Expedition Expedition Navigation Software

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6/08/2018 10:10 am  #1

Boat Battery Woes

Running a Toughbook & our instruments  offshore, runs our boat batteries down, so we have to charge with the engine in neutral.

Any tips appreciated.

Beneteau First 40
B&G H5000
Furuno PG700
Toughbook CF-53

6/08/2018 12:13 pm  #2

Re: Boat Battery Woes

One trick for the laptop is to use a DC-DC converter (eg car charger) instead of an inverter and the AC power adaptor


6/08/2018 6:16 pm  #3

Re: Boat Battery Woes

Replace laptop hard drive with SSD if it doesn't already use one.
Configure laptop to minimise power use - e.g. shut off screen if it's not being used, set graphics to minimum useable resolution
As Nick says, use a DC-DC power supply rather than an inverter.
Toughbook AC adapters output at 15.6V but maybe the Toughbook can run off 12V directly - I haven't tried this however.
Ethernet or USB rather than wireless connections.  Disable wireless and bluetooth if not needed.

Last edited by David (6/08/2018 6:24 pm)


6/09/2018 2:00 am  #4

Re: Boat Battery Woes

Thanks Guys.  Good advice.

Beneteau First 40
B&G H5000
Furuno PG700
Toughbook CF-53
     Thread Starter

6/09/2018 6:31 pm  #5

Re: Boat Battery Woes

Something I should have asked earlier.  How often and for how long do you have to charge your batteries?  Exceptional in my experience is 1 full hour of charging every 6 hours, more if there is anything going wrong with the battery setup - as there has been on occasion for us.  So the bigger questions are:
a) How long between charges?
b) What is your battery setup and is it working properly?
Incidentally, LiO batteries are showing real promise, provided you don't get them wet.


6/12/2018 9:49 pm  #6

Re: Boat Battery Woes

Last year I changed my service battery from a 160AH AGM (50Kg) to a 100Ah LiFePo (12Kg). and couldn't be happier.  This battery drives all navigation electronics, my onboard PC (Lenovo Thinkpad with 12V car charger) and the auto pilot.
Apart from the significant weight saving the LiFePo has a a few more advantages:
- fewer recharges needed as you can discharge it much deeper without damaging the battery. Therefore the end result is that you have more energy available even if the battery has less capacity (100Ah vs 160Ah).
- quick recharge: the LiFePO charges with up to 70A when using the engine so you only need to run it for a short time to get a fully charged battery again.
- the battery has a built-in battery monitor.  I can connect my phone or tablet to the battery via bluetooth and read out the battery temperature, charge status, actual current drawn, number of charge cycles the battery went through.

Dependent on how much the autopilot is used I only need to run the engine after say 8-24 hours.


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