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Old 15-03-2014, 20:48   #16
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320 watts solar in 3 panels (2 are Aurinco 100w) parallel wired with BlueSky MPPT 2512/IPN Pro Remote 200 aH LiFePo4 cells bulk charged to 13.8 float @ 13.2 Never shore power in 2 years. Never run engine for power except propulsion when no wind. Fridge/freezer home built with Aerogel insulation. Re insulated hot water tank with it also. Threads on this website about Aerogel. Heat water with inverter 1000 watt element for 15 minutes a day. Average hot water temp 110f. Computer, HAM radio, long distance wifi, diesel furnace, all led lighting. Above may sound like boasting or BS. It's not. Aerogel and LiFePo4 changed everything. It's like being at the dock with shorepower.
Similar on our catamaran just bigger.
1400Ah LiFePo
1800W solar 3x300W parallel on Outback60, 3x300W in series on Outback60, testing partial shading
No wind, no generator, no special alternator
12V Spectra400 a great very efficient
Washing machine, cappuccino maker, toaster, counter top ice maker, radar, 2 larger displays,

Never need to charge with anything but solar. Never in marina. Quite and no pollution.

Get as much solar
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Old 15-03-2014, 21:35   #17
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Re: Generator or Solar?

I'M JEALOUS !!
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Old 16-03-2014, 11:12   #18
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Re: Generator or Solar?

to be honest the brake on our wind is usually on because of our solar panels keep up everything but at night wind generator does come on as needed and it is not loud. the only noise (and it just for a second)is when batteries are full again and brake kicks in but between the both keeps up everything...we do also have honda 1000 gen. for backup just incase. and we usually run in morning for few minutes to make pot of coffee if we don't want cowboy coffee...lol have a great 1,,,
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Old 16-03-2014, 11:36   #19
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Re: Generator or Solar?

When doing your calculations on how much Watt Power you'll need, add a fudge factor of 50-75% more than what you've calculated. Always leave room for future toys expansion/addition and such; an extra bank of batteries will not hurt, if you have the money and space. You'll be glad you did!

As for generators, a Honda 3xxx.x series would be an excellent choice, but also an overkill. The Honda 2xxx.x generator series is too weak for "heavy" sailing applications.

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Old 16-03-2014, 12:06   #20
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Re: Generator or Solar?

A couple of comments:

1. If you're going to install a generator, then I wouldn't bother with a high speed diesel generator. These are troublesome and don't last long. Go for a heavy duty low-speed one. There is a Northern Lights 4.5kW generator (IIRC) which is the Rolls Royce of small diesel heavy duty generators.

2. You can ill afford the weight of a heavy duty generator, even a small one, on a smallish cat like yours. So if you don't need to run air conditioning on the hook, I would try to avoid it. Query whether you really need THREE diesel engines on a small boat.

3. As others have suggested, I think on a cat you can probably find space for just about as much solar as you want. I would probably go in that direction if I were you. Plus bigger battery bank.

4. I would not bother with wind generators, at least if my experience is typical. Very disappointing output. Solar is better.

5. As others have suggested, a Honda suitcase generator is a terrific backup or supplementary system, perfect if, for example, you need to do some intense water making and don't quite have enough charge. These have so many advantages -- no installation, light, compact, quiet, cheap (compared to diesel generators).



P.S. A heavy duty school bus alternator on one of your main engines (or both of them) is worth its weight in gold. Basically you get a free charge whenever you do any motoring. And I think if you don't overdo it, you could specifically charge with one of these, too. A really big alternator will put a reasonable load on smallish engine in a cat. I have a 110 amp 24v Leece-Neville alternator on my boat (equivalent to 220 amps x 12v). It puts out a ton of power.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:57   #21
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Re: Generator or Solar?

I love solar panels, but I love redundancy even more. I'd run all of the solar panels I could fit on board, then get an EU2000i for backup. If a storm rips off all of your panels, or lightning destroys your solar controllers, you'll still be able to fire up the genny and get to your next stop, possibly without too much discomfort.
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Old 16-03-2014, 13:43   #22
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I love solar panels, but I love redundancy even more. I'd run all of the solar panels I could fit on board, then get an EU2000i for backup. If a storm rips off all of your panels, or lightning destroys your solar controllers, you'll still be able to fire up the genny and get to your next stop, possibly without too much discomfort.
Yep - Honda as a last resort when all else is broken is all I would do besides the solar and the two engine alternators. That is enough redundancy. Saves a lot of weight.
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Old 16-03-2014, 17:01   #23
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Re: Generator or Solar?

I have solar and wind, which is all the redundancy I ever seem to need. If I needed one more level temporarily, my high-output alternator would do the trick.

The best solutions usually have to do with efficiency, not redundancy. My batteries were full by 1030 this morning.
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Old 16-03-2014, 19:13   #24
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The best solutions usually have to do with efficiency, not redundancy. My batteries were full by 1030 this morning.
You need to install some serious power hogs to give you charger a work out. They may get rusty. (:

We are cleaning our boat for layup and ran the water maker 6 hours (18 gph) today to catch up with the fresh water used for cleaning. Still had a full battery just before sun down. The boat has a thick crust of salt from beating into big waves two days ago and a cat has so much surface area. Waited for the rain but was not enough to clean it off. We should collect the salt and sell it as special sea salt at the next farmers market. May help the cruising kitty.
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Old 23-03-2014, 07:40   #25
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Re: Generator or Solar?

Have both, sometimes the sun doesn't shine. Honda is excellent. Besides I doubt it u can run a water maker on solar anyway, if u go through an inverter your batteries going to be discharged very fast. My water maker uses about 5A. And makes about 3 litres / hour

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Old 23-03-2014, 07:57   #26
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Re: Generator or Solar?

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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
Besides I doubt it u can run a water maker on solar anyway, if u go through an inverter your batteries going to be discharged very fast. My water maker uses about 5A. And makes about 3 litres / hour
The energy recovery watermakers like Spectra will work quite happily on a reasonable amount of solar power.
Ours has made all our water for the last 4 years. 90%+ of our power is from solar.
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Old 23-03-2014, 10:18   #27
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Re: Generator or Solar?

Seems like the general opinion is both? Go with Solar, but have little gen. for those times when it may not be enough
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Old 23-03-2014, 11:25   #28
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The energy recovery watermakers like Spectra will work quite happily on a reasonable amount of solar power. Ours has made all our water for the last 4 years. 90%+ of our power is from solar.
Our Spectra,Newport 400 uses 28A and makes 18+ GPH. Solar reaches 102A peak, so still 70A going into the batts while making water.
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Old 23-03-2014, 19:34   #29
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Re: Generator or Solar?

I am just finishing up a new electrical system primarily solar with a Honda EU2000 for backup. I have all the wiring and plumbing in place to install a Northern Lights generator if I need it, but will see how the solar works out first. I have six 265 watt panels feeding two Outback 80 chargers, also when motoring a 150 amp alternator. I'm finding the governing factor is running the watermaker every third day, it draws 19 amps 120v. The electric water heater and icemaker also add up.

A couple three week trips this summer should provide data on how well this works.
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