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  1. I have been working on a series of four articles on Batteries and Battery monitors based on my experience researching them and fitting one on Floydtilla.co.uk They are now complete and can be read in the correct order at:- Part 1 – Battery Monitors Why I wanted one https://floydtilla.co.uk/2022/03/01/batteries-and-battery-monitors-part-1-why-we-needed-one/ Part 2 – Battery Selection https://floydtilla.co.uk/2022/03/07/batteries-and-battery-monitors-part-2-battery-selection/ Part 3 – State of Charge and Lead Acid Batteries https://floydtilla.co.uk/2022/03/14/batteries-and-battery-monitors-part-3-the-state-of-charge-soc-calculation/ Part 4 – Shunts and Monitors https://floydtilla.co.uk/2022/03/21/batteries-and-battery-monitors-part-4-battery-monitor-the-shunt/ I hope you find this useful Thanks David
  2. Hi! I have two 12V 230Ah domestic batteries with two large big solar panels, a beta marine 43 that seems to charge the battery well (I’m pretty sure it’s not an alternator problem). The issue is that my batteries seem to drain SO quickly. Just charging phones the level sits around 12.9ish but I can put my lights on (LED) for literally 3 minutes and my voltage will go from 12.9 to 12.2. I don’t have an inverter, I use a plug in 12v inverter to charge my laptop and I cant use that at all without the engine on. I turned my 12v fridge off at the end of summer as the days got shorter but as the suns put more the battery health seems worse than ever! The batteries are 6 years old but maybe they’re just old but I’m not sure. Any comments would be incredibly appreciated! And any advice on maintaining battery health ❤️
  3. Came back to the boat yesterday in the hope that we could get out for a short trip. We've never left the boat this long without running the engine before. Starter battery was new in March last year. While we've been in the marina the domestic batteries have been kept on charge, unfortunately not the starter. Result: domestic 13.3V (will drop when I disconnect), starter 11.7V. Starter turns the engine over but doesn't have enough oomph to start it. Is it a good idea to use a jump lead from the domestic bank to the starter? What are the possible problems with this approach? In particular is there a danger of causing damage to either alternator when the jump lead is disconnected?
  4. Hi all, next thing to go wrong on my boat... My battery charger seems to have overheated and melted itself! After about 15min of charging this morning my breakers tripped and upon investigation I found brown bakelite smelling goo coming from the unit (top of image) You can see it's dripped down onto the sockets. Not great! I'm guessing either something has stopped the fans or the temperature control in the unit has died. Either way, I am reluctant to turn it back on and my it potentially worse, so no battery charging for me. Anyone have any advice? Is this beyond repair? Cheers!
  5. Has anybody experienced this problem before? Let me know if you need any more information. I am no electrician, so might have used the wrong terminology here and there, do forgive me! We live on a 60ft 2009 narrowboat in a marina, always connected to shoreline when moored. Problem: 230V power will suddenly cut out when connected to shoreline, regardless of time of day/temperature outside/what is running When power has gone off, lights (indicating battery on float charge/fast charge/inverter on) on inverter (Sterling Pro Combi S) not displaying Power can be turned back on by switching from shoreline power to inverter, which comes on, then switching back to shoreline - BUT has also switched itself back on When shoreline power is back on, inverter shows battery is on fast charge - takes approx. 1 hour to reach float/trickle charge Last occurrence: 21:30 Tuesday: 230V power turned off, 12V remained on. Nothing special turned on using 230V apart from usual fridge/freezer etc. Reading on DC Distribution: 12.7 and -07 Didn't check inverter panel Switched to inverter - working, and back to shoreline - working again Checked inverter panel - battery on fast charge (Switched between BATT 1/BATT 2 on DC Distribution. BATT 2 (starter battery) not showing on panel - discovered that was because isolator had been switched on. Switched off isolator and starter battery working as normal, engine started. Probably not related, but noting here just in case.) 22:30 Tuesday: battery on float charge 07:00 Wednesday: battery still on float charge Later on: Switched engine on, unplugged from shoreline, switched inverter on - working 08:50: Plugged back into shoreline while engine still running - no 230V power, 12V still working. Inverter panel lights not showing 09:00: 230V turns itself back on, engine still running, inverter panel - battery on fast charge 10:00: inverter panel - battery back on float/trickle charge Might also be relevant: When connected to shoreline, inverter won't switch on. Will only switch on when disconnected from shoreline - so when we are able to switch the inverter on when the 230V power goes off, does this mean that the inverter isn't registering that it is connected to the shoreline? Is one battery on its last legs/dead and causing the whole thing to cut out/drain so suddenly? I have pics of 230V/12V circuit I can attach if needed. Could there be a problem with an isolation switch for the domestic batteries, hence why 230V still off when engine running/connected to shoreline? Batteries last changed 3-4 years ago. Why did the power cut out while the engine was running, and the battery was on fast charge when it came back on? Why does whole inverter system go off when power cuts out?
