I'm not the electrician on the boat so there's a lot of handwaving in this tail. But here goes.
There's a component that helps keep the 12V systems on the boat charged. I'm told it goes by code name "Orion." Apparently it died. With it gone the engine batteries were the only source for powering the 12V system, things like the refrigerators and the water pump, which we use a lot.
But have no fear... we have another way to keep those systems going. It goes by the code name "Calex." The Calex charges the big, lithium house batteries, which puts a load on the alternator. But it also can do the reverse -- pull power from the house batteries to power the 12V system. That is what we did yesterday while on the dock. (From what I understand he ordered 3 Orions and plans to install them in parallel so this never, ever happens again).
Today, engines on and we're underway. Everything is hunky dory.
A quick note: When the alternator runs, that loads the port engine significantly. So much so that we keep it off whenever we're doing anything fiddly, like docking, where I need performance and I need it now. The game plan will be to keep the Calex on, turn it off when we start the engines, and undock, turn it on underway to charge the house batteries, turn if off when we're docking. Then on again.
I turned if off, turned on the engines, and after they warmed up a bit, turned on the Calex. But nothing happened. Everything kept running, but nothing was getting charged. As we traveled -- great day, btw, lots of wildlife in this section; dolphins, manatee, manta rays -- Russ spent most of his time contacting the Calex people trying to fix it. There's some error code he's seeing, but no one seems to know what it means or how to clear it. Even restarting the unit did nothing to change its mind.
We got to the anchorage and set the hook. Once the engines were off, sure enough, the 12V system started draining. We turned off 1 of the fridges and are monitoring how much water we use (and I reeeeeeally wanted to take a shower today!) hoping to slow the drain.
Russ made reservations at St. Augustine, which we'll get to tomorrow. A replacement Orion has been overnighted (thank you, David!!!), and should be there by the time we arrive. So hopefully, this will only be a 1 day thing.
And hopefully, we can keep the batteries alive to start the engines tomorrow. By making a couple of changes (like switched the fridges to AC), Russ decreased our load. THAT dropped our load by 90%! So we should make it through the night, and get underway first thing!