Plugged in at the dock and charging

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,324
436
Portsmouth, RI
Usually the only time I plug into the dock is when cruising and we want hot water and or AC. I will put my battery charger on as well but this is usually only for a day or two. There is a 100W solar panel in our system with a 4D lead acid house battery.

This summer I am going to pre-stage the boat before our cruise and leave it for a week. It will be at a dock so I would like to be plugged in with the refrigeration running and battery charger on in addition to the solar panel. The solar by itself can not manage the refrigeration 24/7 more like 24/3-4. My question is...will leaving the charger on with the refrigeration running and solar input be an issue for the battery? Will it harm the battery? Charger is a ProMariner ProSport20.

Thanks.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

hdra

Anarchist
653
145
Do you have a charge controller on the solar panel? If so, shouldn't be an issue as the charge controller will keep the panel from cooking the battery when it's floating on the shore power connection, and the AC battery charger is (as far as I can tell) smart enough that it won't overcharge, - looks like a normal 3-stage charger.

 

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,324
436
Portsmouth, RI
Yes, there is a charge controller on the Solar. Since I have not run in this mode for that long I wanted to ask the question. The manual for the charger seems to show that it will just keep up with the discharge.

 

Jaramaz

Anarchist
590
29
Sweden
Depends on how your mains charger is working. As the fridge is turned on, that will now and then lower the Voltage, the charger may interpret that as low batt and start charging at full speed - that is not so good.

You could put a timer prior to your mains charger, so the charger is only working 2-4 hours / day (or something, depends on the capacity of your charger).

Myself I avoid beeing attached to the mains network for longer periods. The AC installation in about every sailboat is not really at optimum. Then there is the issue of small currents from somewhere on tthe mains side going through the boat and out in the water. In some cases this has bad consequences on props and other metals.

/J

 

WHK

Super Anarchist
1,657
115
Newport, RI
Will,

I checked the link for your charger - I think this is it. If that is the case, you are fine if you setup the charger properly for your battery chemistry. It is a "smart charger" with Microprocessor control and will not overcharge your batteries. I keep my boat plugged in at the dock with the charger on all the time. It is a Xantrex TrueCharge 2 - 20Amp model. The previous owner cooked the batteries. It turns out he had the wrong chemistry (lead acid) selected for both the Alternator regulator and the battery charger. I read the manual and set the regulator and charger to match the 3 Group 31 AGM batteries. As a precaution, I also added a battery temperature sensor so that it will reduce the charge rate and prevent boiling the batteries. It doesn't appear that your charger has inputs for an external temperature sensor.

When I had Rhapsody, I had the 10 Amp Xantrex smart charger with two Group 24 Walmart batteries that also were plugged in at the dock all the time. I changed the batteries after 7 years, not because of poor performance, but becuase I thought after 7 years I shouldn't rely on old batteries when cruising.

Good luck!

ps - make sure you do a check of your grounds so you don't have any leakage current eating zincs. I have a Galvanic isolator that helps.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,805
3,077
Edgewater, MD
Sailman-

Do you supplement your refrigeration with ice or do you run ice-less? You'll consume a lot less energy if you pre-chill the box with ice.

I'm sure you'll be fine with your plan, but I do want to say that I had the exact same charger that you have, and I left the damned thing plugged in and unattended ONCE and I came back and found that it died a violent death and had tripped the pedestal breaker. I recommend visiting the boat and checking on things if you're able to.

 

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,324
436
Portsmouth, RI
Ajax,

I do supplement with ice. We start out the cruise with two 25 blocks on the bottom of the box. After two weeks about 10% remains.

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
62,307
5,506
De Nile
Speaking of plugging in to unknown AC towers.

Is there a simple Polarity test device for Marinco plugs?

I plugged into a guest dock recently - no power, ok, that's weird.

I go to check my plug connection on the boat - receive a neutral shock. You know - the one where you feel the buzz of the AC without getting knocked on your ass. Freaked me out none-the-less.

Unplug at shore, use the next tower over, all is fine. Let the harbormaster know in the morning.

I was thinking - i've got a little polarity tested that I used when we finished our house - is there anything like that for marine plugs? Google didn't find me one.

I was thinking a Marine-plug to standard 110 3-pole plug adaptor, and then I plug in my little polarity tester to that might work. Will it?

