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Old 06-29-2022, 08:14 AM   #21
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The DC generator sounds intriguing. There are more discussions about powering boats fully through the inverters, not the generators, even for high VAC loads. These are generally centered around 48V house banks. In those cases it makes sense to have a DC generator for charging.
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Old 06-29-2022, 07:28 PM   #22
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It is really interesting to learn how everyone has set up their solar charging and battery systems, here is our setup:

“Our Island” has 4 – 80 Watt Renogy monocrystalline solar panels installed flat on the helm’s hardtop. The panels each have an optimum operating current/voltage of 4.3 amps and 18.6 volts. They are connected two in parallel, and the two groups are then connected in series to isolate the impact of shading from the mast. The full array has an optimum operating current/voltage of 8.3 amps and 37.2 volts. The array is connected to the battery bank via a Victron 75/10 MPPT controller wired with pre and post isolation fuse/switches. We isolate the solar panels from the battery bank when traveling, running the generator or when on shore power – we choose to keep things simple and only have one source of power for battery charging at a time.

The battery bank includes 4 Lifeline GPL-8DL AGM batteries providing 1000 rated amp hours. The battery bank is large but it serves as the starter battery for the engine and a generator while providing power for the house, stern thruster and the electric winch for lifting the tender off the upper deck. Our house needs during fair weather boating are primarily the refrigerator and lights with the occasional hour or two of streaming TV entertainment. Winter boating would impose additional demands to power electric fans and circulation pumps for the diesel fueled Wabasto coolant heater. A fifth independent 8D AGM powers a bow thruster and the anchor winch.

On good days the solar panels handle most of our prime daylight power demands and the battery bank sees a daily deficient of about 30 to 40 amp hours a day. When solar power is limited, our NEXT GEN 3.5kW generator can be used to charge the batteries. With good weather we can remain at anchor for 3 nights without needing to charge the batteries (batteries around 12.5 volts; 70 to 75% charge level). Given our reliance on the one bank of batteries for starting both the engine and the generator we conservatively limit the level of discharge before charging with the generator or moving on.

On the move, voltage from a 100 amp Leece-Neville alternator is regulated by a multi-stage MC-614 Balmar Regulator powering an older Heart Interface Freedom 2500 Watt Inverter/charger to recharge the battery bank; and if needed invert power to a smaller 10 amp battery charger to recharge the independent 8D AGM.

On long cruses I have always found somewhere to tuck our old trusty Honda EU2000i into a locker – always good to have a Plan C.
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Old 06-29-2022, 08:22 PM   #23
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The gen start is in the ER. I was concerned what to do it the gen battery goes flat. I had a separate cable run to the house batteries. It wont charge the gen battery, it will only provide power to start the gen. If the gen battery is flat, I drop into the ER, turn the switch start the gen via the house battery, turn the switch to isolate the gen battery from the house bank and I am back to normal.
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Old 06-29-2022, 08:30 PM   #24
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There is a good article in Passagemaker Magazine, "The sound of Silence". It's a step by step setup of a solar array system. One of the takeaways I got, and one that Twistedtree, alluded to, was how important the solar panel is when it comes to shading, and how they are mounted to keep them cool/vented.
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Old 07-01-2022, 01:52 PM   #25
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Congratulations on your new boat! You will love the Selene. We bought a Selene 57 a little over a year ago and it's worked extremely well. We just got back from the Bahamas and Florida where we spent over 4 months on the hook and cruising. Shortly after we bought the boat we installed a new (soft) bimini cover with 8 175W soft Renogy solar panels for 1,400W total. It's been a game changer for us and has worked extremely well. We installed a Renogy controller, and I would go with a Victron controller if I did it over again. The Renogy app doesn't work very well.

The system you install depeds on how you will be using your boat. I have 6 4D Lifeline AGM batteries in the house bank for 630 A-hr @ 24VDC. Someday I may replace them with LiFePo batteries.

The 8 175W (1400W total) solar panels was just about right. I read somewhere that a good approximation is to triple the total system wattage to get the day's power production in W-Hr. So in theory I should be generating 1400 x 3 = 4,200W-Hr per day. The actual is very close to that. My usage is about 10A x 24hrs x 24V or 5,760W per day @ 24V. So the solar is producing about 70-75% of my usage. I need to run the generator about a hour or two per day to make water (30GPH watermaker), so I do that in the morning when the batteries are low. Generator and battery charger will operate in bulk charge mode to quickly charge the batteries and load up the generator. When the generator is turned off, the solar will charge the batteries slowly in absorption and float mode until they are completly charged. By the next morning the batteries are back down to about 65%. It really works very well.

PM me if you would like to know more specifics.

