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Old 01-25-2014, 07:35 AM   #41
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An update for our previously posted plans: We installed 4 120 watt panels with two Morningstar Sunsaver Duo controllers. Two panels are controlled by one controller and charge the start bank and one house bank, The other two panels are controlled by the other controller and charge the other house bank, and will charge the future thruster bank.

We have not been connected to shore power since October 31rst. So far everything is working out fine except I need more batteries. We have 4 Trojan T-105s. I would like to have 4 more.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:31 AM   #42
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OR??? A more efficient reefer???

AS the reefer is usually the power hog on most boats.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:20 AM   #43
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We have a Vertifrigo fridge that uses 4.8 amps at 12 volts. We use a lot of power for computers and other electronics. On sunny days the panels recharge the batteries pretty quick and then set idle the rest of the day. Then if we have 3 or 4 cloudy days in a row we have to run the generator. More storage capacity would help on those days.
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Old 01-25-2014, 01:02 PM   #44
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Kudos to you! I can't go two hours without my genny.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:18 AM   #45
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Greetings all. I am a recent convert to trawlers after 30+ yrs of sailing. Missing for me in this thread is any mention of evaluating the daily amp hrs you are trying to replace and therefore the daily amp hrs you want to get from your system. You need a lot less energy and therefore a smaller installation to keep the batteries topped off when the boat is not in use or stored than you do when using the boat to its fullest and enjoying your ice cream. Additionally, the size of the area you have available for the installation will impose a restraint to the amount of energy the panels can supply. Evaluating those elements will help guide you to the size and type of installation that makes sense for your boat and how you typically use it.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:25 AM   #46
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Missing for me in this thread is any mention of evaluating the daily amp hrs you are trying to replace and therefore the daily amp hrs you want to get from your system.

Cruisers with a SOC meter simply glance at the readout to see how there doing.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:59 AM   #47
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Agree. State of Charge meters can help you plan a system and tell you what you are using if you take the time to monitor it over time. It didn't sound like Ian had one at the start of the thread. If you don't have one, you'll be well served to break out the manuals and compute the amp hr demands of key systems, appliances and electronics to decide on solar system capacity.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:30 AM   #48
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new technology

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Old 02-27-2014, 06:36 AM   #49
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I need as much solar as I can get

However there will still be times when your bat set is FINALLY at 100% and the sun is still shining.

Best solution for this is a 12V or 24V (system match) element in the HW heater.

Nice to have HW with no engine or noisemaker time.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:58 AM   #50
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Hot Water Heaters

...and speaking of hot water heaters, isn't the old style water heater tank a rather inefficient item? Why store hot water all day for one or two uses? Aren't the 'instantaneous hot water heaters' a more efficient why to go?

Sorry for thread drift. Perhaps someone can direct us to a good discussion of this hot water subject ?
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:21 PM   #51
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As Bruce K wrote in the early stages of this thread I have installed 3x130 panels purchased off ebay on top of my biminy on an aluminum frame and connected to a Morningstar controller which is not an MPPT. As I am away from the boat for extended periods I also have two 20w panels dedicated one each, to the start batteries,a controller connected for each battery.
My experience has been over that time is that with 440ah of house battery I am almost self-sufficient over a 2-3 weeks on the boat running all my appliances which does include a "Nevercold" which after 28years is still running fine although is by far the power hog of all power hogs! I say almost as my BEP battery monitor does shoe that over time my batteries dont come fully to charge until I run the motors which I do as we cruise Sydney Harbour over that period. In other words normal running of any boat over an extended period. In these times we never go into a marina and we are on a swing mooring.
Each time we come back to the boat the batteries are fully charged and we start the process all over again. I am wondering if an MPPT controller may make us more efficient at the collection point and then a wind generator such as Peter B has done or an upgrade to the alternators so they produce the shortfall quicker. I know a replacement refrigerator is possibly the answer but at 2500 here in Aus for the same size and the work required to get the old one out has me shaking at the knees Suggestions would be welcome.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:42 PM   #52
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John, 390w of panel don`t fill your batteries. How much battery?
Friends we will soon cruise with have fitted replacement MPPTs, I will see how they work and report. They run a fridge and freezer on a 31ft sailboat(yacht) and need all the amps they can get. They are considering an extra fold up panel paired set(easily found on Ebay), to augment for extended cruising.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:38 AM   #53
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440 ah Bruce. I suspect the controller is cutting back on charge for the last part of the charge which gives us a slight deficit over time. We had the 2 grandchildren from Perth with us over Christmas/New Year with their Ipods Tablets etc as well as our own electronics so it was a challenge managing the power but they caught on real quick to charge their devices during the day when there was sun. I will be interested to hear from your real time experience on your friends boat in regards to MPPT controllers.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:11 AM   #54
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Solar is down to a dollar a watt. Then add a controller, getting quite reasonable.

Because we can't orient the panels towards the sun, they have to lay flat, sometimes it rains, which cuts the charge even further. Therefore plan about a third more panel capacity than you think you will need. I am planning 5 panels, 500 watts, to start.

Still investigating controllers.

I have been looking at a place in Qualicum Beach - try and Google solar and Q.B. And check them out. With a crappy dollar again you Yanks should do well.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:24 AM   #55
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When I was in Port Townsend I had 7 x 260 W panels installed, mostly on a custom built hardtop. Panels are Suniva. Controllers are Outback - needed 2.

Don't bother with low wattage panels, put high wattage, higher voltage ones on. In PT it was easy to have 60 A at +12V (charge voltage...) going into the batteries from the panels, despite them being flat, and inevitably some shading on some of them.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:41 AM   #56
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Aren't the 'instantaneous hot water heaters' a more efficient why to go?

In a small low load dirt house , perhaps , on a boat almost never

Take a look at the power requirement for an electric unit , its MASSIVE !! to heat water , so might take most of the noisemaker power while doing dishes or a shower.

The propane units can deliver 75,000 to 150,000 BTU of heat far easier , but some folks have an irrational fear of propane.
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