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Old 10-15-2020, 02:38 PM   #1
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Anne and Kurt are new to the boating world. We have purchased 1969 Alcan370. It is in pretty good shape, but hasn’t been in the water for 7 years. Before we replace and upgrade batter, I would like to hear from some people who have switched to solar power.- not engines, just all the “normal “ electrical. We have an unused rooftop that is about 7’ x 10’.
We still have the original 3 burner electric stove top and small oven. Will have small fridge , microwave, coffee maker, and possibly a small chest freezer. We would like to exist without the need for shore power. Is this realistic? We are on the north shore of Lake Ontario.
Any info is appreciated.
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CaoAlcan View Post
Anne and Kurt are new to the boating world. We have purchased 1969 Alcan370. It is in pretty good shape, but hasn’t been in the water for 7 years. Before we replace and upgrade batter, I would like to hear from some people who have switched to solar power.- not engines, just all the “normal “ electrical. We have an unused rooftop that is about 7’ x 10’.
We still have the original 3 burner electric stove top and small oven. Will have small fridge , microwave, coffee maker, and possibly a small chest freezer. We would like to exist without the need for shore power. Is this realistic? We are on the north shore of Lake Ontario.
Any info is appreciated.
Welcome aboard. I am not an expert on solar but I think you can achieve that goal fairly easily. There are a bunch of threads on here about solar. Good luck.
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Old 10-15-2020, 04:21 PM   #3
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I have added solar and an Efoy fuel cell (methanol). See what you have, the real energy burner is your electric stove/oven. I installed a Force 10 2 burner stove/oven using propane.

You don't mention your battery bank so I can't comment.

But you want:

1) large battery bank with batteries that hold more energy than the standard flooded lead acid batteries. Consider AGM/Fire Fly/Lithium batteries, each one more expensive than the last, but each holds more energy and can be discharged to a deeper rate and charged faster.

2) You don't say how long on the hook.

3) You may want to upsize your alternator or add a second one.

4) Solar with give you roughly 20 amps per 100 watts in the summer. Obviously you aren't going out in the winter but they can keep your batteries topped up in the winter. Add as many panels as you can.

5) I have developed a system for myself where I will be using roughly 150 amps per day. Between my alternator, solar and fuel cell powering one smaller fridge, one smaller freezer (both with one inch foam around them), and 30 minutes of 1200 watts of "stuff." So for example, I can make toast (four slices, 2 slots at 940 watts), one 5 minute session with my wife using the hair blower on medium, 5 minutes of a 700 watt microwave use/day (remember it takes power to make power, a 700 watt microwave probably is around a 1000 watt unit), and watching a much lower wattage small LED TV for about an hour and a half (movie), and charging tablet, phones, etc.

Remember: Lithium is a "system," you don't just add lithium batteries or bad things could happen particularly to your alternator.

When I bought for my boat (not that large), I bought the cheapest of appliances as these cheapies have the lowest wattage, so low watt toaster, microwave, tv, convection oven, one burner induction burner. The convection oven and induction burner are for when hooked up to shore power, I get to save propane not using the BBQ and propane burners/oven.
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Old 10-15-2020, 05:04 PM   #4
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I have a little experience installing and using solar based on the system I installed in a Sprinter van. I think it'll be similar for you.

First, I'd download a solar load calculator. Explorist has a nice one that I found accurate:

https://www.explorist.life/what-size...ower-a-camper/

Scroll down and you can find the link to download.

In short:

- type in all your electrical users (stovetop, fridge, phone chargers, lights, coffee pots, etc.) and how much time you'll use them each day
- it'll calculate recommended watts of panels plus recommended amp-hour battery bank

Note that lead acid / AGM / lithium batteries can tolerate different levels of discharge (lithium being the best, but also very expensive).

You may find that an induction cooktop and high-efficiency fridge can make big changes in your amp-hour loads.

I enjoyed putting together a solar system. Easy and fun! Once you spend the money on the hardware, it's FREE POWER. Amazing.
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