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Old 09-01-2016, 16:10   #16
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

A point about wind generators.
It is my experience, with a newish AIR-X unit, and the older one now bust, that it is important to have a good amount of battery capacity.
My Aussie boat, with the AIR-X only has about 200 AH for house use.
The problem is, the regulator in the AIR-X checks at short time intervals the voltage at the batteries. Being low on AH's the voltage goes up quickly though the batteries are not full. The AIR-X thinks they are and stops charging. Soon after it checks again and the voltage is down. So it starts charging again.
Stop start...stop start...stop start.... sheesh.
Need more battery capacity to "buffer" this business. Even though with my low capacity I never go below 75%. Damn fridge....
Pat
PS I prefer solar.
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Old 09-01-2016, 16:58   #17
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by Four Coconuts View Post
A battery bank should be sufficiently sized to run a boat overnight without any issues.
Yes. But it never is.

Cruising you use whatever pier you have available, and as many batteries you can fit and its never enough.

At night I get different fridges kicking in and the initial spike turns one off if the other is running. Pain in the ice cube!

Yes, FILL every space with solar. However my wind generator comes into its own at night. Don't believe the BS from the manufacturers about the output - its far less e felt in a storm and then it turns itself off. But at night it keeps enough going in so you quickly get your bank up with the solar in the morning.

And yes, wind is good on dark rainy days cos it blows

* if setting up to go cruising think carefully where you are going and what side of the panels your wind generator will be so it doesn't cover them. Or make it so you can change the pole location.

Whatever you do just remember you will use all the electricity you can make! All of it!
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Old 09-01-2016, 17:14   #18
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

i have 860 watts of solar (kyocera and siemens panels) and a D400 wind generator. mounted 2 140 watt panels on the arch and 2 140 watt panels on the hard bimini. 3rd set of panels is made up of smaller siemens 75 watt panels ( 2 each side) that are mounted on the aft 8' of life lines which have been replaced by 1" hard rail both sides. The D400 is mounted between the two Kyocera panels that are on the arch-- the gap between the panels is about 2 feet to let wind slide through. The D400 mount goes up and aft from the center of the arch- cuts out most of the shading issue. I did a lot of research on the wind gennys - D400 was expensive but is the top end in my opinion. When putting up the panels several smaller is better in my opinion than one large- that way if you have some partial shading at times, the hit to your total capacity is not as big. -- partial shading may knock out that panel for charging for a time--if it is only 1/5 of your total instead of 1/2, you come out betterCharge controlers- i have an outback flexmax 80-- i have heard good things about the midnite. The panels on the lifelines are held on by aluminum clamps originally meant to hold stage lighting so they can be removed easily if needed.
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Old 09-01-2016, 17:27   #19
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Mark's right. I "used to be" in the camp that thought: "Heck, why have a windmill, 'cuz you don't wanna anchor where it's windy, do ya?" crowd.

But that's like the argument about interfacing or not interfacing your autopilot with your GPS.

The BIGGER POINT is simple:

--- design and install a SYSTEM that is balanced based on your use and capacity.

I find it personally and professionally somewhat amazing, after all these years and all the information that is now available on the Internet, that the basics are still there:

Battery capacity allows you to stay out longer without recharging based on any GIVEN DAILY LOAD

Solar has size and usable hours based on latitude, never works at night, but that's why we have batteries (storage)

Wind generators work, they've gotten quieter, and a personal choice for both a balanced system and, if you tend to, need to, or choose to anchor in windier areas to supplement what other charging sources you may have, plus use during sailing but downwind maybe not so much

duogens are fine, I know some folks who have successfully used them, not for everyone, gotta learn how to use them

And for most of the questions we see on this and every other boating forum, the basic energy budget still is something many new skippers still haven't mastered.

What goes OUT is easy, learning about battery acceptance (i.e., what goes back in and how long it takes), uhm, takes more time to get one's head around.

Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2016, 19:07   #20
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
--- design and install a SYSTEM that is balanced based on your use and capacity.
Stu is also correct. We went down the route of buying a lot of solar, a win gen, and a honda generator.

Instead we should have paid much more attention to how much energy our fridge was sucking up. Of course, if you don't have a fridge you do not have this problem but... we made the mistake of comparing our fridge/freezer utilization to that of our cruising buddies and decided that "heck we are maybe just a little worse than everyone else so we will just throw some more power at it".

That was wrong thinking. Instead we should have been thinking in absolutes. A freezer with fridge spillover, well insulated, should only be using 30 to 50 Ah every 24 hours or some such.

