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S&S Swan Maintenance - Electrical Power
21 May 2018 - 18:43
#1
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Electrical Power

While other work is still in progress with our 411 (paint job :-) ongoing), I am starting to focus on electricity. My wife and I are watching svdelos these days on YouTube, the video blog of two brothers and the girlfriend of one that go around the globe in an Amel. They are self-sufficient with respect to water and electricity, having a watermaker, a serious diesel generator, 600 W solar panels and two wind generators. They only occasionally go into a harbor.

With the kids getting older, we want to spend more days at anchor and on passages than in harbors (that said, the harbors and associated villages in the Med are still part of the fun and interest of sailing there). In order to get more self-sufficence, all light bulbs have been replaced with LEDs, the ancient fridge renovated with a new less power hungry compressor, new 40 A Sterling charger replacing an inefficient 25 A one, a Sterling 60A B2B charger to get more out of the alternator while the engine is running. In order to charge our Torqeedo outboarder while on the way, we are now trying a tiny and cheap 150W inverter.

For desulfation of the batteries, I have added a Megapulse, which had a noticeable positive effect on the capacity of our 7 year old lead acid batteries. I used a similar device on my half dead motorcycle battery, which brought it back to life.

For next year I plan to add a battery monitor (PICO?), to get a more precise understanding of capacity and cinsumption.

All of this work was to save energy, or make the best out of land and engine power. What is still missing is a non-diesel way to generate electricity while on the way. It would be fairly straightforward to add a bimini with solar panels on top, but this impairs the lines of the boat. An alternative would be panels to sides of the aft balcony. A wind generator would be feasible, but is not sufficient in its own. The most elegant solution seems to me Watts@Sea, a hydrogenerator, which could be easily fixed to the back of the boat, it would not impact the looks of the boat, but it is expensive. 

I am interested to hear how you deal with electrical self-sufficience, and hope to spark some comments.

 

Christian 028/411 IF

 

 

22 May 2018 - 08:42
#2
Join Date: 31 January 2007
Posts: 50

Hello, Christian!

Check out oceanvolt.com! It's interesting.

Jyrki, Infant (38/014)

22 May 2018 - 13:11
#3
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Christian

Pls note that Watt&Sea also have a pod version, hidden below water.
You already have a powerful charging device on board - your 21" Max-Prop. The charging power is strongly dependent on propeller diameter, and you could expect much more power, some 4 times, compared to the Watt&Sea 9.5", but there are additional complications:
- a propellershaft-driven charging system is required, with a belt pulley added to the shaft or coupling flange. This could well be a combined charging/harbour propulsion system
- it needs to be made sure that the reduction gear allows shaft rotation also when the engine is not running
Kind regards
Lars

25 May 2018 - 08:54
#4
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 200

Dear Christian,

I am not sure it is a good idea to have the prop running with a Borg Warner gear. I think I read somewhere that this does not allow proper lubrication of the bearings? What is dear Professor's opinion on the matter?

To check the battery state of charging I have installed à Mastervolt similar to the present Batman and feel it is really indispensable. It fit easily on the original electric panel.

I also appreciate a lot the Megapulse which allowed my previous service battery bank to last more than ten years. I do not think it is necessary to install one on the engine battery since the current drain when starting does not induce sulfatation(?)

Whishing you a happy summer sailing, and would be very happy to meet you again around Saint Raphaël!

Philippe 41/022 Soeur Anne

25 May 2018 - 16:40
#5
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Philippe and Christian

Quote from Perkins Handbook referring to Borg Warner Velvet Drive gearboxes.

"When oil operated reverse gears are used on auxillary yacht installations care must be exercised when trailing the propeller with the engine or engines out of use.
With the Borg Warner gearbox it is permissable to trail for 8 hours providing the following shaft speeds are not exceeded:-
Direct Drive 1,500 rev/min
1.5 1,000 rev/min
1.9 790 rev/min
2.1 715 rev/min
2.5 600 rev/min
2.9 520 rev/min

Transmisssions incorporating reduction gear must have means of stopping the transmission output shaft from prolonged or continuous freewheeling. This is because the engine, being stopped, does not drive the oil pump in the gearbox. The box therefore is not being properly lubricated."

 

Kind regards

Lars

 

24 June 2018 - 09:15
#6
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Thank you all for the discussion! We are now on an 8 week cruise from Marseille to Scarlino, which will be the new home of the boat for some time. The B2B Charger works like a charm - the occasional motoring puts sufficient energy into the batteries - so far we did not need to run the engine just to load the batteries. The winter project is a battery monitor and maybe a mobile solar panel to allow for extended anchoring.

@Philippe: we will be in Ajaccio in a week, going down to Bonifacio and then Olbia. Maybe we stumble over each other, if you have your annual Corsica visit ahead of you still.

Regards,

Christian

12 July 2018 - 15:06
#7
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 200

Hello Chris, we were indeed lucky and very happy to meet in Campo Moro.

Your 411 looks brand new: what a beauty...!

Latest information after our own cruise regarding the Megapulse.

