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Old 27-11-2018, 07:40   #1
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Customizing our FP Astréa 42

First time I start a thread myself on CF: So I am having some stage fright.

Before going into details, I need to clarify the following:
We will be living fulltime aboard for several years, mostly at anchor, cruising the world, and most of the time it will be just my wife and I.
This thread is not meant to discuss whether it is smart to invest in lithium or a more environmental friendly yacht. This decision has already been taken, and other threads have opened these discussions yet.
Our budget is not unlimited, so I hope to avoid mistakes by receiving experienced advice.
Unfortunately, Fountaine Pajot is not prepared to do most of these improvements, which means we have to do it after delivery. On the other hand, they install standard stuff we find superfluous and which we hope to resell immediately.

We choose to install a reversible AC of Dometic® (heating and cooling). It will be split in smaller units that can run separately from the inverter.
What we will do about the generator, is not decided yet. I would love to skip having a generator at all, or at least have a smaller unit installed rather than the 9kW FP offers as an option. But I am aware that this would have some consequences in usage, specially for the AC. In order to avoid starting up a new thread on the use of AC on the batteries, I refer to the following recent thread started by Hugh Howey: [URL="http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f14/air-conditioning-via-solar-panels-210542.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email &utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cruisersforumnews+%28Cruiser s+Forum+-+Emails%29"]Air Conditioning via Solar Panels

As far as I see it after all the research done, our electrical layout will be set up as follows:

The standard 4 gel batteries 12V/120Ah and Victron charger will be replaced by a complete Mastervolt Lithium system: I choose to stick with one brand for warranty reasons. Moreover, I find a DIY solution too challenging for my skills.
Combi charger inverter 12V/3000W with 3 batteries 12V/5000W or 1080Ah in total. This is also approximately what I expect as our maximum daily consumption, both under way and at anchor.

I will replace the standard gas stove by an induction cooktop. Combined with a ‘combi microwave - convection oven’. So no more gas left after that.

To top up the batteries, we will install:
  1. Approximately 1500 Wp of solar panels. To maximize the available space, we won’t take the FP solar panel option, but we are considering the following higher efficiency panels:
    [-] Panasonic Hit VBHN245SJ25 : 3x 245 = 735 Wp
    [-] Sunpower X21-470-COM : 1x 470 Wp
    [-] Solara Ultra-S: S625M44 : 2x 150 = 300 Wp
  2. A Watt&Sea 600 hydro generator.
  3. And probably a D400 wind generator, if needed at all and if the budget still allows it.
To monitor everything in a user-friendly way, we will add also a Simarine Pico display.

The engines are Volvo Penta 40Hp.
IMO, the alternatives available today aren’t suitable for this size of cruising boat. I regret that the new Volvo hybrid won’t be available before 2020, so the Volvo Penta 40HP will have to do.
I will add two dual Racor 75/500 filter/separators on both of them to easily cope with less quality of diesel. And if we can’t generate enough energy with the above, I could still consider adding a powerful alternator on both of them, with an efficient regulator. (The thread mentioned above gives some interesting advice there too)

If you have made it up to this point, it means that you are interested. Your comments and advice will be greatly appreciated. I will have to take some final decisions in the weeks to come, in order to ensure everything is executed in time by next autumn.
Luc
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Old 27-11-2018, 08:49   #2
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Luc,

thanks for sharing this information.
I am especially interested in your solar configuration. Do you have any sketches yet on where you would put the panels?
How about your controllers, are you planning to use one solar charger per panel or will you build groups? Did you select a type yet?

I like your approach of the large size alternators. As you are going for Mastervolt anyway, they have a very powerful unit available since some time, that would match the rest of your equipment and the idea of having it all out of one hand. Curious to see if that would enable you to skip the generator. Maybe you can also share your thoughts here?

Are you already having your boat, or is the comment about next autumn related to your delivery date? Any hull number yet?

