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Old 22-04-2015, 21:36   #31
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Re: What form of energy?

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The Honda is a quick and easy fix to keeping the batteries topped off.
No, the generator is an easy fix to bulk charge the batteries to 80 - 85% capacity, not top them off. The last 15% or so to a full charge will take 6 hours or more. That is where solar wins. Batteries have a short life if not fully charged often.
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Old 23-04-2015, 04:23   #32
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Re: What form of energy?

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No, the generator is an easy fix to bulk charge the batteries to 80 - 85% capacity, not top them off. The last 15% or so to a full charge will take 6 hours or more. That is where solar wins. Batteries have a short life if not fully charged often.
I wouldnt say easy.. i wouldn't want a gasoline generator starting when I wasn't on the boat (say to keep the refrigeration running), which is why I went with the fuel cell. I know I am one of the 4 people in the USA that actually bought one.

It was really the only choice for me to be off the grid and still have refrigeration
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Old 23-04-2015, 07:30   #33
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Re: What form of energy?

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I wouldnt say easy.. i wouldn't want a gasoline generator starting when I wasn't on the boat (say to keep the refrigeration running), which is why I went with the fuel cell. I know I am one of the 4 people in the USA that actually bought one.

It was really the only choice for me to be off the grid and still have refrigeration
It wouldn't start when you were not on the boat.

Efoy fuel cells sell better than you think.
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Old 23-04-2015, 07:46   #34
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Re: What form of energy?

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It wouldn't start when you were not on the boat.

Efoy fuel cells sell better than you think.
I know..which is why it isnt a good solution for me..on a mooring..trying to keep a fridge running between trips!

I have only met one other person that had one (it was the person who recommended it to me in the first place!).

I think it is the best solution. If you have solar, this would augment it well.
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Old 23-04-2015, 07:53   #35
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Re: What form of energy?

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
No, the generator is an easy fix to bulk charge the batteries to 80 - 85% capacity, not top them off. The last 15% or so to a full charge will take 6 hours or more. That is where solar wins. Batteries have a short life if not fully charged often.
Correct. What I was trying to say is the Honda is a quick easy option to install for keeping your batteries topped off.

No it is not quick to get that last 5-10% into the batteries to get them to 100% state of charge. However I am off grid on the hard and regularly use my Honda to get the batteries to 100% but then I have not been discharging below 90-95% max so only takes 3-4 hours to top them off.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:04   #36
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Re: What form of energy?

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Correct. What I was trying to say is the Honda is a quick easy option to install for keeping your batteries topped off.

No it is not quick to get that last 5-10% into the batteries to get them to 100% state of charge. However I am off grid on the hard and regularly use my Honda to get the batteries to 100% but then I have not been discharging below 90-95% max so only takes 3-4 hours to top them off.
yup i got that.. i was saying that it isnt a good solution if you are not there to start it..

I so hate listening to generators on other boats at popular anchorages
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:40   #37
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Re: What form of energy?

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It sounds like you could get away with using the generator a lot less. Batteries accept lots of juice when they're run down, but taper off quickly above 80%. It can take an hour to go from 75 to 85% but three to go from 85-95%.



The most common way to charge batteries with a generator is to let them run down further (50-60%) and then charge the quickly to 80% and leave them there.



Solar or shore power can top up batteries, but it's very expensive and time consuming to do it with a generator and alternator.

Thanks for that advice. You are correct of course that I could discharge more deeply, run the Honda less often, and charge to 80% and probably burn less gasoline. My thinking is that since I am off shore power for long periods and I don't have solar yet it is better for the batteries to discharge less deeply and recharge more fully. As I said I only need to run the Honda 2-3 hours alternate days to get the batteries to near fully charged. But I'm open to learning if this is not correct thinking.


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Old 23-04-2015, 08:47   #38
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Re: What form of energy?

high output alternator (balmar) instead of a separate generator? I hate the idea of gasoline on a sailboat

an efoy installs insanely easily, is hidden and quiet and very safe, however quite expensive!
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:48   #39
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Re: What form of energy?

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yup i got that.. i was saying that it isnt a good solution if you are not there to start it..

I so hate listening to generators on other boats at popular anchorages
I agree. Noisy generators or anything else for that matter: stereos (except my own of course ), wind chargers or what have you can be annoying.

Based on listening to my Honda 2000 I would not run it in the evening or night in a quiet anchorage with other boats around. However I have owned boats and been anchored close to boats with built in diesel generators that made a little splashing, puffing exhaust noise that was not loud at all and I thought quite tolerable.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:51   #40
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Re: What form of energy?

