SeaKnots

I find myself faced with having a lot of things to charge on the boat. There is stuff plugged in everywhere. I'd be interested in the solutions others have.

My own context: I have shore power in a slip most of the time, a generator, and a large battery bank and inverter. I try to unplug chargers when I'm not using them since the wall wart draws current even when it isn't plugged into its appliance.

I have:
Icom h/h VHF, 120V charger
Std Hor h/h VHF, 120V and 12V chargers
cell phone, 120V and USB chargers
iPod, 120V, 12V, and USB chargers
laptop, 120V and 12V chargers (can charge USB devices)
backup h/h spotlight, 120V and 12V chargers
backup SSB receiver, 120V charger (not used much and can use AA batteries)
electric toothbrush, 120V charger (lasts several weeks on a charge)

The VHF radios last 20 - 30 hours of receive with minimal transmission; I have a fixed VHF w/ a cockpit mic so they are mostly used from the dinghy.

The cell phone lasts a day or two per charge.

The iPod lasts almost a week even when used many hours a day.

The laptop gets used a lot - even under sail. I generally have it in a dock running directly off 12V so the battery stays charged.

Even if I don't use it the spotlight needs to be charged once a week or so; any significant use and it needs to be charged for many hours - 10 or so.

I have some ideas and I've been overthinking this in my own style for some time. I'm looking for a simple and elegant charging set up and regime. Opinions welcomed with open arms. I'll post what I decide to do when I am done.

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Dave, I'd map it all out on an Excel worksheet and focus on frequency of use, amp consumption while charging and 12 vs 120V capabilities. Stack rank them in order of criticality, see which can be charged along with others on a schedule and see where that leads you. Out of all of your devices I think the laptop is the biggest power hog. Cell phones don't consume much and I doubt you'll even know you have it plugged in if you checked voltage drops or amp draw. I typically keep the shore cord plugged in and then do a top off charge on anything that requires 120 prior to leaving on a trip. Not having a generator it forces me to plan ahead the number of days I can go without plugging in the shore cord again. Good luck and share what your plan.
Mike
Thanks Mike. On my boat I'm really not worried about current draw - I just don't want to waste power. I'm heading toward a charging station that runs all the 120V stuff off a switched power strip. Anything that CAN be charged on 12V that NEEDS to be charged I can move to an appropriate outlet.

Mostly I'm trolling for things other people have done on physical arrangements that I haven't thought of. I definitely want to avoid stuff scattered all over the boat.
Dave, gotcha. On our last boat I kept all that sort of gear at the nav table. Actually there was a very convenient shelf and AC outlet above the table that allowed me to keep chargers lined up and plugged in. I used the DC outlet at the breaker panel, which was just below, for cell phones, spotlight charger, etc. Those I charged and removed when done. I'm going to have to figure out how to do the same thing on our new boat as the layout is totally different. She's on land so I'm not concerned until spring but let me know what you do, I may steal ideas from you.
Mike
That's exactly the thought process I'm still going through Mike. The electrics is easy - it's the mechanics of incompatible chargers, stuff you want to hand, stuff you always want charged, stuff you are less worried about, everything you don't want flying around regardless of state of charge.

It isn't a big deal day-sailing. But when you liveaboard or cruise (long- or short-term) it quickly becomes a pain. I'm trying for an arrangement that is more organized and attractive without giving up functionality.

Head scratching continues.
Icom h/h VHF, 120V charger
Std Hor h/h VHF, 120V and 12V chargers
cell phone, 120V and USB chargers
iPod, 120V, 12V, and USB chargers
laptop, 120V and 12V chargers (can charge USB devices)
backup h/h spotlight, 120V and 12V chargers
backup SSB receiver, 120V charger (not used much and can use AA batteries)
electric toothbrush, 120V charger (lasts several weeks on a charge)

Our list of chargeables is pretty much the same as yours.

Our handhelds live in their docks full time unless their removed for use. They're mounted to a bulkhead near a dedicated 120V outlet.

Our cell phone and Ipod share the same 12V plug at the nav station. The ipod is plugged in most evenings and the cell spends every night on that plug.

The laptop is plugged into a 120 strip mounted at the nav station unless we're underway, then its stowed.

The spotlights have always been a pain in the ass. The battery really suffers if you don't charge it regularly. We use it so infrequently that its usually stowed and forgotten. After being disappointed by 2 separate batteries beyond recovery we went to a 2 million candle power light that does not have a battery. I have a dedicated twist lock 12V plug in the cockpit for it. Haven't been disappointed since. Not to mention the fact that it weighs a few ounces compared to a few pounds.

Our portable SSB either gets plugged into 12V or runs on batteries. I can't remember the last time we actually used it with batteries. Usually that's at the nav station in the early AM to hear Chris.

Call us Luddites but we still use manual toothbrushes.

The other thing that's usually plugged into the 120V power strip at the Nav station is a battery charger. We use a lot of AA, AAA and C batteries on board. Most of our personal flashlights and the handheld GPS both run on rechargeables.

Its rare that we're at a dock so shore power is seldom available. We charge all the 12V stuff from the ships batteries. All the 120V stuff gets a hit when we run our generator to heat hot water in the mornings. If need be we can charge the 120V stuff through the inverter.

Most of our power comes from our Rutland 913 and 340 watts of solar panels.

Bill
s/v Veranda
Thanks Bill. I appreciate the list.

I agree with you about the spotlights. I have a plug-in spotlight also that plugs in under the dodger. As you say it's light and convenient and reliable. I have the battery-operated one as a back-up and for night-time dinghy rides. (Hmm - I don't think I have spare spotlight bulbs onboard - have to get a couple.)

I won't call you a Luddite. I dated a dental hygienist for a while and she talked me into the electric toothbrush. Now I like it.

sail fast, dave
S/V Auspicious
How about placing a series of 12V outlets in a panel and that panel gets plugged into an existing outlet. Where you plug it in you place a timer on it so you can wind up the timer and it would just sit and charge everything for how long you wanted?

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