  6. Hi all, we’ve recently installed 4 new leisure batteries on our narrow boat. All connections are fine and all batteries, including starter battery, are reading over 12v with a multimeter, as well as on our panel in the boat. After putting isolators back on engine started fine. We let it run for 10 mins then turned it off. When we went to start her again, the engine turned over and sounded like it was trying to start but then gave up. The battery light circled in the picture attached stayed on. Diesel level is fine and we haven’t touched anything else. Any ideas greatly appreciated ?
  7. Hi All Just a quick one as lots of conflicting information out there. Am revisiting my Solar MPPT regulator in the belief the Absorption and Float voltage settings are incorrect, I have maint free lead acids Numax XV31MF. My question is what should the Absorption and Float Charging voltages be. Absorption Volt Charging = 14.6v ?? Float Volt Charging = 13.5v ?? Thank you for reading Andy
  8. Hi, Just wondering, where do people keep their battery banks on the boat? Mine are in the engine bay and I've noticed they lose their charge a lot quicker now it's cold. Does anyone keep them in the living area to keep them at a more stable temp. How does this work with the BSS regs? George
  9. Hi everyone, ive had my narrowboat for about four months and have been happily living off the leisure batteries. However I now have the opportunity to access shorepower and would like to have access to a few luxuries from time to time (like tv, or the ability to charge my laptop onboard). I have no idea what to do though. My boat has no power sockets whatsoever. As far as I know the only things that run off 12v are the lights and water pumps (shower, oven, fridge etc works off gas). there is no external socket for shorepower. I assume that in order to access shorepower I need quite a bit of work done on the boat. Can anyone explain - slowly - what I need to do? Many thanks for reading.
  10. Hi all, Firstly, a quick shout out to everyone in this forum for all their help and advice to date. This really is a great community! I hope I will be able to pay it back with my own advice in the future when I become a little bit more clued up! I wasn't sure whether to post this in the boat building and maintenance, but considering I'm still a boat baby I thought it best to start here ? 1) I sprung a leak from a jubilee clip on my inlet into my engine radiator today, nothing major and crisis averted thankfully. The experience made me realise how important it is to have a socket set on board. What are people's view on drive size? 3/8, 1/4 or 1/2 inch? 2) Regarding keeping my acid lead batteries happy over the winter. Someone I met mentioned it's prudent to insulate the battery bank with rubber. Is this good advice? 3) I need to install a mains battery charger for when I moor up in a marina for the winter. Any recommendations? Thanks ya'll George x
  11. Hi, I have a charging issue it seems. I have just bought 4 new leisures at £600.00 and had them proffesionally fitted. But they are down to 11.5 v . The weird thing is the engine battery is getting fully charged. I have not used the inverter as that's how I killed the last lot. Only had the new ones on 3 days and I have been very careful. My system is 24v so they are linked - to + in the bank. The alternator is quite new and it's pushing out 17v. Not sure if that's right. The control panel says my batts are at 100% but that's obviously incorrect. And on another setting my amp hours said 280 but every second it dropped 2 hours until eventually saying zero hours left. I have a split charge relay and it reads the same as the alternator in motion. I'm just getting fed up now trying to sort this out as it's ruining my time on the boat. There's more info I want to add but I can't remember atm. So guys what dya think? Alternator, fuse, spilt relay or control panel.? Oh yeah when the last lot of batteries died my voltmeter shot up into the red zone as I reved the engine. Thank's.
