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Old 26-06-2010, 16:56   #61
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Quote:
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Some may find this topic tedious, but this thread has been very instructive for me.
Hear! Hear!

The remark about actuaries -- osirissail please note -- was meant as a joke...

With some cruising experience, we're in the process of settling specs for a vessel to be acquired very soon that will look after us for months-at-a-time coastal cruising. So this is a topic of major interest here...and we're grateful for everyone's thoughts and experiences!
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Old 26-06-2010, 17:32   #62
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Hear! Hear!. . . The remark about actuaries -- osirissail please note -- was meant as a joke... . . .
Actually I found the "actuaries" to be quite humorous and very relevant to the whole range of CF cruising discussions - as they are the folks that work with the date when all our desires and sailing experiences will be rudely terminated.
- - If nothing else the realization of what these folks do should inspire you to get out there as soon as possible, if not earlier. I carry around on my boat a thousand pounds of unfinished projects after watching a fellow boat builder go face down in the dirt before he could get his boat into the water and use it. After that experience my unfinished boat was in the water within a week and I was sailing off - I can finish the boat some other time in the future.
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Old 26-06-2010, 18:43   #63
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On my cat had Onan 8kva generator, solar panels.

Bought 2000 Honda for the following reasons :-
Run power tools, charge engine batteries if necessary, back up charge for morning and evening HF radio's need (Maritime net).

Noticed in one of the posts a suggestion that while on the hook to run the little Honda in the bow of his boat.

When on the hook or on a mooring we placed ours in the dinghy and let out the painter for about 20ft, little or no noise - because the prevailing breeze took the db's and exhaust fume downwind.

The fuel for the Honda stored in an external vented lazarette along with fuel for outboard motor.
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Old 28-06-2010, 11:25   #64
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We have 300W of solar and a KISS wind generator, 450AH battery bank, 60AH HO alternator...this was more than sufficient in the E. Caribbean. However, down here in the San Blas and Bocas del Toro area, there are days when the sun doesn't shine and the wind never blows. So, after 10 years of full-time live-aboards we are getting the Honda generator and a Progressive Dynamics PD2160 charger to do the job on those days. We hate the thought of a generator in an anchorage, but the Honda is really just as quiet as running our VOLVO MD2030. And, putting hours on that engine, which costs about $7K to replace is a lot more expensive than putting hours on the Honda, which, IMHO, is basically a disposable item.
Get the Honda, use it as a back-up; not keeping your batteries up to snuff is expensive also; not a big deal if you are in the States and can get T-105's for under $100...but at over $200/crack down here that's a little expensive to shorten their life by even a year or so.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:57   #65
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I've just started my third season with electric propulsion and operate in a worse case scenerio. My boat lives on a mooring or at anchor and is rarely at a dock. I have two separate battery banks onboard. A 12 house bank made up of two Group 27 Gels and a 210 amp 48 volt bank for the propulsion system made up of four 8A4D AGMs. I have adopted a three legged stool approach to my energy needs. I have a Honda 2000i which is used to bulk charge the battery banks when needed. Though it is mostly used for charging the 48 volt bank and also providing enough power to push the boat at 3 knots without drawing any current from the 48 volt battery bank. I also have a 60 watt 48 volt solar panel and a 75 watt 12 volt panel which provides enough energy to run a 12 volt Engel refridgerator all season 24/7. I also have a 48 volt Marine Air-X generator charging the propulsion bank. I only need to use the Honda when I've been motoring for over an hour and I first get back to the mooring or at anchor. Most of my other needs are met with the solar panels and the wind generator. But, if I relied on them completly for charging my 48 volt bank I would be waiting a real long time. The Honda is useful for quick bulk charging of either battery bank. I also like having the Honda as others have mentioned because it is useful for also running power tools like when I need to redesign my solar panel mounts after a recent ill fated cruise: THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: SO MUCH FOR THAT!
That said I try and use the Honda as little as possible. But, as soon as I can I will shut it down and let the solar and wind finish the charging. My advice would be to go with the Honda first but, also plan to start adding solar panels followed by a wind generator. You can start incrementally by the time you are finished you will be running the Honda less and less if at all and that's a good thing!

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Old 04-07-2010, 17:02   #66
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Hey all! New here but this thread caught my eye. Not yet a boat owner but looking into it within the next 2 years but did used to work in the boating industry in Seattle. Now for my 2 cents worth.

1) Seriously evaluate your electrical system. Where can you minimize your electrical consumption? Lighting is the quickest and easiest to change over, just replace the bulbs with LEDs (you can even retain your fixtures in most cases). Two sources would be www.boat-led.com - Home and Home Page

2) If you have an engine, make sure it's in a good state of tune and the alternator is putting out the proper voltage and current.

Evaluate where you are after doing this, then move on to more advanced stuff.

3) If you still need more, decide which you'd prefer a small generator or a solar panel or wind generator. As mentioned above, the Honda is a quiet running unit, as generators go. That said, in order to store it properly if you don't leave it in the open, you should make sure that whatever container its in gets proper ventilation to minimize the potential for buildup of gasoline fumes.

4) Decide which of the remaining 2 to get after finding that your solution from point 3 above may not have fit all your needs

Lets face it, there is a certain level of redundancy needed. Never rely on only 1 or 2 sources of power for charging your batteries.

