|MUSTELID's 5/12VDC Hybrid Electrical System|
(Lithium Ion Batteries are HAZMAT, so we went with Lead/Acid)
An immense effect may be produced by small powers
Wisely and steadily directed.
-- Noah Webster
5VDC Revolution for Smallish Boats?
A while back I wrote about a simple 12VDC system, here.
For a very long time, 12VDC systems have been the go-to foundation for small vessels. There's been a host of products available both in marine and RV/auto markets that meet all the needs of the small scale sailor.
But there's a quiet revolution boiling along for the last decade or so, and it's reaching maturity. I'm speaking of USB charging, 5VDC systems.
From charging arrays (PV) to controllers to lightweight, high-capacity batteries to products ranging from smart phones, laptops, GPS, VHF, depthsounders, navlights, cabin lights, spotlights... all has become available at generally lower up-front costs and considerably lower draw.
Many of these devices have rechargeable, onboard batteries, each of which can contribute to total power storage, eliminate runs of wiring and reduce the size of a central battery. USB 'hubs' serve as power strips for centralized charging and flexible power supply.
If your vessel is already set up for 12VDC, it's likely most economical to stick with it, or possibly hybridize with a USB hub to handle new acquisitions.
But if you are outfitting a small vessel, particularly in the micro-cruiser range, The small footprint and low draw of 5VDC is well worth a look!