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Old 14-10-2005, 15:32   #16
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Sono, read about equalizing wet cell batteries and it will help you understand the breaking up (or is it 'down') of suphation on plates. We always charged our batteries religiously every 28 days in subs, but then we had over a hundred of them, each weighing a ton...so you sure didn't want them to go bad 'cause they wouldn't fit out thru the hatch.

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Old 14-10-2005, 19:02   #17
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Hmm, interesting discussion:

Don't have no wind-generator on my ship so I can't join in with a nose-to-nose on what is better or not necessary or what not, but I do have REAL HO alternator, a 150 amp Proline hooked up to a "smart" regulator and charging thru a battery isolator/combiner.

Love the set-up, a few minuttes of running the engine will pump serious amps into the housebank.

Never seen more than 110 amps as there are losses along the way and I am running on a single belt, plus the alternator heats up really fast and loosing efficiency..I'll take 110 amps anyday however.

The ProLine alternators cost less than half of Balmar or them other Boutiqe names, but have proven reliable...(Have 2 of them, a spare one tucked away, also have a ProLine 3 stage regualtor with a spare on the boat..These units are 12 years old and working just fine..Highly recommended)

I have two 75 watt solar panels instead of wind generators. No noise and they even charge a few amps an hour during calm and cloudy days.
Sunny days in the Bahamas they crank out 9 amps per hour, for a total of 50 amps per day or so...(Not a straight curve, it builds in the morning and tapers off in the afternoon)

So, uh the conclusion...On my ship anyways: I would rather spend another $300.00 on another solar panel instead of installing a wind generator with the noise and maintenance that goes with it...I just happen to have space for another 80 watt panel on the stern for a total of 230 watts of quiet power with a 20 year warranty...If the sun is not shining I'd run the HO alternator for a few minuttes and the batteries and the 12 volt fridge and freezer will be just happy as can be.
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Old 15-10-2005, 03:01   #18
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I, too, have been trying to rationalize the decision of supplemental battery charging. Perhaps the key word here is “supplemental”. It seems nigh impossible to completely substitute for the effectiveness of a good HO alternator and external “smart” controller, which I have, but I’ve seen some try to achieve complete independence from shore and engine alternator by total reliance upon sun and wind. At great financial expense, their boats become festooned with paraphernalia and supporting frames which adversely impact sailing efficiency in every possible way and add nothing to the lines of their vessels, to say the least.

Yet the “green” inclination to obtain “natural” energy from silent sources does mesh attractively with the rest of the sailing aesthetic. If it were not for this, the most rational solution might be to rely on an independent generator. The weight would impact performance only negligibly and without wind resistance or raising of the righting moment. It provides redundancy to the engine alternator and is reliable 24-7, whether in doldrums at nighttime or when cloudy. The sound of some is certainly no more objectionable than running the auxiliary, either at anchor or when on passage. If only it did not require a secondary supply of hazardous fuel, gasoline.

I like the solar solution for supplementing the replenishment of energy used, but primarily for keeping the batteries topped off by passive means. I would not build a solar array due to unalterable windage. I even dislike mounting a single panel in permanent fashion and may consider flexible ones, like Unisolar, if I can figure out where to place them. I planned to mount a wind generator to achieve better recharging when it is windy, but on passages with reduced apparent wind it may be ineffectual and the rest of the time unsightly, if not annoying. Find me a compact, light weight, self contained, sound insulated, diesel powered generator and it may be worth its weight in gold, if it’s not too expensive.

-Phil
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Old 15-10-2005, 13:15   #19
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I beilive the key to utilizing alternate energy is our energy utilization. You put in air conditioning, microwave, automatic icemaker, electric water heater, you are going to be very hard pressed to supply the needs of those devices with alternate energy. I believe you can still you can be quite comfortable and still live with a reasonable energy budget.

There are cruisers out there that don't even have an engine, and have sailing that way for YEARS! (Lin and Larry Pardy, Don Street to name a couple) I wouldn't want to sail that way, but it does help to redefine what it necessary and possilbe against what is nice to have. I have not put in a permanate air conditoner, because I don't want to supply the energy for it while I am on the hook. But, I do have a couple portable ones for use when I am in a marina. Now the interesting thing is I could supply power to both of them utilizing my inverter, but my batteries would be at 50% in 3 hours. I can make ice, but it takes a couple of hours. If I wanted ice on demand, I would have probably had to install and engine driven compressor.

So in anycase, I guess my point is I defined my operational concept first, then developed and implemenation plan that supported that concept. I said I did not want a genset, and I wanted to be able to meet my energy needs 90% of the time without turning on my engines. This limited and directed me to certain systems on the boat. I spent a LOT of time and energy ripping out insulation on my frig and freezer in order to get to R26 and R30. I got the lowest energy consuming watermaker I could find. I have halogen, LED and florescent lighting. I don't run my radar ALL the time. I don't leave my computers on 24/7 when I am on the hook, etc...

