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Old 15-08-2010, 20:41   #1
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Wind Generator Necessary ?

Are wind generators really that necessary? I am having trouble justifying the cost of one when I have a perfectly good diesel engine to charge my batteries. With that said, I am planning on living on moorings for the majority of my time when I take this journey down south.

The questionable electronics would be perhaps a window unit a/c and a microwave? Can a WG generate enough juice to take care of the use (Night time only).

Has anyone had success with mounting a window a/c unit on a Catalina 34'? Remember, my coffers are down quite a bit.
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Old 15-08-2010, 21:19   #2
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I dont think the wind generator by itself is that nessessary, as it produces little amperage over what the motor would deliver for short intervals, BUT the wind generator when combined with a healthy solar and combined with the motor gives you a varried sorce of charging..
We've been off the grid for 7 plus years now, and as I look over at the voltage status of the batteries, they are setting at 12.8 or fully charged.. had a good day with the solar, but I just defrosted the freezer and we loaded it up with pot pies and hamburger so I suspect it will run for the next few hours befor it stabilizes.. The sun is going down BUT, the wind is still blowing a bit and the wind charger is putting out about 5 amps... The freezer is using about 4.5 amps, have a couple lights on and soon I'll turn on the inverter and watch a little TV...
And with it all, I have no worries, the combined, works to keep me running free of electrical plug-ins..
Next week we'll be traveling down river to San Francisco so I'll be running the motor for about 8 to 10 hours, enough to cook the batteries, clean the plates and put everything back in sink again...............
As for the AC unit.. we havent gone that far but we have installed 14 inch RV fans ("endless breezz") in both the forward and main hatches, but the main addition to keep the heat out was a simple white canvas tent we built over the forward area front of the mast and another over the main cabin.. The heat, heats up the canvas but leaves the roof top cool.. Our boat is very comfortable inside..
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Old 15-08-2010, 21:41   #3
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The fact that you are asking the question seems to be the answer in itself.

On my planet, one thought I've heard expressed is, do you really want to spend that much time in a windy anchorage?

I'd say, solar 1st. Wind last. But I didn't just say it (did I?) because I wouldn't open that can of worms.

For what I'm reading about your want to run AC and a microwave, I'd spend the money on a small gas generator, thinking that your wind gen would never keep up anyway. Particularly with the AC. But nobody (including you) wants to listen to your generator running all night for your AC.

Better place to start, acclimate to life without the power suckers. At least the AC. It's doable, even pleasant (read shade and minimal clothing) IMHO.
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Old 15-08-2010, 21:59   #4
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Originally Posted by Preposterous View Post
The questionable electronics would be perhaps a window unit a/c and a microwave? Can a WG generate enough juice to take care of the use (Night time only).
I agree with Randy that the ideal solution is a power of wind and solar. On a blustery, rainy day when the solar cells are worthless, the wind generator is priceless. On a windless, sweltering, cloudless day, the solar panels are priceless.

Will a WG generate enough wattage to run a small a/c unit? No. Consider the fact that the windier it gets, the less you'll need a/c. Conversely, the more you need a/c, the less likely that a wind generator will supply enough power to run it.
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Old 15-08-2010, 22:11   #5
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Will a WG generate enough wattage to run a small a/c unit? No. Consider the fact that the windier it gets, the less you'll need a/c. Conversely, the more you need a/c, the less likely that a wind generator will supply enough power to run it.
You're right. And when you're right, you're right. And you were right.

Ok. That saves a good bit of money. Thanks guys.

Back to the liveaboard list of things to purchase...
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Old 15-08-2010, 22:18   #6
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Ok. But consider the fact that in the long run, charging batteries via the boat's auxiliary diesel is probably the most expensive way to get the job done. Especially true if you're living on a mooring and using the diesel to charge day after day.

Randy probably gave you the best advice. Solar first, wind second.
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Old 15-08-2010, 22:22   #7
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We love our solar panels. With that said, I don't think you can run an a/c unit without a generator. One of the best things we did was sew up a HUGE wind scoop. Our berth is in the stern of the boat (Pearson 422) so any breeze is funneled right in on top of us at night. Good luck.
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Old 15-08-2010, 23:28   #8
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Not to mention that you don't want to run your diesel everyday w/o putting a load on the motor. A little alternator doesn't pull but 1 maybe 2 hp. The cylinders will start to polish.

