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Old 18-09-2020, 19:14   #1
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Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

I have an '83 Endeavour E33 with old Lead-acid batteries that have failed/failing. So I need to replace them.

The boat is new-to-me and the electrical system is not going to work for me as I will be mooring and not in a slip. There's no solar or wind or genset. Only the alternator on the engine.

I would like eventually to have 1 LA starter battery and 200ah of 24v but for now, I can get buy on 1 LA starter (recharged by the alternator) and 100ah of 12v for weekend and possibly week long trips around Lake Michigan (Chicago is home).

I'm looking for a company to help setup such a system, including a tower over the bimini, solar, controllers, batteries ... etc Any suggestions?

I'm handy enough to install everything myself so I'm looking for a big box with everything I need. (Wouldn't that be a dream!)
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Old 18-09-2020, 19:50   #2
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

new boat is always exciting. Being on a mooring it will be nice to keep those batteries topped up & healthy and extend their lifespan.

We can certainly help you out with the solar panels and other components, as an authorized dealer for SunPower we're focused on the marine market and carry the SunPower flexible panels (50W, 110W, 170W) and SunPower fixed frame panels (370W, 410W) www.sunpoweredyachts.com

The flex panels have a lot of advantages; lightweight they can be installed onto a bimini or dodger are low profile/discreet and powerful. If you are looking more at the fixed frame solar panels the big consideration is how to support their weight (40lbs each), you should check out Atlantic Towers and the arches/towers they offer.
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Old 19-09-2020, 05:47   #3
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

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Originally Posted by SunPoweredYachts View Post
...
The flex panels have a lot of advantages; lightweight they can be installed onto a bimini or dodger are low profile/discreet and powerful.
...
My plan is to NOT have the bimini up while moored. It's in really good shape so I want to keep it that way until I really need it for longer trips etc... Although, if you have an alternative to mounting flex on the canvas, I'm all ears.

Atlantic Towers looks like an interesting solution.

But what about hinged flip-out side or aft panels? That's an option too.
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Old 19-09-2020, 06:25   #4
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Batteries: Concensus goes toward flooded or AGM, and toward Duracell sold by Sam's. If you want to get into Lithium, it's a whole 'nother ball game.

Genset. Solar's great, wind's great, but unless you are planning to keep very careful track of your energy use, a separate genset with it's own isolated starter battery even protects you when everything goes flat and you can't start the engine. Do you have space for a small diesel, or would it be better to get a small Honda gas generator and a fuel can, planning to use it only as backup? We do both. We could lose everything, and build it back up from a pull-start Ryobi generator.

Battery charging. Same on wind and solar, but a sophisticated voltage regulator (Balmar) treats your batteries to tender loving care. Having a genset lets you do the same with a sophisticated battery charger.

General thought. I'm a fan of redundant systems, and covering all the scenarios I can contemplate. That goes for navigation as well as energy. That leads to a very happy, worry-free cruising life. A few times, it has meant a minor problem to solve in a few minutes rather than having to call for help.
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Old 19-09-2020, 06:28   #5
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Something as simple as a baby generator and an adaptor so that it can be plugged into your shore power inlet greatly improves quality of life.
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Old 19-09-2020, 09:40   #6
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeBee View Post
I have an '83 Endeavour E33 with old Lead-acid batteries that have failed/failing. So I need to replace them.

The boat is new-to-me and the electrical system is not going to work for me as I will be mooring and not in a slip. There's no solar or wind or genset. Only the alternator on the engine.

I would like eventually to have 1 LA starter battery and 200ah of 24v but for now, I can get buy on 1 LA starter (recharged by the alternator) and 100ah of 12v for weekend and possibly week long trips around Lake Michigan (Chicago is home).

I'm looking for a company to help setup such a system, including a tower over the bimini, solar, controllers, batteries ... etc Any suggestions?

I'm handy enough to install everything myself so I'm looking for a big box with everything I need. (Wouldn't that be a dream!)
Why 24 volt?
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:01   #7
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Why do you want 24 volts on a 33 ft sailboat? Very unusual.

There are lots of ways to DIY hinge mount panels on your lifelines. But beware, when I was on a mooring (for many years in Montrose harbor) everything had to be locked up or it was gone.

I sailed in Chicago for 20 years, you don't need to use solar to keep up your batteries. Just run the engine in and out of the harbor. Sail instruments and radios don't draw much power.

Also, for best engine life get the engine hot at least once on days you take the boat out. 15 minute runs in and out of the harbor are not healthy. It has to get up to full operating temperature.
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:06   #8
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Hello, you could do a nice solar install your self, you would know the system, be familiar with all the components and save some money.

