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Jenwil

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5 minutes ago, Jenwil said:

Thanks Mike.

is there anyway to have a regulated charge?

 

Well yes, buy a Sterling Pro Charge Ultra and a decent generator like a Honda!

6 minutes ago, Jenwil said:

I suppose I need a battery monitor as I have no idea how charged they are other than the volts on my solar readout when it’s nighttime and showing the volts.

Gosh there are so many ins and outs to this lark.

 

Sadly the complexity and knowledge required to successfully generate your own leccy long term off grid is grossly underestimated by most boaters when they decide to live aboard, including me. 

Most start by trashing several sets of batteries in quick succession. This focusses the mind in my experience!

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10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Jen - read post #8

Now you have identified what generator you are talking about I would suggest that ideally you want to be looking for a 20 amp, multi-stage charger. (to avoid boiling and destroying your batteries)

It will take (probably) an extra hour to charge your batteries from 50% to 100% SoC when compared with a 100 amp charger, but you need one you can lift on & off the boat easily.

Remember that by law you cannot store more than 30 litres of petrol on board, and, you should not store it either in the cabin, or on the 'deck' - it should live in a separate locker (like the gas locker) with a 'drain' overboard so any fumes, or spillage cannot get into the boat.

The BSS certificate is much harder to achieve if you are storing / using petrol on board (it has to be as petrol is dangerous stuff)

I have been thinking about getting a metal box with a vent and a metal fuel container.

I take it not putting it in the gas locker is best too.

Naturally I think putting it all in the boot of the car come safety time would be an idea.

thanks Alan.

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2 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

If money is tight it would be better to continue charging with your engine and save up the cash to buy a decent genny and charger rather than waste money now on cheap stuff that doesn't work.

Good point but then why bother getting a generator if I can just run the engine?

I have been told it damages the engine by some people while others have laughed at the idea too.

The better gennys are bigger so I couldn’t lift them anyway.

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21 minutes ago, Jenwil said:

Good point but then why bother getting a generator if I can just run the engine?

I have been told it damages the engine by some people while others have laughed at the idea too.

The better gennys are bigger so I couldn’t lift them anyway.

Some say that diesel engines run at low loads / speeds will glaze the cylinder bores and point to this as a reason not to run the engine just for charging batteries.

however the same people don't give the engine a second thought if they are cruising at tickover for hours on end or leaving the engine running while waiting for locks etc.

with most boats now having engines of around 40hp fitted the vast majority are never getting any significant load on a regular basis (I would guess most boats use less than 5hp as an average while moving) I would suspect that the difference in engine wear / maintenance costs is actually cheaper than a small generator & charger (and doesn't add the complications of petrol on board).

of course if you want to increase engine loading while charging & reduce charging times (by a little) fit a more powerful alternator

Edited by Jess--

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10 hours ago, Jenwil said:

Good point but then why bother getting a generator if I can just run the engine?

I have been told it damages the engine by some people while others have laughed at the idea too.

The better gennys are bigger so I couldn’t lift them anyway.

If you weigh up the costs of buying a generator and running it daily-£500-£1000 and around £20 per week, the gennie may last 5-7 years. This would cover a considerable amount of extra maintenance to offset the wear and tear on your engine, if used for charging. And the bonus of no lifting, security problems and storing flammable liquid. 

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12 minutes ago, BWM said:

If you weigh up the costs of buying a generator and running it daily-£500-£1000 and around £20 per week, the gennie may last 5-7 years. This would cover a considerable amount of extra maintenance to offset the wear and tear on your engine, if used for charging. And the bonus of no lifting, security problems and storing flammable liquid. 

I always charge from the main engine, always have it costs about the same in the long run and far less hassle.

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Just now, mrsmelly said:

I always charge from the main engine, always have it costs about the same in the long run and far less hassle.

Unless you have a slow revving historic engine where parts are rare and charging inefficient, or possibly, a vast battery bank it would seem the best option.

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12 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Can't remember, but its marketed/sold by Screwfix

 

Is it IMPAX ? I have one of these from Screwfix and find it a good bit of kit 

Phil

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I am glad I invested in a whispergen all those years ago along with the solar panels, In the long run it has made my life easier and quieter

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4 hours ago, Jenwil said:

I’m wondering if it would just be better spending on a couple of new alternators instead?

Once you get above about 70 to 80 amp alternators on typical  boats (if there is such a thing) you are getting into the area of diminishing returns because the overall charging time to fully charged will be almost the same, however large the alternator is. Do not waste money on a new engine alternator, a 20 amp one would be more than good enough for most boats unless you have a means of paralleling them when charging but see the comment about charge time above.

If you have an old alternator with a 14 volt regulator then a new one with a 14.5 regulator may make sense. If you run (say) a microwave, coffee maker, toaster then a much larger alternator would allow you do do so with minimal, if any, battery discharge as long as the engine was revving.

I would suggest that probably the money could be more usefully spent on simple battery monitoring (voltmeter & ammeter) and spending some time learning how to interpret them. That will give you a good idea of how much charging your batteries need and when its OK to stop charging. (charging will ideally be undertaken daily). This prolongs battery life. Then you will know if you can get by in the winter with just engine charging or if a generator is vital.

After than the money may well be better spent on solar.

 

Edited by Tony Brooks

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10 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

If you have an old alternator with a 14 volt regulator then a new one with a 24.5 regulator may make sense.

Should that be 14.5v ?

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35 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Once you get above about 70 to 80 amp alternators on typical  boats (if there is such a thing) you are getting into the area of diminishing returns because the overall charging time to fully charged will be almost the same, however large the alternator is. Do not waste money on a new engine alternator, a 20 amp one would be more than good enough for most boats unless you have a means of paralleling them when charging but see the comment about charge time above.

If you have an old alternator with a 14 volt regulator then a new one with a 14.5 regulator may make sense. If you run (say) a microwave, coffee maker, toaster then a much larger alternator would allow you do do so with minimal, if any, battery discharge as long as the engine was revving.

I would suggest that probably the money could be more usefully spent on simple battery monitoring (voltmeter & ammeter) and spending some time learning how to interpret them. That will give you a good idea of how much charging your batteries need and when its OK to stop charging. (charging will ideally be undertaken daily). This prolongs battery life. Then you will know if you can get by in the winter with just engine charging or if a generator is vital.

After than the money may well be better spent on solar.

 

So when my engine is reving what kind of voltage charge should be good ?

14.5 ?

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6 minutes ago, Jenwil said:

So when my engine is reving what kind of voltage charge should be good ?

14.5 ?

Yes

Even higher is okay too 

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However you won’t get that voltage straight away when the alternator is putting a lot of charge into flat batteries. The voltage will creep up over time, and it is the voltage towards the end of the charge that we are talking about.

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39 minutes ago, Jenwil said:

So when my engine is reving what kind of voltage charge should be good ?

14.5 ?

It depends on how 'flat' the battery is.

You can either have lots of volts, lots of amps, a few amps, or a few volts.

When your battery is (almost) fully charged you would hope for 14.5+ volts and probably just 2 or 3 amps.

If the battery is 'flat' then you will get high amps and 'low' (13 ish) volts

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On 13/01/2018 at 17:43, Alan de Enfield said:

It depends on how 'flat' the battery is.

You can either have lots of volts, lots of amps, a few amps, or a few volts.

When your battery is (almost) fully charged you would hope for 14.5+ volts and probably just 2 or 3 amps.

If the battery is 'flat' then you will get high amps and 'low' (13 ish) volts

Ohhh bloody hell lol

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