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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-08-2010
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solar to hot water heater?

Hi,
We are ready to purchase a Blue Sky SB3024DiL/DUO control for our wind generator and solar panels. We want to direct some elect to our hot water heater. This unite will do that. It got me wondering about our hot water heater though. I see they run on 110v and engine heat exchanger. Will this idea work or do we need a special hot water heater. I have not seen any that say they take a third source.
Thanks,
Chip
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Old 02-08-2010
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it will be tough to get enough "solar" to run your hot water heater or any resistance type heat or appliance. The amount of electricity generated by even a couple of large panels is not enough to warm the water heater, if you could get it all there at the right time.

best of luck, btw the blue sky stuff is pretty good, it looks like this one includes the MPPT control and that is the more important piece.

dave
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Old 02-08-2010
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There should be a plate on the water heater that indicates how much power it uses, either in amps or watts. You can provide electricity to it through an inverter. Water heaters consume a lot of power. You might be happier with directly heating water from the sun as this is extremely efficient. David
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Old 02-08-2010
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Why do we need to heat our hot water? ~ George Carlin
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Old 02-08-2010
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Chip
Solar won't get you too far but the wind generator just might. Check out SVHotwire Landing Page they have an element for water heaters that allows you to use 110VAC or 12VDC from a wind gen. I talked with John at a recent boat show and he is very helpful.

Dan
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Old 02-08-2010
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I'm looking for the same. The blue sky looks great and the ability to shed extra amps into a load looks good. I think you have to have a heater element that is designed for DC voltage. Most heaters have replaceable elements. Check out the link previously posted on 120/12 AC/DC heater element that might work. The main thing is to safely shed the extra amps so as not to cook the AGM batts.
As an alternate, if the shed amps don't put out enough power to heat the water, i can always generate heat with the ITR Hurricane heater without running the engine.
All the same, it looks like the best approach to shed amps from a wind generator.
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Old 02-08-2010
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What I was told from Blue Sky about the SB3024DiL/DUO was that 4 130 Watt solar panels and a wind generator should be enough charging a 6 house battery bank to create hot water. It determines how much electricity you use. We do not use a microwave at all or the inverter much so it may just work out. If not I can out in an different chip (software) and go to the SB3024DiL which does not divert energy but will charge two battery banks. So I made the purchase. Kinda went for it and time will tell.
Thanks,
Chip
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Old 02-08-2010
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Chip, let us know when you have it installed and working. I'm mulling over the same idea for my tow-behind generator. To echo the above, I have seen 12VDC elements for the water heaters to replace the 120VAC, can't remember where...
Alternatively, most marine water heaters have a provision for heating the water by plumbing in the engine coolant waste stream. I do not have an ICE, but am thinking of a solar collector plumbed to that connection. Anyone tried that (maybe I can avoid reinventing the wheel)?
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Old 02-08-2010
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Chances are the solar and wind output will put out a few amps at "peak" output which is great for charging batteries but a 120V water heater draws about 12.5 amps (1500 watts) of continous juice and it needs an inverter with a high output. That kind of power isn't going to fly with renewables, think of them as a trickle charger on steriods that's all.

You would be better off enigneering a solar ciollector that circulates a glycol (anti-freeze) solution using the heater exchanger connections to transfer the sun's heat to the heaters water tank. Much less of a power draw, just a small circulator pump to cycle the gylcol through the collector and back to the water heater.

If you want hot water and don't want to plug in or run the engine this is the way to go.
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Old 02-08-2010
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Unless you have a really massive solar array, it won't really do much for a hot water heater. Water just takes too much energy to heat that way. A better way to heat hot water is to setup a small solar water heater on the cabin top. If you've ever used a solar-shower setup, you realize how hot water can get with solar heat....
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