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Old 31-08-2015, 10:14   #1
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Solar/Wind Questions

Currently my boat has one 65W solar panel, 2-8d house batteries, and 2 start batteries. I have a 20a 110 battery charger when needed as well as the normal alternator charging from running engine. Most of the time the one panel keeps the batteries up just fine for the limited draw I have on them at the dock and for afternoon cruises the little bit of motoring makes up the diffenrece. (Phone charger, instrumentation, lights, radio, etc).

I plan on getting rid of my 110 only fridge and going with a converted ice box 12 vdc refrigeration unit. I also will be purchasing a small water maker. I would like to size my solar and wind system to be adequate in Gulf Waters and Bahamas for charging. I am thinking 400 w solar with a 400 w Wind genny should be adequate a well as having a Honda gas gen for back up. From what I can think of my Equipment usage should look like this Not sure how many hours to use for amp/hours for this stuff though:

Underway:

Running lights-- 12hrs
Fridge--??
GPS Chart Plotter--12hrs
VHF--24hrs
Depth Sounder--12hrs
Auto Pilot-- 8 hrs?
AM/FM-- 12hrs
Cellphone charger--2 hrs
Interior Lights (LED)-- Depends Not much
Bilge pump-- Not much
Water Pump-- 1 hour
Electric Head-- .5 hour

At Anchor/Mooring:

Anchor light (LED) 12hrs
Interior Light(LED) 5hrs
Cockpit light (LED) 5hrs
VHF--24 hrs rx
AM/FM-- 18hrs
Bilge-- ?? Not much
Water Maker-- 1-2 hrs (Use Generator)
Fridge--
Water pump-- 1 hr ?
Electric head-- .5 hr
Cell phone charger-- 2 hrs


Am I forgetting anything? Would 4 100W panels, Mppt controller and a small wind generator be sufficient for these types of amp draws? Are 2 8d House batteries sufficient? How much would I find myself running the Honda and/or the engine? I have run some numbers but I would like some real world experience/knowledge from folks that are doing it. What would you suggest? I would like to be a self sufficient as possible and use the engine/ Generator as little as possible. Any comments are appreciated!
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:39   #2
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

2 8D batteries should be more than adequate. Recommendations I've been given are 400 amp hours of storage for the frig. and other stuff on board. If you will be using an Espar or other forced air heater, A/C, or like to imitate a Christmas Tree with your boat, more storage may be necessary. Personally, I'd give the 8D's to a your local bull dozer operator and go with Golf Cart Batteries. Can't afford the hospital expenses if I ever had to move one of those monsters.

Almost all production boats have serious insulation issues with their Ice Boxes. Would rebuild your ice box with 4" of 'Blue Board' or or equivalent foam insulation. That would probably be the best thing you can do to cut down on electrical draw with refrigeration. Would think 400 watts of solar would keep up with a well insulated box in lower latitudes.
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Old 31-08-2015, 18:27   #3
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

We have a 44O ah house bank. Very well insulated fridge, also an edgestar 43? Qt freezer that is very efficient. 500 watt sunpower panels w outback 80 controller. Charging cell phones etc and running fans at night we are fine, if we have a solid day of overcast clouds we need to run a genny or start an engine for an hour or two for me to feel comfortable not hurting the batteries. We also have. 330gpd 12 v watermaker we run about every 3 to 4 days for 2 or 3 hours. I'm adding another 250 watt panel as we want to heat water with the extra power and of course keep things really charged. Ill be honest if we really tried to conserve by turning fridge and freezer off at night wed probably be fine with half the solar. Our freezer only raises 8 degrees over night when off. Fridge about 12. We do watch movies etc at night and enjoy nice hot showers . not too miserly a our energy usage. Some people love their wind genny, I don't.





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Old 01-09-2015, 07:48   #4
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

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We have a 44O ah house bank. Very well insulated fridge, also an edgestar 43? Qt freezer that is very efficient. 500 watt sunpower panels w outback 80 controller. Charging cell phones etc and running fans at night we are fine, if we have a solid day of overcast clouds we need to run a genny or start an engine for an hour or two for me to feel comfortable not hurting the batteries. We also have. 330gpd 12 v watermaker we run about every 3 to 4 days for 2 or 3 hours. I'm adding another 250 watt panel as we want to heat water with the extra power and of course keep things really charged. Ill be honest if we really tried to conserve by turning fridge and freezer off at night wed probably be fine with half the solar. Our freezer only raises 8 degrees over night when off. Fridge about 12. We do watch movies etc at night and enjoy nice hot showers . not too miserly a our energy usage. Some people love their wind genny, I don't.





