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Hi Everyone,

 

I am hoping you might be able to help. I am having a 60ft semi-trad josher built for initial use as a leisure boat but with a view to being a 5day a week live aboard within a year of splashing her. I am a bit of a geek and really like the remote monitoring capabilities of the Victron kit via the Cerbo GX but am really not sure whether the following is the full electrical supply and distribution spec or if I have missed anything? 

 

I am also thoroughly confused at to whether a travel power unit is entirely necessary given I will have dual alternators on the Beta 50 including a 175amp domestic alternator as well as a starter battery alternator. I really would appreciate a quick review of the following or if someone is electriclly minded a wiring diagram???:

 

  • Beta marine 50 with dual alternator and remote oil filter as extra (+ other adaptions we discussed)
  • 3.5 KVA travel power (unsure if this is required given the spec below would appreciate some advice)
  • 4 x Victron Lithium LiFePO4 12V - 100Ah battery with Bluetooth
  • 3 x Victron Smart Battery Sense - 10 Meter Range
  • 1 x 12v load dump battery (lead acid)
  • 1x 12v starter battery (lead acid)
  • 1 or 2 bow batteries for bow thruster (lead acid)
  • Victron smartshunt
  • Victron Lynx Distributor x 1
  • Victron Lynx Power In x 2
  • Bluesea isolator main switches
  • 3 x Vicron VE.Can resistive tank sender adapter (1x blackwater, 1x fuel, 1x water tank)
  • Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger 12/3000/120-50
  • Victron Cerbo GX
  • Victron GX Touch 50 screen
  • Victon dc-dc convertor (unsure if required or sizing. If installed is a dump load battery required?)
  • Victron Digital Multi / Quattro Control 200/200A GX
  • Victron Smart CL BMS 12/100
  • Shore Power - Galvanic isolator - Sterling Power ProSave E 30AMP
  • 1 x Victron 150/35 SmartSolar MPPT Controller - with in-built bluetooth technology - https://midsummerenergy.co.uk/buy/solar-panel-kits/foxes-afloat-canal-narrowboat-600W-flexible-stick-down-solar-charger-kit-with-victron-smartsolar-MPP
  • 4 x 120W Miasole Peel and Stick Flexible Solar Panel - with 5 year warranty
  • 2 x Pair of 5m solar cables with MC4 connectors
  • 1 x 1.5m Harness 10mm2 with inline fuse
  • 4 x Waterproof Double Cable Entry Glands – black
  • Victron Bluetooth Smart Dongle
  • Victron MPPT Control Monitor

 

Cheers guys

 

Steven

Edited by stevencarr29
missed off tags
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This is a money-no-object boat then!

Have you done a power audit to determine how much power you are going to use, to store and to replace?

Are you going to use lots of mains appliances which need the 3kW capability of the travel power and inverter?

Will you have a shore connection as a liveaboard? If not how are you going to generate all the power you are going to use - especially in winter when solar will be all but useless?

Have you thought about how you can reduce your electricity consumption to minimise the need for generation and storage?

  • Greenie 1
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58 minutes ago, stevencarr29 said:

Hi Everyone,

 

I am hoping you might be able to help. I am having a 60ft semi-trad josher built for initial use as a leisure boat but with a view to being a 5day a week live aboard within a year of splashing her. I am a bit of a geek and really like the remote monitoring capabilities of the Victron kit via the Cerbo GX but am really not sure whether the following is the full electrical supply and distribution spec or if I have missed anything? 

 

I am also thoroughly confused at to whether a travel power unit is entirely necessary given I will have dual alternators on the Beta 50 including a 175amp domestic alternator as well as a starter battery alternator. I really would appreciate a quick review of the following or if someone is electriclly minded a wiring diagram???:

 

