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Old 13-07-2010, 12:52   #76
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I've read this thread. I have a question. My wife REALLY like's A/C. We are originally from Maryland. She likes the A/C at like 74-76 Deg F. I keep telling her in the Carribean, most don't use A/C. However, she had a good reply. When we moved to Florida, FPL (Florida Power & Light) said the A/C temp should be set at 78 Deg F !!. seems "older" individuals (typically florida retiree's)..have thinner blood and get cold easy. So they naturally set their thermostat's at 78. Has any of the younger..thinker blooded cruisers seen a need for A/C (i'm sure when at dock/mooring)..that being said...do you have a battery bank that will provde that from Solar recharge..or is it a given you will need a gen for A/C?

If you need a gen for A/C...how about a Diesel..like a 3.5 KW Panda in an enclosure up in the fore locker. water-cooled exhaust and generator.

TIA
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Old 13-07-2010, 13:11   #77
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Army Chief,

Here's my take on your questions:

1. There's no truth to the notion that older people have thinner blood.

2. While most boats don't use A/C in the Caribbean, it can get hot....particularly at dockside in a protected marina. Then, it's nice to have A/C and to plug into shore power.

3. You can't run an A/C off solar panels unless you have: (1) a very large array; (2) a very large battery bank; and (3) a very small A/C. The "A/C off battery thingy" doesn't work...it's a cruel joke.

4. While A/C can be powered by a small genset, you have to take into account the problems of maintenance, noise, fuel, cost, etc. These can be overwhelming.

5. Forget the idea of a Panda generator in the forepeak or anywhere else, except maybe as a Christmas gift to your worst enemy.

6. Your wife may REALLY like A/C, but she's likely to become acclimated to Caribbean temps after being there awhile, like most cruisers. A/C is great at dockside on very hot nights, but at anchor is usually not needed.

7. If it's really too hot for her, give her some more rum and she'll soon get over it :-)

Bill
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Old 13-07-2010, 13:17   #78
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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
Here are our stats for your research:
~ Been cruising our cat full time since 2005, since 2007 in the Caribbean.
~ 1,020 amp hour house battery bank
~ No diesel or gas generator on board
~ (4) 110 watt solar panels on board
~ Added a D-400 wind generator 6 months ago
~ We usually do run the engines for a few hours weekly- if running the microwave for an extended period of time, like for baked potatoes. But we don't have to run the engine to run the microwave, it just sucks down a lot of power.
~ We have a/c units, but can only use them when plugged into shore power.
~ And the only time we use shore power now is when we are on the hard, so I guess they were a waste of money. (The original plan was to stay in a marina in Maryland & work for a while, so we thought we'd need a/c.) And the units take up valuable cabinet space.
~ So we should have either got the built in generator so we can run the a/c units, or not gotten the a/c units at all. I'm leaning towards the latter.
~ Now we anchor out at all times, except for haul outs to paint the bottom.
~ Yes, it's hot here (Bonaire); I'm sweating as I write this. But I don't think I'd like the idea of shutting myself inside and being held captive to the lure of the cold air. When it gets to be too much, we just jump over the side and go for a swim. We go for a dive most days in Bonaire.
~ We use about 80 amps a day, I think. it's hard to say, since our controller just shows net usage.

Quote:
How do you heat hot water ?
3 ways:
~ We have a diesel boiler, hurricane heating system. Takes 10-15 minutes to silently get super hot water. Means we don't run the engines to heat water. And when we were up north, it also heats the boat.
~ On the occasional times we run the motors- changing to a new anchorage that's less than a mile away so not sailing, or running for charging batteries, then we flip a switch and heat water using the engines.
~ And obviously, if we were in a marina, we'd plug into shore power & use electricity
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Old 13-07-2010, 13:21   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Army Chief,

3. You can't run an A/C off solar panels unless you have: (1) a very large array; (2) a very large battery bank; and (3) a very small A/C. The "A/C off battery thingy" doesn't work...it's a cruel joke.
If I have two banks of LIMA batteries rated at 2kWh's each. My mermain 16,500 BTU A/C draws 14 amps. Would not the batteries run it for about 10 hours?

