Thursday, April 27, 2023

Replacing the Coolant hoses

Time to replace the Engine Coolant Hose

While re-installing the Alternator after the new Balmar Serpentine Belt Pulley had been installed, I noticed that one of the two engine coolant hoses were kinked, when Peggy saw that, her nursing instinct kicked in and her urging me to replace it.

I really like Silicone Hoses and found Flexfab - 3/8" ID x 1 ft (Sold Per Foot) 5526 Blue Silicone Heater Hose 10mm J20R3 Class A 350F Radiator Coolant Part Number 5526-038, on Amazon.

I ordered 6' which would give me some to spare, 5' might have been enough.

Also purchased Yoebor Brass Hose Barb Fitting 3/8" Barbed x 3/8" Barbed 90 Degree Elbow Connector (Pack of 2)

Down at the boat it only took a few minutes to remove the 4 hose clamps from the old hoses and then apply a bit of elbow grease to pull them off their fittings.

I cut a couple of inches of the new hose and attached one end to one of the brass elbows using a new hose clamp. Then I attached the other end of the short piece of hose to the fitting on the side of the coolant pump Then cutting another piece of the silicone hose I attached one end to the brass elbow by the coolant pump fitting. One more end on that hose and one hose change out complete.
The other hose fitting on the coolant pump is horizontal and so it's not kinked when it turns towards the other ends of the hoses which are connected to the Water Heater hoses via brass fittings not quite visible in the top photo on the left ( Stbd Side )

With the two hoses replaced and tidied up with some zip ties, it looked good. I probably only spilt maybe a table spoon of coolant as the engine hadn't run for about 4 days. I still ran the engine for 20 mins to make sure it was cooling ok, it was.

It looks really neat now, the hose clamp ends have been bent back so that they can't snag the other hose nor my hands when working on the engine.

I know, time to clean up the engine again and apply some spray paint. It's on my honeydoes list.

Yes, I cleaned up the spillage. :)

See you on the water.

We''re gearing up for the West Palm Beach Regatta next weekend. Just a couple of projects to do, is'nt there always 'just a couple' ??

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Switching to Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) batteries. ( Pt. 4 )

This should be the final report on the installation of LiFePo4 Batteries on Eximius.

Here's the latest status of the install. ( Monday April 18th 2023 )

  • New Batteries - Installed
  • Solar Controller - reprogrammed
  • Victron Multiplus  - reprogrammed

To Do:
  • DC to DC charger - need to reprogram - set the source voltage to start and stop charging.
  • Balmar MC 618 Alternator External Regulator - need to program for LiFePo4 profile.
  • Install Battery Restraint System.
  • Secure Ancillary fuse holders within Battery Bay

That shouldn't take long, installing the battery restraint system will take the most time. The new batteries are less than 1/3rd of the mass of the old Trojan T105's but they still need to be secured to stop them moving around in heavy seas.  The plan is to use one of three methods. Aluminum Bars to hold the batteries in position. Use webbing straps to secure the batteries to the battery bay and, lastly, to secure them in position using plastic wedges that fit the battery bay really well with no chance of coming out of position.

The old batteries were held down by a framework of Aluminum 1.5" 1/4" angle, but they were showing lots of corrosion from the Acid in the batteries that vented out. There's no acid in the LiFePo4 batteries so that should not be a problem I have plenty of Aluminium square tubing, it's easy to cut and bolt together.

The plastic wedges are an easy solution but not as secure as the metal or webbing option. I'll take materials to cover both choices

Another Monday visit to the boat. 

We have 3 projects to complete before our next sail: Complete the battery install, Rebed the Chainplates at the Deck on both sides, scrub down the boat to clean off the grot that was left behind after the major flooding that occured in Fort Lauderdale this past week.

So maybe we'll be ready by the end of the week.

Tuesday April 19th.

Pretty much wrapped up this upgrade!

DC to DC charger programming is complete.

Battery Restraint System installed

Last thing to do is to secure the Fuse holders for the Balmar +ve Sensing wire, the other fuse holder is now obsolete, it was the Sensing wire for the old Lynx External Regulator that has been removed.

The solution is to secure it to the top of the LiFePo4 battery using 3M VHB double sided tape.

Not the best shot. This is looking into the battery bay area from outboard ( Stbd Side ) from on top of the water tank cover.

