Energy Management - Update
31 January 2012
Several posts ago, I went into considerable detail about the efforts I went through to make Sea Sharp more energy self-reliant and thought I had licked the problem. Well after we left Loggerhead Marina and no longer were supported by the electrical umbilical cord (shore power), it became apparent that while our energy restoration capabilities were bolstered, our batteries simply could not store and produce enough energy for the night time period when the solar panels did not produce. Around 5 o’clock in the morning, the low battery alarm would start chirping and I would have to shut down the refrigeration.
So, we need to bite the bullet and buy new house batteries. And this time, I’m not going to scrimp. I rent a car to bring Jerry, Judy’s brother back to the airport and use this opportunity to acquire three Lifeline AGM batteries. I won’t go into detail but suffice it to say that these are much more expensive than lead acid batteries and should store, output and recharge much more efficiently than our previous ones.
It’s been a week since we’ve installed them and I’m very happy with them. For those who care, a bit of detail. Our new battery bank provides, theoretically 300 amp hours but effectively you should only count on half of that or 150 amp hours. Our daily consumption while at anchor, is about 90 amp hours. Between the wind generator and the solar panels we see the batteries recharged to full capacity by mid afternoon. Then through the evening and night we draw on the batteries and in the morning, we’re down about 40 amp hours. So the cycle begins again and if there’s reasonable sun and/or wind, we can restore this deficiency by early afternoon.
The goal is to not have to run the boat engine nor the generator when we’re at anchor and it looks like with these new batteries, we can do that. And this latest purchase only set me back 8 boat bucks (recall a boat buck is equivalent to $100 landlubber bucks).