Saturday, June 27, 2009


Another 1/4 ton pallet of batteries arrived at the house. The correct 8A4D size this time and the wrong larger 8A8D batteries have been picked up and returned to the manufacturer for a credit. Now it's time to move on to another milestone in the electrification of BIANKA. Installing the batteries. The batteries on an electrically propelled boat are the fuel tank that hold the fuel (electric potential) that powers the motor. It's pretty important function. So it makes sense that this part of the system and it's installation be thought out pretty carefully. I've already decided on the battery layout as shown in GOING ELECTRIC PART 15. Now it's time to install the real ones.

I tried to think about not just installing the batteries now but, also future installations and maintenance of the system. Such as being on a cruise and needing to replace the batteries. I am hoping to get at least five to ten years out of the batteries. Their life is yet to be determined. I am hoping new battery technologies will also be tested and proven in the future. Which is also something that an electrically propelled boat can take advantage of. But that is the future. The problem now is how I can install and maneuver the four 130 pound batteries into the hold. It's a lot of weight to be lifting and dropping into the hold and each can cause a lot of damaged to a person or boat if it drops. I then discovered this handy little piece of technology The Forespar Nova Lift:

This solved my battery installation problem. It has a capacity of 220 lbs plenty of safety margin for loading the 130 pound batteries. It could also be used to lift other items like an outboard motor or even a person who needs to be rescued from the water. I was so excited about installing the batteries I forgot to take photo of the actual above deck process using the Nova Lift. But, these photo "simulations" will give you a good idea of what the process looked like using the Nova Lift:

I laid a small 12 inch wide plank below the hatch so I could slide the battery onto the battery platform. This was very helpful.
I also came across something at a surplus electronics website that proved to be useful:
A pair of industrial rollers. They were just the thing to help maneuver the hefty AGM butteries once they were in the confined space below deck. Below is a photo of the first battery installed and the second one is on the plank on the way in.

Notice the small crowbar this was helpful in lifting and positioning the batteries into the correct location. The white grate items on the battery platform are a product called DRI DEK. It is made for decks and floors but, I am using pieces of it here for underneath the batteries. It serves three purposes: 1) It raises the batteries over the heads of the lag bolts securing the battery platform. 2) It provides an airspace helping to keep the batteries cooler and dry. 3) It helps keep the batteries from sliding on the platform. Also note the battery tie down straps for the same purpose.
With the battery installation completed the heavy work is done and I'm moving rapidly toward completion of the electrification of the BIANKA.



Bob Lemke aka "deckofficer" said...


I'm curious on your choice of 130 lb 12 volt, 200 amp/hr batteries. I'm an old guy and would not want to wrestle with 130 lb batteries. The 6 volt AGM 200 a/hr are about 63 lbs, the heaviest I would deal with. If my needs were for a 48 volt 700 a/hr bank, I would go to the single cell 2 volt 700 a/hr AGM at also about 60 lbs. Your a stronger man than me.

Capt. Mike said...


When I was installing the system I knew I wanted to be able to maintain it by myself. So I bought the Forespar lift which helps get the batteries off the dock and into and out of the hold. You may only have to do this once every ten years or so. Once down below the small industrial roller strip made positioning the batteries very easy. If you are more mechanically inclined you might be able to make your own crane system and not have to buy by the Forespar unit.

Bob Lemke aka "deckofficer" said...


You have a great blog that I read often and you document your work in such a way that the next owner would surely appreciate. All I was commenting on was the weight of any single battery. If 48 volts @ 100 amps is all that was needed, then (4) 63 lb 12 volt batteries are easy to handle. You needed more, and it looks like you are not a fan of series/parallel banks for the same reason I'm not, so kept it series only. (8) 6 volt AGMs have a single battery weight of 60 lbs, and give you the same capacity as the (4) large 12 volt AGMs at 1/2 the weight per battery. When you need to really up the ante and want a 700 a/hr, 48 volt bank, it can still be accomplished with 60 lbs for single batteries, all in a series string. I have had excellent results using single cell, 2 volt AGMs, each battery rated at 700 amps, and whatever final voltage you desire, 2 volts at a time.