Meeting onboard power demands can be a challenge, part 2
5/10/2021

Last week we rolled out part 1 of a two-part article that lays out some of the challenges to supplying adequate power needed to keep electronics and other equipment on boats operating properly. At the heart of the power puzzle is demand by boaters for more and more energy-hungry devices and the limited ability of most vessels to generate and store the juice. Veteran journalist Zuzana Prochazka wrote the article originally for Marine Electronics Journal.

Part 1 got into some of the basic issues related to the problem and introduced perspective from the field. This week we address several questions, starting with what needs to happen at the boat builder and equipment manufacturer level to alleviate the problem down the line?


By Zuzana Prochazka


Let’s start with new boats. A lot can happen calibration-wise when a boat rolls off the line with equipment from different manufacturers working together. There may be Lifeline AGM batteries with a charger from Scandvik Marine. Add in perhaps Victron’s Argo FET charging isolators or an alternator and regulator combination from Balmar. While there is nothing necessarily inappropriate with a more specialized approach, you have a soup of components that some technician down the line will have to ensure are "balanced” to prevent potential problems.

Batteries themselves can be a challenge especially when more juice is needed for add-ons. "In some cases, battery capacity can be expanded by a change in technology from flooded cell lead acid technology to AGM where non-damaging levels of discharge are deeper by about 30% over flooded. That effectively adds some capacity,” says Ed Sherman, retired Vice President/Education at ABYC. "Accurate AC and DC load analysis and calculations need to be done to determine how much change is needed.”

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