Solar panels

helixkimara

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Any thoughts or experience on solar panel manufacturer, size, cost to keep battery charged for nav lights, min cabin lights. pos. GPS. Engineless 21 ft. yacht. i'e flexible type that can be fixed to the curve of the deck or fixed. regards
Malcome
 

co256

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Hello Malcome,

A 40W Solara was excellent for me, 2x 85Ah batteries should give you a reference point, somewhat flexible for mounting to a curved deck if you need to and designed for the job.... marinised!

Being able to adjust it's location or at least angle to the sun is useful as it will vastly increase it's charging efficiency. Have a look at the way the mini transat sailors mount them on the transom.

I simply moved mine around, freestyle, with a long connection cable.

Hope that helps,

Guy.
 

helixkimara

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Thanks Guy,
With such a tiny boat I wont be able to wonder about on deck moving them about so looking at how the minitransats have them as you suggest. 40W seems about right with a decent slow discharge gel battery. Deepfreezer and fridge is out then.
Are you going for the JAC12 or is it too early to ask.
Regards Malcome
 
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Tahitibelle

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Hi Malcolm - Am glad you opened this thread, I am mentally working through the same problem. I have a kingfisher 20+ JR, with 6hp outboard engine - similar size vessel to your own, in which I am planning to enter the 2012 Azores challenge. It looks as though there are going to be quite a few of us at the small end of the fleet, which should be a lot of fun.

I have come to the following conclusions concerning power generation:

1) Honda type generator - lovely tool but heavy, not very sea water friendly in a small boat, needs petrol to be carried and is expensive to buy coming in at half the cost of a liferaft.
2) Wind generator - expensive to buy, noisy, ugly to look at and dangerous (head injury).
3) Water generator - Brilliant tool, works well at around 4-6 knots (I only expect to average 3.0 -3.5 knots) heavy'ish, causes a lot of drag, expensive.
4) Solar panels - cost half as much as any of the above and possibly the solution.

I contacted www.selectsolar.co.uk and asked them to suggest the best panel for the following 24 hrs power consumption requirements:

Autohelm 0.50 amps (I will use a Hasler wind vane most of the time)
Nav lights 0.25 amps (Probably only an allround white at the mast head when off soundings)
VHF radio 1.50 amps (Will probably only listen in on a hand held VHF when 30M+ offshore)
Cabin light 0.50 amps (Maybe a red chart light occasionally, but mostly a torch)
Contingency 0.25 amps (perhaps some RADAR detection device during periods of sleep)

They suggested their 32w flexi panel and this is what I hope to go for. Only problem is I am not all that confident in my budgeted power consumption figures.

Any experience of this device or in general much appreciated.
- Nick
'SV MANDOLIN'
 

co256

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Hi Malcome and Nick,

One issue for you might be the lack of an engine for charging if you find yourselves without sunshine for a few days?! Red Admiral does have an engine and it runs on diesel so I don't have the flammable fuel issues quite so much.

Never the less, I still have battery run led cabin lights (Osram dot-it), a NASA led tri-colour, an led torch plus an led head torch, to help keep battery consumption down and give me some redundancy when things go bump in the night.

The tri-colour only uses 200mA and I generally switch both vhf and gps off once far enough offshore.

I also have battery run gps and hand held vhf in my grab bag so feel I'm well covered.

As for the JAC 2012, I'm aiming to do the Atlantic this year, Newport is unfinished business, after that I'd like to build my next boat, which would mean selling Red Admiral and probably going to boat building college for two years.

Guy.
 

sam_uk

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Hi Malcolm - Am glad you opened this thread, I am mentally working through the same problem. I have a kingfisher 20+ JR,

Hi Nick

I am also a 20+ JR Kingfisher sailor :)

I have recently become interested in these products
http://www.tegpower.com/products.html

Their Universal TEG Battery Charger looks like it could be a interesting backup for solar. Their published figures are @12v/ 5watt for approx £100

It looks like it could be run on a simple meths stove.

I have never used their products, and so this is not an endorsement, but it looks interesting to me..

2p

Sam
 

tarik

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Solar Panels

Any thoughts or experience on solar panel manufacturer, size, cost to keep battery charged for nav lights, min cabin lights. pos. GPS. Engineless 21 ft. yacht. i'e flexible type that can be fixed to the curve of the deck or fixed. regards
Malcome

Hi Malcome,

I'm thinking along the same lines - have a look on E bay item no: 32066048981

12v 40 watt panel £94.00

David
 

Gargleblaster

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Hi Malcome,

I'm thinking along the same lines - have a look on E bay item no: 32066048981

12v 40 watt panel £94.00

David

I've always used Ebay panels and they have worked for me. I am however in the fortunate position, like Guy, of having a diesel engine which is just powerful enough to turn over my alternator, so I don't have to complete rely on good sunshine.
I find that from the cheapest monocrystaline [sic?], I get about 2 years use out of them until the sea water finally makes a mess of the electrics. Occassionally I sit down quite hard on them in a seaway cracking the glass, and I'm not sure how that effects their performance.

To keeps things simple I have two batteries and two solar panels [one 10w, one 15w], one for each battery.

