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Old 26-11-2015, 10:11   #16
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

sorry...hit the send button to quickly. Ours are mounted on a radar arch over the stern, and are fixed and near flat. If you can figure a way to angle them through the day, you'll get alot more output.....but its a PITA!
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:00   #17
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Hi All, Down here in the Land of Oz we fitted Sundowner, (Cheoy Lee 43) with 2 x 250w solar panels (500w total) on the bimini over the aft cockpit which gives us up to 30 Amp peak output although the typical output is around 10 - 15 amps. This runs through a regulator with a 30 amp circuit breaker all spliced into the main electrical system. We also have an 85 amp alternator on the main engine and a 6 kva generator. With 500amp hours in house batteries and 200 in engine start batteries, we virtually never have to run the generator. We leave the fridge and freezer running continuously regardless of being aboard or not.
The house batteries drop to around 85% of a morning and are always back at 100% by mid day.
We also have a defunct wind generator which I will get around to repairing one of these days, maybe not!
Interesting fact is that when the batteries are really topped up and I start the main engine, the engine alternator drops off line and the tacho fails - fix? I turn the solar panels off for a few minutes and all comes good.
So for my 2 bobs worth, solar is the way to go!
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:18   #18
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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Originally Posted by ebsail View Post
I think you are vastly underestimating the draw of the frig. Probably 8 amps when running. I installed on a friends 38 ft Morgan, a 100 watt solar panel on an arch. Also 500 amps of house batteries and a 100 amp alternator. We also added 2 more inches of insulation to the original fridge. With this set up he can go about 3 days before he has to crank up the engine to recharge the batteries. And this is in the summer and in the sun They are down to 50% after 3 days. In my opinion, a fridge is not practical on a 25' boat. I'm sailing one. Try super insulating the box and stick to ice. Block ice. Much cheaper and you know when refrigeration will end.
I would guess the underestimation of fridge comment is directed at me. On our Spencer we have a 7 cf refer and 2.5 cf freezer it is a technautics cool blue spill down system and it draws approx 3.8 amps when running which figures to be about 4 hours per day. In summer and about half that in winter. Also a fridge is fine on a small boat dorm type run off of an inverter however that would require more solar than a single 100 watt panel.
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:31   #19
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Wouldn't be without them, 3 years of not having to put the engine on to charge the battery. Far better than a wind generator. .......in my opinion
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:34   #20
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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Wouldn't be without them, 3 years of not having to put the engine on to charge the battery. Far better than a wind generator. .......in my opinion
And a lot quieter to
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:59   #21
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Given the price of domestic panels $350 for 250W panel vs $587 for 80W "Marine Grade" panel I couldnt see any reason to buy a marine one. The domestic panels are water proof as are the connectors. After three years in Bahamas no signs of corrosion or any electrical issues. Only down side is the need for an MPPT $80 on Amazon. Given the thirst of my fridges, freezer, ipad and all the other stuff these days to get the same 750W with 80W panels would cost about $5500 and cover the boat in panels!
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Old 26-11-2015, 12:08   #22
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Hello,

I went with Aurinco panels, glued them to the deck.. You can walk on them.. On my 26 footer I put two 25W panels and two 18W, going to two Genasun controllers and one battery. So far very happy with the setup.

Gil

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Old 26-11-2015, 12:45   #23
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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Where will you put all that gear on a 25' boat? Honda generator, solar panels, batteries...and then there are the appliances to use all that power.... And if you invite a guest aboard, you'll need some space for their suitcases and some empty lockers for their personal gear...
First, Thanks to everyone who responded! Secondly, I feel I need to disclose some other facts, especially for those of you who may not be acquainted with the San Juan 7.7M. It is definitely not a Cruiser in the strictest sense. It is beamy though and I've been living aboard for about 15 years. I've made some modifications to make it the "refuge" I desire. The previous owner was a "card carrying competitive racer" so it's tricked out and rigged primarily for single handing. Because of the focus of racing, there is no inboard from the factory. So, the empty engine compartment will house the batteries and associated charging/monitoring equipment. I am also planning to include a 6gallon solar water heater there or in the Deep lazerete outside. I had installed a flush toilette, but I'm dumping that for a composting toilette. This boat has no icebox, hence the refer. While a 25' boat probably should not have a place(?) for a refrigerator, I rather enjoy the comforts of a cool beverage on a hot day, and chilled juices are a MUST for smoothies. It has no freezer, but keeps everything very cold. I'm replacing my Led TV with one that is AC/DC, out with the old 3 burner range and oven and single huge deep sink, in with the new 2 burner drop-in range top and double bowl stainless sink. That will complete my upgrades inside. I am planning to have a custom arch built off the stern to host the solar panel(s), gps etc, as well as act as anchor for the trailing edge of a Bimini. Now all I need to do is to figure out what I need to run this stuff and get it hung. Is there a brand that anyone is partial to? I'd be interested in any information on the domestic panels mentioned earlier in this thread...
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Old 26-11-2015, 12:50   #24
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Physical size counts for something.

