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Old 08-01-2021, 08:26 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by DonW28 View Post
As always the forum has been helpful and as always seem to generate more questions for me which is OK.



So: With a touch of background about me I will then ask the big question. I am not a great DIY guy. Oil/filter changes,zincs, fan belt, impeller, (rudder packing once and NEVER again), etc. are about the extent of my knowledge. Electricity is forbidden by the wife. Long story but serious sparks were involved.



With that in mind and listening to what has been recommended here I am thinking about the following:


I know it isn't the best in the world but we currently have 3 8D SLA batteries and 2 SLA group 27s. All batteries are brand new. 3 chargers but no inverter and no solar.



So do I need to add additional batteries/inverter and maybe solar? Other than the AC it would be great to keep the 12/110 fridge, 110 Freezer and coffee maker in the AM going. Genset run is going to be limited to 4-6 hours per day. I forgot that in crowded anchorages genset use becomes an issue. We try and play well with others.


Having listened to others and thought about it hard the Micro Commander has to go. It scares me and I don't think fixing it is going to make it better for me simply because like a lot of things electrical it works fine until is doesn't.



Dinghy davit system mounted. (Once we select it and the dink/engine)



And a watermaker installed. JC180 made a good point about the weather. This is a Mainship 34 and I don't want to be forced to move the boat in crappy weather because we ran out of water. I'd rather stay as long as we want and move on our schedule and I think the expense of a watermaker is worth it to us.



I think I'm looking at 4 pretty serious jobs, plus the dink/engine and maybe an upgrade of the electronics. So the big question is who to do the work? I know Robbies in Stock Island is available. If it were your boat, money was no object (within reason) and you were willing to take the boat as far North as Stuart, FL who would you use? Long question but I've had pretty good luck over the years asking and listening to others. I'd love t find a one stop yard, get the work done and take a short shakedown cruise before we wait for a weather window next April.



Thanks,


Don
Don,
You are missing my point about the weather. Need to be in an all around protected anchorage BEFORE bad weather. So is shame to leave a lee anchorage in good weather days early because you run out of water!
Jeff
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:55 AM   #22
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Just one data point: I had a MicroCommander on my 34T for 7 years. Never a problem and I really liked the smooth feel of it, allowing precise control.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:00 AM   #23
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Don,
With regard to battery capacity, recharging time and gen set run time, hard questions to answer because we all have different cruising styles and use rates. Strongly suggest you either go on the hook or take a mooring for several days and experiment. Depending on how your 8 Ds are aligned (I am assuming one aligned to engine start and two are house; one 27 for gen set start, second 27?), I think you have enough battery capacity. Again, go experiment and see what your daily gen set run time is. You should not allow your battery voltage to go below 12V before recharging. If it were me, I’d go to the Bahamas with your boat as is and see what changes I wanted to make before the next trip (remember the sand in shoes?)

With regard to water consumption, same recommendation. Go out with full tank(s). Then measure water to refill (you can buy water meters that connect in line with hose). For what it is worth, we use 8 to 12 gal per day which includes two military type showers (get wet, water off, soup up, water on to rinse off), and washing dishes daily. When we recently added fresh water flush to our new electric toilet, our consumption went to 15 gal per day. We do not drink water from tanks and carry separate gal jugs for drinking water which we refill from water maker when at anchor. With regard to a water maker recommendation, as others have said, if I had to do it again I would go for the 120v rain man portable unit that you could power from your gen set.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:30 AM   #24
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Just one data point: I had a MicroCommander on my 34T for 7 years. Never a problem and I really liked the smooth feel of it, allowing precise control.

I'm very happy for you. Mine locks up almost daily and sometimes won't allow the engine to start and tries to ram me into the dock. Not sure the one in your boat has much to do with my experiences and many others but I do appreciate the input. You are welcome to have it after it is removed if you pay the shipping.


Don
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:36 AM   #25
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Don,
With regard to battery capacity, recharging time and gen set run time, hard questions to answer because we all have different cruising styles and use rates. Strongly suggest you either go on the hook or take a mooring for several days and experiment. Depending on how your 8 Ds are aligned (I am assuming one aligned to engine start and two are house; one 27 for gen set start, second 27?), I think you have enough battery capacity. Again, go experiment and see what your daily gen set run time is. You should not allow your battery voltage to go below 12V before recharging. If it were me, Iíd go to the Bahamas with your boat as is and see what changes I wanted to make before the next trip (remember the sand in shoes?)

