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Old 10-08-2007, 14:27   #16
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Flipping the panel over at night to collect moonbeams? That is lunacy.

s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:37   #17
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Forget the wind & solar. Get a Honda 2000 and a 50amp charger. Run it one hour every second day and your done.

Brewer 42
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:41   #18
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I would recommend a 6.5 hp gasoline powered 125 amp 12volt alternator.
At a fraction of the price of the others. You can run it day or night and you only need to run it for short periods to get all the energy you want. You can also make up up a sound proof enclosure if you want.
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Old 10-08-2007, 19:42   #19
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FWIW...we had 160W solar and a 4Winds wind generator in the Bahamas and averaged about 2x as many A/H's out of the wind gen as the solar. I liked to have both but if I had to choose...a BIG BLADE (not the small noisy inefficient ones that have no output below 10 knots!!!) generator like the 4winds or Kiss would be my choice.
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Old 10-08-2007, 21:53   #20

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What I like about solar is "No moving parts, nothing much to break". OTOH, it is bulky and slow and expensive.

Given a perfect installation, I'd like to have solar for the "nothing much to break" reliability, knowing that if an alternator or generator or windgen decides to break down, sooner or later I'd have some power out of the solar.
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Old 10-08-2007, 23:37   #21
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Trade wind sailing down hill, not much wind, parked behind an island, not much wind.

Plenty sun though.

Met a guy a few years back on a small cat that tried to stop a wind genny with his head.

Not pretty, and having seen a few out of control shredding towel's trying to stop them, I don't think they have any place near body part's at all.

That, and I've up anchored many times to move away from wind genny's cause of the noise. (air marine were a shocker)

A couple of solar, and a Rhonda (or similar) for me.

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Old 11-08-2007, 17:07   #22
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The Air X Marine came with our boat and works well when there is wind. I just installed new solar panels and they work well when there is sun. Together they are great. However, if I had satisfactory storage for the Honda EU2000i I seriously would have considered going that route.
If you look at the costs, and I'm talking end to end - do it yourself installation, the Honda will be far cheaper, initially at least. I think you'll find that either solar or (Air X) wind gen will run you about $2500 each by the time you get them mounted and wired, possibly more. It would seem that you can pick up the Honda for around $1000 and it runs wind or no wind, sunny or not. The $1500 savings would buy you about 4-5 hundred gallons of gas. Someone who's used one would have to tell you how many hours of charging that would get you, but I 'm guessing it's a lot. But again, now you're right back into the storage issue, for both generator and fuel.

All that said, I love my new solar panels. Just wish I had the real estate to hang up a little more than two 85 watt panels. If you do go with the solar be sure to look into the MPPT charge controller technology. (Here's a random link from a google search, there are many others if you want to do some searching and serious reading. MPPT Solar Charge Controllers )
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Old 11-08-2007, 18:29   #23
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issue with honda genset

The only issue I have with relying on the genset is systems failure and operating expense. First off we carry 480 watts of solar and after a year of cruising we added a KISS gen for over night sails. We have gone 6 weeks without ever having to start an engine to charge batteries. In other post ai have mentioned we are electrically intensive sailors. Having said that....

We had our Heart Freedom 25 fail twice. the first time it took 8 months to get it repaired. We lost the ability to charge the batteries via the honda generator. The second time it failed we made a boat anchor out of it. We live just fine on the solar and winds.

Though overall the honda runs fine we did have a few fuel related problems. Varnish in old fuel we bought from one of the islands. Not big but again could have been a problem if we were counting on it to top the batteries up on a multi day passage.

The point is that the more complicated the system the greater chance of failure. Yes solar cost more to install but the silent minimal problem nature of solar makes it a very reliable choice. Not saying don't carry the honda, they really are pretty great, but look at all options to make your life easier. That is not always cheaper but in the long run there are advantages.
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Old 11-08-2007, 18:38   #24
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on my 30 footer i have both. i have an airx and a 125w solar panel. i would not be without either. i find the wind generator to be less effective overall but it comes into its own on night passages for running the autopilot, lights, chartplotter and of course the fridge/freezer still wants its share at night. As i hate with a passion to motor sail i only have a normal generator on the motor this is also when the wind generator is hooking in as any wind above 15 kn and its doing it thing . i do have a honda 1kva for back up should i need it as well. i think it comes down to how much you are willing to spend and more importantly what are your power drains realisticly.
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Old 11-08-2007, 19:32   #25
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Generators and Solar Panels

My family has both on our 42 foot boat. The solar panels have been doing really well this summer. Our wind generator hasn't been doing as well. I don't know if it's just our generator or all, but with even the slightest bit of gunk on it, it barely turns. It just recently started spinning again. I think it's a bit unreliable.

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generator, wind generator

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