This continues our look at improvements to marine electrical systems. Following on our feature on new battery technology, here we review re-charging those batteries, starting with shore cords and isolation transformers. We’ll follow with a subsequent review of generators as well as alternators, dynamos, solar panels and fuel cells. As we noted in the April 2012 Canadian Yachting on page 50, new battery technology is increasingly common in marine applications, but new technology batteries need to be well matched to charging systems and first, you need a power source.

Heating and cooling systems add immensely to cruising comfort, whether you boat in cool shoulder seasons or contend with hot, muggy summers. Most boaters learn quickly that extending their season is ideal – Canadian summers are so short, whether you’re on the west coast or the Great Lakes. In central areas, summer is short but it can be hot and humid, and winter is too cold for much cruising in all parts of Canada. Extending into spring and fall makes boating so much more enjoyable, to say nothing of helping justify the costs.

With a source of external power, shore-cord or generator, current still needs to be fed back into your battery banks to reset their chemistry and return them to full electrical output. This requires a battery charger. Here most boaters can rightly claim to confusion. There are dozens of brands available and most products are a “black-box” with little to distinguish one from the others. There is nothing to show a quality comparison or actual performance, save massive ‘spec’ sheets that tell us too much, usually in techo-talk; incomprehensible without an advanced degree.

Batteries lie at the heart of most boats. We need them to start our engines, power our electronics, chill our food and sometimes cook our meals. We rely on them but often don’t give them much thought until they fail. Or outlive their normal lifespan of about five years and need to be replaced. With major advances in new technologies reaching the marine marketplace, let’s take a look at alternatives to the traditional lead-acid battery.

So, I have to open with a joke. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide all the other people in the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t. For the purposes of this article, I do! To be more specific, I divide boaters into two kinds of people: those who want to play in the engine room and those who don’t. Whether your boat is power or sail, you are almost certain to have an engine and every engine needs maintenance and occasional repair.

altGetting the owner of an older sailboat to spend the money on a brand new diesel auxiliary is a challenge for many marine service businesses. Often the costs involved in the purchase and installation of a new powerplant carries a bill that can make most recreational boaters blush and run away. Some vessels, however, are built for the long haul and replacing the diesel engine on an otherwise sound mechanical vessel can extend the life of the boat at a fraction of the cost of the replacement of the entire boat. Newer marine diesels are also more fuel efficient, smoother, quieter, lighter, and pack far more horsepower into smaller packages.

altSmart chargers are not new, but they are getting smarter all the time and that’s a great thing.

In almost every issue of Canadian Yachting, we suggest you add some new or upgraded piece of equipment to your boat and virtually everything runs on electricity. The highest draw equipment onboard would be your windlass, air conditioning and refrigeration, but new entertainment systems, navigation equipment and galley items can all add big load increases.

Complicating this, battery manufacturers are always working to improve the performance of their products and new batteries can change the “charging profile” of the battery bank.

First, if you just remember one thing from this article, remember - never swim in a marina.

Why? Because in a marina, you have people, water and electricity. When everything is working properly, that is a recipe for fun and great times. But, if just one wire chafes through its insulation and shorts to ground, there is the potential for tragedy.

 

diy-electrical-run_hard-smallWe recently spent time aboard a 54' Bertram called the Maple Leaf and the boat's owner made a great comment about his boat. He said that he has not fixed up a used boat; his boat is in the process of 22 years of constant improvement!

I loved that attitude. Bertram's 54 was designed and built as a sport fishing yacht and the only real advantage of moving to a new boat would be that it was new.

diy-electrical-engine_choices-smallThe recent Miami International Boat Show (February 14-18, 2007) was the launching pad for a host of new products, most notably from the engine manufacturers.

Among the biggest news stories in the diesel field was that Cummins MerCruiser Diesel (CMD) has announced that they have started shipment of pre-production Zeus pod drive systems.

  • Cruising in the SeaRay 310 with Canadian Yachting at the 2015 Miami Boat Show
  • Biltmore Fibertoon - Campion Boats - with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Ask the Expert - Marine Solar Panels: Power Considerations
  • Cruising Cape Breton and the Bras d'Or Lake Area with Greg Nicoll of Canadian Yachting
  • Discover Boating's Searchable Dealer Database - with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Trent Severn Fuel Sales with Al Donaldson and Andy Adams
  • Rec Boat Holdings - Andy Gamble on the Merry Fisher with Canadian Yachting
  • Boating Ontario's Al Donaldson on Changes to Trent Severn-Rideau System with Andy Adams
  • NMMA's Sara Anghel talks to Andy Adams about the Industry Day on the Hill
  • Raymarine at 2015 Toronto Boat Show with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Toronto Brigantine Sailing School with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Ron Huibers of Volvo-Penta with Canadian Yachting magazine's Andy Adams
  • Greg Emerson of Marlow-Hunter with Andy Adams at Toronto Boat Show
  • Swift Canoe & Kayaks talks with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Surf Adrenalin Wakesurfing talks with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Battery Performance and Longevity - Ask the Experts with Rob MacLeod and Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Ablative Paints - Canadian Yachting's Ask the Experts with Rob MacLeod
  • Maryline O'Shea on Beneteau Sail with Canadian Yachting's Andy Adams
  • Maryline O Shea on Beneteau Power with Canadian Yachting's Andy Adams
  • Tour the Chris Craft Launch36 with Canadian Yachting magazine's Andy Adams
  • Cruisers Yachts' Jon Viestenz on the 390 Express Coupe with Canadian Yachting
  • Sabre and Back CoveYachts News, Bentley Collins with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Blue Jacket 40 with Bill Bolin and Greg Nicoll of Canadian Yachting magazine
  • How To Winterize your Marine Engine with an Oil Change - Canadian Yachting's How-To with Rob MacLeod

