Making best use of shore and passive power sources

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by jamesgyore, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    I did a quick search and found no thread that satisfied my questions.

    I'm at a point in my build/project that requires me to give thought to power and general electrical needs.

    Electrics and electronics is not something I'm good at, so I hired someone... Not so smart, it turns out, so I'm starting over.

    I'll present my questions thus:

    1) do you have a charger and a separate Ac to Dc power supply to charge batteries and supply on-board 12v systems at the same time.

    2) do you use your charger to not only charge batteries but also supply on-board systems.

    If (2), how did you calculate/determine what charger capacity/amps to install to satisfy both charging and the 12v system supply? What of the various charge steps/modes of a modern charger and its impact on on-board 12v systems?

    Moving on... Most every available on-line resource I've found, so far, ignores solar, wind energy, shore power and generator sources as an available mix of energy inputs. It seems that a clumsy mess of manually selected isolation switches are used.

    My question is: Is there an intelligent monitoring/switching system that can can accept energy from various sources and put them all to good use or selectively prioritise the usefulness and desirability of these various energy inputs.

    And finally...

    I've been watching Mastervolt's hybrid energy system offering with some interest for the last few years. It seems this company is like Microsoft. They promote something that is total fiction and years away from being a reality.

    Does anyone know of, or has built a system similar to, from various vendors and products, the product Mastervolt can't seem to deliver?

    Perhaps it is a preposterous desire but ideally I want to:

    1) Use all passive and "free" means to power and charge my boat. Avoiding until necessary the use of shore power or generator.

    2) make best use of shore power if and when available.

    3) only have the generator auto start when battery stored energy is low or is insufficient to service the load when shore power is not available.

    4) have the generator, if started, serve all on-board needs and charge batteries before auto stop. And offer intelligent outcomes, such as... Fresh water is low, so top up batteries, supply on-board systems and start R/O water system and then run until batteries are charged, on-board systems are satisfied, and fresh water tanks are full. Then go to "sleep".

    Your thoughts and opinions are most welcome,

    James
     
  2. Mark Cat
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Michigan

    Mark Cat Senior Member

    Energy usage depends on boat requirements. Without knowing the vessel needs, there is no context to address energy usage.

    For pleasure craft, energy management relies heavily on storage batteries. A load study is used to size the battery banks.

    For electrical system design questions, it is best to understand battery operation for application, sizing, charge and discharge.

    For example with smaller installs, solar panels when used with the appropriate controller, can address battery charge absorption and float stage.

    All for now,

    Mark Cat
     
  3. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    You're quite right.

    I've put quite some time and effort into my energy budget and perhaps have been a little cautious with my estimates. Better to have more that not enough stored energy I should think.

    I've also spent quite a bit of time on wiring and the DC distribution panel.

    You'll note, however, I was asking about how to cleverly integrate various sources of energy (shore, generator, solar, wind), based on other peoples experiences and systems.
     
  4. Mark Cat
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    Location: Michigan

    Mark Cat Senior Member

    Energy usage and system design include the options for integration. There are many ways to package the solution.

    If you could describe your application in more detail we could narrow down the popular approaches to energy management.

    Mark Cat
     
  5. powerabout
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Melbourne/Singapore/Italy

    powerabout Senior Member

    summer you will need more from one than the other and in winter swap over.
    Hard to quantify
     
  6. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    1) do you have a charger and a separate Ac to Dc power supply to charge batteries and supply on-board 12v systems at the same time.

    2) do you use your charger to not only charge batteries but also supply on-board systems.

    If (2), how did you calculate/determine what charger capacity/amps to install to satisfy both charging and the 12v system supply? What of the various charge steps/modes of a modern charger and its impact on on-board 12v systems?


    That is all very straightforward. The alternator in your car is an example you are familiar with. No fancy algorithms, just a regulator that limits the output to approx. 14 Volts. The manufacturer selects a type that can supply power to all circuits in the car and still has a bit left to charge the battery. Because not everything will be switched on at any given time, there is ample charging current.

    This means that in a 12V system, voltages are generally higher when the engine is running, but not quite 14V because loads are connected to the battery and all wiring has some losses.

    You can add another power source like a solar array with its regulator without any special provisions. Like the alternator it only supplies power when the battery voltage is below or at 14V.
     
  7. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    How best to describe what I'm doing...

    Lets start with the boat, a POP 25 Roberto Barros design.

    As defined, it has few electrical appliances and right from the drawing board has been designed for e-propultion.

    I've taken the e-propultion issue out of the equation for the time being. Advances on many fronts are being made in this area. I'd prefer to commit to and install this system nearer to launch day so I can benefit from the latest technological advances.

    I've chosen to include an electric toilet, refrigeration, pressurised water, R/O water, and water heater.

    Naturally, electronic toys like radio, GPS, AIS and auto helm will be aboard.

    High resolution sonar scanner, chart-plotter, radar, weather radio, cabin heating and cooling, and HD video cameras are on the wish list.

    I imagine that I need to start with a charger device. Something that can accept energy from solar, wind, generator, and shore power to charge and maintain the batteries and provide 12v to power the on-board systems.

