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Old 18-10-2006, 13:43   #16
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smear the inside of your nostrils with cocoa butter ?
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Old 18-10-2006, 14:45   #17
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Modern diesels do not require low sulphur diesel, they just run cleaner on it. A certain type of mechanical injector pump found mostly in industrial and offroad diesels require low sulphur fuel. It's not a vast amount of old diesels though they do burn a lot of fuel. They probably can be run with additives on low sulphur fuel if it came down to that. Our slow adoption of low sulphur diesel has more to do with cost/benefit decisions by the oil industry.

The new common rail diesels have very low particulate output and may go even lower with after combustion scrubbing. Since they deliver at least 1/3rd better fuel consumption, their production of pollutants and consumption of fuel is just that much less. They aren't available because: 1. it is too expensive to get them certified for the number that the car people think will sell and 2. City, State, and Federal regulations do not let us import them. Apparently, the powers that be are happier telling us what we can drive than trying to curb fuel consumption and pollution.

What's this with global cooling?? Thought the sky was falling because it's getting too hot. If it's the latter, we should be burning all the particulate producing stuff we can find according to a certain former candate for President. In any case, if I lived in the north I'd be praying for global warming. Can't you see the allure of Green Bay in February if global warming is coming. Don't forget your swimsuit.

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Old 18-10-2006, 14:56   #18
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OK... so the perception is that the costs are similar enough among the options that political considerations are valid means of determination... that and taste in beer. I have no problem with that!

On our last boat solar did work out well for us with a wind mill back-up and the engine alternator when we were steaming. I admit I didn't factor in the energy cost in manufactor of the panels and it does take some satisfaction away from the idea of them. A big thing we had going for us was that we were virtually all low voltage. The inverter was used very little. As soon as you add high voltage AC to the equation, I would agree that only a gen set makes sense.

We are in process of organising to build a boat. A 40 ft cat. My plan for power is to once again, focus on low voltage accesories, however with the costs firmly in mind (the subject at hand then) I plan on a combination of the lot but will shuffle the cards differently. We will have solar but less of them. This boat will have a better wind mill that will be used most all the time and an Australpixie engine run high output alternator so when we are motoring it is serious production.

I suspect a wind mill is the cheapest alternative per watt/years..

but it does all depend on your boats configuration, location, and apparently... personal idiology... English beer is the shits! but so is budwieser. My idea of comfort is a bowl of fresh home made salsa and chips and an ice cold home brew. I've made marina stops because we were out of cilantro and tomatoes. Maybe a solar powered herb garden in the cockpit....

Cheers
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Old 18-10-2006, 15:12   #19
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I look at it this way. How much power how fast. I agree with Bob if you don't really try for low voltage then you are dedicated to power hungry inverters and gensets. Using a solar panel is a joke. The alternatives fall away.

If you try hard for a high efficiency fridge then you have eliminated most all the constantly running power eating devices. Now suddenly the battery bank lasts a reasonable amount of time and you have the chance to make more during the windy and sunny parts of the day and eventually get closer to a steady state system. You make up the last bits when you motor.

One thing I saw were roll up solar mats. You could roll them up and stow them then at anchor roll them out and suddnly you have a large solar array during the sunny part of the day. Just right for making water.

It seems it is really about a strategy that balances what you use against what you can make. Taken step by step you can reach a point where it all works. The issue then becomes if you are willing to givie up AC appliances that consume large amounts of power when on the hook. At the dock of course 30 / 50 amp power is available and you make ice and have A/C.
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Old 18-10-2006, 16:57   #20
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Four T105 batteries - $365; four Kyocera solar panels - $1900; one solar controller - $119; 50' 10 ga. tinned wire - $25; one circuit breaker - $89 for power for the next 25 years. All in all a total of $2498. Considerably less than a generator (or several over the years) and more reliable. Couple this with proper energy management and we should be good to go for the rest of my life.
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Old 18-10-2006, 17:51   #21
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<four Kyocera solar panels - $1900;> And how many amps? Without that number, the rest is meaningless.

Rover-
There are not bans on importing any kind of diesel engines, except "dirty" ones. Any engine that can meet the emission specs can come in--but when you go to the CA specs (which parts of NE use too), all of a sudden there are no engines clean enough to bring in. Or next to no engines, and certainly none that ran on our high-sulfur fuels to meet those standards.
I've heard that there are one of two highly sophisticated [read: expensive and unproven] clean-up systems that are first being used now, which may allow diesels to run clean enough to be marketed here. If they prove themselves in the EU...we may get them in 3-4 years.
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Old 19-10-2006, 06:11   #22
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It seems that there are two economies here. One for the boat and the other more general. I suspect both are false.

I'm boating for the pleasure it gives me not because it is the best bang for my entertainment buck. With that in mind I would rather sit in a quiet anchorage with warm beer and an expensive solar panel than a cold beer and a noisy genset. Not a direct answer to what is cheapest just a personal choice.

As a business decision when you start spending $400 per power pole to string CO-OP electricity to a remote water well solar starts getting cheap. Electricity is cheap only when a plug is already there. As for motor fuel I have put over 150k on my last four cars. I do not think that I could argue that I am interested in saving money if I did not wear them out. But in terms of operating costs I would be kidding myself if I did not look at all of the costs involved. Last year I payed $1300 in motor fuel and an estimated $8000 in taxes to support energy subsidies and 'the defense' of my fuel sources. So I'm paying $9 per gallon. That makes $5 per gallon look cheap.
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Old 19-10-2006, 07:40   #23
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We have two Kyrocera 120 panels charging our 420 amp house bank and use a Honda 2000 when the panels can't keep up. We usually run the Honda for one hour every 3-4 days. Nothing ruins a quiet anchorage like listening to our (or our neighbors) generator. Can you put a price on serenity? My wife agrees with me that adding solar panels was the best thing we have ever done to the boat.