Cheers,
Thomas
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Old 27-11-2018, 10:34   #3
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Hi Thomas,
I am talking about autumn 2019 ! Our hull number is 55, and it was promised for september. But apparently FP has difficulties keeping up their planning.
I will work with at least 5 companies for all the works I am planning after the delivery. And some of them have already quite a lot of bookings months in advance. That's why I am taken my decisions now already. I am still hoping to leave France as soon as I will have a good weather window in november 2019...

And to give you some answers, I prefer fixed panels over flexible ones. My selection of solar panels has to do with the available dimensions and at the same time, their efficiency to get the most Ah out of it. This also means that some of my choices are more expensive panels:

On the roof behind the main traveller (same position as FP), but a bit longer and ±25cm wider: 3 panels of 155x80cm. I didn't want the more common 1m panels, because they would project beyond the roof. The choice for 80cm is much more limited. But instead of 400Wh, I will have 735Wh
In front of the main traveller, at port, I want to put one big panel 207x105. Unfortunately, the most efficient one (X21-470-COM) is a 'commercial' type in the Sunpower range. And right now, I am not sure yet if I will be able to purchase just one panel. As far as I saw it (see picture below), there should be space for 2,4m length there. An advantage of this position is also, that I will be able to use the same trace to connect this panel to the batteries as FP does ...
Finally I will add 2 more panels of 150x56cm each at the back, using a structure that I will make myself with inox tubes and parts for bimini. I wanted these extra small panels because we go for the swimming platform, and the more common 10cm wider panels will probably touch our dinghy. They will rotate on the upper tube of the pulpit behind the seat (we don't take the bbq, so it is all seat) from vertical to horizontal position, without blocking the view. It is just a basic sketch of what I have in mind, but for what it's worth, I will add it below. (It's a vertical section)
As solar controllers, I am thinking of 2 Solar Charge Master SCM60 MPPT. This gives me some spare Wh, just in case I want to add more solar afterwards. But I am afraid that it will have to be flexible panels then, and it will be more difficult for the wiring too.

The generator is actually my main concern, and I am still trying to make up my mind. It is difficult for me to predict what will be possible or not. That's why I am so happy with comments of people who do have similar systems. The idea of using big alternators on the engines, in combination with the Integrel® regulator developed by Nigel Calder, pleases me a lot. But this is also very new to me, and I still have to figure out what price, possibilities and limitations it will have. I will continu my research in the coming days and weeks.
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Old 29-11-2018, 02:01   #4
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Hi there,

as for the panels, in the EU it is easy to get any PV panel online, lots of companies out there selling the parts. Nice project indeed. I am not sure if FP would install the A/C without the generator.

I have done the propane to electric conversion on my Lagoon 400S2 myself in France in the Med, all parts including LFP cells, BMS, solar panels (5x 330Wp 96 cells BenQ), inverter etc. bought online in the EU, mainly in Germany. I chose Victron over Mastervolt, it is more open regarding documentation and interfaces and easier to integrate in hybrid environments. Please keep posting how you have designed it and how you like it.

You can check out my changes with explanations in this thread:

Merged LiFeYPO4 1000Ah Winston prismatic cells and all electric galley...

We bought the vessel pre-owned. If I would order the Astrea new, probably I would buy the standard version with all electric winches, davids instead of the heavy platform and do the refit of the electric system all aftermarket.

I would install only 2 A/C units instead of 4, would omit the generator too, use another watermaker and install it in a different location. This fancy options take up a lot of precious storage space everywhere when factory installed. We do not use the generator at all, our solar does the trick. Very likely high amp alternators can replace the need of a generator for emergency charging and one engine less to service.

We chose the Quattro because of its capabilities as 4 way power transfer switch, powerful charger and inverter with power assist and lots of sensor inputs and relay otputs for customization.