Only other comment, I find on the JC rather than the JAC there are more overcast days than there are sunny days. I have completely given up on celestial navigation because of the difficulties of getting a sight when you can go 10 days without seeing a celestial body. I find I have to run my engine for about an hour every 3 days to keep my batteries topped up. I could perhaps overcome the need to engine charge if I bought more solar panels, but I am reluctant to beef them up to the stage where they need the complexity of a regulator.
 

Gargleblaster

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Hi Malcome and Nick,

As for the JAC 2012, I'm aiming to do the Atlantic this year, Newport is unfinished business, after that I'd like to build my next boat, which would mean selling Red Admiral and probably going to boat building college for two years.

Guy.

Wonderful news, Guy. I'm really pleased that you haven't given up on the idea.
Do you have a departure date in mind? How can we follow your progress? Or can't we? I'll be away unfortunately doing a trip from Antigua to Australia starting in April, but I will stop occassionally and would like to know how you are going.

Any thoughts about which route? After last years experience I would highly recommend the southern route - I wanted to do it but couldn't find a wind to take me South so had to batter the current all the way.
 

helixkimara

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Hi John,
Please tel us about the trip from Antigua to Australia ? ?
I mensioned yesterday to my wife that I fancy sailing to Cape Town S. Africa to visit my cusin. She said "Shut up"
 

jesterchallenger

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Hi Malcome,

I fitted a Sunware 32w panel to the coachroof which works well at keeping the batteries topped up during a 'normal' season when the boat's on its mooring. However I find that for a lot of the time at sea, the panel is either in the shade of a sail or heeled away from the sun and therefore giving very low output. The panel is almost square, so a skinny rectangular shape might be easier to mount in a position to avoid this. I'm going to experiment this year with trying it as a movable panel, perhaps hanging it in place of dodgers to see if that helps. Trouble is it's quite heavy and easy to drop overboard whilst being moved! I did buy a second smaller panel for the JC10, but it turned out to have a painted mild steel backing plate and soon corroded and disintegrated. I think the very flexible panels are much lighter and probably more suitable as portable panels. I'd love a couple of these port and starboard, but can't afford it at the moment.

I also have an Aquair water towed generator, which is fantastic, nicely built, robust and chucks out between 3 - 5 amps depending on boat speed. Even at full tilt, you can hold the whole unit in your hand, so the drag issue is not that great, and probably less than a wind turbine in higher wind speeds. Doesn't do anything in a calm though, unlike a solar panel! And you have to be careful in shallower waters (like the East Coast) because it's on the end of 30m of rope, and you have to retrieve it before lying to a drogue in heavy weather, but that's not really any bother.
 

helixkimara

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Thanks Duncan and everyone, all usefull stuff.
I think semi flexible fixed to the (dont know yet) They are expensive but comparable to other methods.
Regards
Malcome
 

co256

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Wonderful news, Guy. I'm really pleased that you haven't given up on the idea.
Do you have a departure date in mind? How can we follow your progress? Or can't we? I'll be away unfortunately doing a trip from Antigua to Australia starting in April, but I will stop occassionally and would like to know how you are going.

Any thoughts about which route? After last years experience I would highly recommend the southern route - I wanted to do it but couldn't find a wind to take me South so had to batter the current all the way.

Hello John,

I'm working a temporary contract until late May, to earn some funds for my "Atlantic Holiday", I have no fixed departure but I would like to be back in the water as soon as possible.

The new beam is progressing nicely and will hopefully be bonded in place either this or next weekend, then there's a list of other jobs which are already in progress. Add some time for getting round to Plymouth and then off!

I'll have my SPOT tracker with me, it is my intention to have one or two Jesterites on the SPOT e-mail list so you can keep in touch with my progress.

As for my route, it will be the same as last year.... wherever the wind takes me!

Thanks for your enthusiasm and enjoy your delivery cruise!

Guy.
 

Gargleblaster

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Hi John,
Please tel us about the trip from Antigua to Australia ? ?
I mensioned yesterday to my wife that I fancy sailing to Cape Town S. Africa to visit my cousin. She said "Shut up"

It's not single handed and the boat is over 30 feet, so it doesn't rate as a real trip, but there will be 2 Jesters on board for most of the way, myself and Pete Sutherland from New York state. Antigua to Panama, Easter Island, Papeete, Nuku-alofa, Sydney.
 

helixkimara

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It's not single handed and the boat is over 30 feet, so it doesn't rate as a real trip, but there will be 2 Jesters on board for most of the way, myself and Pete Sutherland from New York state. Antigua to Panama, Easter Island, Papeete, Nuku-alofa, Sydney.

Fantastic, seriously very best wishes to all on board. You lucky so and so.
Its funny, I was wondering why all the FB pies had gone off the shelves lately
best wishes, Malcome
 

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co256

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Tee-hee. :D

Going back to solar power, these dimpled surface, flexible, non-slip panels designed for marine applications seem to be good and I have been looking at them for my yacht.

http://www.barden-ukshop.com/solara-semi-flexible-solar-panels-52-c.asp

I think the 'M' means marina application? :rolleyes:

And from this website, they talk about a 26 year service life?

http://www.kuranda.co.uk/chandlery/solara-semiflex-sm40.html

:)

I have the SM120M and it is a nice panel, I like the fact it doesn't have a large aluminium frame around it!

Guy.
 
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