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Old 29-11-2013, 22:10   #16
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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
yes. every boat that is used without constant engines running should have a battery monitor

I would at least have a small solar to keep the batteries maintained while you are off the boat if it's not plugged in.

well adding bigger batteries and the alt doesn't really help you here unless you are motoring often.
Those times when I have to motor I want to be charging quickly and efficiently. Starting the weekend with a bank as close to 100% as possible and then charging silently by other means when I'm sailing and/or on the hook is the goal.
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Old 29-11-2013, 23:09   #17
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Re: New DC Power Plant

As far as prices for Honda Gennys, Try campingworld.com They have great sales on these gennys at different times of the year !! and are far cheaper then any place Ive seen! sometimes ya just have to try different places, some that are not even marine !! LOL
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Old 30-11-2013, 00:12   #18
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Re: New DC Power Plant

I've been asking the solar vs wind generator question locally (BC coast) for the past year....and almost unanimously, those that own wind generators wouldn't buy them again, while everyone that has solar panels would. And this in an area where the sun isn't that strong.
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Old 30-11-2013, 06:27   #19
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I've been asking the solar vs wind generator question locally (BC coast) for the past year....and almost unanimously, those that own wind generators wouldn't buy them again, while everyone that has solar panels would. And this in an area where the sun isn't that strong.
Having lived in Victoria I know the wind isn't always great there in the summer but you do get a lot of sun. NE can be light, too. If I could just solve the real estate challenge I would be leaning to solar.

Has anyone seen the products from Custom Marine? Thoughts?

http://www.custommarineproducts.com/
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Old 30-11-2013, 16:20   #20
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Re: New DC Power Plant

We were in a very similar position when we bought out Moody 31 which came with 2 x 110AH batteries. These were joined together to create a single 220AH bank and a new separate Redflash AGM fitted out of the way for engine starting. Tiny little battery with lots of umph.

Next we bought a Honda 20i, seems we pay in £ what you guys pay in $ Kept the Honda for 4 years because in addition to charging it provided electric for the calorifier hence hot water and mains electric for heating in the Spring and Autumn (we are 50.N). This worked quite well until we fitted diesel heating at which point the Honda wasn't used anything like as much.

Then came two solar panels totaling 125w which combined with a bit of work reducing out electrical demand easily meets the need during the summer at anchor. We use 30-40AH a day including fridge, lights and laptops etc. Indeed the first summer I was wandering around the boat looking for things to charge up by mid afternoon to make use of the spare power when the sun really shines. Our longest test was 5 days at anchor and we left with full batteries.

Sold the Honda 20i for nearly what we paid for it and gave up up on hot water unless we run the engine or boil the kettle. Lots more space in the cockpit locker now too.

So what's next? well another solar panel to take us up to 200w or so, to cover the possibility of a rainy week during the summer, probably loose and just placed on the deck in a frame at anchor. At sea we use more power with autopilot, VHF and lights etc, but don't mind running the engine for an hour during the night just to keep on top of things. If you are in the NE then don't forget you have alot more daylight in the summer than those further south. Oh sure the panels won't give full charge at 5am in the morning but they are working and will still be working at 10 pm as the sun sets.

One thing to think about, we did a 14 hour channel crossing under engine because it was flat calm. As we left we needed to add 30 AH to the 220 AH bank. Took the 60 amp alternator 10 hours to do that, because nearly full batteries will only take a tiny amount, though advanced charging with a new multi stage alternator will help a bit. Just not convinced that you need a 100 amp unit, what you need is the higher voltage to charge the batteries quicker so 14.9v instead of say 14.2v which you could have from a smaller 75 amp unit saving on the twin belt requirement and a few dollars.

Sort the charging out and you may not need a 300 AH bank or it could be added later if you did. First thing though has to be a battery monitor regardless what ever else you do so you don't spend hours charging if it isn't required, been there.

Pete
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Old 30-11-2013, 17:59   #21
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We were in a very similar position when we bought out Moody 31 which came with 2 x 110AH batteries. These were joined together to create a single 220AH bank and a new separate Redflash AGM fitted out of the way for engine starting. Tiny little battery with lots of umph.

Next we bought a Honda 20i, seems we pay in £ what you guys pay in $ Kept the Honda for 4 years because in addition to charging it provided electric for the calorifier hence hot water and mains electric for heating in the Spring and Autumn (we are 50.N). This worked quite well until we fitted diesel heating at which point the Honda wasn't used anything like as much.