Checking the voltage delivered while motoring I noticed it was 15,9 volts... (bulk phase of charge) far above normal which is set to 14.5V, and it was the same with the quay charger...

I disconnected the Megapulse and everything went back to normal...

Our Megapulse is certainly more than 10 years old, but this remains a rather strange incident. So let's be careful!

By the way, looking at your deck, I still beleive ther is too much tension in your lower shrouds. Did you correct it? Perhaps another subject for the forum??.

Kind regards.

PhilippeV Soeur Anne 41/022

 

15 July 2018 - 10:54
#8
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Philippe and Christian

"Too much tension in the lower shrouds" - is there deformation of the deck in the chainplate area?
Kind regards
Lars

22 July 2018 - 08:42
#9
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Thank you Philippe - we got the hull awlgripped this spring, which has a stunning effect. We are getting a lot of compliments on our voyage from Marseille to Corsica and Sardinia. The low freeboard, the tumblehome and the narrow hull of a Swan immediately give the impression of sturdiness, and are appealing to the eye. Even our kids, who would prefer the comfort of a katamaran, start to realize that there is something special about the boat.

I will be watching the Megapulse - so far it operated fine. We now also have some operational experience with the B2B Charger. Although installed in a cool place below the navigator bunk, it is getting hot after a while, and switches to half power (30A instead of 60A). When taking away the mattress and the wooden cover it works at full power all the time. I will think about how to improve ventilation. We are now anchoring most of the time and the B2B charger is helping us do that. However, we are in a windy place and the motor is rarely needed - something in addition to the B2B charger is needed. Slowly the mobile phones and tablets of the family are becoming a major source of power consumption.

@Lars: yes there is a bump in the area of the chainplates. It was already there when we bought the boat in 2011; we had the standing rigging exchanged by Nautor in Villefranche. It is possible as Philippe says that the tension is too strong. Is there a way to measure that? My thought is that I can have Nautor check that when we are in Scarlino.

Thank you,
Christian IF 411/028

 

 

 

22 July 2018 - 13:41
#10
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Christian

Thank you for the information.
You can very well check the shroud pre-tension yourself when you are sailing.
There needs to be so much wind that the yacht heels to 30 degrees when on the wind. Tension the backstay to maximum working load, and observe the leeward shrouds - they should stay tight up to 30 degrees of heel, and begin to slack over that angle.
If adjustment is needed, do this on the leeward side, counting the number of turnbuckle turns for removing the slack, (or causing an overtensioned shroud to just slack off), turn back half the number of turns, tack, and make an identical adjustment on the other side, using the same half number of turns. 
If the shrouds are excessively overtensioned, it is advisable to heel the yacht so far that the shrouds slack, and the turnbuckles can be easily turned.
If there are deck bumps also when the shrouds are slack, this is a permanent deformation, and the recommendation is to have them repaired. This is done from the underside of the deck, and requires removal of the chainplate cover and adjacent overhead panels.
For evaluating the situation, could you determine the approximate extent of the bumps, their maximum height, and the location of their highest point? Have they changed over the years?
Kind regards
Lars

 

22 July 2018 - 16:45
#11
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Thank you Lars!

Below is a photo of the bump (for whatever reason it appears upside down in the preview); it is about 5mm. It has not become worse over the seven years that we own the boat. I have the feeling this is permanent after all these years.

Heeling 30 degrees happens frequently these days in the Maddalenas, so I will be able to check and correct if needed.

I have now taken away some tension from the lower inner shrouds, in the order of one complete turn. The tension now feels similar to the outer rod. I will observe it next time we heel, with the backstay tensioned.

Kind regards,
Christian

 

 

23 July 2018 - 05:47
#12
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Christian

Thank you for the photo.
It appears that there is more deck deformation inboard of the chainplates, and this indicates that the chainplate knee end is not properly supported against the coachroof coaming.
Kind regards
Lars

23 July 2018 - 06:16
#13
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 143

Hi Christian,

one point for clarification: you are referring to a Sterling 60 A B2B charger to get more out of the alternator. Even though I am not an electrical engineer, I think the B2B refers to a "Battery t(w)o Battery" charger, and you would have an A2B (Alternator to Battery) installed. Please set me right if I am wrong.

I have both the Sterling 60A A2B and a smaller Sterling 25A B2B installed. The A2B makes most of the alternator, simulating that the batteries are almost drained so the alternator puts out its maximum while simultaneously monitoring the charging according to an IUoU line.
The 2B2 is placed between the service battery bank (aft cabin in the 48) and the separate anchor windlass battery (front cabin). That way I can have short cables between the windlass and its battery, as they need to be strong enough to allow a 125 A max current without burning. The charging cables between the batteries only need to allow 25 A, so even with their considerable length can be much thinner. As the B2B only charges the windlass battery when the service bank is above a threshold which it can only reach while charging, either by engine or by shore power, we cannot accidentally drain the service battery using the anchor windlass.

On another note, can you re-post the messages referring to the shroud tension in a separate thread titled appropriately? I (and I suppose many others) use this forum as a prime source of information, and finding advice about rig tension in a thread on electrical power is ... well, difficult.

