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Old 05-03-2011, 06:50   #46
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Their is no such thing as a quiet fan/ bade / roto / spinning carbon fiber.

They need maintenance, they make vibrations down the pole and they are not silent.
All very good points! I agree also that EVERYONE that complains about their solar installation's output, don't have enough solar. I recommend enough panels to produce 2X your normal daily a/h consumption. This will cover your needs 90+ % of the time.

Wind generators... Yes, there is external, = "antisocial", noisy brands. There are also quiet brands, with "pole transmission" down below.

On our previous boat, I mounted the quietest of the quiet: "an Ampair". It was SO quiet that I stuck my head in it once... WHACK!

It was also TOTALLY silent below, because the pole and struts mounted to the transom and cap rail, which were external parts of the boat, without ANY internal cabin or accommodation below it. (From the companionway aft, was a storage area only, separated by a bulkhead @ the footwell from the aft part of the boat).

Years later when we finished our current Searunner 34, we mounted THE EXACT SAME generator to the new boat. (We had stored it carefully for years).

Like before, it was TOTALLY silent on the outside. On the inside, however, it was like living in a giant guitar! I mean LOUD! It would rumble at low speed, turning to a roar that was hard to talk over at high RPMs.

I never give up easily... so, first we removed the blades and had them weighed on laboratory scales, to confirm that the opposing pairs were within a fraction of a gram of each other.

Next I took a 4" section OUT of the struts and pole. Then I replaced it with a splice of rubber hose, and sistered up the outside of the splices with PVC pipe, split in halves, and held over the hose with hose clamps. This kept the "totally rubber mounting" from flopping all over the place.

The volume level went down by 50%, so we decided to live with it, and set out for Central America. (Drove us up a wall the entire time)!

First thing, when we got back Stateside, I removed the Wind Gen, (quietest ever made), and replaced it with the solar panel.

SILENCE IS GOLDEN...So is the 10 X more amps, if measured over a year!

What had made this generator SO much different, on the second boat installation, was that now the pole and struts came down to the back deck or stern rail, which was in-turn mounted to the aft cabin roof, RIGHT over my head. It was an open "living" part of the boat, not an acoustically sealed away lazarette.

On another occasion, we were to crew for a friend, and we occupied his aft cabin. His "rubber isolated" wind generator struts, came down to our cabin top, and almost drove us mad!

IF you can get solar to work for you, it is such a better way to go...

Mark
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:00   #47
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
Would a single panel eliminate the need for the diode?

John
Yes... Your charge controller should have a diode in it that prevents backflow into the batteries at night. M.
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:14   #48
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Barnie.... go with the Rutland.... or an Aerogen...
both are quiet operators and to be honest the double up of power sources is fantastic...
I've found all to often that I'd have to switch of everything else just to keep my nav lights going for the last coupla hrs of darkness when only solar...
Its OK for the dudes with big boats and loadsa space...
but for us little fellas one panel and a wind genny is the best solution re space and supply... note most posters are at least 1/3rd larger than you are...
keep it in perpective guys... don't just think of what you can do... its often useless advice for us...
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:21   #49
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by sww914 View Post
Your "not nothing at all, just very little" sounds about like what my Air Marine wind gen did. Unless it was blowing like crazy. In Morro Bay where it's pretty windy almost every day (small craft or gale warnings 185 days a year) it was still a waste of money. I wish I'd spent that $800.00 on more solar panels.
I am 100% with you on the preferences.

The glitch is solar panels do not work at night, and poorly in overcast conditions. Hence my always looking for new options.

I like the fuel cells. But I do not like the idea of having to carry the fuel ...

b.
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:28   #50
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Barnie.... go with the Rutland.... or an Aerogen...
both are quiet operators and to be honest the double up of power sources is fantastic...
I've found all to often that I'd have to switch of everything else just to keep my nav lights going for the last coupla hrs of darkness when only solar...
Its OK for the dudes with big boats and loadsa space...
but for us little fellas one panel and a wind genny is the best solution re space and supply... note most posters are at least 1/3rd larger than you are...
keep it in perpective guys... don't just think of what you can do... its often useless advice for us...

