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Hi all, We currently have 3 x 125ah leisure batteries powering the fridge, lighting (mostly LED) and water/waste pumps. The bank is charged by a single solar panel through an EPSolar MPPT charge controller. This was fine during the summer but with winter fast approaching we are finding that come the morning there isn't enough juice to power the pumps for a shower. We are mostly marina based so would like to add in a mains charger to top up the batteries once night falls. Electricity is metered so would only want to charge from shore power when necessary. Currently we achieve this by attaching a car battery charger using crocodile clips - it works but isn't a viable long term solution. The charger only has trickle or fast charge and is manually selected. I was also a little wary that I might be sending current to the solar panel instead of away from it, but it hasn't blown up yet So, my questions are: Is there such a device available that I can connect both the solar and a 240V charger to and it automatically selects which input to charge the batteries with, prioritising the solar? Maybe even with automatic health programming to allow the batteries to discharge periodically to keep them healthy? Failing that, if I just get a decent 240V charger that automatically switches charge mode, will there be any problems permanently connecting that directly to the batteries in addition to the solar, and just turn it on when required? Or should I connect them via, say, a rocker switch to manually change from solar charging or 240V charging? What fuses would be required? Can someone recommend a decent multistage 240V charger? I'm sure I'll think of something else as soon as I've posted this, but it will do for starters :-) Thanks in advance.
I have no technical expertise whatsoever, so please be gentle with me! I'm attaching pictures of this in case it helps. I am a newbie liveaboard narrowboater in a marina in Milton Keynes. It's a great boat but for some reason the previous owners loved their shore power, so although I have 12v lights and pumps, the fridge, tv etc are all 240v. Worse, I recently discovered that the Morso Squirrel stove back boiler also relies on 240v for it's pump. No 240v = no heating as I can't operate the stove without the pump running. For the last three months my Victron Phoenix Multiplus 12/3000/120 unit has been left switched to 'on' and happily showing 'Mains' and 'Float' lights on the left 'Charger' side of the front panel, and 'inverter' only away from the dock, as you'd expect. Yesterday, something tripped out the breaker on the power post my boat plugs into, and the breaker in the main shore power switch box (? - it's labelled 'Mains' and looks like a domestic fuse box, see attached.) I was not running anything on mains at the time. The 'mains' box has a green light labelled 'Mains On' up top, and inside the fuse panel, red and green Lights, and breakers labelled Power In, Power Out and Immersion heater. Labels inside the box say : 'Red on reverse polarity' and 'Green mains on'. My recollection from earlier days when everything was working fine was that the red light was usually on. I assume that flipping the breakers up is turning them on? As is the case for the power post I connect to. The Victron panel is split between Charger and Inverter sides. In normal operation, I leave the central switch to 'on', and the Charger side shows Mains On and Float. In this state, all the 240v sockets are live, pulling power from the shore. The Inverter side only comes on when I disconnect shore power to cruise, as you'd expect. On resetting the post breaker, I discovered that as soon as I attempted to also reset the breaker, the Victron flipped from the 'On' setting, where it usually displayed mains in and 'float', to 'Inverter' with no signs of life from the 'Charger' side of the Victron front panel, and the post breaker tripped again. Here's the thing: if I switch mains power to the boat off using the 'Power Out' breaker in my mains box, the Victron shows mains input and starts charging as normal (but there is obviously no power to my 240v sockets.) If I switch the Power Out breaker on, it immediately trips the shore post breaker, and mains power shuts off at the mains box (judging from the light going out up top). Then the inverter kicks in, and all my 240v sockets work, but are doing so obviously by pulling power from the battery bank to do it, which, worse, are receiving no top up charge, so this is not sustainable. My 12v gear (lights, pumps etc) are unaffected by any of this, and continue to work in either state. From this I deduce it is something to do with the automatic switching from mains to battery power by the Victron, or between the mains box and the Victron, caused when I attempt to supply mains power to the boat. Do you have any suggestions, or a contact for a service engineer in the Milton Keynes I can pay to resolve the issue? As I live on the boat and can't operate my fridge or my heating without mains power, this is quite urgent.
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.