Destinations

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We met Bobby Sherlock in Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island onboard his Hunter 340, ...
We’ve dropped the anchor in the northwest corner of Pillsbury Sound, hard by a channel bisecting ...
Just across the border from Canada’s Gulf Islands – and there’s a story behind that – San Juan is ...
After being without a boat for almost a decade, I decided it was time to own one again. My wife and ...
I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the ...
Dominica has been on “the” list for quite some time now and when I actually get to do something on ...
It’s just so easy to get to Antigua with direct flights offered by Air Canada and West Jet several ...
Some may say that the sailing experience of monohulls versus catamarans is as different as chalk ...
The Presque Isle peninsula is a 3,200-acre – 7-mile long arm that extends northeast into Lake Erie ...
I know of no other boating location quite like the town of Gananoque in the Thousand Islands.The ...

Boat Reviews

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After a week of overcast skies and no wind, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see the ...
It was a particular pleasure to visit the home of Neptunus Yachts in St. Catherines, Ontario to ...
I felt like I’d gone back in time to the War of 1812 when I arrived in the lovely village of ...
We had the pleasure of being invited to the Cruisers Yachts Dealer meeting in Sturgeon Bay last ...
Bernie Luttmer of Swan’s Yacht Sales, has finally had his brainchild come to life, and he tells me ...
The BC builder takes a big step forward with its largest yacht to date: stylish, fast and ...
Modern graceful elegance is what Dufour’s Umberto Felci was trying to achieve when he designed the ...
The very first Sabre yacht, was a Sabre 28 sailboat appropriately named Patience. Sabre repurchased ...
When the time finally comes to do the dream destination cruising you've always talked about, you ...
The Offshore series from Canada’s largest aluminum pleasure boat builder offers practicality, range ...

Environment

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Boating and astronomy can be a match made in the heavens. The inky black canvas above the boat is ...
The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay is a boater’s dream destination with crystal clear waters, ...
New rules severely restrict where and how salt-water boaters can discharge sewage. Is your boat ...
Many Canadian Yachting readers have likely experienced the beauty of British Columbia’s Gulf ...
Many newspaper headlines appeared in the spring of 2012 with these two names highlighted. The ...
Investing in a reusable winter cover is a sound environmental choice and a practical way to ...
I’m on vacation! Things can turn ugly in paradise when you finally reach that secluded anchorage. ...
I've been a pilot for 37 years and spent 28 years flying passenger aircraft for the airlines ...
There's been lots of talk about electric boats recently, but few examples are actually out on the ...
I think it’s a given that as a Canadian Yachting reader, you are passionate about ...

Lifestyle

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You won’t find a prettier site in all of Canada (although I am sure that the west coast sailors ...
Imagine a club that has been around for 125 years, that used to rent their club house, finally ...
If you are ready to start your Holiday baking or just plain need a great chocolate fix these ...
It doesn’t seem to matter if you are on the east coast, in the Prairies, or on the west coast, ...
An easy salmon dish with homemade teriyaki sauce and a Sriracha cream sauce that will knock your ...
Soup season is in full swing and this Tomato Tortellini Soup with Pesto is just the recipe to warm ...
This flavour-infused pasta dish is terrific for any season.  It takes a little bit of prep time but ...
As the season's evenings grow cooler boaters will be looking for heartier galley meals to extend ...
Cooler days and cooler nights make everyone want to prepare something warm and comforting... This ...
This is a simple recipe too.  The only challenging part is rolling up the tortillas without ...

Marine Products

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Pelican Products, Inc. has introduced rugged Pelican ProGear™ Voyager cases for both the Apple iPad ...
West Bay SonShip is proud to announce a new member to the West Bay family, the all-new 72 ...
Weego has announced the launch of its Weego Jump Starter Battery+ for the marine market. A compact ...
LEHR, LLC has unveiled its new 25 hp Propane Outboard to the worldwide press and the boating public ...
The world’s first permanently sealed waterproof camera, the SeaLife Micro HD, is ready for ...
Until now, owners of boats 30’ to 50’ put up with a rolling vessel in rough weather, or simply ...
In a world where frequent system updates for your phone, tablet and computer are the norm, it is ...
The adjustable-width ramp assembles in seconds, features a quick connect system for joining ...
The SailTimer Wind Instrument™ is a new high tech masthead anemometer that transmits directly ...
Just like diamonds, stainless steel is forever. Combining beauty and strength, stainless steel ...