  • Beta marine 50 with dual alternator and remote oil filter as extra (+ other adaptions we discussed)
  • 3.5 KVA travel power (unsure if this is required given the spec below would appreciate some advice)
  • 4 x Victron Lithium LiFePO4 12V - 100Ah battery with Bluetooth
  • 3 x Victron Smart Battery Sense - 10 Meter Range
  • 1 x 12v load dump battery (lead acid)
  • 1x 12v starter battery (lead acid)
  • 1 or 2 bow batteries for bow thruster (lead acid)
  • Victron smartshunt
  • Victron Lynx Distributor x 1
  • Victron Lynx Power In x 2
  • Bluesea isolator main switches
  • 3 x Vicron VE.Can resistive tank sender adapter (1x blackwater, 1x fuel, 1x water tank)
  • Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger 12/3000/120-50
  • Victron Cerbo GX
  • Victron GX Touch 50 screen
  • Victon dc-dc convertor (unsure if required or sizing. If installed is a dump load battery required?)
  • Victron Digital Multi / Quattro Control 200/200A GX
  • Victron Smart CL BMS 12/100
  • Shore Power - Galvanic isolator - Sterling Power ProSave E 30AMP
  • 1 x Victron 150/35 SmartSolar MPPT Controller - with in-built bluetooth technology - https://midsummerenergy.co.uk/buy/solar-panel-kits/foxes-afloat-canal-narrowboat-600W-flexible-stick-down-solar-charger-kit-with-victron-smartsolar-MPP
  • 4 x 120W Miasole Peel and Stick Flexible Solar Panel - with 5 year warranty
  • 2 x Pair of 5m solar cables with MC4 connectors
  • 1 x 1.5m Harness 10mm2 with inline fuse
  • 4 x Waterproof Double Cable Entry Glands – black
  • Victron Bluetooth Smart Dongle
  • Victron MPPT Control Monitor

 

Cheers guys

 

Steven

 

What is imidiately apparent is that you give no information about your electrical use. Without that any direct reply will be garbage.

 

It matters no if you are using lithium or lead acid batteries when considering battery capacity and charging you have to start with how much electricity you expect the system to supply and over what time period.

 

In theory you domestic alternator can supply a load of about 1.75 kW from the inverter but while its doing that there will be no charge to the batteries. How long what is basically an automotive alternator can stand that sort of loading is open to question, especially with lithium batteries that tend not to limit the charging current like lead acids do.  Ignoring alternator life for a while if you use a 2kW electric kettle or a 3 kW heater/immersion heater there will be a charging deficit and so for that sort of load a Travelpower may be a good idea.

 

Do your power/energy audit and let us know the result.

 

I would also suggest that if you need to ask for wiring diagrams you may be far better off employing professionals as suggested by @WotEver. You seem to be going for cutting edge technology, if you need diagrams just think about how you will get on when those systems go wrongs they eventually will.

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18 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Will you have a shore connection as a liveaboard? If not how are you going to generate all the power you are going to use - especially in winter when solar will be all but useless?

That’s somewhere that the TravelPower can help with I guess, as it can power a good chunky charger. 

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What was the name of that "one-off" NB built with an amazing array of electrical appliances - didn't it even have a lifting cratch ?

Cost £250k to build, sold a year later, then sold another few months later, then sold another few months later for (I think) £80k

 

Sometimes there are reasons why things are built as they are.

 

Edit - I've remembered "Whitefield" and its up for sale again at £125k

 

 

 

https://www.midwayboats.co.uk/boatsforsale-315.html

 

 

She has a large, square cruiser stern with seated helm positions. The boat is steered by ‘fly-by-wire’ joysticks rather than a traditional tiller, although a tiller can be used in an emergency or if preferred. While the joysticks may take some getting used to, when mastered the benefits become obvious. Video from cameras mounted at the bow give the steerer a clear view of what is happening up front and there is also the option of remote control.

The rear bulkhead, doors and the huge sliding hatch are all made from smoked glass. Entering the boat through here, the first room is a small social space offering and extension to the back deck. This can also be used as an office with space to work at a laptop for example. This area also features a hand basin, washing machine and the first of 5 T.V’s. There is also a small toilet cubicle.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

What was the name of that "one-off" NB built with an amazing array of electrical appliances - didn't it even have a lifting cratch ?

Cost £250k to build, sold a year later, then sold another few months later, then sold another few months later for (I think) £80k

 

Sometimes there are reasons why things are built as they are.

Windscale?  Sure it began with a W.

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8 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Indeed it can, but it still means hours of engine running. Has the OP considered that?

