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I will try and help here as I can.

For Inv/Chg (a seperate, independent, system)

For the inverter/charger, I chose the Xantrex Prosine 2.0. I have heard that Outback may make a better unit, but its size is awkward. THe 2.0 is quite reliable. It will do everything you want, including automatic switching. I think you may be able to set the voltage on it so auto shut off inverter at a certain voltage, but not certain. It is very, very good stuff. As far as having curcuts not controlled by the inverter, that is done by your wiring at the panel. Just have some seperated from it. For example, we do not have our air conditioning as part of it. Many people intentionally take their hot water heater off of it. I did not. I left mine in as I have a large bank and if there was a time I wanted to pull some off the batts on a high solar day, I could. But I elected to keep this process manual.

For Solar (A seperate, independent system)

For the panels, I chose an Outback MX60. It is MPPT. The reality is that even if you have an array that is my size (4-130 W panels) you are only looking at dumping about 100-150 ah MAX at 12v, so I do not think that is going to do much for your hot water heater as it can pull about 12-15 amps (110v) which probably calculates to about 120 ah or more at 12v... and this is per hour. The outback kicks on an internal fan to dunp everything else off as heat. Honestly, I would not make it too complicated. I have heard that you can also put your wind gen on the MX60. However, they put out small amps at long intervals versus the solar that is just the opposite.

Others can give you advice on the wind. My knowledge on it is limited since I intentionally decided not to incorporate it. The reason I did not incorporate it is that there was no place on my boat to put the wind gen that it would dissrupt my solar. I imagine you would have the same problem. Remember, even small amounts of shading will shut down the solar or really diminish it. But correct me if I am wrong, but don't most of the good wind gens have internal regulators? Panels do not and for reasons listed above, should go through a controller. I guess I thought you could direct wire a good wind gen, but you should read your instructions.

Engine Alternator(s)

You will need to use your own regulator on that. If you have Balmar, which many have, it is independent.


I will say that I am no fan of one thing does all. It seems cheaper, and it may be, but it also creates a one-stop failure. WHen you have multiple, autonomous systems, the chances of a total system failure almost fall to zero. I say buy good stuff that is specific for your use, and keep them completely indepenedent from the rest of the systems. Safety is in redundancy.

My opinions.

Brian
 

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Good point Xort. I'm thinking things like the microwave could be plugged in to an always-on outlet. You've got me rethinking this a bit.

By the way, in showing the diagram to my wife, she said "I don't need a microwave." That changes a few things, like I can now use the 1000watt inverter that I already have. (Those big ones are expensive.) And I could take the microwave down - it blocks the view.
I dissagree.

THe microwave is awesome. I have been told that it is one of the cheapest ways (energy wise) to heat food. If I was going to invest in anything, it would be a large inverter first. You will be glad you did afterwards. Having a microwave and the ability to use it on the hook is a HUGE, HUGE plus.

Brian
 

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bene
I saw in your diag that you plan on an automatic switch for the shorepower/inverter. You sure you want to do that? if the shore power goes out you will automaticly switch even if you don't know or aren't there. and then your batteries could get drained and possibly damages if drained too far. Plus it's another fancy device that could fail more easily than a simple switch.
As I said, you can pull off some switches if you want. THe microwave draws nothing unless it is on. Also, the Xantrex 2.0 has a manual on/off to control the inverter so that it does not always have to be on.

The thing that will drain you batt is hair dryers, coffee pots, microwave (somewhat... when in use), space heaters, and water heater. The water heater, should you forget to turn it off when not plugged in, is the kiss of death. Hair dryers, coffee pots, etc pull around 80ish-100 ah but they are very short cycled.

Remember, without a inverter - no coffee without brewing. No hair drying. No microwave. WIth us (and kids) that was too much to give up.

Brian
 

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Good perspective CD. I do want to make life easy for my family.

The water heater should be covered. It's the dump load or it's shore power. If the switch fails there ought to be no harm done.

I'm wondering why there isn't an inexpensive MMPT with dump load. (Other than the fact that it has the word "marine" in the product description.) Still noodling that one.

By the way, I appreciate all the great input. Finidng all this out on Google would be exhausting.
Seperate the systems. Seriously. Redundancy is safety.

Have you already installed your windgen? If so, I bet it will interfere with the solar. Look at these pics:





There is nowhere to put the wind gen without interference. I can produce more than I need on my current setup - or close to. However, I live and will cruise primarily in the warm and sunny parts of the world. In the Neast, it has been explained to me that the sunny days are less frequent. If that is the case, I can see the use for the wind gen. Howsever, most people I know have been dissapointed with them. On the flip side, I have heard that 4wind is probably the best unit out.

Regarding the dump... I am telling you not to put too much into that. Once you and your fam are on it, you won't be dumping anything. Simply won't happen. While on the ball and not being used, you wil not need the hot water heater anyways.

If you and your wife are not pretty conscientious about turning on/off switches, I would not put the hot water heater in the circut. Especially with only 2-4d's, you will suck that thing below 50% in an hour to 1.5 hours. I am giving you real world experience. As such, all it takes is one "oops" and you will come back to dead batts. Put some thought into that.

You can install, all said and done, a inverter for about 1500-1700. Talk to sailnet about a great deal. I think they will help. Go to Cobra Wire for your lugs and wiring. I can walk you through a bunch of this if you want.

I would then spend some money on two more batteries. I would buy an optima and another 4-d gell/agm. I would put the optima on a totally seperate, independent charger (cheap one like the Xantrex 10amp) and the other in parallel with my house. I would wire the house onto batt1 switch on my boat. I would then put in the optima and wire it into batt 2 switch. I would always leave the boat on batt 1 unless there was an emergency. I would put the 10amp charger ON THE INVERTER panel so that when you are off shore, your inverter can run the 10amp. Being that it is a fancy agm, it has almost no discharge which means almost no load off of the 10amp charger. Should the house go dead, you can simply switch over to BOTH and start your engine. Should the starter battery go dead, the same thing. It is a very inexpensive redundancy system.

I will tell you that the ONLY time in 15 years or so of sailing that I have lost a bank was when my charger got stuck on bulk and cooked my batts. I have found that happens more than you know. This system will give you the safety to get home should that happen.

Does all of that make sense? That is how my boat is wired.

Brian
 

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You guys have me confused. Do you have 12v water heaters ? If not how can you dump 12v into a 120v circuit ? The other Dumps mentioned to a 12v Refer makes sense but the water heater...... :confused:
You can invert it. Your inverter ties into your main 110 bank (unless modified to pull some switches out). As such, the boat basically thinks it is plugged into dock power. If your hot water heater is on, and you have a large enough battery, you will invert for it.

Most of the dumps I have seen go into a cooling plate system (I am not sure the name). It looks like the cooling grid off of some elctronics, etc. Basically, it is dumping the electricity on the plate, which produces heat, which is removed via a cooling fan or just plain air.

Did that make sense?

Brian
 

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Incidentally, when discussing hot water, I have found that by far the quickest way to heat water is via running the engine. The electrical method seems to be a high energy, long result method. Given that, since you have to run the main every once in a while anyways, it seems a good effort to make sure you have a well insulated hot water heater and when you want a hot bath, sniff some diesel.

Brian
 
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