Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 29-12-2019, 21:51   #1
Registered User
 
pallantejm's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Auckland, NZ
Boat: Don Brooke Yacht 34'
Posts: 23
Most sustainable electrical setup

My partner and I were wondering what the best / most affordable options would be for our electrical setup.

We would like to optimize our electronics usage to ensure battery power to:

- 2 laptops
- 2 phones
- Mast lights
- Anchor winch
- Electric bilge pump
- Thru-hull depth sounder/transducer

We plan on getting a 3-way fridge but would mainly rely on propane. The oven and stove would also rely on propane.

Cabin lights would be portable LEDs.

Previous owner installed a macerating toilet w/electric flush but considering switching over to compost toilet instead.

Currently have 12V Starter battery for the engine and the 130 A/H Deep Cycle battery is dead (will need to replace). Due to the dead battery all electrical systems on the boat do not work (besides the starter).

Do not have solar panels (what would the recommended wattage be?)

What would the ideal electrical setup be for the above requirements and would anyone have a ballpark figure as to how much it would cost to install?
__________________

pallantejm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 21:59   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Whitby, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 4,022
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

be extremely careful of 3-way fridges. They are almost impossible to install in a boat to Manufactuers instructions, ABYC Standards and every LPG code that I have seen due to pilot lights and lack of room sealed ventilation. Your surveyor will call it out. Your insurer may require it's removal.
__________________

__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 22:02   #3
Registered User
 
pallantejm's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Auckland, NZ
Boat: Don Brooke Yacht 34'
Posts: 23
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Thanks for the heads up. I've seen a few installed before but didn't realize the restrictions with surveyors. Also seeing inboard ovens not being permitted. What's the deal with that? Is gas powered anything too much of a risk on a boat?
pallantejm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 22:15   #4
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Whitby, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 4,022
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallantejm View Post
Thanks for the heads up. I've seen a few installed before but didn't realize the restrictions with surveyors. Also seeing inboard ovens not being permitted. What's the deal with that? Is gas powered anything too much of a risk on a boat?
Standards and laws vary a bit from country to country. They are very strict in AU and EU but in NA there are no laws but the insurance companies insist that ABYC Standards are followed.

LPG is a safe fuel if properly installed and maintained. I've been a full time liveaboad with propane bbq, stove and oven since 1994.

LPG fridges and LPG instant water heaters are unique in that they are extremely difficult to install in a boat in accordance with mfg's instructions. Check out your country's propane regs before spending money on these two tems.
__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 22:22   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: New Zealand
Boat: 31ft tank
Posts: 64
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Skip the propane fridge, very dangerous to have onboard.

I see you are also from NZ, so...

If you acquired a couple of decent panelshttps://equipurself.co.nz/collection...gy-mono-panels

A decent charge controller → https://equipurself.co.nz/collection...lar-controller

A decent inverterhttps://equipurself.co.nz/collection...lar-controller

Some decent batteries email or phone Peter Garden; batteries@coromandel.com or phone 021 959000 about his 6REXC-300 batteries. You will need two of these they are super high quality and very hard to kill. There will give you 240ah of usable energy @12v vs a normal AGM battery [you can only use 80% of an AGM's rating otherwise it dies quickly] that will give you 100ah usable energy.

And finally but most importantly acquire a battery monitor so you don't kill your batteries. → https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3301...1d874c4dWzexqR

I'm local if you have and more specific questions and what to know where to acquire or decipher the information you are told by retailers.
Cowpoos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 22:53   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 13,302
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

How big a boat, weight carrying capacity relative to what you have now?

Planning to live aboard or just a few days at a time away from shore power? Or no access to mains at all?

Coastal only or heading out off shore?

Engine, what sort of alternator?

Any genset?
These issues are important to many of the decision factors.

"sustainable" is an overloaded term, yes you want to prioritize solar, but not maybe past the point the sailing performance is compromised.

Best to have several different sources for energy inputs, more the better

Agree no gas for fridge, ice box / cooler or 12V compressor type is the way to go, **if** you have the energy inputs.

Propane is cheap, may be a necessary evil, takes careful diligence to stay safe.

And "most affordable" vs "the best" are usually in opposition, need to balance between them and accept it's always a compromise.

Investing more up front can sometimes keep ongoing costs down, but some just can't afford that kind of frugality.
john61ct is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 22:56   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 974
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallantejm View Post
We would like to optimize our electronics usage to ensure battery power to:

- 2 laptops
- 2 phones
- Mast lights
- Anchor winch
- Electric bilge pump
- Thru-hull depth sounder/transducer

...

What would the ideal electrical setup be for the above requirements and would anyone have a ballpark figure as to how much it would cost to install?
Laptops come in different configurations. If you are like my kids who play games, you can expect 150-200W per laptop which approaches 15A. Multiply by 2 people x 5 hours a day and that is a solid 150 AHrs. The rest will add about 100 AHrs, most of it from the fridge. Some people will call this extreme, others will consider it normal. In order to replenish 250 AHrs on a boat you can either run the engine for three hours ($300 for the alternator setup), a portable generator like a Honda for two hours ($1000 + gas) or install 1000W of solar panels (ten standard panels, approx. $3-4,000 installed). Most people use a combination of these three sources. Also most people use less powerful laptops. But you get the idea.

