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Beneteau 311 creative battery locations

Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
After several years, I am getting tired of the exaggerated list to starboard in my 311, along with the weight and space my current batteries take up. I am looking at a Lithium-based system, and have the design mostly done. The new system takes up far less space (one battery!) and provides a much nicer solution for all of the power hungry junk I've added to the boat.

I'm interested in any 311 or similarly laid out boats and locations for your batteries.

The factory location for the 311 is inside the engine room underneath the stairs, and is very compact and hot. I have one G31 battery there.

I've also added two more batteries in the lazarette which have caused more list than the usual expected with this vintage 311. Those I want to remove.

I also have an odd item taking up a wealth of space in the main salon. Under the galley sink and storage area, I have a 12,000 BTU AC-power only air conditioner. It has through hulls for cooling and hot water rejection, and is absolutely amazing at cooling the boat - why wouldn't it! It's 12,000 BTU for a pretty tiny space! It can do some heating, but is very inefficient and generally just turns into a big dehumidifier.

The previous owner put this in because the boat was in a very hot climate. I am in the Seattle, Washington area, and while we have used it many times at the dock, I think it takes up far too much room for what it is.

I am considering removing it and placing my lithium battery, inverter, and related control systems there. It would be far more than adequate.

I have no starting battery at this time - I eliminated that a few years ago in favor of one large house bank, which has worked OK. In this new config, I would put a small Odyssey such as the PC925 (http://www.odysseybatteries.com/pc925.htm) starting battery under the steps in the original factory battery location.

Anyone else have creative battery locations in a 311?

I think 323s or something similar have deeper storage areas in the aft cabin, which the 311 does not. I could fit a tiny Odyssey battery perhaps in those spaces, but not much else.
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
2,048
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
323s do not have a particularly deep storage area under the aft cabin.
My boat has one battery located in front of the engine, oddly enough designated as the house battery. The second battery is under the aft cabin bunk immediately behind the engine and at the port side of the prop shaft, about as close to the centerline as it could be. When I replaced the batteries with slightly larger ones I had to modify the bunk floorboards to provide clearance over the cable lugs.
The 323 I have floats on its lines with virtually no list, probably because the amount of “stuff” I have in the starboard lazarette counterbalances the batteries. (gotta clean that out again one of these days).
 
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Feb 21, 2010
285
Beneteau 31 St-Lawrence river
I also have a battery bank of two 6V in the lazarette pf my 31. I have found that if I keep the rear water tank full, the fuel less than half and the septic as empty as possible the boat will actually go slightly to port.
When cruising and with septic filling and water going down we go back to starboard...
Batteries are heavy but fluids also and the 31 carries a lot of fluids.
 
Jan 22, 2008
8,007
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
Since Doug mentioned it, though I don't know if the 311 has the same floor pan molding as the 323... Under the aft bunk there are two plywood partitions about a foot out from- and parallel to- the drive shaft. Outboard of the of the starboard side one, I placed my 3rd 31 battery. Yeah, it is on a bit of a slope, but I have the fillers on the uphill side. Chuck in NJ had placed 2 x 6 under the companionway stairs, in front of the engine.
 
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Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
The 311 aft bunk, at least mine, has very little space for batteries underneath. I think the deepest location would be 6", and that would be on the starboard side directly behind the engine and near the drive shaft. I might be able to find some custom shaped batteries to fit in there, but it would be a tiny amount of amp hours. The rest is much shallower, and of course is all sorts of crazy angles as the stern slopes around. In addition, there are a ton of thru hulls in the way at some of the deepest parts even if I wanted to use that space.

There would be no change of fitting a G31 size battery anywhere in those areas. I think the 323 and 311 have different aft cabin depths/heights - at least from this it sounds like it.

I also would not want to build the floor up in this bunk as it is already a bit claustrophobic, and I like how it is laid out now.

There is room in front of the engine under the companionway steps for one G31, maybe a slightly larger battery, but that's it. That is where I will put my start battery.

