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post #1 of 20 Old 04-07-2009 Thread Starter
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Charging Battery

I have a West Wight Potter 15 with a 12volt battery in it. I want to keep it charged out on the water as I will be listening to music and having a few lights on this summer. What would you recommend for keeping it charged. Solar or wind power? And are there any cost effective ways because solar panels are usually very expensive. I also am wondering how much a solar panel can do considering I may be using the battery a lot. Do you think it could keep up with my use and how many watts would it need to be to do that? Thanks.
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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Could you take the battery home after each sail and put it on a battery charger?

Ray
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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Netscheid,

How many days will you be out at a time?

We were a family of four on a 25' boat for several years and we would be out for three and four weeks at a time, with a single battery. We just didn't use that much power. Your radio might draw 2 amps and each interior light might draw about two amps. You would have to have the light or radio on for an hour to draw the two amps however. Just think of how long all those boom boxes ran on a the four or six D batteries. If you're just out for weekends, or a week at a time you would probably save a bunch of money by just taking your battery home to charge it. If you're leaving your boat out on a mooring all summer long, then a small solar trickle charger might be a good idea.

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post #4 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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It would seem like solar or wind is more work than value. why not get a small trickle charger and keep the battery topped off between trips??
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post #5 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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Net...more info needed. What SIZE battery do you have...group 24, 27, 31???
How much electricity it is able to store is important.

Are you looking to constantly recharge your battery as you use it every day or simply recharge it during the week so you can use it again on the weekend.

Listening to music through a car stereo or something else?
What is quite a few lights? What kind of bulbs? LED, Halogen, incandecent? What wattage bulbs?
Do you have a charger on board and keep the boat plugged in or on you on a mooring or a trailer?
We can't give the right answers without the right info.

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post #6 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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Usually having to worry about whether or not you have enough battery capacity is a good indicator that you need a bigger/more batteries. Once you have dealt with that issue, you can then consider the appropriate charging source.
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post #7 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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I have a small Capri-18 with a group-24 battery for 12 volt power, i.e. lights and autohelm. I trailer the boat and simply install a small solar charger that tops off the battery while stored. I've used the boat for several days and haven't yet run the battery down all the way. You might also think of hooking up a 12 volt plug into your vehicles electrical system and run a 12 volt extension cord to ensure the battery is topped off while driving to the ramp. Also, I bought several LED camping lights from Wal-Mart for $5. each that we use in the cabin most of the time, that also helps save the big battery for autohelm duties.. These take 4- AA batteries and they last for hundreds of hours.

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post #8 of 20 Old 04-07-2009 Thread Starter
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OK, so first of all, yes I do have a charger at home and I keep it charged between trips. I will probably be out for a week at most. I don't really actually use a lot of lights. At night I just keep the anchor light on and use the cabin light sparingly. I went out and looked at the batter but could not the find the "group" as you said camaraderie. Here's all the info on the battery: Battery/2000 2M-1270 12V75Ah
I'm not sure if that means anything to you. I am going to be listening to music through a car stereo or something like that. I do have a small charger on board but it is rare that I will be able to get a place to plug it in. Thanks again everyone, I'm impressed with all of your willingness to help someone out.
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post #9 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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I'd recommend you read this primer on solar power on boats I wrote. Then you need to figure out what your rough daily electrical usage is, and how many days of electricity you'll be using. That gives you a rough estimate to base your battery bank on, and then figure out how many days you have between uses....and that gives you your rough recharge time. Base your solar panel sizing on the recharge time and the amount of power you need to replace, but give yourself a bit of a safety margin—20-25% would be good.

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Originally Posted by netscheid View Post
I have a West Wight Potter 15 with a 12volt battery in it. I want to keep it charged out on the water as I will be listening to music and having a few lights on this summer. What would you recommend for keeping it charged. Solar or wind power? And are there any cost effective ways because solar panels are usually very expensive. I also am wondering how much a solar panel can do considering I may be using the battery a lot. Do you think it could keep up with my use and how many watts would it need to be to do that? Thanks.

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post #10 of 20 Old 04-07-2009
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OK...found your battery....http://www.battery2000.com/2m1270.htm
It is a wet cell sealed type with a 73.5 amp hour capacity when new. You can use HALF this capacity...say 35 amp hours before you need to recharge. So now lets look at your usage.

Car stereo...uses 2 amps....lets say you listen 10 hours a day...20 amp hours.
Anchor light...1 amp....8 hours...8 amp hours
Cabin light 1 amp....6 hours....6 amp hours
And your daily total CONSERVATIVELY is 34 amp hours requiring you to completely recharge your battery each day.

So...if the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow...you are out of luck.
Alternatives...add more capacity in batteries...two group 31's would give you 3 days between recharges.
Get a small gas generator and use it to run your battery charger daily.

If you stick with solar or wind options...you would need a 120watt solar panel to replace your usage on SUNNY days.
If you go with a wind generator...any decent one will supply all your needs IF the wind is over 10 knots.

Estimates:
900-1000Watt portable generator.... $500-700
120Watt solar panel+ regulator+ install $800
Windvane w/ regulator on stern pole installed $1500
2 Group 31 Deep Cycle Wet Cell Batteries...$300

Hope this helps!

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