Back in my old life, we used the think that an ROI of 30 - 40 months was a good capital investment. We even spent a lot of time defining and attempting to quantify non-tangible benefits. So, if I could find an energy investment that would allow me to recover my investment cost within 18 months, should be a good investment. No? The math gets interesting if you only use your boat 2 days out of the month. VERY little has ANY reasonable ROI! But if you are cruising and on full time, the math starts getting compelling.

Fair winds,

Keith


Back to the watermaker. Now there's one! ROI on a watermaker! Betcha I can't justify that!!
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Old 15-10-2005, 17:51   #20
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Quote:
Strygaldwir once whispered in the wind:

Back to the watermaker. Now there's one! ROI on a watermaker! Betcha I can't justify that!!
Watermaker justification -- unlimited showers
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Old 15-10-2005, 20:29   #21
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Keith, Your last post pretty much summed up the power options. The cruisers we meet are pretty much independent thinkers and all have different ideas about which power loads are "needs" and which ones are "wants." Everyone needs to decide on a cruising/power consumption lifestyle first and then decide on how to support their "energy habit" second. The Pardeys represent the minimalist approach and there are many "tricked out" cats and monos that have every gadget sold by West Marine that represent the other extreme. We subscribe to the middle of the road philosophy. We want some creature comforts, we don't like to run our engines to make electricity, and we decided air conditioning was "over the top" in energy requirements and expense. Our other needs can be satisfied primarily with solar panels and a wind generator. I can definitely see the attraction of a genset, but I already have two diesels to maintain and the thought doing THREE oil changes is enough to discourage me from the genset option. While solar and wind gen can't compare to a genset in power output, they are low maintenance, relatively quiet, and don't require my attention.

Sonosailor: You have great taste in choosing your boat name..ha..ha.

Keith: I hope we can share an anchorage with you guys this winter. Don't imagine that 2 P37s share the same "neigborhood" very often. It would be a great opportunity to share ideas on fitting out our boats. Good luck with your watermaker installation. We have one more major project (SSB install) and numerous minor projects to take care of before we can cast off the dock lines. Our e-mail is svsynergy@hotmail.com.
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Old 29-10-2005, 19:49   #22
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Greg;

I really hope we can hook up either in Florida, or perhaps the Bahamas or ???

I have been planning my SSB installation for a while. I have the counterpoise installed. I come in at just about 92 Square feet. I certainly hope that is adequate. The coper strap or foil is expensive stuff. Seems like I used everybodies suggestions. My Frigoboat keel coolers look just like Dynaplates, I have tied those into my counterpoise. I hooked up the steel water tank in the saloon utilizing multi-stranded marine wire, that was thanks to Rick. The rest is 6 mill foil. A little thin some say, but oh well...
I still haven't bought an antenna yet. It seems like all the choices I made required freight shipping of about $70. That just seemed... exhorbatant. There is a Digital 534ssw that I was recommended, but that is almost $100 more than the Shakespeare Galaxy option I was pursuing. If anyone knows anything about the Digital whip, I'd really appreciate any tips. Which antenna are you using? What source?

Got the watermaker done. Tested it in a bucket, no leaks. Product goes where it is supposed to, permeate where its supposed to.

I am having the boat hauled shortly to look at the anchor and replace my 3 bellow water through hulls with titanium ones. After that, provisioning and back down south!

Later all

Keith
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Old 30-10-2005, 03:31   #23
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Keith, you'll find several recent, thorough discussions about HF antennas at the SSCA Discussion Board, if you haven't already been there; I'd recommend them to you. Also, one of the regular contributors on those threads - Bill Trayfors - is exceptionally knowledgeable about radios, and is a seasoned cruising sailor as well. Soliciting some comments from him re: your specific antenna questions would be time well spent.

http://ssca.org/sscabb/index.php

Jack
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Old 31-10-2005, 07:08   #24
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As described to me by some Cruisenet folks in regard to whip anttenas. "It is just a conductor surrounded by something to make it look good". I guess if folks can use a piece of wire suspended from a halyard (and is the correct length, and has the proper connector, and is connected by GTO-15, and has the proper counterpoise, and is not mounted too close to the water, and is connected to the proper antenna tunner, and is not too close to interference sources, and is strong enough to withstand a blow, and 5/8 wave length, and has a reinforced mounting point 5 feet or so above the base, and is not loaded, and has connectors that have been corrosion protected and .....) I don't have to pay $400 for an antenna that can be shipped via UPS.

