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Old 23-09-2014, 10:52   #1
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Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

anyone with practical experience with watt&sea products?

i dont have a hard dodger and i dont like 'crap' hanging off the cockpit rails so my solar options are kinda limited.

if they were not so noisy, i would opt for wind and while i have the space for a generator, i would need to vent it and that is a bit complicated (access would b a pain too).

hydro, therefore, seems a logical choice.

5500USD for 600 watts seems a bit expensive but not outrageous and a pretty simple installation.

i cant seem to find anyone who actually uses one (or another manufacturer).

FYI: my fall back is mounting semi flexible narrow / long (16*48) solar to the cabintop which will only get me a few hundred watts and look kinda 'meh'

-steve
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Old 23-09-2014, 11:04   #2
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

a bit of smart searching found em this thread:

Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

supporting or conflicting info?

-s
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Old 23-09-2014, 11:16   #3
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

What do you plan to do for energy generation while at anchor? For most cruisers this represents the vast majority of the days.
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Old 23-09-2014, 11:29   #4
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

i am rarely at anchor as i almost exclusively gunk hole and am either cruising or at a marina on shore power.

mooring power, today, comes from running the motor. i replaced the monster 4-108 with a sail drive which gives me better than average output to the motor bank, house bank and windlass battery.

-steve
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Old 23-09-2014, 11:51   #5
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

How long a passages are you planning? I can't see the hydrogen making sense financially if you are not making very long passages. If you are fine running your engine now for juice, why not do that on passage too. 5 grand is a lot to put into this device. Even at island type fuel costs, that's 1,000 gallons of diesel.
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Old 23-09-2014, 12:48   #6
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

We do not own one but have met a boat in Tahiti who did and he loved his because he could run his autopilot and all electronics off of it on passage.

We have a really old AquaGen that we bought used for $200 and we really enjoy the fact that i keeps our volts high on passage at night when our solar cuts out. Depending on our speed of course but we can rely on about 2-3 amps continuously (12v) which is a fair chunk over the day and helps extend the time when we would need to turn on the engine when the skies are killing our solar.
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Old 23-09-2014, 12:52   #7
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

I will be sailing from the SF Bay to Boston MA.

You make a good point regarding the cost of fuel VS capital investment for power generation but only carry 50 gallons of fuel. I will need to do some testing to see how long I would need to run the motor to result in a sufficient enough charge to bring up the bank under full load and then be able to make a smarter decision.

If I could get 300 out from panels within the deck real estate confines the decision would be very easy (I keep looking for high(er) output panels that are narrow and long but they just are not there yet.

Looking at your arithmetic, perhaps the motor will get the job done while I wait for solar companies to come out with the size / shape I need for a cabin top install.

There is a lot higher load now (water maker, 2* fridge, electric head, comprehensive lighting plan) than when she was in the water and the motor was sufficient which is why I am focused on power generation now. She is out of the water for another month or so, so the time to implement whatever solution is now.

-steve
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Old 23-09-2014, 12:57   #8
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

The Aurinco solar panels are pretty flexible in size -- spendy, but lots of ability to put small ones into larger systems.
Aurinco solar panels
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Old 23-09-2014, 13:07   #9
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

One more comment. I assume you have a soft dodger? If so, you can mount the flex panels directly on there. For the trip you are planning, having a bimini for the brutal mid-day sun and for the rain would be nice. In this case you could mount on there too. I've done the trip from the PNW to the NE coast. I sure would want some kind of bimini for when you are in the tropics.
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Old 23-09-2014, 15:05   #10
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

i have 2 colapsable soft dodger as the cockpit is pretty long.

The 1st folds down just forward of the hatch and covers the hatch and foreward part of the cockpit. The 2nd folds back to the cockpit rails and covers the helm leaving 30% of the cockpit unprotected.

Flexible panels would work okay on foreward dodger but wiring the helm dodger would be impractical.

The aurinco 20 panels are currently my best option but a pair ($750 USD) would only yield 50W. The cost is roughly the same (300W for $3500USD) without the constraints of limited deckage.

I had not considered running the autopilot overnight... do you guys just wake up to 25% in your bank and use the daytime sun to charge up the bank before the night falls and you turn the helm back over to the autopilot?

As always, good info has my brain in overdrive.
-steve
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Old 23-09-2014, 19:45   #11
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

Steve,
I have a large solar array AND a water-generator, and use both when needed at sea....(see the photos and articles that I written about them, for lots of info/details...)

Here's a detailed article on my solar system, choices, installation, and results....it's been working perfectly now for about 8 years and 12,000+ offshore miles, including multiple Atlantic crossings, 3 days sailing thru a Tropical Storm, and many full Gales, etc....
Solar Panels




And, here is the detailed article (w/ photos) on my water-generator installation....also working great for about 8 years, 12,000+ miles....although NOT used too much (only on long passages / crossings)
Towed-Water-Generator





The Watt & Sea units are SERIOUSLY pricey (4 times the price of others!) and in the minds of most that have seen them, not worth the $$$$....

