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Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:38pm

Post Subject: Upgrading electrics

My narrowboat has a ford 1.6 xld eng c/w 1x 12v 55A alternator linking to 2 domestic 1 starter batterybank through a manual master switch .The 240v runs off a 1000w inverter.We have had to replace our 3 way fridgefreezer with a 240v A rated 75w f/freezer so realise an upgrade is needed. I have started by buying 4 new 110 leisure batteries.I would prefer to keep the new system as basic as possible.We are novices and are not ones for fancy names & gadgets. I would appreciate your feedback on route to proceed ie Fitting an extra alternator,alternator regulater, battery managment systems, cable size etc


Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:42am

Post Subject: Upgrading electrics

Dear Bernard, I am afraid you have already made your first mistake by purchasing equipment when you do not know why you are doing it. You also give me no idea about how you use the boat or your electricity consumption. If you look back at similar questions you will see I ALWAYS tell the questioner they need to do a whole set of calculations that start with a power or energy audit. You can find example calculations on my website at (all on one line). Only you can do this because only you know how you use your boat. I also do not know what you mean by the bit about one master switch - I suspect this is a bat1, bat2, both, off type switch that is used for charge splitting. The calculations are very much simplified but will allow you to decide if you need to increase your charging time, add additional charging methods or alter your electricity use. If you are totally relying upon alternator charging please expect to buy new batteries every two or three years because it is extremely doubtful that ANY alternator system will recharge them to 100% charged in the time you are willing to run the engine. If you work through the calculations I suspect you will answer this for yourself, but if not post your total "worst case" electrical consumption plus your shortest engine running time together with details of any additional charging methods you have and I will try to make recommendations. Tony Brooks

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