Keith
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Old 02-11-2005, 20:09   #25
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Digital Antenna

Hi Keith,
Congratulations on the watermaker. Sounds like an excellent engineering job.

I'm also working on SSB installation right now. Regarding antenna, I bought the 24' Digital Antenna from Defender for 310 bucks and the shipping for the antenna and mount was $33. Don't know whether it is worth the extra dough over the Shakespeare, but I am impressed with the quality of connections, the 5 yr warranty, and the ferrrite chokes in the base of antenna. So far I have the antenna, tuner, and remote controller (ICOM M-802) installed, but I haven't started the counterpoise yet. I priced the large dyna plate at WM today and choked at the $300 price tag. I'm going to try a local machine shop to see what he can do for me. Rick gave me lots of good ideas on using radials so I think I will buy some cheapo wire and do some experimenting with radials before I bite the bullet and start running copper foil. If the radials work, I'll make them out of tinned wire.

Where did you run the antenna coax and tuner control wire? The easy way for me would be to run it through the conduit that contains the battery cables for the DC main panel. If I run it with the battery cables, I'm afraid of "lighting up my DC panel" with RFI. On the other hand, if I run the coax down the outboard side of starboard hull, the project gets a lot harder.

We are planning to leave St Pete in January and head to Bahamas for the winter. After that, plans are still in jello. We don't think we want to be back in Florida next summer. The hurricane drills have been a real drag for the last two years. Like you, we need to do a haulout for bottom paint; fix a small leak in escape hatch; and fix a small dyna plate which no longer has attachment bolts (corroded away). Hope it was installed with 5200, so it doesn't come off before haulout.

Hope we can meet this winter. I am eager to see how you have set up your boat.
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Old 03-11-2005, 00:32   #26
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Digital Antenna Please someone, enlighten me.
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:12   #27
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Digital antennas, marketing mania

Of course there is no such thing as a digital antenna because, by the vary nature of physics, all antennas are analog. Some marketing people "discovered" that as communications move towards digital modulation that often (not always) the bandwidth requirement increases. Naturally if the government regulatory agencies do not allow an increased bandwidth of operation at that frequency then the point is moot.

So, if increased bandwidths are used then the marketing people thought: Wow, what a sales and profit opportunity we have here! Let us sell digital antennas to garner a bigger market share over the competition.

In general, the bandwidth of an antenna, like a VHF antenna, is directly related to the diameter of the radiator element. For bandwidths legal to use on the marine VHF bands a wire that begins to limit the bandwidth is so thin that a practical radiator which will not self-destruct is not reasonable to use. If, however, a radiator element is "cut" so that it is slightly out of "tune" at the ends of the band (like the weather channels for marine VHF) at 162 MHz instead of, say 156 MHz for channel 16, then if the radiator is perhaps 3/8 inch in diameter it may have sufficient bandwidth to retain good SWR at the weather channels and deliver a better signal to the receiver.

So, bandwidth accommodation can be thought of as modulation bandwidth as well as frequency bandwidth, they are in essence the same thing as far as an antenna design consideration is concerned.

Marine SSB and VHF antennas do not need improved bandwidths merely because packet modulation or weatherfax modulation is used and, therefore, any marketing mania regarding the use of the word "digital" is bull.
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:30   #28
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Organic digital antennas

Please allow me this muse. It used to be that there were two classifications of chemistry: organic and inorganic. Inorganic chemicals do not contain compounds of hydrocarbon and organic chemicals do.

When I first heard someone talk of organic table salt (sometime in the early 60's) I pointed out that organic table salt would be a poison. Well, I realize the meanings and definitions change, often due to the use of words by ignorant and uneducated people more often than terms coined and adapted by poets and Pulitzer prize reporters.

So it may be in our future that all "good" things in our technical world will be "digital" (good, superior) and not analog (bad, inferior). Go buy that new digital toothbrush with a computer control built in.
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Old 03-11-2005, 15:09   #29
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Digital

Like everyone else I have been changing the digital clocks all over this place and in the car.
I have not done the two VCRs yet. One digital watch now sounds an alarm in the morning, and the other one says it is the 8th of July. Well I fixed the watch problem, I just bought a watch that actually tells me the time, and when I want to change the time I pull out the knob and turn the dial. It has hands just like a clock or watch should have. It also has a glow in the dark feature, and the hours numbered 1 to 12, plus 13 to 24. To set the time I will let the second hand go to 12 and set the other buttons to 1000 and pull the knob, when the 1000 sound signal beeps, I will push in the knob and it will be set.
I have two Timex digital watches for sale cheap, with the above mentioned quirks.
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Old 03-11-2005, 15:57   #30
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Digital Antenna is the name of company.

See:
http://www.digitalantenna.com/

Probably as good a name as many others.

I have purchased from them and have been pleased with their products and service.
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