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Old 12-04-2007, 09:11   #76
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I have the Outback. Very, very good unit. I have been told by several people that it is best suited for large arrays. Small arrays (200W and less) a Blue Sky would be better - especailly due to the smaller cost of the BS. It is also true that you can mix/match panels with the MX60. However, I understand that it is not the best idea as you may be limited in amps by the smallest amperage panel. On the MX60, it is reccomended to set up the panels in series, up to the max PV of 140, not 100. Here is a link: Outback Power MX60 MPPT

I highly reccomend these guys. Very knowledgeable and friendly. Prices are not bad either and no tax.

- CD
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:03   #77
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I had to look at my MX-60 docs again. They say the maximum open circuit voltage of the panels must not exceed 150v DC under any conditions. MX60 operation will suspend if open circuit voltage exceeds 135v DC.

They go on to say "The normal open circuit voltage of the overall PV array should be keep under 125v DC in normal condions" These figures are based on 77degree f.

If the location of the system is in a very cold area - then wiring the panels for higher voltage may not be a wise choice.

They go on to say 6 12 volt panels or 3 24 volt panels should give an expected open circuit voltage of ~120v t0 ~135v.

Temperature definately affects panel output, so plan accordingly.

Definately moving targetish...
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:07   #78
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Strygal,

The confusion may be in the recent changes. I think they recently changed the parameters on the MX60.

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Old 10-05-2007, 17:53   #79
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Ok, I've gotta butt in here.

Bought my boat (Lagoon 37 Cat), with engine mounted fridge compressor. (SeaFrost). VERY efficient. Engines are Yanmar 30's. Gave up on freezing. Whole other issue, but importantly, THE BEER'S COLD!
I run one engine for 1 hour a day to cool fridge. I run the other for 20 minutes for hot water. That consumes 3 quarts of diesel.
I've got 125 amp alternators and 700 amp hours of batteries. Life is good. Watch 26" flat screen LCD movies with 700W surround. (disclosure: "Saving Private Ryan" at theatre levels will require discrete engine start about the time the German tanks enter the town).
3 quarts = about what? $3.00? a day! Long time to amortise those panels......
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Old 10-05-2007, 18:03   #80
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Oops, forgot to add, I've got a Trace 3500W inverter. Thing's a MOOSE! 8 years and still churnin out big beefy pseudo-sine magic.
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Old 10-05-2007, 18:15   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler
I have a 5KVA genset. The main engine is going to use ruffly 8ltrs an hr at a high idle driving a generator. My 5KVA genset is a small single cylinder that runs on the smell of an oily rag. It costs only about $2K to replace. It' wouldnt even be worth rebuilding. Replacement is four easy to remove bolts and it lifts out and a new one drops straight in.
My main engine would cost a minimum of around $10K to rebuild and replacment would be $50K or more. It would take huge effort to remove with partial removal of the pilot house roof and a crane to get it out to rebuild. Personly, I would like that to be many many years away. The less I use the main engione, the better for me. So it just comes down to economics.
Care to fill me in a bit more on this Genset please Alan ?

Like you, my B3.3 Cummins cost $14k each and I need a Jigsaw to get them out through the deck, but have plenty of room for a small gennie.

Thanks

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Old 10-05-2007, 20:53   #82
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Originally Posted by Sunspot Baby
True. There is no free lunch. It takes more power to make a solar panel than it will ever produce. The advantage is that hopefully it is built with low cost energy and you use it where other sources are unavailable, less reliable, or more costly.

This is one of the things the solar power greenies don't acknowledge. Where will they get all the power to build the panels?

George
The energy to build the solar panels is directly proportional to how expensive the solar panels are, so once the solar panels are worth it, by these standards (they produce more energy than they cost) then solar panels will be the #1 source of energy.

And right now coal is a cheap source of energy, so why aren't more people burning coal in their furnaces?

Interesting to think about.

I'm planning on buying solar for my home once it becomes cost competitive. Looking forward to low-cost thin film solar panels. I don't think I'd buy it for my boat. Maybe just 1 for backup power.
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Old 10-05-2007, 22:04   #83
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My 2 - 20W solar pannels cost plus pro installed was less than $ 1200. Each pannel will max out about 12 amps per day. As a comparision lest say that I only get 12 amps total. If I needed to run the motor for 1 hr and it produces 12 amps. My cost would be about $ 5 per 12 amps. In 240 hrs I would be able to pay for the solar pannels. The solar pannels will last longer and produce more. That is when I use the solar pannel for 240 days.
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Old 10-05-2007, 23:14   #84
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My 2 - 20W solar pannels cost plus pro installed was less than $ 1200. Each pannel will max out about 12 amps per day. As a comparision lest say that I only get 12 amps total. If I needed to run the motor for 1 hr and it produces 12 amps. My cost would be about $ 5 per 12 amps. In 240 hrs I would be able to pay for the solar pannels. The solar pannels will last longer and produce more. That is when I use the solar pannel for 240 days.
Not sure your numbers add up. A 20 watt solar panel at 12 amps would only be 1.6 volts, the engine is 12 volt, so you're doing 144 watts with the engine.

