S1: Episode 10 | Converting Our Boat to Lithium

September 26, 2021 in Gear, Refit, YouTube videos - No Comments

The conversion to lithium was our first bit refit project. See it in action here on YouTube and see our project budget below.

Some people may find it kind of funny that we hired a boat mechanic to redo our electrical system given the fact that Tim is an electrical engineer. But, we did this for a couple of reasons. 

First, he’s spent his career working on control systems for huge furnaces, turbines, and power plants. A 42 foot sailboat is a different beast. Second, we are both still working full-time day jobs, so while we could have suffered through and figured it out with hours and hours of research, many trips to the chandlery, and plenty of blood, sweat and tears… we’re in a position where we don’t need to.

Twelve months from now the money spigot will be turned way down because Tim will retire and I’ll be dialing way back on billable hours. When that happens, we won’t have the luxury to call Mike or some other trade. For now, we can. So, we did.

Here’s a detailed accounting of our boat electronics budget.

EQUIPMENT | $12,361.38

  • Victron 12/3000 multi plus package | $2,860
  • 3, LG 370 watt solar panels | $1,575
  • 3, Victron 100-30 solar controllers | $761.94
  • Victron Cyrix-ct intelligent battery combiner (230 amp) | $119.98
  • 4, Battle Born LifePo deep cycle (100 amp, 12 volt) lithium batteries | $4,160
  • Mounting hardware for solar | $431.76
  • Blue sea 2033 fasteners | $55.98
  • 10-3 anchor triplets | 25.90
  • 12 feet, 10/2 duplex | $132.30
  • 15 feet, black electrical wire | $127.50
  • 25 feet, red electrical wire | $212.50
  • 13, 3/8 2/0 lugs | $32.50
  • 17, 5/16 2/0 lugs | $42.50
  • 2, BEP Marine Pro 5-stud heavy duty bus bars (650 amp) | $201.96
  • Flat stock aluminum for solar panel mounting | $250
  • Waterproof thru deck fitting |$10.98
  • Shop supplies | $402.50
  • Shop wood for trim around display | $55.00

TAX | $855.54

LABOR (with Tim’s help)

  • 9.75 hours to run wires and install Victron multi plus and controllers 
  • 9 hours to install batteries and test inverter
  • 9 hours to install and mount solar panels 
  • 1.5 hours to install displays and finish wood trim work
  • 29.25 hours

Was it worth it? We think so. What took Mike 29.25 hours over the course of four days, would have easily taken us 60-90 hours over a few weeks. And, we would have been frustrated for most of that time. 

What’s more, Mike is awesome because he is happy to teach along the way (a quality that we require of any trade that comes onto the boat). Tim was at the boat working alongside Mike every step of the way. So, on this side of the project, it is safe to say that Tim deeply understands the electrics on our boat.

It was a painful, unplanned project, but in the end it’s going to enable me to keep working while at sea and at anchor.

A hearty thanks for your support! We hope the details we share help all the dreamers our there plan for your own watery adventures! Please let us know if you have any questions about this project in the comments below.


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Meet Gretchen & Tim

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