Matt, AAC Technical correspondent, takes a look at an intriguing new technology that holds a lot of promise for cruising boats. But before we all rush to wire our boats this way, there are some questions that the vendors need to answer.
Anything learned from battery use on a boat that is not really out there cruising is…well, not very useful. Cruising is different, and much harder on batteries than most other uses. And so much of what you read about sailboat battery life is theory based on…well, not a lot. So it was great to get [...]
On a cruising sailboat the batteries will likely be charged most often by an alternator on the main engine, particularly if the boat does not have a generator. And if you live aboard, the alternator that came with the engine is simply not going to cut it. In this chapter we share how to buy and install a real cruiser's alternator.
Developments in alternative energy systems are coming thick and fast these days, so Colin visited the Southampton Boat Show and has filed this report on the latest in fuel cells, solar panels, and hydro-generators.
Electric and diesel electric (hybrid) drives have become all the rage in recent years. But are they really a more efficient option for offshore cruising sailboats? In this post we take a solid and arithmetically rigorous approach, based on advice from two professional engineers with substantial experience of electric drive use on land, to cut through the hype and answer that question.
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. This was our stumbling block, as whilst [...]
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. Answer: No, unfortunately people don't always use double pole [...]
So, lots of theory in this Online Book. But does it really work? Yes, it does, and here's the proof.
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? Answer: My gut reaction is that mixing two sizes of batteries would be a bad idea. Having said that, I really can't [...]
We have written about battery charging in mind numbing detail in this Online Book. Now we will give you the summary, together with a couple of new tips not yet revealed.