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Old 19-01-2009, 18:18   #16
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I was planning on having the redundant systems, large bank of solar, a wind generator as well as a backup generator. This goes without saying that a large battery bank to take full advantage of those systems will be installed.
Cooking by DC power is only practical with a generator. The biggest bank you can imagine has to be recharged some time. Increasing the bank size is a fools errand. Once the bank goes dead it takes that much longer to get it back full. You need to make a daily energy demand every day. You can't beat the supply and demand for more than a number of days. Your solar and wind generator plans are a good idea. Do the math and you will see.

Multiply the AC amps by 10 to compute DC amps then add 10% for the conversion loss and you'll see the power demand is quite high. Microwaves are pretty amazing too. They drain a typical 400 amp bank to 50% in about a half an hour of use. The cost of an inverter to make that conversion is also quite high. It will cost or as much as the wind generator.

You would do better to get over the fear of propane or get a grill that also works as a one burner stove. Many propane grills can be used as a one burner stove. For grills, the low pressure grills last longer. The high pressure grills trash the regulators very fast. It would save thousands of dollars!
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Old 20-01-2009, 22:20   #17
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My sailing boat came with an all electric installation and 6kw generator. I run the generator at breakfast and evenings totalling 1.5hrs a day. It has the silent water seperator system so you cannot hear it off the boat. My generator has been completely unreliable due to poor engineering, however I have managed to make it reliable now after much effort. If you are not very mechanically minded then I would not recommend having a generator. As a backup my main engine and inverter can do the same job as the generator.
Would I have this setup again, Yes, as now I understand what is required from the generator so I know what to look for when buying.
Buying a generator that does not take up much space and is nicely packaged inside a sound box is what we all want, but theres a bit more to it than that.
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Old 20-01-2009, 23:55   #18
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"It has the silent water seperator system so you cannot hear it off the boat."

John Fussel, you have used a term that I am not familiar with. Can you explain as I would like a very quiet genset.
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Old 21-01-2009, 01:21   #19
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Cooking by DC power is only practical with a generator. The biggest bank you can imagine has to be recharged some time. Increasing the bank size is a fools errand. Once the bank goes dead it takes that much longer to get it back full. You need to make a daily energy demand every day. You can't beat the supply and demand for more than a number of days. Your solar and wind generator plans are a good idea. Do the math and you will see.

Multiply the AC amps by 10 to compute DC amps then add 10% for the conversion loss and you'll see the power demand is quite high. Microwaves are pretty amazing too. They drain a typical 400 amp bank to 50% in about a half an hour of use. The cost of an inverter to make that conversion is also quite high. It will cost or as much as the wind generator.

You would do better to get over the fear of propane or get a grill that also works as a one burner stove. Many propane grills can be used as a one burner stove. For grills, the low pressure grills last longer. The high pressure grills trash the regulators very fast. It would save thousands of dollars!
i would be intrested to see what came out of your microwave after 30min
would it be edibal average run time is 6-10mins.
for those intrested in using all electric i recomend the victron system and that you all read there blue book of power can be orderd.

or read acheving the imposible!
White papers - Victron Energy

we have run this system for 3 years verry happy
mixed with normal crusing a we only run the gen for 2-3hours every other day.
curently in the proces of tripiling our soler and wind to extend the time betwen gen run's.
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Old 21-01-2009, 06:13   #20
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Having just acquired a trawler after years aboard our sloop - we found it came with the full electric galley. First thing we did was to junk the electric stove and replace with LPG. There is no real sense in running generators to cook out in an anchorage - think about cooking a turkey for 3-4 hours. It is not consistent with practicality. (There are good neighbor issues too...) Fuel prices are down in the USA for the time being but think about the current prices in the Bahamas and DR or further down island. Propane was generally the same price everywhere we went over a five year trip. The trawler also came with a microwave - I really don't know how much use it will get once we are underway. The more complicated the systems, the less time you will have to enjoy what you really came out here for.
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Old 21-01-2009, 12:04   #21
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Originally Posted by Cowboy Sailer View Post
"It has the silent water seperator system so you cannot hear it off the boat."

John Fussel, you have used a term that I am not familiar with. Can you explain as I would like a very quiet genset.
On my boat the water and air are seperated, the water is discharged under ther waterline and the exhaust air out the side. see this link....
Centek Industries - Products
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Old 21-01-2009, 13:43   #22
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One thing a gen set will do is help use up that diesel before it goes bad and save starting the main engine for charging etc. 120 volt fridge: $120, Electric cooktop: Far cheaper than the whole Propane setup, Invertor charging: you already have it, vs big alternaotr and regulator, belts etc.. Hate that noise though! Use the microwave for boiling water....
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Old 21-01-2009, 15:49   #23
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Hi Pblais, thanks for further insight into my hopeful setup. I was not planning on using the inside electric stove that often as I would still have the outside BBQ on gas. When on similar setup, I think we used the BBQ 70% or more of the time.

