Transcript is auto-generated.
[Music] [Music] you all right so this is the first introduction to this schematic this conceptual diagram of what a boat electrical DC system looks like we're gonna revisit this slide multiple times throughout the day and as we do many of these things are gonna start making more sense you'll notice that I'm not actually showing for the purpose of clarity I'm not showing any negative returns obviously circuits are paths in return right it's a circuit for the reason most of the complications or all the devices are generally on the positive side of the circuit and so what I'm showing here is really the different ways of recharging your batteries and of distributing power I'm gonna often talk about oops sorry let me go back I'm gonna often talk about unsweet distribution switch distribution and what I'm doing with the arrows shows that sometimes obviously you got to think about a wire is really like sort of a pipe a pipe does not tell you the direction of the flow right you think about water water can go one way or the other way but some circuits on boats are really more of a unidirectional like for example a charger never pulls power it always provides it same thing with an alternator an alternator is never a draw of power it only provides us so the arrows are a way for us to express the concept of what a device does but interestingly a combiner can both provide power or take it right and so we're gonna go through all of this and it might be and I'm and the reason I'm showing this right now is I want everyone in the room to get a sense of what we're gonna cover and as the day progresses we're gonna revisit that slide many times today and we're gonna go through every single one of those devices and understand what they do and why you would have one on your boat this is a another what I call a conceptual diagram this time on the AC I'm not showing the neutrals you'll see pretty much everything except other than the galvanic isolator which I'm kind of indicating with a green wire pretty much everything again is what's called the one line you wouldn't build your electrical system on this but you would build the concept of your electrical system on something like that shows you one panel a second panel we've got inverters what does an AC do you could run an AC fridge AC outlets microwave you could run a hot water tank you can run a charger that's basically a AC for the most part and on the bigger boats it could be air conditioning it could be some people run AC water makers it could be all these AC big ICI appliances that you'll baby encounter on a boat okay but again we're gonna revisit that multiple times today conceptually that's where you're looking at you've got an generator you might have two generators you might have three generators right it's possible you've got sure you might have Ford Shore offshore right and then you gonna have an inverter and some boats have multiple inverters but at a simple kind of electrical AC system that's sort of what you're looking at and it can grow from there all right so with that we're gonna start with batteries batteries are for me the heart the beating heart of an electrical system for boats that are probably I'd say up to about 90 100 feet once you get to a certain threshold the boats just running on generators the batteries are just there to start the engines run maybe some loads for a few hours maybe but when you talk about the big hundred footers 150 footers that we work on those boats are running basically generators non-stop port starboard running and then at night the loads drop down and they run off a generator a small generator called the night gen for them their generator boats but for most of us were basically running our electrical system in large part from batteries and we'll talk about the different ways of recharging batteries but they're really at the heart in the center of your electrical system on your boat so we'll talk about and I'm showing this slide to demonstrate all the different battery types and sizes that are possible on a boat there's a lot of selection and we're gonna make sense of what the selection is like so the first thing you're thinking about is and this is where battery started really I mean it's they were cranking batteries batteries were you know you think about a hundred years ago batteries were installed on boats to start the engine and they were and that's what we have in our cars they're cranking batteries but also they can be used a good cranking battery example would be also a thruster a thruster is a device that demands a large amount of current for a shorter period of time so a thruster would be a very similar type of battery as cranking battery right ultimately needs to be recharged there's some issues on some boats where thruster battery banks are actually not getting recharged unless you're back at your power and that's a problem will cause premature failure of the thruster because the batteries are brought down under use and they're not getting a charge until you connect back to shore power and they're not left it designed to be left on charge you know generally a flooded lead-acid battery wants to be charged on a flow charge or used regularly and that's something else we'll talk about a little bit and I'll emphasize that point and this is key batteries are built for a purpose I can tell you that I every summer probably between about a half a dozen boats I get a phone call from a distressed owner that a battery exploded on their boat and generally that battery that exploded was a starter battery used in a deep cycle application because starter batteries are less expensive than deep cycle batteries somebody decided to cut a corner buy and install a starter battery in a deep cycle application use it for a couple seasons and at the end of the day the battery was cycling so hard that literally the water the distilled water the the the electrolyte evaporated the batteries got dry they warped that warped caused the plates to touch the batteries full of hydrogen gas and that explosion is not a firecracker it's a real explosion on one boat it actually removed the hatch on the back deck and threw it literally off the hinges like it liked the battery box exploded the hatch went completely flying and it's terrifying so when you're thinking about batteries on your boat batteries are built for a specific purpose really important and when you buy those batteries you're buying them in basically what are called cranking amps or cold cranking amps CCA so it's the ability of the battery to deliver an amount of amps for a short period of time so here's an example of an 8 D flooded lead-acid battery okay notice the fill caps at the top for the distilled water deep cycle batteries lots again lots of choice lots of choice we'll talk about that deep cycle batteries for me and I'm always thinking about analogies because I got to make all this technical jumbo jump stuff makes sense to me what is it it's basically a marathon runner right and a starter battery is a sprinter they're both athletes but they have completely different physiques this battery deep cycle battery is meant for a long slow discharge where the amps aren't too high and you're gonna be using that battery for a discharge for maybe 24 hours it could be 12 hours it could be on my boat it could