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Old 02-26-2014, 09:07 AM   #21
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Plus re-filling propane once a month at $18 and installing a propane locker with monitoring devices will soon cost more than going the electrical re-charge direction.

Depending on how you run the numbers I figure its $5.00 to at least $10.00 for every hour of noisemaker time.

Just 4 hours a day is at least $20, what a months worth of propane costs.

I tried for a long time to create an acetylene gas generating system to feed a range and fridge (lighter than air) , but no go.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:01 PM   #22
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The IOTAs are not marine chargers and likely do not have the proper isolation of AC and DC circuits. I don't see any indication they are UL 1236 rated, and they don't include marine as an application. As usual, there's no free lunch.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:11 PM   #23
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Depending on how you run the numbers I figure its $5.00 to at least $10.00 for every hour of noisemaker time.

My Genny burns half a gallon an hour. Your figures are just a little high.

Just 4 hours a day is at least $20, what a months worth of propane costs.

Anchoring out 2-3 times a month and it's cheaper to go with electric. But your point is well made once the anchoring times go much above this.

I tried for a long time to create an acetylene gas generating system to feed a range and fridge (lighter than air) , but no go.
I know there is a reason, but why not natural gas. It should work well with all propane systems with minor mods.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:14 PM   #24
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The IOTAs are not marine chargers and likely do not have the proper isolation of AC and DC circuits. I don't see any indication they are UL 1236 rated, and they don't include marine as an application. As usual, there's no free lunch.
George, I need to look into that.

There was a guy on this forum who wrote blogs about everything he had done to his boat. Was very active, but left in a huff, I don't know why.
Anyway I read his blog on chargers and he used IOTA's, 2 of them and was happy.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:31 PM   #25
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I know there is a reason, but why not natural gas. It should work well with all propane systems with minor mods.
Very few places that supply CNG in the US. It is a great fuel, that takes a lot of pressure to keep it liquid. It is used in Europe quite a bit.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:06 AM   #26
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My Genny burns half a gallon an hour. Your figures are just a little high.

The oil and oil changes ,the maint and parts as well as the total time to replacement , and the cost of replacement or rebuild must also be counted as operating expense.

Having it replaced instead of DIY is also expensive.

The best noisemaker life is found in the Middle East where a 30 story hospital filters the air for huge industrial diesel based units that are almost never shut the , the oil is changed by switching between tanks on the fly. 30,000hrs not uncommon.

Big difference with the service life for an on once in a while for a few hours with a lawn implement engine ., a marine environment and uncertain maint.

$5- $10 hr is a bargain.

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Old 03-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #27
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OK, I have to replace 300 amps per day, so recharging twice a day is 150 amps per charge. I only want to run the genny 1.5 hours at a time or 3 hours a day. A 100 amp charger minimum is necessary. But that is still probably not enough. If a charger will bulk charge my AGM's to 80% before going to an absorbtion phase and AGM's will accept 80% of their capacity during a bulk charge then if my figures are correct I will be replacing 120 amps during each 1.5 hour charging cycle. In this case I will have to run the engines/alternators every other day or so to regain those lost amps and bring the batteries up to full charge.

So sticking strictly with battery chargers there are a few options.

  • If I keep my current 30 amp Charles charger to maintain the engine and genny start batteries, adding a new 100 amp charger (for the house bank) will require adding the wiring and circuit breaker to add the new charger. There is a cost and my time associated in doing this. Also I will have to look at the power draw of the new charger along with my current charger to make sure I don't exceed the capability of my genny. A 100 amp charger draws from 15-18 amps (I think) Each circuit of my genny (there are 2) is 30 amps.
  • Replace my current 30 amp charger with a new 100 amp 3 bank charger. I will have to check the wiring gauge and circuit breaker to make sure they are robust enough, but the whole process is a bit easier than the option above. The downside is the genny start and engine start bank will take some of the amps, so I will not get full charger output capacity to the house bank on most chargers.
The 100 amp chargers I've look at:
  • Victron 100 amps, 3 banks, 15amp input. $1087
  • Mastervolt 100 amps, 3 banks. Intersting in that this is the only one that stated the output of the 2 smaller banks. 10 amp each and the main bank gets the full rated 100 amp output. $1375
  • GoPower; 100 amp single bank, marine rated $339 This is an interesting option at a third the cost. It only has one bank but I could keep my other charger for the other 2 banks.
  • IOTA makes a 75 amp single bank charger with a controller that will allow connecting 2 chargers in parallel. This would be 150 amps but each charger consumes 18 amps and I would have to watch carefully my amp usage when the genny is on. As George mentioned above, these units are not marine rated. Total cost of 2 chargers and controller is about $450. There is also the redundancy of 2 chargers. I would have to add the wiring and CB for 2 chargers and keep my current 30 amp charger for the engine and jenny start banks.
What do you guys think?
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:20 AM   #28
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...The 100 amp chargers I've look at:
  • Victron 100 amps, 3 banks, 15amp input. $1087
  • Mastervolt 100 amps, 3 banks. Intersting in that this is the only one that stated the output of the 2 smaller banks. 10 amp each and the main bank gets the full rated 100 amp output. $1375
  • GoPower; 100 amp single bank, marine rated $339 This is an interesting option at a third the cost. It only has one bank but I could keep my other charger for the other 2 banks.
  • IOTA makes a 75 amp single bank charger with a controller that will allow connecting 2 chargers in parallel. This would be 150 amps but each charger consumes 18 amps and I would have to watch carefully my amp usage when the genny is on. As George mentioned above, these units are not marine rated. Total cost of 2 chargers and controller is about $450. There is also the redundancy of 2 chargers. I would have to add the wiring and CB for 2 chargers and keep my current 30 amp charger for the engine and jenny start banks.
What do you guys think?
I'd go with the 2-IOTA chargers. Most 100 amp chargers run off a less than 10 or 12 Kw generator will not give you the rated 100 amps.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:06 PM   #29
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Tim:

