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Old 29-12-2014, 17:20   #31
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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Originally Posted by mattnone View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies. They were helpful to the point that I be leave that a hybrid would be the best way to go.
A hybrid what?

You mean wind and solar?
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Old 29-12-2014, 17:29   #32
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

Well, if you REALLY want to go hybrid, why not consider a towed generator as well?

I have read of a few cruisers who use them to supplement their power needs, and I recently met a couple who circumnavigated a number of times over 16 years in an Adams 45 for whom the towed generator was their only non-engine based power source. Of course the Adams was/is a pretty fast boat so it would have worked particularly well for them.

I am going to build one using a direct drive washing machine motor, when I have the time, as it would be both a cheap project and fun to build. A couple of members here have built their own also.

I read some reviews here on C.F. of a model of wind generator that came with a conversion kit so that you could use it as a towed generator, but I came away from the reading with the impression that overall it was not a good compromise. That was just an impression though, and I may have got the wrong end of the stick. Wouldn't be the first time.

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Old 29-12-2014, 18:40   #33
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

We also find having the wind generator to be a good deal, but it is at night on ocean crossings when it shines. Otherwise, the comment about them not being effective in sheltered anchorages comes into play. If you're mostly using the boat in sunny areas with sheltered anchorages, maybe an extra solar panel would be the way for you to go. If you're wanting to set yourself up so that you have an alternative for dark conditions, (night, rain, fog, bushfire smoke, etc.) and do not want to use dinosaurs, then wind can be a great deal. You can, in some places, even select safe anchorages that are windy.

We used a drag generator with our first Insatiable. It also had a blade for wind usage. It would deliver 10 amps at 6 knots of boat speed. We would heave to to stop the boat for retrieving it.

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Old 29-12-2014, 19:18   #34
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

We are in the Bahamas and only use solar. It covers everthing for us. No generator. We need use the engine to charge.

Important:
- If you have a lot of space to put solar go for that. You can get solar panels at about $0.90/W. Controllers are about $0.50/W so you are looking at about $1.4/W plus your support and install. Do not build a big frame for the panels. The panels are built to withstand high winds. All you need it to keep the up.
- In the Bahamas the sun shines at lot. Today we made over 400Ah. A wind generator would have produced nothing at all today as there was very little wind.
- it you install a wind generator put it on th port side of the solar. The preveling winds are from the east so you want the wind generator to the north.

Solar will always give you much more for your money.

And by the way - since the sun does not shine at night I have installed batteries to store the ample sun shine I catch during the day. Must be a novel idea, since I read that comment that the sun does not shine at night so often. Storing 400Ah of sunshine during the day in batteries to use at night is much better than getting a total of 50Ah in 24 hours from a wind generator.
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Old 29-12-2014, 21:10   #35
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

400 Ah? How many watts of solar do you have?
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Old 30-12-2014, 02:25   #36
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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If you're wanting to set yourself up so that you have an alternative for dark conditions, (night, rain, fog, bushfire smoke, etc.)
Only someone who has been cruising the East Coast of Oz for a while would think to mention THAT particular challenge. You guys have seriously gone native.

Matt
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Old 01-01-2015, 22:52   #37
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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Only someone who has been cruising the East Coast of Oz for a while would think to mention THAT particular challenge. You guys have seriously gone native.

Matt
You got that right, Matt. In California, we call 'em "forest fires" or "wild fires", and in some cases "brush fires".

Worst time here in Oz, was a fire north of Kettering, we couldn't see across to Bruny Is. from the mainland, and breathing was not all that fun, although necessary! ....
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Old 02-01-2015, 04:15   #38
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
You got that right, Matt. In California, we call 'em "forest fires" or "wild fires", and in some cases "brush fires".

Worst time here in Oz, was a fire north of Kettering, we couldn't see across to Bruny Is. from the mainland, and breathing was not all that fun, although necessary! ....
Not only gone native, gone Tassie native
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Old 02-01-2015, 20:42   #39
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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You are talking nonsense. There is no sun at night. The combination of solar and wind works marvels for me.
Totally agree! I have two 85w Kyocera panels and my Kiss wind generator puts twice as much into my house bank in a stiff wind than the panels do on a sunny day!

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Old 02-01-2015, 21:05   #40
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

[QUOTE=cwyckham;1705433]
Many people find the output from wind to be disappointing because you need at least 15 knots to start getting any input, it's expensive, and it's noisy. It also tends to shade the solar.
This from the Hotwire website (the U.S. dealer for Kiss wind generators):

Output: 2 amps @ 8 knots, 4 amps @ 10 knots, 10 amps @ 15 knots, 18 amps at 20 knots, 30 amps at 30 knots. Note: There are little in the way of standards for measuring output. Some manufacturers use 12 volts for their power curve, and so it looks like you will get about 20% more power. Some use a “Raliegh Distribution”, a mathematical device that assumes the wind is puffing and lulling, and because the increased wind puts out a lot more power than the lull looses, the curve can be made to show more power. We use a truck with a stand to mount the generator on. It looks a little wacky, but you can expect to get the power we say you will.

