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Peter Kennedy has been in  business since 1991 designing, installing and servicing marine electrical systems. The purpose of this blog is to offer support to both professional installers and  do-it-yourself boat owners who wish to undertake this work themselves.
Peter Kennedy has been in  business since 1991 designing, installing and servicing marine electrical systems. The purpose of this blog is to offer support to both professional installers and  do-it-yourself boat owners who wish to undertake this work themselves.

Demo electrical system layout with Victron 24 Volt MultiPlus inverter charger, solar panels and generator

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 2/15/2019 to System Integration
This post shows a wiring diagram prepared by Victron Energy showing in detail how some of their products connect together. I have annotated the drawing with notes and comments.

Please use Victron VE Bus cables to hook up Victron VE Bus equipment.

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 2/14/2019 to System Integration
Please use Victron VE Bus cables to hook up VE Bus equipment. Other brands may or may not work, its really not worth the hassle. Read more....

Frequently Asked Questions about Lithium Batteries

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 2/13/2019 to Batteries (Lithium Ion)
I spend so much of my time answering questions about Lithium Batteries that I decided to put some of the most common questions here for all to see. This is an ongoing project so check back again to see more. I apologize for the randomness of it but when I have enough written I will try to sort them by category

A comparison of Victron 24 volt Lithium Batteries

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 2/13/2019 to Batteries (Lithium Ion)
Its a bit confusing that there are three different types of Victron 24 volt Lithium batteries and this article attempts to explain the difference between them.

24 Volt Lithium Battery Layout

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 2/8/2019 to Batteries (Lithium Ion)
This is a sample labout prepared for a catamaran with a 24 volt electrical system.

Ultimate Camper Electrical System

Posted by Peter Kennedy with Pat Davitt on 2/8/2019 to Camper Vans
This is a link to two detailed articles that appered in the online magazine Truck Camper Adventure. Written by PKYS customer Pat Davitt they detail the ultimate electrical system he constructed for his Truck Camper Rig. He went with a pair of 24 Volt Victron HE Lithium batteries to make a system that runs on 48 volts. The articles give detailed wiring diagrams and specifications as well as background on why he selected the items he did.

How To Avoid Interference Between LED Lights and VHF Radios

Posted by Peter Kennedy with Imtra on 2/5/2019 to Lighting
The United States Coast Guard recently issued an alert regarding the potential for Electro Magnetic Interference between some LED lighting products and vital communication devices like VHF radios and Automatic Identification Systems.

Solar Panel on Sprinter Van

Posted by Peter Kennedy with KM on 2/1/2019 to Camper Vans
The panel is a Canadian Solar 300watt mono-Si PERC. The van is a Sprinter 170. The batteries are Victron Smart LiFePO4 200 Amp Hour Lithium Iron Phosphate. The Inverter is a Victron Multiplus

Using the Victron Energy Autotransformer in a US 120/240 Volt system

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 1/28/2019 to Victron MultiPlus and Quatro
The Victron Energy Autotransformer is the one item we sell that causes the most confusion. Read about how it gets used in a US 120/240 volt system here

Blue Sea Systems fire recovery update

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 1/22/2019 to News
As many of you know, on November 10, 2018, a fire broke out at the Blue Sea Systems Bellingham, WA facility resulting in a total loss of the building including the production area, office space, product, assembly fixtures and test equipment. Since then, a lot of work has been done to aid in the recovery plan. Read an update of the progress that has been made.

Camper Van and RV Electrical Systems

Posted by Mike Hobson on 1/22/2019 to Camper Vans
Camper Van and RV Electrical Systems
Camper van and RV electrical systems comprise charging from the engine, shore power and solar panels. From these sources we can charge batteries or power AC and DC systems directly allowing for extended time off grid and away from shore power.

Why is my Amp Hour Meter giving strange readings after its winter break?

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/21/2019 to Battery Monitoring
Amp hour meters do a great job at assisting the boat owner with battery management.  They provide an accurate reading of voltage and of amps going in and out of the batteries and by keeping track of these readings over time they can provide a reading of "amp hours" or the state of charge of the battery as a percentage.  They also often maintain a record of historical data and can use that to figure out battery efficiency.

Installing a High Power marine alternator on your boat.

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/21/2019 to Alternators
Arguably, there is no more worthwhile electrical project you can undertake on your boat to improve comfort and convenience than the installation of a high power alternator.  Having a high power alternator will provide you with a substantial improvement in the availability of electrical power on board. 

What is a galvanic isolator and why should my shore power system have one?

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/21/2019 to Corrosion
A galvanic isolator is a device used to block low voltage DC currents coming on board your boat on the shore power ground wire.  These currents could cause corrosion to your underwater metals; through hulls, propeller, shaft etc.

How to test a galvanic isolator that doesn't have a monitoring system

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/21/2019 to Corrosion
Galvanic isolators are a bit difficult to test.  Current ABYC standards require that galvanic isolators be self testing.  For testing older isolators without this feature there are a number of methods that can be used, the one that follows is one that I found most useful.

How do I charge two battery banks on my boat and still keep them separate?

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/18/2019 to Batteries (Conventional)
The simplest way, if you can remember to do it, is to turn your battery switch to "BOTH" when charging, and turn it back to 1 or 2 when you are finished.  This solution is unsatisfactory for those who sometimes forget and then end up with a flat battery from time to time.

Should I hook up batteries in Parallel or keep them in separate banks?

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/18/2019 to Batteries (Conventional)
There may be some disadvantages to hooking up batteries in parallel but there are also considerable advantages. The main disadvantage as I see it is that as the batteries get old one will fail first, quite often by getting a shorted cell.

How big a battery bank do I need?

Posted by Liam Kennedy on 1/18/2019 to Batteries (Conventional)
For most people to answer to this is "as big as possible".  Charlie Wing's book the "Boatowners Illustrated handbook of Wiring"  has a very good explanation of how to calculate the capacity you need. The calculations start by working out what your daily load will be both at anchor and while underway.

Using Victron Energy equipment with other brands of Lithium Ion batteries

Posted by Peter Kennedy` on 1/14/2019 to Batteries (Lithium Ion)
Victron Energy offers a suite of equipment for use with their own brand of Lithium Ion batteries. Can that same equipment be used with other brands of batteries? See here what works and what doesnt.......

Upgrading the Firmware in your Victron MultiPlus or Quattro

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 1/2/2019 to Victron MultiPlus and Quatro
This Blog post explains why you might want to update the Firmware in your MultiPlus or Quattro and how to go about it

New forum: Victron Community opened December 2018

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/19/2018 to System Integration
A new Victron forum has been launched – it’s called Victron Community. You can use it for your questions, as well as for helping other people.

A key to identifying your alternator terminals

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/13/2018 to Alternators
This key might be helpful to identify the output terminals on your alternator

Testing your Lithium Ion battery system

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/7/2018 to System Integration
When you have completed your lithium battery system you need to take if for an extended test drive so that you understand fully that it works the way it was designed. Don't assume it works, try it out.

Extreme RV's

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/6/2018 to Camper Vans
Extreme RVThis is a collection of photos of an extreme RV that caught our eye

Important firmware update v1.37 for Victron SmartSolar Chargers

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/4/2018 to Solar
Victron recently released firmware update v1.37 for their SmartSolar Chargers. This fix is especially important for all 150V and 250V SmartSolar Charger models. The BlueSolar Charger range is not affected. The new v1.37 firmware fixes a problem that can, in certain cases, cause the device to fail.