be for four days based on the battery bank size right slow discharge and the capacity of that battery is measured in amp hours and we're gonna revisit that later and that's sort of a sort of like a kilogram or a kilometer it's a unit that is definable how many amp hours do you have in a battery bank so there's really two types of lead acid batteries on board there's what we consider and are commonly that we had all in our cars maybe 20 years ago which are called flooded lead-acid batteries right and you can buy a flooded lead-acid battery for a starter application a deep cycle application or what's called a dual purpose right sort of like you're neither good at one or the other I generally don't recommend using a dual purpose battery there are some exceptions every rule most rules have exceptions this has very few of them generally if you buy a battery buy it for a specific purpose you know it's like winter tyres buy winter tires for winter summer tires for summer by all seasons if you live in a place where you actually have a winter and you have a summer you're not gonna put an all season tire it's it's a compromise so that's why I'm not a big fan of dual purpose batteries and then the second type of battery are what are called sealed valve regulated batteries svr and a lot of people are going to use that word interchangeably with the word gel because gel was the first svr battery to come out and I often find boaters telling me Jeff I have gel batteries what they mean to say is I haven't svr battery seal valve regulated battery and in actuality their battery is an AGM battery AGM batteries are extremely prevalent Mercedes BMW put them by default in their cars now so it's not a crazy futuristic battery a GM stands for absorbed glass mat battery so that means that there is no way to fill the batteries there's no way there's no maintenance the electrolyte is actually enclosed in a glass mat and a gel battery the electrolyte is enclosed in a gel you could literally drill a hole in it puncture it nothing will come out in a flooded lead-acid battery you literally have sulfur cassadee in a liquid state within that battery now the plates are all that acid here okay we're limiting our conversation for today for this seminar we're talking about lead acid batteries and the other battery now is an enhancement on lead acid AGM is the carbon foam AGM which is the Firefly battery so what do we know about flooded lead-acid batteries lettle acid batteries are I'm putting one dollar sign and we'll see the multiples of dollar signs depending on the size of the battery because the cost of the battery changes with the amount of lead you buy in the battery right it's pretty linear they're the least expensive batteries now that is under the assumption that you will follow through on the maintenance of that battery religiously without exception regardless of the excuses that you might be able to come up with over time so in actuality for most voters what weapons is they'll start off there digitally to replace the electrolyte but over time they forget the delay and eventually that delay causes premature damage so the battery is in a liquid elect a state electrolyte right so we see that all the time you need and this is very important if you have flooded lead-acid batteries you can just have a tray you need a battery box but not just a battery box you need a battery box that does not have holes in the bottom of it it needs to be a lily liquid tight container I give the privilege and honestly I think it's an honor I probably do about 500 electrical audits a year that's besides the thousand projects we do I do maybe ten a week sometimes fifteen and when I do electrical audits I see commonly what are the problems on boats and I would say more than half of you have a battery box and that battery box has holes on the bottom because when the owner whoever put that battery box in it didn't come with a manual and whoever put it in looked at the box and said well how am I gonna hold this battery box down most people don't like reading right remember that theme I was saying do it like a pro meaning educate yourself most people don't like that just get it done do it just do it they drill four holes in the four corners of the battery box did they feed the whole purpose of the battery box and they think the battery box is some sort of cover to hide the batteries it's not a battery it's not to hide the batteries it's actually a battery box or flooded lead-acid batteries it's actually to contain them so that's really important if your battery box is magically held into place and there is no sides on it like we use a lot of aluminum sides on the size or like for example grand max will actually have wood on the side of the battery box and then they'll have a strap so the battery box can't move laterally and then it can't jump up if your battery box looks like it's just there and somehow held in place magically that means that you probably have four screws in the four corners and the whole purpose of the battery box was defeated by the Installer you've got to top-up with distilled water only right really essential you can't put tap water so you know we find that in pharmacies all the time you can buy distilled water in a probably gallon jug and here's a really good point a flooded lead-acid battery will self discharge by about 15% a month that's why people that have the privilege of living down south like Mike for example my folks have a little place in Florida in the summer when they're not there someone actually drives her car once a month and they do that to maintain the batteries if they left the car in the parking lot for six months the car battery would be dead if it's a flood of acid battery a lead acid battery will self discharge even if there are no loads you could have it in your garage on a shelf it will solve this charge by about 15% and here's an important very very very important point and this is where the distinction is key okay I cannot emphasize this enough with batteries what you see is what you get because with a flooded lead-acid battery your practical available or useable battery capacity is about 35% why you never want to discharge below 50% to get a reasonable amount of cycle cycles is the number of times you can use that battery and realistically when you're charging it unless you have endless time but you're charging with an alternator or a generator or whatever it is you'll never get a but it takes forever to go above 85 to 100 so you're useful bookends right between 85 and 50 is about 35% so when you look at a flooded lead-acid battery bank you're only ever going to be able to use 1/3 another way to describe that is if you have a 600 amp hour battery bank you're only getting about 200 of useable amp hours out of that battery bank because that top-end takes forever to recharge okay so that's why I give this all a lot of times people always ask they say Jeff why such a big battery bank well I'm like because that's what we need right we're not thinking we're not just throwing batteries and hoping it works we're gonna do the math how much do you use and we'll talk about that and we sighs that battery bank on use okay so with a flooded lead-acid battery remember and we're gonna again revisit that later you only have about 35 percent of usable battery capacity we're