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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2020 11:25 
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Rail Meat

Joined: 06 Aug 2020 09:02
Posts: 14
Thanks Chip. So, your recommendation is 4 6vDC golf cart batteries and a "modern charging system". Does this mean new alternator and regulator?

I'm in Herrington Harbor North in Deale MD BTW. There are three other T37s at the marina that I know of. Only one other seems to get used. The others seem in pretty rough shape to me.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 01 Oct 2020 17:50 
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Skipper

Joined: 16 May 2009 08:06
Posts: 175
There is a guy in your neck of the woods named Peter Kennedy. He really knows his $#,+ about this stuff (starting that with a $ was not intended to imply anything!). You might try looking him up and buy some advice. Your alternator is pushing 40 years old and putting a new regulator on it that will push it much harder than the stock regulator might be the straw that breaks the camelís back. Who knows. If you can fit a better regulator to the alternator you have, it might work just fine and you would save a few hundred bucks. I do think you are too light with 2 G31 batteries and for regular bay / coastal cruising, you should be able to get 100 ahs back into the battery bank without having to motor all day (a couple hours).

$.02


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2020 07:39 
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Rail Meat

Joined: 06 Aug 2020 09:02
Posts: 14
cseltzjr wrote:
There is a guy in your neck of the woods named Peter Kennedy. He really knows his $#,+ about this stuff (starting that with a $ was not intended to imply anything!). You might try looking him up and buy some advice. Your alternator is pushing 40 years old and putting a new regulator on it that will push it much harder than the stock regulator might be the straw that breaks the camelís back. Who knows. If you can fit a better regulator to the alternator you have, it might work just fine and you would save a few hundred bucks. I do think you are too light with 2 G31 batteries and for regular bay / coastal cruising, you should be able to get 100 ahs back into the battery bank without having to motor all day (a couple hours).

$.02


Thanks for this advice. Any idea how to get hold of Mr. Kennedy?


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 05:50 
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Skipper

Joined: 16 May 2009 08:06
Posts: 175
I just googled his name and came up with pkys.com. I havenít talked to him in many years but I know friends who have used him with good results.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 12:58 
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Skipper

Joined: 29 Dec 2006 09:38
Posts: 586
jfalsone wrote:
After over a week cruising the Ches Bay I've learned a lot about the T37 and my requirements. On the electrical side, clearly 200 AH were not enough as emphasized by Dometic. I could only achieve a full charge off shore power and this seems adequate for perhaps 2 days of use at anchor but will bring the batteries down to 50% / 12.2V. I'll qualify this by saying that my first two days were colder that normal so that reduced frig consumption some. While we were blessed with some great sailing weather (sailed a ton!), we still had to motor some through creeks and it is clear that my charging system is not capable of giving the batteries a full charge. Whereas my shore power charger will put about 14V and 10-30+ amps in, I found that my alternator/regulator system will only allow about 13.3 and the amps quickly draws down to well under 10 amps. In fact, while running the engine there are times where I'm negative on amps when the frig kicks on. I find this very frustrating! I don't have the particulars on the regulator but will find out but I'd be surprised is it was anything other than what came with the boat.

On the frig, I have some 1" insulation on the lids but will upgrade to 2" and add some seals. Not sure what people use for seals because the lids barely close flush as they are now without them. Suggestions welcome! I had added rubber drain plugs. I will look into the fan. Copy @Velera on the two banks. Need to check this but I think I can isolate the batteries now. Looking for the most sensible solution that doesn't break the bank.



For seals I used some of that rubber seal that you see on a refrigerator door. It is sometimes sold as window seal in hardware stores. It has a sticky back and comes in a coil and you can position it so that the doors close completely. It is an oval rubber or neoprene extrusion that is hollow. Works great.
As far as you not getting a full charge, I am not clear if you have a "smart" three stage external regulator. If you are using one, you might re read my previous post. The problem with these suckers is that most of them are programmed to radically taper the charge output as they sense your batteries are getting close to a full charge. So, unless you run your engine for 4 hours or more, you will never get a full charge on your batteries with a smart external regulator. So it is not the fault of your alternator if you have this kind of regulator and a large bank. The reason they design them this way is to prevent over heating the batteries and gassing them by putting a full 14.3 volts (or more on them) when they are close to fulling charged. Yes, it saves batteries from over charging and heating up, but it also can take a LOOOOOOOONG time for you to charge that last 10% of your capacity. If you are using a standard internal regulator you can ignore all of what I just wrote here.
I really have to question whether external regulators are not more trouble than they are worth for the average weekend and two week vacation boater. I hope someday to corner Nigel at a boat show if we are not both in nursing homes at that time and talk to him about this.
Ray


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 14:07 
Offline
Rail Meat

Joined: 06 Aug 2020 09:02
Posts: 14
Thanks for the responses. Based on what I perceive my requirements to be and people's experience here, I'm inclined to keep this as simple as possible. I contacted Peter Kennedy as was suggested and he has not offered me any real advice yet other than to suggest that a Balmar 621 100 Amp charger would work on the W50. I don't think this is a satisfactory answer for what I hope to achieve and spending nearly $1000 on an alternator kit hardly seems like an appropriate solution. I am committed to modestly increasing AH capacity and alternator efficiency. I have heard good arguments and options for adding AH. I have heard conflicting arguments for adding charging performance. With this boat I am totally fine and comfortable with getting a non-marine specific alternator, regulator, and batteries but they can't be stupid expensive.