A better pic showing the fused +ve Busbar and the disconnect switch - I really want to put a cover over the exposed connections on the back of that switch.
A seond pic showing the same area, the -ve Busbar is on the right, it's cover is installed.
Here's a pic showing the battery restraint method.
The webbing straps are secure to Stainless Steel Footman straps on the outboard side of the battery bay.
Note: the screws for the Footman straps are about 1/2" above the top of the midships water tank, I did check before drilling those holes.

That rectangular hole was for the old Lead Acid Battery Hold down System.

The Inline fuse for the Balmar MC 618 regulator battery sense wire is not secured, as mentioned, I'll secure it to the top of the battery with 3M VHB double sided tape.

The white packing foam is just to apply a gentle downwards pressure on the top of the batteries.

So, two things left to do: Reprogram the Balmar Regulator for LiFePo4 batteries and Secure that Fuse holder. 

Today as we had a break in the wet weather today, we were also able to re-bed the two forward Chain plates. We ( me ) also replaced the Engine Raw Water Strainer holder with a replacement as the other had broken months ago and it has been on the list but no need to deal with it. We had a new one in boat, so today we got that done.

Very happy with the way this turned out. Now I need to get an electric expresso coffee maker for the boat - I've earned it.


Thursday, April 13, 2023

Switching to Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) batteries. ( Pt. 3 )

So close - nearly completed the LiFePo4 install 

It was a very soggy day in Fort Lauderdale today but we decided to go ahead and make progress installing the LiFePo4 batteries.

Down at the boat I removed the battery hold down beams and then the 4 Trojan T105 6v batteries. That didn't take long. It took longer to clean up the battery bay box and remove the Aluminium angle bars that were part of the old battery hold down bracing.

As planned, I used the Oscillating cutter to remove a rectangle from around the Battery Disconnect Switch so that the switch could be installed and secured in place with it's large locking nut. Ok, it's not a locking nut, I just have to tighten it down as much as possible.

With the switch installed, next was the -ve Bus Bar, 4 holes and 4 screws - done. Next I cut the existing 1/0 Yellow -ve Cable from the Shunt to fit to the -ve Bus Bar. The wire is 1/0 Tinned Copper stranded wire. The new Terminal just fit in the crimper but I realized that the new ring terminals I had purchased were 1 AWG, not 1/0 AWG, so I only had 3 1/0 AWG Ring Terminals. 

I made a quick phone call to East Coast Electric to see if they had any 1/0 5/16" Ring Terminals, nope! But they did suggest Wards Marine Electrics and they did have them. Not cheap! it cost $61 for 14 terminals. Phew!  Worst, my Hydraulic Crimper cannot handle those 1/0 terminals - Grrrr.

Ok, I didn't want to leave the boat without power overnight while I find a suitable crimper. So I made up a couple of 10AWB wires and terminals to connect the 1st of the 3 LiFePo4 batteries up to power the boat overnight.  That took about 10 minutes and we had power. I didn't connect the Victron Batter Sense wire nor the Battery Temperature sensors, so the Victron is not reporting the status of the system except for the power consumption ( that data comes from the Shunt ).

So the boat has power for the bilge pump, the solar is turned off and there's no shore power also the engine will not be run till we're finished with the install.

I found a Hydraulic Crimper on Amazon, it's on it's way. Should be able to finish the job on Wednesday.

It arrived the next day ( Tuesday ) and  I went down to the boat to complete the install on Wednesday

Looks like a decent crimper, only issue is that the dies are marked in Metric mm2 but their user manual has a conversion chart.

If you watched the weather in SoFla this week, you'll be aware of the major flooding storm we had in Fort Lauderdale - we were on the boat when that started.

The good news is that we installed all three of the LiFePo4 batteries and completed the wiring. The new Crimper worked great. Before we left from the boat 3 of the 4 old Trojan T105 batteries were in the back of the truck. We often hear about the benefits of LiFePo4 v Lead Acid batteries. Well moving the Trojans out of the boat is a task! Getting them individually to the dock is a challenge then onto the dock and up the 5 steps across the lawn down 5 steps out of the back yard and up into the truck took some efforts. I can carry 2 of the 100Ah LiFePo4 Chin batteries in one hand! The weight has a big impact. I'm wondering if it will affect the boats normal lean to Starboard. We're moving over 300lb and replacing it with just over 100lb. True, they are pretty close to the center line, but definitely on the stbd side of that.

