Friday, June 8, 2018

Two Battery Banks Are Better than One

First, the useful links:
Fanfare, please! Crown Battery made the promised delivery and we now have a full complement of batteries.

Even without the missing battery to install, there's been plenty to keep the Cap'n busy over the past 72 hours. While SlowBoat's crew has been enjoying the delights of Lyons, NY, Bill has been crouched in the engine room, wrangling wires.

Perhaps his most exciting accomplishment: We now have redundant redundant systemsCap completed all the wiring such that Dragonfly now has TWO electric motor systems (Main Motor and Backup). 

Each is capable of drawing power from TWO different battery banks (BigBank, in the stern cabin, and LittleBank, down in the engine room). 

Plus she has that brand new diesel generator that can also feed the batteries. Pretty slick, huh!?

Redundant is Beautiful

The "BigBank" batteries have this slick new auto-watering
system. No more adding distilled water manually!
If engineering were a religion, one central tenet would be, "Thou shalt have redundant systems."  Before we started our Great Loop trip in 2010, Dragonfly achieved that basic goal. She had both  

  1. a diesel engine (original to the boat) and 
  2. a new solar system, consisting of rooftop panels, a battery bank, and a single electric motor.
If the batteries ran low, no prob. We switched to diesel. If the diesel engine acted up, we still had our ultra-reliable electric motor. 

Now, with this new system, we have even more backup. If the batteries run low, we can flip to the back-up bank. Or turn on the generator to re-charge. If one electric motor fails, we have another. Life is good!

Bye Bye, Radiator, Hello PERCO Switches

Here's one other interesting change on the boat. When our diesel engine was in place, it connected to a very powerful radiator, located under the stern steps. Just like in your car, heat from the engine could warm up the interior of the vehicle.

In Dec. 2010, we were glad to have this feature on our 14-hour voyage across the Gulf of Mexico. Temps were in the 20s, and whoever was piloting had to stand outside in the wind and the cold. So we took 20-minute shifts, turnabout, and whoever was off duty came inside and huddled on the steps to warm up. I remember that feeling gratefully! 

But that radiator is gone, along with the engine. (Guess we can only cruise to Florida in good weather now!) Instead, under the stairs you see neat switches for, well, switching between systems.

Boat guests will be happy to hear one pleasing consequence of relocating the switching systems: when you sleep in the stern bunk, your toes will no longer be tickled by a bunch of wires. You'll sleep much better!

Goodbye, radiator. Hello PERCO switches

Questions? Comments?  We'd love to hear from you!

No longer taking up space in the guest cabin.

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