gonna talk about that it's gonna come that's on one of my slides so here's an example a really popular battery that we use is called an L 16 and I'm trying to demonstrate here how batteries come in all different sizes all right and this is a flooded lead-acid battery sort of like a big golf cart instead of being about 11 inches in three-quarters it's 16 inches high and it offers generally about double the amp power capacity okay of a golf cart battery so gel batteries gel batteries are now we're in a different type we we just talked about flooded lead-acid batteries now we're talking about gel so gel is a svr battery seal valve regulated battery and remember when people are gonna say I have gel on their boat what they probably mean is a GM but gel came first so everyone thinks that as VR and gel are the same word we talked about that there's seal valve regulated no maintenance is required there's no cats there's nothing that's it you know you're not involved for maintaining those batteries now here's the catch and this is critical gel batteries aren't that popular and there's a reason they are very sensitive like every battery to overcharging and the problem is a stock alternator and a Stark battery charger that charges at about a 12 volts 14.4 volts will overcharge that battery and within a week or two weeks that battery will be dead so if you go on blogs and I remember reading on blogs in 2004-2005 people were really dismissive of gel batteries they thought it was just a direct replacement I have a flooded I put a gel is just going to work it doesn't work like that everything has to be tailored on the charging side to a gel battery and so that's the challenge with that battery is that it's not easy to retrofit about with gel because you need to make sure that the alternator is an overcharge so that means you need an external regulator which we're going to talk about you need to have a battery charger that has a gel setting and gel settings vary a lot from battery manufacturer to manufacturer so you need to have one that coincidentally aligns with what the manufacturer wants it's a overcharging a battery is a really really quick way of killing it under charging is a slow death but overcharging is a very quick death all right now here's the interesting point only self-discharge about 2% a month now that's interesting because that means that that battery can be left unattended for a period of time right and so for example one of the big projects we did one year was we basically converted all of the DFO's Boat Department of Fisheries and Oceans from lead acid batteries stage my because the bat the boats are left in hangars in different places and the operators would come on board and they'd show up in the battery would be dead because someone forgot to turn the charger on but with AGM the battery doesn't self discharge as much or gel and so they'd come in and the battery would be good enough to start the engine so that's why they went with AGM now why 55 percent of usable capacity well because under bulk charging you can go all the way with a reasonable amount of cycles to 30% the floor is 30% so your range is 55 now ok 55 versus flooded an acid battery was now 35 so that's a big game because 55 over 35 is about a factor of one-and-a-half so just by going to gel you're actually having needing less batteries to do the same amount of work so you only need a 400 amp hour battery bank versus a 600 for flooded lead-acid okay AGM batteries so that stands for absorbed glass mat battery it's another seal valve regulated battery the purchase cost about twice the price of a flooded lead-acid battery again seal that regulated so commonly people might have their batteries on for example it happens a lot on sale boaters under a bed they might have it under a cabin if you have it in one of your cabin under a bed you need to make sure if it's the flooded lead-acid battery you need to make sure there's gonna be a lot more venting of hydrogen gas when it's charging this one still does it but it keeps up to five atmosphere of pressure within the battery so it does gas but it gas very little so that's a good choice for and I have this up in all the time where people are installing batteries not in the engine room but they're actually installing the bed the back the batteries under a bed in a cabin and so a GM would be a good application for that you still need ventilation but you need less of it no maintenance is required that's a big key and again the self discharge is only 2% so that's a good good point again luckily because it's still valve regulated you can also get 55 percent of usable battery capacity okay so here's what an AGM battery looks like and this is a group 31 battery you'll notice the top of the battery there's actually no no fill caps right and I can't emphasize this enough and I was that Nigel called her stocks maybe some of you were there two years ago and he came I was actually right here wasn't it and he had the full auditorium and he was talking about let acid batteries don't die they get murdered and he agreed and I won't agree with him of course is that everyone starts on the best intentions with a flooded lead-acid battery everyone can promise themselves that they will maintain that battery religiously and they will do everything that is required by that battery that's easy to promise but to literally do it to fulfill that promise over four five six seven years and remember the battery doesn't understand and will never forgive regardless of what your excuses are oh my daughter got married oh I went to Europe for three months oh I was sick oh I got busy at work all those reasons don't matter to the battery if ever the plates get exposed you cause permanent damage to a flooded lead-acid battery and then that's the same story goes oh I wonder why my batteries don't last long right I have unfortunate some boaters are stubborn they're like no I'm not feeling I'm not feeling it now their batteries don't last five years they last two years but that's what it is they need to be maintained to keep that cost down so now we've got another battery which is another version of an AGM which is called the Firefly battery huge proponent I've installed it on my own boat now mine use three times the price up front then a flood of the acid battery three times but why would you spend three times the price of something and here's what we're gonna find out leak proof obviously we talked about limited gassing maintenance-free now this is a killer on the Firefly you can actually go and we'll talk about charge rate the charge rate is basically almost limitless it's three C meaning three times the battery capacity which is means it can take whatever you throw at it okay a normal AGM is about between forty percent this battery there isn't you'll never be able to recharge it at max speed there's no charger you can so if you have for example a three hundred a power imagine a four hundred amp hour battery bank for just four golf carts pretty standard right it's not a big battery bank it could take a 1200 amp charger eight now think about 1200 amps where are you gonna get 1200 amps so basically what it says is the battery is sort of like lithium lithium is does the same thing it can take a high charge rate whatever you can throw at the battery under bulk it will take it that's