SailNet Community banner

21 - 27 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
Alot of good tips here, not the least of which is the need to seriously calculate your usage of power and the part of the world you are cruising in for sunlight quality.

We have lived aboard our 33ft for coming up on a year shortly. We do not rely on our alternator to charge nor do we use shore power. We have all the usual needs likes phones, tablets, laptop, fans, lights (all led), radios, and water pumps. We also have a few extras like an Engel freezer making ice for our ice box 24hrs a day.

We have done perfectly fine with:
-110w rigid panel
-2x 100w flexi panels
-30a Morningstar controller (PS30m)
-4x group 27 lead acid deep cycles
-1x starter battery
-1000w inverter used almost entirely for charging the laptop and DSLR but every now and then run a shopvac or dremmel

We've cruised from Canada to the Bahamas and are in Maryland currently. When further north light wasn't as available but it was cooler so our freezer (main consumer at 2.5ah) worked less, in the south light was plentiful but the freezer ran nonstop.

In retrospect what I would have done differently would be to install a rack and instead of a flexible panel on the dodger I'd go rigid. The rigid panels these days are cheaper, last longer, and produce more consistent panel. We have had 2 flexi panels die on us so far (installed properly and from 2 known companies). Even when they were brand new the flexi panels just never cracked the same amps as our old rigid. They have a use but if you can go rigid I would.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
12,163 Posts
I doubt the OP needs a 100 amp shorepower charger. Or for that matter a 2000 watt inverter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
I really won't know what I need until I buy the boat. It was suggested to me that I create a spreadsheet with likely post purchase costs before making an offer. I appreciate all the responses. If I budget for a larger system than I need than that can only be a good thing when I run the actual numbers after purchase.

thanks,
Hugh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,878 Posts
He asked specifically about a charger/inverter. I was putting some perspective around the comment of it being foolish to buy a combo unit over separate units.

Full-time cruising was his stated operational mode, along with potentially lithium batteries. A large charger is useful here, as is the ability to occasionally run power tools/shop vac, or an induction plate, or other higher current stuff off an inverter.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
I'm looking at purchasing a 34' boat. I would like to get a rough estimate about how much it would cost to add solar, charger/inverter, and an appropriately sized house bank for a boat this size to be used as a full time cruiser. The ice box is 6 cu/ft and I'm thinking of using a frigoboat Capri 35 conversion kit to turn it into a refrigerator/freezer. The autopilot is a Raymarine st4000

Any rough ideas on how much Solar and battery capacity that would be needed to run the fridge and the usual electronics and autopilot would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,
Hugh
Full time cruising without shore charging is a challenge. There are (quite amazing) cruisers that managed to run a 37’ sailboat with electric inboard motor with solar charging only (lookup Sailing Uma),

However, to be practical on a smaller boat you’ll be limited with the solar panel space you can add. Considering that you’ll get a boat with an inboard diesel, you’ll need to run the motor for charging. At this size of a boat you’ll be limited with a space for AGM house batteries so you better plan on LFP batteries that with a same space can easily triple your useable power bank.
Basic Costs;
two high efficiency solar panels of approx 500W total with mounts: $700-1200
MPPT charging controller: $200-300
LFP batteries, including controller, say 600A/h bank $7,000-9,000
dc/dc charger to charge the LFP from the cranking AGM battery: $400
50A Charger Inverter (Victron or Mastervolt) ~$1,500
you may also need to add or upgrade your alternator and controller. This would cost $700-1500
installation materials would be around $200-500
that’s for a DIY...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,068 Posts
Full time cruising without shore charging is a challenge. There are (quite amazing) cruisers that managed to run a 37’ sailboat with electric inboard motor with solar charging only (lookup Sailing Uma),

However, to be practical on a smaller boat you’ll be limited with the solar panel space you can add. Considering that you’ll get a boat with an inboard diesel, you’ll need to run the motor for charging. At this size of a boat you’ll be limited with a space for AGM house batteries so you better plan on LFP batteries that with a same space can easily triple your useable power bank.
Basic Costs;
two high efficiency solar panels of approx 500W total with mounts: $700-1200
MPPT charging controller: $200-300
LFP batteries, including controller, say 600A/h bank $7,000-9,000
dc/dc charger to charge the LFP from the cranking AGM battery: $400
50A Charger Inverter (Victron or Mastervolt) ~$1,500
you may also need to add or upgrade your alternator and controller. This would cost $700-1500
installation materials would be around $200-500
that’s for a DIY...
more than $10,000 so he can make ice?

Get a engine drive compressor/refer/freezer. If you use a freezer plate (I did)... you can bring an insulated ice box to freezer temps in a hr of running the engine in the morning and maintain it with another 1/2hr in the evening. If you run the engine less time then the plate (a stainless steel "block of ice") does not get as cold.... and you have refer temps. Box needs to be filled because cold air is not what you want.... you want things that become cold... liquids and food.

Running the engine you will:
charge your assorted batteries using a small inverter (less than 1500 watts)
use your 110v vacuum etc.
top up house bank with smart regulated alternator
make hot water
get your boat out of the harbor perhaps until your sails are set. Run your electric windlass.
Ending the day you reverse... cool the plate in the box, charge devices with the inverter, top up house bank with smart regulated alternator
make hot water
get your boat into the harbor perhaps drop your sails motor to anchor location. Run your electric windlass to set anchor.

Engine drive refer uses a very small amount of amps to operate the compressor clutch.
Refer is not on all day using amps and making noise
You do not need huge battery banks

You need to use your intelligence and find a sensible solution for making ice and your various electrical needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,395 Posts
I really won't know what I need until I buy the boat. It was suggested to me that I create a spreadsheet with likely post purchase costs before making an offer. I appreciate all the responses. If I budget for a larger system than I need than that can only be a good thing when I run the actual numbers after purchase.

thanks,
Hugh
The important thing is to get the boat you want that is well maintained. If it already has the upgrades you want, then that is just a bonus.

Our boat was fairly well equipped when we bought it, but I have been doing constant upgrades ever since.

Right now am in the middle of doing the upgrade you are contemplating. I had planned to do it in a couple of years but we discovered that the batteries were failing so that upgrade moved to the top of the list. Our goal is to be energy self sufficient off grid for extended periods in the summer.

My upgrade so far:

4x G31 Firefly batteries for a total of 450ah
CAD$3200. (You don't have to spend that much, there are cheaper options)

1 Renogy 160w flexible solar panel on the Dodger
CAD$450

Victron BMV712 battery monitor
$250

Victron MPPT 100/30 smartSolar controller. (Sized to handle more panels in future)
$300

So far this setup is working well for us. We have been off grid for a week and have only had to run the engine once, mainly due to cloudy weather and poor solar output. All our meat is still frozen, and the fridge is cold.

Our system upgrade is not finished however. The high end batteries have exposed the shortcomings of our alternator and shore power charger.

So far a Xantrex 80a 1000w charger/inverter looks like a good option even though we don't need an inverter. It is cheaper than a standalone charger with the same output.

I will also be pricing out a high output externally regulated alternator.

I expect I will be spending another $2000-3000 by the time the dust settles, but I will do that over the next year or so.




Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
 
21 - 27 of 27 Posts
Top