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Old 15-08-2012, 12:49   #31
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Sorry but I'm very new to posting on a thread. So I would hope this is going where I intend. I also am going to make the addition of solar power to my boat. I have just completed a new house battery bank of AGM's at 315 amp hrs. Just ordered the Victron 602 to monitor both this bank and my AGM house starting bank. I am looking to put two 32 x 52 solar hard panels that should together produce 14 amps per hour. Wondering if that will be enough to power my linear autopilot when it's installed ? But my big question comes to the inverter that I will use. I know I want a pure sine wave inverter. What I do not understand is two things..1. I have seen 1500 watt inverters like I am looking for priced anywhere from $400-$2500. I am aware of the difference between modified and pure sine wave. What is the difference in price for if these are all pure sine wave? 2. And why would anybody make a 1500 to 2000 watt inverter with a couple of GFI plugs on it. I doubt very much that anybody with those type power needs is going to walk back to it with their hair dryer or coffee maker and plug it in. I have no problem with the direct AC wiring. I just can't find anyone who can tell me why direct wiring is not the standard configuration and why put the plugs on them at all?

Live on my boat.. better captain and sailor than I am a forum user. Please bear with me if this was not posted correctly.
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Old 15-08-2012, 12:56   #32
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Re: How Much Solar

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Originally Posted by Tusharks View Post
Sorry but I'm very new to posting on a thread. So I would hope this is going where I intend. I also am going to make the addition of solar power to my boat. I have just completed a new house battery bank of AGM's at 315 amp hrs. Just ordered the Victron 602 to monitor both this bank and my AGM house starting bank. I am looking to put two 32 x 52 solar hard panels that should together produce 14 amps per hour. Wondering if that will be enough to power my linear autopilot when it's installed ? But my big question comes to the inverter that I will use. I know I want a pure sine wave inverter. What I do not understand is two things..1. I have seen 1500 watt inverters like I am looking for priced anywhere from $400-$2500. I am aware of the difference between modified and pure sine wave. What is the difference in price for if these are all pure sine wave? 2. And why would anybody make a 1500 to 2000 watt inverter with a couple of GFI plugs on it. I doubt very much that anybody with those type power needs is going to walk back to it with their hair dryer or coffee maker and plug it in. I have no problem with the direct AC wiring. I just can't find anyone who can tell me why direct wiring is not the standard configuration and why put the plugs on them at all?

Live on my boat.. better captain and sailor than I am a forum user. Please bear with me if this was not posted correctly.
then you are not looking at the real stuff!
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:11   #33
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Re: How Much Solar

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Originally Posted by Azul View Post
.............Can someone suggest a modular "starter" system complete with links to cost effective components that can be easily upgraded? For example, if you buy two batteries, can't you later buy two more and wire each set parallel and use them as battery bank one and battery bank two? Can someone share a AH usage chart that they have made up divided into musts and "nice to haves" like reefers, radar etc?
I agree with your basic concept and approach, but I must admit that your request for "input" on the "loads" of individual components of an electrical system is something that has "been out there" for sooo looong that it is easy to find. Google "boat energy budget" and you'll get lots of input. Or buy any good boat electrical book. Or read West Marine's online Advisors electrical section. Or try these:

The important ENERGY BUDGET: Energy Budget

Also discussed in "Breaking In New Wet Cell Batteries," here: "Breaking In" New Wet Cell Batteries

You really have to do some math, but it's not that hard. Unless you know what's going OUT and learn to determine what's going back IN, including charging batteries and battery acceptance, you're gonna end up short.

I think that's what these contributors have been saying: do a little homework and consider the "issues" involved in designing the SYSTEM.
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:13   #34
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[QUOTE="laforge24"]

then you are not looking at the real stuff![/QUOTE

Hate to seem dense but what "real stuff " are we talking about?
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:16   #35
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Re: How Much Solar

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Originally Posted by Tusharks View Post
... And why would anybody make a 1500 to 2000 watt inverter with a couple of GFI plugs on it. I doubt very much that anybody with those type power needs is going to walk back to it with their hair dryer or coffee maker and plug it in. I have no problem with the direct AC wiring. I just can't find anyone who can tell me why direct wiring is not the standard configuration and why put the plugs on them at all?

Live on my boat.. better captain and sailor than I am a forum user. Please bear with me if this was not posted correctly.
Welcome, it came through.

There are all sorts of different inverters, uses and users. Some folks don't want to connect their inverters to their boat A.C. systems, some do. Some inverters made with two receptacles on them can ALSO be direct wired to the boat's A.C. systems. You just have to do your homework to determine what particular model inverter works for you. i agree, running extensions cords around is not for me, but for some weekend warriors it works just fine and is easier to install: just two big wires to their house bank and no switching, simple.

So take a look around at the different models to see what works for you.
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:23   #36
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Re: How Much Solar

[QUOTE=Tusharks;1013415]
Quote:
Originally Posted by laforge24

then you are not looking at the real stuff![/QUOTE

Hate to seem dense but what "real stuff " are we talking about?
Bigger outputs, starting with 24V input/3000W output peaks up 6000W
Off grid is to connect a house, not comparable to boatneeds,
the socket system makes it easier to change from converter to generator without complex mistakes, foolproof so to say,
cheap low output converters are useless consumers, a good Victron
will do most.
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:25   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson

Welcome, it came through.

There are all sorts of different inverters, uses and users. Some folks don't want to connect their inverters to their boat A.C. systems, some do. Some inverters made with two receptacles on them can ALSO be direct wired to the boat's A.C. systems. You just have to do your homework to determine what particular model inverter works for you. i agree, running extensions cords around is not for me, but for some weekend warriors it works just fine and is easier to install: just two big wires to their house bank and no switching, simple.