  12. Hello, apologies if this question has already been asked, I've had a good trawl through the pages already though.. Basically, I need to know, what is the proper use of the leisure battery isolator switch? I'm on shore power currently. Thanks!
  13. Having been through the pain of trying to understand my battery requirements as an off grid CC'er I thought I'd share my currwnt thoughts. Battery life is adversely affected when there is no means to trickle charge them up to near 100% capacity after each cycle. Solar panels do help (mainly in the summer) but I doubt the batteries will ever get close to 100% if the batteries are used on a daily basis. Those who have access to a shore line each night are in a much better position to keep their batteries healthy for a long time as they can be trickle charged for long periods at low cost. Diesel and petrol is very expensive way to trickle charge and you can't easily do it overnight. Find out what your daily power requirements are in amps. Someone here suggested I buy a clamp meter to measure the demand from the battery. It was very helpful in helping me check my estimated useage and voltage drops. Try to find ways of reducing your battery demand. The whole exercise has resulted in us changing to LED lights and getting a 12v TV which runs on only 1.5 amps. We also have a gas fridge which reduces our electricity consumption by a lot but obviously costs more in gas! Our consumption is now around 15-20 amps per evening. Once the power requirements are understood, choose the best battery to suit your needs. My current thoughts on this are that domestic batteries are more expensive than starter batteries and take longer to trickle charge them up to near 100% so are more likely to degrade quicker. We are experimenting with a single 12v , 75 ah silver/calcium starter battery. Cost just under £100. So far it has met all our needs. It never drops below 12.3v (70% capacity) after an evenings use and charges back up to 13.0v (measured after 2 hours settling time) with 2-3 hours engine running per day. It also seems to handle heavier loads like pumps with less voltage drop. I understand that starter batteries like to work between 70-100% capacity unlike deep cycle domestic batteries which are happier down to 50%. So I guess it's important to make sure they don't drop below this As I say, it's all a bit of an experiment at the moment and it's early days. Even if this single 12v battery cops out after 2 years. It cheaper to buy another one than 4 new domestics (which is where I started from!).
  14. Those of you who followed my epic "new batteries - problem" thread, might remember that I mentioned a company I found called Aceleron. They are all about re-purposing lithium batteries https://www.aceleronltd.com/ I wrote to them some time ago, to express an interest and inquire regarding suitable batteries for us boaters. I have received an email from them saying that they have a production run of 12v leisure batteries scheduled for March, and would like to talk with me regarding getting them out to boaters. I expect to have a chat with them next week to find out more - actually they are in Hayes (London) and by coincidence that is where I am right now so a phone conversation could well turn into a meeting if I have time. Your thoughts please, and any questions, also any potential takers/test pilots? I know many of you are concerned about safety as well as real world performance. They were talking about pricing them at standard leisure battery price, but I will find out more of course. The future awaits.
  15. Hello Any advice or tips on the following energy problem would be much appreciated! We recently bought a dutch barge that we've just cruised down to it's new mooring. On the way down the the inverter only worked occasionally, most of the time the 'low battery' light was on. It has a 'Victron Energy phoenix multi plus' inverter with a 'Victron multi control' panel. I assumed the batteries were spent, but we'd be fine once hooked up to shoreline (32 Amp) And we were...for a few days. All was well but we no longer have any power - the inverter is once again just showing 'low battery' So....does shoreline bypass the batteries making it irrelevant if they are in good condition or not? (making it a problem with the inverter?) And should we still have the inverter on when using shoreline? (The switch options are 'on' 'off' and 'charger only') Thanks for your help, sorry if it's obvious!
