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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 27-08-2007, 12:41   #61
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Yep, I was referring to Gordmay's early post about panel positioning. I should have been a little clearer. Sorry I am a bit out of order on this thread as I am trying to write this during a boring conference call. (I miss the Caribe....) The platform ie boat makes a big difference on your effective output: Where and how you can place, orientation, and number of the panels.

Without spending a huge amount of money and time to max the daily amps(self adjusting tracking panel arrays) I tried to maximize the size of the system including overkill on the wiring size to reduce resistive losses, to provide more than what is needed to recharge the battery bank and provide some excess.

At the time the 165 watt panel just started coming to market. If I had a little more time I would have bought those and put them up. My point is almost always more is better as far as output. It is not just a budget thing. Even though we created a power budget to help in the sizing we found overall we burned more power than we thought.

We have spent one occasion of 6 weeks in the Gulfo de Caricao, Strictly solar. We are not campers, though we don't go crazy. We take decent, but not decadent showers, Wash clothes and sheets in the washer, and use the SSB often. The difference is the we paid for the peace and quiet upfront with the panels rather than buying a genset. But once the bank is floating the excess generally goes to waste so we try to use it when it makes sense. If we are onboard we will usually swing the boom with the sun to max the exposure.

I am working on a couple of options to max the effective amp output by building a small 1-2 hour low amp water maker (to be run when the batteries bank is full) and electric and solar heat for hot/warm water. By optimizing the use of the water maker. Even running it for an hour a day will help keep the water tanks full and reduce the demands on the battery bank if you tried to fill the tanks from almost empty.

If you can swing it and it makes sense more is better..We even know of one cruiser who is putting the new flexible nonskid panels across his deck.
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Old 27-08-2007, 12:47   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sv_makai

. At this point we would turn the watermaker on for a couple hours and charge anything that needs it.

I am going to remove the 120s and put up the 4-200 watt grid tie panels. They are not much larger in foot print with more output.
Two questions:

What watermaker are you running off the panels?

Which 200 watt panels did you decide to go with? I looked at the Sanyo 200 panels and was concerned that they would not be as rugged as the Kyocera 130s

Keegan
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Old 28-08-2007, 07:21   #63
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We have the SK 6GPH 12 volt dc direct drive WM. It draws about 1.5 - 2 amps per gallon including the lift pump. At the time is one of the lowest cost for the amps and output and we found the quality and service to be excellent. Some advertize the power as only the WM. I perfer to look at the total power cost.

One of the panel possiblities is the kyrocea 190 (little lower than my 200 target) and the Sharp ND 208. I like the Kyrocea's as 120's have been very good. I haven't seen the Sanyo's in person yet so I can't comment on the ruggedness (is that a word?).

I think part of the ability for the panels to withstand the enviroment is the support structure. I use a square aluminum tube frame to support the panels to add strength with some flexiblity for panel movement and provide the actual mounting.

Most panels are desgined and built to withstand a certain level of wind and lift forces for roof tops. I tried to focus on securing the panels but not making them so rigid that if there is any twisting or flexing it will damage the panels. In 3 years I haven't seen any unusual flexing in the panels or sings of damage.
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Old 29-08-2007, 10:10   #64
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I am going to remove the 120s and put up the 4-200 watt grid tie panels. They are not much larger in foot print with more output.

Bil,

Will 4 of those 200's also fit on your bimini or you planning to move them somewhere else?
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Old 29-08-2007, 10:42   #65
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Bimini

We have plenty of room for the 4 200's without overhangs on the bimini. I have seen mono's that have hung the panels out on the lifelines to be deployed while at anchor and this is a possiblity if I can't find a good home for the 120's. This would help me reach my goal of 1000 watts.

Though overall I prefer to try to keep Makai trim and reduce or keep from making things that stick out or overhang. They are usually in the way or removed vilolently after some unfortunate incident.

Experince talking on the incident....
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Old 29-08-2007, 11:02   #66
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Would they stay behind the cutouts for using the winches?
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Old 30-08-2007, 05:20   #67
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Panel Mounts

They will fit in the footprint of the bimini. The alignment will be the longside parallel with the center line. My current config is perpendicular to the center line.The add benefit is more shade on the canvas top making the cockpit even cooler.
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Old 31-10-2007, 18:53   #68
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"I am working on a couple of options to max the effective amp output by building a small 1-2 hour low amp water maker (to be run when the batteries bank is full) and electric and solar heat for hot/warm water."



FWIW, here's what we did for hot water on "Grey Max". our cruising mono.

The panel was home made. It was designed to fit in a solar array so it was about 26"x50". The backstay went through a hole in the panel.
Acrylic was suspended on short nylon spacers above a copper tubing parallel array and 1" of foam made up the bottom.

An aluminum angle frame held it all together.

A differential controller sensed the panel and the hot water tank temperatures. Whenever the panel was hotter than the tank, a 12 volt March magnetic drive pump circulated the water. We always had hot water.

Steve B.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:43   #69
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Question regarding solar panels and batteries...

I pulled the old Atomic 4 gas inboard that was in my boat seven years ago and use an outboard. I have no regrets--the outboard pushes the boat just fine and always starts on the first pull. Maintenance and usage costs are low. The outboard has a low-output alternator. I have two Trojan 105 batteries wired in series to provide 12 volts for lights and occassionally an autopilot/tiller pilot. I have a hard wired battery charger that I plug in every once in a while at the dock to top off the batteries.

