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  #1  
Old 08-20-2008
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Battery charging

Hi folks,

We plan to head south next year. Need to consider how to charge
batteries. Plan on 100 to 150 amphs/day. Should I go with a geerator
orsolar and wind gen to supply batteries? Our boat is a 50 ketch.

Bob
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Old 08-20-2008
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Bob...a permanently installed generator is your best bet for getting 150ah's reliably. We AVERAGED 100amps a day w/ 160w solar and a 4 winds wind generator. If you have a lot more room for solar panels than I did, you might be able to cover you needs...but you still won't be able to run the AC or heat the hot water etc. like you can with a generator.
If you are only going cruising for a year or so...then neither the passive systems or a built in generator make a whole lot of monetary sense and something like a Honda 2000 portable gen makes more sense. It takes time to get a payback on the big systems!
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Old 08-20-2008
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Our intention is living aboard for several years. If I understand, the cost is less if I go with a generator vs solar and wind? But it sounds like that you get the amps from solar and wind?

Bob s/v Journey
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Bob...the permanent generator is generally more expensive than solar and wind installs but also provides unlimited amps and can power large AC current devices.
Solar and wind installs that are capable of producing 150amps a day ON AVERAGE will generally run in the $4-5k installed range with all the wiring and regulators. You also need to install a BIG battery bank to allow you to store energy for a " rainy day" ...or for multiple days without sun or significant wind...minimum 600ah's would be my recommendation.
The alternative Honda 2000 portable generator or equivilent will provide about 1700 watts continuously...which translates into plenty of current to drive a big battery charger capable of producing upwards of 100amps...so you could charge your daily use in an hour or two of run-time daily. The downside is they are gas driven...and must be run on deck and are a bit noisy at around 60 decibels. They run about $800 bucks.

Any one of the three ways works. Just an added word on the solar/wind option. We found ourselves averaging about 60 ah's from a top quality large blade wind generator. Small blade ones don't produce well in light winds.
That would leave a 150ah/day use with a deficit of 90 ah's and that would require about 350-400watts of solar panels. A solar ONLY application would require about 600 watts of panels. Make sure you have the room to mount the panels in an UN-SHADOWED manner before committing to that option.
There's a huge solar/wind thread on here with lots of good info on it if you read past the debate and focus on the technical info.
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Old 08-25-2008
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Thank you I'll go the thread. Folks up here in Maryland, who are
heading back down this winter seem to favor the wind/solar over
a generator. May opinions.

Bob
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Bob...yep...lots of opinions. Ask some people with built in generators if they'd give them up for solar or wind! I've now had both and am now firmly in the fossil fuel camp but I can easily understand others preferring passive. I am just not enough of a minimalist!
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Old 08-25-2008
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From your experience, what generator would you reccomend? And about
what should the cost be?

Bob
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