In our recent test of absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries, we cycled five different batteries through 30 deep cycles to 11.7 volts but only partially recharged them for one hour after each discharge cycle at a charge rate of 46 percent of battery amp-hour capacity. (See PS May 2015 online.) The object of the exercise was to demonstrate just how quickly sulfation, which is caused by keeping a battery in a partial state charge (PSOC), can reduce the capacity and eventually permanently ruin a good battery.
S/V Balaena Skipper Andy O’Grady has taken his double-ended cutter rig to every climate between the Southern Ocean and the Artic. O’Grady explains that imperative to onboard power management and extending battery life is keeping batteries charged and avoiding deep discharges. His tips for long-lasting batteries include keeping the discharge above 50 percent, tracking sulfation, and equalizing the battery bank. Equipment O’Grady uses are Trojan 6-volt T105 batteries, Xantrex XAR Smart alternator regulator, 85-amp Bosch alternator, BEP voltage sensing relay, a Solarex 55-watt solar panel, 75-watt Shell solar panel, and a Rutland wind generator.
According to multiple reports, most AC electrical fires occur at the boats shorepower inlet. To address this and other shortcomings of the standard twist-type boatside connection, SmartPlug Systems developed a new AC shorepower system that the company hopes will become the new marine standard. Loose and corroded connections are most often the culprits when overheating occurs. Corrosion typically results when moisture gets in at the plug-inlet connection, while arcing-which in turn leads to pitting, scorching, and heat build-up-is partially due to the shape and small contact area of the connector pins.
Bluewater voyagers and Practical Sailor contributors Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard put the Honda EU1001 gas-powered generator, Hondas smallest super quiet four-stroke generator, through its paces during an extended cruise of Southern Chile. They report that the 1,000-watt generator is well engineered and essentially maintenance free. Wanting to go months without running the engine and unable to depend on wind and solar power in Chiles Beagle Channel, the couple chose the lightweight generator to feed their onboard battery-charging needs. The Honda will run for approximately eight hours on less than a gallon of gas, and its noise level was measured at a mere 59 decibels, quieter than normal conversation.
Connecting two standard-size wires is pretty straightforward: Grab a ratchet crimper, adjust it to fit the crimp connector, strip the two wires to fit into the butt connector, slide the wires into the connector, and squeeze the crimper. The required materials are readily available: butt connectors for inline splices, ring connectors for terminal blocks, and a dab of anti-corrosive grease for the bolts and rings. Done right, these connections can survive some extremely tough conditions. In a recent test of anti-corrosion greases and connections, we demonstrated how these connections can last up to five years in the worst bilge conditions.
Following our August 1, 1999 discharge tests of batteries from Exide, Interstate, GNB, Rolls and West Marine, a number of readers asked for a...
If the weather this time of the year is cold enough for you to give up sailing for a few months and curl up in a warm place, there’s a good chance that the electronic equipment on your boat would appreciate a little of the same treatment. A little extra care when the weather is cold can add considerably to the useful life of most electronics. Unless a piece of gear is totally sealed against the environment, the atmosphere on the inside of the unit will be pretty much the same as the atmosphere on the inside of the rest of the boat. In the middle of winter, this can mean a lot of cold and condensation. Needless to say, condensation on the inside of your delicate electronics is not the best atmosphere for long life.
Saildrive CorrosionI purchased a 1983 Sweden 41 in September, 1999. Since that time I have had to purchase three saildrives because of corrosion. I...