With regard to water consumption, same recommendation. Go out with full tank(s). Then measure water to refill (you can buy water meters that connect in line with hose). For what it is worth, we use 8 to 12 gal per day which includes two military type showers (get wet, water off, soup up, water on to rinse off), and washing dishes daily. When we recently added fresh water flush to our new electric toilet, our consumption went to 15 gal per day. We do not drink water from tanks and carry separate gal jugs for drinking water which we refill from water maker when at anchor. With regard to a water maker recommendation, as others have said, if I had to do it again I would go for the 120v rain man portable unit that you could power from your gen set.
Jeff
I am going to look into the rainman unit. We do use freshwater for flushing so that is a concern as well. I need to get a good marine electrician on the boat with me and explain the battery configuration. Right now to my untrained eye it appears the 8D on the port side is only powering the bow thruster which makes no sense to me. Although I have almost no knowledge of battery bank configurations so maybe I am wrong. I know there is only one set of large gauge cables to that battery plus the charger connections. If I removed one of the cables no bow thruster. I really need a pro to go over this with me and probably get it wired properly.


Thanks,


Don
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:12 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by DonW28 View Post
I am going to look into the rainman unit. We do use freshwater for flushing so that is a concern as well. I need to get a good marine electrician on the boat with me and explain the battery configuration. Right now to my untrained eye it appears the 8D on the port side is only powering the bow thruster which makes no sense to me. Although I have almost no knowledge of battery bank configurations so maybe I am wrong. I know there is only one set of large gauge cables to that battery plus the charger connections. If I removed one of the cables no bow thruster. I really need a pro to go over this with me and probably get it wired properly.


Thanks,


Don
Don,
Good plan. You need to understand the alignment, including the charging amps available for each battery. Think you will want to be able to align both 8Ds to house and be able to monitor voltage of the combined bank. Also think thruster from house bank ok since generally use thruster leaving dock when batteries fully charged from shore power or when docking after some engine run time has charged batteries from alternator.

By the way, for the house bank of two 8Ds, youíll need about 40 amps charging. Suspect that is what you already have.
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:33 AM   #27
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Don,
Good plan. You need to understand the alignment, including the charging amps available for each battery. Think you will want to be able to align both 8Ds to house and be able to monitor voltage of the combined bank. Also think thruster from house bank ok since generally use thruster leaving dock when batteries fully charged from shore power or when docking after some engine run time has charged batteries from alternator.

By the way, for the house bank of two 8Ds, youíll need about 40 amps charging. Suspect that is what you already have.
Jeff
Don,
May be stating the obvious, but you should have a battery selector switch probably in your engine room. Should have Batt 1, Batt 2, And All. This switch aligns the batteries to the 12vdc panel for house loads. Suspect one 8D is Batt 1 and other Batt 2. Those large cables from each battery should go to the switch and THEN to the thruster??? To align both 8Ds to house, select ďAllĒ.
Jeff
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:54 AM   #28
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I need to get a good marine electrician on the boat with me and explain the battery configuration. Right now to my untrained eye it appears the 8D on the port side is only powering the bow thruster which makes no sense to me.
My 34T came from the factory this way. Two starboard 8Ds connected to a 1/2/BOTH switch used for house and main engine starting; and one port 8D used solely for the bow thruster. Also a separate G27 (24?) used for starting the generator.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:01 PM   #29
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Wifey B: Enjoy the Bahamian Paradise.

I say 100% absolutely a watermaker and do a built in. Do not think of this as a one time deal on the cooler either. This trip will whet your appetite for many more to the Bahamas and elsewhere. Also, don't think negative like ending trip if Generator fails. Pull into nice marina and get it fixed while there, perhaps do some exploring on land there, take out the dinghy, get a local fishing scout to take you out and show you how it's done. Back to the watermaker, telling me to ration water would find you in deep hot water many fathoms down.

You've got so much cruising ahead in the Bahamas, along the west coast of FL, along the Gulf coast, up the East coast and don't think of anything as a one time experience, but as a step toward making your boat an ideal cruising boat for you and Julie. The Bahamas are the Lays of cruising. No one can go just once. But so is all the rest of it. Plan on a lifetime of pleasure so don't take shortcuts in water or refrigeration.

