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One 100 watt solar panel


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What is the intended use and duration?    Daysailing a reservoir or the Ohio River with some moonlight excursions, it will last you all season with LED lights.   I assume you aren’t trailer launching a fixed keel often.   If you want a week on Kentucky Lake in the summer, it should be fine (watch the thin areas late season).    If you want a week on Erie in the fall with limited daylight, make sure you have good battery capacity and a trickle charger on your motor.  

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Lark and BJ have some good info above.  Frankly, if you are asking this question on the internet after already installing the panel, well, you clearly do not know what you are doing. You should have validated your power demands and storage capacity and factored in your intended usage before going to the trouble to install a panel. 100 watts is quite a bit. (I made it to Hawaii with two 60 watt panels and an AP doing about 80% of the driving.) If you are planning any offshore work the single panel leave you with no redundancy. And seriously, what the fuck is with the extraordinary elevation of the mount?

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7 hours ago, Lark said:

What is the intended use and duration?    Daysailing a reservoir or the Ohio River with some moonlight excursions, it will last you all season with LED lights.   I assume you aren’t trailer launching a fixed keel often.   If you want a week on Kentucky Lake in the summer, it should be fine (watch the thin areas late season).    If you want a week on Erie in the fall with limited daylight, make sure you have good battery capacity and a trickle charger on your motor.  

 

5 hours ago, casc27 said:

Lark and BJ have some good info above.  Frankly, if you are asking this question on the internet after already installing the panel, well, you clearly do not know what you are doing. You should have validated your power demands and storage capacity and factored in your intended usage before going to the trouble to install a panel. 100 watts is quite a bit. (I made it to Hawaii with two 60 watt panels and an AP doing about 80% of the driving.) If you are planning any offshore work the single panel leave you with no redundancy. And seriously, what the fuck is with the extraordinary elevation of the mount?

He's the same fellow asking about taking a Ranger 23 from NY to FL...hopefully on the ICW.

So I think @Trenice Brown is looking for 24x7 full time liveaboard capabilities.

But without knowing what he has on board and is trying to do with specific equipment or batteries, it is tough to tell if this will suffice. Pretty sure there's zero refrigeration on board, but even a 12V plug in cooler sucks a shocking amount of power.

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9 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

a 12V plug in cooler sucks a shocking amount of power.

If you're talking about a thermoelectric cooler ($120+-), indeed they are notoriously inefficient because they draw about 4 amps and have to run continuously or they'll quickly warm up.  They also only lower the temp by 40° maximum so on a 90° day the cooler will be at 50°, not good for for your tuna salad sandwiches.

A vapor-compression cooler ($700+)  which works just like a home refrigerator, runs intermittently and draws about 4-6 amps when running but may have a duty cycle of only 20% depending on ambient temperatures which makes it 4+-  times more efficient.  It also cools to a set temperature including freezing temps no matter the ambient temperature.  I've run mine in 110° desert temperatures and it easily maintained a temperature of 35°, although the hotter it is, the more it has to run to keep things cool.  That being said they're still power hogs and may consume 50+ amps/day in warm/hot weather.

I run mine with a 100w solar panel connected to a grp31 AGM battery (with a charge controller) and it'll run forever, even can recharge the battery from near dead in 3-4 days while running the 'frige.  On road trips I charge from the car alternator and don't bother setting up the panel.

To sum it up here's my typical power hogs listed in order of power consumption:

  • Autopilot if run 24/7 especially in rough weather.  Rare to do so though.
  • 'Frige which of course is 24/7.
  • Loud stereo which draws 5 amps in use.
  • Lighting and fans, VHF radio, USB device recharging, etc., kinda trivial.

On my 36' sailboat with 500a/h of lead acid batteries on weekend trips  I don't worry about power consumption and on longer trips a huge Balmar alternator recharges them from near dead (20%) to near charged (80%) in 4-5 hours when motoring and a night of shorepower when slipped recharges back to near 100%.  Frankly,  a 100w panel on davits on a 23 footer without refrigeration is overkill;  it's ugly, heavy weight aloft and a lot of windage.

For long term liveaboard cruisers who anchor for days/weeks and make 1,000 mile passages with autopilot/refrigeration the ugliness/weight/windage is worth having 100-400watts  of solar to keep things powered up, but such cruisers are in the 40-50+ foot range and usually so overloaded their sailing efficiency is already compromised so who cares.

I've slowly turned in to a slip queen and keep the batteries topped off with a portable 30w panel lying on deck (no controller); run all dc loads using the batteries and run a 'frige, microwave & 90w laptop off AC shorepower.  If the marina AC goes down I run AC devices using an inverter and am good for 2-3 days before I drag out my Honda generator to recharge (one+- tankfull = a full recharge, 6 hours).