If your driver is convenience then I would go with the Mastervolt principally because it has 3 isolated outputs. You probably will have to upgrade the AC breaker to at least 20 amps and 12 gauge wire and the DC wiring to at least #6 for the house bank. The other two can be 14 gauge if these are limited to 10 amps.

Don't know anything about GoPower. Maybe Chinese- some ok, some bad.

I agree that the IOTAs are an installation hassle. Contrary to another poster they are UL listed, just not marine rated. Marine rating doesn't mean much as there is no standard that defines it.

Two IOTAs draw a maximum of 36 amps AC. That is probably at a .8 or .9 power factor so at worst it is 36*120*.9 = 3900 watts which is pushing your generator's rating. But you will probably never see 18 amps each, more like 15 amps. But this does mean that one leg of your generator can't have any other load on it while you are charging.

You will probably have to install a 40 amp AC breaker directly off of one leg of your generator, probably the one that feeds the A/C and feed the IOTAs from that with #8 wire. The DC output wiring will have to be at least #4 for 150 amps.

It is doable, but it probably needs a marine electrician to wire it properly. And it needs careful power management to avoid overloading your genset.

Another way is to parallel two 55 amp IOTAs. The maximum current draw for two is just 27 amps, which means that you can wire them to your existing 30 amp breaker on the generator's A/C leg. After some reflection, that would be my preferred choice.

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Old 03-01-2014, 01:35 PM   #30
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And Tim, you were asking about settings for AGM on a battery charger and if you need a charger that has an AGM setting. My boat, luckily, has an 80 amp Charles....I guess between your boat and mine they wised up a bit. It does NOT have an AGM setting. When I was buying my AGMs from Sears(built by Odyssey), I called Odyssey to see if my charger was sufficient. And basically it is all a matter of if the specs of the charger meet the specs of the batteries. In my case, it did. It was not optimum, but it was within the general parameters. AGM desulphate on the charge cycle. If there is not enough charge current then they don't desulphate properly.

Anyway, people complain about the cost of things and then bitch when they cannot get any support when they "cheap out". I called both Charles and Odyssey. Both on the upper end of their respective markets. I got an English speaking human being(at both companies based right here in the good ole USA) that was extremely knowledgeable and very eager to go through all of the steps with me in properly sizing my charger to my battery bank(My charger still needs to be bigger but that is beside my point here). So FWIW, Charles is based right here in the USA and made right here in the USA. They have an excellent track record of products that work...and products that work for a very long time. And if they don't, they have excellent service and support to get you back up and running.

Just my very recent experience. I am not singling out Charles...just using them as an example. You get what you pay for!!! And the USA still knows how to make good shit!!!
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:29 PM   #31
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Go with the 90 amp Iota with external regulator. You can bypass the regulator and charge at the full 90 amp rate to whatever percent you decide. The internal regulator will not allow you to do this.
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:24 PM   #32
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Moniker was CAPN CHUCK

He dropped off the forum a couple years ago as he got too busy, not a huff I hope. He was very knowledgeable and an active member.
His blog is The Trawler Beach House
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:41 AM   #33
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David; thanks for the explanation and example of what the power factor is. Several of the chargers specs had this and now I know.