Enjoy
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:33 PM   #30
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My 34T came from the factory this way. Two starboard 8Ds connected to a 1/2/BOTH switch used for house and main engine starting; and one port 8D used solely for the bow thruster. Also a separate G27 (24?) used for starting the generator.
OK. Good. Now we have configuration understood. Only caution is that if you run down both 8Ds connected to house, canít start engine. Not desirable. A reasonable and inexpensive fix would be to reconfigure engine starting to thruster battery. You will always start your engine before needing the thruster.
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:39 PM   #31
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OK. Good. Now we have configuration understood. Only caution is that if you run down both 8Ds connected to house, canít start engine. Not desirable. A reasonable and inexpensive fix would be to reconfigure engine starting to thruster battery. You will always start your engine before needing the thruster.
Oh, and an inexpensive way to parallel any and all batteries in an emergency is with jumper cables. I carry a heavy duty set on board.
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:45 PM   #32
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OK. Good. Now we have configuration understood. Only caution is that if you run down both 8Ds connected to house, canít start engine. Not desirable. A reasonable and inexpensive fix would be to reconfigure engine starting to thruster battery. You will always start your engine before needing the thruster.
Sorry for the disconnected thoughts. Need to understand how your alternator as well as battery charger charges batteries. Hopefully charges all of the 8D batteries through combiners.
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:22 PM   #33
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My 34T came from the factory this way. Two starboard 8Ds connected to a 1/2/BOTH switch used for house and main engine starting; and one port 8D used solely for the bow thruster. Also a separate G27 (24?) used for starting the generator.

I think this is exactly the way mine is currently configured. The 2d group 27 is for the stern thruster the PO added. I really need to get a bit smarter about this stuff before trying Bahamas trips. The 14 days down to Key West was a learning experience for me as our previous long trip was only 7 days and less than 200 miles. I've been offshore boating and diving my entire life but not living on the things. Very different experience that returning to port every night.



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Old 08-02-2021, 01:33 PM   #34
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Buying water is something to think about. Definitely not a price issue. I was thinking more for convenience as we like to anchor. We have another option although I haven't mentioned it. Out friends have a 50 foot GB and we use their compressor to fill out scuba tanks. Rigging a pump and hose to fill off their watermaker is an option. They make an obscene amount every day but I was trying not to be a pest. But I think the point of buying it makes a lot of sense. We can survive 3-4 days on the hook.
Don
Do a trade deal with your friends for their water. Back in the 90's we had a friend anchored in Georgetown who made a ton of water everyday. He didn't have a lot of money and loved to fish from his dinghy. To get dinghy gas, he traded water for gasoline. I think it was on a 10:1 basis, 10 gallons of water for a gallon of gas. RO water was selling on shore for $0.60/gallon and gas was about $4.00/gal. Everybody was happy!
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:43 PM   #35
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Hi, its Ed with Control Masters. Just to clarify the issues with the MicroCommanders on the Mainships. The problem is not with the controls it is with the installation of the controls on these vessels that were the problem. There are over 300,000 MicroCommanders on vessels worldwide from small center consoles to large ships (including Coast Guard & Navy). Mine have been on my boat for 22 years and have never once failed me (of coarse I installed it). The main problem on this installation was the use of ignition relays (I hate them), I rewire the controls to a 10 amp breaker so all I have to do is turn the breaker on and the controls are active. This eliminates the relays that Mainship hid around the vessel and resolves the problem with the MicroCommander. The main benefit of the MicroCommander is that you can never damage your transmission by accidentally shifting from ahead to astern at high speeds. There are built in safeties to prevent it from clutching into reverse while there is still clutch pressure on ahead.

Just a note, if you had to use jumper cables to start then you may have a battery or battery connection issue. The MicroCommanders come off line about 10 volts, if you need to start you can bypass the safety switch by removing the cover off of the MicroCommander and connecting the two yellow wires (with red stripe) together under on screw connection and you will bypass the neutral interlock.

As far as a water maker I have been going to the Bahamas just about every year for the last 30 years and have never had one. The longest trip over there was for 3 months and we carried 80 gallons of water. I kept one 5 gallon spare in case we ran out but we never did. Water is cheap, water makers are not and the maintenance on them can be costly. Just my 2 cents worth.

As far as your batteries, I would use one 8D for my start and then have a separate house bank. You could always use a combiner to start off the house bank if you had a problem.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:02 PM   #36
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Long story short. We just moved our 2006 34T from MB, SC to Key West, Florida. Took 2 weeks and my wife loved the trip. I liked it. So now she is thinking maybe the Bahamas next year (May-June). We are thinking a week up, 3 weeks while we are over and a week back. From our trip down and just thinking out loud here is what we want/need. Open to suggestions.

1) The MicroCommander has to go. Call me old fashioned but a good old cable control is going to replace it. Tired of having the alarm go off at least once a day and the morning it didn't want to start wasn't amusing.

