Articles: Inverters and Chargers

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The Perils of Flooded Lead Battery Discharge Below 50% and Partial State of Charge

Depth of Discharge (DoD) is used to describe how deeply a battery has been discharged. Cycle life is the number of times a battery can be cycled to a certain point before the battery will reach the end of its usable life. There is a direct relationship between the DoD and the cycle life of a battery.

Battery Chargers

Any boat that is moored where there is shore power available will benefit by having a battery charger that converts AC power to DC power which can be stored in the batteries.

Charge Distribution

Quite often on boats there will be more than one battery bank that will be charged from a single source, as is very common with an alternator. There are several ways of distributing the power from the charging source to the various batteries allowing prioritization of current flow.

Battery Charging Rates

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to battery charging. It is important to bring a flooded lead/acid battery to at least 14.4VDC to get the electrolyte circulating and avoid stratification. However, prolonged charging above 14.4VDC can lead to hydrolysis (cleaving of the water in the electrolyte into hydrogen and oxygen).

ELCI Breaker with an Inverter/Charger

Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter (ELCI) breakers are fairly new in the North American marine industry. Older boats are not equipped with them however they are now in the ABYC standards for new boats and refits. They are similar to a GFI outlet (like in your bathroom) but they protect the whole boat and trip at a higher level, 30mA instead of 5mA.

Battery Monitors

A boat’s battery bank is at the heart of its DC electrical system and the banks state of charge (SOC) is critical information. Not only is it important to know how much energy remains stored so you do not deplete the bank and no longer have the power needed to run boat’s services, but it is also necessary information to maintain the batteries in good health to maximize the number of cycles possible from the bank.

The Four Stages of Charge

A charge controller or voltage regulator is an important addition to any boat that lacks one. The advantages of the existence of a voltage regulator include: longer life expectancy for the battery banks, faster and...

Tips for Installing Large Battery Banks

When installing a large battery bank there are a few things we need to take in consideration both for safety and...

The Pros and Cons of Wiring a Boat for 12 or 24 Volts

If weight is a major concern on your boat, or if the vessel size requires long cable runs, there is always the option of wiring your boat for 24 volts. With a higher voltage, the currents pulled by the various electronics are much smaller and hence the cables only need to be...

The Importance of Testing your Bonding System to Prevent Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic corrosion is destructive and can amount to costly repairs. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to prevent corrosion is to install a DC bonding system. This bonding provides an electrical path between all the metals on your boat, which come in contact with water, to a sacrificial anode. The reason we bond a sacrificial anode, (usually zinc) to our vessels on the hull under the waterline is to provide an electrical path between metals that are connected electrically through electrolyte fluid to a higher freely eroding material. This allows the zinc to be consumed first over all the other materials on your vessel.

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