Keeping batteries charged in marina
So I'm on the waitlist for a slip in Seward and have a couple of questions. I assume you leave the automatic bilge pump running while away incase of massive amounts of rain. My boat does have a self bailing deck, but just want to be safe.
If you do leave your battery(s) on to keep the pump running, how do people keep them from discharging while gone for the week? I don't have a shore power inlet on my boat. Would I have to add one? Is that expensive/difficult?
Shore power is an option but if all you are doing is keeping batts up you'll need a trickle charger as well, a good one as over charging is not good for batt life. The trickle chargers at auto parts stores don't last long either, if you do this go to an online marine store and get one made for the marine environment,
The best way I have found is to wire up a small Solar Panel some can even be temporarily mounted and it won't take much of one (depending on the amount of water you anticipate pumping, leaky shaft seal etc. can use more bilge pump time)
I have a small one on the top of the house and tho am plugged to shore power also and in Kodiak where the sun isn't shining much my charger hardly ever runs as the solar panel keeps everything topped nicely. Very easy on the batteries as well
If you have two batteies, how are your bilge pumps wired?
If your lower pump is wired to just one battery, then the other battery should remain fully charged. I turn my battery switch off to keep other things from draining my batteries, but my primary bilge pump is hard wired with an in line fuse. There were a couple times I couldn't get out on the boat for two or three weeks. She stayed dry and batteries were good. Guess it could depend on how long you will leave her alone too.
Self bailing deck should help a lot. My deck is self bailing, and I never had a problem this past summer with my boat in the water. We get plenty of rain over here too.
With the self bailing deck, you should hardly get any water in there to pump out. I didnt have shore power on my boat in the harbor and when I didnt use it for a good while, I would just go start it up and take it for a spin to top off the batteries with the charging circuit on the motor. Depending on what type of motor(s) you have running them after sitting for a while is never a bad thing.. Bilge pumps hardly draw any juice unless they run A LOT!
Details on your boat?
Can you tell more of the type boat you have, Outboard powered, or Inboard with Shaft log thru hull, with Rudder post also that have packing left to a slow drip, etc.?
Any thru hulls for head intake, Sounder Transducer? If you have a simple outboard rig that can be battened down tight it is simpler than if you have a boat with several potential leaks
If you have room for battery banks (2 or more) then you really ought to have a battery switch as Hunt Kodiak is referring to and in that case I would highly recommend wiring in a Shore Power connection and getting hooked in to keep everything topped off.
You'll be glad you did when you are on vacation and hear on the news that it is Rippin and Pouring in Seward
Also there are times in November or February when you will not want to "run down to the boat to check her out" and having a dialed in charging system with more than one "Always On - Float Switch" Bilge Pumps will be a very good investment
The boat is an inboard Volvo penta duo prop. It has a battery switch with two batteries. There is no shore power connection right now. It has a marine head with water intake. There isn't a thru hull transducer, one on the transom.
I am planning on a second automatic bilge pump.
How hard or expensive is it to wire in a connection for shore power?
You are going to need a Marine battery charger, marine AC power cable and connectors.
Not knowing more about how you want the system to work, it hard to help. The reason for using marine equipment is for safety around water.
Not too hard or expensive
Go to Consumers Marine Electronics online, I think its consumersmarine.com and look around, I would suggest a Guest 2620 charger $190 for your batt banks, I've never seen those Guest units succumb to the marine environment and I've gone through a lot of napa ones.
As Rutting Moose says, Go "Marine" on the electrical stuff for sure. They also have all the shore power configurations you will need. Depending on what you want for power boxes on board but it doesn't have to be very expensive to just get power to your charger. Some folks like to have a 60 watt drop light going during winter to keep the cabin dry so maybe a box with two elec connections to 110 would be good
Their salesmen on the phone usually know what they are doing so could help you figure out what you need. The prices are impossible to beat and the shipping is really fast to AK and not bad on wallet either
At the least, I think you'll need a cord (get it long enough 50ft probably is worth it, and get a good one, don't try to make one with an ext cord and shorepower ends wired in), a shorepower inlet box to be installed in a dry place on back of house, and a short bit of wiring to a marine grade elec box somewhere near your engine room or charger mount. You shouldn't be much more than $300 for a worry free installation.
If you aren't a wiring guy you should probably hire a pro to do it, you can't be worrying about a elec. failure when leaving it on while away from boat. They'll not be cheap though. You could probably do it if you read up on marine wiring a bit. Just make sure you make dry connections everywhere and I usually hose stuff down with Corrosion Block regularly to keep the Green Crud from happening.
Easy Way & Cheap or Harder & more $
Shore power connections are almost always 30 amp 3 wire twist lock which is a NEMA 15-30, larger boats and slips could have a 50 amp connection.
So for the out side of the boat you could buy the Stainless Steel cover and Male NEMA 15-30 then on the inside you wire in a standard Duplex receptacle NEMA 5-20R mounted in a out door Handybox and in between the two use a Marine Cable 3 wire 14 or 12awg or a SOOW rubber extension cord type cable.
I have a duplex mounted in the cabin and a duplex watertight mounted under the cowling so I can plug my battery maint charger into it, great in the winter.
Marinco Part Numbers
1 each 303SSEL-B, Boat Inlet screw cover NEMA 15-30P
1 each 12PCM-SC 12 foot cord set (male by female / Nema 15-30P by Nema 15-30P)
X Feet or SOOW 12 or 14 3 conductor cable
1 each Handy Box 2”x4”
2 each duplex 20 amp Receptacle ( 2 if your going to add one in cabin and 1 in the engine compartment.)
1 each duplex receptacle cove
2 each cord connectors
1 each outdoor cover for duplex receptacle
1 each outdoor handy box for duplex receptacle
Go see Polar Wire there in Anchorage or West Marine, now what I did was buy a Pigtail Adapter which on one end has the Male NEMA15-30P and the other a standard house hold female end and wired my boat with a exenstion cord with the duplex receptacles where I wanted them. At home I just plug it in but on the dock I add the adapter. But I'm Cheap
And West Marine has this today
Polar wire has all of that and then some. It won't set you back nearly much.
I also would send a friend to Polar Wire for all your heavy duty Marine wiring, Good Prices and folks who know the business
ALL Your boat stuff should be considered heavy duty as a rule
Also check out ABS Alaskan for Batteries and all kinds of Inverters etc. for marine use. Also real Pros with great prices
Online or ask for Marvin
Marvin is the owner and is rarely at polar. Spends his time at his renewable energy building on diamond. Any one of the staff members should be able to help.