Btw, congratulation for the nice cat, hope to see you on the Canaries next autumn preparing for the ocean xing.
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Old 29-11-2018, 07:38   #5
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Hi CatNewBe
Great that you found this thread also. The one you started earlier this year inspired me a lot. But with my knowledge, I won’t go for a hybrid DIY. A lot of what you did is similar though to what I am trying to achieve.
As Astréa's owners, we have an extra problem: Up till now, only a few Astréa’s have been delivered. So most of the preparations I do are based on pictures and videos from those who visited recently a boat show. And for these very specific modifications, I often lack exact info like dimensions etc…

I intend to install the solar panels myself, and also the cooktop and oven. But for the main electric part, I am in contact with Pochon, La Rochelle. Indeed, I will probably purchase the panels on the internet. For the extreme large and powerful 470kW panels, apparently Sunpower itself blocks the sale of these. In the US some resellers offer(ed) them, but can't find one in Europe. If I can’t buy it, I will go for their X22-360W, or the LG Neon-R 370W that is a bit longer and a few cm smaller.

The AC that FP offers as an option, is not a reversible one. I would have preferred the AC to be installed during the built-up, but for the above reason, I will have it installed after delivery as well. Financially spoken, this solution isn’t an inconvenience. Just hoping they won’t damage the interior during that process.

What surprised me a bit, that you use an inverter of only 5 kW, while connecting the galley, AC, and all the normal instruments... I thought that you never need to use your Mastervolt, just keeping it as a backup, correct ? I was thinking that 8 or 10 kW would be necessary. Certainly interested to learn more about your experience there.

For the generator, I am more and more convinced to go for the Integrel. I am waiting for a quote. It will give me an integrated 9kVA generator on one of the Volvo Penta’s 40hp, making it more efficient. Saves a lot of weight also ! This will change also my initial idea a bit, because if so, I will have to add an extra battery, to have 4x 12V in series = 48V. It would bring my total capacity up to 1440 Ah. Knowing the price of these Mastervolt ION batteries, it increases also the investment … Once I can compare the total cost, I will post some more info here.
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Old 29-11-2018, 09:32   #6
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Hi Luc,

What are 470kW panels? I guess you mean 470Wp?

We have the A/C units factory installed - 44000BTU, than can dehumidify, cool and heat and also the Onan 7kVA generator was factory installed too.

5kVA means 4kW continuous power for the Victron 12/5000 Quattro (it is always 80% of the nominal kVA of all the inverter)

With the "team up" of my 2 inverter I have nominally 7kVA on battery or 5.6kW continuous output that matches the power of the installed generator.

The maximum power output can be achieved when teaming up The Quattro and the Onan to have nominally 12kVA or 9.6kW continuous load. The Mastervolt than cannot contribute to the power supply, the Quattro can only assist to a single source.

Quote:
What surprised me a bit, that you use an inverter of only 5 kW, while connecting the galley, AC, and all the normal instruments... I thought that you never need to use your Mastervolt, just keeping it as a backup, correct ? I was thinking that 8 or 10 kW would be necessary. Certainly interested to learn more about your experience there.
Well, yes and no. I cannot use everything together at the same time obviously. When cooking and / or baking you cannot run all 4 A/C units and the water heater and other high energy demand appliances in parallel.

When we cook, A/C is not running, we do not use the power boost function on all 4 burners at the same time. Usually the admiral uses 3 of the 4 hobs, some full throttle until the water boils other at half power to keep it boiling and sizzling... Nominal the hob has 7kW but this is the nominal peak value when all burner are at max and the power boost is enabled. In reality it is not that bad. It draws around 1...2.5kW when cooking a normal meal on three burners depending on the settings.

Same for the oven. The datasheet says 2990W peak, and you can reach this having all heating elements on maximum + power boost. But if you bake at 220°C it turns on and off from time to time to keep the temperature and draws then only 1200W or so when heating, so you can run it while cooking too, but not turn on everything at max with power boost at the same time. We intentionally chose a compact size oven without micro wave and also got rid of the original micro wave oven from Lagoon. The standard convection oven unit has more space inside for baking because there is no shielded magnetron inside nor the rotation thing on the bottom, it is also easier to clean. We are not into nuking deep-frozen pre-packed convenience food, so we not need the microwave function at all.

