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Old 07-31-2016, 02:48 PM   #21
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I stay plugged in all the time while at the dock. The Sterling 40amp charger has a modest 13V. "Idle" mode with an occasional conditioning cycle. My Batteries seem very happy...
Much more precise, intuitive and versatile than my old Charles Unit..
Reason I keep unplugged and carefully away from any portion of boat touching any portion of dock with batteries also isolated is for reduced chance of galvanization on metal parts. Isolated boat's metal parts are happy parts when kept all alone with no to little chance of electric current accosting them! Batt bank stays fine till our next visit. Even after months away they are still reading over 60% charge when we return to bring them back to 100% charge

Lucky for my boat (and me) it berths in fresh water. Stray electric currents that may emanate from dock or other boats has little so no chance of reaching my boat's parts.
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:14 PM   #22
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Every RV I've had or rented charged the house batteries off the main motor. Don't boats do the same thing, charge the house batteries off an alternator or generator on the main diesel(s)?
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:34 PM   #23
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Every RV I've had or rented charged the house batteries off the main motor. Don't boats do the same thing, charge the house batteries off an alternator or generator on the main diesel(s)?
There are many different battery bank setups. Many boats charge their start battery(s) with the engine alternator and the house bank with battery charger or solar panels.

On my boat all charging (alternator, battery charger & solar is done directly to the house bank and any "overflow" power goes to the start battery via an automatic charging relay.
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Old 07-31-2016, 06:07 PM   #24
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Our Tolly's four LA, group 31, East Penn mfg, deep cycle, house bank batts also start both engines. House bank is charged by stbd engine running, or by genset running with batt charger turned on, or with AC dock cord plugged in and batt charger turned on. Gen set's group 29 LA starter batt is charged by solar panel and by gen set alternator when it's running. As added safety I keep a group 29 LA starter batt in it's own batt box completely isolated from everything and charged by 1 amp charger when AC is turned on from dockside or gen set power. It, if needed, could also be hooked into the gen set's solar charge system.


And, our 15' tow behind Crestliner runabout with group 29 starter batt for its 50 hp Johnson o/b is always with us too. Its charged batt is therefore an option as well; if ever needed.

All our LA batts are East Penn manufactured and purchased at very affordable prices in our local Batteries Plus outlet. Our house bank is 7 yrs. old and going strong

Battery Redundancy... on many levels... Yahooooo!
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:54 PM   #25
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Every RV I've had or rented charged the house batteries off the main motor. Don't boats do the same thing, charge the house batteries off an alternator or generator on the main diesel(s)?
Yes, but... Many of us who live at anchor spend days without using the main engine. Thus the diesel generator, solar panels and wind generator are much more a factor than the main engine. Last year I spent 30 consecutive days anchored in the same place.
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:03 PM   #26
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Yes, but... Many of us who live at anchor spend days without using the main engine. Thus the diesel generator, solar panels and wind generator are much more a factor than the main engine. Last year I spent 30 consecutive days anchored in the same place.
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:23 PM   #27
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(4) 6v. Golf Cart batteries = 440 amp hours.
Daily consumption with fridge, electronics, lights etc when anchoring out is 120 ah so we're good for a couple of days. We don't use any AC when on the hook.

Plus 2 #31 start batteries for back-up.

Essentially that is what we have and we are power pigs. I do use the genny in mornings to make coffee along with recharging my 24v bank. Usually takes about two hours to keep the coffee hot and completely recharge the 24v.

The 12v system is a different matter. I have a Xantrex 50 amp charger which is just about worthless. However, my 4each 150 watt solar panels start pumping current at daybreak and by around 9AM they output between 20-24 amperes and continue at that rate until the 12v banks are charge restored. Solar proved to answer all my recharge problems. Our 8.3 cuft fridge even has self defrost.

I am waiting for Atlantic Towers to ship and install a new hard top over the helm; the rear deck already has a hard top along with canvas enclosure. The new hard top will provide space for me to install another 4 panels. If so I will have to decide if I want to spit them such that 2 panels charge my 24v and add the other two to my existing 12v system. Additional panels for the 12 would be there to help in poor weather but for the most part the 12v charging is just fine as it now is.

