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Old 03-12-2013, 06:33 AM   #21
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We replaced our two 8Ds with six, 6vdc golf cart batteries (three 6vdc batteries fit in one 8D box). The big advantage for us is that four 6vdc batteries have approx twice the amp hours of one 8D. The other two 6vdc batteries fill the role of start battery and have the same amp hour rating as one 8D.

So with no change to the boat's wiring or physical battery setup we doubled our house power capacity and retained our start battery capacity but with smaller and lighter individual batteries.
I assume there was some change to the boat's wiring to wire the 6 volt batteries in series to create twelve volt banks.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:26 AM   #22
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I'm a big fan of 2 alternators on a single engine boat. Adding the second alternator may require help from a mechanic, but then you have one bank for the house and one battery to start the motor. Each has there own alternator and you don't have to remember to separate batteries when you turn the engine off. No worries about draining the starting battery...Ted
+1 Simple. No switchres, no relays.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:50 AM   #23
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+1 Simple. No switchres, no relays.
I was thinking the same...yet not sure about the probability of one belt taking out the other..I only really need one alt... and if that one craps out...having a new, vacuum packed spare would solve the bad alt picture and a genset takes care of the temp no alt situation...hmmmmm

Just can't seem to decide...

What's anyone's experience with broken belts and a setup like Larry's??? Paired belts have a high likelyhood of taking each other out...but not sure about this setup.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:01 AM   #24
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I was thinking the same...yet not sure about the probability of one belt taking out the other..I only really need one alt... and if that one craps out...having a new, vacuum packed spare would solve the bad alt picture and a genset takes care of the temp no alt situation...hmmmmm

Just can't seem to decide...

What's anyone's experience with broken belts and a setup like Larry's??? Paired belts have a high likelyhood of taking each other out...but not sure about this setup.
Our boat has the same two alternator setup, no gen. If the belts are kept in good shape it's very unlikely for one of them to break. Lots of older vehicles had multiple belts and rarely took out another belt when one broke.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:04 AM   #25
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What's anyone's experience with broken belts and a setup like Larry's??? Paired belts have a high likelyhood of taking each other out...but not sure about this setup.
I have a double belt set going to a hydraulic pump for my stern thruster. They go off to the same side as Larry's second alt. I never had a problem with belt interference. But then I also change out the belts before they look shot.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #26
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We've lost the starboard belt (house bank alternator) once. We didn't even know it till I looked at the SOC and saw the house bank was discharging. When we got to port I put a new one on. The other belt was fine.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:35 AM   #27
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Twin alternators was an option on my boat but the PO didn't order them. I have twin belts to a single alternator. Since the manufacturer is no longer around, I can't really ask about adding a second alternator. I could figure it out, but I suspect I would need a different pulley to drive them both.

I have a starting and house bank of batteries with a voltage sensing relay to keep them charged and seperated. It works fine with no user intervention necessary.

I know that the alternator was replaced at some point by the PO because it's the only standard sized bolt on the entire engine. The rest are metric.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:42 AM   #28
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Lots of good advice here. I like the wet cell lead acid, 6 GC battery in the 2 HD footprint, all same age/type/size, separate banks with simple automatic (and foolproof) combining and isolation, quality but inexpensive Sam's Club or Costco GC batteries, and bigger is better bank sizing. The only tidbit of experiential advice I could add is a rerun, but one I've found very valuable and helpful.

After installing these caps, I still check the batteries every 3 months, but hardly have to add any water. Little to no acid venting on the battery tops. I could probably go longer between battery maintenance, but feel comfortable with this schedule. And it's easy to remember...every month divisible by 3, feed the lawn and the boat batteries.



Water Miser Battery Vent Caps
Interesting, my experience was different. For several years I had those on a dozen cells of a large bank, and regular caps on others in the same bank, even the same battery in one instance. In my case I could detect no difference in water consumption at all. When I replaced the batteries, I noticed when I got to the recycling place I had left the fancy caps on the old ones. I thought for a moment about going back and getting the regular caps, but decided screw it and left those behind.

One day I may try the Hydrocaps, mostly because I really like the guy who makes them; a visit to his "factory" in North Miami was one of the more interesting afternoons. Quite a character, in a good way, but almost like being in a Dickens novel. Rolls recommends Hydrocaps, and they know from batteries.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:04 AM   #29
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That's where the voltage sensing relay comes in. It is the "automatic switch".

Many, perhaps most late model chargers are capable of charging seperate battery banks. No need for two physically seperate chargers.
I think the difference between your approach and mine is:
You use technology and hope for no failures.
I use redundancy knowing these components commonly fail.

Ted
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:09 AM   #30
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I think the difference between your approach and mine is:
You use technology and hope for no failures.
I use redundancy knowing these components commonly fail.

Ted
VSRs are pretty simple and reliable. Mine is original to the boat so that make it 13 years old or so. I did have to replace the charger though.

With a background in electricity and electronics, I am pretty comfortable with what I have.