If you like to move around, you typically use the engine quite a lot and it charges along the way, so it is no issue. Also you play less. If you prefer to stay at anchor for days, then people typically get as much solar as they can fit. The rest of the people get a Honda... and run it while playing video games with a headset .

SV Pizzazz

p.s. Christmas addition to the boat: ~300W desktop + TV for my son, draws more than 20A including monitor. Before I was always planning to go to the islands in the afternoon to enjoy the afternoon breeze. Now I am planning to go in the morning when there is no wind and I can motor to power this beast while he is playing. I never thought it would come to this.
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 23:22   #8
Registered User
 
pallantejm's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Auckland, NZ
Boat: Don Brooke Yacht 34'
Posts: 23
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

The boat is 34'. Planning on staying near the coasts at different moorings throughout NZ. No shore power. The engine is an old (early 80s?) Lister Petter so unsure of the alternator and genset specs.



Regarding the propane. There is a separate compartment at the helm sectioned off from the back berth and main cabin with a pipe previously installed leading to the stove (rusted and recently removed) in the galley.



The end goal is to sail down to Golden Bay / Abel Tasman region of NZ where it is the sunniest spot in the country and utilize the solar panels to get a majority of our electricity, but given that we'd like to liveaboard over the winter, alternative energy sources may be required (i.e., wind turbine)
pallantejm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 23:38   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,373
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

I'm with JohnCT on this one. Is this a 34' monohull??

You'll have a heck of a time installing a propane refrigerator in that boat if so. Plus, they won't work at large angles of heeling for hours at a time.

I'd say the hazards people talk about are a bit overblown, as there are no pilot lights and the little flame that comes on when the cooling cycle starts is about the size of a stovetop burner on high and is located inside a metal chimney. However, these refrigerators need a supply of fresh air at their base and an exhaust at the top to form a sort of chimney behind them.

The minute you screw up the air draft is the minute they no longer work properly.

I have had one on my boat working fine for 5 years now. My old 1980's Catamaran has one as original equipment. But these are more suited to catamarans than monohulls due to heeling and the challenge of getting the chimney right.

It would be possible to use an electric fan to force air through the backside but it's a lot of trouble compared to upping the DC production and going for an electric refrigerator.

Mine has a natural draft intake leading down from deck level to the flame area, then a computer fan assisted exhaust at the top out of the boat. I used a negative pressure pull on the exhaust (which works without any fans due to convection currents too) in order to make doubly sure not an atom of carbon monoxide can escape into the living area.

But in a 34' mono? Go for electric or engine driven cold plate refrigerator.
Chotu is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2019, 23:43   #10
Registered User
 
pallantejm's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Auckland, NZ
Boat: Don Brooke Yacht 34'
Posts: 23
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Nice, thanks for the heads up and yes it's a 34' monohull. Electric /engine driven seems to be the best bet. Cheers!
pallantejm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2019, 03:54   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 13,302
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallantejm View Post
Nice, thanks for the heads up and yes it's a 34' monohull. Electric /engine driven seems to be the best bet. Cheers!
Make that electric.

You don't want to **have to** run the engine for hours every day, and the 12V compressor type is 99.99% of the market now, much more reliable and easier to get serviced.
john61ct is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2019, 04:01   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 13,302
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallantejm View Post
Lister Petter so unsure of the alternator and genset specs.
Make it a priority to find out, a good alt charging session (while motoring anyway) can really help leverage the solar, cut down on the costs of other sources in general.

Wind power is decreasingly used as solar has gotten so much cheaper.

And it's silent, no (less reliable) moving parts, the vibration from a wind genny drives me nuts personally.

Look to diesel heat, modern "parking heaters" are very efficient, if hydronic can also give HWS in conjuction with the engine.
john61ct is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2019, 10:38   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 353
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
be extremely careful of 3-way fridges. They are almost impossible to install in a boat to Manufactuers instructions, ABYC Standards and every LPG code that I have seen due to pilot lights and lack of room sealed ventilation. Your surveyor will call it out. Your insurer may require it's removal.
Yeah, complying with standards and adapting installation + connection to 3 different types of energy for 1 appliance

Absolutely crazy, that fridge will be expensive

I think best DC 12 V power supply. Can also run through inverter connected to AC.
Is small constant load... NO big deal for solar
NO running around with the rusty tanks
__________________
Now or Never
warrior 90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2019, 12:53   #14
MJH
Registered User
 
MJH's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Boat: Tayana Vancouver 42ac
Posts: 377
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallantejm View Post
My partner and I were wondering what the best / most affordable options would be for our electrical setup.

We would like to optimize our electronics usage to ensure battery power to:

- 2 laptops
- 2 phones
- Mast lights
- Anchor winch
- Electric bilge pump
- Thru-hull depth sounder/transducer

We plan on getting a 3-way fridge but would mainly rely on propane. The oven and stove would also rely on propane.

Cabin lights would be portable LEDs.