Remember he is going Li so they will accept full charger/alternator output until the control system stops charging. Until the OP gives the result of his power audit we can't even guestimate the recharge time but it will be shorter than with LAs and probably far shorter.

 

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With those power levels you might be better going for a 24V (or even 48V) house system; according to Beta Marine it's possible to fit 2 24V 100A alternators to the Beta 50 (with brush boxes and an external alternator controller) which will generate 5kW together with a Victron Multiplus II (24V/3000 or 48V/5000), and this would cost much less than a Travelpower.

 

It would also mean you don't need to run the engine for hours when under heavy power load. Output at charging rpm is higher than even the Travelpower 5kW (see attached plots) so you can run at lower rpm, you could charge your proposed 5kWh LiFePO4 bank from 20% to 100% in less than an hour at 1200rpm (good for neighbours).

 

This would give you higher peak power (if you need it) and also be much more flexible if you want to draw power from onshore and add in onboard for higher power draw. Don't forget that you can't use the Travelpower and Multiplus you suggested (or incoming mains) together to generate AC power, the Travelpower puts out 115V AC on live and the opposite phase on neutral, both Multiplus and mains put 230V on live and 0V on neutral, so can't be connected together for obvious reasons...

 

alternators.PNG

Edited by IanD
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Steve - I know I am going to upset and probably contradicted by at least one other memeber but are you absolutely sure that you have the expedience and equipment to diagnose the VE can bus when a fault develops or have you been taken in by marketing blurb.

 

If a digital bus system develops faults how will you diagnose it? Will you buy dedicated test equipment. Even if you do the likelihood is that the tester will only give a general idea of fault area so say "black tank sensor out of range" come up. Is it a faulty connection, cable fault, RF/magnetic interference, faulty  sender unit or bus node fault?

 

Give me simple basic circuits any day sender > cable > gauge  where a fault can usually be diagnosed with a simple meter.

 

Digital bus systems can do some very clever things but I am far from sure they are suitable for boat use by ordinary folk who feel the need to ask for help on here.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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7 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

I don't think anyone has mentioned that the Beta 50 might be overkill in a 60 ft narrowboat.  I'd expect the ubiquitous Beta 43 to be plenty.  Roughly 1.3 litres per hour and all the power you'll ever need for less outlay. 

True, and the dual 24V 100A alternator solution is also OK with this. However note that an intelligent alternator controller (Wakespeed WS500?) is needed to stop the alternators bogging down the engine at idle (would otherwise absorb 7hp!), this can pull back the alternator current at low revs to reduce engine load, as well as sensing battery and alternator temperatures to get the charging voltages exactly right and prevent the alternators being cooked.

 

As well as properly stopping charging for LiFePO4 at 100% (like the manufacturers say), this is also capable of properly terminating lead-acid charging using current measurement (e.g. bulk==>float transition when current is 2% of capacity) instead of just a crude timer, which is much closer to what is needed to maximise lead-acid battery life to anything close to the claimed number of cycles.

 

Tony makes some very valid points about reliability/diagnosis of these bus systems -- however it should also be pointed out that they're really the only way of making everything work together while protecting big expensive battery banks (especially LiFePO4) and maximising their life with proper charge control (mains, alternator, solar) in a high-power electrical system.

 

The old simple systems work but have longer charging times (sometimes with cooked alternators) and reduced battery life; not a problem with a couple of small house batteries, but not a good idea if the battery bank costs several thousand quid...

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57 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

I don't think anyone has mentioned that the Beta 50 might be overkill in a 60 ft narrowboat.  I'd expect the ubiquitous Beta 43 to be plenty.  Roughly 1.3 litres per hour and all the power you'll ever need for less outlay. 

Beta 50 are great in a NB, the two of us  @OldGoat @Loddon on this forum that have them think they are great. Cooling needs to be carefully considered, skin tanks are not favoured by those who know ;)

I like the edge that 50hp gives you when going against the flow.

 

Edited by Loddon
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5 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

DO NOT go for 'stick down panels', they will fail within 12-24 months and you'll make a mess of the roof trying to remove them.

 

There are many boaters who have regretted using them.

These are CIGS panels designed for metal seam roofs. Not the usual semi flexible solar. Much more suited to a narrowboat roof. I’m very happy with mine. 

