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My Batteries are on the way out.Voltage drops rapidly as we found on our recent trip from Milton Keynes to Cheshire. My travel power needs 12v to enable it to charge the batteries and once the battery % on the monitor dropped below 95% the batteries wouldn’t go over 10v until we went into a Marina and charged them back to 97% then they would go to over 14 %. We are in a marina so we don’t have a problem atm but I got them tested and two are no use and two are OK. I’ve just discovered that there are 5 batteries. I think these are the original batteries and they are around 15 years old. They are Victron 12v 200Ah gel I asked the electrictian if I could get smaller batteries but he reckoned because I have two powerful Victron inverters that I couldn’t  but he did say that they didn’t need to be Victron. He came back to me with a price of £600 each. I wasn’t expecting them to be so expensive. I’ve just been looking at the difference between gel and AGM and AGM seem much cheaper even with `Victron. I’ve also seen some that are £200-300 and  wonder if these would be suitable. I should add that’s it’s an all electric boat. With a fridge, freezer, electric cooker, microwave and washing machine 

Thanks 

Jean 

Edited by Jeanie920
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12 minutes ago, Jeanie920 said:

My Batteries are on the way out.Voltage drops rapidly as we found on our recent trip from Milton Keynes to Cheshire. My travel power needs 12v to enable it to charge the batteries and once the battery % on the monitor dropped below 95% the batteries wouldn’t go over 10v until we went into a Marina and charged them back to 97% then they would go to over 14 %. We are in a marina so we don’t have a problem atm but I got them tested and two are no use and two are OK. However I will need to replace all 4. I think these are the original batteries and they are around 15 years old. They are Victron 12v 200Ah gel I asked the electrictian if I could get smaller batteries but he reckoned because I have two powerful Victron inverters that I couldn’t  but he did say that they didn’t need to be Victron. He came back to me with a price of £600 each. I wasn’t expecting them to be so expensive. I’ve just been looking at the difference between gel and AGM and AGM seem much cheaper even with `Victron. I’ve also seen some that are £200-300 and  wonder if these would be suitable. 

Thanks 

Jean 

You may have big inverters but how much power do you use at 230 volts from the batteries? 

If you only use small loads then it doesent matter how big the inverter is.

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I would fit a gas cooker. A gas instalation will be possible to fit and add value to the boat and enable smaller inverters and less battery capacity will be needed.

  • Greenie 2

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1 hour ago, Jeanie920 said:

I should add that’s it’s an all electric boat. With a fridge, freezer, electric cooker, microwave and washing machine 

Is it really an all electric boat (ie no engine) if so how do you normally charge the batteries ?

Or do you mean that you have no gas on board for cooking ?

 

You could change them to 220Ah flooded lead acid batteries (FLA) but you would have to learn a battery maintenance regime.

I have 6x 220Ah*  FLA and they cost about £160-£180 each.

 

* same batteries have different ratings by different suppliers varying from 200Ah to 230Ah

 

210Ah = £170 Delivered,

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110438377504?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

 

 

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1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

You may have big inverters but how much power do you use at 230 volts from the batteries? 

If you only use small loads then it doesent matter how big the inverter is.

I should read the posts properly, sorry.?

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30 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Is it really an all electric boat (ie no engine) if so how do you normally charge the batteries ?

 

 

It must have a diesel engine as the OP mentions using a Travel Power to charge the batteries.

 

Even so, given she uses electricity for cooking this means a truly massive battery bank is required. I'd be inclined to replace the batteries like for like given they lasted 15 years, regardless of the cost. Fifteen years is a truly exceptional battery life to have achieved!

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I wonder how long the OP has owned the boat. If its relatively new to her and the previous owner was ob shore power for most of the time I would worry that, despite the batteries' age she may have had a large part to play in ruining them. i.e. Never fully charging and too deeply/over discharging them. So may I ask the OP what type of battery monitoring does she have or do on a day to day basis? No point in buying new batteries if you will wreck them in months/weeks.

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Hi Tony, the boat is about 15 years old and we’ve had it for about 7 and most of the time on shore power. Batteries were always at 100%. When we went out which was rarely we never let the batteries fall below 80%. I have a BMV 501 Battery monitor which we look at all the time. 