So take a look around at the different models to see what works for you.
Thanks I just hate to spend money that is not necessary to spend. I have been doing quite a bit of research. All I can say for certain is that Xantrex are very difficult people to try to talk to about their product before you buy it. Makes me somewhat suspect of what they would be like after I had already purchased it.
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:34   #38
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Roger that. Though I will be using a 12 V system, and am only looking at 2000 W maximum, ( 1500 would be better as I should not exceed five times the amp hours of my house bank) I have noticed a large discrepancy in peak output ratings. I have also seen that there seems to be a rather large discrepancy between how efficiently each one of these inverters produces that output. Thank you for your help.
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Old 15-08-2012, 13:40   #39
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Re: How Much Solar

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Roger that. Though I will be using a 12 V system, and am only looking at 2000 W maximum, ( 1500 would be better as I should not exceed five times the amp hours of my house bank) I have noticed a large discrepancy in peak output ratings. I have also seen that there seems to be a rather large discrepancy between how efficiently each one of these inverters produces that output. Thank you for your help.
Victron is certainly the better , when connected to shore often, think of a converter with intregated charger, all in one great stuff
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Old 15-08-2012, 14:50   #40
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Re: How Much Solar

Thanks to those that just answered the question.

To all those that just had to respond with the "your need to know your loads" even though I said I already knew (I have a whole spread sheet for this along with experience using my boat), but thanks for your expertize.

For those that responded with no answer other than "just get the most you can fit", I could easily fit 800W just above my bimini if I wanted to.

So we have a lot more responses compared to the number who gave their solar capacity, loads, and whether their solar is enough.
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Old 15-08-2012, 21:41   #41
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Re: How Much Solar

To Don, Azul and tusharks - I get the idea that you want "simple" answers. Unfortunately simple answers can often be incorrect.

Also the points about buying a "starter" kit and upgrading later carries the risk of panel and equipment changing and evolving are real.

I think most "pocket protector" type are trying to help you and those lurking not engage on a journey that doesn't end well.

They certainly end up in the weeds at times arguing concepts with each other that goes above our heads and confuses us more. However there are some guys on here that I respect tremendously for their knowledge on this subject.

So - You gotta have a "basic" understanding and a basic plan. I am also a fairly noob solar researcher and I take all the "free" advice here with a grain of salt.

I have found this white paper by Victron to be the most useful tool for getting my own thoughts organized - especially at the end when it talks about scenarios for different power needs. I strongly suggest this as a primer before adding anything. The technology and thinking around how to use solar has changed a bunch and is still changing.

http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...8_july2004.pdf

They also have several other white papers that you can read here.

White papers - Victron Energy

Hope this helps in some way...
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Old 16-08-2012, 00:27   #42
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Re: How Much Solar

I think each individual has their own method of approaching electrical needs based on ...yes...cost and what works best for each individual. That said, I have 250 watts of solar, 400 a/hr of group 31s and a bluesky 2512. My fridge runs 4 minutes on and 16 minutes off. Amp draw per hour is around one amp or 24+ amps a day. Calculating nav lights for 10 hours, radar in sleep mode, turned on every 1/2hr for a sweep and the odd interior light on comes to less than 50 A/hr per day. I calculate my solar might put in 75 A/hr per day. I do not want to run my engine. I hate internal generators and I'm not spending $1100 for a Honda gen.
I mention cost because if I bought everything people think I need, I would never be able to leave. At some point there needs to be some degree of trade=off.
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Old 16-08-2012, 00:39   #43
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Re: How Much Solar

Im running 320 watts, keeps up with pretty much everything, though if cloudy i need to minimize my use, no water maker/ice maker etc. Have not seen a marina for over 2 months now and have not started the engine to charge the batteries .

Im using a cheap Mppt controller from germany, the panels are 5 amp each (x4) but it pumps out 22 amps at peak output . Just remember to clean them every few days, i have not seen rain in four months now!
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Old 16-08-2012, 01:09   #44
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Re: How Much Solar

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I have found this white paper by Victron to be the most useful tool for getting my own thoughts organized -

http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...8_july2004.pdf

They also have several other white papers that you can read here.

White papers - Victron Energy

Hope this helps in some way...
Nice find, thanks

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Old 16-08-2012, 03:34   #45
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Re: How Much Solar

We have 970 W of solar panels, 880 Ah of wet cell bateries, Link 10 Monitor, no generator, a little 6A alternator on 1 outboard, no wind generator, mostly all LEDs, no electric anchor winch, no electric pumps apart from the watermaker, a fridge that can also freeze (because I threw out the thermostat), 1500 W inverter, a 12V computer, a flat LED screen with 12V - 18V transformer.

No problem. Had 40+ A pumping into the system today before I started shutting panels down.

Panels are so cheap these days that it is cheaper to buy more panels than to buy an MPPT controller. As long as you have enough real estate on deck to install the panels!

Our boat originally had 340 W of panels which still run thru the original controller. The additional 630 W runs direct to the batteries and I control them thru breakers in the cockpit. Shock, horror! No controller, no MPPT for them! Just common sense and attention. We live onboard full time and in the cockpit I can see the battery bank voltage and flick the panels on and off depending on what is necessary. Super simple. If we leave the boat, our loads decrease and I turn off some or all of the 630 W of additional panels and let the old 340 W panels and the controller look after everything.

Our 880 Ah of batteries cost about a grand. The additional 630 W of panels also cost a grand in 2010. We don't spend anything more on fuel, oil changes, controllers, MPPT (the only way to justify that scam is if you simply can't fit more panels on your boat) and we don't do the 1 hour of generator noise in the morning followed by another hour at night.

KISS!
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