I will hunt down the regulator specs although I don't think it's been changed. Perhaps the attached pic gives some clue? Sounds like it might be external and mounted somewhere else.

On the frig, I bought some 1/8" neoprene tape. Unfortunately, I can't get the hatches to sit flush now. Perhaps I need to try the tape on the sides of the lids rather than on the frig surface itself. I will upgrade the insulation from 1" to 2" and install a fan as suggested.


Attachments:
Alternator rear.jpg
Alternator rear.jpg [ 4.84 MB | Viewed 0 times ]
 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 14:18 
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Skipper

Joined: 09 Aug 2017 15:35
Posts: 467
Location: Maine/USVI
Do the icebox seal like a door - the inside weatherseal on a door. It has to be on the frame, not on the door (lid). You might have to add a little lip on the underside of the countertop. When you set the lid in, the weight just touches it and pushes it down a little so the lid sits flush.

I haven't had time to look at my charging system, much less batteries (although I have 3 new 3 older to fiddle with). I have a monster Balmar alternator and haven't even read the manual yet.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 15:09 
Offline
Skipper

Joined: 29 Dec 2006 09:38
Posts: 586
Just my opinion based on my old life of deliveries: Unless they have changed in recent years, there is nothing very special about BalMar other than their units are powder coated, look really pretty and are heavily marketed and cost 2 or 3 time what the same output would cost in a truck alternator. I have not been impressed with their customer service in the couple times I called them. I carry a Chinese made spare alternator I bought on the internet for $50 that is exactly the same (mfg stamps and all) as the stock 80 amp that came on my Yanmar. The 100 amp and under, small case alterntors are mostly built for commercial trucks so they can be cheap. The big case alternators probably will not fit on your engine anyway. If you have a remote mounted regulator, the chances are that it is a three step (or the internal one failed and someone replaced it). I have not read back through the threads--if you have a battery monitor (and I highly recommend that you do) you should be able to see the taper of the amp charge from your regulator and see if the problem is the taper by the regulator or a general output problem of the alternator. You do not need a new alternator if you regulator is cutting back on the charge rate. The quickest fix is to just get a plain old automotive regulator that clicks off an on. It will not appreciably shorten the life of your batteries as the newer regulators are more sophisticated than in the olden days. If you have an honest boat electrician they can help you. I know some here and there, but finding folks working in these businesses who fix stuff rather than sell stuff is tough these days. They need to make a living and the fastest way is to sell you a lot of stuff that you do not need. I would say that most folks (including me) carry around way more electrical capacity, complexity than they actually use. And, as I have outlined in previous posts, this shortens the life of your batteries way more than using a simple system like they put on cars and trucks.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2020 15:37 
Offline
Skipper

Joined: 09 Aug 2017 15:35
Posts: 467
Location: Maine/USVI
I got a youngest son that does electronics and electrical in fleet vehicles. Free consultations, which started when he was 5 and we taped 2 towels to his hands and swung him in a 10" x 5' deep bilge to clean it out for painting.

I'm just working with the boat I ended up with, which included the Balmar. We've got the time to work through all this. I'll never get my money back out, but she'll haul ass and everything will work well.

Now I'm contemplating the centerboard again. I may pop it out for the winter and think about how to make it center properly. It binds a little to starboard, and the threads on the pivot pin seem flimsy. We'll come up with something. As is my wont, I'm going way too far with this thing.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Batteries
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020 08:30 
Offline
Rail Meat

Joined: 06 Aug 2020 09:02
Posts: 14
Velera wrote:
For seals I used some of that rubber seal that you see on a refrigerator door. It is sometimes sold as window seal in hardware stores. It has a sticky back and comes in a coil and you can position it so that the doors close completely. It is an oval rubber or neoprene extrusion that is hollow. Works great.
As far as you not getting a full charge, I am not clear if you have a "smart" three stage external regulator. If you are using one, you might re read my previous post. The problem with these suckers is that most of them are programmed to radically taper the charge output as they sense your batteries are getting close to a full charge. So, unless you run your engine for 4 hours or more, you will never get a full charge on your batteries with a smart external regulator. So it is not the fault of your alternator if you have this kind of regulator and a large bank. The reason they design them this way is to prevent over heating the batteries and gassing them by putting a full 14.3 volts (or more on them) when they are close to fulling charged. Yes, it saves batteries from over charging and heating up, but it also can take a LOOOOOOOONG time for you to charge that last 10% of your capacity. If you are using a standard internal regulator you can ignore all of what I just wrote here.
I really have to question whether external regulators are not more trouble than they are worth for the average weekend and two week vacation boater. I hope someday to corner Nigel at a boat show if we are not both in nursing homes at that time and talk to him about this.
Ray


Ray - As far as I know the boat still has the voltage regulator that was delivered with the boat in 1980. I also have a Xantrex Link 10 battery monitor and I've watched it while charging the batteries both under shore power and motor. The charge drops down rather dramatically while engine charging (starts out at about 30 amps when the battery is discharged but drops quickly). Not so with the shore power which can sustain 20-30 amps for longer periods of time). I think my plan so far is to install my 300 AH by replacing my current house battery bank with two US Battery US 12VRX XC2's provided I can fit them under the nav seat. I will either replace the regulator and possibly the alternator (perhaps get one with a built-in regulator). If you (or anyone else) has a picture of their frig gasket mounted that would help me. Thanks.


 
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