With the batteries installed and the wiring complete, it was time to head home, truck windscreen wipers working overtime. I first checked that the Victron system was up and running, but as mentioned, all of the chargins sources were off so I didn't complete the programming of the Solar Controller, Multiplus and the Balmar Alternator Regulator.  Plan was to return to the boat after the storm to complete that.

Thursday - Storm has passed, it dumped 25" yes, over 2 feet, of water, our dock was 20" underwater but the pilings kept the boat from impacting the dock and our normal 8 lines kept the boat in a safe place.

I headed down to the boat this morning but could not get there. The Broward Blvd Exit from South Bound I95 was closed. Trying a detor via Sunrise Blvd and surface streets, I was unable to get to Broward Blvd. When the vehicle in front of me had water higher than the lower edge of their doors, I decided it was nuts to keep going and re-routed back home.

So, will try again another day. There's plenty of power in the batteries to keep the system up and runing for several days, but I would like to get the solar system reprogrammed and turned on, but better safe than sorry.

Another update soon.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Battery Usage Calculator

Calculating the Amount of Battery usage by our boat's appliances

I often get asked about how much battery power we would expect to use by each appliance on the boat.
This is important, we don't want to run the batteries down to the point where important electronic equipment will fail, that includes our Navigation equipment as well as our Bilge Pumps.

I decided to produce a calculator that would quickly calculate the appliance usage.

Click here to view the template ( then click on 'Use Template' )

Just enter your device, it's wattage and the voltage of the power supply then how many minutes it will run

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Switching to Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) batteries. ( Pt. 2 )

Installing the Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) Batteries. 

The story todate.
Over the past couple of years we have replaced practically all of the boat's electrical charging system, that includes the Inverter/Charger, the Solar Charger and the Alternator Regulator. When selecting their replacements we made a distinct decision to chose equipment that had modern charging profiles. ie. Lithium.

Now we're replacing our Flooded Lead Acid (FLA)  house batteries with LiFePo4. 
The old batteries were Trojan T105 6v batteries connected to provide 12v with a total capacity of 450Ah at 12v. However, we could only use 225 of that 450 and even then the voltage of the batteries would drop to where some electronic equipment would experience low voltage problems. That's a feature of Flooded Lead Acid Batteries.

We selected LiFePo4  Chin 100Ah Smart ( Bluetooth ) batteries, but just 3 of them for a total of 300Ah Capacity, however, we can use up to 90% of that power and they will still produce 12v.

Yes! They are more expensive to purchase than FLA batteries, but they should last at least 4 times a long, probably a lot longer than that. Also no more playing around with Battery Acid and no waking up in the morning to see that just running the Fridge and Anchor light all night has drained the batteries to a low voltage state.

Ok, that's the background.

Now the practicalities of the install.

The old battery bay is located just forward of the Galley, almost amidships. And will only fit 3 x 100Ah batteries, otherwise I would be installing 4.

The battery bay is a fiberglass enclosure that sits inside of the cabin seating. Wish I had realized that before drilling the hole for the new Battery Disconnect Switch. I'll have to cut out a larger hole in the enclosure in order to fit the switch.

Ok, so, as always, here's the plan

Turn off all electrical equipment, Disconnect the Starter Battery and Disconnect the Solar Panels at the breaker.
Disconnect the batteries and cut the switch hole.
Mount the Fused Terminal Block and the -ve Terminal block to the inside of the enclosure
Cut the existing +ve Wire that went to Battery Positive and connect it to the Switch
Make a new +ve wire to connect from the Switch to the Fused Terminal Block
Cut the existing -ve wire that went to the batteries and connect to the -ve Terminal Block
Install the new Batteries and makeup the new wires from the Batteries to the Terminal Blocks all of equal length.

Sound simple.
I'll need my Oscillating saw, cordless drill and drill bits, Hydraulic Cable crimper, Terminals, Heat shrink tubing, Heat Gun, Wire cutters, Label maker. The new batteries, Terminal blocks, Wire and hand tools.

