Thursday, June 9, 2016

Running Out Of Juice

Wrinkles in her slip at Fishermen's Village

Wrinkles has four house batteries to supply all her electrical needs. Refrigeration, lighting, water pumps, bilge pump, fans, electronic items, instruments and more all need juice to perform. We can keep the batteries charged three different ways.

  1. Run the Yanmar diesel which has an alternator. This is fine when we are going somewhere, but Mike hates to run the Yanmar just to produce electricity when we are at anchor.
  2. Solar panels which work non-stop whenever there is some sunlight. They have supplied ALL of our power since we last used shore power (see #3) back in February. How cool is that?
  3. Shore power - just like an RV we can plug Wrinkles into an outlet on land. Shore power is alternating current (AC) which is converted to direct current (DC) by a boat's battery charger. This is just like using a car battery charger plugged into your outlets at home.

Since Tropical Storm Colin has been hiding the sun these past few days our solar panels finally fell behind our electrical needs. No fans running in the boat when it is raining and 90+ degrees out is not a good thing! No problem, we'll just go to shore power. We plugged into the marina's outlet and waited for the sweet hum of our battery charger telling us the juice was flowing. Listen, listen, listen. Silence is nice, but not when you are waiting for an expensive piece of equipment to run.

Boat spelunking.

Test the shore power coming into the boat. Check. Test the power going out to the battery charger. Check. Ok, time to empty the port lazerette and go boat spelunking. Fun times, right Jim? Mike climbed down into the lazerette and started troubleshooting the battery charger.

Testing the Xantrex battery charger.

The well known joke that B.O.A.T. stands for, "Break Out Another Thousand" has it's roots in the truth. The 14 year old battery charger is fried and will need to be replaced. Not "Another Thousand", but a pricey fix indeed. The good news is the sun is starting to peek out again and our solar panels are back at work. At least we get to run the fans again tonight.


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