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Old 16-11-2010, 05:48   #16
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KISS and lots of Solar is the way to go. Having spent quite a bit of time in the southwestern Caribbean I was surprised in the Bahamas last winter how many boats has Honda generators. They may not burn much gas but I don't favor anchoring next to one with the putt-putt noise they make.
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Old 16-11-2010, 15:01   #17
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I went for 3x 200 watt solar panels, I have seen 20 amps coming out so far with a 600 amp/hour agm battery bank.
I also have a 2kva Kipor petrol generator coupled to a 40 amp power supply, when needed.
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:02   #18
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I went for 3x 200 watt solar panels, I have seen 20 amps coming out so far with a 600 amp/hour agm battery bank.
I also have a 2kva Kipor petrol generator coupled to a 40 amp power supply, when needed.
I know nothing about Australia's sunlight, but that 20amps sounds low for a 600watt array. My 350watt (12volt) array gets about 20-22amps on a bright day in the Philippines during the peak 3-4 hours. Is your array 24volt, or do I just not understand about Australian sun? (I suppose my panels are just rated low, also...)
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:28   #19
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I havn't checked it properly yet.
We are in the marina and weather is warming up, 30degree celsius days.
i had 2 x 200watt panels and they were not able to keep up with our fridge/ freezer so I have just added a third.
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Old 16-11-2010, 19:24   #20
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G'Day all,

On the issue of wind generator output: very few if any of the folks quoting outputs from their particular installation have actually made the measurement that they are quoting.

Why? Well, it is pretty hard to do! First, they look at their anemometer to gage wind velocity. This is usually at the masthead, some 40-70 feet above where the generator is mounted. There is a quite significant difference in wind speed at those heights, and the generator is always seeing less than the masthead. Further, most folks have not calibrated their anemometers. We've noted drastic differences between ours and others anchored/moored nearby. Which one is right? Who knows? And then there is the issue of battery state affecting the output current... so in general, I view these claims with as much suspicion as those of the manufacturers!

Now, the output of the wind gen varies radically with wind speed... at least as the square of velocity, and some say that it is actually the cube of the velocity. Thus, misunderstanding the actual wind speed at the generator can really affect the statements that " it takes x knots to get any useful output".

What we've found is that our 240 watt fixed solar does well with high sun angles and long days, ie, summer in moderate latitudes. Generally keeps up with daily usage... if it ain't cloudy. And when sailing overnight, our power-hungry autopilot was depleting the house bank further than I liked, so we added an Air-X a few years ago. It has made a noticeable improvement in battery state throughout the seasons. I won't attempt to quantify this statement, but qualitatively it has helped, enough that I'm glad that I bought it.

It's been in use full time for about 6 years with no problems other than self-inflicted (halyard shackle in the blades at speed- ouch!). We just replaced the rotor bearings (2 each at $6.40 AUD) as suggested in the owner's manual. So, would I recommend it? Well, we've found it adequate, and can tolerate the noise, but it may not fit anyone else's requirements. It does remain one of the least expensive units around, and I've found the manufacturer (Southwest Windpower) to be good to deal with.

As others have said, wind gen's usefulness varies with your cruising style and location, so there can be no easy answer... as usual with boating things.

Cheers and good luck,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly, Qld, Oz southbound
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Old 16-11-2010, 19:50   #21
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I have 260 watts of solar and a D400. Doesn't quite keep up with the fridge freezer but some of the problem is insulation which will be upgraded soon. The D400 is soooo good I have had people in anchorages duck over to find out about it as it is so quiet and 2 poeple at the marina where the boat rests between cruises are about to change their noise machines.
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Old 16-11-2010, 19:58   #22
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My D400's have been great

I have 2x D400's that have been great so far (put them on this spring). They produce a couple amps at 5-10 kts then really pick up. Very quiet. The wind is louder than the units at any particular speed, so they're never more than faint background white noise, and you cant hear it at all if you're more than a few paces from them.
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Old 20-11-2010, 10:20   #23
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Is it the case that the Airbreeze has a built in regulator which makes it very competitive with others which require a separate regulator. My recollection of an article by Nigel Calder is that their noisiness (is there such a word?) has improved over older models.
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Old 20-11-2010, 10:52   #24
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i sailed with a man who acquired a non marine airX wind genny. it was wonderful to have ability to generate electricity without the smellof th e exhaust from a gas genny--and i love gas gennies--lol i have a honda 2k i use here on my own boat every 3 days, despite solar in winter. with a wind genny of any kind here, our afternoon winds in san diego start at 1100 at 12 kts, measured. at 1400 daily these rise to 15-20kts. daily.
these breezes last until 1900 daily. sometimes 0300 is end of breezes but by that time they are light and flukey. with the performance we got from the airX, i would be able to keep my batteries fully charged despite using computers and other electrical/electronic devices s any one would in their home. during storms here we get a good 40kts throughout with many measuring in at over 60 kts. we have wild winter storms on the west coast. is fully awesome to be able to contain and use some of it in a positive manner. as i do not sleep in storms, i could be online making a pain of myself alllll night with electricity left over ..
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Old 20-11-2010, 10:57   #25
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I used a 3-blade wind generator on my last 8-year go 'round and for the most part liked it. It can produce gobs of energy, overheat the batteries, and generate enough noise and vibration to force the birds off your boat to a quieter perch (probably one of the unknown good things about them).

