I was joking about the 6 batteries! Sort of. I currently have 4 L-16 type flooded cell batteries for the house bank. They are 375 amp hour deep cell 6 volt batteries. They lasted about 7 years and I'll be replacing them VERY shortly. I would have replaced them with 4 Fullriver DC400-6 AGM
batteries. This would give me 800 amp hours. I would have ordered them, but I recently heard that Surrette/Rolls was coming out with an AGM
solution and I am waiting to see what they offer. I have 1 AGM starter battery
, it is used to start both engines. We currently have 1 24 volt BP 175 watt solar panel (mounted across dinghy
davits), Air X wind generator
, a Kipor 2400 watt portable generator and 2 55 amp stock alternators on Yanmar 3YM30
engines. We stopped using the engines as a source of power after 3 months or so. They were new engines and I was adding all kind of hours to them and the fuel cost was getting silly. I had the wind generator but I then added the panel to see what it would do. It proved to be a VERY pleasant surprise. With the wind and solar I found I would only have to run my portable every other day or so, when I was making water. The wind generator however proved not as good as the solar. I broke some blades, expensive to replace. I anchored in spots where there was very little wind. I found I was running the portable 1-2 hours a day to keep up when the wind generator was not working. Thus, it is my intent to get 2 more panels for a total capacity of 510 watts. This should cover our usage under normal conditions. I'll put the wind generator back up, that should fill in the no sun void and I'll have the portable as a back-up.
The battery capacity I have has been fairly optimal for our utilization while cruising. It allowed us to periodically live with no sun and no wind and still not have to run our portable generator constantly. After having used it for years, I admit to being a big fan of the portable generators as a backup source! They are inexpensive, relatively speaking, reliable, easy to install, and not that noisy. Since I have to carry gasoline for the dinghy motor anyway, it did not increase my worries about carrying this HIGHLY flammable substance on the boat. I was originally looking at a diesel
genset, but the noise
, expense and weight were prohibitive for me. I don't use high output altenators, I'd put the $$$ I would spend on them into additional solar other power generating sources.
My experience is you won't get 2400 watts out of 300 watts of panels, normally. To get 2400 watts, I think you're going to need something closer to 500 watts of panels. I have an Outback MX60 MPPT
controller for my panels. This allows me to optimize/maximize the output of the panels. It also lets me use 24 volt panels in my 12 volt boat.
While underway, the autopilot is the MOST pleasant piece of equipment
I have on the boat. My wife and I hand steered our boat 500 or so miles, and let me tell you, it is not the most fun thing to do. We finally got our autopilot installed and squared away after that first trip. It was such a difference. We set the autopilot, get a book, go to the bow (see better up there, no sails in the way) and just enjoy! The darn thing steers better than we do too, even in high seas.
We will replace our mast anchor
light with an LED unit. Since we run it from dusk to dawn it consumes quite a bit of energy. We have some fluorescents, and we'll replace some of our other lighting
with LED's. Maybe not all, for reading, I like a bright light, so I make keep the halogen in our cabin
and one in the salon
. I am not sure about the navigation
lights as of yet, not sure the energy savings is worth the cost.
For us, refrigeration
is our top energy consumer. I will spend some significant time and $$$$ rebuilding the freezer
box. I did this for the refrigerator
and it paid wonderful dividends in terms of energy savings. I didn't have the time to do it for the freezer
, but it is number 2 on my pre-cruising list.