    A net search offers me any number of choices of stand-alone devices but I have not found an integrated device
     
  8. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Location: Melbourne

    jamesgyore Senior Member



    Thanks, I suspect I was over-thinking the problem and imagined it to be a great deal more complex.

    Using an assortment of keywords, I've found a wealth of information and a number of products.

    Not quite the tidy one-box solution I was hoping for, but a step in the right direction. Xantrex have a solar/wind regulator charger combo box that might be satisfactory.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Firstly, that is a lot of electrical equipment for a small boat. The storage system (batteries) will take a lot of living space and may overload the boat. Secondly, you have to specify the electrical specifications. For example, voltages for AC and DC. Also, whether the AC is single phase, etc. For AC systems you will need a frequency synchronizer for when different inputs get connected.
     
  10. John Kane
    Joined: Jun 2013
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    John Kane Junior Member

    James what is your budget for the power generation, batteries and propulsion
     
  11. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    I've set aside about AU$4500.00 for 5.0KW AC generator

    I've budgeted about AU$1025.00 per 2V 2000Ah battery (six required). I'm under budget on weight so far, and I might with care, be able to install a cluster of 12 such batteries in two groups.

    Theoretical maths has a habit of saying yes or no, when in fact the reality is quite different.

    Electric propulsion and its stored power requirements I have set aside to be addressed closer to launch day. This technology is improving at a rapid pace and I am leaning toward a low voltage inverted AC system rather than any of the DC system currently on offer.

    I have no idea what the e-propulsion system will cost... I don't think it will any cheaper than a diesel engine, but much more convenient and reliable. Frankly, I don't care what it will cost.

    Ive noted in other threads spirited discussion about e-propulsion. It's not just an argument about energy and efficiency.

    For me, it is a basic decision not to have to tolerate vibration, noise, stench, oil changes, warm-ups, clunking gearboxes, maintenance, yet another raw water hull though-hole, fossil fuels, fuel tanks, lethargic response to helm input, etc, etc, etc.

    I want peace and quiet... and little if any maintenance. If I want attitude and a hard time, I can get plenty from my teenaged niece.. I don't need it from a diesel engine.
     
  12. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Many, many years of experience with marine systems and electricity tell me that, WRT reliability, you are dreaming.

    Besides you've already budgeted for a generator so you've accepted you have to have a fossil fuel device on board. What are you going to use - a petrol engined generator set? Good luck with that one. Diesel engines are highly reliable IF MAINTAINED PROPERLY.

    I keep thinking on using an inverter to drive a VFD to drive a 3 phase motor for my anchor winch, but I know how to do it myself not pay someone else to do it, and I'm aware of the numerous points of failure possible.

    PDW
     
  13. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    In fact, no. A local firm with a solid reputation is manufacturing, and has done so for many years, a very highly regarded small diesel generator specifically for marine applications.

    So whats your issue, or argument? That I might be trying to convert a chainsaw or lawn mower to generate electricity?

    And yes, worst case scenario, I may well have to rely on a generator... The sun does not always shine, and the wind is not always prevailing. Your argument or point is exactly what?

    Points of failure?.. Really, do tell me more, please! I do so want to hear your opinion about reliability.

    I come from a background of manufacturing where even 11.50 minutes of unplanned down time in a 310 day year is considered an appalling failure.

    So please... Do share with me your thoughts on unreliability.

    There is a great deal to learn from industrial automation, and from many other industries and fields of endeavour for that matter, in spite of your obviously arrogant views.

    Might I suggest with the utmost sensitivity that you give thought to your ill-considered replies and ill-formed opinions before they make an amusing joke of you.

    With the highest regard,

    James.
     
  14. powerabout
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    powerabout Senior Member

    yes but its a small pleasure boat
    no market for commercially classed kit so if you find it it will cost more than the boat and you will need a bigger boat to put it in.
    You might get payback after a couple of years if you use it every day
     

  15. Mark Cat
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Mark Cat Senior Member

    James,

    In many ways a 25 ft. fully instrumented (Electrical and Electronics) Sail boat is more of an electrical (Energy) challenge than larger vessels. This is because, in addition to energy usage, we also have to address weight management (amount and location).

    I see a few trends for a boat of this size.

    Usually there is an aft canopy which provides shade but also provides a way to mount solar panels and wind turbine generators. Popular is to have two large panels each with its own MPPT controller, and each panel paired with a companion wind turbine. These two charging sources are then used to charge the house and engine start battery banks. The boat electrical needs are provided by these two identical sized banks. Traditionally, one bank is called house and the other start, however for a small boat they are usually identical and either can be used to start the small Diesel propulsion engine. There are two banks for redundancy and to provide more options in segregating specific loads.

    Power propulsion is provided by a Diesel engine driving a prop outfitted with an additional alternator + Regulator. Which is used to charge the two banks for bulk. Two Alternators can be used for redundancy.

    The majority of the lights are LED.

    Instrumentation is used to understand the loads and the use of energy, voltage, current, charge, discharge and battery State of charge.

    As you get more familiar with the use of energy, the system can then be fine tuned.

    Mark Cat
     
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