solar to hot water heater? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-09-2010 Thread Starter
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The “Water Heater Load Diverter” $95.00 heater element replacement that Raisin56 mentioned will work with the Force 10 for instance. It makes hot water with a lot less watts so it takes a lot longer. DC 300 watts and 120 500 watts.
It is a screw in replacement. Seems like a good idea. My need power booster from the diversion load. Any way it is a possibility. See as your just sitting at anchor and if you have gotten the batteries charged to a point you set for the load dump then the extra electricity does not just get thrown away it heats hot water. Our hot water heater may be too corroded to get out the old heater element. I’ll need to look at it again. On the site search for “Water heater” then click “Divert Loads” then scroll down. Not easy to find.
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Chip
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-09-2010
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To help pay for school I was a research tech for a prof that was studying several designs for solar water heater panels. We used porch door frames with glass for the panel covers. They were cheap. You would be amazed at how how water/gycol will get, even on a cloudy day, with black matte pipes and a polished metal reflectors. On a moderatly sunny day we would get temp deltas of 60F.

Making a smaller version using a small circulating pump will be pretty easy. Now that I think about it this would be a great winter project... maybe next year.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-10-2010 Thread Starter
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We will have:
4 or 5 135 watt panels
and
One wind gernerator

We just ordered the first one.
Chip
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-10-2010
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How and where are you installing the panels? I will be installing panels as well and am curious of your configuration.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-10-2010
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I have always considered the hot water dump as one of those things that sounds great in principle, but in reality is probably not worth much. In the tropical climates, like down here, you use little hot water anyways except in winter - and even then not a lot. Up north, where you are not getting a lot of sunny days, I suspect you might need more hot water but will get less amps.

I have 4-Kyocera 130's with a Outback MX60 MPPT. I get up to 40ish amps/hour at peak - sometimes more but often less. That might equate into 3amps useable (110v) into the hot water heater. My hot water heater pulls about 15 IIRC. Waste of time if you ask me.

In my opinion, I would just run my engine. That seems to be the quickest way to heat water and you have to run it periodically anyways. If you have a generator, that would be even more efficient. I liked the idea about the black pipes and circulating pump - but I still think that is a lot of effort and time into something that might not be seaworthy and would be a pain in the rear to take down everytime you leave the anchorage. I know some cruisers hand this black bag outside with a tube going into the shower but it always looked a little Beverly Hillbilly to me! TO each his own, I guess.

Just my opinions,

Brian

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post #16 of 19 Old 02-10-2010
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How and where are you installing the panels? I will be installing panels as well and am curious of your configuration.
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Brian
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Brian, you had better get an aircraft carrier to get enough room for panels to get a few amps in Victoria!

Sorry, I couldn't resist! (We stay on Mayne Island in the summer)

I'm definitely going to do some experimenting with a solar hot water collector. I'm thinking with a proper design, a thermosiphon could be initiated and no circulating pump would be needed. We piped a circulation circuit downhole in a flowing artesian hot well for space heat, and only needed to run the circ pump when extra BTU's were needed in the winter. It will be interesting to try the concept with a solar collector.
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-10-2010
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I'm thinking a bit south of Victoria. But you could get reasonable charging here probably. We get about 1/3 of Vancouver's rainfall.

I was also curious how Chip was planning on installing 4 or 5 135 watt panels on his 36' boat. The 135 watt panels I looked at are 59" x 26" each.

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post #18 of 19 Old 02-11-2010
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I was also curious how Chip was planning on installing 4 or 5 135 watt panels on his 36' boat. The 135 watt panels I looked at are 59" x 26" each
.

I agree, that seems like a lot of acreage. We put two 85W panels above the dodger (that size because they 'fit'). It certainly is not the best, as when at anchor or slip the boom must be swung over about 30 degrees to allow full sunlight. I installed them on a fore/aft 1" SS tube with a center mounting to allow tilting of up to about 15 degrees. It really does help. It is nice, because other than that, they are out of the way and using up space not wanted by anything else.
I read on Hydrovane's website about someone using the sail bracket to support a solar panel. I've experimented with a shallow unistrut, and it looks doable. When sailing using the vane, the panel could live below, and at anchor it would be on the back of the boat making electrons flow. The nice thing about the hydrovane bracket is the ability to angle the panel for optimum collection very easily.
Unfortunately, my boat is not set up for an arch. I've seen some really nice setups...
I'll post a picture when I figure out how...
Mike
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post #19 of 19 Old 02-11-2010
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Here's the best solution I've seen and it allows angling for best results. It's from Atom Voyages | Voyages Aboard the Sailboat Atom - The Atom SolarTracker adjustable solar panel mounts for sailboats where there are plans to build it.
Attached Thumbnails
AtomSolar01kb60.jpg  

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