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View Poll Results: What types of electrical power systems do you have on your boat?
Inboard powered alternator 192 77.11%
Separate generator 89 35.74%
Shorepower charging 172 69.08%
Wind generator 84 33.73%
Solar panels 153 61.45%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 249. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 24-04-2005, 09:54   #31
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I was talking to a guy the other day, that was responsible for upgrading and upkeep of the channel marker lights in our harbour area. He told me a fasinating thing. We have directly out of our marina entrance, a long straight length of very narrow channel. Just wide enough for two opposing vessels to pass. Then from there on the channel becomes a meandering nightmare, but thats another story. Anyways, the straight pice of channel is marked by 5 poles approx 200m apart. On top of each is a green marker light. Yep one of those new fandangled LED ones with a solar charger/battery system. Note: NO cable from one pole to the next OK. Yet each light flashes exactly at the same time in the same sequence. I asked him how they keep time. It turns out they are timed via GPS. Wow I thought.
Byt the way, I was really impressed with the brightness of these lights. Looks Like LED has finally come of age.
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Old 31-05-2006, 04:32   #32
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I'm a weekend sailor with a 75W solar panel, and couldn't be happier. I've yet to have a need to connect to shore power. I guess my Zincs will last indefinately!!

Rick in Florida
(the other sunshine state!!)
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Old 31-05-2006, 07:22   #33
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Zincs'll go anyway

Rick in Florida,

Hate to tell you this but your zincs will go anyway. And if you're in a marina no need to plug in - there's usually a lot of stray current in the water.
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Old 31-05-2006, 19:24   #34
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Nothing wrong with having a cat on board a boat.


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Old 02-06-2006, 08:54   #35
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2 x 28kw gensets producing 240VDC
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Old 02-06-2006, 13:20   #36
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Judging from the percentage of light and dark areas on that cat, he can't produce many amp-hours, I'm guessing. I'd go with the solar panel…
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Old 05-06-2006, 20:05   #37
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Gosstyla, HOLY COW! I guess all I need is to anchor near you and let the energy bleed keep my systems charged
Rick, looks like you've been working your cat way to hard
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Old 05-06-2006, 20:59   #38
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My kinda cat!

Reminds me of my old cat. The one that I mentioned a while back that the neighbor had injured/killed on purpose.

But revenge is sweet.

Destroyed my neighbors yard for retribution!!
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:27   #39
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do tell CaptainK . I remember the incident, but not the revenge.
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Old 06-06-2006, 19:32   #40
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Yup Talbot.

I destroyed my neighbors yard. Kept pumping pesticides and other toxic chemicals over his fence onto his prized front lawn of his home.

And even killed of his rose bushes too!!

When someone or soemthing harms a member of my family. I strike back.
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:28   #41
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Rick

In order for Zincs to erode a circuit needs to be completed in order for current to flow, especially in a marina. It's the leakage current between the boat ground and the water 'ground' that the zincs protect against and galvanic isolators are designed to prevent.

If a boat does not have ANY electrical connection to the dock, although there's plenty of stray voltage, it's an open circuit to the connectionless boat, and current can't flow. No current, no zincs erosion.

I checked my zincs a year ago and had my boat hauled again last month. The zincs are perfect.

Rick in Florida
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Old 07-06-2006, 14:41   #42
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The real world. Lived on photo voltaics for nearly a decade. Photovoltaics and the whole off the grid power generation idea is not ready for prime time. Unless you live where the sun shines all day, every day, photovoltaics are just way too expensive. A slight haze significantly effects panel output, overcast cuts it to near useless. Orientation of the panels also has a big effect so a tracker is mandatory for optimum output. To make up for the vagaries of direct sunlight, you need to go way overboard on solar production capacity. We are talking getting well into the 5 figure $ expenditures on just the solar panels.

The real weak link is the \inverter, however. Despite all the propaganda they are grossly inefficient in day in, day out usage. They only approach reasonable efficiency when they are at or near there maximum output. Low level usage probably eats up more DC juice than the AC output. The biggest problem with them, other than cost, is not efficiency, however, it's reliability. The inverters just don't seem to hold up all that well. Ours took great pleasure in crapping out in the middle of almost every large gathering we had at our house. Some inverters require shipping back to the factory for repair, a huge expense especially if you live at the end of the world. Others are modular and you can swap out parts but the inverter is still down till the parts arrive.

Last but not least, you have the batteries. They need care and feeding and really get pissed off if they get overcharged. We had four brand new 400 amp hour batteries blow up when the charge controller on our panels malfunctioned. Then there is the problem of recycling the batteries with all their attendant hazardous materials. Something that we had to do about every 4 years.

Essentially, we ended up with a very expensive photo voltaic system that was a back up to a generator. Just because it's warm out doesn't mean that photovoltaics will work for you.

As far as a boat, photovoltaics are a good source of electrical generating capacity. You will need more capacity than the numbers tell you but you won't have to listen to that infernal auxilliary engine or generator. It is not dollar efficient but it is tranquility efficient.

One last thought, a few years back this was true and probably still today. It takes more energy to make a solar panel than it will produce in it's lifetime. Those that are promoting photovoltaics as a solution for our energy needs aren't looking at the true cost.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 10-07-2006, 02:55   #43
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Those that are promoting photovoltaics as a solution for our energy needs aren't looking at the true cost.
Since when have these tree hugger allowed the facts to get in the way of their opinions.
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Old 18-08-2006, 08:27   #44
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Good one!!

I believe this was first written by Mobil Oils director of public relations along with input from the Bush whitehouse.
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Old 23-08-2006, 14:14   #45
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Shell Solar SM55

Ahoy You Salty Dogs and Cats!

Does anyone have the SM55's on their boat?

I have two which came with the boat I purchased. They are connected in parallel to give up to 6+ amps at peak output. I am only getting barely 3 in the peak of the day. I covered each panel do determine which panel was putting out what. Panel #1 was putting out 2+ and Panel #2 was putting out barely 1amp. This does not compute Will Robinson.

On the bottom of the panel is the junction box. It has two wiring points and a diode. Panel #2 is wired to the same post as Panel #1...it would seem to me that they have bypassed the diode. I'm wondering if it is possible I am losing my amperage through this wiring scenario. All of my wires and connections are tight and look brand new. The panels are only 3 years old.

Anyone have multiple SM's wired? How did you do it? Any suggestions as to why one of my panels isn't putting out?

Mahalo for Your Kokua,

Mike
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