 

Ishmael

52,468
12,269
Fuctifino
Speaking of plugging in to unknown AC towers.

Is there a simple Polarity test device for Marinco plugs?

I plugged into a guest dock recently - no power, ok, that's weird.

I go to check my plug connection on the boat - receive a neutral shock. You know - the one where you feel the buzz of the AC without getting knocked on your ass. Freaked me out none-the-less.

Unplug at shore, use the next tower over, all is fine. Let the harbormaster know in the morning.

I was thinking - i've got a little polarity tested that I used when we finished our house - is there anything like that for marine plugs? Google didn't find me one.

I was thinking a Marine-plug to standard 110 3-pole plug adaptor, and then I plug in my little polarity tester to that might work. Will it?
There are several marine polarity testers out there, Marinco is one maker. Google is your friend.

11-51215.jpg


You can also make your own, probably using your existing house unit.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

py26129

Super Anarchist
2,854
193
Montreal
Speaking of plugging in to unknown AC towers.

Is there a simple Polarity test device for Marinco plugs?

I plugged into a guest dock recently - no power, ok, that's weird.

I go to check my plug connection on the boat - receive a neutral shock. You know - the one where you feel the buzz of the AC without getting knocked on your ass. Freaked me out none-the-less.

Unplug at shore, use the next tower over, all is fine. Let the harbormaster know in the morning.

I was thinking - i've got a little polarity tested that I used when we finished our house - is there anything like that for marine plugs? Google didn't find me one.

I was thinking a Marine-plug to standard 110 3-pole plug adaptor, and then I plug in my little polarity tester to that might work. Will it?
There are several marine polarity testers out there, Marinco is one maker. Google is your friend.

11-51215.jpg


You can also make your own, probably using your existing house unit.
A buddy of mine had one of these catch fire. Thankfully it all ended without any damage ot the boat but it did elevate the stress levels for a while. My boat has a Polarity test incorporated into the interior electrical panel and will trip the AC main circuit breaker is it senses an issue

 

WHK

Super Anarchist
1,657
115
Newport, RI
ABYC E11 has a paragraph that requires reverse polarity indication on boats that have AC electrical systems installed. You'll find that most of the systems include the indication at the main AC breaker so you can see reverse polarity before the breaker is closed.

 

Ishmael

52,468
12,269
Fuctifino
ABYC E11 has a paragraph that requires reverse polarity indication on boats that have AC electrical systems installed. You'll find that most of the systems include the indication at the main AC breaker so you can see reverse polarity before the breaker is closed.
Yes, our boat is set up like that, with a reverse polarity indicator right next to the main AC breaker. It will definitely cut the circuit if it senses something wrong.

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
62,307
5,506
De Nile
ABYC E11 has a paragraph that requires reverse polarity indication on boats that have AC electrical systems installed. You'll find that most of the systems include the indication at the main AC breaker so you can see reverse polarity before the breaker is closed.
Maybe just retrofit an indicator. But I bought the parts to build my own tester.

The boat definitely stopped the electricity from getting in - but there was nothing on the panel - just a flat "0" on the AC meter - which is analog. that didn't stop the case around the plug from being charged however.

 

Innocent Bystander

Super Anarchist
11,749
757
Lower Southern MD
Raz'r - You can fabricate an inexpensive reverse polarity indicator at your AC power panel on the boat as follows: Neon bulb assembly, 100K ohm 1/2 W resistor.

Boat Side AC Neutral <----------(|.|)-------VVVV-------> Boat side AC Ground

Neon Bulb 100Kohm
ABYC 11.6.3.3.1 has required Indicators in 120 VAC systems for a number if years. I don't think I've seen a US sold boat made in the last 30 years or more without one.

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
62,307
5,506
De Nile
hmm,

Raz'r - You can fabricate an inexpensive reverse polarity indicator at your AC power panel on the boat as follows: Neon bulb assembly, 100K ohm 1/2 W resistor.

Boat Side AC Neutral <----------(|.|)-------VVVV-------> Boat side AC Ground

Neon Bulb 100Kohm
ABYC 11.6.3.3.1 has required Indicators in 120 VAC systems for a number if years. I don't think I've seen a US sold boat made in the last 30 years or more without one.
hmm, i'll look around - there was no "flashing light" or red light, etc that was evident. Both circuits read "dead".

 




Top