Keeping the battery bank healthy and charged.

If the size and/or number of batteries are to be increased, it follows that the charging capabilities must be increased proportionately, if depleted batteries are to be charged in a reasonable length of time. This requires two (or perhaps three) areas of expansion: engine alternator, shore power charger, and perhaps an ancillary charging method such as solar panels or a wind generator.

With an external source such as solar panels or a wind charger, use waterproof trolling-motor electrical connectors for watertight connections. Ensure heavy enough electrical wiring for the length to limit losses.

Often shore power is a trickle charger. This can lead to battery damage since the batteries are never really brought to 100%. If possible, a battery bank should never be discharged to less than 50% of its amp-hr rating to prolong its life.

Bear in mind that more batteries are destroyed by over charging than by any other cause, one must always ensure that the float voltage of a shore power charger is not higher than the battery manufacturer recommends. A regulated charger should be used for such purposes, not an automotive type battery charger, which usually lacks the necessary fine regulation. A digital volt meter should be used to check the charging voltage as it is more accurate than an analog meter (one that has a needle) and can read down to tenths of volts, a desirable feature.

Aloha Owners have batteries ranging from the low cost, 27-series deep cycle at about 110 amp-hr to "Surrettes" or 2, 6-volt "Trojans" holding upwards of 200 amp-hrs. Many owners use 100+ amp marine alternators with 3 stage smart regulators.

Category: Electrical Systems