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Old 05-15-2016, 08:02 PM   #21
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God help me when I have to replace the batteries!
Are those AGM?
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:17 PM   #22
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Gensets just need some load. People get way too hung up on the issue. As an example on our 25 year old Onan 20kw unit, the battery chargers alone were plenty. Ran a lot of hours with even less than that. Just had to make sure to avoid no load and proper warm up and cool down, though dozens of times doing neither proeprly didn't seem to hurt. Thing surveyed out beautifully with 8000 hours on it, about 5000 of which we were responsible for.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:29 PM   #23
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My previous fridge and the Nova Kool I have on order both operate 12V/120V and they switch automatically to 120V when it's present and back to 12V when the 120V source stops. You may not need to turn off the 12V CB when running the gen. What type of fridge do you have?
Nova Kool. That is one of the manuals that I either haven't found yet, or haven't gotten around to reading. If it goes to AC when available, then I don't have to worry about turning off the DC breaker. One less thing to do.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:46 PM   #24
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I am on the hook, and since I have installed solar panels i run the generator for an hour every 3 days to heat the hot water. Before that 2 or 3hours a day
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:11 PM   #25
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Most all of the problems we have with our gen sets are caused by lack of use. Because of that fact and also that I live in Fla. where it is always hot, my gen set is running when we leave the dock and is not shut off till we return to the dock. The Onan diesel gen set that I have on my 18 wheeler has over 12000 hours on it with only pm service done to it and it is still running great because it is used a lot. My Kohler on the boat only has 2000 hours on it so I am in no danger of wearing it out. Use it or lose it.
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:08 PM   #26
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We actually switched to the carbon foam batteries specifically to reduce the time running the generator. It has worked out just the way we wanted.
What is the weight of the Group 31 AGM Batts?
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:35 PM   #27
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Start it before we leave the dock, and don't shut it down till we're back connected to the dock.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:33 AM   #28
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"then I turn the charger off and turn the hot water heater on"

Plumbing the noisemaker cooling system to the boats HW heater could relieve this hassle.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:34 PM   #29
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Are those AGM?
Golf cart.

GC-110s
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:54 PM   #30
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We just celebrated our one year anniversary cruising full time and most of that time we have been on the hook. Before leaving northern California for Mexico we installed four 335 watt solar panels from Northern Az Wind and Sun, to complement out 1800 amp hours of lifeline AGM batteries. living aboard fulltime, with 3 refrigerators (beer, wine food) and freezer, we consume way more power then most boat. But by running my 8K Northern lights for 2-3 hours daily my batteries stay above 90% and the solar is now bringing them above 100 % everyday. We have currently been off the dock for 8 weeks and given the marina availability in the middle to Northern part of the Sea of Cortez, I don't see us plugging in any time soon. The solar I installed was one of the best ideas I had before leaving the states and this year I got back 30% o my install cost in Federal Tax credits. Hope this helps somebody. Currently in Loredo Mexico I'm making about 6.5k watts per day. The best input I've seen is 83 amps inbound to the batteries.
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:10 PM   #31
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The best input I've seen is 83 amps inbound to the batteries.
That is truly impressive. Makes my two little 240 watt panels and 11.5 amps best input shrivel to insignificance. Still, with what we have we can run our little Vitrifrigo refrig/freezer 24/7, as well as keep our 680 amp hour battery bank up to snuff w/o using the noisemaker or shore power.

Solar is viable.
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:45 PM   #32
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Dswizzler, can you take a pic of those panels and where they are mounted?
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:01 PM   #33
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I have a number of shots of the frames and the install but here is the finished product, perhaps tomorrow I can post more if there is any interest. The back half of the frame attaches to the radar arch and the front attached to what looks like a wakeboard tower under the bimini. Very strong I plan to leave it all up and in place during the hurricane season here in Loreto, Mexico DSC07139.jpg
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:20 PM   #34
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I have the inverter set to cut out when the batteries are down to 80%. As a rough guess it looks like in this situation we would probably need to run the generator for a few hours in the morning and evening if we aren't traveling. How does this compare?
Sorry if this point has already been made, but I don't have time to read this whole thread right now and wanted to share what might be a really important thing for you to know. -- It is my understanding (and routine practice) that as long as the batteries are not left in a state of low charge for an extended period of time, it is fine to run them down to 30%. I agree that some capacity will be lost, over time, as compared to your practice of running down to 80%, but if you only use the top 20%, you will need to size your house bank 3.5x larger than if you run down to 30%. I am confident that the cost savings on house bank size (not to mention the benefits of having 3.5 times the capacity), greatly out weight the cost of diminished life expectancy (really, diminished capacity, which you aren't using anyway).

Although I now run my genset 24/7, on my last boat, my house bank (relative to my needs) would allow me to run for about 10 hours (at which point, I would be down to below 50% capacity), charge for 2 hours, then repeat that process. So, I ran the genset in the morning and in the evening but off batteries the rest of the time. When usage and circumstances warranted, I could cut the charging to once a day, for a longer period and after having run down the batteries to about 30%. Because the rate of charge diminishes as the batteries reach full capacity, I typically did not recharge above 80-85%.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:48 AM   #35
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I have the inverter set to cut out when the batteries are down to 80%. As a rough guess it looks like in this situation we would probably need to run the generator for a few hours in the morning and evening if we aren't traveling. How does this compare?

