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Old 05-12-2017, 05:23   #1
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Affordable 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 desalination 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, 05:38   #2
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Re: Affordable Power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tidjian View Post
I'm new here so forgive me if there is a thread covering this topic.
Welcome

Quote:
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 desalination system, and any other random accessories
Of these, generally, a watermaker (desalination system) may not be workable with the capacity you have. Otherwise, you're good.

Quote:
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.
As a very general rule of thumb, you will get 5 hours x the capacity of the solar panel on an average day with a good installation and panels tilted towards the sun. 100w is 7 amps (14 volts x 7 amps = 100w), so that's 35 amp hours. Typical group 27 deep cycle batteries are a little less than 100 amp hours, so if you have two of them and they were completely discharged (which you would want to avoid for numerous reasons), you would need maybe 5 days of sun to recharge them.

With flexible panels they are usually mounted flat which will reduce the output considerably especially in higher latitudes (Great Lakes), less so near the equator.

Quote:
Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could improve on, things you personally use?
Think in terms of substantially more solar panel capacity.

Know how much power your devices draw and how many hours a day you will run them. Also consider lighting. These things will drive system design. Are you running without refrigeration? Usually refrigeration is the largest load.

Quote:
Also are there any affordable wind turbine generators for days where sunlight will be absent?
They are available but are declining in popularity as the price of solar panels drops. Wind turbines are costly to purchase and mount and are noisy in operation. The sizes that are manageable on a boat produce only modest amounts of electricity.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:10   #3
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Re: Affordable Power?

Almost all the flexible panels I’ve come across are overpriced junk.

Buy a rigid panel and build a small arch or mount on bimini frame, etc.
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Old 10-12-2017, 19:44   #4
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Re: Affordable Power?

The most effective means of managing your power will be to reduce demand. Nav lights, anchor light should be converted to LED as well as interior cabin lights. Get an outboard that has a charging circuit built in. It will only produce about 6 amps, but that could add capacity any time you are motoring.

Get as much battery capacity as you can fit and afford, 90 AH group 27 batteries are cheap.
I also think that a watermaker would be an excessive demand on a limited capacity install. Stock up on gallon jugs and learn to be a water miser.
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Old 11-12-2017, 13:10   #5
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Re: Affordable Power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Welcome



Of these, generally, a watermaker (desalination system) may not be workable with the capacity you have. Otherwise, you're good.



As a very general rule of thumb, you will get 5 hours x the capacity of the solar panel on an average day with a good installation and panels tilted towards the sun. 100w is 7 amps (14 volts x 7 amps = 100w), so that's 35 amp hours. Typical group 27 deep cycle batteries are a little less than 100 amp hours, so if you have two of them and they were completely discharged (which you would want to avoid for numerous reasons), you would need maybe 5 days of sun to recharge them.

With flexible panels they are usually mounted flat which will reduce the output considerably especially in higher latitudes (Great Lakes), less so near the equator.



Think in terms of substantially more solar panel capacity.

Know how much power your devices draw and how many hours a day you will run them. Also consider lighting. These things will drive system design. Are you running without refrigeration? Usually refrigeration is the largest load.



They are available but are declining in popularity as the price of solar panels drops. Wind turbines are costly to purchase and mount and are noisy in operation. The sizes that are manageable on a boat produce only modest amounts of electricity.
ok actual numbers . You will get about 5 amps per 100 watts. So go with 2 panels through a controller.
Convert all lighting to led, no watermaker, ( doubt you would be sailing offshore long enough to need one on your current boat. ) no refrigeration, ( if adding refer you would need to upgrade house bank to actual deep cycle min of 200 ah. ) recommend pair of gc2 )

as far as wind cheap ones are available . Mine is 400 watts (27 amps) airx marine )
cheap ones can be had on eBay for under 200
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Old 11-12-2017, 13:52   #6
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Re: Affordable Power?

My boats not that much bigger and has similar restrictions on solar quantity and I plan on a watermaker too. My solutions for long runs is hydro. This unit will give you around 1amp for ever knot of speed so you should be good for 3-5 amps 24/7, not just during daylight. https://www.energymatters.com.au/amp...je94v0e7aflr02
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Old 11-12-2017, 13:54   #7
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Re: Affordable Power?

P.S. $1500
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Old 11-12-2017, 14:01   #8
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Re: Affordable Power?

