Members' Online Book: Electrical Systems For Cruising Boats, Chapter 18 of 28

Battery Replacement—Resisting The Seduction of Perfection


Time to bring this lot up to modern standards.

We recently replaced, and increased the capacity of, our house battery bank on Morgan's Cloud. To add to the fun and games, our venerable Link 2000 battery monitor had just bit the big one after 23 years of faithful service.

While we were at it, it seemed like a good time to go through our entire battery system and upgrade it to the latest ABYC standards. For example, 23 years ago when I last went through this exercise, I was considered an early innovator (and not a little anal retentive) for fusing the batteries. But our old fuses and their mounts did not meet present standards, so it seemed like I might as well fix that too.

And, while I suspect that our battery box and the lid that kept the batteries in place in the event of a knock down were more robust than most, I was never entirely happy with the set up, so we decided to rebuild the whole area, including adding some aluminum extrusions to distribute loads to the hull ribs (aluminum boat).

Wait, there was more. If we were going to upgrade our battery size, it only made sense to add a bigger charger so we could charge the new bank with our generator in the same time as the old bank and load the generator more as well.

And then what about renewables? Seemed like it might be time to look at adding some solar panels...but what kind? And which controller/regulator to go with them? (In many ways the latter decision is more important than the former.)

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Meet the Author


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 twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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