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Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/01/2012 10:13 PM

How would I go about hooking up two wind generators or even one to a 3 phase converter to supply power to a tv an a outlet on my sailboat 74 28ft Irwin I've taken the diesel motor out an replaced it with a 12hp electric. (400 to 600w windmill) and have one just charge my batteries.

I'm 21 going to sail the inner coastal with out stopping. Simple explanation please I'm a beach bum only made it to 8th grade but I do my own studies I found life as the best teacher. And if any one needs to know how to live off the grid and provide for yourself such as food, clean water, running water just ask it's easy for me but not for everybody and please no smart remarks it's a life choice like I said not for every one.

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#1

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:18 PM

Happy sailing!

But I wonder why you are looking for a 3-phase converter in order to supply a 1-phase load such as a TV.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:30 PM

I have more then the tv just using as an example, theres the batteries, gps, dept finder, radio, an also a outlet, all this is in my boat but i cant say i ever used any of it except the motor.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:46 PM

As far as I know, those are all single-phase loads, too. You speak of a motor, but I think you are referring to the diesel engine that you mentioned before. Your terminology seems a bit confused.

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#20
In reply to #5

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/03/2012 7:34 AM

How about VERY confused....?

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#17
In reply to #3

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/03/2012 12:08 AM

All the marine devices you mention are simply 12 volt DC loads, the "outlet", presumably 110volts AC, could be supplied from a 12volt inverter, battery charging would be accomplished directly from the wind generator... Your problem is going to be supplying enough amps from a wind generator, especially in the intracoastal waterway, which is not noted for consistent winds... I have kept batteries charged most of the time,with a wind generator, but that was at sea in the tropics, which means steady strong Trade Winds almost all of the time... Even in the "Trades" I often had to resort to an auxilliary gasolene generator to keep my batteries up enough for my ham radio habit...

Living off grid as you propose is possible, but not easy, I lived that life for many years and believe I know of what I speak... Good luck to you in your endeavors though and I'd be happy to communicate with you about your efforts. :-)

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#2

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:25 PM

Hey, more power too you (no pun intended) for making your own way in the world and learning things as you go. But now you are literally playing with fire. Electricity is not something to dabble in, amatuers are killed and injured every day. Do some work, save some money and hire a professional. You are risking your life and the lives of anyione else who is on your boat.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:40 PM

Very true, but i dont make enough to hire a professional thou i have enough for the equipment necessary an i did keep that in mind, multiable fail safe switches will be put in by myself

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#6

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 10:57 PM

How do you power a 12 hp electric motor, you would have to have dozens of batteries, or do you mean 12 volt? In any case I don't think the windmills will supply enough power for an electric powered boat...You have to take into account tidal currents, high winds...etc....Even if you had enough batteries to run the motor, and a motor powerful enough to move the boat, the batteries wouldn't last long enough to be practical for long distance cruising....and a windmill would not be sufficient to charge the battery banks....Now 4 deep cycle batteries with windmill charger would work for a TV or stereo, a few small lights and small fan, but that's about it....and you will probably need solar pv as well, remember the wind doesn't blow all the time...Take a tip from somebody whose been there, done that, a sailboat is a rich man's toy...

study these power systems, that are barely adequate...

http://www.emarineinc.com/

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/01/2012 11:58 PM

your looking at the wrong equipment an 3 deep cycle with two generators to a three phase converter should provide plenty of power an for shame two post of no relevance please dont post any more

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 12:06 AM

I just got rid of a 30' sail boat, I sailed the intercoastal, I'm an electrician...I know what I'm talking about...

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 12:22 AM

Like survival as well.... I think not, provide me with proof im wrong, because my math says otherwise.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 12:51 AM

What math? Have you actually furnished any in this thread?

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 2:06 AM

Well I've survived a lot longer than you have....You have not answered the question, do you have a 12 hp electric motor in this boat? or is it a 12 v trolling motor?

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#15
In reply to #11

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 12:28 PM

I suppose your some what right but at what cost to your dreams an ambitions. 12 Hp electric inboard runs off three deep cycle batteries i also have an old conveyor belt motor i converted to a generator witch charges my batteries very slow an is not fire safe that why i would like to upgrade, how would you really replace a diesel motor with a trolling motor plus there surprisingly pricey.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 9:30 PM

That's just the thing, a trolling motor would not work reliably, for one thing you would need at least 150lb of thrust, that means probably 3 trolling motors...now granted 1 might be sufficient in dead calm moving with the tide, but still risky as an under powered boat is hard to steer....Better to get a little 35 hp gas powered outboard...Use the windmills for battery chargers and suppliment those with solar pv panels...But you still need a control system for charging, and they are not cheap, you can easily ruin your batteries by overcharging or undercharging...You know the boat needs to be taken out of the water every 3 yrs or so to have the bottom repainted, that's not cheap, even doing it yourself...and you need to scrape the barnacles every 6 mos or so....I had scuba setup, still really hard to do...The best way is to pull the boat out every year and do a bottom clean and inspection...