a big big advantage with the Firefly here's killer is the battery has 12 times the battery life of a flooded lead-acid battery have the same floor discharge like they like so if we go apples to apples at 50% depth of discharge a flooded lead-acid battery will give you around 300 cycles and Firefly AGM will give you thirty six hundred cycles 36 versus 300 I joke around when we install it on boats I say it's almost a family heirloom you know you're gonna install it and one day you'll pass it on to your children and you'll like here you go I didn't get a chance to use it all but why don't you have it now that's basically a Firefly battery and the L 15 battery is 4700 cycles at one point it's sort of like you might not live forever but if you made it to a thousand that's probably closer you know that's the advantage of the Firefly battery it was invented by Caterpillar well they didn't invent it they basically create an R&D project and now it's bought been bought out but it was invented for actually Caterpillar so 3,600 cycle versus 300 that's a big deal now think about some of you don't vote that much you might not use that or you're gonna change your vote soon but if you love your boat and you're gonna use your boat a lot or you're gonna go you know for long cruises this battery is the last battery you're gonna end up putting on your boat and if it wasn't good enough and you're like well this is just ridiculous and when I saw all these pros about six seven years ago I was very doubtful I didn't do it I was like this is too good to be true this is ridiculous I mean honestly you could have had me at twice better three times is still ridiculous the big center with that battery is it does not age at a partial state of discharge all other batteries kiss of death why they never do what the battery says on the label is that a battery once it's discharged needs to be recharged 100% the moment it's this charge that's called lab testing right you take a battery from 100% you bring it down and then the moment it's done they don't go for lunch they don't wait a week they recharge it right now and then they'll do another test and that's how they figure the number of cycles you can do the reality on our boats is far from that when is it that we discharge a battery and the moment we get to 50% we're like oh you're gonna get recharged right away back to 100 and I'll never keep you in a partial state of discharge meaning from 50 to 85 85 to seventy seventy to ninety 90 back to fifty you know we're always oscillating when we're cruising when we're out using our boat we don't get the advantage of plugging in every night to bring back the battery to 100% most of us and so that's the real big benefit of a Firefly battery is it can live in this partial state of discharge without aging two sizes group 31 and L 15 plus and the other gets better is that the usable battery capacity for bulk charge is 85 to 20% so again with that battery you need less batteries to do the same amount of work okay so you need only a 300 battery a power battery bank to give you 200 amp hours of usable battery capacity so let's let's stop for a second and just think why does that matter well you could have a boat where you have limited battery space but you want more capacity like I have a lot of cell boaters they can only fit X amount of batteries I was on as you know just four days ago when I say I I don't mean I I mean my team but the owner had limitations wanted more battery capacity and how do you add more battery capacity on a boat that is completely physically constrained there is simply no space other than mounted on the floor where are you gonna put the batteries it's not a barn I can't just add more batteries in a corner I have so much space and how do I give more capacity to a boater that now is cruising and less less of dock to dock well one ways to go with HM and you've got a GM the normal vanilla which gives you about 55 percent or you go with Firefly gives you 65 percent so effectively you can have more battery capacity by not increasing your battery bank but by just changing to a Firefly battery or you could also have I have other boaters that say to me Jeff weight matters I want to save weight I you know they could be racers I wait I my boat is heeled too much on one side even on big boats trawlers I have too much batteries on this side you can see it I don't want to carry LED I like to plane I don't want to carry all this weight in the back can I have the same usable battery capacity but save the weight and now the list on my boat that's offset because I've added too much batteries over time I can reduce that battery weight by going to Firefly batteries and not have to offset the weight by putting LED on the other side of the boat so these are what they kind of look like you've got a to only two sizes no golf carts I know it's disheartening but it is what it is you've got the L 15 which is a tall one and then you have the Firefly the other one the group 31 so this is an install we did you can see six of them they're all in parallel here's a good way to tell right the jumpers are going positive to positive to positive so it's a 12-volt bank notice as well I just want to make sure I do this right notice we've got a decent-sized battery strap the cables are at opposite ends of the bank you know you've got a positive here and the negative over there and we've got a temperature sensor in the middle of the battery bank we'll talk about that but those are really important takeaways so that's a 660 amp hour Firefly battery bank all right so how do you go about and this is what I do when we're doing what I call scope outs or electrical audits with other motors it's like well Jeff how do we go figuring out we just don't want to throw money you want to make sure we do what is right for our boat so when we sized a battery bank the first thing we ask ourselves is what is your daily power needs we've got to have a sense of what your budget is gonna be budget means how much money for example a good way for battery capacity I always like to relate to money because it's it's sort of a very limited thing it's hard to earn it you don't want to be - you want to be tricky you don't want to spend it - easily you want to be able to store it and so that analogy really carries well with batteries so first thing is how many how much do you use in a day what's your typical add power budget and what I'm trying to say on this slide is remember it might vary depending on when you boat same boater in for example just myself when I boat in the fall I use more power in the fall or even worse in the winter because in the winter I'm using heat the lights are on longer right all those things are drawing power on my batteries same motor boating in July in desolation sound is going to use less power than the same boat or in desolation sound like Christmas where the light is only maybe eight hours a day and it gets to five degrees Celsius in the winter time okay so that's really good so think about a my just doing your amp our budget a my budgeting my batteries to just do summer or am I going to do them fall and spring or am I also gonna look at my batteries for winter as well here's the typical battery usage I'm using this as you know how sometimes people think about salaries are thinking oh I hundred K 50 K right we