Not sure where you are gunkholing (and/or planning on sailing/cruising), and that will figure very prominently in what will work best for you...but most find the largest unshaded solar array that they can afford and fit on-board, to be best!!!

Some will compliment this with an efficient wind gen, IF they don't shade their solar array, AND if they are in areas with good wind (> 10 kts) when at anchor....
But, many who have tried wind, find it produces much less power than they thought it would (less wind, where they anchor or gunkhole)..



Oh, and not to worry, as most of us also have "crap" on-board like canvas dodges and bimini tops, etc. that we find almost necessary for protection from the sun's UV (and weather), as well as other stuff...

I think you'll find the subject of water generators / hydra-generators (and their comparison to solar and wind gens) to have been quite heavily covered/discussed here in the recent past....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssanzone View Post
i dont have a hard dodger and i dont like 'crap' hanging off the cockpit rails so my solar options are kinda limited.

if they were not so noisy, i would opt for wind and while i have the space for a generator, i would need to vent it and that is a bit complicated (access would b a pain too).

hydro, therefore, seems a logical choice.

5500USD for 600 watts seems a bit expensive but not outrageous and a pretty simple installation.

i cant seem to find anyone who actually uses one (or another manufacturer).

FYI: my fall back is mounting semi flexible narrow / long (16*48) solar to the cabintop which will only get me a few hundred watts and look kinda 'meh'
And, be aware that you'll NOT get "a few hundred watts" out of ANY solar panel measuring 16" x 48"!!!!
Even the most efficient panels won't do that...and the typical 140 watt Kyocera panel measures 26" x 52"....


If you wish to read what those that have used / still use water-generators think....and how they're used...as well as some experienced comments on solar, vs. water-gens, vs. winds, etc...have a look at these discussions...

Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Free-wheeling Prop while Sailing--Power Generator?

Water (towed) generator vs wind- recommendations?

Solar Panels - Bimini or Davits - Pros and Cons of Both

Solar Panel Mounting on Bimini

Water Generator Concept Thread

Permanent Magnet Generator on Propshaft

Waterpower?

Towing Generators / Update, Anyone?






I hope this helps...


BTW, if you REALLY are/were considering spending > $5000 on a water-generator, then you can build a VERY efficient solar array, w/ MPPT controllers, which meets your aesthetic requirements....all for less than half that amount!!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 24-09-2014, 09:24   #12
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Re: Cruising hydrogenerator 300 or 600

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Steve,
I have a large solar array AND a water-generator, and use both when needed at sea....(see the photos and articles that I written about them, for lots of info/details...)

Here's a detailed article on my solar system, choices, installation, and results....it's been working perfectly now for about 8 years and 12,000+ offshore miles, including multiple Atlantic crossings, 3 days sailing thru a Tropical Storm, and many full Gales, etc....
Solar Panels




And, here is the detailed article (w/ photos) on my water-generator installation....also working great for about 8 years, 12,000+ miles....although NOT used too much (only on long passages / crossings)
Towed-Water-Generator





The Watt & Sea units are SERIOUSLY pricey (4 times the price of others!) and in the minds of most that have seen them, not worth the $$$$....

Not sure where you are gunkholing (and/or planning on sailing/cruising), and that will figure very prominently in what will work best for you...but most find the largest unshaded solar array that they can afford and fit on-board, to be best!!!

Some will compliment this with an efficient wind gen, IF they don't shade their solar array, AND if they are in areas with good wind (> 10 kts) when at anchor....
But, many who have tried wind, find it produces much less power than they thought it would (less wind, where they anchor or gunkhole)..



Oh, and not to worry, as most of us also have "crap" on-board like canvas dodges and bimini tops, etc. that we find almost necessary for protection from the sun's UV (and weather), as well as other stuff...

I think you'll find the subject of water generators / hydra-generators (and their comparison to solar and wind gens) to have been quite heavily covered/discussed here in the recent past....
And, be aware that you'll NOT get "a few hundred watts" out of ANY solar panel measuring 16" x 48"!!!!
Even the most efficient panels won't do that...and the typical 140 watt Kyocera panel measures 26" x 52"....


If you wish to read what those that have used / still use water-generators think....and how they're used...as well as some experienced comments on solar, vs. water-gens, vs. winds, etc...have a look at these discussions...

Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Free-wheeling Prop while Sailing--Power Generator?

Water (towed) generator vs wind- recommendations?

Solar Panels - Bimini or Davits - Pros and Cons of Both

Solar Panel Mounting on Bimini

Water Generator Concept Thread

Permanent Magnet Generator on Propshaft

Waterpower?

Towing Generators / Update, Anyone?






I hope this helps...


BTW, if you REALLY are/were considering spending > $5000 on a water-generator, then you can build a VERY efficient solar array, w/ MPPT controllers, which meets your aesthetic requirements....all for less than half that amount!!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
John,

Wow, thanks!

-steve
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