You can get 130 watt kyocera solar panels for around $600+shipping on the internet, I think marine grade may cost a bit more, but I expect the price to start going down. Right now supply is tight but lots of factories and new technologies (GaAs & TiO2) are being built to compensate for exploding demand, so you might see the price drop to $500 or $400 in just the next few years. Right now I think wind is more effective, especially for sail boats. The energy to weight ratio is definately better with a wind turbine.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:03   #85
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I should have been more specific. The 12 amps hours made by the solar pannels is for a full day I hope. (maybe as much as 18 amp hours) 144 watts per day. I do not have a frig or any heavy electrical usage. The pannels cost me $ 220 each, these are marine. I do not know marine electrical instalation so I had somebody do it for me. There is also a 4 amp solar regulator and 2 fittings inside. All of this little stuff adds up but does make a nice package for the long haul.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:50   #86
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I think that people miss one key point, I would be using solar even if it wasn't environmentally friendly and was made from seal pup fur, I am using it even though it is expensive. On a boat, 500 miles from the nearest diesel engine mechanic, not to mention parts, I can rely on solar to provide energy based on a system that has no moving parts. Most people have had experience like I have where your sitting in the middle of nowhere with a failed engine or failed generator. In fact, I don't know one long term cruiser where their engines or especially generators weren't out of commision for more than a month (often several months) because of some part failure. Cost of running your engine while at anchor? It's not the cost of diesel, it's the cost of that small plastic bag being sucked up in your intake in a harbor with some floating crude that makes your engine overheat. It's the cost of your family giving up on cruising all together because you can't keep the batteries charged off because you constantly have something failing on the most difficult, complex and costly piece of equipment on your boat (an engine). It's the cost of a generator, plus the marina and mechanic hours needed to keep it going. My solar panels are the one piece of equipment on my boat that never ever fail (10 years plus) and keep communications, water pressure, food storage, lights, navigation etc going. I'd pay a fortune for that. If they came out with an engine, or refrigerator, or bilge pump, or water pump, or battery, which was twice as expensive, but had a 20 year warrantee and a flawless record of being reliable, and I would switch in an instant. Cost isn't price in economics, it's the price of the next forgone opportunity, and having simple reliable equipment replace complex less reliable systems I'm reducing risk, decreasing stress, providing far more enjoyment while cruising. Moving from solar to wind means I'm sitting in the cockpit in a storm with a machine spinning blades over my head at the speed of a bullet, and when if fails it will be like having a blindfolded man with a machine gun shooting wildly everywhere (not conjecture or hypothetical, seen it). I'm also footing the bill for this reliable power production while I'm preparing the boat and have a full time job instead of footing the bill for mechanic hours, parts and the nearest marina when I'm off in the middle of nowhere on a fixed income and living off of savings.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:42   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schoonerdog
I think that people miss one key point, I would be using solar even if it wasn't environmentally friendly and was made from seal pup fur, I am using it even though it is expensive. On a boat, 500 miles from the nearest diesel engine mechanic, not to mention parts, I can rely on solar to provide energy based on a system that has no moving parts.
Well said.

This is exactly why I'll invest in solar panels on my next boat: Because I plan to go circumnavigating. You can't put a price on reliability.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:10   #88
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Zardinuk, one hopes Lynx was referring to 12 amp-hours, not "amps", per day.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:07   #89
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I think that people miss one key point, I would be using solar even if it wasn't environmentally friendly and was made from seal pup fur, I am using it even though it is expensive. On a boat, 500 miles from the nearest diesel engine mechanic, not to mention parts, I can rely on solar to provide energy based on a system that has no moving parts.
Yep. You are correct. Also, you so not have to be sitting there on board running it. You can be away and know your batteries are being charged.

It was interesting, but on sailnet I reproduced the cost of my solar array versus the cheapest source for power I could think of: A honda gas generator. It took about 13-15 years, but the solars finally paid for themselves!! HAHA! Instead of regurgitating all of that here, I will say (on the duh factor) that solars will pay for themselves... but it takes a long time. There are sooooo many other reasons to go solar that it should not be the cost factor but the reliability, quiet, and absence factor that makes cruisers opt for them.

Still, a REAL solar array ain't cheap. Just budget it in beside the water maker as one of those things you do not HAVE to have, but sure does make life a lot more enjoyable... and a bit safer too.

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Old 11-05-2007, 09:48   #90
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I still struggle understanding the argument for the high cost of solar. Let me use my own boat setup as an example:

4 130W panels with controller, wiring and various bits producing 200Ah/day = ~$3,000.

6kW generator with 100A charger run 2hrs/day to produce 200Ah/day (ignore the liberty I am taking by assuming full output bulk charging for 2 hrs) = ~$10,000 not including cost of diesel, oil, filters or other maintenance.

30hp main engine with 60A alternator run 3.5hrs/day to produce 200Ah/day (again, ignore the obvious liberties I am taking) = ~$10,000 not including cost of diesel, oil, filters or other maintenance.

Shore power run through a 100A inverter/charger to produce 200Ah/day =~$3,000

So what am I missing? It seems that solar actually equals shore power in cost and beats the other options. Although in practice, you would get by with a cheaper, lower output charger using shore power because it would be on all of the time. But again, it would be useless away from the dock.

I don't have a small honda generator, but I guess these must cost ~$1,000 + ~$1,000 for a 100A charger and controller for a total of around $2,000.

Seems to me that solar is cheap, notwithstanding the fact that it just happens silently, unobtrusively whether you are there or not for years and years without any maintenance (although this time of year I do have to dust the pollen off of them every so often).

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