That's the plan anyway. I guess everything looks and sounds good on paper. But, thanks for more food for thought.
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Old 21-01-2009, 18:21   #24
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I am hopeful that induction cook-tops and microwave-convection ovens could be the future for boats. No residual heat, fast, and efficient. As the battery technology improves as well as the hybrid power plants being used in some boats I could see this really working well?
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Old 21-01-2009, 18:41   #25
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It is so weird because I was just having this conversation tonight with a woman that had an electric microwave/convection oven on her power boat and had yet to use it. I haven't gone to the far reaches of the earth but I do know our propane tanks (and I cook a lot and the cap'n made me light it this morning just to heat the cabin down here in the Bahamas) lasts a long time and has been easily refillable. However, a friend of ours had CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) tanks and could not get them refilled down here and had to take the freight boat back to the states to get them filled so I would steer away from them. As far as the safety thing, we and most boats have a propane switch that you have to turn on and off, and I did make myself get out of bed the other night to make sure I had remembered to turn it off. I'm not obsessive-compulsive yet but I'm getting there. I only spell checked this 3 times.
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Old 21-01-2009, 18:46   #26
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Oh, I had a microwave and threw it away so I could have the space. I had to learn all over again how to do things like make popcorn. Yes, they still sell the old fashioned kind in a bag that you can pop in a skillet and there is no "lite" version.
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Old 21-01-2009, 19:01   #27
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I am hopeful that induction cook-tops and microwave-convection ovens could be the future for boats. No residual heat, fast, and efficient. As the battery technology improves as well as the hybrid power plants being used in some boats I could see this really working well?
It might come to that but right now battery prices are triple that of 5 years ago. The basic lead Acid battery has evolved but not broken the limits. The only thing that will enhance battery storage is a severe scientific break through. Battery technology is really over 100 years. Modern battery technologies really are still stuck in 1950. Some processes of manufacturing batteries have increased some efficiencies but at the same time the world price of lead has sky rocketed.

Even after all that, the power boats really are the only way to recharge a battery bank large enough to go several days in an all electric solution. Diesel and propane produce more energy than electricity per unit volume. Batteries still have to be recharged and so the monster battery bank taking 3 hours to recharge is about as good as it will get for the future as far as I can see. Oh the hum of the engine is just what I love to hear.

The most efficient solution is to use less power. It means a lot less power. If you get it down there really low solar and wind have a chance to work but not otherwise. They have no chance if the goal is to use high electrical input appliances.

It's all really great to talk being green but making it work means a change in how much power you actually use. Less power is more green anything else is not a net gain and costs more.
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Old 21-01-2009, 19:01   #28
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My 20 lb tank is still going almost a year now. I barbie using screw on tanks and dinners get a lot of barbie use. But I cruised for a month and rarely miss a weekend on the boat. I have used the oven to knock a chill off done Pizzas toast coffee 3 pan dinners. Im pretty happy with the capacity. Like anything if its not set up right it could be dangerous. I bought a boat that lacked in maintenance and tore through it pretty well. Snugging things up. I failed however to check the microwave. Cruising out of cuttyhunk after weeks of great sailing. Im beating along in a pleasant blow with the rails nipping at the seas. The kids are in the v berth somersaulting off the hull sides and I watch a flash pass the companion way and hear breaking glass. The microwave has left its home and launched itself into the navigators seat. The glass rotating plate is in pieces.
I am amazed to find that there were no fasteners holding the nuke box in place. I should have checked I had assumed thank god the kids were not there.I can't find a dent or ding on the trim or sole of the boat. The box got a small dent. I think I will put it back but bolt it in. But am enjoying the extra space and so far haven't missed it. For now that deadly flying menace sits in the back of the van awaiting its verdict.
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Old 21-01-2009, 19:15   #29
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[quote=Pblais;246463]It might come to that but right now battery prices are triple that of 5 years ago. The basic lead Acid battery has evolved but not broken the limits. The only thing that will enhance battery storage is a severe scientific break through. Battery technology is really over 100 years. Modern battery technologies really are still stuck in 1950. Some processes of manufacturing batteries have increased some efficiencies but at the same time the world price of lead has sky rocketed.

You are right Paul. Someone asked me back in the 80's where I saw the opportunity for the greatest advancement in boat technology I said batteries. I am quite surprised that today my answer would be the same. The current advancements seem reliant on cobalt which has no great supply chain it will be intersting to see as the priority increases the solutions.
I am interested in what the Vendee globe guys are using. There was a thread on a system that had interchangable cells I think 2 volt packs so if a cell went bad they pull it and insert a new cell or swap from another bank. Vendee globe has done a terible job promoting the equipment on board these on the edge machines. I suppose we could start a dozen threads from my ramblings. Apologize for my lack of thread integrity
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Old 21-01-2009, 20:15   #30
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I am interested in what the Vendee globe guys are using. There was a thread on a system that had interchangeable cells I think 2 volt packs so if a cell went bad they pull it and insert a new cell or swap from another bank.
It's basic industrial lead acid battery technology. They didn't invent anything. It's a good long lasting battery with a high duty cycle but it's nothing revolutionary. There is nothing wrong with it either. It still misses because an amp hour used is an amp hour to replace. One day is still one day. The biggest battery bank still has to be recharged. After enough time a really dead bank has all that much more to put back. You can't escape with battery technology in any scenario I can come up with. You have to pay back some time.

Diesel generators are the only practical source that can recharge large battery banks each day if the demand is high. If you can cut consumption by 60% or more you might be able to talk about alternative energy. We still have not got into large scale refrigeration and hot water usage either. Heating and A/C are really off the radar completely.
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