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This volume provides an introduction to the 12-volt electrical systems used on small boats to power everything from reading lights to bilge pumps. Written for boaters who are not skilled electricians, the book explains how 12-volt systems work and how to install, maintain and troubleshoot them. Since the book first came out in 1985, there have been major changes in everything from battery technology to terminal design. This revised second edition addresses major developments in several areas. The marine battery – the heart of the 12-volt system – has evolved considerably since 1985. The previous edition only covered traditional “flooded cell” batteries, which are based on liquid sulphuric acid. Flooded batteries require ventilation and maintenance, they are relatively fragile and they can release dangerous acid if damaged or overturned. The latest technology, the absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, uses a glass filling instead of acid between the battery plates. AGM batteries are rugged, maintenance free and can be installed at any angle. (The “gel-cell” battery is based on a similar technology and offers the same benefits). A whole new generation of devices has also developed to charge batteries: AGM and gel-cell batteries have different charging requirements, and batteries of all types perform better if charged in precise phases by modern equipment. Likewise, inverters have grown enormously in popularity since the first edition, which only treats them briefly. (Inverters take 12-volt DC power stored in the boat’s battery and convert it to 120-volt AC power so that household appliances can be used Other major topics that are covered in this new edition include: new wiring conventions; the current generation of fuses, breakers and panels; modern test gear for troubleshooting; and the current generation of solar panels and wind generators.
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