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Old 31-08-2012, 09:04   #151
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
It's great you are solving some of your other problems. This will make a big difference.

You cannot walk on rigid panels, not even occasionally.

If you mix different types of panels, particularly high voltage panels thier Vmp needs to be matched closely, which is hard to do with different high voltage panels, or you need 2 controllers for the different panels.
As good MPPT controllers are expensive, this can signifficantly add to the cost, but if you need different panels to fit different areas 2 controllers are often needed.

If you can fit identical panels it will reduce the cost of suitable controllers.

Fit as many watts as you can.

Without knowing your amp hour consumption there is difficult to know the effects of solar. Some high power users are disappointed that even a large solar array only reduces their generator run times slightly. With your recent changes hopefully your consumption has reduced significantly, but with out any measurements the effects on generator run times are very difficult to predict.
The Outback Inverter/Charger illustration shows 2 MPPT units built in so I guess I've already got them, unless they are already being used with the generator.
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:17   #152
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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I simply meant in the context of the array size vs. thread title - "Simple Solar."

A 50 amp array is pretty powerful. Can make big sparks...

No question on the economics.
Did that when disconnecting the positive on the alternator... spanner touched the engine block... WHACK. Sheeesh, nearly spilt the red
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:33   #153
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
The Outback Inverter/Charger illustration shows 2 MPPT units built in so I guess I've already got them, unless they are already being used with the generator.
The Outback system is reasonably modular. The charge controllers are separate from the inverters / chargers. So I doubt someone has fitted charge controllers without solar unless you are very lucky. Some of the systems will link together however so you may be able to display output fom the solar panels on some of the other displays for example.

All the outback charge controlers look very similar to this.
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:33   #154
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Congratulations on getting to the core of the current loss!

A little more maths for the previous post. In very general terms, your theoretical panel output in W should be divided by 12 (some will say 10) to give the output in A. That is applicable, averaged out over the day, with a bit of cloud, low angle, etc, for 4 hours. 3 hours to be conservative. You want 400 Ah? That means 400 Ah divided by 3 hours, equals 133 A, multiply by 12, and it roughly gives you 1596W of panels. In real life, you will never see 133A, you might see about 80 A at midday, but over the course of the day, these average rule-of-thumb figures work out.

In conclusion, if you want 400 Ah, you multiply by 4 and that is your solar requirement in W. This is real life. With 970W, we see a max of 50A and consume about 250 Ah when on passage.

You ideally use your batteries from 60% to 85% capacity, so that is 85% - 60%, ie 25% or one quarter of your consumption in Ah. So multiply your consumption by 4 to get the battery capacity.

Hope this helps thru the next stage, Vic.
I really like the simplicity of your setup.
With our new consumption figures showing around 230 amps/day on the hook it looks like our battery bank is fine at 1125 amps for now.
I've always expected I'd need to use the generator a bit, but it would be nice to have it as an occassional top up rather than daily.

Is one 8hp outboard your only engine????
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:57   #155
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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i found a good article comparing 4 types of wind generators here;

http://www.naviclub.com/Test_compara...nes_marine.pdf
Very interesting.

At the moment my thinking is that wind gennies are great when actually sailing, but at anchor, which most cruisers find they are 85% of the time, we look for as little wind as possible. This means the wind genny doesn't add much to the bank most of the time.
Right now I'm more inclined to put the $s into as much solar as I can.

With extra $ down the track it would be a great add on because under way is when we will be drawing the most current with Auto pilot and chartplotter going.

Vic
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Old 31-08-2012, 10:12   #156
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
It makes sense to me to get as much solar wattage as I can a) afford and b) fit, without looking like an aircraft carrier. I do need to be able to move around on top of the doghouse occassionally so will have to leave footpaths.
Vic
Vic...When you're ready, check out Global Industrial for their solar panels. I bought a couple of their panels made by "Grape solar". I think I paid $175 for each 100 watt panel. Quite affordable. Make sure you get the 36 cell units and not the 32.
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Old 31-08-2012, 10:30   #157
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

Vic, using your generator for an hour each morning is not such a bad thing. It keeps it in good running order and forces you to do maintenance on it a couple of times a year. Running it early in the morning when the batteries will accept the most charge will allow you to keep your solar panels from covering your boat.
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Old 31-08-2012, 10:46   #158
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Vic, using your generator for an hour each morning is not such a bad thing. It keeps it in good running order and forces you to do maintenance on it a couple of times a year. Running it early in the morning when the batteries will accept the most charge will allow you to keep your solar panels from covering your boat.
It will probably be morning and evening, and possibly a bit longer in the evening. But even so, it's a big improvement on when this thread started!
I've actually never thought I may get to the point of solar only.
I'll only go as far as the davits with little or no overhang, and the doghouse will allow, with no overhang.

