Monday, March 2, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Our power is currently stored in a 1 12 volt deep cycle battery rated at 70 amp hours (for non boaters think a car battery on steroids.) Since discharging one of these batteries more than 50% can damage the battery figure we have 35 amp hours that we can use. And because I am paranoid about damaging things, figure that we have about 25 amp hours at our disposal. This is one quarter to one sixth the 100-150 amp hours I figure we will be using each day. The solution is to upgrade our current system with 3 high capacity deep cycle batteries from which will give us 150 usable amp hours. Allegedly they are for sale at Walmart for $80 each. I have never seen these batteries, but I am promised by a member of Sailnet that they exist. Installing these batteries will require some fiberglass and wood work to expand our batter box.
Here is a picture of an expanded battery box on a Pearson 365. This website has been an invaluable resource in gathering information on our boat.
Now that we have covered where our electricity is stored, we have to figure out how to make it. Our main source of electricity is the alternator on our engine. This is the apparatus attached to the engine that charges our batteries when the engine is running. Theoretically our alternator can produces 55 amps when the engine is running fast. Because we don't have a power boat and plan to anchor for several days at a time there will be days we don't want to run the engine. The engine is also noisy, smelly, expensive to run and more expensive to fix, so we want to rely on the engine as little as possible to charge the batteries. This leaves us with a few possible alternative to charge our batteries.
Here are possible sources to charge our batteries
1) Deisel Generator
2) Towable generator (think underwater windmill that gets towed)
3) Nuclear reactor
4) Solar Pannels
5) Wind Generator (think regular windmill)
6) Portable Gas Generator
7) Upgrading our Alternator
Due to our budget aprx. 1K for this project we are limited to the last four options.
Pros: Silent and require minimal or no maintence
Cons: They don't produce enough energy to power the boat. They are the most expensive up front for the amount of power produced. No power produced at night and reduced on cloudy days.
inexpensive and questionable quality Chinese knock offs ($200)
There are quite a variety of these from the top of the line Honda's ($1000) which are very quite and efficient to the very
Pros: Power on demand in any weather condition, relatively inexpensive upfront
Cons: Requires storing gasoline, Carbon Monoxide and exaust odors from operation. Noise. Gasoline is another expense that will add up.
Pros: Provides power 24 hrs per day if the wind blows
Cons: Requires 15+ mph of wind to provide a reasonable charge. We will usually try to anchor in protected areas with little wind. Tricky installation. Can be noisy depending on installation
Cons: We would have to run the engine which is why we are looking at alternative charging sources in the first place. If the engine breaks down it won't work.
The conclusion? Well I guess it is too be continued.... I will keep you up dated on our selection.
While I would like to have it all done before we leave, I know that some of these upgrades will have to be completed en route. We looked at too many sailboats for sale because the owners never got around to completing that last project before they could leave. Months of outfitting turned into years and their dream was put on hold indefinitely. I won't leave without feeling completely safe but some of the creature comforts will have to wait so that our dream does not.
Raise mizzen boom (so I can stand under a bimini)
Additional battery charging solution
Chain for the anchor
Dinghy and outboard
Smaller Jib or Storm Jib
Fix TV antenna
Rig a switch for the decklight (ideally a siren/horn and a strobe) in the V-berth. This will be our boarding alarm.