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Old 01-08-2013, 09:36 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by justinclay View Post
Yea ive read all abkut the batteries. Thats why i was thinking of hooking up a wind generator up to a battery by itself and running bs stuff aith that cell phones, beer fridge, little fan and so on.
You can do that too. Get a fridge that has adjustable setting to shut down at low battery voltage (NovaCool being one), a deep cycle battery, and the wind generator. Tie them together and in Illinois, you will have cold beer, sometimes.
Add more insulation to the fridge, more often.
Connect to your engine alternator, more often.
Start running a fan off it, less often.
Move to the tradewinds, always.
It's not a black & white situation, it's a balancing act, and where you are located has a lot to do with it. My setup worked great in the trades but when I got back to Cape Cod, no way would it keep up with my small fridge.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:12 AM   #22
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Justin, Stop in and say Hi on your way down the Tombigbee! I'm at Midway Marina! Jolly Time
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:28 AM   #23
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Audible Wind Meters....

We had a rutland wind generator on our cruising sailboat for two years.. installed it with great expectations. it never performed well except offshore in the trade winds.. then it amplified the feeling of the wind velocity by screaming like a banshee!. Needless to say we really hated the think. most all of the boats we cruised with that had a wind generator exchanged them for solar at some point. For the wind gen. to really work you will need to have constant winds over 15 kts. Not too many places that happens as we all try to anchor in areas that are protected from the wind.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #24
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"screaming like a banshee!"

Yup I've heard em. If ya get one I hope you stay far away from me. Those are about the most obnoxious things I've ever encountered. Should be a law against them.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:11 AM   #25
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Dont be a sissy lol. Solar panels are also not totally disregarded just have to figure a way of mounting them so they are out of the way. Im going to be on a fairly smaller vessel so keeping space empty is a must.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:58 AM   #26
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Ok now on the solar panels do you just run the solar panel to some sort of a control box and from the box to a battery or the batteries????anybody have a diagram ???? And what wattage did everybody run???
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:52 PM   #27
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I sorta stood back and listened to this thread for a while or so. Post #7 asked the appropriate questions. What size is your boat? That predicates how much solar you have room for. Also predicates what size battery bank you have. What size draw is your fridge and others... (tv, music, computer time,, etc. /...) I live in the tropics. I have had both wind machines and solars on my sailboat. We had a 4 cu. ft. freezer/fridge. We used a tv w/DVD player for entertainment, music system, and used our SSB for email and weather plus intership comms and reasonable night 12 V. lighting. The Air-X wind genny produced no more than 6-8 amps of charging to the batteries during the daylight hours (yup daylight... the winds die down at night even down here in the trades...) with the normal 15-18 kt. winds. The maximum charging current showed 20 amps at an uncomfortable 20-25 kts. (whether it be Air-X or KISS, or others, the power outputs of any unit increases by the square of the air volume passing over the turbine. ) We had limited space for solars and only had panels totaling 200 watts. These 200 watts available only produced maximum amps during the 1000 to 1500 timeframe. This could be slightly increased by orienting the panels to direct light. Long sermon for a short outcome... You are in the States and you do not have steady trade wind type breezes and you do not have direct sunlight. Both of these alternate energy options are good but limited to your environment. If you have the room, put on as much as you can afford - any amount of power is better than nothing. But I do not see them providing your full requirements and thus living off the grid while cruising. You will need a genset of some type.

We moved all of this equipment to the trawler and they helped. But their combination does not provide enough power in this new situation to warrant their expense. I would add more solar panels as the money becomes available, but would not replace or upgrade the wind machine.

As an aside, the Air-X has great features but they are very noisy. We always tried to anchor as far down wind of the rest of the fleet IOT limit my interference both audible and the great amount of RFI created when it was running at speed. I had to shut the thing down during the usual comms periods as its RFI completely blocked the HF freqs. (Although, my wife said it was the sound of cold beer.)
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:06 PM   #28
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Thanks appreciate the insight. Electronics is something im slowly sponge'ing information on do you have a wire diagram or website ? I've been researching it and a lot of people show but not broken down in "lemans terms". And what size generator is enough ?? I mean the bigger the better no worries but like i stated before room is going to be an issue, money limits my size of boat and i dont mind the smaller vessel i really dont. At the same time i dont want a bunch of stuff taking up room. What size generator does everyone else have and size vessel are you on? Do you draw a lot of power throughout the day? How long do you run it?
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:22 AM   #29
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beer fridge,

Here is the problem , a fridge of any style is the biggest power hog onboard.