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Thanks, this is kind of what I was curious about was some first hand " I have xx and use YY and everything works or I have a and use B and have dead batteries type stuff. " I think I will start with 400w solar and go from there if additional is needed.
Our ice box was added later and seems to be well insulated. It had a cold plate set up in it at one time but it is nonfunctioning now. Itholds ice extremely well. We usually fill it up at the beginning of the week and might add a bag through the week if we open it alot or put warm stuff in it, so I think it will work well as a fridge.

The 8d batteries are some monsters, arent they! Mine are situated where I can move them easily if needed and are veryeasy to maintain. Once they have reached end of life I will probably go with golf cart batts though.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:19   #5
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

We have been out full time cruising for almost 4 years. Upgraded our solar from 400W to 1150W 6 months ago and are now can run everything from just solar. We have an Outback FM80 Controller and we have seen up to 65 amps going in at peak times. We normally put in around 250 to 350 amp hours per day and have seen our daily up at 420. We have a 660 amp hour house bank.

IMO, put up as much solar as you can fit on your boat. Your lifestyle will change to the available power. Laundry, ice maker, electric coffee maker, TV, music, lights, power tools, water maker....it just makes life easier.

Solar is cheap upfront compared to all other alternatives.

Hope this helps.

Marty
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Currently, Prickly Bay, Grenada



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Old 02-09-2015, 09:32   #6
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

We've been full time cruising for the last 4 1/2 years. On the hook or underway for all but two months of that time. We have 390 watts of solar, Fourwinds wind generator, DC watermaker, DC refrigeration, all LED lighting, and a 720AH gel bank that tests at 400AH capacity last year.

The solar and wind takes care of our usage if there is good sun and/or really good wind. More solar would be nice but no room. Install all the solar you have room for.
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Old 03-09-2015, 16:37   #7
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

ditch the 20a charger and get a real one. the backup genny is useless without a real charger. at 400ah flooded you should be in the 80a range.


with a 20a charger you'd be running the genny 24/7 if you ever needed it.


also if you don't already get a large alternator and external regulator. like 100a


the 2 above will make a huge impact on the run time of genny or engine.


you'd have to post specs on the water maker. generally they are huge power hogs and can't be powered from batteries. that will be your biggest concern power wise
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:36   #8
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

Pretty much thought the same thing about the 20amp charger. I just recently purchasedthe boat so I am doing a whole lot of refitting system wise.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:57   #9
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

And to think 20 years ago we were able to get by with 2 55 watt solar panels and a 4 winds wind generator! The "necessities" of cruising nowadays demand much more power, but I wonder if solar wasn't as efficient and inexpensive as it is now, would we still insist on having those necessities? Having said that, we will be installing as much solar on our new boat as is reasonable. Silent power is a beautiful thing!
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:05   #10
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

Watermaker wise I would more than like ly run that off the generator, I am thinking
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:25   #11
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

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And to think 20 years ago we were able to get by with 2 55 watt solar panels and a 4 winds wind generator! The "necessities" of cruising nowadays demand much more power, but I wonder if solar wasn't as efficient and inexpensive as it is now, would we still insist on having those necessities? Having said that, we will be installing as much solar on our new boat as is reasonable. Silent power is a beautiful thing!
That is kind of what I am thinking too. I want to be as self suffiecient as possible but also sont want to be a slave to a boat systme either. I just want options, I guess. If we power the watermaker off a generator, then really our fridge should be the only real big draw on our system whenanchored/moored. We don't have much in the way of 110 stuff to run so I see the inverter getting used little or none. And, honestly,as good as my iceboxes keep ice, I could probably go without the refrigeration but I want the option.
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Old 04-09-2015, 15:59   #12
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Re: Solar/Wind Questions

We like our 110 stuff. We use out Coffee maker each morning, watch a movie or series at night before bed, have 110 tools, use a microwave once in a while, toaster, etc. For how inexpensive a 2000 watt pure signwave inverter is, we have found it very worth while.
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