Then came two solar panels totaling 125w which combined with a bit of work reducing out electrical demand easily meets the need during the summer at anchor. We use 30-40AH a day including fridge, lights and laptops etc. Indeed the first summer I was wandering around the boat looking for things to charge up by mid afternoon to make use of the spare power when the sun really shines. Our longest test was 5 days at anchor and we left with full batteries.

Sold the Honda 20i for nearly what we paid for it and gave up up on hot water unless we run the engine or boil the kettle. Lots more space in the cockpit locker now too.

So what's next? well another solar panel to take us up to 200w or so, to cover the possibility of a rainy week during the summer, probably loose and just placed on the deck in a frame at anchor. At sea we use more power with autopilot, VHF and lights etc, but don't mind running the engine for an hour during the night just to keep on top of things. If you are in the NE then don't forget you have alot more daylight in the summer than those further south. Oh sure the panels won't give full charge at 5am in the morning but they are working and will still be working at 10 pm as the sun sets.

One thing to think about, we did a 14 hour channel crossing under engine because it was flat calm. As we left we needed to add 30 AH to the 220 AH bank. Took the 60 amp alternator 10 hours to do that, because nearly full batteries will only take a tiny amount, though advanced charging with a new multi stage alternator will help a bit. Just not convinced that you need a 100 amp unit, what you need is the higher voltage to charge the batteries quicker so 14.9v instead of say 14.2v which you could have from a smaller 75 amp unit saving on the twin belt requirement and a few dollars.

Sort the charging out and you may not need a 300 AH bank or it could be added later if you did. First thing though has to be a battery monitor regardless what ever else you do so you don't spend hours charging if it isn't required, been there.

Pete
Good info Pete. Seems you have solved some of the problems I am facing. Just a word about the alternator.. Difference in cost between 70 and 100 is negligible. The output curve on the 100 shows around 80, best case. I have heard the Balmar 100 should be an easy replacement on my Westerbeke 30 but need to dig into this one a little further to be sure. My AH capacity will be based solely upon room. If I can get to 400 with some mods to the battery box, I will. I'm slowly coming around to solar... Saw the setup in your profile. I really value stern rails for outboard and grill so not willing to give it up just yet. I have been drawing some sketches of pole mounting ideas today based on some commercial products. Hard to fathom how folks can charge so much for a pole and some fittings.
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Old 30-11-2013, 19:00   #22
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Re: New DC Power Plant

Why not a Solbian panel on your dodger? Just move your boom to the side using your traveler. You can use Velcro to make the panel removable.

The noise and exhaust fumes from a Honda generator are always so pleasant for the boat anchored downwind! A newer and quieter model wind generator might be the better alternative and you could leave it spinning when not on board.
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Old 01-12-2013, 13:20   #23
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Re: New DC Power Plant

SW, I fired up the engine this morning as I needed to fill the fuel tank up for the winter. After returning to the berth I took this photo. So the alternator is giving 14.2v and needs to top off the missing 14 amps out of the 220AH bank, but it is only charging at 3.7AH and that is at 1200 revs. I raised the revs to 2000 but it only added an amp. I gave up waiting and left the solar panel to sort it out over the next week.

We only have a stern panel on one side, dinghy engine and AIS aerial lives on the other side. BBQ removed because the dinghy lives on the stern, it was just too much of a risk.

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Old 01-12-2013, 14:03   #24
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SW, I fired up the engine this morning as I needed to fill the fuel tank up for the winter. After returning to the berth I took this photo. So the alternator is giving 14.2v and needs to top off the missing 14 amps out of the 220AH bank, but it is only charging at 3.7AH and that is at 1200 revs. I raised the revs to 2000 but it only added an amp. I gave up waiting and left the solar panel to sort it out over the next week. Pete
You need more than 14.2 V to charge fast. 14.2V is the safe voltage that will get the batteries full eventually, but it will take forever. To charge faster you need an external regulator that charges at 14.6V and then steps back to about 13.8V.
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Old 01-12-2013, 14:18   #25
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Re: New DC Power Plant

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You need more than 14.2 V to charge fast. 14.2V is the safe voltage that will get the batteries full eventually, but it will take forever. To charge faster you need an external regulator that charges at 14.6V and then steps back to about 13.8V.
Yes, I know and the little sterling unit is on the cards but it keeps slipping down the wish list. Been playing with VHF aerials today, then found our volvo shaft seal is leaking when motoring, ho hum. So for the moment the solar panels can take the strain.