IMG_0834.jpg


This is a terrible picture, but this is the air conditioner underneath the galley sink and storage area. The space is 23" deep by 19" wide by 16" tall. I'm not sure what stock 311s have here, but I suspect it was storage. That is a really big storage area as far as boats this size go.

galley and AC vent copy.jpg

Here's another view - the area in question is under the galley sink and the storage area to the left. You can see the door on the far lower left. It already has a vent and screen in it for air intake into the AC unit. I would likely put a quiet fan in that opening to help circulate air.

The AC install also took up a big storage cabinet you can see in the upper right - it looks like a door but it has a big vent in it. I would get this back which the rest of the crew would love from the storage perspective.

I think the biggest benefit is that the two G31s in the lazarette (75lbs each) and the inverter (25lbs) plus other associated stuff (10lbs) would no longer be in the lazarette on the listing starboard side. That's 185lbs of weight that is quite high up and on the outboard edge of the boat that would be removed.

Instead, 112lbs of lithium battery and 40lbs of inverter (total of 152lbs) would be on the port side, very low to the water, and nearer the center of the boat.

The starboard lazarette is always going to be one of my primary storage locations since it is so huge and the main storage outside. But at least with this weight on the opposite side, I think I might actually be able to correct the usual Beneteau list.
 
Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
Here are a few more photos.
DSC06600.jpg

This is the stern berth. You can see the space underneath the bedding. That is the deepest area. All of the other areas are far shallower, have thru hulls in them, or diesel fuel filters, etc.
DSC06605.jpg

Here is that area opened up. The pump in here is the sea water pump for the AC unit, which would be coming out. The deepest spot is about 9.5" but only for a small portion. By 6" further along, it's less than 6", so a standard G31 would never fit in here.
DSC06598.jpg

Here's a better photo of the storage unit under the galley with the AC unit in it.
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
Steve there is an A/C vent that mounts on the shelf behind the settee which will give you an air discharge and free up that stowage cabinet. Sorry can’t link to an example. Like that centerline sink and tucked in galley! Salty.
 
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Aug 20, 2013
161
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
Steve,

Attached is a picture of the battery layout in my 311. There are two Group 24 batteries in there. The picture was taken with the battery box covers and some of the battery post caps removed, just before I changed out one of the batteries from the previous owner. There are two battery switches behind the engine above the rear opening. I thought this arrangement was standard (page 44 in the manual).

I have experimented with more exotic batteries in the bast, such as AGM, but now I just buy solid deep cycle batteries (not dual purpose) with the most pounds of lead per battery I can find. They have plenty of oomph for starting the engine even in freezing weather. I don't have air conditioning and I don't run the refrigerator except while the engine is running or at the dock, so these two batteries are enough to get me through a night of sailing. I have been watching the development of carbon-lead batteries with interest, but they haven't come out for retail buyers yet.

I run the batteries in parallel (both at the same time) rather than keep one in reserve. They don't draw down nearly as quickly this way but I am careful to keep an eye on the voltage so I don't run out. It's theoretically possible to start the engine with very little power using the valve lifter/unloaders, but I've never tried it.

If I were going to put in a third battery I would probably put it under the port settee seat just in front of the galley sink. It's close to the center of the boat and not too far from the engine. I'd have to install a battery housing, and tie-down location there.

I haven't looked at lithium batteries for a few years. At the time they were grossly expensive compared to my two $70 batteries, and required a sophisticated battery and charging management system that I don't have. I also looked at batteries as an alternative to a generator for my house, as we have unreliable power where I live (Northwest Ohio) and all my neighbors have generators. The batteries were a lot of money for a few hours of power (Sonnen battery system, I think). How much have the lithium batteries improved for boats? If I'd have to put a couple thousand into it I'd have to trade that off against a new sail, life raft, or maybe an AIS system.
 

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Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
Steve there is an A/C vent that mounts on the shelf behind the settee which will give you an air discharge and free up that stowage cabinet. Sorry can’t link to an example. Like that centerline sink and tucked in galley! Salty.
Ah that is a great idea actually, regardless of whether I use that space below for the batteries, which is looking less likely after the last couple of days of work. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
Steve,

Attached is a picture of the battery layout in my 311. There are two Group 24 batteries in there. The picture was taken with the battery box covers and some of the battery post caps removed, just before I changed out one of the batteries from the previous owner. There are two battery switches behind the engine above the rear opening. I thought this arrangement was standard (page 44 in the manual).
Interesting, my battery area is definitely different than yours. What year / hull # is your 311?

