This has been something we’ve planned to do for some time having had ongoing frustrations with our current low capacity lead acid batteries. These are not really suitable for long term living aboard and we have generally had to replace at least one of them every year. At the moment we are reliant on being able to plug into shore power, or run our engine for long periods every couple of days, if we want to run any electrical appliances on board. We want to be more self sufficient…..
After 12 months of research and planning we ordered new lithium batteries while we we were still in the UK to be delivered to Greece ready for our planned arrival In April. These came from China and were shipped just as lockdowns were beginning. We tracked their journey leaving China and after a few weeks eventually arriving in Germany which was by now also locked down. There they sat for another month before making their way to Poland, then after a further 2 weeks arrived in Athens. Eventually they turned up at the boatyard at the end of May where they were stored for us awaiting our arrival and subsequent installation.
Day 1 – Paul spent all day with his head under the bed, removing two old 12v lead acid batteries and various cables/controllers/chargers and replaced with 16 lithium cells. He connected all battery cells to create one new 24v battery with 4 times the capacity of the old ones. I tried not to get in the way or distract him with too many questions, whilst I was sitting in the cockpit reading my book, I could hear various curses coming from the back cabin!
Out with the old…
In with the new
Making the connecting cables
Day 2 – The wiring was completed and new solar charge controller was connected. Then everything was tested to check that it is going to work as expected, which with great relief it did! Definitely time for a celebratory sun down drink.
Day 3 – We were now able to connect up all of the original boat electrics allowing us to run the fridge continually, lights, water pump and mobile device chargers etc. Something that you never consider on land but when living on a boat, this feels like luxury.
Good news is that we have run the new system for a couple of days now and it is performing just as we had hoped for. With the combination of solar panels and better batteries we are able to keep our electrics running 24*7 without the need to keep connecting up to shore power or run our engine to charge the batteries. We can now make the most of those quiet little bays and remote villages.
This is phase 1 of the job complete, next we will need start planning for the installation of the inverter which should allow us to use some of the larger electrical appliances. You really cannot fully enjoy a G&T at sundown without an ice maker!