I think that dollar for dollar, wind generators are hard to beat, if one compares power output. I seem to anchor a bit further out than most and for most of the time I had plenty of power.

On my new to me boat, I'm going to solar. I'm installing 270W of panels and think I can get an average of about 200W/day out of them as I tend to favor cruising between the 30s (30N - 30S +/-). I think the solar panels will last longer, certainly be quieter, and meet my needs - providing I get the daily power consumption down. And getting the power requirements down seems the tougher nut to crack on this green energy thing.

There can be little doubt that the green power footprint of wind is less than solar, and that there are some very creative solar installation schemes (thanks all), and the cost of wind is cheaper. I simply want durability and quiet.

So give me a couple years to get mine installed because as sure as the sun will shine, the month after I get mine installed and tweaked, prices will drop by 80%.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:58   #26
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We have a KISS that I'm moderately happy with. Only moderately, because at 20 or 21 kts sustained, electric output is wonderful but the unit starts to overheat and the thermocouples begin opening, allowing the unit to cut output to half then zero, and freewheel. I've heard that on older units this doesn't happen til around 26 or 27 kts. I love my unit at 18 to 20 kts, but any more and I'm less happy.

A good cruising friend sold his KISS in Grenada and switched to a D400, and raved about it - considered it one of his best boat equipment decisions. I'd do the same but there are too many other projects higher on the list.

We do also have 165 watts of solar (peak 10 amps or so at midday), and a 7.5 diesel genset (came with the boat, would probably replace with Honda 2000 today).

I like having all 3 - solar just because, wind gen at night, genset for when the sun's not shining and the wind's not blowing or the admiral wants a hot shower.

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Old 07-12-2010, 12:46   #27
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Thanks everyone for the input. My need is mostly for winter in the Bahamas when there is plenty of wind. On calm days I'm probably motoring and have alternator power so feel wind generation meets my needs better than solar. I also have limited space on my 30 footer for solar cells.

Wind is often more than low 20s, so I appreciate the comments regarding the Kiss in higher winds.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:45   #28
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Thanks everyone for the input. My need is mostly for winter in the Bahamas when there is plenty of wind. On calm days I'm probably motoring and have alternator power so feel wind generation meets my needs better than solar. I also have limited space on my 30 footer for solar cells.

Wind is often more than low 20s, so I appreciate the comments regarding the Kiss in higher winds.
We have a KISS wind generator and have found in the Abacos when the wind gets above 20 kts, we tie it a little off the wind to feather it. The KISS will then keep putting out power. Woke up yesterday with the batteries topped off.

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Old 08-12-2010, 06:04   #29
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Had a KISS for 6 years. Thermocouples kick in at about 25 knots. I then tie it off the wind a bit.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:07   #30
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IF you have room for solar, it is much more reliable. I have used it since the 70s.

On our 34' tri, I get 100% of our amp hour deficet back each day, even on a cloudy day! The key is to have twice as much solar panels as would be required on a perfect sunny day. (Weve spent over 2,000 days / nights on the hook) We only crank the engine on about the worst 10 days out of the year. I did have a wind unit twice in the past and found that, other than when actively at sea, I got WAY more amps than I could use 10% of the time, and 0 amps the other 90% of the time!

If you need wind, be sure it does NOT shade solar panels at all, or it defeats the purpose.

LMV, Rutland, Aero Gen, Ampair are reliable, small & very Quiet... but lower in amps. However you can leave them going in an anchorage...

The Southwest Wind units... Air Marine, Air X, and Air Breeze, art totally antisocial to use in an anchorage with other boaters. (we're talking a weedwhacker sort of WHIS CH CH CH CHA... noise for an accurately measured 1/4 of a mile)!!!

The Kiss is excellent in output, and not nearly as noisy, or for as far away. (It just whirrs like a fan)

Good luck, Mark
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