The Electrons Come & Go . . .

April 27, 2014

This new battery monitor is cool.  I’d always just kept the previous battery on a trickle charger at the dock, and then wondered about it while were out and about on the water.  I remember only one occasion when the battery died, and I had a spare aboard.  Not a very scientific way to manage your batteries, is it?

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Pulling about three amps with everything on the boat–except the tiller pilot–cranked.

The Victron BMV-600s is easy to install and simple to navigate.  It provides all the information about your batteries and charging systems that you’ll probably ever need.  It measures power coming in from chargers, solar panels, and the alternator on my outboard.  You can actually see the numbers go up and down in real time as you add or remove loads.  Sweet!  I was disappointed, though, to discover that my little 25 watt solar trickle charger was only contributing .75 amps, but then it is April in Port Townsend.  Oh well.  I have a 100 watt panel ready to install.

I had prepared an electrical budget for the SHTP.  It’s good to know that all my estimates were relatively close to reality.  My goal was to have enough juice aboard to go for three days with no contribution from the solar panels before I’d need to break out my portable generator.  That’s about what I have–a little more if I’m careful with the power.  Woohoo!  Those long winter nights looking up currents draws paid off.

On another note, I’m staying on the boat.  We just stepped the mast and rerigged it, so my halyards are all tied off nicely.  Last night it was blowing like hell.  I read mid-thirties on my wind instrument.  My rigging was nice and quiet, but the rest of the marina sounded like a posse of street drummers playing garbage cans.  Today will definitely be a nap day.

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