creature comforts on a small boat - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 18 Old 05-29-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

I had to calculate the usage on our boat when I was planning on all of the equipment I installed and what we would need for an extended voyage.

After I installed refrigeration, I timed and noted how long the run cycles were. The unit came on for approximately 288 minutes a day. With the current needed, it required 172.8 watt hours a day. The panels we have (60 watts), on a sunny day, will put out 337.2 watts. Depending on the refrigerator you get and the current, you may be in good shape.

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1976 41' Morgan Out Island Sloop. Refitting and redoing her interior for an extended voyage.

Last edited by tomperanteau; 05-29-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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post #12 of 18 Old 05-29-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

We have around 400w of solar, small freezer plus fridge and given that we need to run engine an hour a day for hot water don't seem to have any trouble keeping batteries topped up to the extent that we've rarely seen the need to turn the wind generator on.

One exception to that rule is running notebook with battery installed. That seems to use a damn sight more power that running with battery removed.

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― Terry Pratchett.
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post #13 of 18 Old 05-29-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

wingNwing brings up an excellent point. The cheapest way to have a fridge and freezer is to invest heavily in insulation. The cost of producing, storing, and then using energy to overcome shoddy insulation is huge by comparison.

Cancel my earlier suggestion of upgrading your battery bank. Get some aerogel, the new high-tech insulation, and line the spaces around your box with a much insulation as possible.

Some will say to stop at 6 inches of insulation if you are using foam. I'd overdo it with aerogel ($150 for an 8'x4' piece, if memory serves) until the budget runs out and then use foam sheets (closed cell and the water resistant kind) for the remainder of the space around the box.

Also pay attention to the seals on the access hatch (hatches are more efficient than doors).

The reflecting kind of insulation doesn't do anything for cold temperatures, but can reflect heat away, so it goes on the very outside layer. It's not a great insulator to start with, and I believe it requires space (an air gap) around it to function. IMHO, that space is better utilized by adding more aerogel or foam.

With enough insulation, even a smaller battery will keep things cold overnight. Then you can upgrade the battery later.

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post #14 of 18 Old 05-29-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

The fans draw next to nothing, most averaging about 1-amp or less, and that's for the larger ones. Oscillating Fan, Marine Cabin Fan, 12 Volt DC, 1.2 Amp, 7.5" Diameter - Guest 900 - iboats

The refrigerator/freezer in my boat is set to about 45 degrees, it's well insulated, and once the temperature is reached it rarely turns on more than a few times per hours and only stays on for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. My frig is fairly old, draws about 2.4 amps when running, which is about the same as some I've seen advertised in West Marine's catalog.

Good Luck,

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post #15 of 18 Old 05-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

my solar controler will only allow my battery[s] to charge to 14.2 volts and will stop the battery from draining at about 11 volts so if i have enough battery storage to run the frige most of the night i'll be good,i'm not planning to freeze/keep lots of food,i'm kindof used to beanyweenys,thanks all
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post #16 of 18 Old 05-30-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

i have 170 watts of solar and a wind gen thats supports 110 quart dometic freezer ,computer portable tool charging etc etc love it it takes the camping out of sailing and turns it into a gormet delight! well worth it.i am aboard full time now so the only drawdown is the no sunlight months of dec and jan and with a good bat bank and strong winds you will almost never have to run engine to charge.presently in nyc heading northeast
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-30-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

I'm no expert but from what I've read in mags & other sites, the average marine refer system draws close to 50 AH in a 24 hour period. Just allowing for the refer system, your battery bank would want to be 200 AH in order to stay within the 25% discharge. I'm not sure that a 130 watt solar panel will handle this load but it will help to minimize the amount of running time on your engine just for battery charging.

May I suggest you check out the SBO site. Maine Sail has a ton of stuff posted there & on his site Compass Marine dealing with solar panels, electric conversions, battery banks, etc. There's alot of good information there to assist you in making the correct decision.

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post #18 of 18 Old 05-30-2012
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Re: creature comforts on a small boat

Rather than a big consumption reefer, look at an Engel or Edge Star portable, or if you can find one, one of the older Coleman Stirling cycle coolers. Lower consumption than the usual fridge/freezer set up, in some cases less than 3 amps.

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