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Old 02-09-2011, 04:31   #1
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Wind Generator Question

I have had my boat out of a marina (hooray!) since April, and plan to keep her on a midriver pontoon in the Hamble as long as the harbormasters continue to be so accomodating.

Since there's no power on the midriver pontoons, this creates a problem of how to keep the batteries up when I'm not on the boat (for up to a month at a time).

I had pretty much decided on a Rutland 914i for this purpose -- quieter than other wind generators, reasonable cost, produces some power from 5 knots of wind. It produces 140 watts in 20 knots of wind.

But I have noticed that in the specs it says that it is suitable for battery banks up to 260 amp-hours (presumable at 12v). I have 440amp-hours of battery power at 24v, equivalent to 880amp-hours at 12v.

Will this wind generator simply produce too little power to do anything for my batteries? I don't really care about powering my systems while I'm on the boat -- I have a nearly silent 6.5kW diesel genset which takes care of my power needs nicely when I'm on board. I am just trying to keep the batteries topped off while I'm off the boat, to keep them from going off and getting sulphated (like my present battery bank did).

What say you?
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:43   #2
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pirate Re: Wind generator question

Be better off just getting a 20W solar panel you can stow when on board...
just position and clip it on to the batteries when you leave the boat...
steady trickle charge at 1/3rd of the price and no permanent windage....
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:53   #3
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Re: Wind generator question

where you are i would think a wind gen would be better than a solar panel, due to seagulls crapping on the panel!!!

the rutland with a regulator will be fine for keeping the bats topped up,but if you are using it as a source of power for living onboard it would be too small for a big boat like yours.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:10   #4
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Re: Wind generator question

Have you looked at the Air Breeze? We're probably going to add a wind generator this winter. Two of the neighbors in our mooring field have the Air Breeze. They recommend a battery bank of at least 400 amp-hours, are very quiet and were one of the top rated by Practical Sailor in their evaluation of wind generators a few years back.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:13   #5
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Re: Wind generator question

What Atoll said, in Post #3.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:19   #6
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Re: Wind generator question

Remember that equipment mfgrs lie like DOGS, especially wind-turbine folks. You might see 70-80% of rated performance. The quieter multi-blade fan-type wind-turbines don't really produce meaningful amounts of power. Only the louder 2-3 blade turbines will do that. But it sounds like all you're wanting is to keep the batteries topped up, so maybe the Rutland will work. I'd go with a solar panel myself (no moving parts) because I had a 5' dia turbine in the 80s & don't like the racket.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:29   #7
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Re: Wind generator question

re: seagulls in the river i reccomend getting a couple of the red spinny things to leave on deck,also cd's and streamers hung from the rigging.

where we are a solar panel after a week would be useless due to airborne rats.....
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:52   #8
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Re: Wind generator question

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
where you are i would think a wind gen would be better than a solar panel, due to seagulls crapping on the panel!!!

the rutland with a regulator will be fine for keeping the bats topped up,but if you are using it as a source of power for living onboard it would be too small for a big boat like yours.
Indeed -- at 51 degrees latitude -- equivalent to the Northern tip of Newfoundland or the Southern edge of the Aleutian Islands -- in a country not generally thought of as sunny -- solar panels don't seem to be a viable option. Not even getting to the problem of seagull crap.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:01   #9
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Re: Wind generator question

all you want to do is maintain your batteries while away, any wind generator is going to be fine
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:18   #10
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Re: Wind generator question

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all you want to do is maintain your batteries while away, any wind generator is going to be fine
Any? Is there a limitation on the size battery bank you can charge -- even at a low rate -- with a given generator?

Is this is so, then I'll probably go with the Rutland. The quiet would be the supreme value, I think. If it's quiet enough, I could leave it running at night at anchor and let it make up for the anchor light and instruments (anchor watch set). Keep the batteries fresher for the next morning. I like the idea.
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Old 02-09-2011, 13:02   #11
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Re: Wind generator question

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Any? Is there a limitation on the size battery bank you can charge -- even at a low rate -- with a given generator?
You are only talking about making up for self discharge and maybe the bilge pump once in a while, why would you need a large amount of charging current? The wind generator doesn't know what size your battery bank is. Just need to check the reguation if the unit has one or consider the self discharge if using one without a reguator (like a KISS).
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