Join Date: Mar 2010
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The basics on power while cruising
I've begun looking for my first boat, and my knowledge of marine electronics is virtually nil. Probably the best way to start would be from the goal and then ask for help working backward to what I need to be shopping for.
I'm looking at 25-28' boats for Great Lakes cruising. First choice would be an inboard motor, but I'm not ruling out an outboard. When cruising for a week or two, there's a good chance I'll need to work on my laptop for a few hours a day. I'm looking at worst case here. Most likely, if this happens, it'd probably be prudent to head to a marina to stay for a couple days.
So my two questions are about Internet access and power.
1. For Internet access when away from marinas, I'm wondering if my land-based system will work. On land, I tether my laptop to my cell phone and use Sprint's data network. It's not fast, but it's good in a pinch. Is cell phone coverage something I can generally count on near the shores of Lake Michigan? Is it spotty?
2. To power a laptop for a few hours a day, how much will I drain my batteries? And as they drain, how much might I need to run my inboard to recharge that amount?
2a. Same power issues, but with an outboard. I'm assuming that, even with an electric start outboard, it isn't really going to charge marine batteries to any degree. So should I start looking at solar panels? Perhaps my need to use a computer might be the thing that forces the out/inboard issue.
ETA: I just looked at my laptop's power rating. 3.65A at 16.5Vdc.
Last edited by SirRealism; 05-01-2010 at 04:08 PM.