Electrical Loads

Sparrow’s electrical system on the load side is now largely complete. New instruments, autopilot, radar, AIS, VHF, mast lighting, and ballast pumps are wired up and tested. A few cockpit switches and NMEA connections to the radar remain. Next year a backup autopilot and the watermaker will be installed and tested. I’m still debating about keeping the legacy Icom 710 SSB. Here is a diagram of the load side:¬† Sparrow Electrical Loads

For some additional detail, here is Sparrow’s electronics diagram:¬† Sparrow Electronics¬†

Satellite communications are not finalized as Iridium should be introducing their new Certus service soon. We’ll see how much bandwidth I can afford. I’ve been frustrated by the small amount of GRIB data (ocean) I’ve been able to download with a regular satphone. We’ll see.

The big electrical project remaining is the battery and charging systems. After some thought, the LiFePO4 chemisty’s ability to efficiently bulk charge is too compelling, so I’m in the process of selecting a battery and associated charge controls. Almost all options are still on the table, but I need to make a decision soon. I will post a discussion of my thinking on the charge system design of the electrical system will be posted once final design decisions have been made.

For the solar charging, I’ve had 6 panels custom made with connection boxes on the underside so the wiring can go straight through the deck. The charge controllers are fully programmable to provide bulk charging only to the LiFePO4 batteries.

Once the batteries, alternators, regulators and relays are installed, testing offshore will be taken to see if a hydrogenerator will be required or desired. Did my best to keep loads down, and we will see how much power the autopilot consumes in what conditions. Electrical consumption and charging assumptions here: Electrical Budget


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