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#21
In reply to #6

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/03/2012 7:39 AM

GA for your knowledge & common sense.

There are plenty here who haven't a clue, including the OP!!

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#12

Re: Marine Wind generator setup?

02/02/2012 2:31 AM

Blair,

Try not to look at the comments that seem discouraging, as insults. Advice concerning potential downsides may not feel good, but it is the most important advice. If you become busy arguing, denying, or getting upset, you might miss something really important.... You came here for advice, so don't take remarks personally. You will find the comments that are the hardest to hear, are the ones that you need to hear the most.

I have experience living at sea for extended period, and some experience with sailboats as well.

I know a couple people who live aboard a sailboat right now, with no steady income, and no assets that aren't floating with them. I'm fairly certain they work more hours every week on their boat than most people do at a full time job and do odd jobs for other people in addition to that. All in all, most days they seem pretty happy. Other days their boat is really small. Whatever day it is, they are tired, and seem to suffer a little from being too exposed to the elements.

What you are planning is do-able. Success will require a monumental effort, and setting your expectations realistically.

1st things 1st. Make sure you really know how to sail. this is not a pride thing. If you don't know, then ask some who does to teach you. Volunteer to crew on their boat, or use yours. This is not the type of thing you can master in a week. there is too much to know, so hunt for a good mentor or two.

Also very important: Required safety equipment. This stuff is important both for its utility and because the US Coast Guard will 'terminate your voyage' and escort you or tow you to the nearest harbor if you do not have the required items. You need things like an air horn, flares (not road flares), personal flotation devices, proper underway lighting, and a fire extinguisher (boats may feel continually damp, but that won't stop them from quickly becoming a very hot temporarily floating fire). Your boat must also be seaworthy. A large reserve of potable water, fishing tackle and a firearm with which you are proficient are important in my view as well.

Now to your posted questions.....

Just so that we are clear, sailing should be your usual mode of propulsion. Your electric motor should be used only for maneuvering when absolutely necessary. trying to use your electric motor to cruise using the windmills for power will not get you very far or fast. You should be able to maneuver well, intermittently for limited periods when necessary, on batteries that the windmills continually recharge.

You need to educate yourself on batteries and battery maintenance. Good deep cycle batteries are expensive or hard to come by. Batteries can be ruined by improper maintenance, improper charging, improper storage, or improper discharging. Once they are ruined, they typically cannot be fixed.

Hull maintenance is critical. If you are going to make decent knots underway, you are first going to get very familiar with the bottom of your boat. The barnacles have to go and stay gone. You should regularly find yourself in a wetsuit and mask with scrapers and brushes, getting intimate with her bottom side.

You are also going to become proficient in fiberglass hull repair. Once again, you have to study to learn to do this the right way or you will just be doing it over. You cannot take the short quick way. All the soft, damaged or delaminated material must be ground away until you are grinding on good material again.... oh yeah, breathing and vision protection at a minimum when grinding fiberglass.

Sail repair will also become one of your skills. Good sails are valuable and they require proper care to stay useful. They may just look like sheets....until you begin your first big repair, and you begin to understand how difficult it can be to maintain the shape.

As for your windmills, I would place one as far aft and as high as possible. As for the other one, I am uncertain. The top of the mast would certainly give you the best wind, but that also brings additional problems.

Listen, you are reaching out for knowledge, which makes me think you are open to continuing your education perhaps more formally, even if not traditionally just yet. If you are, check out

www.kahnacademy.org

It is free and there are hundreds and hundreds of online 'classes' on a wide range of subjects available whenever you are.

Have fun

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#13

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/02/2012 10:15 AM

What do you need the three phase power for exactly?

Everything you listed are at best simple single phase powered devices of which many of those can be purchased in versions that use common 12 volt DC battery power directly without any power conversion required.

I am guessing the 12 horsepower electric motor replaced the original propulsion/drive engine in the boat?

What are the motors input power requirements in volts and amps and is it a direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) three phase motor?

How big are your batteries in amp hours (AH) ratings?

Without this information no one here can give you any useful or workable ideas or suggestions.

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#14

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/02/2012 10:47 AM

Blair, I would hook up the two wind generators in parallel. There is your simple answer.Good luck, Ace

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#18

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/03/2012 2:02 AM

Sounds like fun. I, too, spent about thirty of my years living aboard, sailing, houseboats, and off-grid housing. Even built a solar-powered Hobie 18 with no sails (I got the hulls and trampoline free). Have fun, Blair. Just make sure you have a couple mildly oversized anchors, and some serious rode for them. Electric motors hate marine environments. And that old Irwin hull will need an epoxy coat, likely, for blisters. You'll need a controller for the motor, unless you plan to fire it in spurts, but watch for sparks at the batteries, which will be outgassing explosive hydrogen when heavily loaded. Make a good story at the bar, if you live, though. Learn to sail light airs really well. Look at getting a rotating mast. Really improves the problems with stall-outs in light airs, especially with a full-batten sail. Keep the batteries as fully charged as possible, without overcharging. Lead acid battery life is directly proportional to the time and depth they spend discharged, and it ain't much.