can start relating you know we're not talking about I make a hundred million I mean those numbers don't make sense to any of us but you say oh fifty K you know 100 K okay that's tangible relatable in power budgets the numbers really range between for the most part maybe 85 to 500 amp hours at 12 volts okay 12 volts for the most part now I've I been on a boat that uses 500 amp hours at 24 yes of course there's always outliers right but in the majority you know you're thinking about sailboats you're gonna be maybe you're really efficient you don't even have refrigerator right on your boat well then your app hours are gonna go way down you might only be using 40 amp hours refrigeration is the number one draw the way I describe it it's like having a Vancouver mortgage you might be frugal and everything else in your life but if you have a mortgage in Vancouver most of your money's going to your mortgage on a boat you might be frugal at everything you do most of your power goes to refrigeration regardless of the boat size the bigger the boat the more refrigerators they have and that's what it is and the fridges are just bigger in the galley and then there's one in the salon and there's one on the fly bridge and then one of the aft ACK so there's just more and more and more refrigerators on a boat and that's the number one power draw on a boat if you can live without cold anything it's sort of like being mortgage free in Vancouver Power is really then not a big issue okay so alright we figured out what your daily a power budget but the next thing you got to figure out is like how long am I gonna use my boat for without recharging because that's the amount of batteries you need to carry some boaters are fortunate they have a generator and they're gonna run their generator twice a day well so they're only going to need their batteries to last them half a day other boaters gonna say Jeff I want to use my boat and I don't want to recharge my boat for two days before I recharge so then they need twice what their daily a power budget so for example at a minimum when I'm trying to say there is if you've got a daily a power budget of 200 and you're saying I want two days you're gonna need to have four hundred amp hours sir like traveling you know if you need going somewhere and you spending $200 a day and you're going for two days you need four hundred dollars in your pocket tell us two days so that's how you figure out what is gonna be your total target that you need for a battery bank and that's so I know it sounds a lot tedious but you know what there's a method to the madness this is why it all works it comes back to planning to design to doing things with thought not just saying oh well there's four batteries on my boat that's what I need no sit back think why right and if you do it right you do it once and then it's gonna work so recap we talked about what's called the battery floor right that how deep can you go on a battery you can go maybe with a firefly AGM all the way to 20 percent and it flooded it's higher it's 50 so if you are figuring basically these are the numbers that we talked about right flooded battery has 35 percent of usable AGM gel 55 and if you end up with Firefly you even have more you have 65 of usable so here's a recap of all of this I don't do jail not because gels aren't good as just there's very few people that actually have gels very few they're great batteries but it's just more tricky to improve your boat with gel generally if it has gel will keep gel but to switch to gel is more expensive so that's why we normally don't do gel so I'm trying to recap here you can see the dollar signs right so if you're gonna buy an AGM Firefly battery don't be don't be surprised by the cost is gonna be three times more than a normal battery but why would you spend more for something and I used to try to have a hard time expressing that well that to me I was thinking about it it's value right what you pay and what you get it's not about just the cost of something because something that can be cheap can be probably the most expensive thing you're gonna buy right so you've got to ask yourself as a boater where does this all make sense to me right am I gonna be able to follow digit like to the team i maintenance of a flood to let acid battery is in a place where i don't care about gassing is it a place where i am actually gonna use it all the time and i don't care about self discharge all those factors are gonna help you decide which battery is right for you as a voter yeah correct yeah yeah so with AGM you can really use them for both and that's a good point you know with a flood at last a battery you got to say am i buying a deep cycle battery or am i buying a starter battery with AGM you can use it for both so basically what flooded you got to multiply times three so if you need two hundred a power batteries i've usable you'll need six hundred amp hour battery bank if you do AGM gel you only need four hundred if you go firefly you only need three hundred so you actually need less batteries if the better the battery is right or you spend you buy more batteries but you have more capacity so that's the trade-off right what are you gonna do with that available space you're gonna save weight or are you gonna take more weight and have more usable battery capacity so you can stay an anchor longer or run more loads so what I'm trying to emphasize here and this is a really important takeaway people get we all assumed I did the same thing when I started off people think that oh I have a golf cart battery that can be AGM oh I have a a.d it's flooded all batteries come in different chemistry's okay so first of all there are known dimensions sort of like wood 2 by 4 2 by 3 4 by 8 it's a physical someone came up with a battery size and then everyone else mimicked that size and it's a known battery size so when you buy a golf cart it could be a golf cart from Easton deca it could be a Kenyan tire Guard cart it could be a Costco guard cart golf cart it could be whatever lifeline it doesn't matter what you buy it's all one golf cart size so they're interchangeable in terms of like when you take them out you can put another golf cart in its place so that's the first thing the second thing is that you can buy most of these batteries from large manufacturers in different types of chemistry's do you gonna buy it in flooded AGM gel and then for flooded batteries remember you've got to buy it for a purpose never fall trap and if you've bought a used boat that's been sitting for a period of time and the owners not that engaged and you're dealing with someone that is looking to make problems go away I've often seen boats especially when you buy them for use where someone the batteries are dead they're trying to get rid of the boat they're trying to keep costs down and so they're replacing the batteries and when they go to a battery shop and they see a deep-cycle battery that is twice this price of a starter let acid battery they're going to go for a starter battery because they look the same they absolutely look the same on the outside and they'll put them in and they're like oh I have new batteries but whether or not telling you is they took a corner they they they basically they're they're your they're not gonna pay the price you will over time so I've seen so many boats