Batteries and Electrical
Home About Us The Boat Log of Imagine Photo Gallery Links Where are we now?



Updated 9-23-04

" The Plan for Batteries"

In order to add battery capacity to Imagine, location changes were in order.  The factory original house batteries were installed in the starboard cockpit coaming, about as high as possible... not good for stability.   The boat came with an 8D in the coaming, and a 4D and starting battery in the engine room, located  in exactly the wrong place to be able to get into and out of the engine room from the small door under the companionway steps.  

My goal was to end up with a total house capacity of at least 600AHs.  I decided to utilize a nice space under the cabin sole (in the keel trunk) on top of the ballast just aft of the bilge access hatch in the sole.   A very sturdy shelf was required, so one was constructed and installed, which required spending quite a bit of time scrunched down in the keel sump.  It's a rather awkward space to work in, and I think possible to get stuck in if not careful.  I suppose Kellie would eventually have come looking for me...   Advantages: adding about 600 pounds the the keel can't hurt.
Disadvantages:  Should the floorboards find themselves floating, the batteries would probably meet an early demise.  Fuses on each battery will hopfully prevent any catastrophic meltdowns.   Keeping batteries cool extends their life dramatically, and not having them in sun or engine heated spaces will help as much as possible.

I felt I was on a roll after the first  600AHs, so I started looking for more "perfect places".  Just in front of the sump, behind the mast, and again under the cabin sole, there is a cozy little spot for another 300AHs, but requiring cutting a section of the sole out for access. ..  The jury is still out on that project.  900AH house capacity should be sufficient to keep everything running for 5-7 days with no charging.

In order to keep some battery capacity "dry" just in case the unthinkable is in progress (sinking, or at least having more water in the boat than one ever should), I'll install 150AH batteries  in each lazarette.  One as an "radio" battery, and the other as a dedicated starting battery.   Both will have the ability to be connected to, or isolated from, the main house bank with disconnect switches.   The weight will balance side to side, and will still be lower than the original house bank location.

Charging will be accomplished via three methods:  the wind generator that came with the boat, solar panels that are planned to be added soon, or engine driven alternator.


Pictures of the installations:

Glassed in shelf aft of the bilge sump to hold 600AHs of lead

keel_shelf.jpg (41654 bytes)  keel_bats.jpg (63058 bytes)

300 more amp hours just forward of the bilge sump

fwd_keel_bats.jpg (60844 bytes) 

The "emergency radio battery" in the starboard lazarette - a similar installation in the port laz.

laz_bat.jpg (49113 bytes)


The Electrical System

The electrical system was in a sorry state, so I got rid of the original Marinetics breaker panel beside the companionway and built a new nav center behind the fridge hatches with a new Blue Sea breaker panel in the middle.   Installed are: sn ICOM M710 and Pactor II modem for long-range communication and e-mail, an ICOM IC-M55 VHF for short range comms, a Kenwood KD-MP225 CD/MP3 player for music, a second Raymarine Bi-Data depth/speed display (spare) to back up the cockpit mounted one, and a Link10 battery monitor to keep track of usage.  There are (3) 100A breakers in the top right of the center door that are: Main DC feed, Inverter and Windlass power.

electrical_panel_and_radios.jpg (62161 bytes)

 A New DC buss system incorporating a Link 10 shunt combine the batteries in a newly cut access door port of the companionway stairs.  I screwed a piece of 1/2" plywood to the sides of the drawer frames and mounted everything on that.  Finally got to use that bit of wasted space!   I normally run all (8) batteries in parallel to reduce the depth of cycling, but can isolate the port and starboard laz. batteries (independantly), the main (4) bilge batteries, or the forward (2) bilge batteries if necessary or for servicing.

electrical_bus.jpg (54633 bytes)