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Old 18-10-2012, 06:44   #1
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Wind or gas

Ok here's another question that I will probably get as may different answers as posts
With limited funds I need to improve my power generation, I currently have 4 x 145w solar panels and want some opinions on adding either a 600watt wind generator or a Honda 2000i portable gas generator
We plan on living aboard and cruising
Thoughts?
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:56   #2
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Re: Wind or gas

The answer completely depends on your electrical consumption, your cruising style and area. if the wind gen + solar will produce the electricity you need for 90% of the time, then I think that is a no-brainer. If however you are using so much electricity that you would need to run the gas generator regardless of adding a wind gen or not, then go for the gas gen.

Tell us more about what you want to do!

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Old 18-10-2012, 07:03   #3
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Mainly cruising in the tropics, I would like to say we will conserve energy but we do love to use our laptop and stereo lots, we have led and halogen lights 12v fans that we will run at night.
I am new to cruising so I'm not sure how much power we will use, very little 110 other than charge the laptop and the occasional coffee maker in the am
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:00   #4
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Re: Wind or gas

Best bet is to have options from various sources..
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:02   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbates
Best bet is to have options from various sources..
True but like I said funds are a factor
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:05   #6
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pirate Re: Wind or gas

I'd go for a quiet efficient wind generator... push comes to shove on a cloudy windless day run your engine....


[B]Sorry Noel... forgot to hit size 3... oppps


Let me sort that out for you Phil.

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Old 18-10-2012, 08:07   #7
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Re: Wind or gas

With the wind gen, there will be many days when you get no output, but then if you are of limited funds, the wind is free while gas costs keep increasing.
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Old 18-10-2012, 08:07   #8
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Re: Wind or gas

I have never had a gen on board, so I cannot comment on those. I would opt for the wind gen, assuming you get a good one, and that you also have a decent sized alternator with external regulator. Also, what size battery bank do you have? From my perspective, you have a "boatload" of solar already, so the wind gen would be icing on the cake. Wind and solar really compliment each other, when it is cloudy it is often windy. I wold guess that the only time you may need to run your engine to charge batts would be in the summer, if you are using alot of power, and get some of those still days that are overcast.

Convert those halogen bulbs over to led, that will save alot as well.

We have a 35 footer, with all LED except for our chart light and som CCFL fixtures, which are just as efficient as LED. This includes nav lights.

Computers can be a big hog, if yours are lower power ones, that will help alot. We several, a pc and mac laptop that are power hogs, and a tiny atom based laptop and an android tablet that are miserly. I just built a 12v low power PC for the nav station, we will see how that works out.

Have you computed your daily needs based on your boat? This can seem like a waste of time, but it will help you get some idea of how much power you may need. You will never know for sure until you get out there, but it looks like you are the right track.

Chris
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:25   #9
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Re: Wind or gas

I've never had a gasoline generator on board and opted for a Rutland wind generator (while sailing in windy Newfoundland and Labrador) and will install solar once I get to sunnier places.

The generator was never an option I considered because:
1) another complex mechanical machine to go wrong
2) another consumer of fuel that has to be bought and stowed somewhere
3) noisey - yes I know they can be very "quiet" but that's a relative term, especially in anchorages where there isn't another human being for 50 miles.
4) I worked on reducing and reducing electrical needs, and on managing loads - charging everything on windy days/nights and using the absolute minimum on calm days
5) Battery bank sized to supply the boat for 5 -6 days without top up (330 amp/hours)
6) Gasoline is going to steadily increase in price - which is another drain on future funds
7) conserver not the consumer life

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Old 18-10-2012, 09:30   #10
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Re: Wind or gas

Another option is a fuel cell

No noise, you can set them to automatically turn on and off at preset levels of electricity need
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:44   #11
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Re: Wind or gas

Interesting idea, which I never explored. (My overall policy is to try to simplify.)
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:49   #12
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Re: Wind or gas

How do you know you need more power?? I would say that 600 watts of solar should be sufficient to run most 45 ft cruising boats if you use a propane stove, led lighting, and efficient computers.

BTW, a 600 watt wind generator is a big, expensive machine.
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:50   #13
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I have 6 batteries 6v 232amp hrs so 1392amp hrs total, with my solar and a 600watt wind generator I think I should be ok, I do have a large refrigeration unit on board that I didn't mention
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe
How do you know you need more power?? I would say that 600 watts of solar should be sufficient to run most 45 ft cruising boats if you use a propane stove, led lighting, and efficient computers.

BTW, a 600 watt wind generator is a big, expensive machine.
$799 at west marine
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:54   #15
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Re: Wind or gas

The Honda would be better in an emergency, but I read your question as wanting to improve your daily generation. I would go with adding the wind of the two choices you give. Or a high out put alternator if you dont have one and only need more occassionally.
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