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Old 29-12-2015, 19:35   #16
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Your CPAP, which one is it? You run it off of DC, and don't use the humidifier, right?
6 amps sounds high is why I ask, real high


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Old 29-12-2015, 19:42   #17
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

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As far as how to get there - probably west coast. The trip from Corpus down the Gulf Coast is a rough one that will take some time - doesn't sound like that much fun. Fortunately, I just got a really good deal on a heavy duty transport trailer. I'd like to do the Panama Canal, but I'm thinking that will be a later trip. I'm trying (vainly) to talk my wife into letting me try a circumnavigation, once the kids are out of school. But I think if I want to stay married, that may have to be indefinitely placed on hold. lol
Well, keep me posted. Bring her out to Channel Islands for some great practice in coastal cruising and getting her ready for the trip to Hawaii!
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Old 30-12-2015, 01:42   #18
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Solar is the primary charging method on most cruising boats today. With the 55amp alternator and the Honda, you are covered if you hit a few cloudy days in a row. Don't take electrical advice from the guy telling you solar doesn't work. He's clueless.

Our boat came with a couple 55w panels and a broken wind generator. No other charger other than the 7amps off the outboard. We never bothered to fix the wind generator as the solar has always kept the batteries up.
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Old 30-12-2015, 08:15   #19
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

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Thanks for the reminder, Steamgoat. I forgot to mention that I do have all LED lights, and a Monitor windvane. My fridge only draws about 3 amps, and I use a cpap to sleep, which draws 6 amps. I will also charge a laptop, but not sure how much juice that'll consume. Onboard electronics consist of an older Raymarine radar, vhf w/AIS, depth sounder. Currently only handheld GPS, but I'll purchase a chartplotter/gps or other multi-function nav aid system prior to departure.
A small idea. Get a 12 volt charger for your computer . Same type wire as your current charger but doesn't convert 120 to 12volts- but plugged directly into cigarette lighter receptacle. Doesn't need inverter as the chargers we have convert 120 to 12. Can be purchased on line. Saves some amps.
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Old 30-12-2015, 08:52   #20
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

You have some hours of reading ahead of you. Do a search here on solar panels and series or parallel. Then do a search on solar panel shading. All panels have the shortcoming you are describing, and this is why they must be installed correctly to perform.

My boat has 4 75 watt Shell panels that are about 11 years old wired in series (I have very little shading). That array measures about 6ft X 4ft (each panel is 3X2 ish). At the height of the day in the Caribbean I still see 300 watts (for an hour or so) on most sunny days.

As with all things boats, there are trade offs. I contemplated adding wind generators to suppliment the cloudy days. Unfortunately the only mounting places I have for whirlybirds will shade the panels in certian situations. Instead I decided to add 500 watts more (added a watermaker) of solar and use a genny to supliment the cloudy days.

Rich's suggestion on a battery bank is also spot on. Again, tradeoffs.. Lead Acid, AGM, Carbon Foam, Lithium, ect.. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Research and then find the fit for your situation and wallet!
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Old 30-12-2015, 09:02   #21
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

As live aboards we rely on solar panels for many years - we do have wind generators but these rarely see duty. We sold our diesel generator and air-con..........
We do have a Honda 2000i as the ultimate back up but it see's more duty running power tools on other peoples boats etc. We run our refrigeration and all systems, including water maker and washing machine via the solar panels.
Part of our routine is to ensure the panels are kept clean. We have ours fixed flat as we found trying to orientate them towards the sun a PIA. Our panels all operate in parrallel, not in series.



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Hey, all! I'm sure something like this thread has been posted before, but my ADD only allows for a certain amount of researching old threads - SO, I'd love to know your opinions:

I'm dreaming of a single-handed Pacific crossing in my '64 Columbia 29 (28.5'), and I've been researching the available options for replenishing my batteries. I have a good old Atomic 4 engine with a 55 amp alternator that is pretty reliable. I also usually keep a Honda 1000 EU generator on board.

I read that wind generators can be pretty good, but depending on the make of the generator, they can be irritatingly noisy. Likewise, depending on the direction of the wind, they create a fair amount of drag. Up side is that they create power as long as I have wind.

I read that towed generators don't add much in the way of charge, but do create a fair amount of drag. Up side is constant power, as long as I'm moving 3k or better. But, even though I'm not racing, a 28' boat doesn't go very fast to begin with. So I wonder if the drag vs the power gain will be

And finally, I HEAR that PV is just not what it's cracked up to be, and obviously subject to the sun. I have honestly not done much research on these, as my mentor is not a fan. However, at first glance, they actually don't look like a bad option.

My initial thought is that PV would probably be the best mainstay of a recharging system, with wind (a small, quieter generator) as an adjunct. Of course, I'm sure someone will mention I could just use the engine or the generator to top things off, and you're right. But that takes all the fun out of things, doesn't it?

