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Old 05-04-2014, 13:50   #16
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

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-500AH AGM Batteries, split up in two 250AH set parallel.
That is a pretty SMALL battery bank for a cruising boat and why split it up between two banks? That introudces all types of complexity and limits on power. A single 500A bank will have about 200AH of usable power. Stick with one larger house bank and a simple starting battery.
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:22   #17
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

Ok, I printed Bobs blog-still working, no studying it. However, still some questions:

@noelex 77: I read (for example in the sticky thread electrical study hall) not to combine different batterie types-you disagree? Or did you mean by parallel not "wired parallel" but "at the same time"? Thanks for your clarification concerning multiple chargin sources.

@SV THIRD DAY: I am surprised-
-Btrayfors writes in Battery Configuration that 400 to 700AH should be allright-for a family on a 43 footer
-Bob has a system for a software designer running on 520AH (the 4 Crown CR-260 on 2014 SOLAR IDEAS, BATTERIES & OTHER THINGS « HandyBob's Blog (greetings to bob, if he really sees this all as he sais!)
-I learned as a rule of thumb to have AH same as Wp on solarmodules.

How much do you have? Any other opinions out there? Will be happy to know.
I didn't write details for me, so just as a rought outline: I have radar, computer charging sometimes, some autopilot, fridge, navigatin lights, autopilot, an occasional TV (maybe once a week for a movie). Maybe a Watermaker-but that is not clear yet (yes, that needs a lot of Ah). I don't care if I cant turn on the fridge every once in a while....

@leftbrainstuff: How big is your battery bank? Sounds interesting!

By the way, as I wrote below in that post, I still have another 300 (even 400 AH) in lead batteries that will however certainly not last too long.

Thats it for now.
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Old 06-04-2014, 15:24   #18
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

I have a Spectra Newport 400 12V water maker. It uses little power compared to other water makers per gallon. With 1000W of solar you can run that water maker all day and still get some charge into the batteries. Your solar should produce about 50+ A peak and over 40 for several hours. The water maker uses 26A to make about 18 gallons. So you still get about 20A into your batteries while it is running. The Catalina uses 15A for 12.5 gallons. Send a message to Tellie on this forum for advise. He is absolutely great.

Battery Capacity.
The more capacity you can fit the better.

I have LiFePo batteries, but at this point you need some good understanding of electrical and electronics systems to make sure they keep running for you. I run 1400Ah LiFePo batteries of which 1200Ah is usable and have 1800W of solar. But then I am a pig on power, even using electrical for hot showers. On a previous boat I had 900W of solar and that works well between spring and fall equinox. Winter is just not enough daylight. On that boat I had 840Ah aead acid an it was so so ok. Running a big inverter often tripped the low voltage of the inverter or low voltage of the auto pilot. But that was running a toaster and a coffee maker at the same time.

Along the typical around the world cruising routes it should work year round for you, but going to latitudes like the Bahamas will keep you falling short mid November to mid February. I still made it through those days but had to cut back a little on luxuries. It is a tough life.

On the other end (for you)I recommend Trojan T105 6V golf cart batteries connected in series to 12V and paralleled to the capacity you want / need. They are really tough and hard to break. Stay away from AGM. Too much money for too little gain and to picky. T105 can be had in Florida for just under $100 a piece. I would recommend at least 6 of them for 675 Ah, better 8 for 900 Ah.

One thing is very important on all lead acid batteries. Most cruisers murder their lead acid batteries because of constant under charging. At least once every two weeks they should be charged to 100% full. That means to feed them 14.6V until the amps drop to under 1.5% of capacity. So for a 900 Ah bank you have to keep 14.6V until the current accepted by the bank drops to about 13A. With the solar you have and a outback Flexmax this should not be a problem. With a generator or charging from alternator this can not be reached, as it takes about 5 hours to take the bank from 80% to 100% of charge and no one wants to suffer through such long motor hum and fumes.

Make sure you have a good battery monitor, such as the Victron BM600 or 602 and learn what the numbers mean.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:33   #19
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

Thanks a lot for yet informative answer, Roetter. I actually have 520W (I cant correct it in the post, I got it wrong in the first one, then later I wrote the correct statement).
That is indeed a lot of solar power you have there-do you have pictures of your installation? Would be interesting to know how you managed to set them up.
Concerning you battery-advice: The problem is, I am in europe. The trojans t105 cost 220$ (160) (for ONE, not a pair!). The AGM are actually less expensive in my case-but I am really starting to wonder if they are the right thing to buy. After reading
AGM Batteries - Making The Choice - SailboatOwners.com
I am not sure anymore what to do. I think I would charge them up all the way regularly, so maybe the mentioned problems dont show up, but....

Can anybody give me some more advice on the battery issue? Under the premise trojan more expensive than AGM? 450AH Trojan would be 640, 460AH AGM are 480, and 520AH CR260HD from crown (recommended by Bob) would cost me 1000!.
The world is funny....
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:32   #20
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

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Originally Posted by TheOnly View Post
Ok, I printed Bobs blog-still working, no studying it. However, still some questions:

@noelex 77: I read (for example in the sticky thread electrical study hall) not to combine different batterie types-you disagree? Or did you mean by parallel not "wired parallel" but "at the same time"? Thanks for your clarification concerning multiple chargin sources.
Ideally all the batteries would be of the same age and type, but mixing different ages and even battery types can be done with care with batteries are in a different bank.
This is the advantage of two house banks (and a separate start bank). When embarking on a trip you can replace half the house bank. Batteries of different ages in two house banks means there is unlikely to be sudden, complete failure and older batteries can be utilised.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:40   #21
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Re: Solar for round-the-world in three years

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The problem is, I am in europe.
Battery prices do vary significantly in different parts of the world. Batteries are heavy and in many cases classified as dangerous goods. This makes shipping expensive and distorts battery prices.

There is a lot on advice on CF that recommends fitting a large battery bank. Given the low cost of batteries in the USA this makes sense, but in many parts of the world a smaller battery bank and more money on optimising solar for example is the sensible choice.
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