The Eventider's News



Issue 16  Late Summer 2011.





Page 2


Modifications to our Electric system



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A few tweaks to our Eventide's electrics.

Last winter I fitted a Nasa Battery monitor.  I really wanted to know 'exactly' how much power was going in and out and how much left. 

Well as you can see from the picture left, the engine is running and the Alt-X battery charge controller, from Driftgate 2000 systems is working fine! 22 amps of charge!  The battery gauge on the right hand side of the display shows the battery is just over 60% charged so a way to go.

The red lamp next to the display is one of my red 'night lights'. Very old nav lamp White stern lamp with red painted lens and now red LED too.

Here the charge has dropped a little, the fridge panel to the right shows the fridge is on.  The far right you can see the simple ammeter I used to rely on, difficult to accurately judge rate of charge within 5 amps and no voltage measurements.
Close up of the monitor.
For the main auxiliary battery I have another Ammeter and a volt meter, shared between the services battery and the start battery with a 2 position switch,  I leave it monitoring the Services as the start battery remains fully charged! As you can see the ammeter only shows a small charge, less than 10 amps.
See what I mean, 14.2 v in the start battery. Not bad for a lead acid.  there would have been a trickle charge only to it at this stage.

The 3 banks of batteries, roughly 100 amp hours each, are charge through another Driftgate device, a X-Split.  This splits the charge from the Alternator between 3 battery banks automatically, giving the one needing most more charge and the charged (start battery) virtually nothing.  In addition one battery cannot discharge to another and there is virtually no voltage drop across the splitter, keeping the voltage down at the alternator.

The alternator is a 55 amp Lucas marine make and is 16 years old, refurbished 2 years ago for the first time.  If you add up the readings on all three ammeters you could find it at 55 amps, but only for a short time, then it will drop back and the output could be about 25 to 30 amps as it was this day.

I also have a Solar panel, 32w producing over 2 amp on a really sunny day.  sadly this year it has not produced such high output, but it has been sufficient to top up all three batteries, using the X-Spilt, whilst I am not there.

  In conclusion, though I was worried about the changeover from my high performance NiCad batteries to Lead Acid a couple of years back, the X-Split charging regime has meant I have always had lots of power in the batteries and the Nasa Monitor has been great.  After 3 days on solar power, in the rain, we could easily see the battery was at 40% and needed charging, several hours puttering about topped all up.


Fiddler's Green.


Post Script 2012.

I have just fitted another Nasa Battery monitor to replace the small voltage meter on the dash.  It monitors the Auxiliary battery, the one used for all lights and onboard electrics etc. It is a BM1 plus and  has a clever extra feature in that with a double click of a button, it will also give me the voltage of the start battery.  (There is little need to know more than that of the Start battery as it has only minor discharge normally when flicking the Beta over to start and it is instantly recharged.)

Will report back later...