 '"23ft Ranger. Is that enough? using it to charge my phone speakers charging devices sailboat lights."

I think your 100w panel is silly if your voyages are only for a few days.  Better would be to boost your battery capacity.  I assume you don't have access to AC for recharging when not using your boat but if you only use it once a week or so a 20-30watt portable panel would recharge them in a week when at a mooring.


 

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19 hours ago, Trenice Brown said:

I’ve just installed one solar panel on my 23ft Ranger. Is that enough? 
using it to charge my phone speakers charging devices sailboat lights

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Sure, that is fine, if the sun is out for extended periods of time. 

Yeah, of course you can do all the calculations, but the greatest variable will be hours of sunlight.

Just go out sailing and see how long you can keep going. 

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We made it to Hawaii with one 27w panel, after one died. We didn’t have a lot of extra power but it’s possible. We had two 60amphour batteries. 

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Based on my own personal experience with two small independent panels, I say you are gonna get about 3, maybe 3.5Ah out of a 100w panel, and maybe less up north, and/or in winter..I am in the Chesapeake at 38° N. My 30w panel puts in about 1.2 amps, maybe 1.5 if it is really sunny.  But, I am just daysailing my boat with no shore power hook up, and the biggest thing I ever run is a 200w inverter to occasionally run a laptop for a couple hours, against a 230Ah house bank. The batts are always at 100% the next weekend.

I do agree with others that maybe two panels wired independently may be a better choice, single point of failure and all that happy horseshit.

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6 hours ago, Hike, Bitches! said:

Based on my own personal experience with two small independent panels, I say you are gonna get about 3, maybe 3.5Ah out of a 100w panel, and maybe less up north, and/or in winter..I am in the Chesapeake at 38° N. My 30w panel puts in about 1.2 amps, maybe 1.5 if it is really sunny.  But, I am just daysailing my boat with no shore power hook up, and the biggest thing I ever run is a 200w inverter to occasionally run a laptop for a couple hours, against a 230Ah house bank. The batts are always at 100% the next weekend.

I do agree with others that maybe two panels wired independently may be a better choice, single point of failure and all that happy horseshit.

FYI you will save a lot of power switching to a 12v laptop charger rather than a inverter. 
 

laptops generally run on 18 to 20 volts. So using a inverter steps up 12v to 120v then the laptop charger steps 120v down to 18v. The result is a lot of heat and waisted power. 
 
vs going from 12v up to 18v.  Less power consumption. 

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Now that the inverter and solar panel are secured, it’s time to break out some soap and bleach to make everything else as nice and clean as the new stuff and the outboard.

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On 10/18/2021 at 9:15 PM, IMR said:

FYI you will save a lot of power switching to a 12v laptop charger rather than a inverter. 
 

laptops generally run on 18 to 20 volts. So using a inverter steps up 12v to 120v then the laptop charger steps 120v down to 18v. The result is a lot of heat and waisted power. 
 
vs going from 12v up to 18v.  Less power consumption. 

Thanks, I actually have both..and I agree...inverting from 12v --> 18v is more efficient than 12v --> 120v --> 18v. As mentioned, it is the largest power consumer I have on the boat, and as @jamhass commented, it is usually off. Sometimes I use the 200w inverter to run my battery charger for my 18v tools too. I'd have to do the math to see if my 75w inverter would run that as well.

These days, for casual navigation, I am running an iPad in a RAM Mount on deck connected to the boat's LAN (a Quark mux box). The Quark and instruments draw about 400mA. The Quark box connects to my old ST-40 Ray instruments via the Seatalk bus, also has a GPS and AIS receiver, and turns all that stuff into NMEA0183, which all the Chartplotter apps on the iPad can read, as well as OpenCPN on the laptop. So, the laptop is just to remember how to use OpenCPN playing at the dock mostly. 

Just trying not to go too far down a rabbit hole just yet...(I recommend you don't read the Rasperry Pi thread..those boyz lost me over there...) :)

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depending on the power budget I have either have the laptop, wifi and tablet on 100% of the time, or I just flip on the laptop for 10 minutes and update the grib for the next few hours and set a waypoint out a few days.   

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Solar panels work best if you avoid hoisting the sails and shading the panel 

heel angle retards  output …do not heel the boat 

 

most solar boats have problems with bottom fouling .. use the most toxic stuff you can find … apply frequently 

choose the biggest anchor possible and plenty of huge chain 

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