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Old 01-02-2013
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Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

I hoping I might get some advice from those of you with far more experience than I. My first major voyage is going to be in a 26ft. Macgregor -S. (yet to be purchased) I am going to do “The Loop.” I would like to have enough electricity to be able to run a light or two in the evening, watch a movie on a small T.V. via a DVD player, and have enough power to charge up a laptop. I would also like to have enough power to run a box fan at night on those miserable 85 degree, 100% humidity, no breeze nights where you can’t sleep without one. A dorm size fridge would be nice but don’t want to over-do it. Does anyone know of a web-site(s) where I can find the answer to such questions as: Will a wind generator work or solar panels, or would I need both? And what would be the best batteries.
I know volts x amps = watts…etc. but I guess I’m just not sure how to apply it to gain the knowledge I need to figure out how I can do it.
Thanks in advance for any replies/suggestions.
JD
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Old 01-02-2013
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Solar will do you fine, around here most cruisers are dumping the wind generator and adding a couple more panels.

Your demand sounds minimal and the cost of wind gen vs a panel of two makes solar a wiser move
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

batteries and space for them, and an inverter will be the bigger issue on a Mac.....space is at a premium to start with. PV panels will likely be your only choice, but mounting them may cost more than the panels.

Your best bet would be to do a decent "energy budget" (should be able to find a post or two on that here) including those things you describe. That will give you some idea how much energy you will need, and provide the basis for selection of panels, batteries, controller, inverter and such. Not an insignificant amount of money and work to be done for a proper, reliable installation.

You can all but rule out the dorm size fridge, but a cooler or an engle 12v box( more $$) will be more efficient and may be usable given your size and potential set up.

Unless you have a steady 15-18 mph wind, wind generator will be more of a pain than useful, and mounting one on a trailer sailor even more $$$.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

I'm a big fan of solar but here's the thing. If you're doing the "loop", you'll be motoring more than you'll be sailing from what I've read. Your boat will be powered by an outboard so you can write off a large alternator. Your money may be better spent looking into a larger battery bank with an onboard AC charger that can be supplimented by one of the small honda generators.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

i have wind and solar for on the hook cruzin,but take it one step at a time,get a good strong boat for your base and sail it!
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Your energy needs sound very modest to me. Get LED cabin and anchor lights and that drastically reduces the amount of power you need. Wouldn't worry to much about the fans. Just get a small one to blow on your head and you're all set.

Also since you will be motoring a lot of the time, just rely on your battery charge from the motor. You can buy off the shelf solar chargers for pretty cheap if those are the only things you need power for.

If you have a elec start motor I would make sure you have a house and a starter battery.

For simplicity's sake, skip the fridge.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Forget box fans- get a decent small hella or carfamo fan. mucho effective, for a fraction of the amperage of dirt-based fans.
We live on an unserviced dock with a 45 watt panel and occasional engine recharging. Us a low-wattage portable dvd player and a netbook and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

Heard those wind power generators are nearly useless without 15-20+ constant wind. And they're loud as heck.
+1 on the solar panels, I'd suggest mounting them out of the way (top of bimini or dingy davits, or out beyond the stern rails)
+1 find a better solution than a dorm fridge
+1 smaller cabin fans, oscillation and close-range comfort while using less power than box fans.

What's "the loop"?
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Re: Solar panels vs. wind or forget it?

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

Check what sumner has done with his mac 26s. He has done some great write ups.
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