Batteries are currently equalizing - all three are charged and are now connected in Parallel and sitting for over 12 hours.  The terminals and heat shrink should arrive today ( Friday ) so looks like Monday will be a good day to do this.

In the meantime: I could be thinking about what we will do with the extra power. I smell a coffee maker and milk frother in our future.  Peggy is even talking about us taking the boat down to Biscayne Bay later this week... hold still my beating heart.


Thursday, March 30, 2023

Installing Balmar Serpentine Belt Kit

Replacing the drive belt on our Universal M25-XP

Our Universal M25-XP Diesel Engine on Eximius our 1987 Catalina 34 is probably 35 years old, it may have been built a couple of years before that. In the 8 years that we have owned Eximius, we have gone through just a few drive belts, but we have had to put up with the Squealing of the belt when the electrical system requested a lot of power from the Alternator and the 'Belt Dust' that is shed over the engine despite the frequent checking of the alignment of the pulleys that are driven courtesy of the Drive -V- Belt.

Over the past year, we have made substantial upgrades to our electrical system, including the engine alternator mounting bracket and the installation of a Balmar MC-618 External Regulator with the intent of installing LiFePo4 Lithium Batteries in place of the current Lead Acid House Batteries. The LiFePo4 batteries can pull a substantially higher charging current than the LA batteries. So having a drive belt system that can drive the engine Alternator is important.

Several of my buddy sailors have upgraded their engines (not necessarily the same engine we have,) with a serpentine belt system. They have been very impressed with the results.

Looking up the details of the Serpentine kits online, I found that one important issue was that the replacement engine pulleys are wider than the existing pulleys by about 1/2".  I checked our engine and confirmed there was at least 3/4" space between the front face of the existing pulleys and the engine sound insulation that is on the back of the cabin steps that form the front cover of the engine space.

I ordered the Balmar 48-USP-M25 Serpentine belt kit from - it has come down in price over the past few months and only cost $472.94 total including tax.

In the online order, I asked if they would confirm that it was the correct version for the Universal M25-XP, their response was that I should confirm the version myself.

A member of the C34 Association suggested that I contact Balmar directly. I did and Mike from Balmar confirmed that I had the correct kit version for our engine. I then contacted and confirmed the order. 

Rod Collins from advised that I should ensure that the crank pulley on the engine is a 3 hole fitting to match the kit. It does ( but I had to go check )

Here's the kit:
I expect to have to remove the Alternator in order to replace the pulley, there's a local shop that can do that.

I confirmed that the Coolant Pump Pulley is replaced by the new one ( the pulley on the left of the picture.

The Crankshaft pulley fits over the existing crankshaft pulley.

Note there are two of the serpentine belts, one is a spare.
Of course, some of the kit components are out of stock. 

Here's the plan.

Remove the engine cover ( cabin steps ) and remove the existing V-Belt.
Try to remove the Alternator Pulley - If I cannot get it off then remove the Alternator and take it to a local shop and have them replace the pulley.

The new Crankshaft pulley fits over the existing pulley, I have already confirmed that the bolts are not seized, so install that pulley.

The same goes for the Coolant pump Pulley.

Install the new Serpentine belt and adjust the belt tension by adjusting the Alternator support arm ( note that I'm using a modified support arm that I had made locally )

Test it, run the engine over the full RPM range, Check for belt slippage ( squeal ) 
Recheck Belt tension.

All done.

RIGHT! Boat projects never go that easy!

Ok, everything is ordered, should arrive by February 25th(ish - USPS)

Our plan ( Peggy will be helping offering moral support ) is to go down to the boat when the kit arrives and get down to it. We're taking the boat out for our sailing club's annual Circle Raft up on March 3rd.  -- No pressure --

2023.02.24 09:00 - Just received notice from PKYS tracking that the package should arrive today before 9pm although it's 'out for delivery' right now.
Our schedule is Busy Saturday, We don't go to the boat at the dock on Sundays, but I should be able to start the install on Monday Feb 27th. It's going to be tough but I was planning an article for the Catalina Mainsheet magazine about the install, that would be due delivery by March 1st. - NO PRESSURE -

1st attempt to install the new pulleys.

Well that hit a wall as expected! I was able to remove the Coolant Pump Pulley and the new pulley fits the drive flange where the old pulley was installed.- that's on the Up side.

