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Old 09-05-2009, 23:07   #1
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Towed Water Generators

As part of my search for the 'Holy Grail' (my perfect electrical power generating system ) I am considering, like the Starship Enterprise , going where I previously hesitated going before: an even larger house bank of 900 A/hrs instead of 675A/hrs.

I suspect this would eliminate my need to tow a water generator at night to meet my power requirements.

That aside, I am wondering, what other than 'tried & true' Hamilton Ferris tow water generators exist??? I have to believe, like wind generators, there is numerous options available, each with their pros and cons.

Would appreciate some options available before deciding on increasing further my house bank size, which would also require a larger charging capability.

Thanks in advance for your input.

William
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Old 09-05-2009, 23:27   #2
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William,

Years ago, I checked the "Ampair" wind generator that also converts to hydro... Do not know how well it applies to your situation but their link is Ampair microwind, microhydro, and small wind power systems.

I thought it was a good design but not making very long voyages for taking advantage of the hydro and sailing in areas of light winds, I -at that time- chose to buy a windbugger.

Fair winds!

Sailndive
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Old 09-05-2009, 23:55   #3
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Have you considered something like one of these? Marine Generators - Nextgen and Phasor with Kubota Engines Marinized

It would fit into a 48' boat fairly well.

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:01   #4
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William thats a big bank im using 500 amp hour bank= Hard to fathom needing a bigger bank-
A kiss wind gen and a 200 watt solar pannel or two should help you- Ive heard nothing good about the towed water Gens. they seem to fall apart quickly
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:04   #5
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Duogen is the only one if you really want a water powered one. Be prepared for a shock when you see the price.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:20   #6
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Have you considered something like one of these? Marine Generators - Nextgen and Phasor with Kubota Engines Marinized It would fit into a 48' boat fairly well.
I have a 6.5Kw Genst


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William thats a big bank im using 500 amp hour bank= Hard to fathom needing a bigger bank-
A kiss wind gen and a 200 watt solar pannel or two should help you- Ive heard nothing good about the towed water Gens. they seem to fall apart quickly
A 500A/hr bank gives you in reality ~150A/hrs to work with. I've done my load spreadsheet which has determined I require between 200-215 A/hrs when sailing off-shore. I want nothing to do with noisy wind generators, and suspect the extra 2 batteries would also eliminate the need to install costly solar panels.
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Old 10-05-2009, 13:15   #7
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BlueSovereign. You are after the holy grail..... So you need to have wind, solar and water generators. At least that's what I'm looking at.

If there is no wind, I'm not sailing, so a water generator, nor wind gen will help me. I don't have the space for a petrol or electric genset so am limited to renewable sources. Therefore, I rely on solar in such situations with the occasional boost of running the engines if really necessary.

If there's wind, I'm good for normal use situations with the wind gen and solar. If it's windy and cloudy, then I am looking for a water gen to top up the battery bank when the air gen is insufficient.

Either way budget permitting, my view is that the holy grail is all three systems fully catering for all conditions. Also that way you have some level of redundancy.

Cheers.

Ben.
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:17   #8
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BlueSovereign. You are after the holy grail..... So you need to have wind, solar and water generators. At least that's what I'm looking at.

Either way budget permitting, my view is that the holy grail is all three systems fully catering for all conditions. Also that way you have some level of redundancy.

Cheers.

Ben.
Ben: If there is anything I've learned is that EVERYTHING in life has its "trade-offs", and when it comes to one's yacht you can sure as hell triple that reality!

I have been developing my knowledge of electrical systems (with the help of Rick, GordMay, and others on this Forum) and exploring options for several months now.

I do NOT want a Wind Generator ... I've crewed on yachts that have had them. Most (but not all) are located in a manner that causes shadows on your solar panels. You either find yourself with not enough or too much wind. Thus, IMHO I think they are more trouble than they are worth AND they are noisy!

I will likely add two 120-130 watt solar panels for the primary reason to enable me to keep my batteries top-upped above the 80% capacity level at all times.

With a load of 185 -210 A/hrs every 1/2 day, even starting at at the 80% capacity level, will take me down to only 59% - 56% respectively, battery capacity. Every 1% above 50% capacity you keep your batteries at extends the life of your batteries. As the old Pensoil oil filtre commericial ad used to say: "you can pay me now, or pay me more later".

Unless someone can provide an update on water generators that I'm not aware of, I'm going to an additional 2 batteries and a slightly larger charging system, now.
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:20   #9
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Towed Generators

G'Day, Blue Sov,

I am a great fan of water-powered generators, despite their notable drawbacks. On Insatiable I we used a home-brew device consisting of one of the old tape deck permanent magnet DC motors, some 1/2" double braid line and a 6HP outboard prop on a 4' long stainless shaft. When it was new it put out 10 amps at 6 knots, our usual average speed in that boat. Over the years the output diminished a bit due to magnets coming loose and not being replaced accurately, but it continued to provide us with useful power at sea. Used the same unit hung in the rigging with a 5 foot air prop too (hazardous to your health, that was!). The result was power to burn while on passage... how nice!

Now with Insatiable II we rely upon solar and an Air-X for power. Works fine, except that we have a very hungry autopilot, and when we are sailing downwind at night we sometimes get a bit depleted, due to the low apparent wind speed. So, I too am interested in a water powered generator.

I could re-do our former setup, except that the towed prop is a PITA and I'd like to avoid that mess. I have considered using the lower unit from a small outboard driving a Fisher Paykel (sp?) washing machine motor as a generator (have heard good reports on this unit), but as a full time cruiser, I lack the shop facilities necessary for fabrication...

So, I'd be interested in a commercial unit if one really exists, and will be watching this thread for ideas.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:28   #10
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One way if you have the room is a Fisher and Paykel washing machine motor as a prop shaft generator, I believe from a guy here who makes them up to 20 amps possible
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:42   #11
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One way if you have the room is a Fisher and Paykel washing machine motor as a prop shaft generator, I believe from a guy here who makes them up to 20 amps possible
Could you provide more specifics as to who "that guy" is please?
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:54   #12
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Sorry a local cruiser in Mooloolaba , Australia. Fisher and Paykel washing machine motors have been adapted for windmill use, have a look at TheBackShed.com - Info & Projects
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Old 10-05-2009, 15:59   #13
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A bit of time on Google, heres another link that might be helpful,http://www.yourgreendream.com/diy_instructions.php
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Old 10-05-2009, 17:50   #14
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A bit of time on Google, heres another link that might be helpful,YourGreenDream, Homemade Electricity | Do It Yourself Instructions
WQhile did not assist in the water gen area, the link offers some valuable info on solar panels.
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Old 10-05-2009, 21:25   #15
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The Ferris water generator has been a reliable source of power on downwind passages, and puts out 150-200 amp-hours for us at hull speed. It takes some care to launch and retrieve, and some maintenance (painting, brush replacement, cutting the frayed ends off the line and reattaching the fittings). I have lost the whole rig once (due to something huge in the middle of the night) and the prop once (due to a frayed line) in 12 years and 60,000 miles.

The DuoGen seems to be popular due to its ease of deployment, and is probably worth looking into. I was in St Lucia at the end of the ARC a year ago and about half the DuoGens had failed on a transatlantic passage. Most DuoGen owners agreed that the wind generator part was pretty useless.
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