Power/dock option analysis please. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-14-2008 Thread Starter
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Power/dock option analysis please.

I’m looking for opinions on which you think is better, which you’d do, and opinions on the pros and cons of each...

...I have a Catalina 22 that currently has no power generation setup. I can dock it with a 15A shore power connection at $1212 for the season, or with no power for $970.

My primary need for power is to charge a battery that will power navigation, anchor, steaming/deck lights, and a depth sounder infrequently. Once in a while, I might like to run a radio or other small device either directly or via a DC/AC inverter. I don’t want to be carrying a battery back and forth, and I don’t have an engine alternator.

So:
  • Would you spend some money on the gear to accept the shore power, an AC installation, and a charger (estimated ~ $300-$400) and pay the $1212? This gives me the added benefit of having unlimited AC while at the dock, but doesn’t help me when I’m away from the dock for an extended period of time.
OR
  • Would you spend some money on some solar generation and another battery for backup/extended power, and take the cheap docking option at $970? This sounds like the cheaper route and I hope it will make me more self-sufficient for the necessities while away from the dock, but it doesn’t give me the ability to run much else most of the time.
My location is southern Ontario, Canada. Any comments are appreciated.

AI
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post #2 of 29 Old 01-14-2008
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One thing you don't mention, is how frequently you are on the boat. If only once a week or so, then a solar trickle charger should be sufficent to keep your battery topped off. Also, if you can use the AC power infrequently (without paying the extra), you could use a portable charger as well. Replacing as many bulbs as you can with LED's would greatly decrease your electrical usage also.

If you don't plan on keep the C22 for a long period of time, I think you'd be wasting your money to try to set it up for shorepower.

John
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post #3 of 29 Old 01-14-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback PB!

I will have the boat out 2 or 3 times a week, with a few times a year of off-grid weekend sails. For the solar option I was looking at a 15-20 watt panel as opposed to just a trickle (5 watt) panel.

I have to assume if I'm going with the no-shore power option that I won't have access to the AC power for portable charger charging.

The LED idea is a great idea, although that might prove be too expensive for something this small-scale - I've not looked into that yet.

I don't think I'll have the 22 for more than a few years, but I do think that it'll probably be handed down to family/friend when I do move up.

AI
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post #4 of 29 Old 01-14-2008
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AboardIndigo—

Installing a shorepower outlet, AC breaker panel, a GFCI outlet, and a AC battery charger isn't all that difficult. Have you looked at doing the installation yourself.

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post #5 of 29 Old 01-15-2008
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Hey,

How much will you miss the $250 or so extra for the dock with power? If you can write the extra check without batting an eye, then go for it. If you will notice the $250, then get the cheaper dock and a $50 solar charger.

To me, it seems like the amount of time you will need the battery is pretty small, and even a small solar charger will keep the battery up.

I had a Catalina 22 for my first year of sailing. I charged the battery before the first sail, and I think I recharged it once. I only ran the lights 1 or 2 times, and never had to use the anchor light.

I would invest in one of those portable battery packs. They are cheap and be VERY handy.

Good luck,
Barry

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post #6 of 29 Old 01-15-2008 Thread Starter
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SD - I'm pretty sure I can do a shore power setup myself. Is that what you'd recommend or choose in a similar situation?

Barry - Let's put it this way; I'm not so flush with cash that I'm doing both without batting an eye. Based on that, it sounds like you would go with/recommend solar as a viable means to the end?

I'm still on the fence - too many opinions, not enough money...



Thanks all so far.

AI
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post #7 of 29 Old 01-15-2008
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Personally, given that you're fairly far north, I'd go for the shore power option. It will also make it easier when you're at the dock and want to work on the boat, since you'll be able to do things like plug in the cordless drill battery charger on the boat...

If you can do the shorepower installation yourself, then you may be able to afford a small solar panel the help offset the load on the batteries when out for a weekend and extend the amount of time you go between charging. Or you could just add another battery and increase the battery bank size.

Just remember—Use marine grade wire only... stranded and pre-tinned. Crimp the connections and cover with adhesive-lined shrink tubing. No Romex, No Wirenuts. You do need a marine grade GFCI outlet or breaker setup for your boat.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 01-15-2008 at 10:23 AM.
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A Honda 1000 generator might also be a viable option.

John
Ontario 32 - Aria

Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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post #9 of 29 Old 01-15-2008 Thread Starter
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Great points SD! I hadn't considered upkeep power needs. The frowny is because now I have more to consider.

Thanks a lot PB - throw another option into the mix... ...just kidding. I guess you don't think a generator overkill for my little boat?

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The major problem I see with the Honda Genset is that there really isn't any safe place on your little boat to put it when it is running. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is bad mojo.. and something to be avoided.

If you go the generator route, please buy and install a good marine grade Carbon Monoxide detector. The reason I specify a marine-grade is that the electronics are usually conformally coated to resist corrosion and the marine CO detectors are designed to work in high humidity environs, where the domestic ones are not and may malfunction due to the high ambient humidity.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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