So the clocks have now gone back, the nights are long and the days are too short. The boating season has now come to an end and we are not visiting our beloved Vessels anywhere near as often.
So are they ok? Well if you are in a marina it is very probable that outwardly they are indeed safe, with dock masters walking around checking the fenders and lines. What about the things they can't check though? The most vulnerable items are your batteries they really do not like to be neglected, nor do they like yoyo temperatures.
So what do you do to protect these hidden power plants? Having a good battery management system is so important to protect these vital assets. Battery management is not about plugging in a charger from your local car shop, they really are not good for deep cycle batteries. Your batteries need conditioning, they need to carry out work. Modern smart charging equipment goes through step cycles, they charge, condition, float and yes they also discharge.
These actions keep your batteries happy. So you need to be plugged into the shore power right? Wrong, mains supplied battery chargers are not your only option. why not think green.
Solar charging over the winter is still viable and actually works well. It also keeps your marina electricity bills down too. We all know that you can buy solar relatively cheaply from the internet but does it do what a boat needs? Well it is all down to the controller. I am sorry, but in my experience the £20 Controllers you can buy from Amazon can not really deliver what is needed. They do charge, but that is it. They generally will not condition the battery. To do this you will need to have a fully programmable multi step controller. The MPPTs we would recommend are the likes of the Victron Smart Solar chargers.
These chargers (yes they are chargers) will Bulk, Absorb and Float just the same as a mains charger does. These MPPT units are more expensive but they are worth the cost over time they will certainly pay for themselves. You will save electricity but more important you will extend the life of your batteries
If you want to know more about protecting your batteries, charging options or any other electrical or electronic query please do contact us and we can talk about the options available.
Ian is the owner of Astrality Marine. A Former RAF A Tech Avionics (EngTech) with 15 years on Aircraft like the VC10, Tristar and Tornado before civilian life took him to work within BlueChip companies as a Lead Engineer. Residing in the Southwest.