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#19

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/03/2012 5:01 AM

Can you swim? with one battery no back up engine & at 21 I think swimming may be a must & to Olympic standards at that.

Bazzer

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#22

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/03/2012 5:59 PM

Blair, like several of your responders I moved aboard to live full time and I did it when I was 21 also.

Lack of formal schooling is not necessarily a detriment. What counts is whether or not you are willing to accept constructive criticism and have enough self dicipline to learn on your own.

As for your proposal I see some pitfalls. I am a marine electrician and passed tge ABYC test. I was even asked to teach the course to a dozen electricians at a large builder.

Perhaps it was misleading to send you a link to the Miami boat show. I worked that show when I was employed by Xantrex but there are less expensive ways while keeping safe.

As several others have pointed out the numbers do not add up for a sucessful system as proposed. However that does not mean you can't make it work provided you make a few alterations. I have ideas for that but it would get too lenghty to outline in this forum -especially in this text box. After my stroke I have troubles writing them in thefirst place. Poor vision means I don't always see things spelcheker misses.

You do not need to parallel the two wind turbines. If the motor is a 3 phase AC motor consider driving with a VFD powered through an inverter. The wind turbines can be independent and charge your traction batteries individually.

I think 12HP electric is over powering a 28 foot Irwin. 5HP would do. Until you learn how to sail without a motor I suggest staying on the outside instead of the inside passage. Better winds for the turbines as well. I learned to sail well enough I could even sail right into my slip with out bumping. Got yelled at by harbor master for sailing in harbor but I said my engine had quit. When you can sail backwards in light winds consider yourself a master mariner.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/03/2012 9:27 PM

Wow I have to say you have impressed me i worked for lurhs. Sailing is a fairly easy task thou i cant say Ive every sailed into a slip before which is totally awesome btw. I fashioned mine own gibe preventer with a pulley an old mast parts when you been sailing all day tacking gets to be pain an takes to long you just want to get to a cove

Do you really think a 5hp will do, I was afraid it would be to weak agenst the current. An with two turbines do i need two converters aswell or inverters i cant say i know much but or anything really what they do except the inverter i have i can charger my labtop from my battery

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/05/2012 10:21 PM

Your intuition is correct, 5hp is not enough to allow safe maneuvering of your boat in almost any situation except dead calm: zero current and zero wind.

With only 5 hp, staying is a typical small dredged channel would be impossible with a small cross current a moderate headwind. Running aground instead of succeeding in navigating a year typical port entry/exit would suck... it is also one of the most mild downsides to being woefully underpowered.

Even many smaller fully keeled sailboats in the 23-25ft range could not be controlled with only 5hp with a moderate headwind and a small cross current.

Your boat originally installed 18hp diesel. Having close to 18 hp available, even if just for limited periods, would be smart.

A very basic understanding of AC and DC circuits and electrical machines is necessary before any explanation of an inverter will make sense. Try www.karnacadamy.org for videos or use wikipedia for reading on those subjects and the interactions of the various components will being to come together for you.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/04/2012 9:12 AM

I never realised that I am a master mariner, I thought all good sailing teachers/instructors made their pupils learn that, at least mine did!! Otherwise we would not have got our first sailing certificate...

You imply that many cannot do that, how sad.....

That was nearly 60 years ago, Oh hell, doesn't time go fast!

I learnt sailing without ANY motor at all.....now harbour masters get upset. Don't times change.....motors were then only for rich people with a lot of money in those days, and took up space, destroyed balance and added weight!!!

A big day sailer with no motor is a great place to learn....and woe betide you if you scratched the paint!!

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#26

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/05/2012 11:40 PM

Blair

I think you may find this useful: DIY solar panel

Combined with some connecting and soldering and probably encapsulating ( kit lacks supplies for encapsulating) this kit makes solar power available for under 50 cents a watt even adding some additional cost to encapsulate. The 500 cell kit could make ~ 900 watts.

This is much cheaper than any other sources I have seen on a dollar per watt basis, and might be a good way to supplement your windmills in charging your battery banks.

It seems to have good reviews from buyers as well.

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#27

Re: Marine Wind Generator Setup?

02/14/2012 6:05 PM

Blair

do yourself a favor. Find Professional Boatbuilder magazine current issue on-line and look up the column 'ROVINGS' by Dan spurr on electric boat builders. There are plenty to choose from. One sidebar is about someone who converted a morgan 30 using a 9 HP electric motor. Given your age and apparent lack of things nautical you may not be aware that increasing horsepower to a displacement hull does not increase speed appreciably. It simply digs a deeper hole in the water and consumes more power. 12 HP electric is simply a big waste of watts. The article is very useful to someone like you because it gives brand names and prices. The product names are the most important because it will give you an idea of what to look for that has already proven to work. With luck and ingenuity you can probably find a solution that will work but as presented in your original post you are heading for frustration and disappointment.

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