The last few weeks have been spent finishing some projects on the boat and repairing the damage caused by an invasion of racoons.

We completed installation of the new charging system with the installation of new starting batteries (lifeline AGM class 27 batteries).  This required replacing the terminal connections on the battery cables, which required that they be removed, modified, and reinstalled.  Another 2 hr job that took two 12 hour days to accomplish.

The charging system has now been completely replaced.  To review, this whole project was initiated when I discovered two facts 1) That in spite of having two 80A alternators on the boat, the charging system would not keep up with typical power usage while underway; and 2) That the on-board shore-based battery charger would not keep up with power usage of the boat when plugged into the dock.  In other words, any time someone is on the boat, the house battery bank was being drained.  Once the battery bank was drained beyond a certain point, all navigational equipment was non-functional.  This resulted in a need to come back into the gate in heavy fog conditions with no radar — something me and my crew did not enjoy in the least.

The project started with replacement of the house battery, a single class 31 battery, with an 8D battery.  I chose the Lifeline AGM 8D battery.  Phase 2 was installation of a battery monitor.  The battery monitor involved installation of a shunt on the ground line of the house battery and a meter at the helm that monitors current flow in and out of the house battery.  This step indicated the problems with the charging system.  In Phase 3, we installed an alternator combiner.  We chose a Stirling Power combiner that inputs the current from both alternators and distributes it, as needed, across 4 battery banks (two starting banks and two house banks).  Because of the possibility of having 160 A max of current from the alternators, we installed 1 guage wire between the combiner and the two house batteries and the house battery outputs to the single house battery.  Phase 4 involved installation of a new battery charger, one capable of feeding three battery banks with 60A of current.  The final stage, just finished, was replacement of the starting batteries with AGM batteries so that the battery chemistry was consistent throughout.  Now there is no problem with handling the power needs of the boat.

The racoon invasion resulted in them walking on my instruments at the helm and turning my windshield wipers on.  They burned out both windshield wiper motors, which needed replacement.


Guess I’ll run the boat awhile before I tackle another project (secondary bilge system?  diesel furnace? more rod holders?  there is no end of projects!)

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