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58 minutes ago, IanD said:

True, and the dual 24V 100A alternator solution is also OK with this. However note that an intelligent alternator controller (Wakespeed WS500?) is needed to stop the alternators bogging down the engine at idle (would otherwise absorb 7hp!), this can pull back the alternator current at low revs to reduce engine load, as well as sensing battery and alternator temperatures to get the charging voltages exactly right and prevent the alternators being cooked.

 

As well as properly stopping charging for LiFePO4 at 100% (like the manufacturers say), this is also capable of properly terminating lead-acid charging using current measurement (e.g. bulk==>float transition when current is 2% of capacity) instead of just a crude timer, which is much closer to what is needed to maximise lead-acid battery life to anything close to the claimed number of cycles.

 

Tony makes some very valid points about reliability/diagnosis of these bus systems -- however it should also be pointed out that they're really the only way of making everything work together while protecting big expensive battery banks (especially LiFePO4) and maximising their life with proper charge control (mains, alternator, solar) in a high-power electrical system.

 

The old simple systems work but have longer charging times (sometimes with cooked alternators) and reduced battery life; not a problem with a couple of small house batteries, but not a good idea if the battery bank costs several thousand quid...

`

Its not the charging system that worries me. When that goes wrong its so vital and so complicated a Victron engineer will almost certainly be needed. Its adding the tank  level gauges and no doubt in time other system to it like entertainment and lightning circuits that I think may not be such a good idea.

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KISS.   Works for me. And loads of folk can get their heads around fixing it.

 

Idea !         Finish the boat, & in 12 months time when it goes wrong and no one can sort it I will buy it for half the price...............................................because that is all it will be worth.

 

We have been here before.

Edited by Tracy D'arth
Poster didn't see the funny side of the post, sorry.
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35 minutes ago, frangar said:

These are CIGS panels designed for metal seam roofs. Not the usual semi flexible solar. Much more suited to a narrowboat roof. I’m very happy with mine. 

Out of interest, how long have you had these on your boat? How do they compare price wise with rigids?

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24 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Out of interest, how long have you had these on your boat? How do they compare price wise with rigids?

I’ve had mine fitted for 6 months now but others have had them for longer with no issues. They are more expensive than rigids by a fair bit but they fitted my roof space well...plus there is nothing for ropes etc to catch on. I got mine from midsummer energy in Cambridge. 

  • Greenie 1
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40 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

KISS.   Works for me. And loads of folk can get their heads around fixing it.

 

Idea !         Finish the boat, & in 12 months time when it goes wrong and no one can sort it I will buy it for half the price...............................................because that is all it will be worth.

 

We have been hear before.

Except that KISS doesn't work for a boat with a big expensive electrical system like this for the reasons I said.

 

You can either have a simple cheap low-power conventional system using steam-age technology (nothing wrong with that!) that anyone can fix but where cheap batteries are treated as a disposable resource, or if you want a high-power system with fast charging and a big expensive long-life battery bank (lithium or not) the price that has to be paid to make it reliable and safe and long-lasting is using that nasty modern technology stuff. Which does mean you can't fix it with a meter and a hammer, but that's life -- try fixing your smartphone if it goes wrong and see how far you get...

 

Whether you want or need such a system or not is irrelevant; other people (including the OP) have different wants and needs to you ?

Edited by IanD
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11 minutes ago, IanD said:

Except that KISS doesn't work for a boat with a big expensive electrical system like this for the reasons I said.

 

You can either have a simple cheap low-power conventional system using steam-age technology (nothing wrong with that!) that anyone can fix but where cheap batteries are treated as a disposable resource, or if you want a high-power system with fast charging and a big expensive long-life battery bank (lithium or not) the price that has to be paid to make it reliable and safe and long-lasting is using that nasty modern technology stuff. Which does mean you can't fix it with a meter and a hammer, but that's life -- try fixing your smartphone if it goes wrong and see how far you get...

 

Whether you want or need such a system or not is irrelevant; other people (including the OP) have different wants and needs to you ?

Perhaps then this technology is best suited to a state of the art electric powered automotive application  rather than a crude engineering narrow boat on a 200+ year old system at 3mph?

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