If I stacked up al the batteries on my boat it amounts to physically approximately the same size as my fridge (the worst power offender)

Equally the Amp hour rating of the batteries turned out the same as the wattage of the solar/wind combination.

After a lot of experimenting this combination works well for me.

Things like solar panel orientation, led lights, inverters, an expensive MPPT controller with a honda generator backup are all good if the basics are right first.

From a logical perspective one can expect a torch battery to run a refrigerator. ..

For what its worth, Im a creature of comfort and havent run of power yet after several years living aboard off the grid and proud of it!



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Old 26-11-2015, 13:13   #25
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailcrazy View Post
sorry...hit the send button to quickly. Ours are mounted on a radar arch over the stern, and are fixed and near flat. If you can figure a way to angle them through the day, you'll get alot more output.....but its a PITA!
My friend is a fabricator and I am asking him to design a bracket for the panel that will allow it to rotate and swivel 180 degrees.
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Old 26-11-2015, 13:32   #26
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebsail View Post
Try super insulating the box and stick to ice. Block ice. Much cheaper and you know when refrigeration will end.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
Also a fridge is fine on a small boat dorm type run off of an inverter however that would require more solar than a single 100 watt panel.
The fridge is a bit larger than the standard cube, but not as tall as some miniature fridges. I hope to complete the initial survey this week. I am open to a larger panel, as I would like to end up with 30 amps. I feel fairly confident that I won't really need that much though
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Old 26-11-2015, 13:38   #27
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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Originally Posted by Ironman162 View Post
For what its worth, Im a creature of comfort and havent run of power yet after several years living aboard off the grid and proud of it!
Plus 1 (+1) on that!
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Old 26-11-2015, 13:59   #28
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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Originally Posted by NorwestR View Post
Am in process of converting cabin lighting, I have two group 27 AGM batteries, but plan to buy two or three Optima's before departure. I do not have an inboard with alternator, so I am also purchasing a Honda EU1000I generator. No folding portable units for me, I prefer to have more power than I need. I read somewhere (I think) that there is a device that equipment can be plugged into and current is measured as it flows. Do you know what that might be?
That device is called an ohm-meter. It has to be connected inline. I only have experience with measuring small circuits. On house battery arrangement, I've only ever seen volt-meters attached.

I'm sure ohm-meters are available though - it will have to be connected in-line.

Devices that measure current from the outside only work on A/C circuits, I believe. I could be wrong. Someone will notify us that I'm an idiot, if I am wrong.

Once you have your LED's all installed, the current will be so very small it will be negligible in comparison to the refrigeration current.
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Old 26-11-2015, 14:08   #29
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

I'll take a different approach to the solar question.
1. How do you plan to attach them?
2. What panel or panels give you the maximum wattage for your intended mount?
3. Then pick brands and a MPPT controller.

Don't stop at 200w, get the most you can fit or afford.
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Old 26-11-2015, 14:23   #30
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Re: Opinions on solar please ...

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That device is called an ohm-meter. It has to be connected inline. I only have experience with measuring small circuits. On house battery arrangement, I've only ever seen volt-meters attached.

I'm sure ohm-meters are available though - it will have to be connected in-line.Devices that measure current from the outside only work on A/C circuits, I believe. I could be wrong. Someone will notify us that I'm an idiot, if I am wrong.
You are partially right, the device is called an ammeter, and true, it must be inserted inline(in series) to measure the current. Most modern day "multi-meters include all three functions of measurement. The device I had in mind, I believe, was somehow inserted between the device and the battery for a real time accurate reading on current draw. I was researching this a few years back, but can't find my notes ...
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