Conventional lead-acid batteries are of limited use on a boat. They are not tip-proof, sensitive to deep discharges and are usually designed for strong extraction currents like for the starter. Gel batteries are absolutely maintenance-free. The acid is embedded in a gel, the housing is sealed. They are therefore non-tilting and can be installed in any position. The new generation of AGM batteries are the most powerful and long-lasting power storage devices for the vehicle electrical system. They have a very robust design, can absorb and release high currents, can withstand deep discharges and are absolutely non-tilting and leak-proof. It is essential to monitor the batteries, their state of charge and consumption, in order to prevent the failure of important systems due to empty batteries at an early stage. The best instrument is a Battery Monitor, which displays capacity, charging current and power consumption at all times. The batteries are charged via shore power, alternator, generators and solar modules. Chargers that transform the 220 V alternating current from shore into 12 V charging current for the battery must have a special charging technology with IUOU characteristic. They are suitable for all types of batteries. Reverse polarity and short circuit protection should be integrated.
The performance of the engine's alternator as a generator must be designed for the battery capacity. Especially strong consumers like bow thrusters, anchor winches or electric winches need high currents from the batteries, which have to be compensated immediately by the generator. A solar module is a practical solution to compensate for smaller discharges. Rigid and flexible solar modules are available, depending on the mounting options on the boat. Shadowing of the module, even partial shadowing, should be avoided as this will significantly affect the performance. Rectifiers are voltage converters that convert 230 V alternating current into 12 or 24 V direct current. They can be used to operate electrical devices that only work with DC voltage, for example mobile coolers, notebooks, mobile phones, radios and chargers. A high-quality design is particularly important for rectifiers, so that damaging voltage fluctuations are excluded and continuous loads are possible. Increasingly, inverters are being used on board which generate 230 V alternating current from the direct current of the 12 V on-board power supply. The output of the inverter must correspond to the current consumption of the consumer. An integrated priority circuit for shore connection ensures an automatic change-over.
It is definitely worthwhile to draw up a current energy balance at the beginning of the new season. Often new sources of consumption have been added over time. It may also be necessary to extend or reinstall switching panels. With new light sources such as LEDs and halogen bulbs, the power consumption of interior lights can be reduced considerably. Only the bulbs need to be replaced. LEDs are now also approved for position lamps. Powerful headlights consume a lot of electricity from the vehicle electrical system. Modern headlights with LED technology and batteries can therefore be an alternative.
The wiring of the boat electrics should be checked regularly and measured if necessary. Over the years, moisture often causes corrosion inside the cable, which is not directly visible from outside. verdigris on stripped copper wires and contacts is an indication of this. The conductivity of the cable is thus considerably reduced, which can lead to poorer reception and transmission performance, for example in the coax cable of the VHF set. Compass24 offers high-quality brand products for technology around the on-board electrics as well as boat accessories.