figuring that we use approx 45 amps average or 1080 amp hours a day of energy thereabouts.

Our minimum recharge based on our style is

3 hours of generator time or 300 amp hours
3 hours of cruising time or 300 amp hours.

This leaves us with approx 7 hours (calculated) of additional generator run time that we will need on average to replenish what we use for a total of 10 hours a day.

My real-world generator run time has been only slightly less at around 8 hours a day total, so we're in the ballpark.

Now to the goals of the battery system...
  • A minimum of 10 hours at our low usage time of approx 35 amps, or 350 amp hours is our overnight goal.
  • I want to keep approx the same weight at 480 lbs. I could go a couple hundred pounds higher but don't really want to.
  • We need to keep the same approx footprint. We currently have two boxes side by side of 12X14X 18". We could go a few inches higher
  • The cells need to be individually movable at no more weight than our current 120 lb unit weight.
  • The goal is to match or do better than the current 1475 rated discharges of our L16HC cells. (this number comes from US batteries data sheet at 40% discharge on a L16HC battery.

Other factors...

I prefer to not parallel cells if possible.

I am not making price a factor in this equation at this time.

So... What would you do???

I'm thinking about the Rolls 4CS17P, or the 21P or the 25P as my first choice options.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:15 PM   #2
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Well Kevin
I think you opened the often discussed bag again! From your point of view. The main attack is to seek the solar recoeds for Seward. To check if converting your Bimini to a hard top and installing Solar panels is worth it. If so any gain from your panels with a decent MMPT controller is huge. Converted my previous boat C&L Sea Ranger 65ft LOA and my current boat 55ft Cheoy lee to solar. In both cases I went from the genny twice a day to only weekends or when we needed A/C 220V. My savings in fuel where and are immense.. My current setup is with 10 T105 plus's and Maverick MpPT controler, and 4 x 235Watt panels on the hardtop. This gives me all the power I need to run hoousehold stand up fridges and wine fridges with the girls toys Hair dryers, curling tongs etc. Admitted in the Caribbean , but the newer panels work in brightlight, mine do produce in full moonlight. My previous boat the C&L which I had based in Bermuda had just over the 1kw output but where older panels and not as efficient. But i went from Genny on to cook , to crockpot style inverter cooking.. And not having to start the genny's unless I needed a/c.
In the C&L I mounted 14x trojan L16 But currently in the Cheoy Lee I have 1 have 10xT105Plus's. It's all about spaceKeeping the batteries as close to the centerline and out of the bilges. In the cheoy lee the ey are mounted on the aft engine Bulkhead with quick disconnect watering etc. Also they rose another problem of keeping them cool to be efficient, I had to mount severe engine rooms to remove latent heat while the engines are running. Anyway I hope this gives you a little jumpstart to think about the alternatives. If you look at the Avatrar you cannot see my panels, producing over 60amps when needed. Currently in "Tortola"
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:18 PM   #3
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On another note is the reason for Trojans, they have lots of reserve electrolyte space above the plates.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:29 PM   #4
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Keep the L16's. I had 4HC's like you but they were strictly an inverter bank. I've use both US Battery and Trojans and got great service from each, as measured by amp hours out and cycles. If I was in your neck of the woods I'd consider Dynos as well. Money no object, I'd seriously consider AGMs.. which I did briefly when it came time to replace the US Battery units, but I got a great deal locally on the Trojans.

Your generator run times sound high to me, living on a mooring full time or on the hook, we averaged about 4 or so if there was no need for air conditioning,as discussed on the generator thread. But again, the DC loads on the boat were handled by the main house bank, which also started the port engine.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:30 PM   #5
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Kevin, any specific reason to not wanting to parallel?
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:01 PM   #6
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Thanks guys!!

On the solar front I have not studied our actual solar patterns, but I can say that it is something I'll look into. So far north I never really thought about it.

On the paralleling issue. Even though it is a very small risk in my opinion, if I can avoid the risk of a good battery feeding a faulted battery then I would prefer to mitigate that risk.

That is the driver for my looking at the Rolls Surette Batteries. They offer a line of modular batteries that could avoid the paralleling issues, and provide the lower unit weight I need to be able to complete the install without special equipment.

The rolls battery also offers less interconnecting wiring, and from the spec sheet a deeper discharge rate vs lifespan.

Lots to think about...
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:02 PM   #7
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Kevin, in the summer you may do well with solar. You get very long days which can help make up for less intensity.

However, unlike some of the others you have given great ideas, if I recall your cruising style is NOT one where you are trying to eliminate daily generator usage. The Solar would be nice for topping off batteries that are bulk charged with the Blamer or the genset. I seem to remember in another thread a long time ago that you typically will do a load of laundry daily. That and the water needed, plus your electric galley, mean that you will be running your genset a couple hours a day anyway.

Since you are not looking to size a huge house bank that can support an invertor for a couple days on the hook, I would look for a bank that will last for a lot of years with your usage pattern, is simple to maintain (so maybe not wet cells) and has a configuration that allows you to reduce interconnecting cables to suit your tastes. I have no idea what type of batteries those would be but would encourage you to stick with what has worked for your type of usage.