  16. Hi there, I’m wondering if someone can help me. I’ve just installed 2 solar panels (in series) and they don’t seem to be charging my batteries. 2 x 320w panels (mono crystalline) 1 x 60A outback MPPT charge controller 4 x 6v Trojan t-125 240AH batteries in series and parralell connection giving 480AH in total. Ive checked all the connections. Seems fine. Battery monitor is saying the voltage from the charger is what the batteries are at. However the perctage on the monitor has stayed the same. Can someone please help?! I thought I’d have full batteries everyday with 640W of solar but so far nothing! Hope thats enough info, thanks in advance!
  17. Timx


    Spurred on from another thread, I have 3x 230 ah batteries, my bmv tells me they are 100pc when the tale current is about 25, so I ignore that and keep charging when running the engine to under 1pc , it gets to about 5 something, i do this weekly whilst running the engine, easy at the moment through summer. Even then I spoil myself and plod into a marine to give it a good charge every couple of weeks.or a pub with eleccy hook.in winter I visit a marina more often just for a night, or if forced to by a freeze coming, but basically the same thing, give the batts a good charge. So everything is fine, (I only know what I know from reading on here) i have two solar panels , think there 100 w when I leave the marina etc and bmv is reading around 0 amps, as soon as I put it on inverter it jumps to , tail current 4v. When it's a sunny day and I haven't ran the engine, it can show being 100pc when, if I start the engine the tail current would show about 70,amps, that's against running the engine till it gets to 100 pc then it's 25a, why is there a discrepancy between the two figures? i do charge to as far as I can , regularly and have no prob with batteries, I probably protect them too much, but why do I get two different readings as 100 pc, both wrong I know, just wondering.?
  18. So lesuire batteries How do you guys test them. I have four 110ah leisure batteries on a 200watt solar mppt setup. currently waking up to dead batteries in the morning's around 10v DC out ! Only thing running in the night hours is the fridge about 3Amps when it is on . Drop test says batteries are fine .... Yes I did take them out for a good few hours after full charge cycle ! Don't want to buy new batteries if don't need to.... But wondering if maybe drop test not the right test ? Help !!!! Thank you for reading Andy
  19. Hi there, I wonder if anyone could help me figure this out, it's to do with the voltmeter on my dash board. With the engine off, it looks like this: When I turn the key to warm the glow plugs, it looks like this (starter battery is dead): When the engine has just turned on (here in neutral, the dial goes up with more revs) But soon thereafter it goes like this and stays there: This despite my multi meter giving a reading of around 14.4v. Any ideas? Thanks in advance
  20. I'm trying to install new batteries. My old batteries only ever put out 11volt i tried yesterday but stoped. Please see my diagrams to help me know where to bolt the ? Wires to the new batteries. (Not accurate diagram drawn from memory) Sorry if this is a stupid question but I'd prefer ask them to do something really stupid
  21. Apart from MPPT controllers, are there any chargers or combis which have the option to do an equalising charge? Trojan recommends 16.2V until SG stops rising. I have bought a bench DC Power Supply to 'do' mine as existing, Sterling, charger does not need replacing.
