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Old 25-05-2014, 05:55   #16
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

You are putting the cart before the horse

You need to size your battery bank first, then size the panels to be able to recharge it in the amount of time it will have between uses
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Old 25-05-2014, 06:33   #17
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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You need to size your battery bank first, then size the panels to be able to recharge it in the amount of time it will have between uses
That is one approach, however, it is perfectly valid to calculate ones maximum electricity use per month, then figure out how much solar one needs to generate that plus a margin each month, and calculate the battery capacity last.
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Old 25-05-2014, 09:28   #18
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

So at this point I seem to have removed a stereo from the mix by going with a Bluetooth wireless speaker (either Bose or TDK). I just noticed it does not have an anchor light, so I will install LED. I will change existing bow and stern lights to LED (no steaming light). There is one cabin light that I will change to LED but will prob use my battery fed lantern. Not sure I will use the auto pilot much as she has a tiller tamer.

So as of now, I am looking at the following usage:

Running lights if by some chance I am not anchored by dark.
Keep two Iphones charged
Anchor light
recharge handheld vhf

I wanted a simple boat, and I think I have done that
I have been looking at batteries and think I will go with the Walmart Ever Start Deep Cycle battery at $75. It's rated at 109 Ah so if I understand this system correctly, that gives me roughly 55 to consume before charging. I do have a battery gauge in my system so this will help. At this price, it just seems like a good place to start. I will start looking for something above the cheap 3w solars. There really isn't anywhere to put a hard panel on my boat. The stanchions and lifelines go from the companionway forward. Maybe time to buy a couple hamsters and some wheels? I think I will look for something that would be easily hooked up when I am stationary and can just set out in the sun. Leave in the sun while I am not on the boat, or if it gets really drained, take home and leave on the trickle charger. I very well might consider shore power, but am not sure.
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:09   #19
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

A rough conservative look at daily usage would be:

Anchor light 10AH 10 hours
Running lights 8AH 4 hours
Bilge pump 1AH .02 hours
Depth 6AH 24 hours
cabin light 5AH 4 hours
iphones 20AH 10 hours

for 50AH daily with a 109AH Ever start battery. So in one day I would be where I need to be. I know just have to figure out how to get it back up. These are VERY conservative numbers. I won't run anchor light for 10 hours, most likely wont run depth 24 hours or cabin light for 4 hours. I don't think these numbers reflect LED's either. Iphones I am not sure. If my kids are on board, 10 hours could be legit.
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:17   #20
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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Originally Posted by bigjer40 View Post
A rough conservative look at daily usage would be:

Anchor light 10AH 10 hours
Running lights 8AH 4 hours
Bilge pump 1AH .02 hours
Depth 6AH 24 hours
cabin light 5AH 4 hours
iphones 20AH 10 hours

for 50AH daily ...
You seem to have the UNITS wrong.

Each of the uses draws in AMPS, not "AH." Amps times hours = amp hours [for any given period usually 24 hours = a one day].

Your loads seem inordinately high, and incorrect.

The All-Important Energy Budget:
Energy Budget
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:23   #21
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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You seem to have the UNITS wrong.

Each of the uses draws in AMPS, not "AH." Amps times hours = amp hours [for any given period usually 24 hours = a one day].

Your loads seem inordinately high, and incorrect.

The All-Important Energy Budget:
Energy Budget
Thanks Stu,

I got my numbers from this sight: Marine Power Usage - eMarine Systems

and I prob didn't explain it very well. I tried to show amps times hours used for total. Math was never my best subject. I hope you are saying I will not use nearly 50 per day. As always, thanks for sharing your experience
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:26   #22
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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Bilge pump 1AH .02 hours

...

These are VERY conservative numbers.
72 seconds for the bilge pump doesn't seem very conservative to me. If the bilge pump needs to work while you aren't there, it may need to work for more than 72 seconds.
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:29   #23
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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72 seconds for the bilge pump doesn't seem very conservative to me. If the bilge pump needs to work while you aren't there, it may need to work for more than 72 seconds.
yeah, BUT...

It all depends on the PERIOD. i.e., a day, a week, a month? Most everyone does it on a daily (24 hour) basis. A bilge pump running for a minute plus 12 seconds per day means you oughta go find the leak!
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:31   #24
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

That is a small boat. I assume will it be at a dock with no shore power to recharge the batteries. You could setup a large flexible solar panel
that covers the cockpit area, as it would only be used at the dock and stored when sailing, and then just run off the battery. I would be concerned the panels get stolen, can you rig a non-portable solar setup at the dock?
Or get some lithium batteries that would not be too heavy to take off the boat to charge at home.
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Old 25-05-2014, 10:31   #25
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

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Originally Posted by bigjer40 View Post
Math was never my best subject.
You're welcome.

Math is simple. Multiplication is simply addition in shorthand!

3 X 8 = 24 is the same as

8 + 8 + 8

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Old 25-05-2014, 13:54   #26
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

I hope the pump won't be running while I am no there. It will be siting on its trailer. So if it is, I will be gathering animals in pairs. Gonna need a bigger boat!
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Old 25-05-2014, 14:52   #27
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

We had a Catalina 25 from 1987 to 1998. It had one battery. In all that time I only bought two batteries: one when we bought the boat and a gel cell midway through our ownership. It was maybe all of 95 to 100 ah, and it served us well for that time: autopilot, stereo (uses 1A maybe 2A at TOP volume - I've measured it with our Link 2000 coulomb counter), depthsounder and some lights. Pretty much your minimalist concept. What would have been MUCH better would have been to buy two 95 ah banks, since they'd be discharged only half the amount given the same daily load and thus last longer.

Other than that, if you do your energy budget (see my link in reply #20) you'll find out you'll be just fine.
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Old 25-05-2014, 14:57   #28
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

Thanks Stu! How did you recharge? Did you haul them home? Shore power?
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Old 25-05-2014, 15:10   #29
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

bj, we "inherited" a kinda whacky setup. The PO had installed a household fusebox and shutoff box and wired it with lamp cord! The puny little automotive charger (6 amps) was plugged into one of the AC outlets. I never liked that, but since we didn't do marina hopping and preferred anchoring out, I hardly ever used it. And when I did I was always on board, never left it plugged in and running when I was not there. A good habit to get into even with a good modern charger.

Anyway, 'cuz of that we invested in an 11W solar panel, which did the job of filling the battery up during the week. The single battery was good for two nights on the hook. I know that from both the energy budget as well as real world experience, 'cuz on the third day of a cruise the power started dropping out at dawn after a full night of sailing with the old standard bulb running light (they hadn't invented LEDs back then).

Also learn about battery acceptance: it takes much longer to refill than to discharge.

Battery Acceptance by Stu Battery Acceptance

ITWMB, I'd get a larger panel as suggested by another contributor. And a quality controller to avoid cooking your battery (ies).

Good luck.
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Old 25-05-2014, 15:15   #30
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Re: Simple electrical system with solar for recharge

Thank you!
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