All that said, that Balmar unit is sure neat.
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:24   #67
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Solar panels with no sun, Wind generator with no wind - Versus - Portable generator any where, any time, any conditions.
A heavy electricity load can burn through a gallon a day on a Honda generator. That "any where any time" thing implies you're lugging around a lot of gasoline, somewhere.
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:26   #68
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A heavy electricity load can burn through a gallon a day on a Honda generator. That "any where any time" thing implies you're lugging around a lot of gasoline, somewhere.
Also have a 15hp o/b on a 10' RIB - It also needs fuel storage which it has in external vented lazarettes.
In addition to the diesel in tanks for propulsion - need tankage for the Onan 8kva generator.
Do not use the Honda continuously or every day - over a period may average
a couple of Honda tankfuls a month.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:44   #69
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- - The little Honda EU2000ui is a godsend to most of these electrically challenged cruisers. For half the price of solar and a third the price of wind you can have a significant source of replenishment and maybe even sneak in a few "extras" like hot water or a microwave or little hatch air conditioner to just take the day's residual heat build-up out of the cabin or even to be able to run a power tool or two.
Absolutely

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plan 3x the wattage of panels for the amp/hours you consume each day as a general rule of thumb and you should be just fine. As to the thought of yet another engine to worry about, no thank you. We've been using solar panels on cats for over 10 years without issue and now that the price has dropped by 60% to 70% for solar panels, it's really a no brainer.
How do you heat hot water ?

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Old 05-07-2010, 06:29   #70
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The Honda provides about 13 amps continuous at 120 VAC so you can run either your battery charger or your water heater (electric side) while doing some work or watching movies, etc. You have to make a small adapter cable to plug the Honda into your shore power system.
- - The one gallon per day mentioned for the Honda is a lot better than the 1 gallon per hour for a moderate sized diesel engine. What with the increasingly larger dinghies folks are getting with 10 to 15hp outboards we are carrying a lot of gasoline around these days compared to a decade ago. I carry four 6 gallon gas jugs on the aft deck primarily because some islands do not have gasoline stations anywhere near to where we anchor. So we can go for a month or two before really needing to refill the gasoline jugs.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:30   #71
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The Honda provides about 13 amps continuous at 120 VAC so you can run either your battery charger or your water heater (electric side) while doing some work or watching movies, etc. You have to make a small adapter cable to plug the Honda into your shore power system.
Oh we do, just plug the honda in and away we go, runs the battery charger at the same time. Struggles a bit with the oil heater on top of this lot though, so tend to do the water first then heat the cabin later.

I was wondering more about those folk who don't use a genny but solar, how do they heat water? or is it just a case of hanging a black shower bag up in a coconut palm first thing in the morning oh how the other half live.

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Old 05-07-2010, 15:24   #72
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It of course, depends upon where on the planet you and your boat are located - but in the tropics and equatorial regions, heating hot water is more psychological than necessary. With ambient and ocean temperatures above 80F there really isn't any "cold showers." But there is something very sensual about hot water that is above your body temperature raining down over you and of course, the distaff side demands "hot" water for rinsing shampoo, etc. And down here it does not take long for the ambient water temp to be raised to normal "hot" water heater temperatures.
- - The "solar bags" of hot water are frequently used by the new to cruising single-handers or young couples. But it isn't very long before they are in the store buying a Honda 2000 to they can make hot water - all the time protesting it is only for battery charging purposes.
- - There are 12VDC or other VDC heating elements made for hot water heaters so you can use excess energy from solar or wind (primarily wind generators) to heat your hot water tank. Unfortunately, 12VDC times 10 or even 20 amps only equals at best 240 watts into the water heater versus 120VAC x 10 amps or 1200 watts being pushed into heating the water. And typical small hot water heaters usable in boats only have one mounting port for an electric heating element. If only they would make the water heaters with two element ports then you could use both AC and DC elements.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:01   #73
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While we were cruising and away from the docks, we have never missed hot showers. We were in the Caribbean, it was always warm enough. We did/could have hot water however. This came from a take-off from the heating exchanger of the engine and an insulated water tank. So, hot water after motoring, but we never turned the engine on to make hot water.

Having said that, we did heat the water when we were running the portable generator.
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Old 11-07-2010, 13:56   #74
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One thing lost in all this discussion: batteries don't charge at a constant rate. Once you complete your bulk charging and transition to the acceptance phase, which happens all too soon in hot weather, it's hard to beat solar or wind. Why burn gasoline or diesel once your batteries maximum charge rate slips well below your generator capacity?

In Maine we are happy with solar (and the Yanmar diesel, of course). Consumption = 80 amp/hrs per day living on the anchor. We have 216 watts of solar on the bimini, an MMPT controller, and generously sized wiring. We see 12.5-13.0 amps of charge with bright sunlight. On the rare occasions when we get 3 days of thick overcast, we can fire up the diesel. As soon as the Balmar completes the bulk charging phase, we shut down the diesel and let the solar panels do the rest. And yes, the solar panels produce some charge in all but the thickest of fogs.

The whole installation cost me about $1500 in materials. Very little shading with this setup. Here's a photo:
http://picasaweb.google.com/colinfar...aF6e2x9pH7tgE#
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Old 11-07-2010, 16:09   #75
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I think you need both.
Now that Solar has dropped in price it is better value. I have 2X 200 watt panels plus a Kipor 2kva generator (honda copy) plus when I run the generator it is coupled to a 40 amp power supply which charges the batteries. The Kipor could run 80 amp without any problems.
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