Richard
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Old 07-01-2022, 02:09 PM   #26
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On our 37 Nordic Tug in northern Maine, we have 2x350w panels in series to a Victron 150/60, 2x300w panels in parallel to a Morningstar TriStar, and a single 300w panel to a Victron 100/30. Our house bank is 8xLifeline AGM 220 Ah 6v batteries (originally 880 AHr but testing at 800 after 12 years). We have an externally regulated 200 A bus alternator.

We are an all electric boat with an estimated 250 A needed per day at anchor where we spend 90% of our time. Our loads at anchor are refrigerator, freezer, heavy electronics usage, TV, microwave, coffee pot, kettle, stereo, small convection oven, an induction cooktop plus the normal small DC loads such as LED lighting.

Our 700w panels are new this season and we have seen an average of around 3 kwhr of production per day from our complete system before all panels essentially shut down with the battery bank at 100%. Admittedly the weather has been ideal, cool, only 25% cloud, and one solid day of rain when we dropped to 74%. Regardless, we have reached 100% by around 2:00 pm. On most days, we have found that we can run our 1500w water heater for an hour around mid morning while we are still in bulk charging and still get there.

We will be monitoring our output carefully this season to optimize water heating and are looking to implement a load dump system to automate this.
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Old 07-01-2022, 02:43 PM   #27
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Size of solar power.

As mentioned previously install a Victron or Balmar battery monitor and determine what your actual battery amp hour usage is. Using that info you can factor in what your battery bank size is and how many solar panels you might need.
Now, on my 43' 1984 Ocean Alexander I use approximately 200 amp hours per day as calculated by my Victron 712 battery monitor. I have a single battery bank for house and engine starting made up of 6- 6 volt flooded cell golf cart batteries with a total of 660 amp hours capacity with 330 amp hours useable. I have 2 -Trina 330 watt panels wired in series feeding a Victron 150/60 mppt controller. I have anchored out 3 days without having to run the generator.
I need to run the generator for A/C, hot water, or to run my electric stove/oven. Your mileage may vary but depending on how sunny it is you can run the genny at your convenience. I am very happy with my install. I am located in southern Lake Michigan. Hope this helps.


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Old 07-01-2022, 06:26 PM   #28
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Never thought I would like a 24v 200a DC generator. It's a Fischer-Panda and very quiet. It's always fully loaded when charging the house bank. I use it quite a bit. It turns out to be the backup when rain or clouds limit the solar charge.

I set it to auto start at 50% charge and bring the house up to 80%, hoping the solar will take over. Might change that to let the house bank discharge a bit further.

Alex
Wait, a dedicated generator to charge batteries? Slick! Haven't come across that yet. So when your bank hits a certain point, the Fischer-Panda starts up and charges them to a certain point?
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:32 PM   #29
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Our loads at anchor are refrigerator, freezer, heavy electronics usage, TV, microwave, coffee pot, kettle, stereo, small convection oven, an induction cooktop plus the normal small DC loads such as LED lighting.
What brand and model is your 'small convection oven'?

I am thinking about going to an induction stove top but have yet to find an oven replace.
Thanks
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:52 AM   #30
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Wait, a dedicated generator to charge batteries? Slick! Haven't come across that yet. So when your bank hits a certain point, the Fischer-Panda starts up and charges them to a certain point?
Texas:

Yes. Here's the detailed answer:

The Fisher-Panda has an "automatic adapter RE0704" accessory that provides a contact pair that when closed starts the generator, including a start sequence and warm up. When the contacts are opened the generator stops, after a short cool down.

The battery bank state of charge (SOC) is monitored by a Victron Cerbo-GX. This is a little computer box which connects to the battery management controllers (BMS) to get the SOC. We set start gen to 50% SOC and stop gen to 80% SOC. The Cerbo GX closeds and opens the contacts to start and stop the generator.

Since it's a LiFo battery bank, the generator runs totally loaded at 27.8v 200a. We have an 1100+ amp hour bank, so every hour the generator charges approximately 20%. It takes roughly 90 minutes to get from 50% to 80% SOC.

Alex
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Old 07-02-2022, 11:39 PM   #31
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So grateful for all the input here. Learning from members about the productivity from real working systems instead of theory on what should work is just the data needed for those of us still in the planning stage.
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Old 07-03-2022, 10:58 AM   #32
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Texas:

Yes. Here's the detailed answer:

The Fisher-Panda has an "automatic adapter RE0704" accessory that provides a contact pair that when closed starts the generator, including a start sequence and warm up. When the contacts are opened the generator stops, after a short cool down.

The battery bank state of charge (SOC) is monitored by a Victron Cerbo-GX. This is a little computer box which connects to the battery management controllers (BMS) to get the SOC. We set start gen to 50% SOC and stop gen to 80% SOC. The Cerbo GX closeds and opens the contacts to start and stop the generator.

