Just about the most common suggestion to improve the Adventure 40 that we receive is to fit some kind of electric or hybrid diesel/electric drive. And, I myself, up to a few years ago, thought that diesel electric would become a viable alternative for voyaging sailboats that would solve the age old problem of matching [...]
There’s nothing like a good long voyage to sort out a boat, for better or for worse. That much I learned running a working charter boat for so many years. Every season we’d cover around 8000 hard miles between the English Channel and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. On our return to Falmouth at the [...]
So far we’ve looked at how to deliver supplementary power when at rest, a difficult enough challenge with today’s complicated boats, but one which pales into insignificance when underway 24 hours a day, when many other ‘hungry’ devices are factored in – the autopilot, navigation lights, instruments, etc.
There are very few cruising boats that we see these days that don’t have a solar panel fitted somewhere, and many have some pretty substantial arrays. Our experience over the last five years has been largely positive, and we’re convinced that solar has played a valuable part in our supplementary power installation, wherever we have [...]
Let’s face it, there is never enough time to keep a boat that is actively out there voyaging in perfect condition: to do all the routine maintenance; to repair what’s broken; to replace what’s too old to be trusted. Or at least, there is never enough time if we actually want to see the places [...]
In recent years, with more people going ‘off-grid’ in yachts, RV’s and remote cabins, micro wind generation has come a long way, largely through the adoption of new materials and technologies such as neodymium permanent magnets. Some of the latest generation of wind turbines can produce really acceptable amounts of output around the clock in [...]
People have some strange misconceptions about what you mean when you say that you live on a boat. They seem to either think that you live on baked beans in a floating cave, devoid of light and comfort, or they imagine a miniature cruise liner, with lights ablaze and lobster and chilled champagne on tap. [...]
Question: Do people always use double pole breakers on a floating DC 24 volt system, on the branch circuits? If so why? I understand they are now two ungrounded conductors, but the return path to the batteries is the same. This is for a steel boat.
A year and a half ago we installed a new house-bank on Morgan’s Cloud, and embarked on a field test of AGM batteries and the care regime that Justin Godber at LifeLine Batteries helped us develop. We now have some solid results.
Question: Due to space considerations I want to use two 105 amp hour and two 150 amp hour batteries as a house battery bank. Would this arrangement be detrimental to the smaller batteries?
Eight months ago we replaced our house battery bank for the third time in four years. Concurrently we started a project to improve the life of those batteries—like anyone would after going through the kind of coin we have replacing batteries! A month ago we reported that our new batteries—generously provided for free by voyage [...]
Six months ago, we started a test of AGM batteries from LifeLine to see if, by implementing recommendations from that manufacturer, we could solve the problem of short life that we, and many other live aboard voyagers, have experienced with AGM, and in fact all, lead acid batteries. It’s still early days. But on the [...]
As we have discussed in previous posts in this series, fully charging your batteries after each discharge on a live-aboard cruising sailboat is simply not practical. Instead, most of us will cycle our batteries between 50 and 80% of their capacity. The bad news is that this will, as we on Morgan’s Cloud have found [...]
So far in this series we have been writing about charging batteries using AC chargers powered from shore-power or a generator. But on a cruising sailboat the batteries will likely be charged far more often by an alternator on the main engine, particularly if the boat does not have a generator.
As I wrote in the first post in this series on the care and feeding of batteries, and particularly AGM batteries, on voyaging live-aboard sailboats, charging them properly is complicated by the fact that some, perhaps most, battery chargers are, despite the claims made for them, not capable of charging any battery properly. Or at [...]
In part one and two of this series on the care and feeding of batteries on a live-aboard voyaging boat, we talked about what batteries need for a long life. In the next few posts we will move on to how to actually get those battery needs met. We now have a fair, but certainly [...]
In the last post we wrote about the very poor service life that we have been getting from AGM batteries on Morgan’s Cloud—typically just a year or so. Justin Gobar at Lifeline, who provided us with new batteries, is advising us on how to care for them. Put broadly, there are four ways that will [...]
About eight years ago, we switched to Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries on Morgan’s Cloud, to get the following benefits over traditional liquid filled lead acid batteries:
Readers of my previous post on the subject will be aware that we try to generate as much power as possible via renewable resources – wind and solar. This is driven by a desire to keep the boat as simple as possible, and to avoid the need to run our engine at rest for charging [...]
All of the yachts I have sailed over the last 20 years have been simple boats with fairly minimal electrical equipment. Not one of them (even up to 80ft) had an autopilot—sail training vessels often don’t, as they are set up to be sailed “handraulically” as we say over here.