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TheCount

Free battery charging

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Last weekend I finished my self-sufficient solar setup to keep my batteries topped up during the week.

Boat (Quintrex 475 Freedom Sport) has 3 batteries - (1) main starting & bilge, (2) accessories radio and sounder, (3) for leccie on order.

3 panels on the roof, one for each battery. Located roof brackets from Melbourne off fleabay @ $5 each and ran Unistrut as my panel support frame. Each panel feeds into a 10A MPPT charger and then 3 cables sleeved together to the boat charging rig with one slot to spare. Charging rig to batteries connected with 50A mini Andersons for a bit of battery redundancy or swapping if required. May need a 75A for the leccie later.. Cabling to be tidied tomorrow.

Wire is heavy duty speaker wire (the good stuff) and terminated on Neutrik PowerCon 30A connectors, on a SS316 plate, housed in a waterproof IP65 box. All connections soldered and finished with triple-shrink for extra piece of mind. Wire coming into the housing is through 16mm glands. I'm going to have to design something for the front cover - maybe a Count morphed Fishraider logo .. .. .. .. .. ..

No more wires in or around the boat or charging one battery at a time with the CTek - everything is neatly behind the scenes now.

So now when I'm home from my adventures the last task is to insert the connectors and turn, job done.

Cheers,

TC. 

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Edited by TheCount
typo!
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G'day TC. Can't say I understand any of the technical jargon (as you clearly do) but I know a good idea when I see one. What a great way to get all batteries charged and at no added cost, too. Can't beat that! Good one, bn

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So, do all  the wires from the little grey(?) box in the picture run concealed to each of your batteries and you just plug the panels into the box when required? If so, that’s pretty neat (and I mean both tidy and cool)!

I have two batteries in my boat. The starting battery also runs my sounder, radio, nav lights and bait and bulge pump. It seems to maintain enough charge from the motor during normal boating without being put on trickle charge when it’s out of the water. The 2nd battery runs my Minn Kota and I plug it into the CTek when I park the boat in the boatport. The boatport has an outdoor power point and a short extension cord runs up the column and suspends from the roof on a hook, so I just get the CTek out of the garage and plug it in. I do like the idea of just being able to plug a cord into a little box in the boat rather than lifting lids and clipping on alligator clips! Having dedicated solar panels is pretty cool. My house has solar (no battery), which means I’m charging the boat battery free during the day but not at night. I don’t know whether the CTek uses much power but I might try using a timer so it only charges in daylight hours and see if there’s much difference. Of course, if I do that, the only issue is getting enough charge if I’m backing up with another fishing trip next morning... oh, hang on... the missus is rarely gonna let that happen! ?

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Thanks guys. I work in Pro Audio (think stadiums and big events) and have engineers on hand to direct me in the right direction with the right components.

The batteries are wired through the back of the plastic housing (with a waterproof seal - gland) so you can’t see any wiring at all. Like you say, having to run a lead to the boat, clip to the battery and unhook everything when you go out I just had had enough of doing it.. And the Ctek is always ready to go should it be required - just changed the connector to the “blue one” and again no more alligator clips etc etc but only one battery at a time..... I  think that was the reason I started the build.

Berleyguts, it all depends on the Ctek model you use. Say it’s a 5A, you’ll fully recharge a 100Ah battery in a day - but who runs them dry? Batteries should be recharged as soon as possible to avoid damage so plugging in solar after a day on the water is not ‘ideal’. A Ctek will always be needed for maintenance. I’m envious of your boatport, so no need for covers like me. It would make life easier. 

TC.

 

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Three battery's, wow I read the post twice expecting to see you useing a big ellectric motor.

I must admit I've always had dual battery's for safety and back up but now I just run one. This runs all my ellectronics (12 ins sounder, two radios, bait pump etc). I carry one of the small light weight jump kits which can power phones and other things too. I've used the little jumper to start several boats that hav had battery failure and even start 4x4's that hav been left at the parking area all day with lights on. My outboard mechanic also usedthese small jumper starters in his workshop to save jumping in and out of boats when he's working on the engines.

Maritime also now use these over big jumper battery kits as they can simply pass them over easely alongside boats. In fact when I purchased my latest 4x4 and headed into Totally equiped 4x4 to have dual battery's fitted they advised me to save my money and just buy the jump kit, saying that I didn't need dual to run extra equipment.

The extra weight of batteries in small boats does make a difference in performance when small outboards are being used. I go to the trouble of removing even my sinkers if I don't plan on using them to keep my weight to a minimum.

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great idea mate awsome project .

 

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