 The boat was fitted out for continuous cruising by the previous owners they also had a dishwasher and a bidet. Which were taken out by the second owners from whom we bought it. 

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17 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

It must have a diesel engine as the OP mentions using a Travel Power to charge the batteries.

 

Even so, given she uses electricity for cooking this means a truly massive battery bank is required. I'd be inclined to replace the batteries like for like given they lasted 15 years, regardless of the cost. Fifteen years is a truly exceptional battery life to have achieved!

Not if its been pluggedin for 14 years 364 days.

without being any more flippant your electricity demand is  massive. If you fail to meet the capacity the system demands you will simply kill the new batteries, by discharging them too deeply

 I cant understand why the travelpower will not charge if batts are at a low voltage i thought a travelpower was a fancy name for engine driven mains alternator which then powers a battery charger.

presumuably there is no engine driven alternator other than to start the engine.

im with mr s. All electric cooking is a bad solution .

 

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51 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

It must have a diesel engine as the OP mentions using a Travel Power to charge the batteries.

 

Even so, given she uses electricity for cooking this means a truly massive battery bank is required. I'd be inclined to replace the batteries like for like given they lasted 15 years, regardless of the cost. Fifteen years is a truly exceptional battery life to have achieved!

Sorry yes it has a Diesel engine, webasto heating and a morso squirrel. I meant all electric as in appliances. 

Edited by Jeanie920
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Cross posting sorry. 

You obviously are highly aware of the situation. I guess its time to make a decision based on future usage plans. Ie if mainly marina minimise battery purchase but if spending time off grid then try and minimise power needs, maybe by thinking about 240 systems

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7 minutes ago, Jeanie920 said:

Hi Tony, the boat is about 15 years old and we’ve had it for about 7 and most of the time on shore power. Batteries were always at 100%. When we went out which was rarely we never let the batteries fall below 80%. I have a BMV 501 Battery monitor which we look at all the time. 

 The boat was fitted out for continuous cruising by the previous owners they also had a dishwasher and a bidet. Which were taken out by the second owners from whom we bought it. 

I hate to say it but that % indication could be your down fall. Much more reliable to go by volts and current when charging looking for a very low current when the batteries are full. The % can easily get out of step.

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4 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

 

 I cant understand why the travelpower will not charge if batts are at a low voltage i thought a travelpower was a fancy name for engine driven mains alternator which then powers a battery charger.

presumuably there is no engine driven alternator other than to start the engine.

im with mr s. All electric cooking is a bad solution .

 

It’s a 7kw travel power. They normally are 3kw I think. Was Fine until the batteries went under 95% charged. We managed most of the time by mooring up in isolated places so that we could keep the batteries over that level. We switched off the fridge and freezer at night. With the batteries over that level it was fine. I could use the washing machine whilst travelling and cook the dinner as long as thevengine was running. 

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3 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I hate to say it but that % indication could be your down fall. Much more reliable to go by volts and current when charging looking for a very low current when the batteries are full. The % can easily get out of step.

Beat me to it.

 

But if she managed for seven years then I doubt she is doing much wrong so may be new batteries will be the way forward but having said that I agree with the anti-electric cooker voices.

Edited by Tony Brooks

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7 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

Cross posting sorry. 

You obviously are highly aware of the situation. I guess its time to make a decision based on future usage plans. Ie if mainly marina minimise battery purchase but if spending time off grid then try and minimise power needs, maybe by thinking about 240 systems

Well we will be spending most of the time in the Marina but would like to go out for trips. But as things are we need to moor in isolated places to keep the battery topped up before we go to bed. It means we can’t moor up outside pubs or on visitor moorings. I was thinking about AGM batteries with 200AH. I’ve seen some advertised for £200 or so. Would they not be suitable? I don’t neccessarily need to do much cooking when away from the marina. 

5 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:
6 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Beat me to it.

 

But if she managed for seven years then I doubt she is doing much wrong so may be new batteries will be the way forward but having said that I agree with the anti-electric cooker voices.

Yeah, I realise that now.   I focused on the Battery % ☹️

 

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2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

I would fit a gas cooker. A gas instalation will be possible to fit and add value to the boat and enable smaller inverters

1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Is it really an all electric boat (ie no engine) if so how do you normally charge the batteries ?

Or do you mean that you have no gas on board for cooking ?

