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Old 02-17-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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How to install AC power in a boat

I thought I'd take a shot and ask this question here being that want to do some carpentry in the boat as well. I was wondering as the subject said, how to install AC power in a boat.

From what I've been told, the simplest thing is to buy an inverter to run small things from that. What I really want to do is run a very small microwave, add a very small refrigerator, small flatscreen with seperate dvd player, and a decent sound system, and perhaps have a small heater which would be rarely used a best, but I'd like to have the option.

The boat is a 25' Wellcraft and I basically want to replace the whole galley set up...which is a four foot countertop with sink and alcohol stove (will be replacing that with propane - probably will never be used).

The boat has a mercruiser 350 in it, so the batteries are constantly being charged with an alternator. There's a starting battery and an auxillary battery...but I'm guessing I would need to add batteries.

So, my question it better to use an inverter and keep it simple....or would be super expensive and time consuming to add a larger system. I'm not sure if the alternator would charge additional batteries, and I don't know how to go about finding a larger one.

Also, if someone could explain to me how to charge two batteries off the same charger, I'd appreciate it. I pulled my batteries in the fall and moved them in the house, but I only have one charger that will shut off and go to a trickle charge.

I realize this may not be the place to ask this, but I thought I'd take a shot anyway. I'd appreciate any help I can get with this.


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Old 02-18-2011, 08:46 AM   #2
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It is certainly possible to install a 120 volt electrical system in a boat, with a male receptacle (inlet) on the side where you can connect up AC power from the dock.

It is certainly possible to carry an AC generator on board whilst sailing.

It is certainly possible to connect a charger to two batteries which in turn are connected in parallel (positive post to positive post, negative post to negative post). But you probably do not want to because the charger will take just as long as it would take when connected to just one battery at a time. Also a charger that automatically changes to trickle charge cannot make the change at the right time for each battery when both batteries are connected at the same time.

An inverter would probably not deliver enough wattage for an electric heater.


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Old 02-18-2011, 08:57 AM   #3
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(will be replacing that with propane - probably will never be used).
Ayuh,... That's also a Bad choice, as propane is heavier than air, so it has to be stored Outside the hull....

I donno if this is cool here or not, but anyways,...
Come on over to,...
It's the biggest, fastest Boating forum on the whole world wide web...
You'll find All the answers to All yer questions about yer boat over there....
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:25 AM   #4
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in order to charge batteries from a 12v alternator connect them in parallel. If you use 10 12v batteries you can get 120v and then all you need is an inverter, and you got some power(if using car batteries ~72000W). the important rating on batteries in amp/hours. However you could do it with fewer but would not have as deep of a reserve. The small alternator on the boat is not designed to provide power. you would need to install a larger unit or to install a AC generator.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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just wanted to say thanks for the advice, especially the iboats thing...I've been looking around for sites, but all I seem to find is bayliner clubs and boston whaler clubs.

I know I need to do my homework before attempting this....the heater thing, well, that'll probably go out the window now. It was just a thought, a nice option to have, but definitely not necessary.

The propane stove thing...I was converting that because the previous ower said he's never been able to get the alcohol stove to work properly. My initial thought was to buy a small coleman gas grill for camping and replace what's there with the guts from that. At first glance, it seems that the grill I mentioned would be the perfect size for that. I was only considering this for resale purposes...and it will most likely never happen, or get used. I have no idea how anyone could cook in the cabin anyway, I have a hard enough time trying to make a sandwich in there with the wave action.

The batteries I have are Trojan batteries, I'll have to look at them to get more information. Once I do a little more research, I'll post again with my plan and hopefully you guys can tell me if it will work.

Allan, can you explain what you meant regarding the trickle charge changing over? I'm a little lost with that....I thought that's how most marinas do it....hooking up many batteries to one charger being that they have all winter to charge, so charging time wouldn't really matter in that case.
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