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Electrical & Electronic
The Battery Charger
~ The Battery Charger ~
The Battery Charger
Poof is Not a Good Sound
Our battery charger wasn't working, so this became a high priority project as soon as we moved onboard. Don took the charger apart in an attempt to get it working with the change of a fuse. And then POOF!

We didn't know if a new fuse was going to fix the issue before, but it was definitely not going to work now. While working on the reconnection, a short between a wire and the screw driver made the whole thing go POOF. POOF is not a good sound. Magic lanters…sure! Pillows…the more poof the better. But with regard to electrical things…not a good sound.

Fortunately, installation of a new battery charger wasn't too bad, other than the many contortions required to get into the locker where it was hanging. And the cost wasn't going to break the bank either. Most importantly, we soon had lights, refrigeration, and running water – all the comforts of the 20th century at our disposal while we were out on the water!

The Electrical Panel
~ The Electrical Panel ~
More Power…Arrrggghhh
But, the amount of power we had via the batteries was extremely minimal and we had to reserve most of it for the refrigerator. Of course we were fine while plugged in at the dock – but wanted to live in reasonable comfort while at sea and when hanging from the hook. All these concerns, of course turn into a plethora of questions, each with a complex set of solutions. First there was:
How Much Wattage Do We Need?
This question took a great deal of guessing, and the use of a spreadsheet. what type of batteries should we get, how much wattage do we would need, where should we put the batteries, how should they be wired, and what will it take to recharge them. Our surveyor also uncovered some electrical issues that – although minor – we believed for safety's sake needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Adding to all this concern was the confusion over

Taking this all into consideration, we opted to enlist the help of a certified marine electrician to upgrade our power-plant. We ultimately chose to go with NorthStar AGM batteries. They require no maintenance, take up very little space, are safe enough to locate in the living compartment (and thus better distribute their weight), and are strong enough to back up the starter battery.

I can't state unequivocally that I am now a 12 volt expert, but I am amused that I can have a somewhat educated conversation about batteries with my father, an electrical engineer.