Aesthetics is important to us. It's why we have a good looking, ridiculous boat
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:11   #159
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post

Is one 8hp outboard your only engine????
It was for quite a while. Now we have a 25 HP as well, but it has no alternator.

The point is that all our energy requirements come from solar. The 6A alternator only operates when the 8 HP outboard is going and that is very rare indeed. We consumed 4 litres of fuel during a recent 3000 mile passage. No generator.

What are your plans, Vic? How much deck space do you have available?

In 2010 we paid about $1.60/W for our panels. Surely they must be cheaper these days with all the action in the solar market and the govt intervention and retreat.
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:16   #160
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Vic...When you're ready, check out Global Industrial for their solar panels. I bought a couple of their panels made by "Grape solar". I think I paid $175 for each 100 watt panel. Quite affordable. Make sure you get the 36 cell units and not the 32.
Thanks,
I'll check them out. What's the advantage of 36 over 32, apart from the higher output?
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:24   #161
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
Very interesting.

At the moment my thinking is that wind gennies are great when actually sailing, but at anchor, which most cruisers find they are 85% of the time, we look for as little wind as possible. This means the wind genny doesn't add much to the bank most of the time.
Right now I'm more inclined to put the $s into as much solar as I can.

With extra $ down the track it would be a great add on because under way is when we will be drawing the most current with Auto pilot and chartplotter going.

Vic
copied and pasted this from the other thread i started.

"i have found that generally on trade wind passages that i have done with a high out put wind generator,it has performed way better than the solar array.

the wind generator puts out power 24 hours a day,where as down wind with poled out sails you are lucky to get more than 4 hours a day at optimum charge,the rest of the day light period the panels are either in the shadow of the sails or pointing in the wrong direction! " (quote)

a lot of your trade wind anchorages on the coconut and carib run are exposed to the full force of the trades,somthing you will have to get used to unless you spend time in marinas.

the great benefit with a wind gen is that they produce power 24/7.
the new generation are very quiet,more quite than having to run your generator any way!


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Old 31-08-2012, 11:30   #162
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Vic, using your generator for an hour each morning is not such a bad thing. It keeps it in good running order and forces you to do maintenance on it a couple of times a year. Running it early in the morning when the batteries will accept the most charge will allow you to keep your solar panels from covering your boat.
it also means that you can never leave the boat for more than 12-24 hours
on anchor,so trips inland are a no-no unless you can put her in a marina.
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:32   #163
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by Jimbo485 View Post
It was for quite a while. Now we have a 25 HP as well, but it has no alternator.

The point is that all our energy requirements come from solar. The 6A alternator only operates when the 8 HP outboard is going and that is very rare indeed. We consumed 4 litres of fuel during a recent 3000 mile passage. No generator.

What are your plans, Vic? How much deck space do you have available?

In 2010 we paid about $1.60/W for our panels. Surely they must be cheaper these days with all the action in the solar market and the govt intervention and retreat.
Jimbo,
I've seen 'eyecatchers' for as little as .58c/watt. They tend to be big units with minimum 4 panel sales, aimed at the homeowner (cat owner??) Around $1.17 to $1.32/w seems to be about the range at the moment for the budget end buyer.

The plan now is to get as many watts on board as we can using the davits and doghouse. The davit area is 64" across x 42" fore/aft. A little overhang fore/aft would be ok. The doghouse area is 7'6" x 6' less the sliding hatch, so I guess about 35 sq ft. I'm searching at the moment to see what panel combinations i can find.

Vic
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:35   #164
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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it also means that you can never leave the boat for more than 12-24 hours
on anchor,so trips inland are a no-no unless you can put her in a marina.
So true. Big bbq first, then turn off the fridges, then go
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Old 31-08-2012, 11:40   #165
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Re: Simple Solar For A Simpleton

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
Very interesting.

At the moment my thinking is that wind gennies are great when actually sailing, but at anchor, which most cruisers find they are 85% of the time, we look for as little wind as possible. This means the wind genny doesn't add much to the bank most of the time.
Right now I'm more inclined to put the $s into as much solar as I can.

With extra $ down the track it would be a great add on because under way is when we will be drawing the most current with Auto pilot and chartplotter going.

Vic
in terms of yacht dollars i have found that it is false economy to put things off till later,at the moment you have the use of a dock,a car,a network of friends etc,whilst putting in the panels you will be running new cables and putting in controllers and the boat will be upside down any way.

a wind gen in combination with 4-6 panels will largely solve all your power issues,do it now whilst you have access to all the facilities,it will have more than paid for it self by the time you reach oz.
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