Will continue to run Mr. Genny anyway for coffee. Oh I use a 2KW true sinewave inverter for AC for most of the boat plus an old Heart 24v inverter/charger for the 24v bank.
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:44 PM   #28
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Yes, but... Many of us who live at anchor spend days without using the main engine. Thus the diesel generator, solar panels and wind generator are much more a factor than the main engine. Last year I spent 30 consecutive days anchored in the same place.
Ahh, yes. That makes sense. And long spells at anchor do sound nice.

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Will continue to run Mr. Genny anyway for coffee. Oh I use a 2KW true sinewave inverter for AC for most of the boat plus an old Heart 24v inverter/charger for the 24v bank.
With all that power, why do you run the generator just to make coffee? Pretty sure I've seen 12VDC coffee makers. I do use an electric drip brewer at home, but propane at our off-grid cabin and in every RV morning I can recall.
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:06 PM   #29
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...With all that power, why do you run the generator just to make coffee? Pretty sure I've seen 12VDC coffee makers. I do use an electric drip brewer at home, but propane at our off-grid cabin and in every RV morning I can recall.
Some of us have espresso machines onboard.
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:17 PM   #30
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Ahh, yes. That makes sense. And long spells at anchor do sound nice.



With all that power, why do you run the generator just to make coffee? Pretty sure I've seen 12VDC coffee makers. I do use an electric drip brewer at home, but propane at our off-grid cabin and in every RV morning I can recall.
Weeell--- I also enjoy taking showers using hot water which gets heated via the generator.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:30 AM   #31
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Will continue to run Mr. Genny anyway for coffee. Oh I use a 2KW true sinewave inverter for AC for most of the boat plus an old Heart 24v inverter/charger for the 24v bank.
Does that mean AC current, or air conditioning?


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With all that power, why do you run the generator just to make coffee? Pretty sure I've seen 12VDC coffee makers. I do use an electric drip brewer at home, but propane at our off-grid cabin and in every RV morning I can recall.
We do pretty much the same -- start the genset for morning coffee -- at least 'til our inverter install finishes up. But that's also the same time we cook whatever (electric cooktop, toaster, microwave), charge the batteries, top off the temps of water in the heater, run the fridges on AC (current), etc. Repeat, for dinnertime, plus maybe cool the interior of the boat down a bit with AC (aircon) if necessary.

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Old 08-01-2016, 07:50 AM   #32
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We do pretty much the same -- start the genset for morning coffee -- at least 'til our inverter install finishes up. But that's also the same time we cook whatever (electric cooktop, toaster, microwave), charge the batteries, top off the temps of water in the heater, run the fridges on AC (current), etc. Repeat, for dinnertime, plus maybe cool the interior of the boat down a bit with AC (aircon) if necessary.

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Old 08-01-2016, 07:55 AM   #33
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Maybe I'm making too much out of running a generator. I certainly appreciate the value of easy coffee and a hot shower, and both are definitely worth whatever small amount of diesel required to make/heat them.

My perspective thus far has been Loop-centric and hence, I am thinking about being on the move more than at anchor. Among the universal advice however has been to avoid schedules and deadlines and spend more time absorbing rather than rushing through the experience.

We can definitely do that. And I can see that the slower the pace, the more one would rely on solar or wind or generator to charge batteries to supply a power-hungry life. This is a great forum. Thanks folks.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:05 AM   #34
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Does that mean AC current, or air conditioning?




We do pretty much the same -- start the genset for morning coffee -- at least 'til our inverter install finishes up. But that's also the same time we cook whatever (electric cooktop, toaster, microwave), charge the batteries, top off the temps of water in the heater, run the fridges on AC (current), etc. Repeat, for dinnertime, plus maybe cool the interior of the boat down a bit with AC (aircon) if necessary.

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AC refers to electrical power.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:07 AM   #35
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AC refers to electrical power.

Thanks for confirmation. Just starting an inverter install (2KW, PSW) and thought useful to confirm you're not running aircon with yours. (We're not planning to.)

