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post #11 of 51 Old 01-05-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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Normally, the solar array (around 20 amps in full sunlight) has charged the batteries to the point of trickle charging for the rest of the day, by 11AM. It doesn't seem to matter how much we consume for the rest of the day, I'll not see any more 'bulk' charging. By the way, I do not have 12 volt refrigeration. So, by dusk we've been trickle charging all afternoon but not getting that last bit to get them all the way up.
Grab the charge controller instruction book (try and find a younger female who may be able to translate techno talk to greybeards )

* increase charge voltage
* increase absorption voltage
* increase absorption time
* increase float voltage

See if they work
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post #12 of 51 Old 01-05-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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I hope you are getting a bigger boat and not throwing in the towel
Jim,

Unfortunately, I have a terminal disease that forces me to throw in the towel. No, bigger boat for me, just the dirt nap in the relatively near future.

All the best,

Gary
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post #13 of 51 Old 01-05-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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Jim,

Unfortunately, I have a terminal disease that forces me to throw in the towel. No, bigger boat for me, just the dirt nap in the relatively near future.

All the best,

Gary
Wow, really bad news. Happy you made that Florida run. At least you can smile about that.
John
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post #14 of 51 Old 01-05-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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Originally Posted by travlin-easy View Post
Jim,

Unfortunately, I have a terminal disease that forces me to throw in the towel. No, bigger boat for me, just the dirt nap in the relatively near future.

All the best,

Gary
Hi Gary,
I'm very sorry to hear that indeed.

All the best.


Mark

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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

Thanks for thinking of me, guys. And that Florida trip was one of those things that many sailors dream of and never get around to doing. The best advice I have for everyone is make those trips that you all have dreamed of while you can.

All the best,

Gary
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

Gary
I only met you once at the Cambridge rendezvous and from what i gather you have had a very full life. You worked with one of my best friends Joe Morris who is also gone at a very young age. Unfortunately we do not get to decide on how much time we get to spend here. you have lived your life to its fullest and that is what we should all do. If you get back to Cambridge at all look me up and we can go for a sail. I still have your CD we can listen to that too.
Jim W
P.S. Don't leave here without giving us the recipe for the green coconut margarita

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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

Green Coconut Margaretta

1 oz. gold Tequila
1 oz coconut rum
1 oz. Melon Liquor
3 oz. Chi Chi's Gold Margaretta Mix

Fill a 12 ounces glass or red Solo Cup with ice cubes, add above ingredients, stir and enjoy.

Bottom's up,

Gary
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

I'll be doing the solar thing soon.
My thoughts have always been to 1st build the battery bank/s to planned usage....then build solar charging....and/or wind, etc.

...and know there will be cloudy days.
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post #19 of 51 Old 01-06-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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Originally Posted by travlin-easy View Post
Green Coconut Margaretta

1 oz. gold Tequila
1 oz coconut rum
1 oz. Melon Liquor
3 oz. Chi Chi's Gold Margaretta Mix

Fill a 12 ounces glass or red Solo Cup with ice cubes, add above ingredients, stir and enjoy.

Bottom's up,

Gary
Having experienced this concoction first hand from the master mixer himself it is by far one of my favorite summer cocktail

And it MUST be made in a Red Solo cup to get the proper "cultural" ambiance

I think we should rename this Gary,s Green Coconut Concoction


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post #20 of 51 Old 01-06-2017
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Re: Solar power instead of shore power

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
We've been using 250 watts of solar for the last 5 years and I've found a few very interesting things.
Normally, the solar array (around 20 amps in full sunlight) has charged the batteries to the point of trickle charging for the rest of the day, by 11AM. It doesn't seem to matter how much we consume for the rest of the day, I'll not see any more 'bulk' charging. By the way, I do not have 12 volt refrigeration. So, by dusk we've been trickle charging all afternoon but not getting that last bit to get them all the way up. Night comes, the time when we're watching movies on the computer et al, and the consumption drains the house bank back down to 12.4 by dawn, and it all begins again.
This is of course the best case scenario. 4 days w/o good sunshine and I'd be in real trouble w/o the generator, if I didn't curtail usage hugely.
Of course at night La Luna doesn't help, so enter the windgen. The idea was to lessen the overnight drain. Funny thing, a windgen needs wind, just as the solar panels need the sun. Well, quite often the wind dies at night, even here in the Caribbean. Actually, this year the Christmas Winds still haven't arrived. Summer time, don't count on wind too much. Today, a ten hour 70 mile voyage in around 20 knots of wind produced 35 amps from the windgen. That's less than 2 hours of solar input, so don't expect too much from a windgen.
Of course, we are full time liveaboards with a bit of a electrical addiction, but still, I don't see how adding a huge bank of solar panels would improve this scenario very much if the panels are cutting back to a trickle charge by mid morning. You'd just get to that point faster.
Please Mr. Neptune, can I win the lotto next week so we can have lithium ion batteries?
Sounds like the dreaded premature floatulation, a very common problem with far too many controllers, chargers etc... The lawyers try to make them "safe" and the absorption duration is often far too short, especially for a full time cruiser.

If your controller is adjustable/programable (some require an additional remote or a computer for this) raise the absorption voltage to the highest your batteries are rated for, eg: Trojan's would be set to 14.8V, then extend the absorption duration. Some controllers are set with as little as 1 hour of absorption time. This is far too short. You'll want more like 3-5+ hours depending upon usage & charge rate to bank ratio...

If you can't lengthen the absorption duration, simply increase the float voltage into the low 14's... If you're still at 12.4V by morning you're not doing horribly but by increasing the absorption voltage to the max your batteries can take AND extending the absorption duration you can see a marked improvement and avoid premature floatulation...
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-06-2017 at 06:50 AM.
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