Electrical Systems

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While it's easy to cruise successfully with only DC electrical appliances, it's natural to want the option of using inexpensive household galley appliances, power tools, and work or entertainment electrical devices on board.  Imagine a silent, lightweight, affordable AC power system on a sailboat.  A few years ago this was unthinkable, but the new generation of efficient DC-to-AC inverters have made these type of AC power systems a reality, creating a quiet revolution in the way multihull owners use electrical power.  There a...

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When laying out our electrical power system we often neglect the AC side things. AC here refers not to air conditioning, which many modern multihulls choose to include in their list of appliances, but to alternating current, the same type of power found in a house or dockside. In this series of articles we'll review the various options for providing AC power and the system components needed to make your system functional and safe.Let's begin with the Shorepower supply, since almost most cruising multihulls have provisions for hooking up to docksid...

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One of the best ways to make sure there's always enough battery power on board is to reduce your electrical demand where possible. This doesn't mean you have to give up conveniences or safety gear you've come to enjoy and rely on. Most multihull sailors can reduce their electrical load significantly simply by choosing efficient appliances and operating them wisely. Reducing electricity use before selecting charging gear is similar to insulating a house before selecting a heating system. Reducing demand can get you most of the way toward...

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Sailors in the North American market have become accustomed to the concept of having an inverter (a unit that takes DC battery power and "inverts" it into household AC power) and an AC-to-DC battery charger in one neat package.  At first glance these combination ("combi") units seem to have several main advantages over having a stand alone inverter and charger.  With a combination inverter-charger there is only one piece of equipment to purchase and install, and the cost is typically lower than for separate stand alone units.  Co...

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