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Old 15-03-2010, 06:57   #16
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Have you worked out what your likely AHr consumption will be?. It is not hard to do and I think it would be a big help.
I have to agree with Don it does not sound like you will be able to manage without a generator.
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Old 15-03-2010, 07:54   #17
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The washing machine will be the biggest short burst load of @ 1400w for 45 mins x twice/three times per week.

The microwave uses @1100w
vacuum uses @ 1800w
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Old 15-03-2010, 08:19   #18
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Making some assumptions about how will use the vacuum cleaner and microwave (which are likely to be way out because I am a man) . It comes to an average 130AHrs day for those 3 appliances.
Looks like I talked you out of the Hairdryer at least !

OK thats a start, but you really need to a more comprehensive list
Fridge and freezer ? well insulated?
Lights Led?
laptop ? type hours per day?
TV ?
Music?
etc

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Old 15-03-2010, 10:13   #19
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Hi, Anjou --

What a great plan. The idea of slowly meandering through the European canals sounds very attractive. Being able to build your own canal boat is a definite plus, too. In terms of your electrical plan, I suggest doing the genset. It is true that they are picky beasts and I've never met a cruiser who didn't have a love/hate relationship with their genset, but I think most of the problems actually come from not using them enough. I found that the longer I used ours, the better I learned about what it needed for reliable operation (much of that learned from the technical support people, not from the manuals!), and thus, the happier I became with it. Do factor in your choices the issue of noise -- the quieter the better. On a boat like yours, access for maintenance should be less of an issue, as well as weight.

You really don't want to have to fire up a genset (or main engine) for a 10-minute microwave job or to run the hair dryer for 5 minutes, though. That's where having a larger battery bank and generous inverter/charger will make a huge difference. Plus, you'll need to charge less often. We've been quite happy with our Victron MultiPlus, with the 120 amp charger and 2500 watt inverter. Rock solid and no issues.

As you know, the battery technology is changing rapidly. You might want to consider the Lithium batteries (there's another active thread on those), since you'll have the advantage of monitoring how those developments proceed and the prices should drop between now and when you have to buy. Being able to get many thousands of cycles such that you basically never have to worry about replacing them would be a major benefit. If not, then something like the Odysseys. Deeper discharges, faster charging.

For heat, consider the Hurricane hydronic heating system, Hydronic Heating Systems Zone heating and hot water all in an integrated, quiet, efficient package.

What a great project, I look forward to hearing more.

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Old 15-03-2010, 10:22   #20
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I agree with others that you need to calculate your daily electrical demand. Not so easy for a boat that isn’t built yet; but you can get specifications for various appliances and estimate amp hour needs for lighting systems, etc. Nevertheless, your basic parameters are: This will be your home; you want all comforts of home; you have high electrical demand; you will not regularly have shore power available; and your environment is not conducive to solar and wind for more than a supplement to your power demands. It seems to me that this is the classic case for a conventional marine diesel generator.

I’m surprised to hear so many people describe marine generators as unreliable. I confess that my only extended experience was many years ago when we owned a 40' Mathews cabin cruiser with twin Chrysler V/8s and an Onan diesel generator. We didn’t live on the boat, but we spent a lot of time on her moored or at anchor - often because something was broken. We had a lot of problems with that boat, but the generator wasn’t one of them. It was run frequently and for extended periods - it powered the 110v fridge and electric baseboard heaters when needed, and it kept the batteries charged. Many cruising sailboats in the Bahamas/Caribbean have marine generators, and just about all of the trawlers do. They’ve been popular - especially for powerboats - since at least the 40s (not sure if any of the boats at Dunkirk had them); they can supply all your AC needs; they are far more efficient for charging than your main engine; and at least some of them can be very reliable.

OTOH, you could just move to the Caribbean and let the sun and wind do the work.
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Old 15-03-2010, 10:34   #21
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Ive seen inside a few engine rooms and judging by the neglect, the only thing stopping the rust taking over is the oil leaks.
To some they are places of fear and mystery, to others, they are too small to climb inside and to a few of us, they are places of science and beautiful machanical technology.
I guess machines are like animals, treat 'em bad and they act up. Show them some love and they love to perform !!