Once we started the calcs we found out that we should not only be able to get rid of the wind gen but also a solar panel AND the generator if we rebuild the fridge/freezer completely. The money that COULD have paid for that effort was instead inefficiently spent on power generation.

On the other hand, when our engine wouldn't start in-the-middle-of-no-where Bahamas, it was nice to have the generator supplying power to the starter battery to be able to keep cranking the engine and running the fuel pump (fuel issue) until we could get it started.

We do love our wind generator but its only because we are power hungry.
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Old 09-01-2016, 19:27   #21
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

I want to know when you achieve that amp load for a freezer/reefer box.

We easily double that, on a good day, in our 3.5/6.5CF freezer/spillover reefer in a massively insulated and isolated box.

(There are several threads on our system in CF; we've been tweaking it for a while, and I think it's as good as it will get - the system works perfectly, albeit expensively in electrons - at a pretty constant net average 5-6A load, leading to 130-144AH/day.)
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Old 09-01-2016, 19:37   #22
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
I want to know when you achieve that amp load for a freezer/reefer box.

We easily double that, on a good day, in our 3.5/6.5CF freezer/spillover reefer in a massively insulated and isolated box.

(There are several threads on our system in CF; we've been tweaking it for a while, and I think it's as good as it will get - the system works perfectly, albeit expensively in electrons - at a pretty constant net average 5-6A load, leading to 130-144AH/day.)
That's us too right now.

We are just about to replace our existing fridge with new insulation (32ish R) and using a technautics holding plate. We have friends that recently did the same project and they are only using approx 35 Ah per 24 hours in summer in mid-florida and they have a much bigger box!

http://www.cruiserowaterandpower.com..._Overview.html
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Old 09-01-2016, 21:32   #23
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Angry Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

I've had solar + wind gen on my boats for 40 years. No question solar is necessary (and getting cheaper (WINNING!!).
Wind gen is the other necessity. Why not exploit the very thing that we NEED?
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Old 09-01-2016, 21:53   #24
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
I want to know when you achieve that amp load for a freezer/reefer box.

We easily double that, on a good day, in our 3.5/6.5CF freezer/spillover reefer in a massively insulated and isolated box.

(There are several threads on our system in CF; we've been tweaking it for a while, and I think it's as good as it will get - the system works perfectly, albeit expensively in electrons - at a pretty constant net average 5-6A load, leading to 130-144AH/day.)
Not doubting what you say.

I have a 430 A house battery bank and 440 W of solar panels. I run a Frigaboat freezer/spillover in the galley and an Engle 44 qt in the cockpit. As a rule I charge the batteries in a laptop, tables, and batteries for three cameras. Probably charge the laptop daily. Never had an issue with low batteries.

I can't recall the last time I opened the Frigaboat more than once a day. I open the Engle at least three times a day. As a rule I will transfer stuff from the Frigaboat to the Engle if I will be using it in a day or two. It really does not matter how well refrigerators are insulated as much as it matters how many times you open them and how well the seals are on the door. Not to mention it is possible to have the door poorly closed or have foreign material on the door that lets more cold air leak out.

The point I am trying to make is that how folks use a refrigerator is a big factor in how much energy it uses. I also have a couple of hand held VHF units I charge every two or three days and use those instead of the bigger, and more energy intensive, installed units. I have lots of those Lilly solar lights and frequently don't turn on lights at night. Also have a solar anchor light.

It is common for my batteries to be at 100% by 9:30AM. At that point I start charging batteries, or even plug in my 120w electric Insta Pot. I am basically dumping power after 10:00AM.

I do try and run my Honda EU2000 every month to better maintain it but can't recall the last time I needed to use it in the last three years.

As has been posted earlier in this thread it is important to try and get a good idea what your daily energy requirement and design and install an energy production system to meet your energy requirements. In fact I think it is important to have excess energy so you are dumping energy on a daily basis.

YMMV
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Old 09-01-2016, 22:08   #25
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Panels will actually produce power by moonlight, hence the night power safety protocols at solar farms. Yes, people have been killed.

Jeff


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Mark's right. I "used to be" in the camp that thought: "Heck, why have a windmill, 'cuz you don't wanna anchor where it's windy, do ya?" crowd.

But that's like the argument about interfacing or not interfacing your autopilot with your GPS.

The BIGGER POINT is simple:

--- design and install a SYSTEM that is balanced based on your use and capacity.

