12 volt problems

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by joebob88, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. joebob88

    joebob88 Guest

    My plan is to make it to the river and live off the land with my 2 man boat and a trolling motor. The only problem is that I will need to keep my battery charged. I've thought about a car altenator and solar but they both have problems. Any info will help but I know I should not depend on gasoline. Solar power is expensive. I need a panel that will charge my battery during the day and I'll travel at night or find a way to make a altenator work.. I have night vision so that's not a problem.

  2. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    Solar power is expensive in investment, but new applications in the manufacture of solar panels and advancements in microelectronics can maximize the 12 volt system!

    In order to take advantage of some of these new technologies, you will have to invest more than just a little in the begining, but proper engineering in the start of the project will mean years or even decades of benefits! Here's a few tips:

    -Stay away from traditional Lead-Acid: While a mainstay of effective power storage, it's capacity is limited. the average car battery may have at max 800 Amps of available power. At 12 volt, that is impressive, but that comes at a cost of weight (in the neighbourhood of 40 to 60 pounds!) and short cycle life. Easy ways around this are applying different chemicals and alloys to the idea of power storage. Sealed gel-cell batteries, which still are based in Lead-Acid design, but use more efficent electrolytes in a gel solution can increase their cycle ratAe, make them more durable for outdoor use, and are more consistent in performance.

    Then there are alternatives to lead-acid batteries such as Lithium Ion. Companies such as Batteries Plus are skilled in custom making batteries for just about any application as long as you provide them with the best information. Storage capacity is extremly high, the voltage rate is near equal to Lead-Acid, and their cycle life is about 10 times as long. They're more resistant to cold, but are a bit sensitive to heat in comparison to Lead-Acid. Nickle Metal Hydride and even some lithium polymer advancements have been showing promise.

    -Use lower draw appliances. Technologies such as replacing your lighting systems with LED's (Which put out VERY little heat, use about 1/8th the power and last anywhere from 6 to 20 years), using more polymers instead of steel, and reducing the number of moving parts in all of your devices and tools all help reduce power draw and make more use of what you have. Just because you have limited power doesn't mean you can't have the best technology has to offer AND make it reliable to boot!

    -Explore RV's!! No, I'm not saying screw it all and get a Winnebago, but look at what the RV industry has done for mobile electronics, water and waste systems and environmental systems. They've been thethered to the 12 volt monster for years, but have made everything from kitchen appliances to water purification systems work on medium amperage/low voltage draw systems.

    -As Unclerob stated, use the river! Or, more accurately, explore dynamic power options. These are sources of energy generated by the craft itself. As a craft moves through a space (even outer space), it incurs resistance as it expends energy to propel itself. You can translate this lost energy into power in various means. Trains and cars use dynamic braking by attaching generators to the wheels of and engages them in order to use the resistance gained from turning the generator to slow down the car AND generate power! Some naval ships have been experiment with wind generators and "reverse turbines" on board to use the ocean and wind's resistance to power up the ship during movement. There isn't as much real world application that has been brought to the consumer level as of yet, but this field has been exploding in improvements within the past 10 years.

    -Steam. Don't laugh. You're surrounded by water, and there is fuel in just about any form that can heat water (even solar!) It's an effective power source that many inventors and researchers STILL explore and can be made safe and efficent.

    -New solar technologies. Many researchers from the Pacific nations have been working on a technology to effectively "Print" solar photovoltaic cells using an inkjet technology. This is said to reduce the cost of production by nearly 80 percent, and have alot of people in the Austraillian community very excited. The key here is to read up and become as litterate as you can in even the most remote of advancements. Nothing is more powerful than good research.
  3. dirtimdebbie

    dirtimdebbie Guest

    Perhaps you should consider PADDLES.

    Before solar, before steam, before gasoline, they were the primary method of moving a craft on the water.

    SHOOTER Z Well-Known Member

  5. If you will have a bicycle , hook up a 12v alternator to the bike and peddal to charge the battery.
  6. 69burbon

    69burbon Well-Known Member

    It would be very simple using a Delco 10SI series alternator to make a 12 V generator powered by water. I would use a 20 inch bike rim (or two) put together to create a wheel. You could easily create this in advance and place it in the river. It would be more reliable if you could dam part of the river and direct the flow. A small spring coming out of a hillside would also work well and keep you away from passing river traffic as well.

    The 10SI series alternator can be converted to a one wire charging system just my connecting a wire from the Field terminal to the Battery terminal and then the battery lead to the battery positive terminal. Then a negative cable from the battery negative post to the alternator case.

    Keep your power needs to a minimum. Use LED lighting wherever possible as was suggested. This will be adequate to provide power for a small radio and other items.
  7. joebob88

    joebob88 Guest


    The altenator and paddle wheel is what I'm going to build. I then plan on buying a inverter. I use to be the service Mgr. for a RV dealership and have seen many ways to do this but a inverter is pretty expensive.
  8. 69burbon

    69burbon Well-Known Member

    Good luck and make sure to get pics and a full report of the operation.
  9. joebob88

    joebob88 Guest

    Look up hydrobike.com. I removed the bike part and widened it for two people. It has a 4X8 sheet of plywood. a 36 pound thrust trolling motor with a back up 28 pound trolling motor. Since I will be going downstream, I have night vision so I could just drift at night and charge my batteries at daylight. I plan on solar panels as well. I will buy a cheap inflatable boat for my gear and pull it with me. Pic's soon.
  10. rnichol7

    rnichol7 Member

    Re: Thanks

    Before you spend you $'s please consider this: An alternator and a permanant magnet generator are by no means the same.
    The alternator will require a 'spark' to start its magnetic field. In Car this is controlled by the Voltage Regulator, and the spark is provided by the battery.

    When your battery is charged, the regulator 'collapses' the field to prevent the batter from over charging.

    You may wish to look for a 'gernerator' instead. Make sure it is a 'permanent magnet' generator. They were used on older cars and farm equipement.