Electrical

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Living In A 12-Volt World

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.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Q&A: Why Double Pole Breakers?

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 [...]

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 [...]

Six months ago, we started a test of AGM batteries from LifeLine to see if, by implementing recommendations from that manufacturer, we could solve the problem of short life that we, and many other live aboard voyagers, have experienced with AGM, and in fact all, lead acid batteries. It’s still early days. But on the [...]

Peace At Last?

Readers of my previous post on the subject will be aware that we try to generate as much power as possible via renewable resources – wind and solar. This is driven by a desire to keep the boat as simple as possible, and to avoid the need to run our engine at rest for charging [...]

Alpenglow Lights

Before spending the winter in Arctic Norway, knowing we would be spending a lot of time below on the boat during the winter darktime, we replaced our old dim, inefficient overhead lights with Alpenglow fluorescents. What a difference! They give off a warm natural light and are beautifully designed and built. Not cheap but worth [...]

Lifeline Batteries

We purchased two Lifeline batteries in 2001. After only two years, one of the batteries failed. We contacted Lifeline, told them our charging and use patterns, and they sent us two new batteries at no cost to us—they even paid the shipping—and with no arguments. That's standing behind your product! Update, August 2010: AGM batteries [...]