I find it personally and professionally somewhat amazing, after all these years and all the information that is now available on the Internet, that the basics are still there:

Battery capacity allows you to stay out longer without recharging based on any GIVEN DAILY LOAD

Solar has size and usable hours based on latitude, never works at night, but that's why we have batteries (storage)

Wind generators work, they've gotten quieter, and a personal choice for both a balanced system and, if you tend to, need to, or choose to anchor in windier areas to supplement what other charging sources you may have, plus use during sailing but downwind maybe not so much

duogens are fine, I know some folks who have successfully used them, not for everyone, gotta learn how to use them

And for most of the questions we see on this and every other boating forum, the basic energy budget still is something many new skippers still haven't mastered.

What goes OUT is easy, learning about battery acceptance (i.e., what goes back in and how long it takes), uhm, takes more time to get one's head around.

Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2016, 23:05   #26
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Has anyone had any exposure to the UK Power Sails. These are flexible solar panels that are actually mounted on the sails. They were mentioned in the December issue of Sail.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:45   #27
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
Not doubting what you say.

I have a 430 A house battery bank and 440 W of solar panels. I run a Frigaboat freezer/spillover in the galley and an Engle 44 qt in the cockpit. As a rule I charge the batteries in a laptop, tables, and batteries for three cameras. Probably charge the laptop daily. Never had an issue with low batteries.

I can't recall the last time I opened the Frigaboat more than once a day. I open the Engle at least three times a day. As a rule I will transfer stuff from the Frigaboat to the Engle if I will be using it in a day or two. It really does not matter how well refrigerators are insulated as much as it matters how many times you open them and how well the seals are on the door. Not to mention it is possible to have the door poorly closed or have foreign material on the door that lets more cold air leak out.

The point I am trying to make is that how folks use a refrigerator is a big factor in how much energy it uses. I also have a couple of hand held VHF units I charge every two or three days and use those instead of the bigger, and more energy intensive, installed units. I have lots of those Lilly solar lights and frequently don't turn on lights at night. Also have a solar anchor light.

It is common for my batteries to be at 100% by 9:30AM. At that point I start charging batteries, or even plug in my 120w electric Insta Pot. I am basically dumping power after 10:00AM.

I do try and run my Honda EU2000 every month to better maintain it but can't recall the last time I needed to use it in the last three years.

As has been posted earlier in this thread it is important to try and get a good idea what your daily energy requirement and design and install an energy production system to meet your energy requirements. In fact I think it is important to have excess energy so you are dumping energy on a daily basis.

YMMV
Thanks for that. I left it all because there is so much there. And, FWIW, we do have an energy use/expected load breakdown aboard; we're continually whittling away at any sources which can be reduced or eliminated. A case in point would be that there is no AC powered device in my computer system other than the laser printer (no possibility of running ink!), and all the external HDD are switch controlled so as to use nothing if not actually needed.

We used to have a Frigoboat system. It worked a treat. I'll not repeat the massive discussions about our system other than to say that we were thrilled with it until it no longer worked; the root cause has since been addressed by Frigoboat.

We also extensively tested our box; it's sound and tight. My SeaFrost replacement is a headscratcher for every pro I've talked with, including Nigel Calder, Rich Boren, Richard Kollman, and many other lesser lights.

I don't want to hijack the thread, so we'll leave it at that. Perhaps my measurement system is incorrect; I use a Trimetric monitor, and base my usage on overnight calm AH accumulated. We have a 740AH bank of 4 L16 batteries; we also have a combiner for the starter and windlass batteries on a separate circuit. The starter/windlass battery is nearly never in the system unless the diesel is running, at which point those batteries are fully recharged through the combiner. Certainly, our inverter-charger's separate monitoring system suggests that what we are putting in, and the time it takes during a bulk charge period, reflects the AH deficit shown on the Trimetric. So, I think we probably use what we think we do.

I will say that if I were where our wind/solar system was designed for (we expected to spend our lives in the Caribbean), I believe it would keep up with our loads. As it is, if we're in the southern Bahamas, and it's sunny and breezy, we keep up, running the Honda perhaps once a week. We are parsimonious with our refrigerator/freezer openings; I usually open the freezer next to never, and the reefer at most 3x a day.

So, perhaps it's more a matter of our 370W being old technology - certainly the efficiency levels have risen sharply over the years since these were installed - and/or some shading (our KISS, at some angles, will shade some rows, as will the HF antenna; indeed, our arch builder screwed up and didn't fix it - the panels slope a bit forward, but we get our strongest output when the stern is to the sun, suggesting that shading is involved).

Thus, my search for a way to increase our solar output by an order of magnitude. Unfortunately, the larger panels in the emarine reference (thanks for the suggestion, though) either are much wider than I can accommodate, or are specifically disallowed for boats, or don't get that much more output for the space available.

