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Old 01-09-2017, 16:43   #1
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Question New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Hey people,

Just have so many dumb questions, and loving the excitement of learning so many new things.

So just looking for some friendly advice. Is there truth to any notion that wind generation still needs like over (?12-15 knots) to making a cost effective contribution to our live aboard power needs?

Tks!

G
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Old 01-09-2017, 16:59   #2
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

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Originally Posted by ashera View Post
Hey people,

Just have so many dumb questions, and loving the excitement of learning so many new things.

So just looking for some friendly advice. Is there truth to any notion that wind generation still needs like over (?12-15 knots) to making a cost effective contribution to our live aboard power needs?

Tks!

G
Howdy and Welcome Aboard CF!

My View is: There are no stupid questions. We all are ignorant of countless things. Questions help us learn.

Here is a link to previous discussions about Wind Generators. It is a good list to start reading, as you will learn many related issues on that topic.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...tor&gsc.page=1

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-09-2017, 17:23   #3
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New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashera View Post
Hey people,



Just have so many dumb questions, and loving the excitement of learning so many new things.



So just looking for some friendly advice. Is there truth to any notion that wind generation still needs like over (?12-15 knots) to making a cost effective contribution to our live aboard power needs?



Tks!



G


If you are focussing on cost effectiveness then you'll soon discover that wind generation does not stack up well against options like solar in most normal boating conditions.

HOWEVER, if you can afford it AND if your boat is in an area with reasonable wind velocities to tap into then it makes an excellent contribution to your charging system and might be considered cost effective depending on your definition.

How much power is produced at what wind speed varies by make and model. The data is not hard to find. Our old Aerogen 6 starts putting out a few amps at around 10 knots apparent wind speed but quickly builds to put out a healthy 7 amps (90 watts) around 15 knots apparent, which is a common wind speed for us to see.

7 amps does not sound like a lot, particularly when our 760 watts of solar can put out nearly 60 amps HOWEVER it can do so at night, when it is cloudy, raining, whenever, in fact, the wind blows. So over 24 hours of "normal" wind speeds it has the potential to put out over 2 KWhrs, at which point it starts to look very cost effective, particularly if it has been raining and overcast. Back when we had only 280 watts of solar it was not uncommon for me to see more power generated over 24 hours by the wind gen than by the panels here in Adelaide, particularly in winter and spring when we have a lot of cloud cover.

So yes, I consider it cost effective, YMMV.

Matt
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Old 01-09-2017, 17:35   #4
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

The short answer is, yes.

The long answer is, it depends. What is your load requirement? What is your battery bank size? What other power generation sources do you have? How much power do they generate? Are you live aboard, mostly anchored/moored/marina bound, or are you a cruiser, or ocean navigator? Are you mostly downwind sailing or bashing your brains out? Do you spend more time in high latitudes, mid latitudes, or tropical?

Believe it or not, it all makes a difference in what you choose for power production.
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Old 01-09-2017, 17:44   #5
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Here's the stats on one unit:

"Typical D-400 Output

10 knots wind speed produces 40 watts
15 knots wind speed produces 120 watts
20 knots wind speed produces 190 watts
25 knots wind speed produces 280 watts


32 knots wind speed produces 400 watt"


Obviously output goes up enormously as wind increases, but let's compare that to solar, even with lower wind:

So, if it blows 10 knots night and day, this wind generator will produce 40 watts for 24 hours equaling about 960 watts or 80 AH at 12 volts. I currently have a 100 solar panel on my van. On a sunny day in Arizona in summer it produces about 5 solar hours or 500 watts, so two of those in full sun would come close to producing the same power as this wind generator with 24/7 10 knot wind.

One thing with solar cells is they lose efficiency fast when at all shaded and as you can imagine, it's hard to guarantee full sun exposure on sailboats.

While wind generators have a higher initial minimum outlay in my experience with both, I felt I got far more energy out of my wind generator in a much smaller footprint. I also tend to anchor out, largely in the Bahamas giving me fairly constant wind. If you are going to spend days in wind protected harbors, a wind generator may not suit your needs as well. Of course there is nothing that says you can't use both and/or also have a high output alternator. Wind generators also have moving parts, which means maintenance and repairs as well as make some noise (which can vary greatly depending on the model). Solar is silent. Obviously running an engine makes noise which may or may not be objectionable.

Those are some of my thoughts and experiences. My only real advice is to look abjectively at your own situation. Try to accurately determine how much power you can realistically produce via solar, engine use and wind and what each costs based on how YOU will realistically use YOUR boat. (Of course considering your power needs). Sometimes running the engine you already have to produce more power makes the most sense.

I think the forums here offer many wonderful and varied perspectives. Consider which perspectives best represent your situation.


D-400 wind generator | Southeast Marine Services

Also, I'm not a math or power Wiz, so if I screwed up my comparison, someone please correct me.
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Old 01-09-2017, 17:59   #6
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New Sailboat Owner - needs help

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So, if it blows 10 knots night and day, this wind generator will produce 40 watts for 24 hours equaling about 960 watts or 80 AH at 12 volts. I currently have a 100 solar panel on my van. On a sunny day in Arizona in summer it produces about 5 solar hours or 500 watts, ...