Yes, I know - you are going to say that this is advertising hype - but I can watch the output from the wind gen on my battery meter and I know it does start generatating as least some current as soon as it starts turning which can be as low a wind speed as 5 knots.
The Kiss is an AC generator which makes it much more efficient (less line loss from the generator to the controller). Unlike some other generators it is also very quiet and since I have it mounted on my mizzen mast it rarely shadows my solar panels.
My two 85W solar panels will keep the batteries charged most of the time, but when I need real chargeing I turn on the wind generator (Yes, assuming that there is wind).
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Old 02-01-2015, 23:41   #41
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

[QUOTE=svfinlandia;1713561]
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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Many people find the output from wind to be disappointing because you need at least 15 knots to start getting any input, it's expensive, and it's noisy. It also tends to shade the solar.
This from the Hotwire website (the U.S. dealer for Kiss wind generators):

Output: 2 amps @ 8 knots, 4 amps @ 10 knots, 10 amps @ 15 knots, 18 amps at 20 knots, 30 amps at 30 knots. Note: There are little in the way of standards for measuring output. Some manufacturers use 12 volts for their power curve, and so it looks like you will get about 20% more power. Some use a “Raliegh Distribution”, a mathematical device that assumes the wind is puffing and lulling, and because the increased wind puts out a lot more power than the lull looses, the curve can be made to show more power. We use a truck with a stand to mount the generator on. It looks a little wacky, but you can expect to get the power we say you will.

Yes, I know - you are going to say that this is advertising hype - but I can watch the output from the wind gen on my battery meter and I know it does start generatating as least some current as soon as it starts turning which can be as low a wind speed as 5 knots.
The Kiss is an AC generator which makes it much more efficient (less line loss from the generator to the controller). Unlike some other generators it is also very quiet and since I have it mounted on my mizzen mast it rarely shadows my solar panels.
My two 85W solar panels will keep the batteries charged most of the time, but when I need real chargeing I turn on the wind generator (Yes, assuming that there is wind).
I'm happy to hear that your Kiss experience has been good, but I would have to point out that for the price of the Kiss you could have had over 1000 watts of solar panels which would be putting in a maintenance free 50+ amps when the sun shines.
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Old 03-01-2015, 00:15   #42
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

We used an Air-X wind/water generator and a 300 watt solar array to power our Flicka 20 - and it's torquequeedo electric outboard - on our 2012 cruise down the Baja Peninsula from LA

Each had advantages and disadvantages.

Our Air-X was a small, silent, hoist in the rigging unit. The nice thing about wind is that even though the output is low, it keeps coming day and night, as long as the wind blows. In some if the anchorages we saw as much as 20 to 30 knots of wind for days on end.

The solar was great - but you need strong sunlight and proper panel angle with NO shading. Seriously - even shade from rigging wires and lines cut output dramatically.

If you have an inboard Diesel, don't bother with wind. 200 to 300 watts of solar is now cheap and it's dead reliable as an adjunct to engine based power generation.

Mind you, not only did 300 watts of solar keep our engine batteries more or less charged, it powered our autopilot, radio, chart plotter, AIS, refrigeration, and watermaker - and cabin lights and personal electronics too.

Yes - We managed to squeeze all that and ourselves (2 adults, male and female) onto a 20 foot boat, and cruised Mexico for 6 months - without a petrol engine -

Your results may vary

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Old 03-01-2015, 00:46   #43
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

[QUOTE=donradcliffe;1713602]
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Originally Posted by svfinlandia View Post

I'm happy to hear that your Kiss experience has been good, but I would have to point out that for the price of the Kiss you could have had over 1000 watts of solar panels which would be putting in a maintenance free 50+ amps when the sun shines.
It's a fair point, but I had enough trouble finding space for 280 watts of panels on our boat @42 feet. At least the windgen is out of the way. We had some panels on the deckhouse roof but I found them treacherous under foot when working on the main sail and so (reluctantly) removed them.

FWIW, we anchored out on New Year's Eve to watch the fireworks. A steady 8-10 knot wind most of the night after we anchored. Went to bed a little after midnight, voltage was showing 13.1 volts. I was running the anchor light and a half a dozen LED flood lights (I have found the LED flood lights illuminate the boat in a way that makes her much more visible to people at sea level in small boats). Fridge was going, as was the gas detector, the VHF radio, the instrument panel (for the anchor watch). The main electrical panel showed a load draw of just under two amps when the fridge compressor was not running (fridge compressor draws 4.5 amps). Net draw was negative 2 amps at the same time due to the 4 amps from the wind generator. Woke up before the sun came up to find 13.6 volts on the battery bank and the wind generator circuit was dumping power into the resistor bank.

It's very nice to start the day with a full battery bank.

Matt
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Old 03-01-2015, 00:52   #44
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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If you have an inboard Diesel, don't bother with wind. 200 to 300 watts of solar is now cheap and it's dead reliable as an adjunct to engine based power generation.
That depends. If you have an old monster like our 3.5 litre truck engine, the LAST thing you want to do is run it to charge the batteries. Seriously, it is noisy, it shakes the boat, it will rattle the fillings out of your teeth. Then you are lumped with half a ton of very hot iron, right in the middle of the boat. Even the best thermal insulation in the world is gonna leak heat into the boat. OK in winter I suppose, but not here in summer, that's for sure.

No, I think I rather like our dear old (very old actually) Aerogen 6.

Matt
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Old 03-01-2015, 04:31   #45
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Re: Solar and Wind generators

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Solar panels get hot and their output drops.
Whatever brand of wind generator you decide upon, make sure to mount it like most cruisers I've seen.
That is, make sure it shades your panels most of the time so they stay nice and cool.

Will painting the silver on the aluminum frame of the panel help with heat? When do you shade them if you're trying to charge?
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