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Old 03-03-2010, 13:33   #1
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Cost of Wind Generator and Refrigeration?

I'm a total rookie, so please forgive what may be a couple of stupid questions. I have been told that my boat once had a Frigi-Kool system in it (at least, I think that's the name), but a PO removed the parts that go inside the icebox area under the chart table (condenser, etc.?). All that remains are the wires, the drain, and the metal attachment (with zinc) to the outside of the hull, beneath the water line.

My hope was to have someone restore it and add a wind generating system, since the only way I can charge my batteries right now is either by shore power or with the engine.

A local (infamous) sailboat expert has quoted me roughly $3,000.00 for each installation, for a total of $6,000.00 for the fridge and windmill. I simply can't afford that, but I was wondering if those costs sound reasonable or unreasonable to the many more experienced boat owners here.

All advice greatly welcome.
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Old 03-03-2010, 13:52   #2
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from Experance, I've installed a 4-winds generator and a new frige system.. the frige was a technautics was around 3k and the wind generator was 2.5k...But that was with myself installing them.. I went with the technautics "Cool Blue" for the amperage used.. it seems to be one of the lowest for power use.
The 4-winds due to its output being very high..
We live and cruise on our boat, its a "stand alone" system and has not been plugged into dock power for 7 years now.. along with the wind charger we have 200 watts of solar to power our over 2000 amp hour storage system..
Befor you jump right in to buying stuff for the boat, design a system, for ALL your usage.. and then start to put the pieces together.. I've seen a number of times where someone starts building parts only to find the charging system or the storage system, (batteries) wont support the components installed..
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Old 03-03-2010, 14:04   #3
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Thank you, Randy! Your price information and advice about system design are very helpful. It seems that the prices I'm being quoted are not outrageous, and (as always) there's more to this than I thought.

Thanks again.
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Old 30-03-2010, 22:52   #4
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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
from Experance, I've installed a 4-winds generator and a new frige system.. the frige was a technautics was around 3k and the wind generator was 2.5k...But that was with myself installing them.. I went with the technautics "Cool Blue" for the amperage used.. it seems to be one of the lowest for power use.
The 4-winds due to its output being very high..
We live and cruise on our boat, its a "stand alone" system and has not been plugged into dock power for 7 years now.. along with the wind charger we have 200 watts of solar to power our over 2000 amp hour storage system..
Befor you jump right in to buying stuff for the boat, design a system, for ALL your usage.. and then start to put the pieces together.. I've seen a number of times where someone starts building parts only to find the charging system or the storage system, (batteries) wont support the components installed..
Very interesting, i'want too make a stand alone system, i 'ld like to know your energy configuration.
I have refrigeration 3,7 A, ham radio 4 A, watermaker 8 A, other outlet 4 A, i am about 20 A consuption por hour, of course i'don't run everithing in the same time, so how calculating the power storing, and what kind of power generator i need?
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Old 31-03-2010, 08:43   #5
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You need to take time and figure out what electrical devices you use, how long you use each device on an average day, and how much energy each device uses. This tells you how much energy you need to produce every day (average) in order to be self sufficient.

Then decide how long you want to be able to go without charging the batteries. Most people want to be able to last at least a couple of days, some want more like 4 or 5. Let's say that you use 80 amp-hours per day, at 12 volts, and you want to be able to go three days without charging. You need a battery bank that holds 240 amp-hours, right? WRONG! You cannot draw 100% of the energy from your batteries no matter how hard you try, and you cannot draw more than about 80% without permanently affecting them. You should not plan on routinely using more than 60% of the energy in your batteries, and it is better to budget for using 50% or even 40% (if you really want your batteries to last a long time). That means that to be able to use 240 amp-hours over the course of three days without recharging, your battery bank needs to be 400 amp-hours at a minimum, and 500 amp-hours would be better.

Next decision is what kind of generation devices you want to use--wind, solar, towed, diesel generator, etc. While the idea of being able to generate all of your electricity from wind and solar is nice, you have to be prepared for the possibility of several days without sun or wind. What will you do then? If you have an alternator on your auxiliary diesel then you are probably covered. If not, you either need to find another way of charging batteries, or you need to have a REALLY BIG battery bank!

You've decided how big your batteries need to be and how much energy you need to generate, the next thing is picking the devices to generate that energy. If you live in an area with constant, steady winds above 10 knots then a wind generator should work very well. They come in different sizes and generate different amounts of energy. Some make more noise than others. Some are notorious for making a LOT of noise! Do some research and pick the one that best fits your needs.

Live someplace where the sun shines bright nearly every day? Then solar is a good choice. Again, different panels, different sizes, different costs, different energy production. One key with solar panels is where to mount them. Even a little bit of shadow across a panel will seriously degrade the amount of electricity it produces, so try to find someplace that is in full sunshine.

Most places a combination is a good choice. Here in Florida, for instance, if the sun is not shining then the wind is probably blowing. The sun shines most of the time, though, so if I were putting together a system I would plan on solar panels for most of my energy and a small (preferably very quiet!) wind generator to help out on those few cloudy days.

Hope this helps to get you going in the right direction. The main thing to realize is that you simply CANNOT just buy any old wind-generator, or solar panel, and think that you are now good to go. You MUST look at this as a total system design involving all of the elements of use, storage, and generation. Yes, it takes a lot of time, effort, and research to do this right, but the alternative is wasting money on bits and pieces that do not work together and do not serve your needs.

Good luck!
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Old 31-03-2010, 09:04   #6
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I would not want to rely solely on my wind generator for power, and I live in a fairly windy area. A wind/solar combo is the way to go. And there's no way to do that, plus a reefer, for under $4,500, even if you do all your own work. This is especially true if you'll be needing to expand the battery bank.

Sometimes a few blocks of ice really is the best answer.
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Old 31-03-2010, 09:16   #7
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I would not want to rely solely on my wind generator for power, and I live in a fairly windy area. A wind/solar combo is the way to go. And there's no way to do that, plus a reefer, for under $4,500, even if you do all your own work. This is especially true if you'll be needing to expand the battery bank.

Sometimes a few blocks of ice really is the best answer.
actually you can do it.. it just depends on how much you scrounge around for parts... If you keep your eyes open at marine swap meets, most all components can be had and some at a very cheep price..
At the swap meet over at the Berkley marina last year, a "Kiss" system could be had for 75 dollars... you can buy solar on line for less than 500 for 200 watts, and I gave my old refer system away when I up-graded..
It may take some time, and you might not get exactly what you want, but if you can "Make Do", theres a lot of stuff out there cheep..
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