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post #1 of 11 Old 11-05-2002 Thread Starter
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Electric Power options

For you experienced cruisers, I''m preparing to go to the Caribbean for the first time. I''m planning to spend 9-12 months round trip. I feel prepared with the exception of detemining the best method of recharging the batteries. My debate is to rely strickly on engine recharging or install a wind vane. i have all of the electronic toys. I guess the big question is the ready avaialibility of diesel fuel.

Any comments? Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-05-2002
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Electric Power options

I''m not yet a cruiser, but my reading suggests that solar panels are fairly popular in the tropics since there is usually a lot of direct sunlight. They are completely silent and present no potential hazard with the turbine spinning above your heads. I would investigate that option a bit before ruling it out.

Using the main engine for recharging can be optimized by installing a high-output alternator along with a "smart" charger which pumps in the amps at just the right rate for the batteries'' good health and minimum recharge time.

I have also read that some fuel is very suspect, so plan to take along a good filter to use as you fill the tank. Every bit of water and particulate you keep from getting into the tank is that much less of a problem later.

I''m envious of your upcoming trip. Have a great time!

Duane
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-29-2003
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Electric Power options

Further to Duane,
Never fill directly to tank - I fill through "Baha" Filter to Jerry Cans, then (through Baha again) to Fuel Tank.
You''ll be seeking the quietest anchorages (with the least wind); and solar cells require excellent orientation to the sun (as it bears RIGHT NOW) - so take manufacturer claims regarding power output, with a LARGE grain of salt (when calculating your energy budget). You''ll get much less power than expected.
I carry a small (1000watt) Gas Generator, which I run (daytime only) when I''mm off diving or whatever. This drives the 3-Stage "Smart" charger, and the R/O watermaker (12VDC).
Regards and good luck,
Gord
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-02-2003
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Electric Power options

GordMay -

How long do you run your generator for? Also, I assume it runs on gasoline - what is the consumption rate? Do you carry a spare Jerry can of gas for the generator alone?

Just trying to get my hands around the logistics a little better....

Thanks
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-02-2003
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Re: Portable Gas Generator
I run the Gen'' as long as it takes, which depends upon my recent electric & water consumption rate.
We are two aboard (C&C29), with only 25 Gal. of fresh water tankage, and refridgeration.
Gen'' (built-in) fuel tank holds about 1/3 Gal of gas, which runs it about 6 hours. I usually recharge & make water twice a week (when anchored). My batteries get a good recharge (House = 6 x T105''s), and I get about 8-10 Gal of water from the Pur-35 R/O.
It''s not an elegant solution (more of a compromise, of doing what I can, with what I''ve got); but I do get the advantage of 600w of portable power for volunteer work ashore & on other boats - and the price is right (<$500), and the Gen'' goes ashore reclaiming space) when I dock in Florida for the summer.
The fuel is stored in Gerry cans (on deck), being oil-free. Same fuel gets oil added for dinghy outboard use.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-01-2003
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Electric Power options

Hi there,

We are planning a trip from Aus to Mauritius in October...ours is a 29'' compass (aussie design/built, full keel, 9'' beam etc)..I am wondering how are you holding up on a 29'' yacht?

regards,

busy tommy
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-01-2003
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Electric Power options

Maggie & I spent 9 very happy years aboard “Southbound” (C&C29).
I carried a huge inventory of tools/parts etc.
It was workable - but bigger would have (perhaps) been better. I say “perhaps”, because “stuff” accumulates to overflow the space allotted for it.
I’d NEVER forego the cruising dream due to boat-size. I’d be wary of (even) delaying the dream in favour of a larger boat and bigger cruising “kitty”.
As with so many other things (go cruising, reef sail, extra anchor, fix it) - the time to do it is NOW.
Regards,
Gord May
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-01-2003
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Electric Power options

I just spent 2 winters down south and would caution on thinking that either solar or wind will provide your needs....and running your engine for charging without any other load is a really good way to kill your engine slowly.
I averaged about 150 AMPS use a day and two 85 watt solar panels got me 40-50 amps on good days. Wind generator got me 10+ Amps per hour in 15 knots of wind (240+amps in 24 hours) but as GordMay points out...you anchor out of the wind a lot! The combination of solar/wind and engine w/ high output Ballmar as needed worked well for us & minimized engine hours but I think if I had to do it all over again, I''d get a generator. If I were on a budget and had to choose I would certainly opt for wind power over the sun as the trade winds DO really blow continuously and you can make electric Day and nite.
Best...GB
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-05-2003
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Michael, take a look at the KISS wind generators. They look like a new and improved design. Put 2 of them on the aft section of your boat and they might supply all the juice you would need??
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-06-2003
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Electric Power options

My 2 cents over 20 years of cruising...

I agree that a wind generator is extremely useful in the trades since you can be trickle charging (if nothing else) day and night. Had an Aereogen on my first boat, and loved it so much we put on our current boat. It''s great and very quiet, which is an important factor for us when we''re at anchor (we like listening to nature sounds, not whirring fan blades!).

On my second boat (a Hans Christian 36), we had a small diesel generator in a teak box up on the foredeck, and that served as our main power source. It was very very noisy, which made us unpopular with some of our friends, but it did save wear and tear on the engine (as pointed out previously, running the engine with no load is not the best strategy).

My current boat is a Baba 30, which I love (hooray for small cruising boats!), but which is not big enough for any kind of genset. We have solar panels and, as I mentioned above, an Aerogen wind generator. They are very useful, but unfortunately do not generate enough to keep us from having to run the engine w/high-output alternator...though I will say that we have to use the engine much LESS than we would otherwise.

Good luck with your adventure!!

Trish Lambert
www.takehersailing.com
trish@takehersailing.com
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