Valid point indeed... IF you don't have a large enough boat for a several day's storage house battery bank, as well as 2 X the panels that you really need, (normally), then wind makes a lot of since. It IS different for smaller boats. Generalities can get one into trouble...

I agree, the Rutland's and AeroGen's ARE excellent choices in the smaller units. They are half the weight of my old Ampair, VERY quiet on the outside, and as I previously pointed out, "pole/strut transmitted noise" depends largely on location and your particular installation.

Mark
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:40   #51
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Re: Solar Enough?

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I am 100% with you on the preferences.

The glitch is solar panels do not work at night, and poorly in overcast conditions. Hence my always looking for new options.

I like the fuel cells. But I do not like the idea of having to carry the fuel ...

b.
Once again... solar panels DO work at night, IF you have a battery bank that can run your boat several days, AND twice the solar panel production that you would normally use.

At night the boat runs on solar just like in the daylight, only at night it is "stored solar energy". In the context I mentioned above, it is still a 100% solar run boat... day or night.

Also, in the context mentioned above, they also work fine on cloudy days. The only difference is that instead of being 100% fully charged up by 10:30 or 11:00 AM, it might take until 4:30 PM.

Solar may not work for everyone, (like smaller boats), and has to be sized right, as well as the house battery bank. If one does this, it works great.

In our 2,000 nights on the hook, we only cranked the engine due to a power deficit, something less than 100 times.

Mark
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:27   #52
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
Once again... solar panels DO work at night, IF you have a battery bank that can run your boat several days, AND twice the solar panel production that you would normally use.
Oversizing the panel capacity by a factor of two, which necessitates doubling the house bank accordingly, isn't going to make economic sense in many situations. I run on 260 watts of solar and 200 watts of wind. Adding another 260 watts of solar would have cost three times as much as adding the wind generator. To begin with, I would have had to build a second arch and extend the panels off the stern, which means I could no longer have fit my boat into a 50' slip. In the marinas around here, where the next step up is a 60' slip, that extension would have cost me $200 per month.

Even there, it still would not have been as good a charging solution. Solar alone may be fine for those who only cruise in the summer months or who only cruise in sub-tropic latitudes, but for those who sail in high latitudes, especially during the winter months, most especially during the rainy season, relying on solar alone makes very little sense.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:03   #53
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Re: Solar Enough?

Good point in that people don't take into account the costs and other problems of the panel mounting. Heck I don't really want my boat tolook it is nothing more than solar panel mounting platform.

Solar/wind/batteries are almost like anchors/guns/pirates in discussion threads :-)
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:37   #54
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
At $40 a pop, they oughta come with their OWN solar panel! Anyone have a second option, a bright LED cabin lightbulb? A part #, please.

Thanks,

John
I got some LEDs off ebay direct from Hong Kong, super cheap (EUR 3 each) and probably from the very same factory as overpriced "marine" ones!!
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:48   #55
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
At $40 a pop, they oughta come with their OWN solar panel! Anyone have a second option, a bright LED cabin lightbulb? A part #, please.

Thanks,

John
Nobody answered this but (at the risk of thread drift) I think it's worth a comment, because your dollars spent to reduce amp consumption will go MUCH further than the dollars spent to increase amp generation and storage.

I have had VERY nice results using cheap LED bulbs purchased from eBay to replace my 5w G4-base halogen bulbs. The bulbs I use would be found under the search terms: warm white LED SMD G4. There are many LED cluster configurations available with different quantities and arrangements of SMD (surface mounted device) LEDs, and the base's pins on the side or back. If you substitute the type of base(s) you need for "G4" you will find what you need. Some other examples are festoon, bayonet, offset bayonet, MR11, screw base etc.

The LEDs with 6+ SMD LEDs are brighter than the 5w halogens and use less than a watt. They are available for around $2-10 each depending on whether you buy batch quantities and/or want domestic suppliers or are willing to source direct from Hong Kong. My family agrees the "warm white" color temperature is just fine, a little different from the halogens but not an issue and for the price/amp usage perspective well worth it.

I have purchased about 30 of these bulbs and have had 2 failures after one year of use. (The failed both light but flash off after the bulbs warm up). I just ordered replacements -- the total for the 2 replacements including shipping was around $12 US.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:01   #56
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Re: Solar Enough?