I was able to remove the outer pulley on the Crank Shaft ( the existing pulleys are all twin belt pulleys ). Basically I removed the three bolts that secure the pulleys to the crank shaft and remove the keyway hex bolt then use a 3 Jaw puller to remove the outer pulley and expose the original inner pulley.

The new Balmar Crank Shaft pulley is mounted over the existing inner pulley, but it does not fit.
The Original Inner Pulley is 130mm diameter
The new pulley's internal diameter is 127mm
( That's measured with my plastic Dial Caliper, so not likely to be that accurate)

And I confirmed that I cannot remove the pulley from the alternator, so I will have to remove the alternator and take it to the local shop and have them remove the old and install the new. But first I'll have to figure out the issue with the Crankshaft pulley. There's a local Kabota dealer just 10mins from my house and they are always helpful, but I'll also contact Balmar to see if they have a pulley that will fit over our crankshaft pulley.

I put everything back together and ran the engine for 10 mins to make sure all was well. We're taking the boat for a weekend trip starting Thursday (tomorrow) evening. We're good to go.

The task continues.

I finished work early the other day ( Thursday) and went to the boat to see if I could pull the Engine Crankshaft Pulley using the same puller as in the pic above.  There's a heavy duty tab washer keeping the Nut on the shaft, I was able to bend that back out of the way and then used a Socket and wrench to remove the nut. It took a few whacks of a hammer to loosen the nut but it came off after a few minutes of effort, then the puller easily removed the pulley and the 'key' fell out as I removed the pulley from the shaft. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get that off.

Next item to tackle was the Alternator pulley. I didn't think I would have any chance to remove it although I did have a suitable socket. The alternator spins so easily I didn't think it was worth trying. So I disconnected the main battery +ve at  the battery and then  I removed the Alternator putting a piece of Heat Shrink tubing over the bare end of the big +ve wire  so that I could reconnect the battery in order to keep power available to the Bilge Pump.

With the Crankshaft pulley and the Alternator in hand, I headed to Fort Lauderdale to visit the machine shop and battery / alternator shop. 1st stop was Fort Lauderdale Battery & Electric. They have been really helpful in the past and I think that the majority of patrons go there with a 'problem' whereas I've been fortunate enough to know what was needed and they always come through. I showed them the Alternator and the new pulley. Two minutes later it was all done. Barely had time to warm the seat at the counter.  ( Here's a link to the last time I visited them )  Within 10 minutes of arriving I was leaving the shop with the alternator wearing it's shiney new Balmar Pulley.

Next stop was Tropical Marine just down the road from the Lauderdale Battery & Electric shop. They had made the modified Alternator Support Arm ( here's a link to that article ). They are going to turn the Engine Crankshaft Pulley down so that the new Balmar Pulley will fit over itl, an easy fit. Should be ready this week.

So! Making progress.
Important note. A boating buddy also installed the Balmar Serpentine belt kit on his Boat's Generator. Within just a few hours, the belt was damaged due to misalignment, so I'll be careful to measure the alignment when I put this back together. Probably make a separate post about that, but I think that I should be able to shim any of the pulleys outwards in order to ensure alignment.

Waiting on the phone call from Tropical Marine.

Tuesday, March 16th. Got the call from Tropical Marine, it's ready for pickup.

Wednesday: I drove down to Tropical marine before heading into work today, the new Pulley now fits around the Crankshaft Pulley, it's ready to go. Oh, and all of the holes line up.

I'll work on Monday and Tuesday and take off Wednesday to complete the Serpentine Belt upgrade for the engine. We must  not run the engine yet as our Prop shaft has a problem that the divers should fix in the next few days. 

Wednesday March 22nd.
Well, that was not a real surprise! The belt is too long! 
Down at the boat this morning, I cleaned up the front of the engine with some Spray 9 and a bunch of rags, it looks Spiffy.
Next I installed the Crankshaft Pulley, remembering to apply the TefGel onto the face of the new pulley that touches the old Crankshaft pulley. I did not apply the Loctite to the pulley bolts as I wanted to check the alignment first.
Next was the install of the Coolant pump pulley, that went without a hitch.
Finally install the Alternator that now wears a nice blue Balmar Pulley on the front spindle.

Next was to install the new Serpentine Belt over the three pulleys, and there's the problem. The new belt is at least 1cm too long. The alternator would be sticking out of the access door in the bathroom. 

