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Old 03-11-2005, 18:06   #31
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It was a tongue in cheek comment actually. Although I don't have one of those avitars to use. Being a sound engineer, I used to hear snake oil, usually from the home HiFi retailers, relating to digital all the time. Like digital speakers. Ye-uup, so they make that fax sound with really low distortion huh Or this was a biggy for awhile, a packet of specialy weighted and balanced discs that you fitted to a CD. The idea is it balanced the disc as it was spinning and greatly reduced wow and flutter. Yea...riiiight. Digital cables is the one that really baffles me. No I don't mean fibre optic, that's real digital transmision, no I mean just standar ole copper wire that has been digitaly enhanced. Or what about this. Slightly off the digital issue, but a speaker cable that has "directioalised copper wire" It has arrows printed on the jacket to ensure you get the cable connected the right way. The idea is that because it is "directionalized copper" the electrons flow down it better. But before you all wet yourself with laughter, this one I kid you all NOT. It is true. A guy makes "tuned" IEC leads for your stereo. This "special" power lead is balanced with chokes and is hand tuned so as the AC supply arives to your stereo with such pricision, that the audio sounds increadible. Hmmm, just imagine what it would sound like if you could do the same to all your power feed through the house all the way down the street and back to the power station. So you think that's a joke, Nup, here's the joke. The guy sells these power cords for US$4500 for a 4ft cord. No I didn't type that wrong. It is US$4500.00. And yes, he sells them. Now what's that proverb about fools and their money???
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Old 09-01-2006, 21:16   #32
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Okay, an update.

My wind generator can not keep up with all my DC needs when I am at anchor. I spent 10 solid days on the hook, after 5 days I was down to the 50% mark ( Total house bank of 750 amp hours). It helps, but I had to ether run both my engines for 1.5 hours to keep up, or run 1 engine for 3 hours every day to keep up with my usage. I used the anchor light all night, I kept the VHF radio on all the time and I used my computer for entertainment more than I planned.

I have just complete installation of 1 170 watt solar panel. When I get my davits rebuilt, I'll add 2 more panels. I hope this will supply my energy needs. We will have to see how the utilization goes, and how much energy you can really get out of solar.

Fair winds,

Keith
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Old 10-01-2006, 00:42   #33
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Only 1.5/3hrs for 750Ahrs?!?! Mate, you must have some big mother alternators.
The other end of the scale is, you want to be absorbtion charging a bank of this size for quite some time to get it upto max. Not to mention the float charge is still quite a few amps just to maintain the level till you start the drain again. That all will take some seriuose charge regulators or shore supply charger.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:43   #34
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I didn't top the batteries back up. I just maintained them above the 50% mark. I guess a better way of saying it is that I was using about 60 amp hours a day more than I was generating.

I hope to one day balance what I use with what I generate, without using my primary engines. The quest continues.

Keith
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:18   #35
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Eeeecks Keith. You need to get those back up to full charge. Otherwise they will have a very short life. If you aren't using 400Ahrs per night, I would split that bank in half. Full charge both, but keep one topped full by trickle and don't use it unless you need to switch to it for extra. Then the other bank use for your domestic needs and keep the main chargers feeding it. It is essential you get them up. The more you deep cycle, the less they last. The most important point, you may get them upto a good voltage on a meter, but that doesn't mean they are fully charged and it will result in greatly reduced amphrs being stored. You may find 350Ahrs gives you all you need providing you have them fully charged, than 750Ahrs gives you not being fully charged.
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:59   #36
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Wheels is correct in that you need to fully charge the batteries (try to at least every 8 cycles) or suffer some permanent loss of capacity.

I disagree in the philosophy of splitting up the battery bank on a limited battery size vessel. You will realize bettery longevity with the largest combined bank possible for a given cyclical load; you will have a better opportunity to not exceed the Peukert discharge rate (thereby having a greater capacity available with the smallest internal resistance); and you will dissipate the least loss due to discharge current times internal battery resistance over time.

The ONLY valid reason (from a technical standpoint) to separate batteries into two banks is if you have sufficient money and space to devote to two banks of size large enough for each to carry the cyclical load AND to COMPLETELY restore the lost capacity immediately after each discharge cycle. This takes advantage of increased battery longevity gained by standing without a load for 24 hours. Most two person cruising boats do not have this luxury. Remember, this technique is valid only if you have the ability to completely restore the capacity of each battery at the end of its discharge cycle.
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Old 10-01-2006, 19:17   #37
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Thanks for the clarification Rick. I was only looking at this from a bandaid point of view, that I don't think Keith has enough input available to keep 750Ahrs at capacity (if I understand the situation correctly).
Keith, I think you need to increase your charge ability as soon as you can to cope with this size bank and your Draw requirments.
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Old 10-01-2006, 21:49   #38
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Ah the details.

I very rarely let my bank go down to 50% But, before I headed offshore, I wanted to see what kind of legs I had. I really wanted to judge how long I can stay out at anchor and what kind of regime I would pursue in terms of fuel, energy, water and food. I was anchored at Town Creek in Beaufort, North Carolina. I had plans to have the boat hauled at Jarrett Bay the following week. At any time, I could have pulled over to the marina, plugged up and been up to 100% in at worse case, overnight. But, that would not have learned some valuable lessons. The major one being, it is much easier to fix things while you're only a hundred miles away from home and still have a car and internet access. I am not really going to enjoy changing the operational characteristic of my boat in some remote place where I have to wait months for parts!