2) We need a small watermaker. We like using freshwater and see no way to get around it. Suggestions are welcome.
3) Was very impressed with the fuel economy at 7 knots (2.5SM per gallon)so don't see that as being an issue.
4) I see us running the genset other than in a marina the entire 3 weeks. Can't see the rational to buy solar and more batteries for a probably one time trip.

5) Based on #4 we are going to get a small 110V freezer.
6) We need a dinghy and motor. Badly.



Any thoughts or recommendations are highly encouraged. And if the generator conks out we are coming home. ;-)


Don
Have been over there. Also use watermaker (a must given what you're going to do). Besides upgrading to a 12KW Northern Lights, adding the watermaker is the best and most freeing thing I've done. Carry 600 gallons of fuel so freshwater is the one thing I needed to be FREE!
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:18 PM   #37
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Bahamas

Some thoughts.

We have been to the Bahamas six times since 2005.

1. Water. I agree with a lot of the comments above about NOT buying a water maker. We had one the first couple times we were in the Bahamas and needed it. Now it is easy to find "good" RO water. Yes you will have to pay for it.

I also run the hose water thru a 3-stage whole house water filter before it goes in the tank. First filter sediment. Second for bacteria. Third charcoal for taste and smell. I even do this at our dock in the states.

2. Dinghy. You can not have one too big or too fast!

3. Power. We have a 8 kw diesel on board, but use a Honda 2200 most of the time. Our diesel burns 0.4 gph. The Honda burns 1 gal in 10 hours. It is some what a hassle to contend with the gas, but we have it for the dinghy and keep 5 ea 5 gal containers that we can go a few weeks on.

4. We have an apartment size refrigerator/freezer that is the main thing the Honda operates. We shut the Honda down at sunset and start it about 8 or 9 in the morning. If you don't open it all will be good. To test, put an ice cube in a small bowl or lid and leave it in the freezer. I can almost guarantee that in the morning the ice would not have melted.

It was mentioned to spend more time there. I fully agree with that. The Bahamians are great people (especially in the out islands) and it would be a mistake in my mind not to spend a couple months in country if you time will allow.

Have fiun and I wish you a great trip.
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Old 08-02-2021, 05:59 PM   #38
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34t

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonW28 View Post
Long story short. We just moved our 2006 34T from MB, SC to Key West, Florida. Took 2 weeks and my wife loved the trip. I liked it. So now she is thinking maybe the Bahamas next year (May-June). We are thinking a week up, 3 weeks while we are over and a week back. From our trip down and just thinking out loud here is what we want/need. Open to suggestions.

1) The MicroCommander has to go. Call me old fashioned but a good old cable control is going to replace it. Tired of having the alarm go off at least once a day and the morning it didn't want to start wasn't amusing.

2) We need a small watermaker. We like using freshwater and see no way to get around it. Suggestions are welcome.
3) Was very impressed with the fuel economy at 7 knots (2.5SM per gallon)so don't see that as being an issue.
4) I see us running the genset other than in a marina the entire 3 weeks. Can't see the rational to buy solar and more batteries for a probably one time trip.

5) Based on #4 we are going to get a small 110V freezer.
6) We need a dinghy and motor. Badly.



Any thoughts or recommendations are highly encouraged. And if the generator conks out we are coming home. ;-)


Don
West Marine 8’ plastic lapstrake dinghy $600. Looks good and is indestructible. Weighs 75 lbs. Suzuki 2.5 can be bought online for under $600 and works great on this dinghy. That’s what my setup is and I have no complaints. (My dinghy is a Walker Bay 8, sold by West Marine but no longer available. The one they sell now is the same thing). I’ve had mine for over 20 years.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:03 PM   #39
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The first time I went to the Bahamas was in a 24í sea Ray cuddy cabin with a cooler and a few cases of water. Stayed at marinas for 2 weeks.

The second time was with my 36í marine trader sundeck with a full galley. I do have an inverter. Didnít take the dingy down once. Stayed at marinas for a month.

My next trip will be on my new to me 55í Viking. The only thing I need to do is put an inverter in it. Will stay at a marina.

Itís all about what you personally need/want. I went way over budget on my 36í trawler thinking I needed a lot of things. Now she is for sale because the only thing I needed was more room!
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:19 PM   #40
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I go no where with out my working water maker. Had a valve fail a while back and lost 50% of our fresh water.



No problem, we made more.


I got a sea water pro water maker. I got the basic one but have upgraded it.
Super helpful folks and a buddy of mine who is doing a around the world trip on his sailing cat installed one also.
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