with AD s where the starting batteries are using a deep cycle application and that's those boats where the batteries explode and you can imagine what happens to electrolyte that explodes in a engine compartment full of metal I mean this is not it's not confetti right it's not just oh well let's just clean it up it's no big deal like it's a life event yeah yeah only with the flood and so one takeaway from this presentation is when you go back to your boat if you have flooded lead-acid batteries make sure that those batteries are built for the purpose you're using them okay so here we're talking about the ideal charge rate a big issue that I see a lot of times and we get calls about this all the time people are basically thinking that whoever designed their boat future-proofed it for all innovations in all directions so whoever built their boat in 1985 put in for example and you'll see this this is the where all the builders do they always install a charger to be 10 percent of the battery capacity that's the formula that's the minimum that's what they do so if you have 400 a power battery bank deep-cycle you'll have a 40 amp charger right 10 percent of 400 is 40 amps great now you decide that you're not satisfied with 400 amp hour battery bank you put an 800 amp hour battery bank that charger it's not about time right you're like well it's just gonna take twice the time if you don't have the ability to bulk charge at the right rate of charge you will cause a slow death to your batteries your batteries will die prematurely not suddenly but they're gonna sulfate every time you charge them because you don't have enough pressure right because of the apps you're gonna charge a fraction of a fraction and your batteries will die prematurely so don't get too excited when you change your battery bank you guys think is my charger capable of charging that battery bank at the right rate of charge and the minimum is 10% as you get better and better batteries they can take a higher rate of charge like lithium can take some batteries can be up to 3 C so 3 times capacity Firefly is the same now nobody practically is ever gonna be able to do that you can't find a charger that outputs 600 amps it's not gonna happen but you can start maybe taking advantage of two chargers one that does 150 you know one that is 100 to get 250 amps right so there's abilities of reducing your charge time by what is what we do commonly is called daisy changing chargers meaning putting multiple Chargers in one battery bank to reduce the genset runtime so your generator instead of running for maybe on some boats and this is quite common they're running the generators eight hours a day and after we're done they're running the generators 2 hours a day I mean that's an emotional response from an owner like to hear a generator run eight hours a day I personally would leave the generator running all the time at one point it's just white noise I'm just giving in I'm like I'm going on a generator boat but they don't want to eight hours is just annoying enough instead of doing four hours in the morning four hours at night they're doing an hour in the morning an hour a night or other owners think I'm only running the generator every other day for a couple hours and you do that by adding more chargers and if you go with AGM batteries you can do that alright so here a bunch of things that you need to worry about when you're installing a battery bank and because I'm not going to cover all of them but at the end of the day we talked about what's really important you need to have for sure a leak proof container if you're gonna have pled to let acid batteries right that's really important make sure that that battery box is gonna stay in place so how are you going to do that you're gonna put maybe aluminum L guards around the battery box put a heavy-duty battery strap make sure the battery is actually physically gonna stay there not in the dock when everything is benign but when you're out boating and you're in following seas and all your dishes are flying everywhere and it's the worst you cannot have a battery bank that weighs 400 pounds 800 pounds a thousand pounds start moving in your engine compartment okay they need to be latched down you want to also make sure that all leads going to the battery are fused and we're going to talk about that that is essential no exceptions your previous owner there's no I'm never well never but almost 99.999% seen a boat from the factory that is done unsafely just doesn't happen I don't care what brand it is there's just too much liability they're gonna go out of business you do that at the factory level you get sued you lose your shirt you're done no factory is ever building a boat unsafe what happens is the previous owner has a time crunch once again it done what's approved himself that they can do it and they just are happy like a grew up where they just tap into the power lines no circuit breakers no nothing whatever doesn't matter there's never going to be an accident and they don't fuse and you'll often find on a boat that has had multiple owners where the battery bank becomes this craziness of unfused wires that provide the functionality you want but in the event of a problem like a seat belt it's going to be useful when you get in an accident right doesn't mean you have it and you haven't used it that it's useless and that's the important thing we'll talk about fusing later but fusing is absolutely so here are some mother battery banks that we've done that was on actually an 85 footer so we replaced 12 2 volt cells right so these are those gin Tallis's you know like the beautiful boats from the 70s 12 2 volt cells or 6 2 volt cells I mean and we replace it with a battery bank we have one on port and starboard so this is a big boat and then here's another one that's about another the most we've done on one boat is 32 now that boat the owner didn't want to think about power so we're like this is my type of problem I got this and they were very happy the book goes on charter and the Charter is don't want to think about anything so they're like okay we'll do it so that's sort of like and these are a group 31 batteries here's another example you'll see I'm using heavy-duty stainless steel straps as a sailor I'm going I'm going crazy I'm thinking I want obviously with a powerboat you can't do that but on a sailboat I'm like the boat can be inverted I don't want the batteries to move because around the battery might be it through all and if you have 200 pounds of weight 300 400 pounds of weight that land sideways on your through haul is your through haul gonna hold do you want to have a hole in your boat I don't know if you've ever opened a through hole in your boat just for the fun of it and not have a pipe connected to it and see the rate at which water comes in through your boat on a half inch through all it is terrifying like bilge pumps are not there to save you in case you have a hole in your boat it's just for nuisance water right so I'm always thinking and it's all I was thinking about safety right like what happens if and so you can see right here like I've got aluminum all around the battery right straps like I want this thing to be there forever I don't want them to move so here's a common thing I do these electrical audits right called on a boat spent