I would have to agree that putting large solar panels on a mono hull is more challenging and as pointed out, especially on smaller boats.

Here are some successful large solar installs of 460+ watts on mono hull biminis
These pictures are from a 42’ Saber (460 watts) and a 47 Catalina (520 watts)

Both of these are world cruising offshore boats that sail through many nights.

Mark
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:15   #57
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Oversizing the panel capacity by a factor of two, which necessitates doubling the house bank accordingly, isn't going to make economic sense in many situations. I run on 260 watts of solar and 200 watts of wind. Adding another 260 watts of solar would have cost three times as much as adding the wind generator. To begin with, I would have had to build a second arch and extend the panels off the stern, which means I could no longer have fit my boat into a 50' slip. In the marinas around here, where the next step up is a 60' slip, that extension would have cost me $200 per month.

Even there, it still would not have been as good a charging solution. Solar alone may be fine for those who only cruise in the summer months or who only cruise in sub-tropic latitudes, but for those who sail in high latitudes, especially during the winter months, most especially during the rainy season, relying on solar alone makes very little sense.
It sounds like you have a set up that is working for you, so stick with it. My suggestion is practical for folks that first off, in the outfitting phase of the boat, cut their energy consumption in half!!! It is by far cheaper than producing more power, (by any means). Then, size the system like I said. It is actually easier to do this, as well as oversize the batteries and panels, on a small, energy efficient boat. On larger more complex boats, the size, weight, and cost can go up exponentially, I know. We only have 285w of solar, and that IS > 2x what we normally use!

I also have the multihull advantage here, LOTS of deck space to spread out panels on. So, ALL solar works best for me. Not for everybody.

I found that the wind generator I had, was mostly only useful at sea. Then the max power use was at night, and the wind blows 90% of the time.

The 90% of time I am anchored off of a tropical beach, the opposite is true, the winds were light because I avoided unprotected anchorages.

Now, in a very windy anchorage during rainy season in Panama, OR if one is at sea most of the time, the wind solution starts looking pretty good.

For those with a ketch rig, a wind unit on the mizzen, and solar rack on the davits, is a great setup!

You can't argue about what is working for you...

Mark
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:25   #58
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
For those with a ketch rig, a wind unit on the mizzen, and solar rack on the davits, is a great setup!
Hello Mark,

I'm considering some solar for my ketch, probably semi-flexible bits on deck and on the dodger. I spotted some on your dodger (bimini?), which seem(s) to be shaded by the boom. Does that work?

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Old 05-03-2011, 11:22   #59
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Re: Solar Enough?

Minimizing power usage is always the first step in setting up your boat for cruising.

LED's for all cabin lights
G4 : Led Strips Hero-ledstore.com
www.LEDwholesalers.com
LED's for Aqua Signal Series 40 Tri-Color / Anchor Light at the top of the mast
Lighting and LEDs
LED for Aqua Signal 25 Masthead (Green|Red) / Foredeck Light model # 25100
Lighting and LEDs
11 Watt Fluorescent light conversion to 3 watt LED's
Lighting and LEDs
Anchor deck lights
Lighting and LEDs
Replaced the Refigerator 3 Watt filament bulb with an LED
Lighting and LEDs
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:25   #60
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
At $40 a pop, they oughta come with their OWN solar panel! Anyone have a second option, a bright LED cabin lightbulb? A part #, please.

I used these: LED Surface Mount Accent Light - iboats.com

I bought the red/white light for my nav station and then a set of 6 soft white lights for the rest of my cabin.



I went with the above, because I really couldn't find anything that matched my old lights. Some of them needed complete replacement since they were non functional.



I really couldn't screw in the new lights where the old lights mounted, since the holes were the old wiring come through were so big. Note that I re-did all this wiring with proper Anchor heat shrink butt connectors. I found a lot of crappy wiring in my boat from prior owners.



I used 3M 4200 sealant to put the new lamps up, duct taped up to cure for a day or so.



The 3M left excess sealant, I just used a soft wire brush on my cordless Dremel and it cleaned up very nicely with no scratching on the lamp plastic or gelcoat



I've been very happy with them. We'll see down the line if I regret how I mounted them with the 4200. But so far I've found the stuff to be pretty easy to grind off with the dremel.

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