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  #11  
Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Agree with misfits, a small portable generator will probably be your best bet...

You'll likely motor 80-90% of that trip, do whatever you can to maximize the output of your alternator... A wind generator will be essentially useless for your purposes, with so much of the time spent in protected locales... A couple of solar panels will certainly help, but on a boat that small, your ability to produce much juice from solar will still be pretty minimal...

You really need to focus on energy conservation, rather than energy production... Make sure your TV, DVD etc can be powered by 12V, rather than using an inverter... Your laptop is likely to be one of your biggest power hogs, find an adapter to power and charge it with a cigarette lighter outlet, instead...

FWIW, I'd highly recommend doing the Trent-Severn route as opposed to Lake-Erie/Huron, that's a beautiful waterway...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 01-02-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Damn, I didn't get the Memo. What F does the Loop mean?

Loop around the mall by your house or the loop around Antarctica?
The Great Loop...

Best done in a powerboat, although a Mac 26 would be a pretty good "blend":

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  #13  
Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Whoa!! I thought da loop was in Chicago?
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Old 01-02-2013
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Someone mentioned outboards have very limited charging. If you can't get around 50 amps of charging then I'd reconsider an OB powered boat.

You will likely motor 70% of the loop, maybe more. We've done 3/4 of it, speaking from experience. And the only part we haven't done would be almost all motoring too.

Wind gens only work with over 10k of wind and really over 15 is needed. Great in the islands, nearly worthless on the loop. Solar delivers twice the power for half the price.

But, if you are going to be on the move doing the loop and you have sufficient power from the engine that you WILL be running most of the time...then I question buying solar or wind.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Interestingly, Nigel Calder did an article where he showed that the absolute lowest cost of electricity per kwh on a boat not connected to shore power was actually using a small inverter type generator like the Honda to charge your batteries. The most expensive was running your diesel to charge batteries. With the generator on board you wouldn't even really need a larger inverter, you could fire it up to run a small microwave, hot plate, electric coffee pot, hair dryer, etc.

So buy a small inverter generator and if you decide you really don't like sailing you can always use it for camping, power failures etc. I got my Champion 2000w for $350 on sale at Costco! It ran 18 hours a day burning 2 gallon per day for 5 days during Sandy. Considering how much food was in the frig and the large freezer at the time, I broke even on one use. I can still toss it on board my boat, before I spend money on solar.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

I got a costco solar kit for 250.00 and two of the biggest deep cells they had for a total just over 600.00
I installed the panels on my dodger, my outboard does have charging. I have plotter, vhf running 24/7
And laptop at night for movie and if close to wifi will surf for a few hours.
Ipods, kindle as well and can sit on anchor for days at a time with no power issues.
For the cost of small fridge get two good 7day coolers one for meat and frozen second for fresh and cool items, will be farther ahead. The small genny sounds great if you have a place to store it.
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

If you have not purchased the Macgregor why not consider a power boat? I used to have an old Bayliner cabin cruiser with a Volvo Penta on the Mississippi River. Felt like the perfect boat for the river. It sipped gasoline and the Penta charged the batteries all day long. Might be a more efficient setup for the loop than a Macgregor.

Last edited by shanedennis; 01-02-2013 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 01-03-2013
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mast

You will also have to drop your mast for part of your trip. Check out the AGLCA
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Old 01-03-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

The largest power drain on most sailboats is the refrigerator, averaging 6.5 to 9.5 amps. This translates to a relatively large solar panel, something on the order of 350-watts. Keep in mind, that 350-watt panel is only going to be charging the house batteries for a relatively short period of time, especially during the winter months. Therefore, you need to be punching the maximum power into the batteries for about 8-hours a day, while during the remaining 16 hours you will be drawing from the batteries.

The alternative is, of course, to add a wind generator, in hopes of sufficient wind to supplement the solar panel's dead time. Not all wind generators are noisy, and some will operate fairly well with winds of less of 10 MPH. This time of year, in the Florida Keys, the winds are fairly constant, thereby allowing the wind generator to provide a viable source of power. In Chesapeake Bay, however, summer winds are usually southwest, less than 10 MPH and more often than not, less than 5 MPH, making that wind generator pretty much useless.

A small, diesel generator is another viable option and could provide you with lots of 110-volt power for running a variety of electrical equipment, including a battery charger. The downside is the noise and exhaust fumes.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post

FWIW, I'd highly recommend doing the Trent-Severn route as opposed to Lake-Erie/Huron, that's a beautiful waterway...
Another reason to opt for doing the Loop in a small trawler, or a boat with a tabernacle. You have to pull the stick to transit the Erie canal, and then depending on the size of your boat, drop the mast again to do the Trent-Severn where, depending again on the size of your boat, you may promptly run aground in the middle of the channel as the depth is allegedly 5', but may vary depending on silt and season.
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