about an hour and a half with an owner and we go through stuff and I commonly see on a flooded lead-acid battery this is a flooded lead-acid battery I see electrolyte on top of the battery the first reaction from the boater is no that's water my battery's moist it's sweating I'm like okay sure but why is the rest of your engine room not sweating because water does not just locate this is not a microclimate where only one part of your engine room sweats and not the other so if you have lead acid on top of you or water on top of your battery that's not water that's electrolyte down electrolyte will never evaporate it's sulfuric acid and if you have a battery box that has a holes in the bottom it's actually gonna leak through and then go to whatever is underneath some sort of plywood that's in glass right and then sulfuric acid will eat through the wood it's just this craziness scenario it's really painful you want to avoid that so again to recap if you have a battery box make sure there's it's a container that's the purpose of your battery box for flooded lead-acid batteries here's an owner that refuses to do battery maintenance refuses just simply and refuses to buy the AGM now we see him regularly every two years so that's fine you know Oh whatever I can't force him to fill the batteries with distilled water but this is a battery cap look at what happens to the plates they've actually literally breached they buckled and the plates are touching and that's called a dead short now if the battery was full of actually gas hydrogen gas when that happens as the plates touch you'll have a short and that's what causes an explosion right because you have hydrogen gas in a container I mean that's sort of what a bomb is right and so never ever ever ever that's a black and white ever have your battery placed exposed if they do get exposed you're basically in a downward spiral where you're gonna constantly gonna have to top off the batteries are gonna basically heat up prematurely and so you're in a losing game you're just you can fight it but that percentage of battery capacity is going to effectively be lost and at that point you might as well just assume take the blame change the batteries and tell yourself you won't do it again or go to the AGM they have a big point these are l16 batteries of the tall ones and I mentioned that make sure the positive and negatives are at opposite ends of the battery bank that's essential so your batteries are evenly charged and discharged I know it sounds unimportant but it does make a difference and I'm gonna affect 59 minutes so we're gonna just take a small 5-minute break take walk or the bathroom and then we're gonna start on power generation but before we go any questions on batteries yes well it depends on ideally yes especially if there's on the same charger there are circumstances where on bigger boats they'll have a house battery charger and they'll have an engine battery charger right they'll have what are called auxiliaries so like for example I was on a Meridian 490 and the battery charger for the engines port starboard and genset is flooded and the house battery is on AGM but if you want to make your life simple you should go to AGM oh you should yeah question Oh in parallel circuits yeah it's super rare if it's really close so that's a good question ideally yeah you you could almost say yeah it did yeah you're right practically I've never seen it theoretically it might make sense and might but then you might also have you know fuses are great in a Star Trek world where you have a sensor on every fuse and you have a dash panel on the bridge and all fuses that are getting blown get a little mini robot that tells you it's there and it gets changed but fuses the more fuses you have the more fuses you have to inspect right and you have to ask yourself because if that fuse blew let's say on in one of your circuits for whatever reason you'd lose that battery bank right if it's on a parallel situation and you have to pour the whole battery bank or a part of the battery bank would die so I've never done it I don't think it's I understand your situation I think that's such an exception I personally would advise it but you do make sure and that's a good point though that when your battery bank you're doing a battery bank if your battery bank is not in one location and you've got a battery bank on one side of the boat and another battery bank on the other side of the boat and they're actually wired together the big link between the two that has to be fused so I worry about fusing for dead shorts not for the situation that you're talking about because realistically anyways when that gel battery died you were gonna change all your other gel batteries anyways so because when a battery dies you can't just that's why batteries aged together right thank you you have to you can't after seven years of having a gel Bank one battery dies goes oh great I'm just gonna go change one battery you can do it but that battery will work so hard to pull the rest of the old batteries so I I've never seen it anything's possible but I've personally wooden to it yeah yeah go ahead yeah okay lithium I see I know this girl lithium has an absolute purpose it does now first of all you got to be willing to spend money okay so there's no such thing as being frugal and going with him unless you're gonna go offshore and if you're gonna go offshore then that's fine because it's probably then it makes a lot of sense so what is lithium do lithium does a lot of great things first of all it has crazy amount of cycles so people are gonna use their boat like going offshore or their boating like four months in the summer every summer for the next 20 years like we're talking like 3000 cycles 5,000 cycles at like 20% like going from a hundred to twenty like that's crazy like it's like think about how many of us we've counted them number of hours we use or a boat or people brag to me like oh I use my boat 30 nights this year well if you have this year if you have a battery bank that lasts three thousand cycles your payback period takes a lot of it's a it's a family heirloom right now makes sense think about like in for example in Scandinavia they've got ferries that are going they've actually done these ferries and lithium they're actually powered Hydra electrically by lithium now those boats are being used every day they're going back to shore right they're being cycled constantly now that payback period makes complete sense so the first thing you got to ask yourself is a a Mike do I love my boat rule number one unless you could be one that wants to brag but that's pretty rare it happens but most people generally go lithium they don't care about bragging they generally love their boat they need a lot of power in a small compact battery bank so if you've got a boat that has limited space for batteries or where weight matters tremendously that's another version right because it would smaller battery size you have less weight then lithium is a great choice so really really good for weight because it's energy energy density it has so much energy density now all those things are good besides the cost because the cost is not for the weak of heart and I'm talking like easily ten grand for like an like a battery this big right us like it's like I've done battery banks lithium