I'm pretty ignorant regarding solar panels. Do the solar panels provide current directly to the lights, depth sounder, etc? Or does the current go directly to the batteries to keep them charged up? (And the batteries are always supplying the current to the appliances.)

Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:59   #70
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My marina meters the shorepower used, so I try to avoid it altogether. I have a small solar panel on my little Islander to keep the deep cycle battery charged (my outboard does not have an alternator).This takes up little space mounted to the pushpit, and although I do a fair amount of night sailing (at few nights a week) - I have not yet had the need to revert to shorepower to charge the battery.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:39   #71
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Steve-
If I read you correctly, you essentially built a small direct solar hot water heater and sized it to fit under the solar panel? Then used the solar water heater to "top off" your normal hot water tank, so to speak?

By putting the solar hot water collector under the solar panel, I would expect you would be cutting off airflow from under the solar panel, raising the temperature it was working at and lowering the wattage it put out. Did you see, or look for, any sign of that?
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Old 01-11-2007, 14:53   #72
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Solar hot water.

If I understand it essentially is added to the solar panel bank. It looks like it will fit side by side rather than under. Is that correct. I am looking along the same lines.

How did you size it. Do you have any data on its performance. I working on a couple designs but getting any real world comparisons has been tough as you are the first I have seen that actually has one.


Which controller and pump did you use and how is it configured.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:54   #73
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Just as an FYI, the solardecathlon finished in Washington,DC in which 18 universities compete to build completely solar powered homes constructed on the national mall. Amazing houses, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, the absolute brightest young engineers and architects. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Home Page.
Anyway, all of them seemed to be using sunpower solar panels because those panels are the most efficient per sq ft, which is very important for them due to construction constraints of the houses and for us due to limited space for solar. So if you're looking for the most power per sq ft, sunpower seems to be the way to go. http://www.sunpowercorp.com/Products...PWR210_DS.ashx They are probably around 30% more efficient than the same footprint kyocera.

One thing to keep in mind for high power solar arrays is many cruisers would want to use the outback MPPT charge controller MX60 because it can automatically sense input voltage (up to 120v DC) and step that down to your 12v battery. Few systems do that and it's very efficient (practical sailor says it can boost panel efficiency by 30%). It seems to be the best out there. This outback has an upper range of watts coming in. Keeping in mind the edge of cloud effect which means your solars actually can produce more power for brief periods than they are rated I wouldn't want to go much higher than 700 watts or so of solar power while using this controller. You might corner yourself in by going to a higher wattage solar array, then using a less effcient controller and have less end power then a smaller array using the outback.
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:29   #74
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Would this variant of the ACDelco alternator work:
eBay Motors: NEW Delco CS130D alt. for 98-02 Camaro/Firebird LS1 (item 140173823474 end time Nov-05-07 18:01:53 PST)

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Jef-
If you have a real 100A alternator, and it is connected to a real marine type (external) regulator, AND it is belted up properly with the right size pulley, matched to your cruising RPM...Yes, it can put out 100A.

The fine print: Most alternators are rated for peak output--and they can't sustain it. Look for a "continuous output" rating. Also, most alternators are smart enough to start cutting back when they overheat. In a car or truck, there's plenty of wind blowing through past the alternator. In a boat, a true heavy duty alternator will be using dual cooling fans--one in front, one behind. And, often using oversized diode array and heat sink castings, because heat kills.

Then there's the speed thing. Many alternator makers won't show you their output curves. Delco and ACDelco will. Some models, like the ACDelco CS130D (PDF somewhere in the ACDelco site) are designed to put out 45A at 1600 shaft RPM--and their full 100Amps closer to 6000 shaft rpm--and they'll run all day at 18,000 shaft RPM. They can literally run all day at 3x the speed which is required for full rated output.

So if you are designing an electrical system, and you know your engine will be turning 3200rpm for cruising, you can specify a pully on the alternator that will run the alternator at full output (6000 shaft rpm) when your engine is only turning at 1500 rpm. And, even at "full battle speed" with the engine pushing 4500 rpm the alternator can still run all day without any harm, without having to cut back power.

I mention that particular alternator because it has incredible specs, it was used in full sized cars and light trucks. MOST of the alternators on the market are not like that. They may need 5000 shaft RPM to produce full power, and by 10,000 they are burning out. And of course, those specs are in automotive use with automotive airflow cooling them.<G>

Like everything else, building a robust alternator that can handle a wide range costs money--and most buyers can't understand it.

I redid the electrical system for some friends a few years ago, and convinced them to spend the $100 that a local machinist wanted to make up a custom pulley, optimized so that full engine speed was still inside of what the alternator could run at--but just barely. The result was that we could charge batteries in HALF the time they previously had, using the same spec alternator (another Delco) but with the pulley matched to what the alternator and engine needed--not what some boatbuilder had handy on the shelf.

Battery temp sensors have nothing to do with the alternator output per se, they're just telling the regulator to stop killing the batteries. The alternator itself needs to be smart enough to throttle back when IT is overheating. Some are, some aren't. You have to pull teeth to get some of the data on this stuff.

So...spec the system and all the parts right, and you can get full spec coming out of them all. But that's not sexy enough to sell parts.< G >
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:55   #75
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Work for what?
The Delco CS130D utilizes a 6-groove serpentine type belt (which probably wont match your pump & crank pulleys), and an Internal Regulator.
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