Many will eat the output of 2 large solar panels plus the noisy wind machine .

A simpler solution is to take advantage of modern materials and purchase a GREAT ice box.

Sure its $300+ but its silent and works 100% of the time , unlike solar or wind.

Block ice is cheap, when you find it.

If you will be living aboard for years the smaller propane fridge/freezer will go 40 days on a 20# propane bottle.

Refrigeration + electric , forgetaboutit with out BIG bucks.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:02 AM   #30
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Here is a link to a comparative test review of various brands of wind generators carried out by Practical Sailor recently: http://www.naviclub.com/Test_compara...nes_marine.pdf

Reading this and the comments of experienced sailors, my conclusion is that solar panels are significantly better than wind generators on several fronts (including output and noise). Wind generators are chosen by sailors over solar panels only because most sailboats have limited room to mount panels. On most (not all) trawlers, this is not such a problem so solar panels make more sense.

If on the other hand you are going to have a genset on board anyway, the case for having wind or solar is much weaker: sure you might shorten genset run-times a bit, but the cost of a little extra genset time vs the capital cost and hassle of installing & maintaining wind and/or solar has to be pretty marginal. The exception to this would be boats that are on swing moorings rather than marinas with shorepower access , during non-cruising times. Although it is relatively easy to set up a genset to auto-start when battery low set-points are reached, most of us don't like the idea of a diesel engine starting up when we're not aboard to monitor. So on a swing mooring, to keep batteries charged and bilge pumps active, a solar panel (or if no room, wind generator) might make sense.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:35 AM   #31
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The big advantage of solar is its ability to actually bring the house to 100% SOC.

A noisemaker is usually secured at 85-90% SOC as that last 10% takes "forever".

Happily some days solar works many many hours silently bringing the house set back up.

With a large bank the service life of 85% SOC vs 100% SOC could easily pay for a solar panel or two, and a charge controller.

AS a buck a watt is getting more common , why not?
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:51 AM   #32
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Even a controller is unnecessary if your solar system's total output over 24 hrs is less than 3% of the total amp/hr rating of your battery bank. You can't overcharge at that rate. Justin, I would plan on solar panels and bag the wind gen. (Average cost of new wind sets are c. $1000 -$2500 for new units - plus the mounting hardware) As previous comments have said, you can get alot of solar for the same price - especially on the size boat you are talking about. You can probablly mount a couple of panels totaling 200-300 watts and wire them directly to your battery bank. If you are worried about over charging while the main engine is running, it is quite simple to put a disconnect in the circuit - it can't hurt the panels. If you have the normal battery bank of four 6 V. deep cycle - you can't run into trouble. As your battery bank gets bigger, you can add more solar without modification. You will still need, IMHO, a small (ie; Honda 1Kw or 2Kw) genset as a fail safe. And, I know this is another thread - but don't use automotive battery chargers - be sure you have a fully grounded marine charger (IOTA, perhaps, or others...)
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:34 AM   #33
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Until you get to the Gulf, you will probably find both solar and wind unreliable. There is a reason that you will see a lot of house boats on the rivers. They don't like wind, and there are many overcast days. If you are running most every day, a large battery bank with about a 120 amp alternator/3 stage regulator should keep the batteries in good shape. You haven't mentioned an inverter, but if so an efficient one will still consume about 10% of the power.

You can mount solar panels on a rack above a bimini top. In florida and the islands solar should work quite well, but would still require 50% if you want them to last.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:59 AM   #34
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Houseboats dont handle chop very well hence the reason im not even contemplating the idea of one. Solar panels it is then bc there are days when the sun is bright and strong so itll def help. We also get hell storms up here that produce wicked winds. So wind generagor still isent off the list yet
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:07 PM   #35
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I agee with FF at post #31 above...he makes a good & valid point about bringing batteries to 100%.
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