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Old 05-12-2017, 05:35   #1
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Affordable sustained power?

I'm new here so forgive me if there is a thread covering this topic.

I am trying to put together a reasonable power source for my Grampian 23' sailboat. Ideally for extended stays off shore. She is primarily used on the great lakes but I may venture to coastal sailing along the Atlantic and down to the Caribbean. It's a long term plan, nothing I'm rushing into or doing next month.

Since I haven't really been off shore longer than a couple days I haven't had much reason for extended self sufficient power. But now I want to start planning and prepations.

Right now I'm looking at a flexible 100w 12-24v solar panel with the control. From there obviously I have my marine battieries (two) and a 300w power inverter. I also have a small solar panel phone/tablet charger for emergencies.

What I'll need on power will be;

GPS/Sonar, radio, small outboard 10HP motor, tablet, laptop, phone, possibly a destination system, and any other random accessories

I'm not sure how long the solar panel would take to charge a standard marine battery in good sunlight. Since I'll be offshore extended amounts of time I suppose time is all I'll have. However I want to make sure I'm equipped.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could improve on, things you personally use? Also are there any affordable wind turbine generators for days where sunlight will be absent?
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:56   #2
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

a 100w panel will give you aprox 50AH per day of power in good light conditions

a laptop will use aprox 1-2 AH per hour or used as a chart plotter and on all the time,24-48AH per day.

factor in your other devices like nav lights,cabin lights ,gps,a fan,inverter,auto pilot etc

it would seem like 200w of solar would be more suitable,when sailing.
also remember your sails will be leaving the deck in shadow for at least half of daylight hours on such a small boat.

air X wind generators are well proven,and put out loads of power.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:02   #3
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

I thought for that sort of latitude you're looking at dividing the wattage by bout 4 or 5 to get a rough estimate of panel output in amps for a good sunny day.

So that 100w panel is going to give you around 20-25amps per day.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:08   #4
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

I'm curious when installing a turbine should you put it in a permanent mount on the deck? Or should you make sure it's removable. I'm just wondering if one good wave in a storm would snap that thing right off or damage the components. I'm very new to turbines and solar so I don't know what they can or can't handle. I was leaning towards the flexible solar panel since it says "water resistant" but I could always easily bring it inside in bad weather. Not sure about a turbine or how to even stop the blades safely to dismount it if I had to take it inside.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:14   #5
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

Yeah, that far north I don't think you're going to get 50ah in a day. If you are really lucky, you might get 40ah. I wouldn't count on more than about 35ah, though.

Curious about listing the outboard as something you "need on power." Are you using an electric starter for the outboard? It is small enough to pull start, and I would strongly recommend that. In fact, you can get small alternators for many outboards in that size range, and that would help to charge your battery when it is running.

The basic steps are to, first, figure out how much energy you need. Then to calculate how much solar capacity is required to provide that. If you have all of the electrical consumers already, then you can figure out your energy budget now. If you don't then I would move slowly, as far as buying solar panels, until you are further along with getting your equipment, and have a clearer idea of just how much energy you will really need.

Either that, or just buy as many solar panels as you can fit and/or afford. You'll surely find something to do with any excess that you generate.

Good luck.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:16   #6
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
a 100w panel will give you aprox 50AH per day of power in good light conditions

a laptop will use aprox 1-2 AH per hour or used as a chart plotter and on all the time,24-48AH per day.

factor in your other devices like nav lights,cabin lights ,gps,a fan,inverter,auto pilot etc

it would seem like 200w of solar would be more suitable,when sailing.
also remember your sails will be leaving the deck in shadow for at least half of daylight hours on such a small boat.

air X wind generators are well proven,and put out loads of power.
Point well made and received. Yes cabin/nav lights at night for sure. Other than that the only things running constant will be a gps/sonar. (Which I'm also still researching which ones are better for ocean sailing.) Anything else would be running here and there. Engine obviously only for getting in and out of port. I was seriously considering a small gas generator for true emergencies to recharge batteries but I'll have to consider weight restrictions.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:24   #7
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Yeah, that far north I don't think you're going to get 50ah in a day. If you are really lucky, you might get 40ah. I wouldn't count on more than about 35ah, though.

Curious about listing the outboard as something you "need on power." Are you using an electric starter for the outboard? It is small enough to pull start, and I would strongly recommend that. In fact, you can get small alternators for many outboards in that size range, and that would help to charge your battery when it is running.

The basic steps are to, first, figure out how much energy you need. Then to calculate how much solar capacity is required to provide that. If you have all of the electrical consumers already, then you can figure out your energy budget now. If you don't then I would move slowly, as far as buying solar panels, until you are further along with getting your equipment, and have a clearer idea of just how much energy you will really need.

Either that, or just buy as many solar panels as you can fit and/or afford. You'll surely find something to do with any excess that you generate.

Good luck.
Right now it just has a switch start on it with a cable running to my battery. I will definitely look into an alternator for it as I've never considered that.

I would likely be setting off around Nova Scotia area then sailing south along the eastern coastline. From there I'm mostly looking at the Carribean until I truly get my feet wet and know this is for me. After that I would likely resupply somewhere and maybe take the Panama and attempt my first ocean crossing. Again there's a lot of factors involved before I get to that point but the principal will mostly be the same even if I just turn around and head home. I don't intend on making port often so I want to make sure I'm prepared for extended stays offshore. I also may invest in a larger single mass boat before I take this adventure.

Thanks for the tip I will start calculating!
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:30   #8
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Re: Affordable sustained power?

First off you should get your two threads combined. Hit the little exclamation point and leave a note for the moderators.
Secondly, and I hate to be the guy to say this as a small boat owner myself. You might find your 3500# boat uncomfortable for your future plans, especially crossing the Pacific. Consider one of the bigger Grampians perhaps? Your 20 gallon water tank will require you to carry Jerry cans which will make the boat feel more tender. Check out atom voyages small boat list for cheap and more suitable off shore vessels. Sorry to be that guy.

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