A seperate, high output alternator for the house batteries would be nice, but since what I have meets my needs, I can't see going to the trouble and expense of changing it.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #31
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I was thinking the same...yet not sure about the probability of one belt taking out the other..I only really need one alt... and if that one craps out...having a new, vacuum packed spare would solve the bad alt picture and a genset takes care of the temp no alt situation...hmmmmm

Just can't seem to decide...

What's anyone's experience with broken belts and a setup like Larry's??? Paired belts have a high likelyhood of taking each other out...but not sure about this setup.
The primary belt on my Cummins is an 8 grove serpentine. The mechanic asked what I wanted on the 2nd alternator. I said, "the same". He said, "that's way over kill". I said, "yes".

Regarding belts:
My boat burns 12 gallons per hour. Losing the belt which drives the fresh water pump, almost instantly will over heat the engine. On a "C" Cummins, there is a good chance that you won't get it shut down before damaging the head. At $40, replacing the primary yearly is cheap insurance. I remove and inspect the second alternator belt yearly (it come off to change the primary). Keep new spares of each on the boat. As a result, I have never had a belt problem on a boat.

Ted
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:57 AM   #32
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In my experience, all but the simplest (entrry level) boats have two battery banks even if each consists of only one battery. These are either arranged with a 1/2/both/off switch or wired as a starting bank and a house bank with a voltage sensitive relay to keep both banks charged.
I have 3-8Ds...2 for the house and 1 for starting. All are charged by a smart charger with the volt meter reading each independently. ( A 3 position switch at the panel.) The start battery is separate from the house bank. A combiner is available should the start battery be low.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:19 PM   #33
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On a "C" Cummins, there is a good chance that you won't get it shut down before damaging the head.

Ted
Ted, I know this is off topic but does your engine not have an automatic shutdown for overheating?? Maybe this is a new thread? Mine does and it happens quickly.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:22 PM   #34
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It's a rare main engine that has auto shutdown unless conncted to a fire supression system.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:29 PM   #35
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It's a rare main engine that has auto shutdown unless conncted to a fire supression system.
Your right, after I thought about it, it doesn't shut the engine off just makes this horn go off, scares the crap out of you and "I" shut it down quick or open the sea cock I forgot to open. Gettin' old.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:00 PM   #36
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Ted, I know this is off topic but does your engine not have an automatic shutdown for overheating?? Maybe this is a new thread? Mine does and it happens quickly.
No auto shutdown on my boat, only alarms.

While auto shutdown sounds good, coming back through a stone jetty inlet in heavy seas is not where I need automation making choices for me.

Ted
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #37
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coming back through a stone jetty inlet in heavy seas is not where I need automation making choices for me.
I had a bilge high-water alarm go off at just such a moment once. Surfing down the back sides of some heavy seas had driven a small amount of water where it doesn't usually go, which lit up the alarm. I'm sure glad it didn't shut down the engine!

I was reading somewhere about a sensor that goes on the exhaust hose to give early warning of overheating. Seemed like pretty cheap insurance, I was thinking of getting a pair of those.

Not really sure what that all has to do with batteries, sorry for prolonging the hijack.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:22 PM   #38
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I have 3-8Ds...2 for the house and 1 for starting. All are charged by a smart charger with the volt meter reading each independently. ( A 3 position switch at the panel.) The start battery is separate from the house bank. A combiner is available should the start battery be low.
How are they charged when underway?
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:50 PM   #39
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We have a "smart" regulator set to AGM parameters to charge our battery banks from the main engine alternator. For historical reasons (I screwed up!!) we have 2 banks of 2 8D's each, one is Fullriver AGMs (hard to access), the other bank is Rolls lead/acid. Both banks are charged by the same alternator/regulator. When I charge from the gen. or shore I usually set the charge parameters to AGM, then if on shore power, occasionally top off the Rolls on the wet batt. parameter. Both banks continue to perform well after 5 years. I have been impressed by the FR batts. and will probably replace all batts with AGM's next time around. Interestingly, after hanging on the hook for a few months in the Bahamas, the FR's did begin to seem a bit "tired". Contrary to my previous understanding of AGMs, I was instructed to equalize these batts along with the wet batts. They came back really strong and are fine 2 years later. One significant advantagde of the AGMs is their significantly faster charge rate - a real consideration when relying on the generator at anchor.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:01 PM   #40
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I assume there was some change to the boat's wiring to wire the 6 volt batteries in series to create twelve volt banks.
There was no change to the boat's wiring itself. Four of the six 6vdc batteries were connected together and the other two were connected together. The boat's leads that had been connected to the starboard 8D were connected to the four-battery bank (normally used as house) and the boat's leads that had connected to the port 8D were connected to the two-battery bank (normally designated as start).

So the only new wiring consists of the short connection cables the shop made up to connect the 6vdc batteries together. These cables are all in the battery boxes themselves.

But downstream (or is it upstream?) of the boat's two sets of battery connectors no change was needed or made to the boat's wiring. Even GB's big combiner relay that connects both main batteries (now banks) together when an engine start button is pushed was retained.
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