So, some of the things I found out:

I do need signifcantly more energy than one single wind generator . (Got 1 170 watt panel, will get 2 more)

My energy use on entertainment is more significant than I had estimated.

I needed to have a method of heating the boat without electricity. (Got a portable propane heater)

My alternators can supply me with enough energy to run the microwave. They can supply me with enough energy to keep my batteries topped up, but, I have to carry significanlty more fuel in cans if I am to remain "out" for more than a three weeks.

Running the engines for topping up is annoying. I can hear it and it detracts from my enjoyment.

Hot showers on board are nice!

Watermakers on board are nice!

Cooking on the grill, outside, when it is cold is not nice!

I would not split my battery banks, one big bank is the path I will continue to pursue. When you discharge a bank beyond its 20 hour discharge rate, you tend to have fewer overall amps available. Utilizing one large bank tends to give you more lattitude in staying under the 20 hour rate. It even appears that when I am significantly under the 20 hour rate, my bank has significantly more available amp hours.

Sometimes the best way to find something out, is to make a hypothosis and perform tests to validate or invalidate the assumptions. Usually beats the heck out of a wild a$$ guess.



Keith
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:06   #39
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Hi Keth
I have looked at the 170 & above watt solar pannels but was told by a few of the dealers that they were not so good on boats because of the size, I wonder how well they will hold up if supported well.? Any comments On these large pannels for boats anyone?
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:55   #40
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Arrrrr yes the details. Now that made a big difference Keith. Yeep, I too just stretched the legs of my battery bank. I onlyrun 550Ahrs. It held up well for the first night. Everything had plenty of power and I still had a good voltage reading in the morning. We ran the engine and genset that day for a few hrs while motor sailing till the wind got up. The voltage was good and I thought we can't have used much. But the battery bank was very very low the next morning. It took hrs of charging to get the banks back up.
Of course, I kinda knew all this in my head and knew what was going on, but it was still a good practicle lesson.

Important rule's of thumb.
What comes out, must go back in, plus some for losses.
A monitor like a link 2000 is a great tool and worth the money. will get one one day when I can afford it. If you don't have something like that, you have to calculate and understand in your head just how much time it takes to recharge big banks.
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:16   #41
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Ram;

I beleive we are fortunate in that we have wide catamarans. I mounted mine above the existing dinghy davits. I actually used saddle clamps to attach two cross members and then mounted the panel on those members. I could easily have put two panels in this set-up. I probably should have! I have visions of mounting 3 panels, so I elected to initially mount 1 to get an idea of the characteristics.

The issue on utilizing the 170 watt panel is the need for a MPT solar controller to step down the voltage from 24 volt to 12 volt. I got the idea from Bil of Makai to use a 24 volt panel. I think it is going to be a great solution for me. (Thanks again Bil!)

The other caveat is that the panels come in two different wiring configurations. One uses a junction box, the other something called MC connectors. I had a heck of a time finding the MC connectors! I probably order the junction box version if I were to do it all again.

Good luck and fair winds.

Keith
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:24   #42
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Alan:

Yeah, I love the Link 2000. My only issue is that the amps were not calibrated correctly and I had to send it back to Xantrex to get it recallibrated. A royal pain!!! Other than that, when paired with the xantrex Freedom inverter/charger it works great!

(Thought my amp utilization must have been off! Now I know!)

Keith
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Old 14-02-2006, 11:46   #43
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Gen set or windgenerator

I would like to add my two cents . You guys missed one point . I moor my boat and use my boat on weekends and when ever I can I sleep over and do a week trip here and there untill I retire . Point my boat hangs on a mooring I want to run my frig 24/7 . The Gulfstar I own has a Perkins 4-108 main with a Balmar 100 amp
alternator and a E-tech 3500 watt gen set . I use 6 - 6 volt Gulf Cart Batteries sold by King Solar at $59.00 @ now at @$ 69.00 they are Exide batteries. I can charge with the main or run gen set which powers a 40 amp per bank battery charger I have three battery banks house , starting and a windlass . Point what happens when you cruise somewhere tie up or moor and there is no dockpower and you want to visit somewhere for a few days or a week ? Do you empty the frig , leave someone behind to do charging as needed .
Simple the Sun still shines and the wind still blows while you are gone and wella the beer and steaks will still be cold . Point more freedom to leave the boat when needed . I like it so I can leave food and beer on the boat and its still there if I don't go to the boat for a couple days because of rain or other issues and no dead batteries.I NEED A WINDGENERATOR ! Joseph Brancato S/V Free Spirit
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Old 14-02-2006, 22:47   #44
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A couple of new cruising friends have just introduced me to those new Honda 2000 watt portable generators. When there solar panels and wind generators are not suffient for supplying there needs, or they want to run a microwave or watch a couple of movies, they plug in the generator with their shore power cord put it in their anchor locker and are happy as clams!

It looks like a pretty good compromise. They use about 2 gallons of gas a month. I wouldn't even worry about the depreciation on the thing.

Cheers,

Keith

Hey, Just made it to Nassau, what a lovely sail!
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Old 15-02-2006, 09:20   #45
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Generator

I purchased a 1000 watt Honda generator last year and love it.
My boat has the winter covers on it so no solar panels, no wind generator and no shore power. The generator fixes the problem.
From another group comes the idea of towing an OBM prop with a 3 foot 1/2 shaft to weight it, connected to a 1/2 inch line connected to an alternator on the transom. This system works for the designer. I got the bofo idea of using a 2 or 4 hp OBM with the motor removed and an alternator in its place.
Michael
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