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Old 08-01-2016, 09:09 AM   #36
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Maybe I'm making too much out of running a generator. I certainly appreciate the value of easy coffee and a hot shower, and both are definitely worth whatever small amount of diesel required to make/heat them.

I figure 1/2-gallon per hour, so two hours each, morning and evening, 2 gallons diesel per day. Cheap.


Hottest summer months (like now) we also run the genset while underway -- for the air cons, and the cat really appreciates it -- equally cheap, given the return value in term of comfort.

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Old 08-01-2016, 09:24 AM   #37
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I figure 1/2-gallon per hour, so two hours each, morning and evening, 2 gallons diesel per day. Cheap.
Perspective is everything. I am hoping to average around 1.5 gph running the loop. At that rate, adding gph would be a 33% increase. I also hope to avoid air conditioning much of the time by staying in "springtime" latitudes most of the Loop, so maybe a half gallon of diesel would only be once or twice a day. Certainly my morning coffee is worth that.

That said, I'm guessing I'll be a solar boat owner. I've avoided solar at our off grid cabin by taking a portable battery system with me to power lights. We use propane to cook and brew and wood to heat. Cooling is courtesy of Mother Nature.

We haven't found the need to add the cost, complexity and theft attraction that accompanies solar when charging on the grid at home is so easy. Not the case when there is no home for a year.

As a noob and non-owner (yet), are solar and propane not viable alternatives to generator running for making coffee and heating shower water?
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:11 AM   #38
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Thanks for confirmation. Just starting an inverter install (2KW, PSW) and thought useful to confirm you're not running aircon with yours. (We're not planning to.)

-Chris
I purchased my inverter from EBay and I want to alert you of a potential problem if your's is purchased there. Many of the inexpensive inverters are sold for vehicle applications. That in itself is fine. If you do purchase one designed for vehicles, be careful to isolate the AC return from your dock power's AC return. Not doing so creates an electrical short on the inverter's output.

The easy way I did mine was to use a 2 pole double throw relay. The relay energized by dock/genny power. The dual relay poles that power the loads are connected to the dock/genny power while the relay is energized and when not energized they are connected to the inverter's output.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:21 AM   #39
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Perspective is everything. I am hoping to average around 1.5 gph running the loop. At that rate, adding gph would be a 33% increase. I also hope to avoid air conditioning much of the time by staying in "springtime" latitudes most of the Loop, so maybe a half gallon of diesel would only be once or twice a day. Certainly my morning coffee is worth that.

That said, I'm guessing I'll be a solar boat owner. I've avoided solar at our off grid cabin by taking a portable battery system with me to power lights. We use propane to cook and brew and wood to heat. Cooling is courtesy of Mother Nature.

We haven't found the need to add the cost, complexity and theft attraction that accompanies solar when charging on the grid at home is so easy. Not the case when there is no home for a year.

As a noob and non-owner (yet), are solar and propane not viable alternatives to generator running for making coffee and heating shower water?
A generator does have advantages but with gas, those advantages are limited. You should be able to do fine with just solar. I suggest you consider a solar regulator that provides battery equalization features. Mine is a MorningStar 30 ampere something or other. It periodically enters the equalization phase as I can tell when the battery voltage meter reads 15 volts for a short time.

My flooded cell batteries need distilled water only once a year and not much at all. All are over 5 years old and test high in the green with my hydrometer.
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:52 PM   #40
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As a noob and non-owner (yet), are solar and propane not viable alternatives to generator running for making coffee and heating shower water?

Can't speak to solar, but I've seen many threads about keeping batteries topped off that way... and an inverter of appropriate size oughta deal with brew. Not sure about the water heater, especially for start-up loads with a tank full of cold water.

Propane is quite common, and there's even the alternative of using a percolator on a propane grill in the cockpit or wherever. We've done that, but only when we've already had the grill outside and mounted and intended to use for cooking other stuff for a weekend or more. Otherwise, genset/electric coffee maker is go-to.

I think propane is not commonly available at fuel docks; at least I've never seen it... probably not an insurmountable problem... but that's one reason we chose to not buy a Lehr propane outboard for the dinghy.

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