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


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 13 of 17

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, [...]


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.

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