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Originally Posted by Alberg30Shill View Post
My boats not that much bigger and has similar restrictions on solar quantity and I plan on a watermaker too. My solutions for long runs is hydro. This unit will give you around 1amp for ever knot of speed so you should be good for 3-5 amps 24/7, not just during daylight. https://www.energymatters.com.au/amp...je94v0e7aflr02
sounds great except for the fact of his cruising speed of about 5kts just barely above the startup speed of this unit. Also at 1500 I would rather add more solar or even a small generator.
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Old 11-12-2017, 17:22   #9
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Re: Affordable Power?

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sounds great except for the fact of his cruising speed of about 5kts just barely above the startup speed of this unit. Also at 1500 I would rather add more solar or even a small generator.
At a startup speed of 3 knots and roughly 1 amp per knot, he should be able to generate 4-5 amps 24/7 while sailing.

Where do you propose to put 200-250 watts of additional solar panels on a 24ft boat, together for the extra batteries for storing solar power for night use?

The Jean du Sud Circumnavigation demonstrated this exact unit to be a reliable energy source.

Not much use for dock queens but great for long trips.

Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2017, 19:15   #10
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Re: Affordable Power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberg30Shill View Post
At a startup speed of 3 knots and roughly 1 amp per knot, he should be able to generate 4-5 amps 24/7 while sailing.

Where do you propose to put 200-250 watts of additional solar panels on a 24ft boat, together for the extra batteries for storing solar power for night use?

The Jean du Sud Circumnavigation demonstrated this exact unit to be a reliable energy source.

Not much use for dock queens but great for long trips.

Good luck!
check my photo gallery . The red boat is ani slander bahama 24
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Old 11-12-2017, 19:52   #11
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Re: Affordable Power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberg30Shill View Post
At a startup speed of 3 knots and roughly 1 amp per knot, he should be able to generate 4-5 amps 24/7 while sailing.

Where do you propose to put 200-250 watts of additional solar panels on a 24ft boat, together for the extra batteries for storing solar power for night use?

The Jean du Sud Circumnavigation demonstrated this exact unit to be a reliable energy source.

Not much use for dock queens but great for long trips.

Good luck!
I'm a fan of hydro generators, and have some 86,000 miles cruising with one on a previous boat. My experience is that the output vs speed curve is not linear as you claim, but actually goes up quite a bit more rapidly. This is good for powerful, fast boats but not so good for smaller vessels whose cruising speeds will typically be in the 4+/- 1 knot range

I have grave doubts that this unit will produce measurable power at 3 knots and damn little at 4 for that matter. The drag generated by the towed unit will have a greater effect upon speed in a small, light and underpowered yacht such as the G-23, so in the end, I kinda doubt your 4-5 amps 24/7 figure. Perhaps in ideal conditions, ie well off the wind and near hull speed with sail power to burn, but in lesser wind strength or with the wind forward, I'd believe maybe half of your figure on a good day.

Doesn't mean that a hydro generator wouldn't be good for him, just that it will have its limitations. And, of course, they are pretty simple to DIY, and for far less investment than the off the shelf gear.

Jim
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Old 11-12-2017, 20:53   #12
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Re: Affordable Power?

Fair comments Jim, I guess that extra 6 ft makes more of a difference than I'd allowed for. Still should be useful gear for my A30.
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Old 18-12-2017, 07:44   #13
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Re: Affordable Power?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I'm a fan of hydro generators, and have some 86,000 miles cruising with one on a previous boat. My experience is that the output vs speed curve is not linear as you claim, but actually goes up quite a bit more rapidly. This is good for powerful, fast boats but not so good for smaller vessels whose cruising speeds will typically be in the 4+/- 1 knot range

I have grave doubts that this unit will produce measurable power at 3 knots and damn little at 4 for that matter. The drag generated by the towed unit will have a greater effect upon speed in a small, light and underpowered yacht such as the G-23, so in the end, I kinda doubt your 4-5 amps 24/7 figure. Perhaps in ideal conditions, ie well off the wind and near hull speed with sail power to burn, but in lesser wind strength or with the wind forward, I'd believe maybe half of your figure on a good day.

Doesn't mean that a hydro generator wouldn't be good for him, just that it will have its limitations. And, of course, they are pretty simple to DIY, and for far less investment than the off the shelf gear.

Jim
I would be interested in learning about these and how to DIY one. I'm pretty handy. Would you mind PM me or responding with some more information? It wouldn't hurt I don't think to have an alternative power source in the event of cloudy skies or bad weather.
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Old 18-12-2017, 07:59   #14
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Re: Affordable Power?

