One Simple Law That Makes Electrical Systems Easy to Understand

Main 12 volt bus wiring on "Morgan's Cloud".
12 volt main bus wiring on "Morgan's Cloud".

Yea, I know, you don’t have time for a lot of theory BS. I get that, we are all busy. But I can absolutely guarantee that you will have better results and happier cruising if you break a half hour or so free for this, and the next two chapters.

Can't I just pay someone else to get my cruising boat electrical system up to cruising standard, you ask? I wish, but, sadly, it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant many, perhaps most, technicians around boatyards are about how electricity works. Yes, even those who have worked on boat electrical systems for years.

And the ignorance of said technicians pales into insignificance when compared to the pure unadulterated rubbish spouted by many people who sell marine electrical equipment.

And don't even get me started on the level of BS that flies on the forums when things like batteries and charging are discussed—you could drown in the stuff.

The point being that we boat owners can waste a boatload of money and still end up with an inefficient, unreliable electrical system if we don't have this basic knowledge.

The good news is that if we understand just a little bit of electrical theory we will immediately be able to detect the rich aroma of marine electrical BS before any harm is done. And the even better news is that this stuff is not that hard to grasp.

Let's do it.

  1. One Simple Law That Makes Electrical Systems Easy to Understand
  2. How Batteries Charge (Multiple Charging Sources Too)
  3. How Hard Can We Charge Our Lead Acid Batteries?
  4. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 1—Loads and Conservation
  5. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 2—Thinking About Systems
  6. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 3—Specifying Optimal Battery Bank Size
  7. The Danger of Voltage Drops From High Current (Amp) Loads
  8. How Lead Acid Batteries Get Wrecked and What To Do About It
  9. 11 Steps To Better Lead Acid Battery Life
  10. 10 Tips To Install An Alternator
  11. Stupid Alternator Regulators Get Smarter…Finally
  12. WakeSpeed WS500—Best Alternator Regulator for Lead Acid¹ and Lithium Batteries
  13. Smart Chargers Are Not That Smart
  14. Equalizing Batteries, The Reality
  15. Battery Monitors, Part 1—Which Type Is Right For You?
  16. Battery Monitors, Part 2—Recommended Unit
  17. Battery Monitors, Part 3—Calibration and Use
  18. Do You Need A Generator?
  19. Efficient Generator-Based Electrical Systems For Yachts
  20. Battery Bank Size and Generator Run Time, A Case Study
  21. Battery Options, Part 1—Lithium
  22. Battery Options, Part 2—Lead Acid
  23. Why Lithium Battery Load Dumps Matter
  24. 8 Tips To Prevent Lithium Battery Load Dumps
  25. Lithium Ion Batteries Explained
  26. Should Your Boat’s DC Electrical System Be 12 or 24 Volt?—Part 1
  27. Should Your Boat’s DC Electrical System Be 12 or 24 Volt?—Part 2
  28. Q&A—Are Battery Desulphators a Good Idea?
  29. Renewable Power
  30. Wind Generators
  31. Solar Power
  32. Hydro Power
  33. Watt & Sea Hydro Generator Review
  34. A Simple, Efficient and Inexpensive¹ 12 or 24 Volt DC Electrical System
  35. 8 Checks To Stop Our DC Electrical System From Burning Our Boat

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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