Since it's a LiFo battery bank, the generator runs totally loaded at 27.8v 200a. We have an 1100+ amp hour bank, so every hour the generator charges approximately 20%. It takes roughly 90 minutes to get from 50% to 80% SOC.

Alex

I recently finished up a similar auto-start. Like Alex's system, mine reads the SOC from the LFP battery BMS, and starts/stops the generator accordingly. The generator has a warm up and cool down period, with automatic load connect/disconnect.


I can set it to any value but currently the gen starts when the SOC drops below 40%, and stops when it reaches 90%. With Inverter/chargers plus stand alone chargers operating, it takes about 2 hrs to go from 40% to 90%. Hot water also gets heated during that time, and together pretty well fully loads a 25kw generator.


What's different from Alex's system is that mine uses the existing AC generator, inverter/chargers, and shore chargers, rather than a dedicated DC generator. Both approaches have their pluses and minuses.



I've also been adding some safety checks to guard against a generator that gets started, but never stopped. Right now there are two checks. The first watches for a minimum load on the generator, and shuts it off if the load drops below the threshold for 5 minutes. That will catch chargers that shut down for some reason, tripped breakers, or other things that keep the chargers from actually drawing power. The second check is just a max runtime limit. That's kind of the catch-all for a generator that gets started, but where the batteries never reach the SOC point where it would get shut off.
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Old 07-03-2022, 05:00 PM   #33
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Peter:

As always great ideas.

It is worrisome to hear the generator, as quiet as it is, start in the middle of the night. Even difficult to get back to sleep for fear of it not shutting down.

More worrisome when away from the boat with generator auto start enabled. Hope to install the Maretron wifi device and use Starlink to alert when auto start and auto stop occur.

Have you implemented such an alert?

Alex
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Old 07-03-2022, 07:41 PM   #34
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Peter:

As always great ideas.

It is worrisome to hear the generator, as quiet as it is, start in the middle of the night. Even difficult to get back to sleep for fear of it not shutting down.

More worrisome when away from the boat with generator auto start enabled. Hope to install the Maretron wifi device and use Starlink to alert when auto start and auto stop occur.

Have you implemented such an alert?

Alex

I don't have mine sending me email alerts yet, but that's on the list of things to do....
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Old 07-03-2022, 10:57 PM   #35
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So grateful for all the input here. Learning from members about the productivity from real working systems instead of theory on what should work is just the data needed for those of us still in the planning stage.
For my side on our Ex-Terranova Explorer 85 I installed 18X 335Watt solar panel so total 6030Watt with 3 Mastervolt MPPT 60A each.

We Have almost every day a noon each controller a 60A so total 180A at 27V total 4860 Watt so 80% from the max theory, it look like very nice but I will I was limited by controller..

Anyway on you next boat I'm trying to for 16X 400Watt and not be limited by controller.
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:07 AM   #36
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Generator just scared the crap out of me starting up on it's own.... I guess the batteries are down to 40%...
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Old 07-06-2022, 12:41 PM   #37
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Solar System

We have (3) 100 watt Allpower flexible solar panels fastened mounted on top of the flybridge bimini via zipper/velco system. They are wired in series to a Victron 100/30 mppt controller to charge the (2) 225 ah fla 6 volt batteries. The system is adequate (600-800 wh/day) run the 3 cu ft refrigerator, water pump, vacuflush pump and lights (all led). There is no generator and no shore power available. The system is a little hard on the batteries toward the end of the season when several days of inclement weather so plan on adding more panels somewhere.
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Old 07-06-2022, 01:13 PM   #38
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So grateful for all the input here. Learning from members about the productivity from real working systems instead of theory on what should work is just the data needed for those of us still in the planning stage.

A very accurate appriximation is to triple your solar panel wattage to get the total day's W-Hr production. So if you use 600 W-hrs in a day, you will need 200W of panels. Use a battery monitor to measure your W-hr consumption and that will determine your panel size(s).
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:21 AM   #39
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435 watts of panels. Blues Sky solar Burst MPPT controller. 10 T-105’s cabled at 12 VDC.

We are primarily a 12 VDC boat, with fridge and freezer units running at 12 VDC. As such the inverter is switched off unless we are traveling or the inverter is needed for microwave, coffee grinder or other AC loads I.e. we like the AC sconce lights for reading at night. We have a propane range.

The normal usage is about 250 ah/day. We seldom drop below 85% SOC overnight. On a sunny day, the solar will “just” bring the batteries to fully recharge by 5:00 pm, but it doesn’t go out of threshold charge, i.e. probably needs additional charging. That is without using the Genny. The T-105’s are long-in-the-tooth at 8 years of age.

The general “rule-of-thumb” (assuming you have opposable thumbs) is to put on all the solar panels you can possibly put up on the deck/roof. Preferably ridged panels.

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