 

You could change them to 220Ah flooded lead acid batteries (FLA) but you would have to learn a battery maintenance regime.

I have 6x 220Ah*  FLA and they cost about £160-£180 each.

 

* same batteries have different ratings by different suppliers varying from 200Ah to 230Ah

 

210Ah = £170 Delivered,

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110438377504?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

 

 

Would AGM batteries work

2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

I would fit a gas cooker. A gas instalation will be possible to fit and add value to the boat and enable smaller inverters and less battery capacity will be needed.

Would I then need to get rid of my existing inverters and buy new ones?

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Some years ago Charles Sterling made a Youtube video where he extolled the virtues of forklift truck batteries. (I thought - you must be joking). Seeing the tend on here with dead and dying batteries and people's increasing use of electric power - that now makes sense.

In reality you need very heavy duty type batteries designed for high discharge rates and 24 or even 48 battery banks.

I have 1,000 Ah @12v NiFe batteries and even they aren't enough for moderate demands.... 

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Its a shame you have to base your mooring on the need to run an engine late at night. 

A gas cooker would help and your inverters will be fine you just wouldnt be using their full output. 

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38 minutes ago, Jeanie920 said:

It’s a 7kw travel power. They normally are 3kw I think. Was Fine until the batteries went under 95% charged. We managed most of the time by mooring up in isolated places so that we could keep the batteries over that level. We switched off the fridge and freezer at night. With the batteries over that level it was fine. I could use the washing machine whilst travelling and cook the dinner as long as thevengine was running. 

Only your batteries were not 95% which if you checked the voltage you would have seen

  • Greenie 1

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26 minutes ago, Jeanie920 said:

Would I then need to get rid of my existing inverters and buy new ones?

No, you just use less 230 volt power. But if the boat has run successfully all that time using electrical power then it cant be that bad. Electric gas free boats can work if they are set up right and the user maintains the system to its optimum, but you need to learn to interpret other reading other than just the % 

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42 minutes ago, Jeanie920 said:

It’s a 7kw travel power. They normally are 3kw I think. Was Fine until the batteries went under 95% charged.

 

This needs examining more closely. The output from a TP is 240Vac, and 240Vac cannot be used to charge lead acid batteries unless a separate mains battery charger is used. 

 

Normally no matter how low a battery bank gets, it will suck up power from the battery charger. The fact that your system won't charge if the indicated SoC of the battery bank falls under 95% tells us there is something really weird going on. 

 

Does a TP also have a DC output for charging batteries perhaps? If not, what extra kit do you have for battery charging? There must be something!

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6 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

This needs examining more closely. The output from a TP is 240Vac, and 240Vac cannot be used to charge lead acid batteries unless a separate mains battery charger is used. 

 

Normally no matter how low a battery bank gets, it will suck up power from the battery charger. The fact that your system won't charge if the indicated SoC of the battery bank falls under 95% tells us there is something really weird going on. 

 

Does a TP also have a DC output for charging batteries perhaps? If not, what extra kit do you have for battery charging? There must be something!

This is meaningless to me, but, is it relevant ?

 

"My travel power needs 12v to enable it to charge the batteries"

 

 

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28 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

Its a shame you have to base your mooring on the need to run an engine late at night. 

A gas cooker would help and your inverters will be fine you just wouldnt be using their full output. 

When the batteries were Ok we never needed to run the batteriesehen we stopped for the day. It’s just because the batteries are on the way out. 

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9 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

This needs examining more closely. The output from a TP is 240Vac, and 240Vac cannot be used to charge lead acid batteries unless a separate mains battery charger is used. 

 

Normally no matter how low a battery bank gets, it will suck up power from the battery charger. The fact that your system won't charge if the indicated SoC of the battery bank falls under 95% tells us there is something really weird going on. 

 

Does a TP also have a DC output for charging batteries perhaps? If not, what extra kit do you have for battery charging? There must be something!

If you go back to the original post you will see the voltage was below 10 volts so probably too low to excite the Travelpower alternator 

Just now, Jeanie920 said:

When the batteries were Ok we never needed to run the batteriesehen we stopped for the day. It’s just because the batteries are on the way out. 

In which case they were probably being left at a low state of charge for some time, did you fully recharge them the next day?

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