When I asked the admiral for her advise after giving her a rundown in simplistic terms of my options she said buy the most expensive one you can so we won't have any trouble with it.
John; you an my wife think alike. I keep trying to get the job done cheaply and so many times that solution bites me in the butt. I've also talked to Charles directly and as John said they are knowledgeable and helpful.

We have not missed having an inverter, so a charger/inverter isn't necessary. We do however have a need for AC power at times and in the past we've waited to use AC power until we needed to charge the batteries. This works for us but does require enough reserve power to operate the micro and TV, so maxing out the genny with a battery charger does not fit into this scenario.

Thanks guys for all your help, I've learned a lot from this thread.

John, did you get your ice maker running? I owe you an e-mail and will reply soon. Got some things to iron out at work.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:03 AM   #34
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John, did you get your ice maker running? I owe you an e-mail and will reply soon. Got some things to iron out at work.
No worries!!! Take your time. And yes, my main mechanic guy is pretty damn handy. A/C and refrigeration is his specialty. He rebuilt the ice maker and had it up and running for under $200 and it has been keeping drinks cold ever since.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:50 AM   #35
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AGM's to 80% before going to an absorbtion phase and AGM's will accept 80% of their capacity during a bulk charge

Perhaps true BUT even the AGM may not accept a charge RATE of 80% .

Sure AGM do better that wet lead , but I think the charge Rate you are looking for 150A in 1 1/2 hours would require a very large batt bank to get the rate down to where the batts can accept the charge.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:59 AM   #36
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Sure AGM do better that wet lead , but I think the charge Rate you are looking for 150A in 1 1/2 hours would require a very large batt bank to get the rate down to where the batts can accept the charge.
I know those figures are published figures with probably new batteries and a charger with no line loss or other in-efficiencies.

I will probably get a quality 100 amp charger and depending on how long we stay anchored in one place, I will have to closely monitor my power usage. Next up is a SOC meter.

My 2 100 amp alternators have been used to top off the batteries, but using the engines is not efficient. Getting rid of my current refrig, a new charger, and closely monitoring power usage during extended anchoring is my solution.

Thanks FF for bringing that to my attention.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:09 AM   #37
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Just be sure to include the batt temp sensing V reg for the engine and something similar for any charger.

Boil the water out of AGM can be a very expensive charge.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:49 AM   #38
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Approaching your dilemma from an entirely different point of view---I completely agree with Ski in NC (who posted previously). SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE! When you're on the hook for extended periods...shut down that Norcold and use old fashioned ice in a high quality cooler (Yeti or similar) for only those items that absolutely need refrigeration. Several reasons: (1) It's easy, (2) It's cheap, (3) It's foolproof. (4) Beer always tastes colder when you dig it out of an ice chest. And think of all the money you spend running the generator to keep junk cool, a lot of which doesn't have to be refrigerated at all (eggs, butter, cheese, vegies, etc.). You'd spend far less money on ice than paying the fuel tab to keep your bologna in a power-hungry fridge!
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:38 AM   #39
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My boat is a liveaboard....not a campsite...I prefer luxury at home but do enjoy camping for short periods.

Transferring food back and forth and leaving stuff out isn't in the equation for many people.

I think a boat that can run all 12V with the occasional 110V use via inverter is great...but I'm not going to cover my boat in solar panels and wind where I travel isn't reliable enough...so I live the tween world of batteries, conserving and gensets. I've been boating since long before fridges on most boats and have no wish to return.

If I were to design from scratch of buy again and had the opportunity for a design I could easily alter...so be it.

Bottom line is still whatever way you set you boat up has to work. If you are going the 12V route and like the luxuries...you better have one large and complex system (auto or manual) to keep it healthy ....from batts to chargers to controllers to SOC monitors to sources....and all the wire and ends , etc healthy too.

Just like Gensetters who have to change oil and replace zincs and exchangers, etc..etc...no free lunch in either case I see...but definitely careful supervision of the systems.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:00 PM   #40
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Transferring food back and forth and leaving stuff out isn't in the equation for many people.

I think a boat that can run all 12V with the occasional 110V use via inverter is great...but I'm not going to cover my boat in solar panels and wind where I travel isn't reliable enough...so I live the tween world of batteries, conserving and gensets. I've been boating since long before fridges on most boats and have no wish to return.
Pretty much my outlook. I'm too old and lazy to rough it and the admiral would probably leave.

No need for an inverter, but a big charger, good generator, SOC and careful monitoring with a power hook up or 5 hour engine run every couple of days should do it.

We did the Bahamas for 25 days about 2/3 the time at anchor with a 30 amp charger, no inverter, no SOC and ran the engines as necessary. The refrig was never turned off.
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