Monday, April 4, 2022

Our Battery Charger Failed - Part II

 Part II of replacing our Power Management System

Part 1 described the situation: Our Zantrex Inverter Charger failed and would not charge our batteries. 

This part is going to cover the removal of the existing system, installation of the new system and any 'gotchas' during the process. I expect that this upgrade should take about 6 days. My plan is to keep the boat as safe as possible during the process, keep my sanity in check and try to not allow too much project creep. ie. avoid adding additional projects.

In preparation for this task I have spent months studying the boat electrical system, the standards used to today and the theory behind the methods and practices. I spent a Day at a Victron Tour learning about the equipment and gained some good ideas about how to get the most out of the system. I found an online course that allowed me to update my electrical knowledge converting it from my training in the Royal Navy working on Military Helicopter systems. So I feel quite confident about doing the work, however, I also decided to purchase the equipment from a Victron dealer locally that has a good reputation as reported from several of the Sailors in our local sailing Club - The Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club.

Long term I anticipate upgrading our Solar System, this upgrade will facilitate that. If I decide to upgrade the batteries to LifePo4 or some other new battery chemistry, this upgrade will allow that.

Timing of the upgrade is also important: We like to use our boat! We have already taken Eximius out on three separate cruises this year: New Year's Eve Cruise, Change of Command cruise and St. Patrick's Day cruise. We are planning on taking the boat out for the Spring Fling on April 15th and a weeklong cruise down to Biscayne Bay for the Memorial Day Cruise. Of course, if we get the chance well get the boat out when the chance allows. But the first goal is to get the work done before April 15th. So we'll have between the March 21st and April 15th to get everything done.

Ok, time to get things together. The Victron Dealer in Fort Lauderdale is e-marine just off of State Road 84, west of I95. They advised me that the equipment should arrive by midweek March 13th- March 18th. If so, then we should have all of the equipment before we head off to the St. Pat's weekend Cruise.

March 28th. 

e-Marine had nearly all of our gear, We drove down to State Road 84 where their office is located to review my wiring diagram and pickup the equipment. The only thing we're missing is the GX Touch 50 display / control unit. That should arrive in the next couple of weeks, apparently a Thousand of them are arriving in Atlanta next week (1st week of April)

This Bad Boy was the biggest unit and would not fit in the bag, just as well, the bag would have failed, the Victron Multiplus 3000 120v 120A is a beast! I'll have to be careful when we carry that onto the boat.

I took pictures of each unit, with the cables.

Unless the Multiplus is considered, the devices and cables don't look like $2,400, but the magic inside the devices and the Multiplus do.

The GX Touch 50 is missing as mentioned, it should arrive around April 15th and it has it's own cables.

I have yet to figure out how to connect my Laptop or Tablet to the system, that will have to wait till it's all installed. It will either be via the WiFi network of the Cerbo GX, a wired connection (USB ?) or Cat5 cable however, my laptop does not have a Cat5 connection. We'll have fun figuring how that works.  I'll ask they guys on the FB Victron forum.

While waiting for the equipment to arrive, I had another thought about the schematic. I have decided to move the Dual breaker for the 110v AC so that it is between the Shore Power Connection and the Victron. On the old Freedom 20, the breaker is between the Freedom and the 110v distribution panel. 
On the one hand I want to have the disconnect before the Multiplus, on the other, I like having the option to turn off all of the 110v devices with a single switch (which is what we have right now.

The Reverse polarity indicator needs to be on the Main Disconnect switch.  So rewiring the current disconnect switch so that it breaks the input to the Multiplus would also provide the reverse polarity test prior to the Multiplus and it will be ok to just individually break the supply to the various 110v devices (Hot Water Heater, Air Conditioning, Outlets).

Ok, just fixed the wiring diagram, looks very doable. I have checked that we have all of the inter connections. As mentioned previously, I may have to replace some of the heavy duty cables from the Multiplus and the Bus bars, maybe the 110v cables from the shore power connection to the Main Shore Power Disconnect.

The updated diagram shows the new connections for the Main Shore Power Disconnect along with the 110v available LED and 110v Reverse polarity and Lamp test switch. It also shows the connections for the Shunt Power -ve and the Aux connection to the Start Battery - this should result in being able to monitor the Voltage of the Start Battery.  Just an FYI the 110v Neutral and Earth Terminal blocks are the Neutral and Earth connections for each of the 110v devices.

We'll see.

Back to the timetable.
We've planned on going on a Memorial Day Cruise on our boat, so it either has to be finished a few days before that and I figure it will take about 10 days, allowing some wiggle room. So we have to have started by May 18th or wait till after June 2nd.

We're also doing the Palm Beach Sailing Club Regatta on May 6th - May 9th. Which means we have to finished the install by May 3rd, which means we would need to start by April 22nd or wait till after the Regatta.
So, choices are:
Start by April 22nd else wait till after May 9th.

Start by May 18th else wait till after June 2nd.

Today is April 4th. which gives us 17 days to our first Waypoint. 

Of course, I have a bunch of commitments for the next couple of weeks. So I had better get busy.

A sailor with a plan - and a couple of backups. We' re good.

More soon.



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