Update Observations to this ---- Re: Good Girl Gets a Motor (was: Correcting my EARLIER Instrument Notes on EV Power)


Electri-Cal
 

Never, zero solar interest now.  Here in the NW, the sun is so far out of optimal equatorial alignment, thanks Myles T. (low transfer), cloudy (same), takes up too much useful space to get enough, and has to be kept clean to work., looks ugly  I like the way my boat looks, I tried every thing, rechecked to fit the power I need and it doesn't work for me. I'd sooner put in better lithium batts., for maybe $5 thou., but not going there at my age. 

I can put the bucks into the new deep and high capacity Interstate batts., with back up pack, and save a bunch of effort, or money your choice !   When my depth finder goes dark, I have enough to get in, or switch packs at my option.  Then the off line pack rebounds slightly and I get emergency power trickle back, at possible battery stress, so only if needed.

When solar cells get sewn into sails, maybe  ---  BUT !! then the sail gets heavier, and stiffer, and unhandy to work with.  My Positive Answer, a good dedicated battery bank with say no less than 40 % emergency capacity, plus the best deep cycle charger available, I have one super duty heavy charger from a distributor in China, works slick from 12 to 72 volts automatically.  Back up chargers are a 12v. pair from de Walt, one for each battery  for two at a time, to do each test series and keep a chart going, with dates.  I still have a 3 battery auto $200. charger that I didn't use !!! 

Lastly is the Uber Essential long term maintainer to prevent long term slow sulphation, ALWAYS READY TO GO .  The best charger and a maintainer does the best job for long trep capacity, use it too fast, recharge too fast, and you can easy lose the top 10% of capacity, a bad deal.

Take care coots, --   Cal


 


 

Setting a boat up to be able to run off the juice produced by solar panels requires patience, commitment, and dollars, but it can be done, even in the NW. Joe Grez did the Salish 100 on solar, and will be back again this year, I expect, with a larger boat. A fellow cruised the Rideau Canal in Ontario using solar, and wrote about it in Small Boats Monthly:

https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/a-solar-solo/

But if you're taking your boat home after every use, and not trying to make a statement, good batteries and a plug-in charger make more sense.

If you've got a slip at the lake that doesn't have electricity, and you only use your sailboat a couple of times a week, solar panels may work to keep your battery charged, or at least extend the time between lugging the batteries up the dock and home to charge. One of my dockmates on E Dock has used two flexible solar panels on his cockpit seats (hardly ideal) with success for just that porpoise. Joe Grez said I could probably get away with one 20 watt panel. I got a 30 watt 24 volt panel that I'll mount so it faces the sun. If that doesn't work I'll try adding another. Last year I usually used about 5 amps (24 volts) for the time it took to go less than half a mile combined, usually quite a bit less, to get out of my slip and to get back to it at the end of a sail.

My dockmate's boat, not under electric power:

https://flic.kr/p/nXKqr3

Lithium batteries for Surprise wouldn't need to cost $5. They can be discharged much more deeply than lead/acid, so you wouldn't need the same rated amp/hours as your current battery banks. John Acord has been fooling around with making lithium battery banks using bare cells and his own battery management system. maybe he'll chime in.

But Surprise is pretty well set up now, Cal. Just go out and enjoy her. :o)

On 4/12/2021 10:24 AM, Electri-Cal wrote:
Never, zero solar interest now.  Here in the NW, the sun is so far out of optimal equatorial alignment, thanks Myles T. (low transfer), cloudy (same), takes up too much useful space to get enough, and has to be kept clean to work., looks ugly  I like the way my boat looks, I tried every thing, rechecked to fit the power I need and it doesn't work for me. I'd sooner put in better lithium batts., for maybe $5 thou., but not going there at my age.
...
--
John <jkohnen@boat-links.com>
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johnacord
 

Hmmm,  wasn't me that was building out of single cells.  I'm not doing anything with lithium at the present.  Staying with the Honda 50 on the Pelicano, pretty efficient for internal combustion and has the range we want that was impractical with electric propulsion.  Figured if we had to have a generator with electric to get the range may as well stick with the Honda.