Yours is much wider than mine, pictured below. Yours appears to be inset/cut out all the way past the points where the stairs are attached and well beyond the stringers/structure the engine mounts are attached to. Strange how much variance there is even with the same model!

I can fit one G31 in here, but definitely not two G24 without them being at angles and not well tied down. When I purchased Grace, the PO had a single G24 for the whole boat here for both starting and house loads, which was not adequate. I have the same two switches as well, but they were wired very badly - I fixed that two years ago with my power system upgrade.

IMG_0885.jpg

I run the batteries in parallel (both at the same time) rather than keep one in reserve. They don't draw down nearly as quickly this way but I am careful to keep an eye on the voltage so I don't run out. It's theoretically possible to start the engine with very little power using the valve lifter/unloaders, but I've never tried it.
I have 3x batteries and use them as both house and starting, and will be changing that with the new setup and going back to a dedicated start battery in the engine room space. While I like having more capacity, I am constantly watching and monitoring to make sure we have enough juice to start the engine. I also carry a small emergency start battery device for this purpose, but I would prefer not to have to mess with this in an emergency.

If I were going to put in a third battery I would probably put it under the port settee seat just in front of the galley sink. It's close to the center of the boat and not too far from the engine. I'd have to install a battery housing, and tie-down location there.
I looked at this area yesterday for many hours and it would be great for quite a bit of battery capacity, and most of the cable runs would be easy and short, but the 311 already has limited internal storage areas, and I wanted to try to maintain this one for the crew, who would get grumpy if I took more space from them :)

I haven't looked at lithium batteries for a few years. At the time they were grossly expensive compared to my two $70 batteries, and required a sophisticated battery and charging management system that I don't have. I also looked at batteries as an alternative to a generator for my house, as we have unreliable power where I live (Northwest Ohio) and all my neighbors have generators. The batteries were a lot of money for a few hours of power (Sonnen battery system, I think). How much have the lithium batteries improved for boats? If I'd have to put a couple thousand into it I'd have to trade that off against a new sail, life raft, or maybe an AIS system.
I have significant energy demands on my 311 with the huge network of stuff, internet, TV, and other things that the crew (and I for that matter) like enjoying. The air conditioner is a shore-power only situation, so that doesn't factor into it - that would be a huge power hog! We do run the fridge (with the Fridge Optimizer which makes this possible) plus all of the instruments and network stuff, and the electric head and other things without an issue. Right now I have 300ah of capacity, and we can go 3 days if we're careful without an issue.

Part of the reason for this change is to get the weight down and fix the list, but the other part is to add solar. I am looking at a 144 watt Solbian panel on the top of my bimini which should throw back 36-55ah per day depending on conditions. That plus my high output Balmar alternator which I added a couple years ago should allow me more time away from the docks.

Lithium batteries have gotten cheaper but they are still expensive. It's around $3k for 300ah not including the control systems, which add a few hundred more if you're judicious. That is quite a bit more than $70, but coming from deeper cycle AGM and more recently carbon foam AGM at $500 per 100ah, $1000 per ah is only double :)

For me its worth it in the weight reduction and capacity.

I did find a suitable location for the batteries and control systems underneath the stern berth, as several others have talked about. I had to break up the batteries from one big 300ah model to three 100ah but it will all fit and actually works out better since all of the wiring and battery switches are only a couple of feet away.
 
Aug 20, 2013
161
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
Interesting, my battery area is definitely different than yours. What year / hull # is your 311?
My B311, Footloose, was built in 2000 in the US and is hull number BEY77033B00. I think that means it was hull number 33 in 2000 but I don't have my code translator handy. I'm the second owner.
 
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Aug 20, 2013
161
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
I have the same two switches as well, but they were wired very badly - I fixed that two years ago with my power system upgrade.
The previous owner on my boat had a new starter relay installed. It seems robustly installed and is good condition so I haven't fooled with it.
For me its worth it in the weight reduction and capacity.
How much will your new batteries weigh?
 
Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
My B311, Footloose, was built in 2000 in the US and is hull number BEY77033B00. I think that means it was hull number 33 in 2000 but I don't have my code translator handy. I'm the second owner.
Mine was built in 2000 as well, and I am the second owner as well.
 
Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
The previous owner on my boat had a new starter relay installed. It seems robustly installed and is good condition so I haven't fooled with it.


How much will your new batteries weigh?
New batteries all told will weigh 120 lbs. Old batteries were 250.
 
Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
New batteries all told will weigh 120 lbs. Old batteries were 250.
The more important thing, is that weight will be on the port side, not starboard (which is the side my 311 has always listed towards) and low in the water, not out near the edge as it was in the lazarette.
 
Aug 20, 2013
161
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
I did find a suitable location for the batteries and control systems underneath the stern berth, as several others have talked about. I had to break up the batteries from one big 300ah model to three 100ah but it will all fit and actually works out better since all of the wiring and battery switches are only a couple of feet away.
Steve,

Can you lay the lithium batteries on their sides? Does it matter which way they are oriented?
 
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Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
Steve,

Can you lay the lithium batteries on their sides? Does it matter which way they are oriented?
Ah this will generate some conversation, I imagine.

Some manufacturers say you can, some not. Many of them are doing this because they don't want them completely inverted. Some of them say this because they have liquid around the cells to promote better performance. The batteries I am using are OK to lay on their side as long as they are shock protected since the sides are not built as well as the bottom. Mine won't be on their side, but rather at an angle with a neoprene bumper around the edges to protect against any shock.

Most gel and AGM batteries can be oriented at an angle as well, although they have the same restriction of not being inverted. I'm sure specific manufacturers would not want them laid completely on their side.
 

SkipR

.
Oct 13, 2014
12
Beneteau First 22 and Oceanis 38 San Francisco Bay
In Nautigal II, my 2001 model 311 (hull #77088L001) I have 2 Group 24 starter batteries in front of the engine, same as CapitalistSailor. In addition I have a Group 31 AGM house battery under the berth in the aft cabin, just to port of the engine. I don't run high loads on the system since I use the boat strictly for day sailing but charging is limited to the alternator and a small solar panel since it sits on a buoy. The AGM sits on it's side with the terminal ends on the high side due to the curvature of the hull. When I purchased the boat 5 years ago the house battery was just lying on its side, unsecured. It was not a big job to have a housing built to hold it more securely. There is no issue with clearance between the Group 31 and the under side of the compartment cover.
 
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Jan 12, 2016
140
Beneteau 311 Seattle, WA
In Nautigal II, my 2001 model 311 (hull #77088L001) I have 2 Group 24 starter batteries in front of the engine, same as CapitalistSailor. In addition I have a Group 31 AGM house battery under the berth in the aft cabin, just to port of the engine. I don't run high loads on the system since I use the boat strictly for day sailing but charging is limited to the alternator and a small solar panel since it sits on a buoy. The AGM sits on it's side with the terminal ends on the high side due to the curvature of the hull. When I purchased the boat 5 years ago the house battery was just lying on its side, unsecured. It was not a big job to have a housing built to hold it more securely. There is no issue with clearance between the Group 31 and the under side of the compartment cover.
Good to know that a G31 would fit there. I am putting similarly sized, although shorter, lithium batteries there.

Both of your 311s sound like they have a wider space in front of the engine for starting batteries. I'll have a G24 single AGM starting battery that I had from another boat.
 
Aug 20, 2013
161
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
The more important thing, is that weight will be on the port side, not starboard (which is the side my 311 has always listed towards) and low in the water, not out near the edge as it was in the lazarette.
Steve,

There are really two goals here:

1) Getting the battery weight to the port side, near amidships and near the waterline, and away from the starboard, rear end of the boat, far from amidships, and maybe above the waterline.
2) Reducing the battery weight and perhaps adding to the performance and capacity.

Both are good objectives, but you can do one without the other. The second objective costs significantly more.