It is obvious that A/C and the water heater should not be used during heavy cooking - or you need to team up for extra energy, but in our use pattern we do not needed to do it yet. As mentioned before, we use the A/C only for a short time before going to sleep to cool down the owners cabin. I also have used the salon unit during some very hot days when I needed to do office work inside with closed doors and windows because of the noise outside in the marina. Otherwise the ventilation is sufficient for the Med area.

Our water maker is a 12V / 220V dual power unit, and we run it preferably on 12V.

Regarding heating. We have a dyson hot&cool heater / fan on board, it draws 2kW when heating and is great to heat up the salon quickly. I prefer it over the A/C unit for quick heating. The advantage is, you can configure the beam of the airflow where you need it and you can also use it when being on the dry dock - what you cannot do with the A/C.

If you live off the hook on solar only, you have to be a little power sensitive to use all you can get, not waste too much energy and keep the batteries full for bad weather days - so keep an eye on the battery SOC and the solar controller and if the battery is near full above 90%, run some energy hungry jobs like water maker, water heater, washing machine, ice maker or whatever makes you happy to use the excess solar power, that would be otherwise not harvested...
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Old 29-11-2018, 10:52   #7
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
Hi Luc,

What are 470kW panels? I guess you mean 470Wp?
...
Wp indeed, sorry about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
We have the A/C units factory installed - 44000BTU, than can dehumidify, cool and heat and also the Onan 7kVA generator was factory installed too.
...
OK. Now I understand how you manage it.

You said before, that if you could start again, you would only take 2 separate units of AC. Meaning 2 units of 10-12KBTU each, or more ?
Interesting, because I started with the idea of just one AC unit in our cabin. But then I would miss the advantage of dehumidifying. But in the saloon that is normally not really an issue. And I have also a Dyson on my list for those days the natural ventilation isn't sufficient (and/or to heat).
Hard to convince an installer, who apparently always thinks conventionally. Therefore I am very pleased with your overview of what it means to you "living energy sensitive": I couldn't have explained better how I feel about it, and honestly, I find the limitations as you mention them, more then acceptable. Thanks again.

Yes, let's hope that we will meet in the Canaries end of next year.
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Old 29-11-2018, 11:24   #8
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc bulterys View Post

What surprised me a bit, that you use an inverter of only 5 kW, while connecting the galley, AC, and all the normal instruments... I thought that you never need to use your Mastervolt, just keeping it as a backup, correct ? I was thinking that 8 or 10 kW would be necessary. Certainly interested to learn more about your experience there.
There are inverters that are a little more expensive, but have a great feature where for example, they are a 5000w inverter, but can sustain a 15000w draw for 20 seconds or so. This is a great feature as so many high draw items have a surge draw when starting up that is much higher than their idle draw in action. Definitely look into those if you haven't already selected your inverter.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:45   #9
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Luc
Since you are upgrading New Astrea Base, did FP provide you with Base model electrical system info, diagram, spec etc..?
Or any other boat specific detailed info?
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:13   #10
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Quote:
Originally Posted by dooleedooroo View Post
Luc
Since you are upgrading New Astrea Base, did FP provide you with Base model electrical system info, diagram, spec etc..?
Or any other boat specific detailed info?
Hi, I attach a general technical plan (maestro version) that I received from FP, but that is not what you are looking for, I suppose.
Normally I will work with Pochon, La Rochelle for the electricity. They also do some installations directly for FP during the production, so I consider that as an advantage. But right now I am still in the proces of quotes with them. Certainly because in La Rochelle nobody installed an Integrel® before, and I would prefer them to do it, with support from Triskel-UK.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:06   #11
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

I thought sharing some new additional info, about the fire-prevention on our Astréa:

