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Old 24-02-2008, 13:28   #1
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wind generator or solar panels or both

We are getting a boat ready to sail the Bahamas next winter and wondered if we need both solar panels and a wind generator. The boat is a new 43 Beneteau and we will value hearing the recommendations. Thanks
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Old 24-02-2008, 14:25   #2
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recommend both.
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Old 24-02-2008, 14:38   #3
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I agree on both. Many Bahamas anchorages are less than completely sheltered - you'll get plenty of wind in the winter. As for sun - that's part of what you're there for so you might as well use it.
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Old 24-02-2008, 15:48   #4
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no matter where you go you can't have enough! passive solar panels when fitted so as to give you directional options are in my opinion the best and simplest. Wind generators can be quite noisy and of course they rotate which means maintenance etc.
I believe Rutland are one of the better makes.
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Old 24-02-2008, 16:08   #5
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It depends on where you're going to cruise. Whatever you do DON'T make the mistake I've seen made over and over. The newbie cruisers mount solar panels, then put antennas, radar, and a wind generator ABOVE all the panels, thus guaranteeing poor performance. DUH! Hello?

I prefer solar panels. Mounted as a bimini, they'll give you shade while having the best chance of not being shaded and most importantly, they don't make any noise.

Having to listen to a wind generator however quiet it might be, is an annoyance.

Steve B.
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Old 24-02-2008, 19:46   #6
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A wind generator will give you far more power, especially in FL/Bahamas in winter. Solar panels are more reliable/less maintenance, but produce less power per dollar and require far more space. If you have low power requirements (no computer, very weak fridge, little else) and plenty of space go for solar. I went with wind. The new Air Breeze is great, it produces plenty of power in moderate wind conditions. In my opinion both aren't necessary because you'll still need a generator backup (or engine alternator if your engine is quiet and you don't mind adding engine hours). I use a Honda EU1000 which is just fantastic.

PS: I don't find my wind gen noisy at all. You can certainly hear it when it's operating but it's not annoying - after all it's the sound of free power! At first I thought it might keep me awake, but it's never been a problem, again it's very comforting to hear proof your batteries are charging.
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Old 24-02-2008, 20:48   #7
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You really need to figure out how many amps you are going to use a day. We tend to cruise in comfort and use around 150AH/day with refrigeration taking about half of that and lighting, TV, etc. taking the rest.
Then you have to look at how much room you have for panels...how many "watts" can you put on the boat. Divide the watts by three and that is how many amp hours you can average per day...i.e. it takes 300 watts of panels to average 100amphours in real world crusing situations.
Our wind generator in the Bahamas would give us about 60-70 AH's a day in normal 10-15k winds...but some days are calm and other days are very windy so it all averages out. BIG bladed wind vanes are the ONLY ones you will be happy with in the Bahamas.
So...evaluate your electrical needs and space on the boat and make your decisions. That Little Honda 2000 Hubec suggests may be ONLY thing you need and the BEST decision you can make financially if you're only going out for a winter or two.
BTW...I used to be out of Stingray Harbor for 20 years...you're gonna have a great time!
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Old 25-02-2008, 07:32   #8
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If you decide to go with both. Look into the KISS generator. You can find them on the web, and they have an outlet near Tampa. I am always getting compliments on how quiet it is. We have both panels, and wind generator. You can't get enough electricity....IMHO
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Old 25-02-2008, 17:29   #9
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Thanks and we are using the advice

Thanks to the great input and we plan to do both! We actually were thinking of sending back the wind generator but now plan to install both. Thanks again for the suggestions/recommendations.
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Old 25-02-2008, 17:30   #10
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Thanks and we are using the advice

Thanks for the great input and we plan to do both! We actually were thinking of sending back the wind generator but now plan to install both. Thanks again for the suggestions/recommendations.
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Old 25-02-2008, 17:34   #11
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Both, and then some!

I just got a boat with twin 150 watt solar panels and an Air-x wind generator.

The batteries are dead because it was sitting at the dock with only those two things (in sunny florida no less!) to power it.

You'll need to use your engine's alternators or a genset to keep up in most cases, although you'll definitely need to do the math regarding expected DC loads to be sure.
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Old 25-02-2008, 18:02   #12
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Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
I just got a boat with twin 150 watt solar panels and an Air-x wind generator.

The batteries are dead because it was sitting at the dock with only those two things (in sunny florida no less!) to power it.
Sean,

Either some high draw electrical device was running or there's something else wrong here.
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Old 25-02-2008, 18:08   #13
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Sean,

Either some high draw electrical device was running or there's something else wrong here.
I think there *were* issues like VHFs and other items left on when people exited the boat after viewing it. Also, being that it's in the mangroves, there is no wind and there is no sun right now since it's night. Add to the fact that the alternators aren't charging the house bank and... well...

The bank may also be ruined, I think. It almost kept up with the refrigerator, until nighfall.
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Old 26-02-2008, 03:11   #14
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Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
I think there *were* issues like VHFs and other items left on when people exited the boat after viewing it. Also, being that it's in the mangroves, there is no wind and there is no sun right now since it's night...
Mangroves?
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Old 26-02-2008, 06:11   #15
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Mangroves?
Ha ha... old picture.

I didn't get to ask the super about the movie because the boat isn't at that spot anymore and wasn't when I looked at it.

I'm in a tiny little mangrove slot. Haven't felt a breeze in 24 hrs. Amazing hurricane hole though.

I guess a better statement would be, "depends...."

It depends on where you will be using the boat. Go up North where I am from, and wind and solar won't do a thing for you. A foggy, windless day will put an end to your refrigerator. So... you need a backup, be it your main engine or a genset to preserve that main engine.

If you're in the trades, you're all set with wind/solar!
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