I have a Pearson 303 on a mooring in Rhode Island with solar. A 50 watt rigid panel mounted off the stern rail, no shading, powering two 12V Flood 100A batteries.

The batteries are always topped off. I use very few amps during my stay on the boat which may not be the case with others.

Do an engery audit and see how many amps you really need daily.

Two good sources of information:

https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/

https://www.pysystems.ca/products/power/solar-panel/

Good luck
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:11   #9
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

If you're going to start from scratch, you might want to look at the Integrel power solution (https://integrelsolutions.com/). Nigel Calder helped develop it and his overview video is at
https://youtu.be/P27mNwiJbvQ
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:38   #10
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeBee View Post
I have an '83 Endeavour E33 with old Lead-acid batteries that have failed/failing. So I need to replace them.

The boat is new-to-me and the electrical system is not going to work for me as I will be mooring and not in a slip. There's no solar or wind or genset. Only the alternator on the engine.

I would like eventually to have 1 LA starter battery and 200ah of 24v but for now, I can get buy on 1 LA starter (recharged by the alternator) and 100ah of 12v for weekend and possibly week long trips around Lake Michigan (Chicago is home).

I'm looking for a company to help setup such a system, including a tower over the bimini, solar, controllers, batteries ... etc Any suggestions?

I'm handy enough to install everything myself so I'm looking for a big box with everything I need. (Wouldn't that be a dream!)
If you're planning on maxing out the solar then maybe these could come in handy https://www.mantusmarine.com/mantus-rail-clamp/ Of course you'd need hard rails to use them. Solar and LIFPo4 seem to go well together and due to the fact that the flexible panels tend to burn themselves out, I'd lean toward mounting the rigid panels parallel wired with separate controllers for each to control any shading inefficiencies. Hard biminis are also a great way to add solar and are quite comfortable when the weather gets bad.
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Old 19-09-2020, 15:44   #11
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Upgrade you propose is huge. Best solution is evolution, but that takes a lot of time l& lot and rework, not ideal for many reasons.


If you going to live on the boat from the start on a mooring suggest you get a small Honda generator, or Mount panels on safety rail to get you past the planning stage, get a monitoring device on your consumption. Think I ended up with 4 times the solar that I originally anticipated, so plan for big expansion.
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Old 19-09-2020, 19:25   #12
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

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Why do you want 24 volts on a 33 ft sailboat? Very unusual.
24v is becoming more and more normal and the current (amps) requirements are reduced with 24v.

I won't be sailing around Chicago forever and I have some unusual power requirements (HF Amateur Radio is a power drain, for example)
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Old 19-09-2020, 19:39   #13
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeBee View Post
24v is becoming more and more normal and the current (amps) requirements are reduced with 24v.

I won't be sailing around Chicago forever and I have some unusual power requirements (HF Amateur Radio is a power drain, for example)
It amounts to the same thing really. Yes, less current, but you need twice as many batteries to achieve 24 volts, unless of course you have half the capacity. Some items will have to be 12 volts, vhf for example. You may also find that 24 volt items are more expensive and harder to find. It also means new alternator and starter for the engine.

24 volts does make sense on large boats as the wire sizes are smaller. 33' is not a large boat.

I just last week finished a rewire of a 42' powerboat that was 24 volts. We installed 2 DC-DC converters, one aft and one at the panel for 12 volt items - items that couldn't be purchased in 24 volts.

I do not think I would want 24 volts unless the boat was approaching 50', and I would think twice even then. That is at the build stage. I would not change from 12 to 24 volts if the boat was already built.
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Old 19-09-2020, 19:49   #14
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeBee View Post
24v is becoming more and more normal and the current (amps) requirements are reduced with 24v.

I won't be sailing around Chicago forever and I have some unusual power requirements (HF Amateur Radio is a power drain, for example)
24 volts is more normal on larger boats with heavy current loads like windlass and electric winches, not on 33 footers.

Every marine SSB and ham HF radio I have ever owned has been 12 volt. If you install a 24 volt battery you will need a voltage converter. But for best results with an HF rig you will want a buck booster to get to 13.8 volts.

In an earlier thread you wrote about wanting to add a windlass. They are available with 24 volt motors which would require lighter wire. However, since everything else aboard your boat (lighting, water pumps, bilge pumps, radios, etc) will most likely be 12 volt there is little point going to 24 volt. You would also need a 24 volt alternator to supplement the windlass - best to have the engine running while raising anchor.

As was discussed in your earlier thread: Learn to sail with what you have, gain experience, and then decide your path forward.
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Old 19-09-2020, 19:58   #15
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Re: Wanted: Suggestions for end-to-end solar installation

Thanks for all advice from all. I'm still not sold on doing 12v vs 24v but to start my load requirements are light and one 100ah 12v is going to satisfy my needs.
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