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Old 01-12-2013, 16:05   #26
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Re: New DC Power Plant

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... We have refer, stereo, periodic phone and iPad charging, small GPS part time, LED lights, and rarely use sailing instruments. Probably 50 - 70 a/h per day but that is only a guess... Would appreciate any thoughts/input.
Lets do a few numbers for solar. If you use 70 amp-hours per day on the weekends, that is 140 amp-hour. Now of course the sun shines only part of the time and the panels are flat so the angle to the sun is not always the best. The rough guess for these conditions are that you will get an average of 5 hours per day of full power. Five hours for seven days a week is 35 hours so divide the 35 hours into 140 amp-hours and get 4 amps, the maximum amount needed from the panel. The nominal voltage from a panel is 17 volts because it takes about 14.4 volts for charging and some extra voltage above that is lost to the controller that regulates the voltage to prevent overcharging, that is limited of 14.4 volts. So 17 volts times 4 amps is 68 watts. Double this so cloudy days are also accommodated and go with a high quality 140 watt Kyocera panel. It weighs 28 pound and has dimensions of 59 inch by 26.3 inch by 1.8 inch thick
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Old 01-12-2013, 16:58   #27
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We have the same boat, and have upgraded to 4 golf cart batts, a 70 amp alt, 200 watt wind gen and 130 watts of solar.
It's worked out quite nicely. In your position I'd add the batteries and alternator and then a small (25 ish) watt solar panel to maintain the batteries on the mooring.
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Old 01-12-2013, 17:17   #28
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Lets do a few numbers for solar. If you use 70 amp-hours per day on the weekends, that is 140 amp-hour. Now of course the sun shines only part of the time and the panels are flat so the angle to the sun is not always the best. The rough guess for these conditions are that you will get an average of 5 hours per day of full power. Five hours for seven days a week is 35 hours so divide the 35 hours into 140 amp-hours and get 4 amps, the maximum amount needed from the panel. The nominal voltage from a panel is 17 volts because it takes about 14.4 volts for charging and some extra voltage above that is lost to the controller that regulates the voltage to prevent overcharging, that is limited of 14.4 volts. So 17 volts times 4 amps is 68 watts. Double this so cloudy days are also accommodated and go with a high quality 140 watt Kyocera panel. It weighs 28 pound and has dimensions of 59 inch by 26.3 inch by 1.8 inch thick
Funny the amount of rounding up/down and absolute variables in these solar/wind calculations. I therefore resolved to A. Determine best place for solar on my boat (read: least obtrusive) B. Dimensions of what will fit, C. Will the size be enough. I arrived at exactly the panel you suggest, mostly because it fits nicely across my stern rail. Would go with an MPPT controller also. That's a big panel to have jutting out from the back of my boat but I could rig it up easily.

I wonder would it make more sense of go with a fully articulating mount on a pole with a smaller panel - say 100 watts? That way it's out of the way and I won't have to evict the outboard and barbecue. Just concerned about a big panel hanging in the air on an unattended boat and what sort of mast I might need.
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Old 01-12-2013, 17:46   #29
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Re: New DC Power Plant

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I wonder would it make more sense of go with a fully articulating mount on a pole with a smaller panel - say 100 watts? That way it's out of the way and I won't have to evict the outboard and barbecue. Just concerned about a big panel hanging in the air on an unattended boat and what sort of mast I might need.

why not just put the panel on the dodger and let the swing the boom off to one side when at anchor? It's been working for us for four years now.
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Old 01-12-2013, 17:53   #30
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We have the same boat, and have upgraded to 4 golf cart batts, a 70 amp alt, 200 watt wind gen and 130 watts of solar. It's worked out quite nicely. In your position I'd add the batteries and alternator and then a small (25 ish) watt solar panel to maintain the batteries on the mooring.
Thanks for chiming in SM! I have some questions if you don't mind humoring me.. If you had to part with solar or wind, which would it be? Where is your solar mounted? Did you modify your original battery tray or did you stash them somewhere else? Do you still have a single 12v start battery? Why wouldn't you go for more PV or wind if you were me? Damn I hate running my motor to charge batteries.
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