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4. While A/C can be powered by a small genset, you have to take into account the problems of maintenance, noise, fuel, cost, etc. These can be overwhelming.
Don;t you have these same concerns multiplied with what others are using (IE, 6-7KW generators and high output alternators on there main engines)
Most yachts seem to have gen and A/C standard. Smaller yachts as an option. Even if you get it factory installed..I've heard/read horror stories

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
5. Forget the idea of a Panda generator in the forepeak or anywhere else, except maybe as a Christmas gift to your worst enemy.
I take it this is a poor quality generator. However, there has to be a small diesel 3KW-3.5 kW genset with enclosure that can be put in a locker if needed. Based on you "no-way" A/C can run from batteries..I'm thnking gen is a necessity for A/C. Probably better to have it for those humid days you just wanna get away anyway

6. Your wife may REALLY like A/C, but she's likely to become acclimated to Caribbean temps after being there awhile, like most cruisers. A/C is great at dockside on very hot nights, but at anchor is usually not needed.

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7. If it's really too hot for her, give her some more rum and she'll soon get over it :-)
LOL..wish it was THAT easy..

Thanks
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Old 13-07-2010, 13:56   #80
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Let me see if I got this right? 14 amps x 120volts = approx 1.7 KwH. So your battery banks would be flat dead in a bit over 2 hours. And it would take a really massive inverter to run that AC air conditioner. And don't forget the 120VAC raw water pump running continuously when the air conditioner is turned on. So the load is more like 17-18 amps. My 10K BTU new air conditioner (I am in Trinidad) is drawing 12 amps.
- - Boats with air conditioning that are Not designed as marina-boats come with a genset sized to efficiently run all the AC galley; battery charger; air conditioners; and maybe even a dive-tank compressor. If in a catamaran the genset is mounted in the "other" pontoon. In a mono-hull, large enough to warrant air conditioning, it is in the engine "room."
- - Even in sailboats equipped with air conditioning, the cruisers will avoid using it unless there is a rather specific need such as being in a landlocked, no wind, seriously hot wet place. One very good reason is that getting accustomed to being in air conditioning makes it extremely difficult to work outside on the boat or even do much of anything ashore. Getting your body acclimatized to the tropics is very important to having a fun time. In other words, using air conditioning in the Tropics encourages you to "hide inside" rather than get out and enjoy what is all around you.
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Old 13-07-2010, 13:58   #81
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osirissail,

thanks...I forgot to use 120 V...your correct about the heat. I would prefer not to have it..but it is the wife thing
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:17   #82
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osirissail, thanks...I forgot to use 120 V...your correct about the heat. I would prefer not to have it..but it is the wife thing
The wife consideration thing changes the whole shebang and it's priority no.1 - don't even think about anything else. Unless, you plan on replacing the wife with one of those new model versions from the D.R. But in that situation you would probably end up sailing with the "under $500/month" thread guys with a 28ft wooden boat and a hand fan for cooling.
- - If you have a catamaran or a large mono-hull get at least a 8KW genset installed in the "other" pontoon or engine room (not a Panda brand). If in a medium sized mono-hull get 2 Honda 2000eu units. They can be connected together to supply you with 26 amps 120VAC.
- - Marital bliss is number one to happy cruising so you will need the genset(s) to handle the air conditioning, galley appliances and hot water heater, AND a water-maker. For the first year or so you will be using them the most and if you are still cruising after that they will be used a lot less but still be available to supply convenient AC for boat repairs and when guests visit.
- - My personal favorite genset is the Beta-Marine units from: Beta Marine US Ltd. Distributors for Kubota based marine
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:27   #83
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osirisail,

Instead of two 2000's, how about one of these

Super Quiet Honda EU3000is Generator

I don;t see generators on that link..just alternators for engines and engines
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:14   #84
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osirisail, Instead of two 2000's, how about one of these Super Quiet Honda EU3000is Generator
I don;t see generators on that link..just alternators for engines and engines
Won't work. see: Honda Power Equipment - EU3000IS
and: Honda Power Equipment - EU2000i

