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

    You are very correct. Regretfully, a tidy one-box solution does not exist.

    I can now appreciate the motley collection of devices I've seen installed on other peoples boats and I too, will have to follow the same path.

    Now the challenge is to select these various devices with care, not only to ensure that I'm buying the best available, but that they all work together efficiently.
     
  2. pdwiley
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    Location: Hobart

    pdwiley Senior Member

    Fine, do it your way.

    You were the one who was saying you didn't want a diesel engine. Now you're saying you're going to have a diesel engine. The difference being, the engine will drive the generator which will charge the batteries which will drive an electric motor (possibly via an inverter & VFD, possibly direct DC) which will drive a prop which will drive the boat.

    Then you ask, in a deliberately snotty manner, that I list the possible points of failure.

    I don't, actually, think that I have the credibility problem.

    Nor frankly do I care for your opinion as your response above is classic defensive-aggressive behaviour. You don't, actually, want any advice. You simply want people to affirm your decisions.

    BTW since you want to push your background, I used to run a marine science R&D group and we designed & built systems that had to get as near as possible to 100% uptime for voyages of 3 months duration. We were quite successful at this. Another one of my little projects has been running in laboratories for just over 20 years now, processing samples and using a rules-based decision engine to decide what needs to be done next. Some 70% of everyone born in Australia in the last 20 years has had at least one sample processed through those labs.

    I have been semi-retired for years now, I have a quite comprehensive machine shop so I can actually build things myself rather than get someone else to do it for me, and I have a *lot* of 3 phase industrial motors and control gear about the place.

    You seem to be a somewhat better than competent cook.

    PDW
     
  3. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    I am in fact very keen for good advice, and I'm pleased to have received it. All the more so, for helping me avoid poor choices.

    Better to cancel a purchase order, than to commit to a bad decision.

    Case in point... That generator. I didn't want a diesel engine for auxiliary power, I've explain why and I remain steadfast with that reasoning.

    By way of PM, a very well thought out and well agued case was offered for the inclusion in a small generator in my list of equipment/appliances.

    He went on to offer some insights about "leaks"... Very small amp draws that in even a modest project can mount to a considerable battery drain. Not something I had considered.

    Practical and experienced advice is something I will always value.
     
  4. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Speaking of which... As a relevant side issue.

    Blue seas, BEP, and a vast array of Communist Chinese panels can be had.

    Can anyone sing praises for any particular manufacturer, as to me they seem much of a muchness?
     
  5. Mark Cat
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Michigan

    Mark Cat Senior Member

    James,

    For my designs for larger boats and yachts the panel(s) and their enclosure/ventilation are custom.

    In the USA, if I had to choose off-the-shelf panels, I would look at Blue Seas and Paneltronics first.

    I would have separate AC and DC panels and enclosures. Separate panels provide flexibility in location. However, for a small boat, I would put them within line-of-sight of each other in the same cabin.

    For smaller boats the panel is really a breaker + switching panel. Meaning the breakers can serve double duty as a breaker and a switch depending on the load.

    Current Leaks:

    Being an EE I use the term Quiescent current to describe sleep and standby device current (leak) draw. Unfortunately for me, my definition is not very popular in the Marine industry. It is usually described as sleep current. With a lot of specialized electronic devices, sleep current can become a concern.

    Mark Cat
     
  6. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Thanks Mark,

    I had imagined separate panels. A simple panel for AC, as there are so few appliances requiring it, the charger for the most part. Luxuries like the water heater and refrigerator can happily work from 240V if and when available.

    It had not occurred to me to use the breakers as switches. An excellent suggestion that greatly reduces my shopping list.
     
  7. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hmm,

    I did a quick search looking for opinions and remarks about battery chargers. There seems to be little commentary on BD about the various manufacturers.

    My pea sized brain is full of data and features from the many models from:

    Blue Sea
    Charles
    Durst
    ENAG
    Mastervolt
    Pro Mariner
    TBS
    Victron
    Vetus
    Victron
    Xantrex

    I dare suggest I've missed a few manufacturers/brands.

    I've built a table of features, functions, ratings, dimentions, weights, etc, so I can compare apples to apples.

    What I lack, is sensible, informed and practical advise based on experience about which brands/models I would be wise to avoid and those I should consider short-listing.

    The prices for similarly spec'd chargers vary greatly, with Mastervolt seeming to command an unseemly premium for their products. Is there something more to price in the case of Mastervolt?

    I do have one further question... If I may. If an isolator is desirable between shore power and boat, why are they not integrated into marine battery chargers?