She asked me to turn off the genny because the diesel fumes are bothering her.
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Nova Kool. That is one of the manuals that I either haven't found yet, or haven't gotten around to reading. If it goes to AC when available, then I don't have to worry about turning off the DC breaker. One less thing to do.

In "normal" weather -- mostly meaning not July and August around here -- we run the genset 2x/day, morning and evening for an hour or two each, when at anchor. The real "hour or two each" time mostly depends on how long it takes to make whatever meal we're doing in the electric galley at the time. During those periods, we charge batteries; make hot water; run the fridges on AC for a while; may or may not run the ACs (aircons), depending.

That's pretty much without regard to depth of discharge, although we rarely exceed 50%. We have AGMs and I'm not afraid to use 'em. The oldest bank is starting it's 11th season now, showing signs of age but still working... so I've gotten my money's worth, I think

In really hot weather, we usually run the genset from dock to dock, to keep interior temps and humidity bearable.

Our NovaKool fridges work that way, too: when AC is present, they'll use that, otherwise they default to DC. (The power supply is simply a converter, uses AC to make DC to run the DC compressor. Much like a laptop -- or similar -- power supply.)

You probably shouldn't be noticing diesel fumes, although I can see that being dependent on open doors, hatches, portlights, etc. and which way the wind is blowing...

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Old 05-19-2016, 08:05 AM   #36
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We just celebrated our one year anniversary cruising full time and most of that time we have been on the hook. Before leaving northern California for Mexico we installed four 335 watt solar panels from Northern Az Wind and Sun, to complement out 1800 amp hours of lifeline AGM batteries. living aboard fulltime, with 3 refrigerators (beer, wine food) and freezer, we consume way more power then most boat. But by running my 8K Northern lights for 2-3 hours daily my batteries stay above 90% and the solar is now bringing them above 100 % everyday. We have currently been off the dock for 8 weeks and given the marina availability in the middle to Northern part of the Sea of Cortez, I don't see us plugging in any time soon. The solar I installed was one of the best ideas I had before leaving the states and this year I got back 30% o my install cost in Federal Tax credits. Hope this helps somebody. Currently in Loredo Mexico I'm making about 6.5k watts per day. The best input I've seen is 83 amps inbound to the batteries.
All that electrical stuff aside, man, that's some sweet cruising action there! I'm jealous!!! Congratulations!
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:28 AM   #37
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That is truly impressive. Makes my two little 240 watt panels and 11.5 amps best input shrivel to insignificance. Still, with what we have we can run our little Vitrifrigo refrig/freezer 24/7, as well as keep our 680 amp hour battery bank up to snuff w/o using the noisemaker or shore power.

Solar is viable.
David, your best input number of 11.5 amps seems low. I have 450 watts of semi-flexible that peaks at about 330 watts and around 24 amps.
Maybe you figure is net to the battery subtracting out loads.
My battery monitor will show 9-10 amps to the battery when the solar is at 20-24 amps. That's because the loads are generally cycling at 8-16 amps.

Hey maybe that's why you said best "input". Its best input to the battery not best solar panel output.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:23 AM   #38
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I
You probably shouldn't be noticing diesel fumes, although I can see that being dependent on open doors, hatches, portlights, etc. and which way the wind is blowing...
Several have worried about the diesel fumes I mentioned. My wife was sitting in the aft cockpit on the starboard side. This is right next to where the exhaust exits the boat. There was absolutely no wind so the exhaust simply rose up and some was contained by the overhang of the boat deck. If there had been any kind of breeze, she wouldn't have noticed it.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:27 AM   #39
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This is a great thread, thanks to all for your great input. As I am still learning my boat, I use the generator in the morning until the battery monitor shows "float" charging, and the same in the evening. I have 6 6v golf cart batteries in my house bank. Am I charging too long each time? Do the rest of you get to the "float" stage of charging before shutting down the genny?

BTW, I will be adding solar soon. I had it on my sailboat (500+watts) and never had to run the generator. This boat has much higher electrical demands, with a full-size fridge and electric stove, AC, etc., so I will probably try to add at least 1000 watts of solar.

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Old 05-19-2016, 11:33 AM   #40
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This is a great thread, thanks to all for your great input. As I am still learning my boat, I use the generator in the morning until the battery monitor shows "float" charging, and the same in the evening. I have 6 6v golf cart batteries in my house bank. Am I charging too long each time? Do the rest of you get to the "float" stage of charging before shutting down the genny?



Cheers, Bill
Likely that the majority Of those at anchor do not see float charging until they return to the dock, or their solar/wind generation tops them up.

We normally charge until the charge rate of each charger drops to around 40 amps from a start of around 100/110 amps. We generally do this twice a day and the batteries are almost never below 12.6 v.
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