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an efoy installs insanely easily, is hidden and quiet and very safe, however quite expensive!

By the way, would love to have an efoy fuel cell but just not enough bang for way to much buck considering my current boat budget. Maybe when I win the lottery or the prices drop about 75%.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:54   #41
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Re: What form of energy?

Tayana 42 - IMHO a good economical short term (while on the hard) solution for the final topping off, though not perfect, would be a cheap solar charger from an automobile parts store. I think they are around $30-$40. Use the Honda to about 80% - 85% charge, then the solar after that.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:58   #42
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Re: What form of energy?

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By the way, would love to have an efoy fuel cell but just not enough bang for way to much buck considering my current boat budget. Maybe when I win the lottery or the prices drop about 75%.
agree.. it was the only choice for me.. on a hook..couldnt do solar or wind.. and it fit perfect and provides enough power to keep everything running. expensive but it works well. hope it comes down in price and becomes more mainstream.
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Old 23-04-2015, 11:53   #43
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Re: What form of energy?

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All things considered, it is hard to argue with solar as a long term solution but certainly mounting can be an issue, especially on a small boat. I'm putting my first panel on the davits. If that isn't an option then cabin tops, on the bimini, dodger and some mount them along the lifelines.

I would recommend, before you get too deeply into charging you learn more about your boat's electrical system.

First figure out what kind and capacity batteries you have.

Then figure your energy usage. If you don't have a fridge or autopilot then possibly energy use on the boat is very low and you won't need to go overboard with charging.
+1 for solar.

If you have the house battery capacity and aren't trying to run AC, heat, ice maker, etc solar is simple and cost effective. Shading is the biggest issue to watch out for. You get lots of shading on the dodger whereas an arch or off the stern is often more effective. Shading from other boats in a marina can also easily halve your useful capacity.

A gasoline generator has all the hassles of buying and storing gasoline. Running a genset for long periods can really make you unpopular with your neighbours. Exhaust odor can be an issue for yourself or your neighbours. Gasoline generator also has the highest ongoing costs. The more you use it the less attractive a generator is compared to say solar.

Wind is often useless in a marina but ours is great when sailing and sometimes when its cloudy. (and windy obviously)

We have a diesel generator but we only use it when solar doesnt keep up. Sometimes we use it for hot water heating and we will also run the inverter and top everything battery powered off.

Solar is definitely our biggest contributor. Its also quiet and the fuel is free. We also like sailing not motoring so it fits our lifestyle choices nicely.

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Old 23-04-2015, 12:19   #44
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Re: What form of energy?

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+1 for solar.

If you have the house battery capacity and aren't trying to run AC, heat, ice maker, etc solar is simple and cost effective. Shading is the biggest issue to watch out for. You get lots of shading on the dodger whereas an arch or off the stern is often more effective.

A gasoline generator has all the hassles of buying and storing gasoline. Running a genset for long periods can really make you unpopular with your neighbours. Exhaust odor can be an issue for yourself or your neighbours.

Wind is often useless in a marina but ours is great when sailing.

We have a diesel generator but we only use it when solar doesnt keep up. Sometimes we use it for hot water heating and we will also run the inverter and top everything battery powered off.

Solar is definitely our biggest contributor. Its also quiet and the fuel is free. We also like sailing not motoring so it fits are lifestyle choices nicely.

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I don't understand the "If you have the house battery capacity" as regards solar. Why should solar require any greater battery capacity than any other battery charging system?
I have only about 100Ah and I have 420 rated watts of solar panels. My batteries are always above 90%, usually above 99%, even first thing in the morning with refrigerator running. About the only necessity for great battery capacity is if you're running an invertor to power a microwave, 110V TV, and other high demand equipment. And then that is true of whatever charging system used. Of course solar only operates during the daytime and you need enough battery capacity if you will use any high demand equipment at night. With wind you will need enough capacity to get through the inevitable calms. True, a generator can operate any time, but with the drawback of unpopularity at night or in otherwise peaceful anchorages AND purchasing and storing (usually) gasoline AND putting up with the smell (and possibly getting carbon monoxide in the cabin). My opinion: A gasoline generator does not belong on a boat that uses diesel for power.
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:37   #45
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Re: What form of energy?

Go solar. I spent 50 gallons of fuel all season (6 months) and got rid of my crappy 'Nextgen' generator.
I mount mine (semi-flexible) on top of bimini and dodger and never see them.
Wind gen - NO always noisy and very unattractive.
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