    Regards,

    James.
     
  8. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    ""I do have one further question... If I may. If an isolator is desirable between shore power and boat, why are they not integrated into marine battery chargers?""

    To get a grid powered device certified it has to comply with a lot of rules. A basic one is, that of it isn't double insulated (i.e. has a plastic casing) the metal case must be connected to the ground terminal of the plug. The galvanic isolator puts a number of diodes in series with the ground wire, that is a violation of the basic rule.
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I havent followed the thread. Presently im on anchor charging batteries..

    Refrigeration is the BIGGEST power consumer....water temp 27 degees, airtemp 38 degrees...its working its little heart out and using power like crazy.

    During a sailing day auto pilot, anchor winch and Nav system suck energy.

    Keep these in mind...choose very efficient refer and autopilot systems

    From the sound of it you are planning a complex electric system with many consumers. Do your homework then consult a marine electrical engineer who speciali in small modern yacht electric systems.
     
  10. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Good advice. I'm enjoying the learning experience, but yes, I am looking for a specialist expert, from recommendation rather than advertisement.

    The wheels fell off my little project by a guy wanting to get rid of his surplus and ageing stock, rather than recommend the best on offer.

    Things are looking up, I better understand what I need, being different to what I want.

    The "want" list, obviously is why that unwelcome generator may have to appear on the "need" list.

    The autopilot, in my particular application, would not be used in the usual manner. It's use will be mostly to maintaining an exact heading/line during video shooting to help the ungainly steady-cam maintain its target in frame.
     
  11. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Tinned copper marine cable of the correct size, is key to a proper electric system. Copper cable , end fittings, terninal strips..... are very expensive.....Dont cut corners .

    As for alternative systems....I just dont know. Ive never seen a system that works. All of them are Rube Goldberg contraptions operated by men who are bent over with a screwdriver, sweat dripping off their noses, while their angry dog barks at passing boats as thier wives yell for MORE POWER...I need more power .

    A big, correctly installed, correctly charged and correctly maintaned battery bank is critical.

    One again... Correctly charged, installed and maintained.

    Auto[lots from the French company that the single handed round the world racers use are highly regaurded.

    You should study the thinking and systems on these ocean racers. They are reliable and very energy efficient.

    http://www.ynovex.com/eco_power/acciona.html
     
  12. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    I am very pleased you offered this suggestion.

    I admittedly lost interest in hydrogen fuel cells, after being on the waiting list for a few years for the fuel cell powered A class Mercedes Benz which never was released in Australia, so I went with the A160.

    I had not considered the technology relevant to my yacht building project, thanks for having me revisit the technology.
     
  13. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    I now have a better understanding of the hardware, and I'm better equipped to recognise honest professional advice, but I'm still at a loss.

    Those few books I've found at the book-store are rather dated and don't really cover the subject matter in a modern holistic fashion.

    Most books I found cover just shore power/battery charger, and were heavily biased toward alternator/engine being the only available source for battery charging and house load supply when at sea.

    A few "revised" editions included generator and solar power or turbine, but not both solar and turbine working together.

    None of the unsealed books I could leaf through offered a complete and modern/current analysis of system integration of various power sources derived from turbine, solar, or generator or fuel cell (which may well be an attractive alternative to a generator).

    I'm all the more confused because the various appliances i.e. shore power/battery charger turbine, solar, AC or DC generators all seem to have their own integrated multi stage battery charger built into their controller/regulator.

    So, do these various appliances have their own form of electrical sibling rivalry and go about their own multi-stage charging in reckless spite of each other? What does this do to the batteries?

    Be damned if I'm going to destroy $6K+ of batteries ($12K+, if I have weight savings calculated correctly), because these technologies/power sources can't sing from the same hymn book.

    Does anyone have a recommended modern/current book or up-to-date relevant technical material that discusses this?
     
  14. jonr
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    jonr Senior Member

    My understanding is that lead acid batteries are typically charged based on their voltage. If true, then multiple devices charging the battery should be OK. Hopefully none of them do equalization charges automatically.
     

  15. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    That was to be expected. Books are not written by people within development teams because they don't have the time and are often bound by non-disclosure agreements. Documentation about state of art technology can only be obtained from manufacturers and is limited to 'need to know'.

    As pointed out earlier in this thread, very little can go wrong with conventional batteries, but with Lithium technology it is exactly the opposite.
    This is a good source for fairly recent information: http://batteryuniversity.com/
     
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