As to a BMS:  Not hard to do if you know your electronics and can program microcontrollers, especially if you only want to have protection functions and balance manually. An ltc6803 and an Arduino would do it.

For 24V and a trolling motor it can be quite simple.

John A.


Josh
 

My interest in solar is simpler, just to boost the run time not fully charge the battery. And it seems like it's probably too complicated for that to be worth it. 


Electri-Cal
 

Thanks John, and all for various input.   Never would have got this far without the helpful info., and welcome criticism of the Coots out there.  Yep, think it's all good to go now.  If I quit thinking and just use what I finally figured out, it gets easier.  The latest deeper cycle batts., and reconnecting that "wiggled loose" main pack 2/0 cable gets it back to full range.  Too bad I didn't see that sooner, but all checks out now.  Even that last short was not enough to destroy the battery, big hooray there. 

Rear deck is finished, but I can't find my Coots club burgee, gotta be someplace not often accessed.  I plan to get to Fern Ridge Sat am, after breakfast, looks like cruising weather.  I might be able to recharge if needed from the gas pump again, so I will bring the "mastercharger" and heavy charge cords.  There ought to be a way to do that at local lakes, with a meter like EV charge spots on a phone.   Maybe I can finally get to the Honda charger, might even bring that along as a dockside charger.  Leaving the aft cover up partly should provide airflow and exhaust escape. 

Thinking about the RC sailboat, but maybe as a demo project at this point, as I haven't rigged it yet, but Jove asked about it, and I could stuff the parts in the car, we'll see .

Anyhoo!! ---  All is Well, good weather and another event, hot dog, -----   Cal     


MylesJ Swift
 

John - I had a single battery amidship and a 10 x 18 solar panel mounted facing straight up on the taffrail of my Micro. In 4 years at Dorena and then on South Ten Mile Lake for 3 years I never had to charge the battery. I would say your estimate of an hour a day for sailboat use is about right whether coming in after the wind died in Dorena or motorsailing upwind to the marina on Ten Mile. That was before solar cells got better and cheaper and before PWM controllers. The motor was a Minnkota 3HP which had a larger, flatter, prop than you find today.


 

Thanks, Myles, that's good to know. Makes me think that the single panel I've got might do the job, but I'll make the mount for it so I can easily add another.

3 hp. Minn Kota? That must have been a huge motor! 24 volt? I've got an 80 lb, thrust motor on Tuffy, half of what Cal's got on Surprise. Minn Kota says it's supposed to draw 56 amps, max, but I usually only use a small fraction of that.

On 4/13/2021 10:57 AM, Myles S wrote:
John - I had a single battery amidship and a 10 x 18 solar panel mounted facing straight up on the taffrail of my Micro. In 4 years at Dorena and then on South Ten Mile Lake for 3 years I never had to charge the battery. I would say your estimate of an hour a day for sailboat use is about right whether coming in after the wind died in Dorena or motorsailing upwind to the marina on Ten Mile. That was before solar cells got better and cheaper and before PWM controllers. The motor was a Minnkota 3HP which had a larger, flatter, prop than you find today.
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Sorry, John, you talked to me about home-brewed BMSes a while back and I guess I got you confused with someone else who was making their own battery banks out of individual cells. Or were you planning to do that when you were designing the system of Heather? No matter... Now it's AGMs for Tuffy for the next several years, if I take care of them.

On 4/12/2021 6:56 PM, john a wrote:
Hmmm,  wasn't me that was building out of single cells.
...
As to a BMS:  Not hard to do if you know your electronics and can program microcontrollers, especially if you only want to have protection functions and balance manually. An ltc6803 and an Arduino would do it.
For 24V and a trolling motor it can be quite simple.
--
John <jkohnen@boat-links.com>
Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue. (Robert King Merton)
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MylesJ Swift
 

John - That was what Minnkota named it. In later years they called it High Performance. It was 12 volt and heavy by modern Minnkota standards. Think of it geared like a tug. It would go straight into the wind at 2 to 3 knots without being affected much by wind and wave. It is the trolling motor on a 19 or 20 foot Hewes Craft now.