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  1. i have 3x 110Ahr new domestic batteries and a smaller starter battery. i have a 295 W solar panel with a 20 A MPPT charge Controller that has a feature to turn on a load for an hour before sunrise or an hour after sunrise, (probably for lights). i lay the boat up for winter with all batteries fully charged; and the solar keeps the domestic batteries well topped up through out. but last spring the starter battery was down to 11.1V. so I'm thinking of using the load timer to top up the starter battery for an hour daily after sunset when the voltage will probably be around 12.5 V, I'll include a 10A fuse with 4m of 16A cable. will this work? and will it cause any problems/damage? some years i have permanently connected the batteries together with no problem, but if there was i would then have all batteries flat!
  2. 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
  3. 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 ❤️
  4. 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?
  5. 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!
  6. 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?
  7. 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 ?
  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 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Hi there, We have recently been having problems with losing power on our batteries, so around 4 weeks ago, we have 4 new leisure batteries fitted. However the problem has continued. Our inverter has started beeping and the fridge is cutting off, so i think the batteries have lost power. -We had the batteries fitted by experts, so I think they were fitted properly. -We charge the batteries from the engine. And have been running the engine for at least an hour a day and sometimes up to 4 hours to attempt to recharge. -We have only been running lights, fridge, tv (sporadically) and water. No charging/laptops etc. -We only turn the inverter on when we need power from the sockets, which is around an hour a day. -We have been reassured that they were top quality batteries If anybody can help with advice as to why we are losing charge/not charging up, any advice would be appreciated, as we have no power at the moment. I am also worried that the £450 we spent on new batteries has gone to waste and that the batteries are now dead. Thanks
  14. Forgive me, I have searched and I cannot find the answer. We have three leisure batteries, we have a Victron inverter, which is used to charge laptops, phones (one a smartphone), the MiFi unit and a couple of lamps. Last night, we had my smartphone and OH laptop plugged in and the inverter started singing. So turned it off - it had been on for about four hours - this morning, when we turned the engine on, it started and the charge in the batteries was 13.5, so, is it the batteries not holding charge (the alarm going off due to.low power) or something wrong with the inverter? We do not have microwave or TV (from choice) and washing machine & vacuum cleaner I use when engine is running only. Just puzzled really & looking for some ABC answers
  15. Hello all, I've search the forums to the best of my abiities but I can't fing any answers... Here's my setup: Alternator goes to battery bank (2x110 leisure and 1 starter via relay) via a sterling 4-step alternator booster (the old fashioned yellow box type). The batteries are hardly getting a charge as they're receiving about 13v. The alternator is sending 16v and of course the high voltage trip light is lit up on the sterling unit. What I've done so far is replace the alternator regulator to no avail. What do you think the source of the probem is? I get a sense it's either the alternator or the wiring. I don't see how it could be the latter as the batteries have charged in the past at 14v (according to the dashboard). Since living on a boat for just over a year, this is the first time I'm had to work with the batteries,and the first time I've even touched the alterator. Here's what I could do: 1 - take the alternator out and get it tested/serviced at a garage and if it's dead get a new one. 2 - run some further tests based on the vast wisdom available here 3 - be told by you guys that I'm in over my head and should get a pro to come have a look (I won't be offended!) Thanks!
  16. BoatMON A comprehensive Monitoring & Control system for inland boaters I am looking for a few people who would be interested in trialling a system that I have been working on for the last two years. The genesis of the project was that I was new to boating at the time and was anxious that during the prolonged periods away from my expensive investment I could be confident that it i) hadn't sunk and ii) wasn't frozen up! As my background is in electronics and for the last 20 years IT it seemed reasonable to combine these skills; thus was born BoatMON. In it's original format it simply worked as a glorified frost protection system using the Webasto heating system to keep the cold out during the winter months and monitored whether or not I had shore power. However during the intervening period much has been added and what started off as a laptop and a large box of electrical ironmongery has reduced to a unit no bigger than a lunchbox. I know there is at least one other product out there (Boat Warden) that purports to do a similar job but to me it seems that this device is not really aimed at inland boaters and to be honest seems expensive. My aims are thus: Reliability Cost effectiveness (I am hoping to be about the £350 mark for the finished article) Flexibility, I am trying to build in as many features as people request. What can it currently do? Monitor 2 DC supplies up to 20v (Starter/Aux batteries) Monitor 2 AC/DC supplies up to 300v (Shoreline/Generator/Solar output - nice to graph this!) Can control diesel heating systems (tested on Webasto so far) via a clean relay contact, optionally can switch up to 2Kw of electrical heating.Heating setting is set by a scheduler, essentially a heating 'diary', start time is automatically offset to achieve desired temperature & time. Additional On/Off and Custom temperature override settings are available, however even when Off it will still frost protect. If required can also use diesel heating to control hot water if piped to do so.Multi-zone security system with most of the features that you would find on a modern alarm system, alarm time-out, auto rearm, zone omit etc.Bilge alarm - operates a local alarm as well as remote notification.Ability to remotely switch up to 4 x 240v/10A relays to operate something of your own choice. One thought I had for this was for an automatic generator start to recharge batteries.Virtual Fuel gauge and electricity credit meter The whole thing is driven from a web interface which can be accessed local through the WiFi network or remotely via an internet connection from anything that can browse the web, PC, smartphone, tablet .... If you don't already have an internet router I can supply one suitably configured with a 'Three' data sim. As well as presenting real-time data in the web interface it also stores data for one year and presents this data graphically again in a web browser. I have found it fascinating over the two years (yes I know I'm sad!) watching the trends not only of temperatures but battery voltages as they change with temperature and age, the latter can be a useful tool in diagnosing failing batteries. BoatMON can email or text you with messages which are prioretised as info/warning/critical so you can choose which to text & which to email SO! where do YOU fit in? I am initially looking for 2-3 people to trial this for me, during the trial you will obviously have direct support from myself, updates and fixes will be downloaded directly to your device and I will try to incorporate all reasonable requests for enhancements into the updates - so you get a chance to have your personal enhancements built in at no cost. I will unfortunately have to make a charge to cover the cost of the kit but I am offering a six month no questions money back guarantee if you are not happy, all I ask is that you have a reasonable attitude to bug fixing and product development and wait until the end of the six months before demanding a refund! I genuinely welcome all comments, pro and against. Remember that I am happy to customise where practicable. So... over to you!