Grrrr. But what the heck, it's a Boat! 

I called Balmar and the belt is 42" long and they have a 41" belt. They cost $74 each plus shipping.

After picking my jaw up from the floor, it was explained how they would exchange the 42" belts for the 41" belts if I mailed them to their facility in Alabama.

So that's the plan.

Oh, there's another issue. The belt tensioner that I made to use on the V-grooved Pulleys that I have now removed, does not play nicely with the new Aluminum Pulleys. I'll have to polish out the scratches on the surface of both the Crankshaft Pulley and the Alternator Pulley.  At least that's easy as they are Aluminum. 

Ok, held up for a few days. I'll mail the belts tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

Change of plans!

My buddy has replaced the V-Belt on his boat's Generator and had the same issue, belts too long. He suggested I contact I did, Two new 41" belts arrived 3 days later and cost less than the shipping both ways to balmar. So I'm not sending the balmar belts back - if you know anyone that wants a pair of 42" 10 ridge Serpentine belts free for pickup or shipping --- let me know.

Thursday March 30th.

Went down the to boat, completed the install of the belt and checked the alignment, looks as close to perfect as I think I can get it. Ran the engine, all worked pefectly, the belt did seem to stretch/loosen a little, but I retensioned it in about 5 mins.

Oh! Forgot to mention: When I used my home made belt tensioner to try and tighten the 42" belts ( unsuccessfully ) the tensioner damaged the alternator pulley surface. Today I took a set of fine files and removed any burrs off of the alternator pulley. Note: Do not use a tensioner that might damage the pulleys!

Once the tension was correct and aligned, I removed the bolts for the Crankshaft pulley, one at a time and applied the Locktite supplied with Balmar Serpentine belt kit. Then did the same for the coolant pump pulley bolts. The final thing to do was bend the tabs of all of the locking washers on the alternator support arms and re-run the engine to confirm all was good - it was. 

Phew, so glad to complete this project. Of course, the engine sounds a whole lot better or is that just that my ears are satisfied with completing the project.

Here's all of the info about the kit, PKYS and Balmar, Lauderdale Battery & Electric and Tropic Marine products.

Balmar 48-USP-M25

Subtotal: $442.00
Discount: $0.00
Shipping: $0.00
Sales Tax: $30.94
Total: $472.94

Purchased from PKYS Inc.

410 280-2267


15201 39th Ave NE
Marysville, WA 98271
Customer Service: 1.360.435.6100 x1
Technical Service: 1.360.435.6100 x3

Fort Lauderdale Battery & Electric

2415 SW 3rd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

Tropical Marine  

Tropic Marine Products
217 SW 29th Street
Fort Lauderdale FL 333015
Phone: 954-779-7038


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Switching to Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) batteries.

Finally - Switching to LiFePo4 Batteries.

Our Flooded Lead Acid Batteries capacity has dropped enough to demand replacement. As all of the Battery Charging devices on Eximius have a Lithium Profile, now is the time to switch up.

    Battery Chemistry: I have spent months researching the Lithium options and the most important is the battery chemistry. Right now, the safest battery chemistry is LiFePo4 - Lithium Iron Phosphate. 
Battery Build: There are 3 formats available.
        DIY Build from LiFePo4 3.2v Cells
        Drop in batteries with built in BMS ( Battery Management System)
        Drop in batteries with external BMS ( basically - Victron LiFePo4 Batteries )

Battery Choice:
The DIY build is clearly the lowest cost, and the highest density ( Ah per given area ) but I'm not prepared to make such a big investment in time to make my own battery system. I want to go sailing.

Victron batteries are awesome, but not in the budget, but if they were, then that would be my choice.

Drop in Batteries with Built In BMs - lots on the market, readily available and very reasonably priced. Many of the brands have been tested to destruction by reputable YouTubers. 

My Choice: Chin Batteries, not only do they get good reviews, are available but I know other boaters that are using them successfully.

Battery Bank Size

I want to use the existing battery bank box. It's under the cabin seat just forward of the galley and is near to the distribution bus bar and the shunt, very little wiring to change.