Fair winds,
Martin (48/039, currently in hull refit)

23 July 2018 - 07:35
#14
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Hi Martin,

I have a B2B charger installed - it optimizes the load of another battery by using the IUoU loading characteristic. Our alternator only produces 13.6 V - the B2B charger can transform this into the 14V+ voltages to load a second battery properly and fast. The installation is very simple and it is not putting additional mechanical load onto the alternator, which is why I chose this setup. I read in other places that an A2B charger increases the load on the belt that is driving the alternator and the cooling water pump, and if tricking the alternator and therefore the belt load is exaggerated, it may dammage the bearings of the water pump.

Can you elaborate on your experience with the A2B charger? I assume it further improves loading times compared to a B2B charger, and from your post I gather that you do not have any issues with it. 

Your use of the B2B charger for the windlass battery sounds perfect.

I will open another thread regarding the shroud tension.

Thank you,

Christian IF 411/028

 

23 July 2018 - 07:43
#15
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Thank you Lars, I think you are right. In this case some mechanical improvement would be needed to pull the knee end down. I remember another message on the forum describing how this was done. I will look further into this and then post my findings in a separate thread.

Kind regards,

Christian IF 411/028

24 July 2018 - 05:52
#16
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 143

Dear Christian,

thank you for the elaboration; now I understand better -- I think the main difference is actually the alternator output (I have a 14V 120A Yanmar alternator installed). I am still not sure if it would make any difference to the v-belt otherwise; after all, the alternator has to put out the charging amperage.

My experience with the A2B has been very satisfying so far. The setup of the boat is a 120Ah starter battery separate from a 520Ah service bank. I've changed all the lights in the boat to LEDs, and our main consumer is a Danfoss refrigeration unit (with a cooling plate) that draws about 6-7A while running the compressor. Except for the alternator, there is no charging equipment while out of port. Even this basic setup is sufficient that running the engine for the daily half-hour that I used to access/leave anchoring spots allowed me to keep the fridge switched on during the week (towards the end of the week I tend to rely on the cooling plate during the night), and still have above 12V in the batteries after one week. Even in the Sardinian summer, a night in a marina once a week was enough. No complaints here.

One caution regarding Sterling products (my dealer said unfortunately it is a common problem with them): the installation manuals may differ between the languages (I can compare English, German and French), so installation needs a bit of common sense and a wary eye instead of simply an eye on the text.

Fair winds,
Martin (48/039)

24 July 2018 - 09:08
#17
Join Date: 27 January 2011
Posts: 137

Thank you Martin,

what you have achieved is what I am looking for. We also have a Danfoss compressor as the main consumer, without the cooling plate though. We currently anchor max four nights, then the batteries start to drop below 12V. The fridge runs 16h a day, we stop it during the night. Our service batteries (3 x 108Ah) are nine years old now and tired (despite the Megapulse). I plan to replace them later this summer, and also to install a battery monitor to get a better understanding of available battery capacity and more precise current readings than the old analog ampere meter of the boat can provide. The ampere meter for the alternator has been deactivated under previous ownership (it can display 40A max), and the B2B charger only shows Volts, not Amperes, on its remote control, so I effectively do not see yet how many Amperes the B2B charger provides to the service batteries.

I also noticed that the language versions in the Sterling install guides do not match, which is awkward. I mostly sticked to the English version, but also checked the German version here and there.

Greetings from Cala Garibaldi,

Christian IF 411/028

 

24 July 2018 - 10:09
#18
Join Date: 05 February 2012
Posts: 21

Thank you Lars, I think you are right. In this case some mechanical improvement would be needed to pull the knee end down. I remember another message on the forum describing how this was done. I will look further into this and then post my findings in a separate thread.

Kind regards,

Christian IF 411/028

Dear Professor,

 

Is the addition of tensioners under the knees a necessity?

Saw the on some images of other Swan 37's.......

Geert

24 July 2018 - 16:03
#19
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Geert

Thank you for the photo.
If there are problems the recommendation is to support the chainplate knee end properly against the coachroof coaming. Particularly on the 37 the coaming forms a high longitudinal beam fully capable of taking up the loads.
Would suggest the shown tie rod bottom end may be attached to a beam with less strength than the coaming. The settee backrest has large access openings, same size as the cushions, and one is located at the tie rod.
Kind regards
Lars

27 July 2018 - 11:17
#20
Join Date: 05 February 2012
Posts: 21

Dear Geert

Thank you for the photo.
If there are problems the recommendation is to support the chainplate knee end properly against the coachroof coaming. Particularly on the 37 the coaming forms a high longitudinal beam fully capable of taking up the loads.
Would suggest the shown tie rod bottom end may be attached to a beam with less strength than the coaming. The settee backrest has large access openings, same size as the cushions, and one is located at the tie rod.
Kind regards
Lars

Thanks Professor!

The previous images were not taken on my boat, by I saw similar installations on other Swan 37's.

Here some actual images of Tarot.

Until now, I could not see any deformation, but will for sure check where the the chainplate knee ends up for the moment. This will be a winterjod and I'll keep you posted on it!.

Geert.

Swan 37 TAROT

 

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