Go give your jenny a hug and kiss today and tell it you care.
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Old 15-03-2010, 10:37   #22
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The lighting is the hardest part to figure. I would love LEDs throughout but cant afford them. Yellow lights are so hard to see by and halogens are hungry.
Maybe I need an oil lamp to remind me of the hard times when we were kids, and the smell of parafin on our clothes and hair.
I could always give it a rub and make a wish, or I could just polish the lamp !!

Ah, nostalgia, .........it just aint what it used to be.
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Old 15-03-2010, 10:52   #23
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Re: lights: 12v flourescents are expensive, but much cheaper than L.E.D.s and more efficient than halogens. We reduced our electrical demand significantly when we switched to flourescents in the Caribbean - we liked to be kind of lit up at night. You have to sample different ones to find a color that works for you - especially for reading. Also, solar garden lights are a great and very cheap supplement. Hang them topside during the day (yeah you kind of need some sun) and place them wherever you want at night.
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:24   #24
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Oil lamps are nice and provide a heat bonus! They smell ater a while though :-(

My experience has been interesting so far. Different because most of the time I'm plugged in, albeit to 15 amp. I have a 120V freezer and hot water and use an electric heater at dock. Usually the electric heater is running but I turn on the furnace in the morning turn off the heater and run the freezer. I do the same thing when I want water. When I'm off the dock if I'm motoring I'll run the freezer, 12v fridge and the hot water feeds off the motor. Sailing and everything is off but instruments. When I get back to dock it's interesting to monitor my Victron go to work and I have to be careful because it wants to get the batteries up to snuff so I don't run the high wattage 120v stuff until it's done. I'm going to add a Honda gen so that on the hook the batteries are kept up. I'm going to switch the freezer over to 12v to simplify things. I think living aboard off the grid in a northern climate would be challenging without a generator.
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:57   #25
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Maybe I need an oil lamp to remind me of the hard times when we were kids, and the smell of parafin on our clothes and hair.
Plus, parafin burns the scalp, but it will kill your head lice. lol

I think the immensely cheaper option will be a smaller battery bank and a genset. You're not going to get more than 5 years out of a battery, and that's really stretching it, so you'd have to budget to replace them more often than I think you would have to replace a generator.

But still, shore power to run your appliances will be much, MUCH cheaper than the diesel for your generator when you're moored -- especially as diesel prices are much higher on your side of the pond.
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Old 15-03-2010, 12:42   #26
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I wonder how many of the generator problems are down to cooling with sea water. You have an advantage though, how about keel cooling? not pipes on the outside, but steel tank on the inside as part of the hull filled with coolant for the genny. Cold canal water would be perfect for getting rid of the heat, unless you run it through the calorifier first to warm the bath water, you are having a bath now aren't you

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Old 15-03-2010, 12:49   #27
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Ive done some more research this aftenoon. On the foredeck im going to have 2 steel storeage boxes, one each side and will be 2' x 2' and 4' long, so a genny can live in there. I can extend the silencer and air intake, soundproof the box etc so all I have to do then is lift the lid, set the choke and pull to start. Hondas start first time
A 2.8kw honda in a frame is 234.00 and has a 3 gallon gas tank, 11 hours run time at 3/4 output.

I can plan my 220v demands more efficiently and sympathetically, and reduce my dependance.
A Victron 3000w inverter plus enough batteries to supply it will cost over 2k and at the moment, I need that money for other priorities to get the boat built and ship shape enough to move aboard by the end of summer. Ive sourced a nice big stove which will heat by convection and I can cook on the top too.
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Old 15-03-2010, 12:50   #28
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Old 15-03-2010, 13:03   #29
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I guess I need to rationalise my fridge contents and downsize too. I cant keep giving all these guys a free home
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Old 15-03-2010, 13:04   #30
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Anjou;

LED prices are coming down, so don't give up on them

If not LEDs, they make compact florescent in most sizes now, including mr16 bulbs. Those, btw, consume 5w each


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The lighting is the hardest part to figure. I would love LEDs throughout but cant afford them. Yellow lights are so hard to see by and halogens are hungry.
Maybe I need an oil lamp to remind me of the hard times when we were kids, and the smell of parafin on our clothes and hair.
I could always give it a rub and make a wish, or I could just polish the lamp !!

Ah, nostalgia, .........it just aint what it used to be.
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