  22. I finally got around to wiring up my Smart Gauge today. I've been using a cheapo lcd panel meter (for volts) just tapped in to the 12v wiring in the cabin, and it's been a good indicator of what's going on. But for the Smart Gauge I have run the proper wires in the proper way, straight to the batteries (via the supplied fuses) and all wiring nicely covered in black flexible conduit I was trying to work out which kind of batteries I actually have - as the Smart Gauge needs to know. Turns out they seem to be Vetus SMF 105ah, and I think I found them on the Vetus website, but although mentioning that they are sealed for life, it doesn't actually specify which kind of technology they are. They do say Boost Voltage 13.9-14.8, Float Voltage 13.3-13.8 @ 20c. I've got six options... 1. Deep cycle, wet cell antimony lead acid. 2. Gel Cell lead acid (a type of VRLA) 3. AGM 4. Hybrid 5. Carbon fibre lead acid 6. Maintenance free (wet cells but no way to top up the electrolyte) lead acid. It also says that there are two kinds of AGM and one type os similar to type 1 above (wet cell with similar voltages bur held in a glass matt). I'm wondering if anyone can tell me the battery type to select? I'm thinking 6? I've attached some pics - my neat wiring :), Battery terminal showing build up of sulfate (what do you guys think about that!?) and what I think is a Vetus battery. Thanks
  23. Hello! I have a couple of engine questions! Everything I know about engines I've learned when something has gone awry with my engine over 5 years of boating. I must have been very lucky as I'm still quite ignorant. I nearly killed my starter battery by leaving the key in the IGN position when I turned off the engine yesterday. I only noticed because the dedicated solar charge controller for the starter was making a ticking noise. I jump started the engine and fortunately the battery is now OK. Which leads me on to my first questions: 1) Should there be a deafening beeping as soon as the key is in the IGN position and the engine's not running? If so, is it possible that something has come unplugged, or is there a missing component? 2) What is actually draining the battery when it's in this position? This is the second time this has happened, last time I wasn't so lucky and the starter battery was shot. Luckily though, I had a semi-dead leisure battery that I managed to bring back to life. It now always reads 13V. This first instance happened only a few weeks into owning this boat, so for the most part I've been using said leisure battery as a starter. The engine always struggles to turn on - I warm the plugs for a good 20 seconds, try to start her in neutral with the clutch, then try giving some revs, then engage the engine, give it some revs, then it gets going - maybe none of this helps, it just needs a lot of encouraging. 3) If my engine struggles to turn on, would it likely start better with a made-for-purpose starter battery? I also have an issue with the fuel line right at the tank - actually I just need to get the tank cleaned. This means that the engine won't run or start unless it's on high revs (no RPM gauge so can't say exact how high) and cuts out in neutral/low revs even when warm. Is this more likely the culprit? (I still had the same issue before this problem developed). I'll be very grateful for your input before I roll up my sleeves and get oily/diesely.
  24. So.. for the last few days our engine has been kicking out white fumes from the exhaust and seeming much noisier from it too. So thinking it could be water in the fuel I drained both fuel filters and continued on our way. The smoke returned 15mins into cruising and even spat out a little black when going astern into the locks. So We gave her a rest. By the morning our starter battery didn't have enough charge to turn over the engine and we had to charge it from our genny. Even tho we have the starter isolated all the time when not running? The battery isolator is new from amazon? But we remove the key so surely that cannot drain it? today we charged the starter off the genny and eventually got her started. She blew white smoke for the hour and a half cruise to bedwyn and we stopped. We decided we could try checking the valve clearances, not easy as we couldn't find the tdc for each valve. But then after only 2 hours moored the engine again wouldn't tick over! And each time the key turned in the ignition you could watch the battery voltage dropping on the starter and even on the leisure battery readers. we are baffled! I am guessing they are two separate issues, the smoke and the batteries draining. But it feels so coincidental to all happen at once. any advice or ideas would be great. Or anyone near bedwyn on the k&a willing to help would be great too!
  25. I am planning to move my 4 x 110Ahr leisure batteries to a new position where there is only room for three. So the idea is to fit 3 x 130Ahr batteries instead. Slightly less total power available, but possibly slightly better SOC may be maintained. I can find quite a bit of info on connecting banks of 2 or 4 or 6 etc, but nothing on 3 x batteries. I would appreciate the battery gurus' advice on how best to arrange the batteries' interconnections. If it is relevant I am a leisure boater and the boat is often left for several weeks unattended. Thanks in advance.
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