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sounds great except for the fact of his cruising speed of about 5kts just barely above the startup speed of this unit. Also at 1500 I would rather add more solar or even a small generator.
I actually considered a small gas generator since I'll likely have an outboard motor. I won't be using it except when going in and out of port. So the stored gas on my boat will likely serve little to no use most of the time. I had looked at some smaller generators and wondered how fast one would recharge battery cells. The added weight was my biggest concern but since I'm pretty sold on upgrading boats it might not be an issue. But again it all depends because if I have to run it for several hours to recharge batteries and I run out of fuel in 3 days of using it. It's kind of senseless.

I will definitely look into the wind power if I can get one that cheap. My biggest turn off was the price of new ones.

A hydro sounds pretty good but yeah I'm not sure about speed. I guess it will depend on the boat.

As for solar panels if I ran 2 x 100w flexible panels. I would get non flexible ones but they tend to be very big and difficult to store. I wouldn't trust mounting them to the deck as most are water resistant but not waterproof. I think a good wave or heaven forbid a roleover could seriously damage them. Safer to be able to take them into the cabin at night and secure them. Also I've noted flexible ones seem to capture more sunlight since they can bend to 30į and are lightweight so they can be rigged up on an angle. Hard panels seem reliant to be flat or if they have a bracket system put on an angle. From my research flex panels are taking over the market for RV, marine and travel use. I'll definitely run a controller on them so I don't overcharge the batteries.

As for batteries themselves I was looking at deep cycle AGM. I really wanted a minimum of two in case one fails. I wouldn't be against spending the money to get 100+ AH batteries. They average around $250-350 each. Seems a worthwhile investment.

This is my new revised power plan..

As for what will be running on them. I'm going to ditch the refrigerator idea since they're horribly expensive anyways. If the boat comes with an ice maker that would be neat but otherwise I'll just have a portable electric cooler for an as needed basis. Example I catch a fish and want to keep some of it for 1-2 days. The cooler can store it at around 44 degrees in 90į heat. Not suitable for long-term storage of fruits, vegetables, dairy or meat but okay for 1-3 days depending on ambient temperatures. 5 days or longer if you can keep fresh ice in it.

Aside from that;

Sonar/GPS
Radar
VHF (only when turned on)
SSB/Pactor (only when turned on)
Laptop (likely be used a lot)
Handheld GPS/VHF (only when needing charging)
Tablet, smartphone, kindle, etc only when I feel the need.

There won't be a lot of constant power drainage other than the radar and sonar will likely be on consistently. I'll convert all nav lights to LED and cabin lights or deck lights will likely be battery powered LED. A lot of people suggested just stock up on AA batteries and lights.

Another notable thing I found a portable backpack style solar panel. Good for hiking and the sort. Has built in controller and wasn't very pricey. Says it can charge a cell phone, tablet, laptop, battery bank, etc. Takes about 10 hours to charge one but good for emergency situations. It's also waterproof and weatherproof. Had many positive reviews.
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Old 18-12-2017, 08:20   #15
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Affordable Power?

Stay away from AGM unless something drives you to having to have them, like your box wonít fit GC batteries. I sense money is an issue, and if it is you canít get a better battery than a Sams Club / Costco golf cart battery.
And that is by a large margin, not some theoretical stuff that takes lab equipment to measure. Price a couple of hundred AH in a Lifeline battery, then a Samís Club GC. Now the Lifeline is an exceptionally good, well made battery, just itís priced like one is all.

Again for the power output, ease of use etc, nothing beats a Honda 2000, there are less expensive and smaller generators, just the Honda seems to work, and last.
You will be most likely be running it a couple of times a week for a couple of hours assuming you have good Solar if you really want to take good care of the batteries, less if you can accept a shorter life from them.

You have to determine how much life your willing to accept out of a bank. It has been brought up that often times itís cheaper in the long run if you short cycle a bank and kill it early, as opposed to spending thousands of dollars to get one or two more years out of it, youíll never break even.

Many people get by with just a panel or two and a voltmeter, sure their bank doesnít last as long and needs replacing more often, but they have a simple Boat, didnít spend tons of money on electronic gadgets, and likely donít stress about their battery bank, cause once you get all the gadgets, You begin to stress over the bank, cause you now have all of this equipment that leads you to stress.
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