South “down the coast”

Re-cap of season so far…

We got the boat up and running in January and headed south for Puerto Vallarta with stops in the San Blas area and at Chacala Bay.  Oh yes, there was an aborted start for Jim’s shingles…

Once in PV at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, we ran back to San Blas for Xmas and then back to PV on the boat before putting her in Marina Vallarta for a few weeks.

We had some temporary resident paperwork to take care of in Mazatlan.  Since we started the resident process at the Immigration Office in Mazatlan it seemed to us best to continue it there.  We rode bus from PV to Mazatlan a couple times ( 8 or 9 hours each way) then ran the boat back up coast to Mazatlan to finish up the 3 week long temporary resident card application process.

We got a close call when cut off sailing by a BIG grey power boat on Jan 29 or 30 returning to PV.  Near Punta de Mita.  We think it was the same boat which was lost on the rocks at either Punta de Mita or in Yalapa that same weekend…  No news stories on the incident to cite?  Huh?…  The BIG grey boat was a jet boat and had been docked at La Cruz…

After resident cards were done, we got involved with battery problems.  First in PV, the group 27 starter batteries had a problem. A short in a cell on one of the 12v batteries took the # two battery bank out.  One got very HOT and we pulled it out and put it on the dock as soon as we found it.  Tried the other one but both batteries were dead without a charger so we replaced them with a single group 34 AGM SLA battery.  Also since the four GC2 six volt batteries in our house bank were 4 years old and had been over stressed a couple times, we took advantage of friends driving to Guaymas to bring us some supplies and some new batteries…  We went a little crazy and ordered LiFePo4 (lithium) batteries.

We sailed up to Mazatlan and rented a car for the trip to Guaymas for visiting with friends and collecting new batteries, a solar panel, some gauges and misc. boat stuff.  Mazatlan has Carnival in February and we worked around all that.   We had our 10th anniversary (vale-versary on 2/12) in Mazatlan…

New stuff:

Sailing out of Mazatlan, we ran to Bahia Santiago near Manzanillo, a little over 300 NM, before stopping and finding Alan and Liz from sv Vivacia… We played with them and new friends and then ran back up to Barra de Navidad for a few days to provision and do laundry.

We leave for Santiago Bay again tomorrow to catch up with and buddy boat with s/v Vivacia on to Zihuatanejo for the guitarfest…

link:  http://www.zihuafest.info/

Welcome to Zihuafest.info : The Official Website of the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival

Should bring the messed up year up to date…

BUT YOU ASK, WHAT ABOUT THOSE NEW LiFePo4 BATTERIES?

Not much to tell…

We have run them down only 250 Amp Hours at a max so far, we did that on dock in Mazatlan before leaving to head south last week. Since then they have been brought back to within 25 Amp Hours of full most every day either by motoring (charging with the alternator) or by the solar panels.

Alternator charging:  The 120 amp alternator has run up just over 70 amp output maximum so far.  We are monitoring the temperature of the alternator using a thermo couple and remote digital display and see a max of around 190 deg. F. on the alternator body.  We understand that over 220 deg. F. is BAD so we are not uncomfortable at 190 deg, F.  As the battery voltage approached 14.0 volts the alternator charge output amps drop and the alternator cools.  We manually switch over to the starter battery at a LiFePo4 charge of 14.1 to 14.0 volts if necessary.  We have not seen the UPPER knee of the charge curve yet.

IMG_20160225_161553385.jpg

Solar charging:  We have set the float voltage on our new programmable controller to take the batteries up to 14.0 volts as well before shutting down the solar charge.  The new controller seems to be working and we monitor the batteries several times a day still.

We plan to try to do a bank capacity test soon as we can for that BASELINE battery capacity… Plot from pbase.com

0.4C Charge - 12v 100Ah Winston Cell

The Process:
#1 Charging = 13.8V and current allowed to taper
#2 Cell Temps = 76F – 77F
#3 DC Load = 30A constant
#4 Voltage Cut Off = 11.2V / 2.8VPC ( not sure we will go to 11.2 v??)
#5 Capacity Measurements = Ampere Hours & Time At Load

 

FIN

 

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