The spec sheet for the "3000is" gives max 13,500btu air cond. Also for twice the price of a "2000" it only puts out 23 amp continuous versus the 26 amps of 2-"2000's". The big problem with air conditioning is the "surge" start up loads. Once the unit is up to speed and operating the power requirement is a lot less.
- - Another reason to go with 2 of the "2000's" is the redundancy factor. You can use one for most needs and parallel them for heavy loads like the air conditioning. If one quits you have the other one still available (hopefully).
- - The Honda eu-series are not real AC generators which is why they are both economical and less costly to run and less noisy than a real generator. They use PWM inverters coupled to a DC alternator inside. The invention of the PWM inverter brought inverters out of the old "Giza Pyramid" size square wave steps that played havoc with some AC equipment into the modern microprocessor controlled micro-stepped square waves that are virtually unnoticeable by modern AC equipment. Once you get much bigger than 3KW you get into the realm of real rotating AC generators which are quite noisy.
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:22   #85
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Thanks..will keep all this in mind
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Old 13-07-2010, 18:22   #86
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- - 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.
If that's the rule, then we're certainly the exceptions. We celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary next month, and we find that the solar "bag" water heater does just fine when we're anchored out.

Our boat has a stand-alone shower forward, which has a small opening hatch overhead. We can stow the bag near that hatch, run the shower head down through it, and take two ample showers in complete privacy without consuming the entire contents of hot water. The one concession we make to using solar energy to heat our showers is that we tend to take them in the late afternoon, usually after the final overboard dip of the day.

If anything, our problem has been that the solar shower heats the water to too high a temperature. We've taken to heating the bag with the reflective side up, rather than the black side, because otherwise the water will scald.

At high noon our solar panels put out 16 amps, and if there's any wind, the generator will kick in another 5-12 amps. At that point, because our house banks usually don't need more than about 90 Ah per day, we can use the inverter to run the water heater. We have a 12-gallon heater, and if I run it an hour a day I've got plenty of hot water for dishes and showers. I rarely do this, however, because the solar water heater suffices for our needs.

Best part of our system is that we can go weeks without ever having to run an engine.
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Old 13-07-2010, 19:08   #87
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At high noon our solar panels put out 16 amps, and if there's any wind, the generator will kick in another 5-12 amps. At that point, because our house banks usually don't need more than about 90 Ah per day, we can use the inverter to run the water heater. We have a 12-gallon heater, and if I run it an hour a day I've got plenty of hot water for dishes and showers. I rarely do this, however, because the solar water heater suffices for our needs.

Best part of our system is that we can go weeks without ever having to run an engine.
Bash, that 'routine' sounds brilliant, on every front...comfort, costs, environment, and (if your wind generator is of the 'silent' variety?) anchoring neighbors. Well done!

Just to be clear, when you say above "the solar water heater suffices", are you referring to the the solar 'bag' heater? ...or the inverter-driven heater working off the solar panels and the wind generator? We're assuming it's the inverter-driven heater given your description of the bag being effectively installed well forward, but it all sounds so good that we want to be sure we 'get the picture' correctly. Thanks.
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Old 13-07-2010, 19:14   #88
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i , to, have been using solar showers for over 15 years--lol----many folks are the exception to the rule stated above---and i will add a gallon of colder water to the very hot bag of water to cool it below the scalding point..i keep 2 sun showers on my boat ...
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Old 13-07-2010, 19:16   #89
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Just to be clear, when you say above "the solar water heater suffices", are you referring to the the solar 'bag' heater? ...or the inverter-driven heater working off the solar panels and the wind generator? We're assuming it's the inverter-driven heater given your description of the bag being effectively installed well forward, but it all sounds so good that we want to be sure we 'get the picture' correctly. Thanks.
When I say "the solar water heater suffices," I mean the bag. It's simple and it works. I wouldn't want to rely on it on a rainy day in higher latitudes in the dead of winter. But in the tropics or in the higher latitudes during summer, it suffices, and it does so for a lot less money than a Honda generator.
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Old 13-07-2010, 19:22   #90
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When I say "the solar water heater suffices," I mean the bag. It's simple and it works.
Thanks. How is the bag plumbed to reach the galley for dishes, etc?
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