  17. Hello everyone, I was hoping to start a discussion about power systems on a narrowboat. I've read both of Paul Smith's books about living aboard and the very informative Tim Davis articles about narrowboat electrics. What I don't know is what people down-on-the-ground actually *think* about different power strategies. At the moment we are trying to choose between two boats that we like and think are practical. We have lined up a remote semi-permanent mooring with no mains power (basically a friend-of-the-family is giving us a mooring at the bottom of his field) but for us, about 40% of the appeal of a boat is cruising, so we would like to do that as well. However, just "running the engine in the morning" doesn't really appeal to us (why not just move the boat? and also the farmer doesn't want too much of that) and isn't it true that you shouldn't do that with an older engine? So may I ask which boat the knowledgeable liveaboards living here would pick? (they are comparable in every other way.) I feel like Boat 1 is pretty appealing, but it doesn't have a generator. We've got some cash for buying new batteries - we just assume we'll need them - but man, those build-in generators sound freaking expensive! Boat 1 A Beta 43hp engine 240v landline (not very interested in this, but could be useful) Mastervolt 1200v inverter with a Sterling battery charger 3.5kva travel pack 300w solar panel with a control panel 1 starter and 3 leisure batteries Sterling battery management system Boat 2 ~60 year old Lister JP3 engine rebuilt 2002 (not sure if you should even run this just to power the batteries - isn't it bad with the older engines, or is that an old husband's tale?) 240v landline Waeco 2kw inverter, Sterling charger built-in Honda 2.2kw silent generator (PETROL) 1 starter and 2 leisure batteries Would y'all mind telling me which setup you prefer, or what you have on your boat?
  18. Hello all! This question must do the rounds, but i am in the market for new leisure batteries for our liveaboard narrowboat. we have two solar panels, but recently even after cruising we have a shortage of electricity in the evening. seems like they're just not holding their charge (i just got a multi-meter - will test them tomorrow). they are a little over 2 years old anyway. i am planning to fit three new ones - currently we have 2 x 110 ah lesiures but there is space for 3. i have been looking at the numax 110 ah for around 75 quid each, which apparently come off the same shelf as Lucas batteries. What about these traction batteries, although we only have a 55amp alternator. we are pretty careful with the electricity we use, but we have just bought an electric fridge (!) - a Shoreline RR102 (can't find amp/hour usage rates - anyone?). Can we realistically operate this fridge/freezer (along with lights, radio etc) with 3 leisure batteries, running the engine once or twice a day for an hour or two? If not do you have any suggestions? cheers!!
  19. Hi all Could I have some advice if poss on lamps from house shall i just get rid of them,are they too much of a drain on battery?Same applies to normal stereo before I sort out something thats 12v, should i take on the boat or give away?Thanks guys!!
  20. Hello, and it is customery to apologise for ones daftness in these situations, so uhh, sorry about that! But as the darkness and coldness approaches...I could do with some advice Here is the rub 1. Batteries no longer receive charge when engine runs. 2. Batteries do not hold charge adequately.(drops to 10v at night) About my set up. I have 3 80 watt solar panels and mppt controller I have 40 amp alternator I have sterling 4 step alternator regulator I have 2 little black boxes one of them has relay written on it The battery light no longer dims when engine runs Need to fix, spending as little money as pos. What do ya reckon? Cheers Martin
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. Hi All, I picked up my newly built boat in May. It has 4 leisure batteries (100amp hour according to the d of c though they are tricky to get at) and I fitted a Victron 3000 inverter/charger. Only ever used the engine for generating. These days, I'm running the engine for three hours a day and by the next morning the batteries are down to like 11.7 volts or less. The only thing on overnite (aside from the inverter) is the fridge which supposedly takes .52kw/h, and the microwave with its digital clock. I have two or three hours of laptop in the evening for tv etc, and an hour or two of music through a 240v amp which is turned off (not standby) when not in use. Microwave some times for 5-10 mins. The batteries didn't used to go this flat, I can't think what I might be doing differently to cause this? When I first had the boat I was cruising a lot more, though I'm not quite sure when this apparent discharge started. The fan belt squeaks for a minute when I start the engine but reads well over 14v when charging. A while after and they sit nice and high around 13v. Surely not knackered the batteries already???
  25. After 5.5 years it has come time to replace the batteries in our leisure bank. Because of miscellaneous access, placement and space factors ‘built into’ the boat by the original fit-out, our present leisure bank consists of two 170Ah and one 105Ah battery. They are all sealed wet batteries -- same type; same brand -- replaced new at the same time, but different sizes. I was going to simply replace all with the same again, thinking 5.5 years (CCing for most of that time; 200w solar topping up in season) doesn’t seem bad. BUT I have recently been advised that as the two 170Ah batteries will be ‘overworking’ or ‘pushing’ the single 105Ah battery, adding that single 105Ah battery wasn’t really adding much to the bank. At least not as much as I might think. I didn’t have a chance to clarify this at the time. Can anyone shed some light on mixing different sized batteries?
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