Also consider the fact that you don't have to be on the boat for the panels to charge your batts....you can leave the frig on while you're gone for a few days. You can't do that with a genset/motor.

If you're trying to justify what to use based solely on the cost per kw, I would suggest that you REALLY need to get out of boating all together. It's much cheaper to fly somewhere and stay in a hotel!!!!
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Old 19-10-2006, 08:12   #24
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While in the Bahamas last season (feb 1 to June 14), I spent $742.40 on gasoline. I used gasoline for my dinghy and auxillary gas generator. During that time I put approximately 22 gallons of gas into the dinghy. The remainder went into the aux generator. At an average of $4.85 per gallon. The approximate cost to run the dinghy was $106. The approximate cost to run the generator was $636. So, for the 20 weeks I was there, I spent approximately $32 per week on gasoline to generate power for the boat (Note, I did spend 4 days in marinas during that time, that increased my avg fuel cost somewhat).

My boat has 1 175 watt solar panel and 1 wind generator. During the day, the solar panel/wind generator was able to keep up with my power utilization. During the night, they were not able to keep up. I, on average, ran a 105 amp hour deficit per day. This resulted in my running my generaor about 2.5 hour per day. (My generator was burning a little bit more than a gallon of fuel per day of running)

These were my oberservations and calculations based on my receipts and generator run hours.

Some of my conclussions.

I HATED THE SOUND OF MY GENERATOR RUNNING!!! I tried to pick good times to run it so as not to be a boar to myself, and those anchored around me. The generator I purchased was a generic 2.5 kw. I have since sold it and purchased a Kapor generator that is a LOT quieter, a LOT lighter and also may be more efficient. The Kapor cost me $900. It is a lot less expensive than a diesel genset, and a lot lighter!

I believe 2 additional 175 watt solar panels (I will get the BP 4175) at about $1000 each will provide me with enough excess production to elimnate 90% of my aux generator use. It is my intent to sail more extensively in the Carribean in the coming years. Given my power utilization for the time I was there, I expect it will take approximately 20 months of cruising to offset the cost of the panels. I expect to achieve this in 3 years.

I need to get more output from my wind generator. I have the Air X Marine. Its low wind power output is minimal. I have plans to put 6 blades on it. We will see if that will increase its low wind output.

Gasoline is not a cost effective way of generating power. I don't believe diesel is either. Plugging into shore power is definately more cost effective than any power generating I can do onboard! Solar is expensive, I bought the panel, wiring, MPPT controller, switches, relay, fuses, and mounting hardware for just at about $2100. It would be a LOT more difficult to put the desired number of panels on a monohull. On our catamaran, we will string them across the stern. It will cost me an additional $3000 to get the additional panels and mountings. (Have to have an arch built). So, total ROI is something closer to 50 months in gasoline cost. While in the marina, it is costing us $30 or so a month for energy. But, we use a LOT more while we are docked. It would take more than 15 years to offset the cost of the panels, and I am sure 3 panels would not be sufficient to meet our needs. But, while I am out! panels are a great way to go, for me.

Keith

(tired of typing!)
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Old 19-10-2006, 08:50   #25
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Pura Vida-
"Electricity is cheap only when a plug is already there. " Oh DUH! That was our mistake, ripping out the old zipcorded AC outlets. You're right, the power worked fine until then.<G>
$400/pole sounds cheap. I haven't heard a quote in, uh, 30 years but back then it was $1000 per pole for my friend, who decided a genset was way cheaper than 1.8 miles of poles. (Long driveway, rural plot.)

Rleslie-
"If you're trying to justify what to use based solely on the cost per kw, I would suggest that you REALLY need to get out of boating all together."
I'm looking at costs of an entire new and complete system, and since many of us have to choose where each dollar goes, I'm *comparing* alternatives ahead of time, to make the best choice. Economics will be only one part of "best". Meanwhile...If I got out of boating and FLEW into each destination, do you have any idea what it costs every time I light the engines & lift off the runway? <VBG> Makes a boat economical.<G>

Keith-
"I HATED THE SOUND OF MY GENERATOR RUNNING!!! " Rumours that I have used a 50 caliber BRG to silence a genset with one shot from a quarter mile away are totally false. There are cheaper ways to do it, those 50 caliber slugs run nearly $7 each.<G>
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Old 19-10-2006, 08:58   #26
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I once threw a running McCullough into the ocean. I regret the thoughtlessness of that action. I should have used a fire-ax to drain the oil and gasoline out of it first, and THEN thrown it into the ocean.

My small contribution to the artificial reef program.
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Old 19-10-2006, 09:09   #27
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Has anybody had to replace their solar panels ???
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Old 19-10-2006, 09:49   #28
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Mine is guaranteed by the manufacturer for 90% rated output for 25 years. Not much to go wrong with them, except the connections.
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Old 19-10-2006, 09:55   #29
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WIll that guarantee make them good? Or do you get trapped in the "pro-rated against full retail replacement" game?
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Old 19-10-2006, 19:13   #30
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420 watts with the regulator set at 13.5 volts yields enough power to charge that batteries on any day and run all the equipment including the refrigerator/freezer.
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