Electrical

Living In A 12-Volt World

Living off grid means wind and solar.

After voyaging and living aboard their Ovni 435 for 7 years, Colin gives us an update on what electrical kit has worked and what has died, as well as a look at newly available gear he and Louise have installed or are considering.

Online Book: Watertight Integrity, Chapter 5 of 8

An Electric Bilge Pump For The Ages

500725_l

In the last chapter in this Online Book, in reaction to a members's tale of frustration, I recommended a bilge pump switch. But what about the bilge pump itself? When we bought Morgan's Cloud she had a Jabsco 36600 bilge pump that was installed when she was built 27 years ago. And we still have [...]

Thunderstorm Lightning Over Thea Foss Waterway Boats Tacoma Wash

Lightning strike! Just the words can make us cruising sailors, who sail around the ocean with the highest thing in hundreds of square miles sticking up, nervous.

This post by Matt, AAC Engineering Correspondent, will help you understand how lighting strikes happen and what you can do to reduce the associated risks.

Online Book: Battery Installation & Maintenance, Chapter 11 of 12

Lithium Ion Batteries

The lithium polymer battery pack of an ISF 5000 class solar car I worked on in undergrad. This suitcase-sized 35 kilogram pack, with a usable capacity of 5 kWh, is equal to four 8D lead-acids weighing nearly 300 kg.

There's a good chance that you are currently sharing the room with a half-dozen or more lithium ion batteries. The computer in front of you has one, your camera has one, your phone has one, the R/C car your kid is racing around your ankles has one. Lithium battery technology is almost everywhere. And, soon, [...]

Arbatax-P1010831.jpg

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 [...]

JHH5_102204-Edit.jpg

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.

Online Book: How To Buy an Offshore Boat, Chapter 11 of 21

Electric or Diesel-Electric Drives for Voyaging Boats

iStock_000023599613Small.jpg

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 chapter 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.

Online Book: Alternative Energy For Voyaging, Chapter 4 of 5

Hydro Power

Watt and Sea  120 IMG_1652

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 [...]

Online Book: Alternative Energy For Voyaging, Chapter 3 of 5

Solar Power

Solar array  119 IMG_1727

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 [...]

JHH5II-19481.jpg

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 [...]

1 2 3