I could fit a single 200Ah LiFePo4 battery with room to spare or 3 x 100Ah batteries, again with room to spare, but not room for 4 x 100Ah which would be great but just not enough room

 So, 3 x 100Ah Chin LiFePo4 Smart Batteries with built in BMS and Blue Tooth connection to monitor the battery internals.

Here's the Wiring Schematic:

Here's the Wiring Diagram:

Parts ordered, they should all arrive in the next 3 weeks. That will be after the St. Pat's weekend, a welcome break.

The plan:

  1. Drill the hole for the Battery Disconnect Switch
  2. Drill the holes for the Battery Bus Bars 
  3. Disconnect the Lead Acid Batteries and remove them from the boat
  4. Install the BusBars and the Disconnect switch
  5. Install the wires to the BusBars and Disconnect switch and to the Shunt
  6. Install the new Batteries
  7. Make up the wires from the BusBars to the Batteries
  8. Test the system
Tools: Cordless Drill and Hole Saw, Drill set, Socket Set, Digital AVO meter, Heat Gun, Crimper kit, Big wire cutter, Screw Driver and Screw Driver bits

  • Battery Disconnect Switch
  • BusBar
  • Fused Busbar
  • 12v LiFePo4 Batteries x 3
  • 1/0 Red Tinned Copper Marine wire 
  • 1/0 Black Tinned Copper Marine Wire 
  • Nuts & Bolts to hold the Busbar and Fused Bar in place
  • Heat Shrink tubing 
  • 3/16" and 3/8" Tinned copper terminals
Notes. I have ordered one of the three LiFePo4 batteries. I could install that battery but the others should arrive soon.

Everything has been ordered, and the bits are arriving. 

My schedule is pretty full for the next 12 days, so I should get everything by then and can complete the install by the end of the month. 

But it is a Boat!

Update: Tuesday March 28th.
All of the parts arrived except for the 4 Stud Busbar, they should be here in a few days. Meanwhile, the 3 Chins LiFePo4 100Ah 12v batteries arrived and have to be charged to 100% I'm really glad that I went with the Blue Tooth Option, it's really the only way to know what's happening inside the battery box.

I purchased this charger online from Amazon.
It's a 4amp LiFePo4 charger.

The charge status is shown via 4 Green LEDs.

When charging, the LEDs flash in sequence from the bottom to the top.

As the charge progresses, the lowest LED will stop flashing and show solid, that's showing 25%. The batteries came with over 50% charge according to the EE-BMS Bluetooth App on my phone.
So as soon as I attached the charger, it showed two solid greens and two flashing greens.

At the end of 12 hours, the battery was 100% charged and the internal Cells were within 

0.008V ( 8mV) of each other according to the App.

With the first battery fully charged, I started on the second battery.

The App showed it was at 52% about the same as the 1st.

Leaving the Battery on charge, I took the day off to go to our Sailing Club's Family picnic ( I'll put a pic of my entry to the Dessert Contest below ) 

When I came back, the battery was showing somewhere above 75% according to the Charger's LEDs, but the App would not show the battery.

I exited the App and reloaded it, it showed the other two batteries, but not the one on charge. I removed the charger in case that was causing an issue, but nope! The battery's blue tooth connection would not show in the App.

At about 11pm I sent an email to Chins, remember, this is Saturday night here in South Florida. A reply was waiting for me since 1am Sunday morning!! 
The support guy gave a list of instructions to try and get the Bluetooth on the battery to wake up. No luck, Basically 'Bao' advised me to charge the battery for 10mins then discharge for 10mins several times. Did that. Didn't work.

Not being able to sleep, I had run that test around 4am. I responded to his (?) email and went back to bed. I also sent the screen shots included in this email that show the status of the battery that did charge ok.

By 10am Sunday, Bao responded that they would replace the battery! They would generate a return label sometime Monday. It arrived in my email Monday evening.

The battery is now in it's original box and UPS label applied over the old one. I'll drop the box off at the UPS store this morning on my way to work.

If this is the regular quality of support from Chins then it's worthy! 
Today is March 28th. Let's see how quickly the replacement battery arrives.

Oh, I didn't win the Family Picnic Dessert contest, but I gave it a good show.

It's a Pavlova, my Mom made these on special occasions, I think she would have been proud of my efforts. The best critique was seeing the empty serving dish before the picnic ended. 

I'll post an update once I know about the battery replacement arrival time.