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32 volt system

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by hpm1, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. hpm1

    hpm1 New Member

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    I am restoring a 1978 Bertram 46 Sportfisherman that was submerged during hurricane Ike. Wondering if I should do away with the 32 volt system and go to 12 volt. Not all components are trash, several have been cleaned/rebuilt and checked out fine. What are the pros and cons?
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If given the chance, I would go to 24 volts or even 12 volts in a heartbeat. They stopped building new boats with 32 volt systems as far as I know around the mid 80's. If the boat was submerged, chances are if many electrical items have been cleaned etc. they won't last long.

    I ran a 58 Hatt YF that was 32 volts (up until a few years ago). Finding spare parts while travelling is non-existant. Light bulbs, bilge pumps, oil change pumps, battery charger etc etc etc. All of these items are getting very hard to find in 32 volts. Your choices in components are limited. You still need a 12 volt source for electronics and such. If you convert, most of these parts can be found at your local west marine or boating store. I probably would convert to 24 volts personally.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    if you have to redo most of the electrical system, i agree, go to a 24V system.

    on a boat that size, i'd stay away from 12v, the wire runs are longer and 24v will have less loss.

    that said, 32V isnt' as bad as some make it seem. Worst Marine does stock some 32v stuff like bilge pumps, some light bulbs, water pumps, etc... not a lot but who wants to pay their prices anyway... you can order 32v stuff online and get it within a day or two.
  4. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    I concur with CaptJ and Pascal but with a caveat: the original 32VDC system utilized a 'floating ground'. If you don't know what that is, you'd best hire a good marine electrician for the re-do.
    Also, those 8V-71s utilized 32VDC starters for a reason of minimizing sheer size.
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Any DC System onboard worth it's salt should be a floating ground setup.

    What is the Battery arrangement with a 32V System.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    four 8V batteries... i use golf cart batteries on my Hatt... four Exide E4800. One set for each engine/house... they crank the 8V71 just fine...
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Newer boats have 24volt systems and crank 8v-71's and even 12v92's with 24 volts just fine. There are even some boats that crank 8v71's with 12 volts as well and utilize 2 8D batteries to crank them (or more). Or you could do like Ocean Yachts (and I think Viking for a period as well) did many years and had 12 volt battery banks and used a solenoid to combine 2 banks to make 24 volts. I wouldn't recommend this system though. 24 volts IMO would make a lot more sense. Perfect example, when we installed vaccuuflush heads in two of the heads, we had to install transformers to bring the voltage down to 24 volts for each head. Same with engine gauges and such.......PITA.
  8. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I once skippered on a boat with 12, 24, 32, 110 and 220 volts all on a 65 footer. Not what you would call easy.

    The reason 32 volts was easier back in the day was that it had more punch. These days 12 and 24 volt are so much more efficient, Capt J is right, 12v92's can easily be started on a 24v motor.

    Just finding bulbs for 32v lighting and instruments is a nightmare.
  9. TedZ

    TedZ New Member

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    Hi,

    Could you explain to me why you say this? **** poor day i don't learn something and i need to be enlightened on this one.

    Thanks.

    Ted
  10. hpm1

    hpm1 New Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. I will most likely ditch the 32 volts; makes it so much easier to find parts and less batteries. More questions to follow.....
  11. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    This is more of a metal boat thing as a non metalic boat can't be used to carry the current anyway.

    A floating ground doesn't use the hull as the negative side of the battery it returns all negatives to the negative of the battery.

    Having the negative connected to the hull ( ground) is like making your own earth fault and will be a sure equipment life shortener.
  12. custint

    custint New Member

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    32 Volt

    What is involved in changing from a 32v system to 24v and 12v
  13. hpm1

    hpm1 New Member

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    32 volt

    You have to change out all your 32 volt components and perhaps some wiring if the amp draw is pushing the rated capacity of the wire. I have found many of my motors to be salvagable so, I am going to stay with 32 volts.

    I am wondering if 2-12 volts + 1-8 volt batteries will work?? Charging issues?
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Definately not, all of the batteries in a bank should be the same size and volts. The 8volt battery would get fried by the 2-12 volts (less cells)
  15. Ju52

    Ju52 Senior Member

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    Stop!

    If you go down with the voltage, you need higher currents!
    With higher current you must increase the wire diameter.

    Switching from 32V to 12V is a No-Go! (for the same power increases current by factor 2.7 !)

    Calculate the currents!
    Check all wires! Do NOT take a higher risk of fire etc...!

    IMHO my 2 cents
  16. custint

    custint New Member

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    32 Volt

    Can one leave the 32v and add 24v and 12v? If so how can this be achieved
  17. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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  18. custint

    custint New Member

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    32v

    What was meant was if I left the 32V can I introduce a separte supply or by means of some type of transformer also get 12v and 24v.
  19. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You really have to look at the economics of leaving the 32V System in place.

    I see that you have another post where you are asking for re powering information.

    If you are going to that major extent of work on that boat changing to a 24V System would make sense as I seriously doubt you would get any 32V Starters and Engine systems today.

    If your batteries are still in good condition there is no reason I can see why you couldn't use 3 x 8V Cells to give you 24 V.

    If you did somehoe find a set of engines with 32V Starting and Control you could also reserve the 32V for your starting etc and have another system giving you either 12 or 24 for other things you wanted to run, charging of these batteries would be an issue if you only had 32V Alternators on the engines. Maybe you could add a second alternator just for charging the 12 or 24V System or run an inverter off the 32V System that gave you some juice for a Battery Charger.

    After reading all that back to myself I say keep one voltage and make it 24V.
  20. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    if it ain't broken, don't fix it!

    if you are repowering, then converting to 24v should work and may be a good option depending on what you have to replace (water pumps, heads, etc...)

    IF you are just considering the conversion because you fear 32v items are hard to find, I think you're wasting your time. 32v itmes like pumps and bulbs are pretty easy to find, most good shops can rebuild 32v starters and alternators.

    that said, there are some things which only come in 12v or 24v flavor. My boat (older Hatt, 32v) uses the 12v inverter bank to power electronics as well as a few items like oil change pump and shower sumps. it's easy to add a 12v or 24v panel for such loads and leave teh original 32v stuff alone.

    an alternative is to use a 32v to 24v (or 12v) converter instead of battteires, although i think the risks of failure are a little higher but obviousy a converter is maintenance free.

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