BTW, would there be any advantage of upgrading the alternator on your second engine? I don't know how that works, but if your battery bank could take the added charge amperage, that would be a relatively inexpensive way of increasing your charge capacity.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:54 PM   #8
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Kevin - I just started a thread yesterday on our experience with our new carbon foam batteries. Don't know if you saw it but here's the link to the video:

Pacific NW Boater - PRODUCTS - TESTED: Carbon Foam Batteries
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:39 PM   #9
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Kevin -

My first thoughts are you're consuming 13KW per day @ 12v. That's a bodacious amount of power consumption. My 2200 sf house uses less.

No criticism intended [and I'm no tree hugger].

I have a PV powered cabin in central Maine w/ 660 amp wet nicad [15v] bank & 480w [40amp] of pv. I rarely run the generator - even with a full cabin during hunting season in November. Of course - no AC or electric heat /DHW loads - but everything else.

I'm interested in responses and where this goes.

BTW - You have beauty 4877
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:40 PM   #10
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Kevin

Seems like some load shedding may be in order. We use about 1/3 of what you do, but personal choices abound. However, the cost of load shedding may well pay for a new genset!

BTW, North Harbor diesel is the cheapest battery place and installer we've found. That is if your boat is headed that way in the next year or two.
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Old 05-20-2016, 05:12 PM   #11
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Kevin, here are my 2 thoughts, worth exactly what you paid for them.

First idea would be to scrap the large battery bank for a smaller one and add a 12 volt generator that runs all the time. Thinking the kabota single cylinder diesel at 1,800 to 2,400 rpm coupled to a 220 amp (3 KW) Leece neville alternator in a sound shield. Pretty sure Next Gen could build you one. Noise should be reasonable as you don't need to spin the engine up to get cycles correct for an alternator. Save a lot of wear on your primary generator.

Second idea is to put a real 2nd alternator with a smart 3 stage regulator on one of your engines. Again, I would recommend the 220 amp (3 KW) Leece neville alternator. I did this on my boat to charge the house bank. My normal running power consumption is around 40 amps (lots of electronic toys at the helm). Routinely see 200 amps going into the bank until the regulator switches from bulk to absorption. The difference with a real alternator is that you get full output plus (they are purposely under rated) continuously without heat problems and the performance doesn't drop as the alternator heats up.

Just a thought or 2.

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Old 05-20-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
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House bank sizing and battery choices

Kevin: I have heard some people have had difficulties with the Surette Rolls Batteries. Twisted Tree has commented on issues he had with Surette Rolls batteries and I am aware of someone with a KK42 that had charging issues as well. Apparently the charging parameters are different from other similar batteries.


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Old 05-20-2016, 07:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
Kevin - I just started a thread yesterday on our experience with our new carbon foam batteries. Don't know if you saw it but here's the link to the video:

Pacific NW Boater - PRODUCTS - TESTED: Carbon Foam Batteries
From what I've read, I too like the carbon foam batteries.

Also, solar panels are a real benefit to top up batteries that last 10% when it's really at the stage when it's inefficient for your Gen to do it. I'd add that before adding, changing alternator. And you are about as far north as I and there is still a benefit with boat facing south.
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Old 05-20-2016, 07:58 PM   #14
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A question. I'm not understanding your desire to not connect them

Either they are connected electrically or not. If not, then you have multiple banks.
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:34 PM   #15
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Kevin,

These are in my engine room. Just the two and are rated at 1640 amps in series. Now in all fairness, if one assumes that 50 % would equate to 820 amps or 34 amps per hour in a day, Reality is, we really get about 680 usable amps because shorter charge times when on the hook never really top off the battieries.
Like you we are a pretty power hungry boat. Two or three hours in the morning and the same at evening time for genny run time and we are doing ok. No AC, were in Desolation sound now, but do turn on the heater (hurricane) in the morning for a couple hours. We need to do laundry, water heater, ice maker, refer and water maker plus all the IPads, phones, hotspot, cameras,laptop and so on. If the heater is required at night to stay warm, we turn off the water heater and ice maker.
Hope that helps.
Ok, I give up, even after rotating the pic it still shows upside down when using the IPAD. Guess I'll have to use the Admirals MacBook to upload pics.
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:37 PM   #16
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Here's the label on the battery
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:01 PM   #17
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Here's the label on the battery
John

That is one of the exact batteries I am considering for my boat. Those are made up of removable 2 volt cells, with no intercell cables, except to serties the two batteries together.

I have a question...

What type of hold down system are you using to keep these in place???
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
Kevin: I have heard some people have had difficulties with the Surette Rolls Batteries. Twisted Tree has commented on issues he had with Surette Rolls batteries and I am aware of someone with a KK42 that had charging issues as well. Apparently the charging parameters are different from other similar batteries.


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Thanks for the infor Jim. If I choose these I'll make sure to prograsm my charger correctly for them.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:09 PM   #19
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A question. I'm not understanding your desire to not connect them

Either they are connected electrically or not. If not, then you have multiple banks.
Based on the thread "gone in 180 seconds" and some other instances I've heard about where paralleled batteries have caused heating issues, I would prefer not to parallel cells together to make the amp hour capacity we need.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
Kevin - I just started a thread yesterday on our experience with our new carbon foam batteries. Don't know if you saw it but here's the link to the video:

Pacific NW Boater - PRODUCTS - TESTED: Carbon Foam Batteries
Thanks! I'll read the thread and lok at the technology
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