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Electrical system recommendation

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Northwind, Jan 15, 2017.

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  1. Northwind

    Northwind Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
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    Location:
    Norfolk
    I am restoring an old USCG boat (I am posting numerous questions relating to this project).

    The native electricity for the boat is 400-480v 60 cycle three phase. The native electricity goes to a main panel and supplies a number of pieces of large equipment. Transformers then step the voltage down to 120 single phase and supplies house panels. There is no battery system.

    There are a couple of very large and very loud generators producing the native current. I would like to greatly reduce the power needs through conservation and add much smaller power alternatives for less power demanding uses.

    My idea is to add an independent circuit for the wheelhouse that is essentially an uninterruptible power supply for the mission critical systems. I'm thinking of using a Victron Multipass.

    I am considering two alternatives with the other power needs.

    1) The first is to maintain the existing system and have a new generator (small, anchor generator) and battery system to supply the native electricity and leave the existing system in place. All the equipment would technically be hot but the secondary sources would not be sufficient to run the big equipment for long.

    2) The second alternative is to feed into the 120v panels with a transfer switch. This would handle the hotel functions. But, there would be no power to the heavy equipment.

    Both systems require the big generator to make use of the heavy equipment. Alternative 1 may provide momentary use of the big equipment.

    Btw. My use is to remain on the hook most of the time. So, shore power is a consideration but it is not a driver for the decision.

    Any comments appreciated. At this point, I am looking for general direction.
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    How big is the boat and what equipment will you be using?

    Assuming reasonable size, say under 100/120' I would replace one of the genset with a modern, quiet economical 120/240v genset capable of handling most of the loads like air con, appliances, lights etc. depending on the size of the boat and the needs, say something between 15 and 30kw

    If you will ever need to run some of the 3 phase stuff then keep one of the original genset. I bet in addition to noise they burn a lot more fuel...
  3. BartW

    BartW New Member

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    Belgium
    Hi There,

    accidently I bumped in your posts, and had something to say about stabilizers, but as the thread is closed, I post it here,
    I did a refit / installed Electric Zero Speed stabilizers on our 70ft Canados MY (driven from a generator OR the engine alternators through 2 x Victron Quatro 5Kw)
    stabilizer brand is CMC in Italy, I'm not sure if they have a dealer in US
    I have no connection with them, just a very pleased customer

    here is a report from our installation
    http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthrea...neering-question/page37&highlight=engineering
    happy to answer questions about the project
  4. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks. That is helpful. As I indicated, the boat has no general hydraulic system -- all the large loads are electric. So, it would make a lot of sense to continue the theme and stick with an electrically driven system. I'll contact your suggestion and report back.
  5. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    On a separate note, what has your experience with Victron. I have been inclined to use them to update the electrical components
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Are your generators large enough to drive them?

    Quite honestly, I would never touch Italian stabilizers, let alone electric ones. I would stick to something that is commonly used and supported in the U.S. Also, I'm guessing an ex USCG vessel does not have a bow thruster, so if you're going to add one, just add 1 hydraulic system that handles both.
  7. Lepke

    Lepke Member

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    Location:
    US West Coast. Cruise NW Passage to Alaska.
    I have a former USCG 83' but with no original equipment. I use 2 Magnum inverters that give me 8kw of 120/240 1p. I can add to 16kw.
    I had a diesel electric 100' tug that was all 240 dc. Your ship has to be big not to be 240 dc and have 460ac. I assume the anchor winch, steering, reefers, heat are all 3p. You can make a 1p to 3p rotary converter using two electric motors. There are step up transformers but you have a big system and would still need a big generator.
    I think the best plan would be to change over all the living area equipment, like galley, reefer, heating controls. If you have much deck space, and sun shine you could get enough solar house power for living needs. Get a diesel stove. Then you aren't powering a big electric stove every time you cook.
    If you add another generator, use an enclosure and put it somewhere away from the engine room. That way when you're working there you don't have the noise, even in a box.
    Anchor in fresh water if you can. Less electrolysis. Keep the zincs up. The underwater metal would be expensive for anybody but Trump to repair.
  8. BartW

    BartW New Member

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    I'm a big fan of Victron equipment, have it in the boat,
    and we also use them in Outside Broadcast vans, that my company builds.
    imo they are the best, units have 5 year waranty !

    Mastervolt is also good, but a little less advanced,
    (all imho)
  9. BartW

    BartW New Member

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    have a look at the CMC webside, they have installed stabilizers in respected brands such as Benetti, Moonen, ...
    San Lorenzo offers them as a standard option. (I visited that factory some time ago, and saw TODAY a SL at the boatshow in Dusseldorf, with CMC stabs installed)
    Some of these boats travel over the oceans.
    The electric motors are very modern permanent magnet units as used in robots for industrial applications (fe automotive industry)
    I can honestly confess that since their installation in my boat, 4 seasons ago, we didn't have one single issue, nor any maintenance to do !
    If there were known problems you would find them by googling...

    CMC also builds electric thrusters,
    FYI they also build hydraulic stabs and thrusters, but consider these as oldfashion, and for the less evolved markets (their words, sorry for that :) )

    again, I have no connection, just a very satisfied customer !
  10. v10builder1

    v10builder1 Senior Member

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    Centreville/Kent Narrows, MD
    The situation is that you have a 480V 3 phase system and you want/need a 240/120V single phase system (to be compatible with smaller generally available marina power systems and compatible with smaller generally available marine diesel engine generators.

    You have 1 or more panels for 208/120V distribution. I say 208/120V because these panels are probably 3 phase (fed from the 480V 3 phase source(s) via a 3 phase transformer(s). If this is the case, you should change out those panels to 240/120V single phase units, and arrange to power them from new 240/120V generators or 50 amp 240/125V (single phase) shore power using new circuits. I suggest you keep the remainder of the 480V 3 phase system as is, if you want to use the heavy equipment - keep the best 1 of the 2 existing 480V generators for this.

    As an option, Outback inverters and I'm sure others can provide a set of inverters for 208/120 3 phase operation - these could be connected to the 208/120 distribution panels as is, and a transfer arrangement provided. A large lead acid battery bank (at 48 VDC probably) used with these inverters could meet your needs - could be charged via 240/120V shore power, a new 240/120V generator, or probably the existing generator via an existing transformer.

    Best of luck with this interesting restoration - insure anyone doing this electrical work is qualified and experienced. Will the vessel need to be USCG inspected?
  11. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    Thank you. This is very helpful. I thought about using a Victron Quattro to power up each 120 panel. They have an integrated transfer switch. So, the Quattro could decide between shore power, generator and battery.

    But, in light of some other posts, I need to look at other suppliers as well