it's 30 grand so you know then you got to be in the realm of I'm okay to spend money and the other challenge is that it's not a drop replacement because your charger can be changed to lithium most of the modern ones are but your alternator needs to then be regulated specifically for that battery bank from the charge profile right you can't the battery at one point will communicate and if you overcharge it depending on the type of battery that you Bob the lithium battery it might actually disconnect itself and say because it can't overcharge and so when you overcharge if you only have one positive post on that battery some battery manufacturers will do a low post and a charged post but if you only have one post it might actually you might lose everything on your boat like the whole bow goes black because you were overcharging it from an alternator so it involves more thoughts like we were designing we're designing a boat for another boater in the Middle East small boat and we're doing lithium but it makes sense you know what we're doing everything like it that's easy right like it's like gel for example ciara yachts might be naming nice boats they put gel in their boats makes complete sense they're building the boat from scratch everything is size they've got external regulators the battery chargers are sized perfectly and when we work on Tierra we change gel for gel why it's great battery but it was done with a holistic view a systems view right so with lithium you're not just buying a battery you got to think about the whole system so we do about a dozen of those a year yes your battery bank or a buying a battery yeah a battery monitor is the way yeah the monitor and we'll talk about that later a battery monitor is sort of a counter it tells you what your daily consumption is or the other thing is you leverage other people's experience right so you know like on your boat I can when we did your boat with Firefly I got a sense just by seeing the boat experience helps it's like golf like if you've played a lot of golf you'll probably hit the green you know what you're doing on the approach I on the other hand playing golf would I mean I don't know if I'd hit the ball right so so it's all about experience does pay if you have none and you have no idea what it is and this is the first time if you have a battery monitor then it's empirical it's not a question and sometimes with boaters that don't believe me I'm like okay no problem let's go this because I'm as an engineer I'm like I'm not gonna force you to make a decision why don't you come to the conclusion that your battery bank is too small let's start with a battery monitor let's just measure what you use every day and let's just see if you have what you need easy first step they come in and like let's do this early in the season so that we can change your battery back before the season starts and sure enough I did one boat this summer another big searay about the size of yours 55 60 footer and on that boat the owner didn't want to go right away with changing batteries it was let's just use what we have let's see the ping sure enough went out for a couple weekends yeah the pain is there now I need to spend money and if you need to spend money it's always painful but it's less painful than if you think you don't need to spend the money and so battery monitor is an essential way to take the guesswork out of knowing what you use and knowing when to start charging and discharging your batteries so battery monitor is the empirical way to do it yes go ahead yeah no problem it's pretty easy I mean you know there's no end in perfection right like that's why I love this field there's no end but at one point you got a ideally ideally you'd want to have a perfect charger that you can set the set points and that's in an ideal scenario and sure it is better but not everyone has that benefit right of being able to dial in the charge per profile for every battery if you have a charger that has an AGM charge profile Firefly batteries want 14 for 4 bulk at 12 volts and they want 13 v 13 for 4 float which is a pretty common setting so you know in an ideal that's what you would dial in like if I can go in and with a laptop or put the dip switches that's what you want in an ideal world not everyone has the luxury of having everything perfect yes go ahead regulator yeah so the question should repeat the questions I've been told in this room so the question is if I've got it if I'm gonna switch to Firefly right and I have an alternator that has an internal regulator will that alternator with an interval regulator overcharge my batteries and that's the brilliant thing about AGM is if any AGM wants something and wants a little bit more than what the alternator can do meaning you'll never overcharge an AGM battery you might under charge it a little bit with your alternator but your alternators rarely ever gonna bring a battery back 100% because you're not using your alternator 12 hours a day 24 hours a day and that's not really the device that brings your battery back to complete 100 percent so the in short again because there's a difference between what is ideal and what is realistic you can easily retrofit an AGM battery Firefly or not on a boat that has an internal regulator and you'll be fine right it's all about compromises realistic compromises and so yeah an internal regulator will do fine with an AGM battery yes that's right absolutely it's a really good question the question is lithium is so thirsty for capacity for charge rate that it's never it goes from literally empty let's say 20% to full at full rate it doesn't even almost do absorption it goes full throttle and then suddenly it's like eating a buffet but then your first bite is like your last fight you're like ciaochao ciaochao and then something goes stop at least the lead acid battery an AGM Firefly has an absorption so it's only going to do that in bulk and you're right we often and that is something for sure it's it's it but again it's about compromises in an ideal world you would have an external regulator on an alternator and we'll talk about that later and you would dial it in and you might put a feel vote like so for example I just did another boat I think it's a 50 foot Catalina we're doing that next week we put a high output alternator we're gonna talk about and a external regulator but we're not gonna use the alternator at full capacity when I was a kid I never understood like why does my mom's Honda Accord have 180 kilometers an hour I'm never gonna drive that speed it's a you don't want your alternator to be redlined meaning you don't want generally your alternator that works so hard on the top end of the range right you want to dial it back so if you have a hundred amp alternator you want it to work maybe at 60 amps 70 amps so there are ways to dial it back now if you have an internal regulator your internal regular is gonna do that on your alternator anyways if you have an external regulator you might over work the batteries if you're not careful if you have AGM but very few of us have external regulars and we'll talk about that later any other questions before we take a little 5-10 minute break all right excellent alright see you in about five minutes you
Boating Tech Talk
How To: Marine Electrical Seminar
How To: Marine Electrical Seminar