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  #11  
Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

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Originally Posted by bljones View Post
We do it throughout the summer, living without shorepower. I suppose it boils down to your definition of "liveaboard".
We do not have refrigeration, air conditioning, hot water, television 20" monitors, etc, so we have no big constant loads. Our lighting is all LED, and largely AA battery powered. The only significant electrical loads are the stereo, autopilot and 1000 watt inverter, all of which are used sparingly. We have a single battery starter bank and a single battery house bank. We sail every day, so the incidental generation from the engine running an hour or so a day as we tool out and about and cruise around in addition to the passive generation from our solar panel keeps us topped up. Some may find our lifestyle too primitive, too damn close to camping.
We manage our electrical loads- for example, charge the netbook and the phone and the handheld vhf while motoring out, always make sure the panel follows the sun as much as possible, and if you don't need it turn it off. We have had a very sunny season so far, which is a BIG variable in the "how big a solar panel do I need" equation. In the UK you are going to get less generation from the same size panel than someone crusing in the caribbean for example.
The more luxury you have, the more energy you waste, the more wattage you need to generate, until, as someone pointed out, it becomes unsustainable.
Good advice, nice to hear from you BL, I have been reading some of your older threads with great interest just a few days ago.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

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Originally Posted by DavidB.UK View Post

I just did a quick search and found this too ($198):
Nice find, I will put that on my research list for sure.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

You need a sh%t load of pannels, and a lot of sun every day ( which is impossible) And you can almost do it. I've done it for years but have no fridge, manual pumps, and I use a kerosene lamp to read at night.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

Thanks for the response BLjones.

When I get my first boat, hopefully within 5 years, I'll be a weekender and daysailor. I'm curious as to when I have kids, and all the gadgets they will be using. I know when the time comes, I will be using a good deal of power. But if I only need to run the diesel an hour a day on the weekends (not including motoring in/out of the harbor) to support that, I don't see any need to worry about other power generating devices. 4 gallons of diesel (say $20) a weekend to keep the batteries charged is fine with me. But like I said in my previous post, I'm really not sure if that's all it would take, maybe its a lot more than that.

That footpedal thing is really cool though!

Last edited by paintpollz; 06-18-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

our yanmar 1GM10 burns about a quart an hour of fuel. 20 gallons will last a while.

As far as electronic device charging, you learn the art of sneak-charging. when you go to the laundromat, bring all of your devices and charge them up while you do your laundry, for example.
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

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our yanmar 1GM10 burns about a quart an hour of fuel. 20 gallons will last a while.

As far as electronic device charging, you learn the art of sneak-charging. when you go to the laundromat, bring all of your devices and charge them up while you do your laundry, for example.
ha ha ha ha!

I have done that when I forgot my phone's car charger on a long road trip, stopped for a coffee so that I could plug my phone in to charge it
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

I have a 135 watt Kyocera panel, a well insulated fridge that makes ice cubes and keeps them frozen and beer at 34 degrees, 2 T105 batteries and a Victron BMV 601 to monitor things. My boat sits in a slip (not a liveaboard) and is only plugged into shore power after 4 days of straight rain or very heavy clouds (about 6x/year). When out for a week or two, we run the LED interior lights, fans, GPS/chartplotter, stereo, Bebi anchor light, a 20" (roughly) LED TV for movies, water pump etc and don't need to run the engine to charge the batteries. Typically in the morning the batteries are down about 30 amps which is normally made up by the solar panel by early afternoon. When I see that the batteries are topped off I will run a small inverter if anything needs to be charged. Far Cry is only 31' long and doesn't have autopilot or a separate large freezer. We don't really try to conserve energy and it seems to have been working very well for at least a couple of years.

According to the battery monitor the lowest the batteries have ever been was down 80 amps.

The only time I was having trouble keeping the batteries charged up I discovered that some seagulls had decided to leave some "shade" on the solar panel...
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

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The only time I was having trouble keeping the batteries charged up I discovered that some seagulls had decided to leave some "shade" on the solar panel...
I wonder... can you eat roasted seagull?
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

tastes like chicken.
really lousy chicken.
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Re: Solar power ~ no more running the engine

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tastes like chicken.
really lousy chicken.
ha ha ha! ...Duly noted
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