Please, feel free to share your thoughts!
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Old 30-12-2015, 09:43   #22
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Nobody else has picked up on it (maybe they don't know what it is) but you said you use a c-pap machine to sleep that draws 6a (x8hr - LOL your solo! - = 48a/hr). That is a major consumer and failure could be incapacitating. I would saggest you consider setting up a dedicated power supply with 2 power packs that will run it for at least 3 nights each. Plus a 75a/hr solar panel that only charges those power packs. ideally make it waterproof and transportable so you can take it into the dingy.
Stress tiredness etc can make any medical condition worse so even if you can manage without it normally will that be the case on this passage. But glad to see you are not letting it stop you. Incidentally if you are overweight (common cause of sleep apnoea) shedding pounds WILL help.
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Old 30-12-2015, 10:02   #23
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

I would rate the towed generator last, Wind gen next to last. Solar and engine alternator maybe equal. Solar is great, but your boat will look like a Electrical grid substation.. so that's the downside. The upside is solar will continue to work if the engine goes bad along the way.
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Old 30-12-2015, 10:52   #24
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Lots of good advice here. One thing to keep in mind regarding the Honda is to be wary of exhaust fumes. Using it in a protected cove may be very different from out at sea. Reserve as much fuel for your auxiliary as possible so you can use it to actually go somewhere if needed. Then, whatever system you assemble, be sure to test it thoroughly before heading out. Have a safe trip!
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Old 30-12-2015, 13:16   #25
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Thanks for the comment on the cpap - yes, I wanted to make sure and get that in there, as it's my largest draw. And after years of NOT having a cpap and slogging through, decent sleep is VERY important. Fortunately, I'm not overweight (5'8"/165lbs). But my airway doesn't seem to care. lol
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Old 30-12-2015, 13:47   #26
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

I saw a bunch Of ARC boats in Grenada last year that were fitted with the transom mount water powered Generator . They look like a Laser rudder with a propeller on them . people seemed happy with them
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:29   #27
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

Again, thanks so much on the cpap comments. I did a little research, and it looks like there is now an EXCELLENT travel cpap, the Transcend minicpap. It is available with its own battery, can be charged by a DC circuit, and even has an optional solar panel for recharge! And unlike my home cpap, that draws 6A, it only draws 2.6A max! If you have sleep apnea, this looks like a GREAT option for your boat! Just a bit larger than a 12oz soda can. They're not cheap, but for me, it's ESSENTIAL equipment. Thanks for bringing up the elephant in the room!
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:47   #28
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

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Thanks for the comment on the cpap - yes, I wanted to make sure and get that in there, as it's my largest draw. And after years of NOT having a cpap and slogging through, decent sleep is VERY important. Fortunately, I'm not overweight (5'8"/165lbs). But my airway doesn't seem to care. lol
Quick question.. Has any Dr. ever suggested the surgery? You sound like a prime candidate for Apnea surgery. Of course its a personal preference, some people prefer the machine over the surgery, some would rather have the surgery so they are not tied to a machine.

EDIT: Still learning to spell!
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Old 30-12-2015, 15:25   #29
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What do YOU think is the best charging option?

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Again, thanks so much on the cpap comments. I did a little research, and it looks like there is now an EXCELLENT travel cpap, the Transcend minicpap. It is available with its own battery, can be charged by a DC circuit, and even has an optional solar panel for recharge! And unlike my home cpap, that draws 6A, it only draws 2.6A max! If you have sleep apnea, this looks like a GREAT option for your boat! Just a bit larger than a 12oz soda can. They're not cheap, but for me, it's ESSENTIAL equipment. Thanks for bringing up the elephant in the room!

You do not want a travel CPAP, first none are native 12V, and they use a lot of power etc., only advantage they have is the are slightly smaller and lighter. Many people complain they are noisy as that little fan is turning high RPM to provide airflow, and I think that is why they are so power hungry.

You want a Phillips Resperonics system one machine, it will run off of your battery directly and draws less than an amp (depending on your setting of course) if you don't use the humidifier. Humidifier works of course by heating the water by resistance heat and uses way more power than the motor in the CPAP does, and unlikely you'll need it on a boat anyway.
My wife and I both are on CPAP machines, I have been down this road figuring power consumption etc.

Try looking at www.secondwindcpap.com
for a good used machine

You save a lot of power with the machine running off your 12 VDC system directly without any converters


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Old 30-12-2015, 15:31   #30
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Re: What do YOU think is the best charging option?

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Quick question.. Has any Dr. ever suggested the surgery? You sound like a prime candidate for Apnea surgery. Of course its a personal preference, some people prefer the machine over the surgery, some would rather have the surgery so they are not tied to a machine.

EDIT: Still learning to spell!

Surgery has a low success rate, however there are dental devices that seem to work, I have not tried the dental device myself.


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