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Wired on Water: Fully charged for silent running

Wired on Water: Fully charged for silent running

PHUKET: When Octopus Electrical proposed running our 73ft charter catamaran on batteries and inverters, we were naturally skeptical. After all we operate an air-conditioned boat with 10 guests and seven crew in isolated areas of Indonesia and the Andaman Sea. Now, after six months we are more than happy with the results and the guests are enjoying the eco-friendly, quiet system.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 22 June 2019, 10:54AM

The custom-built catamaran now runs with 18 hours quiet time and uses about 35 litres of diesel per day.

The custom-built catamaran now runs with 18 hours quiet time and uses about 35 litres of diesel per day.

As designed, the electrical powering configuration was running one of the two 19kVA generators for up to 24 hours a day, consuming around 90 litres diesel per day. Our custom-built aluminium catamaran was designed with natural ventilation throughout, so when weather permitted we could save on this with up to six hours quiet time per day without refrigerated goods being affected. Now we have 18 hours quiet time and use about 35L per day.

Let us explain the system: A combination of solar, battery, inverter, battery charger and genset delivers seamless power day and night. We are running as follows: genset auto starts around dawn as the batteries are at 10% charge after running our seven AC units and lighting overnight. Our crew are rising for the day and then make use of the genset power to operate the RO watermaker unit and within about three hours the batteries are at 100%, the genset auto stops and the solar power is taking over.

We will then manually manage our main power loads such as the AC and watermaker throughout the day to suit our power availability and guest comfort requirements. What we have found is that providing plenty of ventilation and portable 220v fans throughout is often better than being shut up in air conditioning and not enjoying the tropical environment. However, the option is always available should the guests want to sleep or enjoy watching movies in AC comfort during the day.

At evening time, the air conditioning is started, the battery charge drops further, and then the genset is started at around 7:30pm. Once again we utilise the genset charging time to use the RO watermaker. Genset stops after three hours and we enjoy peace and quiet throughout the night.

One of the impressive Victron features has been the remote system monitoring and back-up support that this has enabled. This has helped with efficiency optimisation and system support, even from remote locations as long as we have mobile signal.

Electrical specification as follows:

• Genset – 2 x 19kVA Cummins Onan

• Inverters – 3 x 3kVA Victron

• Charging – 310A Victron

Smarter Energy Solution Phuket

• Solar – 5,100W

• Battery – 12 x 180Ah Lithium Ion Phosphate

• Solar Controller – Victron MPPT 250v

• Control Unit – Colour CGX Victron

• Battery Management – Victron BMS

Feedback has been really positive from the guests who really only notice the silence and lack of diesel emissions, as the power is always on and available. Excluding the massive benefits gained from extended generator life and maintenance costs, we expect the system to pay for itself in diesel savings alone in less than five years!

– Octopus Electrical Services

See This article is part of the Wired on Water series provided by Octopus Electrical Services, based at Phuket Boat Lagoon, with more than 40 years combined experience working in the marine industry on the latest in marine technology. For more information, contact Octopus Electrical Services at Phuket Boat Lagoon. Tel/ Fax: +66 (0) 76 600143. Email: Visit

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