Previous owner installed a macerating toilet w/electric flush but considering switching over to compost toilet instead.

Currently have 12V Starter battery for the engine and the 130 A/H Deep Cycle battery is dead (will need to replace). Due to the dead battery all electrical systems on the boat do not work (besides the starter).

Do not have solar panels (what would the recommended wattage be?)

What would the ideal electrical setup be for the above requirements and would anyone have a ballpark figure as to how much it would cost to install?
Your asking a lot of very basic questions. I'll do my best to answer.

DON'T use the propane refrigerator...it is problematic and dangerous on sailboats due to heeling affect.

You need a comprehensive electrical system designed to the battery chemistry of your choice (flooded, AGM, GEL, others); all battery chemistry must be the same. I won't get into chemistry choice as that is a forum unto itself but take note of the require maintenance to maintain each of them, advantages, and disadvantages. However, just buying the batteries is not an end in itself. House battery size is dependent on your total use and recharging sources; start by completing a daily energy audit, each device amperage times hours totaled for the day. Your diesel alternator should be at least 25% of total battery amperage. A battery monitor with temperature inputs are a plus to extended battery life...don't forget the maintenance.

Extra energy generating sources are a plus: solar and wind to start. Good solar panels are quiet and maintenance free but locating them on a monohull is a challenge; put on as many watts as your boat will support. Wind generator may be good if you will be anchoring for some time in cloudy climate.

I am not fond of the composting toilet IDEA but have no experience with it either.

The initial total cost outlay for all above will be substantial but if done correctly will last a long time. If funds are limited, don't go on the cheap but rather complete a progressive plan in logical phases when funds are available. Therefore, start with choosing battery chemistry and initial start battery, battery monitor, with temperature inputs...don't forget the maintenance. Take the time to Reseach carefully each step and shop around for the best prices.

Good Luck.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
MJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2019, 13:18   #15
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denmark (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 26,163
Re: Most sustainable electrical setup

Solar and a proper alternator with proper regulation on the main engine will produce all the power you need. Forget wind; very little practical yield. If you are crossing oceans or doing long ocean passages, a hydrogenerator can work. A portable suitcase generator can be nice if you can't quite fit enough solar to provide everyday needs and you aren't running your main engine much (so you are anchored out for long periods at a time without moving).



With solar the more the better, but large solar installations are ugly and will have a negative effect on sailing ability of a monohull. You'll have to decide yourself how to balance these considerations.


But the good news is that it is fairly straightforward to make up solar power shortfalls with other power sources. It is really worthwhile to install a high output alternator, or even a second alternator if you have room for it, with external regulation. You can't get a lot of power out of a stock car-type alternator because these are not designed with the cooling needed or the high temperature components for sustained high output use. A large frame school bus type alternator is the gold standard, but if you can't fit one of those there are different sources for higher output alternators which can fit in place of any standard one, Mark Grasser and Balmar, to name just two.


So very typical for a boat which needs more power than it can get from solar is to run the engine for an hour in the morning (or half an hour, or whatever) to get a good bulk charge on, then shut it off and let solar take over.


My previous boat had 800w of solar and we never really needed to do that. This more than covered all of our power needs. But the present boat is much more power intensive (washer, dryer, electric cooking, etc.) and we use a heavy duty low speed diesel generator as the main power source.



Then you need adequate battery storage. Forget AGM's and gels -- just use the cheapest 6v golf cart batteries you can find -- by far the best cost to value ratio of any batteries. The only other alternative worth considering is LiFePo4, which requires a significant amount of installed infrastructure, so the intitial installation may be expensive for a boat not designed for it, but which functions much better, lasts much longer, doesn't require all the maintenance, worrying about charging up fully every few days at least, being left in partial state of charge, etc etc etc. There are some excellent threads on LiFePo4 battery systems in this forum for further information.


Whatever type of batteries you choose, have enough. Lead batteries will give 50% of their nominal capacity in real amp hours from fully charge, and maybe 35% if short cycling. If you are relying primarily on solar, you will want to have at least a day's worth of your consumption, as realistic stored power in the batteries, so you would want the nominal capacity of a lead battery bank to be equal to at least three times your average daily consumption. If you have plenty of solar power, then lead batteries will be fine if there are enough of them. If you need to use other power sources, even if only as a supplement to solar, then LiFePo4 has some profound advantages (not a problem to never fully charge them, so no problem charging them opportunistically; high charge acceptance rate means possible to get maximum benefit from charging runs using internal combustion engines; others).



Have fun designing this; electrical systems on board are one of the more interesting subjects for cruisers, and it's satisfying when they work well. It's satisfying to go for months at a time off grid, producing and managing all your own power via a system you designed yourself.
__________________

__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-Ítre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cal, electric, electrical

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sustainable Sailing Dave&Kerrie Meets & Greets 20 26-07-2012 22:04
Deep-Sea Fishing Not Sustainable - Study avb3 Off Topic Forum 161 09-10-2011 03:16
Environmental / Sustainable Sailors Wanted ! huminbean Provisioning: Food & Drink 26 05-05-2011 02:03

Advertise Here


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:17.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.