We won’t use gas, so we won’t need gas detection anymore.
I really don’t like powder extinguishers because of the potential damage if you ever need to use them. And the one time I had to use an extinguisher for a starting fire (of a truck), it wasn’t very effective at all. That’s why I go for alternatives:

We will install 6 smoke-CO-detectors (Nest Protect V2); one in each engine room, each cabin, and the galley. I think a good detection is at least as important as the right extinguisher itself. I am not sure yet where we will put our lithium batteries, but if it will be in a separate space, I will surely install a detector there as well, with an appropriate automatic extinguisher.
In each engine room, I will install an automatic extinguisher with FM-200®. That’s a clean, colorless, and environmentally friendly fire suppression agent that is electrically non-conductive and safe for humans.
In the 3 cabins, we will hang PFE aerosol extinguishers. We had them in our previous boat already. I like the aesthetics and simplicity, and they are very small. You can use them for all kind of starting fires, without much harm.
Close to the galley, we will keep a fire blanket and the triple PFE extinguisher.
And in a cockpit locker, we will have a 6L foam extinguisher with ECO DARE -30ºC/M ABF. That will be our last resort if the PFE aren’t sufficient enough.

Any thoughts are, of course, most welcome !
Luc
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:59   #12
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

I also have high hopes for Triskel. Since it is mainly 48v system, fusing to existing new base system cost effectively might be the challenge.
Are you planning the 48v solar panel as well?
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:57   #13
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

Hi Dooleedooroo, I will answer soon. I am waiting for confirmation of more dimensions and than I will post more about it.
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Old 14-12-2018, 08:41   #14
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Re: Customizing our FP Astréa 42

With a little help from a friend, who visited the Paris boat show, I got much more detailed dimensions for my solar options on the Astréa.

Because it can be useful for everybody who’s trying to get more solar power, I hereby share my choices and some alternatives:

On the roof behind the main traveler (same position as FP but wider):
3 SUNPOWER X22-360 1080 Wp
Total length 468cm
Width 105cm
As far as my research is of any help, and if, for example, you don’t want to surpass the length of the FP-solar zone that much, I would suggest to consider:
2 panels LG-neon-2 LG390N2T-A5 bifacial with 780Wp maximum output.
Or 3 Panasonic Hit VBHN295SJ46, which would still give you 885Wp and has a total length of 439cm.
Or if you can purchase 2 Sunpower X21-470-COM, it would give you a very nice 940 Wp for exactly the same length as the FP-solar zone. Unfortunately, I can’t buy them in Europe otherwise I would have preferred these.
No matter what solution you chose, an under laying structure will be necessary to lift the panels above the roof itself (in the middle: see picture) and the profile of the traveler.

For those looking for even more solar, like I do, I suggest the following solutions:
On the roof at port side, in front of the main traveler:
2 WATTSTUNDE WS120SPS-L DAYLIGHT (Sunpower cells) 240 Wp
Length 143,5cm
Total width 83cm
I could also choose the Panasonic Hit VBHN245SJ25 (158x80cm / 245Wp), but I prefer 2 smaller panels to enable me better to follow the curve of the roof.

And at the back, like I explained before, I will mount 2 pivoting panels:
2 WATTSTUNDE WS160SPS-L DAYLIGHT (Sunpower cells) 320 Wp
Total length 143,5cm
Width 53,5cm
Solara ultra S would have been possible also, but they are almost twice as expensive and come with only 2 years of guarantee.

Note that this is not possible if you have chosen the BBQ option. In this case, you could do something similar with 2 Top Solar Topbox TS110 panels. But then the cost of the structure would be rather high compared to the benefit of only 220Wp extra.

All chosen panels are high performance glass panels, no semi-flexible ones. I compared price, quality, product and power guarantee, and the best performance for the available space, in hot climate and if in the shadow.

By doing so, I will get a nice total of 1640 Wp max. I can buy all of these for around 2500€ vat included, without labor nor the under laying structures.
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