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Need more power?

Old 07-09-2012, 03:25 PM
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Default Need more power?

I run a 34 Venture with twin Mercuries. I have four Sear Platinum AGMs, one for each motor (including power steering), one for electronics and one for pumps,lights etc.

My electronics while fishing include twin Navnet 3d, running fish finder, radar and gps simultaneously. I have a Gamin GHP 10 autopilot that I use to run from location to location, the AP is rarely used at low speeds, trolling etc., maybe while we are washing down boat before moving to next destination.

After a day of fishing, my electronics house battery will be toast to the point of my AP flashing Low ECU Voltage and my other electonics being barely functionable. If I turn the AP off, the electronics will come back to life as the battery is recharged.

Does this seem reasonable? I have the Blue Seas ACRs installed so the batteries should be getting plenty charged as we fish the Gulf out of Galveston so the runs are long at high RPM.

I have had an electronics person and an electrician look at my wiring and both thought they diagnosed the issue, but as of this last Friday I can tell you it is not fixed.

Any thoughts on where I should turn next? Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:39 AM
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It's hard to believe you would need more...all batts show charging and pass a load test?

Gotta think some of your ACR'S are not closing....Or alternators not up to snuff....
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:52 AM
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You will want to measure amperage draws as you use the items before you solicit any recommendations. Also, how long is "a day out fishing"? Do you run the engine(s) throughout the day, or not at all? What powers the AP pump and is it accidentally running?

Personally, I'd have gone with a bit different setup - a single starting battery, and four or six golf cart batteries for the house bank... a single ACR and only two banks.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by txfishman View Post

I have had an electronics person and an electrician look at my wiring and both thought they diagnosed the issue, but as of this last Friday I can tell you it is not fixed.
What exactly did they say was the issue?
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:15 AM
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They said my ACR wires were mixed up so the ACR was not opening to allow charging of the house batteries. The light was staying yellow and never turning green. I accepted this answer as I personally switched out the batteries and chalked it up to me making a mistake reinstalling.

A day out fishing is typically 15 hours or up to a couple days, there would be many more overnighters if I had 100% confidence in my electrical system. The motors are never turned off.

I guess I am asking if what all I am running is reasonable, I am by no means even a shade tree electrician. I just see other boats running similar or even more from battery banks of less size and quality and not have these issues.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by txfishman View Post
The motors are never turned off.
That's a very important fact that was missing

Your engines should be providing plenty of juice for running what you're running, even at or near idle. I'd say you definitely have an issue with the ACRs or associated wiring. It does not matter the size of your battery banks, your alternators should be handling.

Easy way to check is use a DMM on both sides of the ACRs to see what the voltage is, if its not the same charging voltage on both sides, something's up.

I guess I am asking if what all I am running is reasonable, I am by no means even a shade tree electrician.
Absolutely, you should have no problems running that assuming the "pump/lighting" side of the equation is not huge
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:40 PM
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Have you performed a proper load test on each battery, particularly the 1 electronics battery?
You or the electical techs may have fixed a problem that scotched the batteries load capacity previously if they were allowed to discharge too low/too long.

Do you by any chance run all that electronic gear and perhaps bait pumps(?) , stereo, while drift-fishing, engines off, too?
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:37 PM
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Listen to Lucille
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:16 PM
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Yup Lucille is on to something.

I run more electronics than a third world nation on 4 Group 27's with no issues yet until you see mushroom cloud on the horizon when my boat implodes or goes into a time warp from the magnetic field I'm putting out.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for the input I will get on it this weekend. I appreciate the help.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by txfishman View Post
Thanks for the input I will get on it this weekend. I appreciate the help.
Sure... that's why we're all here

Basically, you want to see charging voltages on both sides of the ACR when the engine is running. What I would do is idle up to ~2000 RPM so you know you're getting full voltage output, and measure it at the engine starting battery. It should be in the 14.something range. The ACR turns on when it sees these higher voltages, as it knows if it's in the high 13s or 14s that the alternator must be turning (or a charger is on), because the batteries themselves won't output that high a voltage.

Next, measure the voltage on the side of the ACR that's connected to the starting battery, and on the other side. Chances are it will read only the battery voltage on that battery bank, which is probably 12-13v if the batteries are charged.

Verify the ACR is hooked up correctly. If it's installed backwards, it will be sensing voltage from the electronics bank instead of the starter/engine bank, it won't turn on. Most ACRs I've seen have clear hookup details on the case, if not grab a manual before you head out.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:19 PM
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I would leave it set up as is but add another battery to the electronics bank. My 5212, radar, gsd 26, vhf, radar, ap, pull right around 10 to 12 amps when turned on. Assming ur not running the whole time ur not putting out the amperage rating of the alternator. Power steering pump for verado pulls a ton of power too.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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This really is not related but a Verado steering pump "held against the stops " on a turn will pull >75 amps.....


Just don't make the pump bind.....
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bradv View Post
I would leave it set up as is but add another battery to the electronics bank. My 5212, radar, gsd 26, vhf, radar, ap, pull right around 10 to 12 amps when turned on. Assming ur not running the whole time ur not putting out the amperage rating of the alternator. Power steering pump for verado pulls a ton of power too.
He specifically said "A day out fishing is typically 15 hours or up to a couple days, there would be many more overnighters if I had 100% confidence in my electrical system. The motors are never turned off."

So there is definitely an ACR issue for a couple small electrical devices to kill the battery, even if the draw was over what the TWIN alternators were putting out (which would shock me) the battery would have 50 amp hours to kick in to help. It should not die on a day out with the motors on.

I don't disagree that the bank may need upgrading, but I would move the house AGM over to some other duty and use golf carts for the house bank. Two golf carts would be well over double what that single AGM puts out. (220ah vs 100ah or so) Four would be great for overnighters.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:15 AM
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Well let's say at idle the motors put out 10 or 15 amps each. Subtract some for the motor eating up some power, gauges, etc. Then they are going to charge the starting bank first. Then move onto the house. Not to mention power loss passing thru engine power wire to starting bank then to acr then to house. You could run your motors all day but if ur negative amps you'll still kill your battery. Agree with lucille verify the acr situation and then once solved increase bank size.
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