Also, I'm not a math or power Wiz, so if I screwed up my comparison, someone please correct me.

I don't see any problem with the maths but I would clarify the power figures by stating that over 24 hours you produced 960 Watt HOURS, from the wind gen. 960 watts is a rate of power production not a quantity. Likewise 500 Watt HOURS from the solar on the van.

Sorry to sound pedantic but the incomplete units can cause serious confusion for someone who may be less familiar with the systems. You can imagine someone looking for a 960 Watt generator and getting a heck of a surprise at the size and cost. :^)
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Old 01-09-2017, 18:11   #7
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

[QUOTE=GILow;2469432]I don't see any problem with the maths but I would clarify..,,/QUOTE]

Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 01-09-2017, 18:29   #8
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Growing up in the fifties and sixties last century, believe people are too risk-aversion now. Learn to trust your boat and your capabilities over time.
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Old 01-09-2017, 18:30   #9
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

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Growing up in the fifties and sixties last century, believe people are too risk-aversion now. Learn to trust your boat and your capabilities over time.


Errr? Maybe the wrong thread?
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Old 01-09-2017, 23:30   #10
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Hi, ashera,

Welcome aboard CF.

We will be able to help you better if you give us more information with your Avatar, like what type and size boat you have, and your approximate location. That will help the members tailor their advice to your location.

GILow's approximate latitude is 39 deg. S/138E, and it is a breezy location, as he said, and he has good use of a wind gen.

However, if you live in So Calif, the wind gen won't often do much. If you are sailing in the trade winds, it will can keep your batteries topped off over night--it has for us, but your mileage may vary according to your demand, your other ways of charging, many variables. Probably it is best to think of it as one of a number of arrows in your electricity quiver.

Ann
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Old 02-09-2017, 03:56   #11
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, G.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:28   #12
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

I have a related question, and I am at the very beginning of my investigation, so cut me some slack - I know I haven't done my homework fully. So anyway, I have an Air-X wind generator installed by PO which has a bad bearing (I think) and is not generating; I have the blades secured with a line. It will take a bit of investigation to determine if it is even salvageable, and frankly there have been many other, higher priorities on my punchlist. I also have two solar panels (2 X 85 w) which keep the house batteries charged for at least five days with refrigerator running and normal usage of other systems except autopilot. My thought is to ditch the wind generator, and get a large solar panel as replacement. Just looking at West Marine's website (not that I would necessarily buy from them) I can get a 165W, 9.43A panel for $550ish. Given that I'm in marinas about a third of the time while cruising, and that I cruise in the Caribbean / Bahamas, and that say, half of the time, I would have less than 20 knot winds, that means that with a fixed wind generator I would generate the equivalent of the new solar panel only 30% of the time (very roughly).

In addition to the above, if I remove the Air-X it would reduce the clutter (and noise) at the stern, as there are also davits, a radar mast, and a windvane mount back there (all done by PO). I use the davits and radar, and I have not used, but might use the wind vane steering in future.

As efficiency of solar panels gets better and better, this seems like the way to go to me, but I'm interested in hearing from those who have had to make this choice recently.
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Old 02-09-2017, 14:27   #13
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

AJ n Audrey,

The bearing is cheap, and not too difficult to replace. Jim did ours in an afternoon, so don't let the job scare you off, especially if working on *stuff* is easy for you and you don't mind it.

If you don't sail the boat much at night, stay in marinas a lot where you can top off the batteries if it is overcast and you're not getting enough out of the panels, de-cluttering is always nice. Especially if you've no plans to go somewhere windy. If your autopilot is a hungry one (ours, unfortunately, is), then you'll find yourself motoring to charge the batteries, but again, if it's only short trips, in your usage, you may not need the wind gen.

Ann
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Old 02-09-2017, 16:23   #14
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

If you live in the Trade Winds a wind gen makes a lotta sense , my windbugger ran my refrig and tv for many years on St. John and Culebra . On St T there was a floating bar that ran 3 beer coolers off of two windbuggers for several years out of Red hook !
If ya live where the wind is not dependable it probably is a bad investment .
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Old 02-09-2017, 18:14   #15
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Re: New Sailboat Owner - needs help

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AJ n Audrey,

The bearing is cheap, and not too difficult to replace. Jim did ours in an afternoon, so don't let the job scare you off, especially if working on *stuff* is easy for you and you don't mind it.

If you don't sail the boat much at night, stay in marinas a lot where you can top off the batteries if it is overcast and you're not getting enough out of the panels, de-cluttering is always nice. Especially if you've no plans to go somewhere windy. If your autopilot is a hungry one (ours, unfortunately, is), then you'll find yourself motoring to charge the batteries, but again, if it's only short trips, in your usage, you may not need the wind gen.

Ann
Ann, thanks. Right you are that I will first see if replacing the bearing (if it can be done cheaply) makes it all okay. If so, I will have saved multiple hundred $. I may fix the wind gen just to see if I like it, as experience is always the best teacher, at least for me.
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