You would be better off buying a small 2K watt gas gen. It's cheaper then a solar panel or wind gen for what you get out of them, if your going to live off the hook. At sea is a different story. But if you want a/c & a microwave is would take several solar or a huge wind gen.

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Old 16-08-2010, 00:20   #9
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Ok...ok ok ok. So many decisions. It sounds as if wind generators are out: if it's breezy enough for the turbines, it's breezy enough to be cool. Add on a few fans and a wind scoop, and I'll be fine.

As to the solar panels: Too expensive for me. Sadly.

And the generators - egads. Where's THAT going to fit in a Catalina '34? Good bye port lazarette. Sailing is all about compromises, apparently.

Would it help if I mentioned that I intend to be be working during the days (or nights)?

Inverters. Need to look into those.
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Old 16-08-2010, 00:41   #10
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Its usually the case wit renewable energies that when you need them most, they arnt an option.
It also depends where you live.
To depend all year round on solar when your up in the northern hemisphere wont work, but wind power is a better option as the wind blows most of the time.
So in winter when you might have useable sunlight for 6 hours in the day, and only then if its not cloudy, is not a wintertime solution, but you can bet your boots the wind is blowing, so for that reason, im having a turbine.

If i lived in your lattitudes, then solar would make more sense but only in addition to wind.
Another point to remember is, unit for unit of cash spent and power generated, wind wins for now, but once more solar power panels are manufactured and the price drops, that ballance will change, especially as the Chinese are cornering the market on rare earth magnets and that will make gen motors more expensive
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Old 16-08-2010, 08:47   #11
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Does anyone have experience with Swamp Coolers or Water Cooled Evaporative Air Conditioning?
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Old 16-08-2010, 08:57   #12
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Absolutely,I can live on the hook with solar and wind combined,and always have ample power,without running engine at anchor.My boat has many appliances needing juice.I carry a small Honda generator to supplement in the winter months when sun angle is low,on non windy days.
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Old 16-08-2010, 09:03   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preposterous View Post
Are wind generators really that necessary? I am having trouble justifying the cost of one when I have a perfectly good diesel engine to charge my batteries. With that said, I am planning on living on moorings for the majority of my time when I take this journey down south.

The questionable electronics would be perhaps a window unit a/c and a microwave? Can a WG generate enough juice to take care of the use (Night time only).

Has anyone had success with mounting a window a/c unit on a Catalina 34'? Remember, my coffers are down quite a bit.
If you want air conditioning you'll need a generator. Batteries will not run a/c. Wind generators come into their own in the trade winds. You need 15 plus knots and a good wind generator will do wonders. Ideally you should have solar panels, wind generator and a Honda generator. This will keep you going pretty good as far as fridge and microwave go. Of course you'll need a good battery bank, 600 amps or so and an inverter so that you don't need to break out the Honda every time you need ac power.

There is no quick fix to get decent electrical power on a boat. It's one of the most common topics of conversation wherever cruisers get together. In the final analysis, there is no cheap fix if you want to be self sufficient and have the high power requirements that most of us demand nowadays.
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Old 16-08-2010, 09:14   #14
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Lately, I see more and more boats with twin wind generators.
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Old 16-08-2010, 12:38   #15
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Does anyone have experience with Swamp Coolers or Water Cooled Evaporative Air Conditioning?
Yes. They cool wonderfully and are very inexpensive to operate... in the desert. I used to live in Colorado. They were great there. Lots of people had them. But in Denver, in the summer, it is considered a very humid day if the humidity gets above about 20%.

Now I live in Florida. NOBODY has them here! Why? Because here, in the summer, it is considered a very dry day if the humidity drops much below 50%. They do not work in a humid environment. They use the cooling effect of evaporation and when the humidity is high there is little or no evaporation.

So, if you cruise where the climate is very dry (obviously, that would NOT be in the tropics!) then a swamp cooler might be useful. Otherwise, not.
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