New Battery Box
Battery Selector Panel
Circuit Breaker Panel
As received, there was no battery box. The single battery was simply dropped into the space under the aft end of the starboard cabin settee. We built a new battery box for three group 24 batteries (2 house, 1 starting) under the forward end of the port settee. This space also houses a triple diode isolator, three battery combiners, and the ammeter shunt.
We placed the batteries forward to get them closer to the center of the boat. They also balance the weight of the new water tank under the forward end of the starboard settee.
One of the advatages to having an Atomic 4 engine is that the starting current is considerably lower than if the engine had been a diesel. Even so, we used quite heavy battery cables to run from the forward located batteries back to the engine.
A new battery control panel with selector switches for the House and Engine busses was mounted at the forward end of the settee. This panel also has breakers for the 'always-on' bilge pump circuit, the head macerator pump, and a couple of spares. There should also be space for a simple AC breaker panel at some point in the future.
This battery selector arrangement allows complete separation of the batteries in normal use or, in an emergency, any two or even all three batteries to be paralleled. In use, we select one or the other of the house batteries and save the other in case we run low in the evening. Virtually all of the interior and exterior lights have been replaced with LED units so that is rarely a problem.
We also built a new house breaker panel with twice as many circuits to replace the original fuse panel to starboard of the companionway. While we were at it, we replaced all of the original wiring except the cabin light wires (which are embedded between the inner liner and the deck.)
Click on any of the pictures for more information on these projects.
For more information on the way we set up the battery wiring, please click on Schematic . This is a .pdf file with the schematic of our original 2 diode / 2 combiner system and a short description. As noted above, we now have a triple diode and triple combiner system. If you should be tempted to try to replicate this setup, please be aware that turning the battery selector switches to OFF does not totally disconnect the batteries from the alternator, though the diode isolators do offer some protection from accidents. If you are planning to do any work on the engine, you should disconnect the batteries first, just as you would if you were working on your car.