Nowadays everyone need a ton of electricity on their boats, phones, GPS, radar, AIS, VHF, TV, computers, sonar, windlass, autopilot, freezer, cooler, ice machine and a lot of lights both inside and outside of the boat.
We might not have all of the above but we still use electricity and to make sure that we doesn’t run out of juice to quick we got 3 x 100Ah of LiFePo4 batteries in our consumption bank and a small 70Ah AGM battery designated to start our lovely little engine if need be.
The heart of our power management are the two CTEK D250SE and 120S devices (the two smaller ones in the picture below), together they ensure that we squeeze the most out of our power producers (generator and solar panels) at the same time as they distribute the charging power to our batteries. In case of low power the CTEK 120S makes sure to cut all power to non critical consumers to make sure that we got power to use our VHF and bilge pump as long as possible. Quite nice feature…
If we are low on juice and got shore power available we connect our CTEK M25 (the big one in the picture above) and with its 25A output it doesn’t take very long to top our 300A LiFePO₄ consumption bank.
To generate power we got two 80W solar panels that are connected straight to the CTEK with slightly over dimensioned cables to ensure minimum power loss. More information about our solar panels can be found here –> link.
Every now and then we need AC power to feed our laptops, induction stove, power tools etc and for that we use a Phoenix 12/1200 power converter to produce 220V from our 12V consumption bank. The Phoenix is able to generate 1200W for an extended period and peak 2400W, this is one of the reasons why we use Lithium batteries to be able to pull an insane amount of amps from the system. When we are at anchor and are using our induction stove we pull up to 150A from the system as a reference.
The diagram below try to describe our setup, it was made just a few days ago and has been drawn from several napkin sketches that was made when power network in the boat was renewed before we left, thought it might be a good idea to have. 🙂
There are a few devices that isn’t included in the diagram, all consumption devices has been left out by purpose, they are represented by the lightbulb and the critical equipment terminal represent our bilge pump, VHF, GPS and AIS.
Our Pico Nano is also left out. The gadget is monitoring the entire system so that we know what amount of Amps we got left in our batteries and our current draw or charging level. It’s basically an expensive amp/volt meter connected to the consumption bank and our little 70Ah starter battery. Even if it’s a no-brainer to build one yourself it do have a quite nice display so it might make sense to buy one.
When we are connected to shore power we got two ELCB’s (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker) protecting us beside the one on the pontoon (which I would never trust). One of them is located as right next to the spot where the shore power is connected to the boat and the other one is portable and used when we switch our 220 grid between shore power and our inverter since the inverter doesn’t have an ELCB built in.