Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pro Charger

Deana:  One thing I can tell you about cruising guys, or even boating guys in general, is that they really love to talk about batteries, engines, anchors, etc., etc, etc.  I admit that sometimes when a group of guys get together and start going on about their battery bank, I just kind of tune out.  But I do start to pay attention when I am directly affected by said battery bank.  We have recently stopped using our refrigerator because of the draw on our batteries.  Now, you've got my attention.  I really like refrigeration!  Luckily we can still use our Engel freezer/refrigerator, but it's a challenge, if I keep it cold enough to keep the meat frozen, well, you can guess what that might do to, say, lettuce.   

Fortunately for Storyville and myself, we have Troy.  He got busy figuring out what we need to do to correct our battery situation.  I will let him tell you in his own words (yes, I convinced Troy to write a blog post).    He did say that it was easier to write about it than to do it! So, maybe you will be like me and just tune out, but I bet there are some guys out there who will really enjoy this post:

Troy:  One of the challenges of living on a boat and “off the grid” is keeping your batteries charged and happy. We have one solar panel, an Air Breeze wind generator, and a 5kw Nor Pro diesel generator to keep the batteries charged up, our fridge box is cooled by an old style adler barber type that just draws too many amps to be useful, it just kills the batteries if the wind dies down or the sun goes down and that happens every day.. so we turned off the fridge until we update that, in the meantime I replaced our old weak 40 amp battery charger with a new 60 amp smart charger from Stirling.

Our battery bank is 4 Trojan 6 volt deep cycle batteries putting out 12 volts, and about 470 amp hours, and a starting battery for the gen set, so my research says it needs to be putting in about 60 amps to keep them happy. The charger I had was an old style 40 amp True Charge, and it was not running at capacity at all so out it goes, in goes new wiring, new 80 amp fuses, new terminals and a new location for the actual charging unit. So far, its been just great! I can run a desulphanating cycle automatically and I believe the batteries will really respond to that! We now have a remote control, and a battery temperature sensor that lets us see just how healthy the battery bank is.

We have a few more projects to get done, I think the next will be an Engel cold plate and compressor for the fridge box, these use about 2.8 amps and we have the Engel freezer that has been a great piece of equipment to have, I really recommend the Engel products. I also think we will add more solar panels to the boat, the cost is coming down and its always sunny around here. Maybe in Puerto Rico. I would like to add a bit more amp hours to the battery bank also, I think St. Martin for that.. we'll see..

On another boat project that has worked out, the Natures Head composting toilet is working just as advertised! No fuss, no smell, no water to flush and I can be rid of 4 thru holes and all that stinky hose and bladders, once again, I recommend this piece of equipment...

Ready for installation
What a beauty!
Installed and ready to go
Just look at it work it's magic
Fuses installed
Here is the remote
Storyville's batteries are happy and we have enough bananas to last a lifetime
You've got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice. ~Steven D. Woodhull (U.S. geologist, 1976- )

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