So, just in case someone has a better clue than I do, what I have now is 3 Kyocera panels similar in size to their current 140W units. I wasn't thinking outside the box at the time, so I overlooked that I could have used those widths, but any amount longer, should that size exist. They don't seem to, or at least I've not found any.

The alternative I =thought= I'd gotten a winner on would have been two panels, less than a total of (allowing for the antenna, central) about 86" width, but much longer than the above 120/130/140W panels, of 340W each, salt, sulphur and sand rated. Unfortunately, they are available only in pallet loads - at $239 apiece!

So, my search continues. I don't think an incremental gain (such as trading out for the current max in the size I have of 140W, or some small gain to - say, 500W vs our current 370W) is worth the cost and nuisance in making up the mount, so I've not really pursued the lower wattage panels.

However, and perhaps worthy of a separate thread:

I had =thought= I understood the way solar panels worked was that shading a single cell affected that (vertical) row, only, and that panels had pass-through diodes per row which made it such that shading wasn't the end of the world.

Is that correct, or does shading one cell kill an entire panel?

Thanks for any insights on how to massively upgrade my solar in the arch mount we currently have...

L8R

Skip
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:42   #28
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Commentary from a somewhat parallel thread, in case there are well-informed/placed folk here that aren't on the other:

As long as soliciting advice has been offered, I ask:

I now have 3 Kyocera, ~8-10 year old (one got replaced, up to 130W due to efficiency gain at the time) 120W panels in series and a Blue Sky 60A controller.

At best, in the southern Bahamas, I sometimes will see 25A, mostly not and under 20A. But 10-15A is common as dirt. For example, at 10:30AM, at 27 latitude at nearly the worst possible angle due to season, and total overcast, I'm getting 8A.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get 2x 340W on the same available mounting space, which would split around my HF 23' antenna currently mounted/braced on the front of my mounting frame; I have a total, with that antenna, of 88" to work with in width, and if two, plenty of space forward (albeit cantilevered from my arch front).

If I could find much LONGER, but same width (or total 88"W), panels, I could go with three. One would extend to the stern and the other two forward (I wasn't thinking outside the box when I designed it, but, apparently, from my casual searching, it doesn't matter as there aren't any like that).

With efficiency WAY up from the ones I have, I can greatly increase the amount of watts available to me, at prices which probably would come in under what I paid for a single panel (~1000 at the time) for all of it/them.

However, the 340W ones I thought I'd buy is available only in pallet quantities.

If I allow for a couple of inches to miss the antenna for two, or the total width for three, what would be my best replacement for the array I have now?

Pix of my current installation, interspersed with other stuff going on at the same time, can be seen here:

Pictures: Flying Pig Early Refit + Projects/Early_Major_Alterations_Work/07-05to7-19-05
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:02   #29
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

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I prefer solar, if you have the space. A wind generator around $1200 (minimum, they go way up from there) will produce around 400 Watts maximum. (And you need fairly strong wind to get that.)


For similar money you could get much more solar Watts. And they're quiet, have no moving parts, don't chop up birds, last for decades, etc..


Everything has pro's and con's though.
I agree. Solar is wonderful. Most of the folks I've talked to who have wind generators seem ambivalent about the utility. "Well, in the right wind, they work great ..." is the way the sentence usually starts out. But I definitely get the impression that they aren't completely satisfied.

I have a very low power draw, so two 140watt panels keep everything topped off nicely except during cloudy spells, in which case I pull out the Honda 2000. For me, the panels were a given and the only choice was whether to go with the gasoline generator or a wind generator. I think I made the right choice.
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Old 10-01-2016, 13:27   #30
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Re: Wind generator and Solar Panels

Common through all these threads is the fact that the fridge is the culprit. Power hungry mongrels that they are.

I remember being in Apia a while back and there was a big turnout, about 35 yachts in port, before the marina arrived. I noticed lots of yachts were running up big engine hours to keep the fridge cold.

So.....and I have done this....do you need a freezer? No you do not. No need to tell the neighbours, it is not their business! Snobs anyway.

Just, if you have to run the fridge during daytime hours and turn it off overnight and save lots of AH's and still have a cold beer. And the orange juice will still be cool for breckie.

Yes, but you must have a freezer you say! No you do not. Get a vacuun packer machine. Believe me, it will keep that 15 Kg mackerel for at least 2 weeks in the +5 deg C fridge. Beef longer.

And while you are at it, vacuum pack those sensitive little spare parts that need protection from the salty elements.
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