Date: 29 October 2021. Power from None to
Now (the complete series)
In the previous article I expressed my frustration at not being able
to locate a Penguin II rooftop RV air conditioner made by Dometic. I
specifically desired the heat pump version. A kind reader named Rob
found one in white (my preference) and it is here awaiting
installation. I am SO GRATEFUL to have acquired this item.
Of course this is going to
complicate my life because at anchor I might want to power said ac and
at present have no means to do so long term. Not yet.
Date: 7 October 2021. Power, Initial
Purchases (#1 in series)
As described in the
Power to Obtain Freedom (penguin
adding power production to Seaweed has been a priority as the budget
cooperated. Although I have now reached a point where power is readily
available for needs while off-grid, I've made some mistakes along
the way. Here is the litany of steps forward, and backward, involved in making
Seaweed self-sufficient off-grid as far as power is concerned.
Initially I purchased a second hand 75 watt solar panel with a
MorningStar10 solar regulator. That provided about 25aH (amps) to
use per day at the Florida/Georgia border, latitude 30 north.
The buoys at the top of this print show the St. Marys
Channel which feeds into the river system.
St. Marys is at the demarcation line between Georgia to
the north and Florida on the south side.
of the initial solar panel and regulator purchase:
St. Marys, Georgia is at
the border of Florida and Georgia on the Atlantic Ocean. Each
year at Thanksgiving the locals put on a pot luck celebration
for boaters. Of course boaters contribute side dishes however
most of us have no means of baking a turkey so there the town
folks step in.
Locals also create and bring a myriad of side
dishes that are both delicious and beautiful. Truly I feel
blessed to have attended. It is
a favorite memory.
friendships are started, while others are renewed at the
harbor anchorage each year.
Plans are made for meeting up
later further south and/or in the Bahamas.
Additionally, a nautical
flea market/exchange is held on property near the cemetery the
Friday after Thanksgiving. In
2010 I found myself at both the holiday celebration and
the flea market. There I scored, and big!!!
At the nautical exchange
I met a couple from S/V Tsamaya who had upgraded to larger
solar panels. They were selling their 75 watt panel, and also
had available the regulator. A solar regulator takes the 17
volt power from the solar panel and converts it into a lower
voltage that can be accepted by my standard 12-v batteries. I
swapped boat cards, and I paid the $150 in cash. After the
sale was completed the couple was
kind enough to deliver directly to the cockpit of my boat at
the end of the day.
How nice that was!!!
Before you get all
impressed by the fact that I know what happened eleven years
ago, please note the back of their boat card. I had taken
notes so that I would remember.
cards are incredibly useful for cruisers. Taking notes on the
back of cards enables me to recall details that would normally have been erased by
the sands of time.
Details about boat cards can be found in the
Intriguing Possibilities (boat cards)
After that first solar panel was installed I was delighted. Finally
I had reliable power. On average I was getting 25aH per day. Twenty-five
amps enabled me to use my netbook, monitor the VHF radio 24/7, power
my anchor light, and actually live life more fully.
At about the
same time I upped my battery bank from two to four batteries while
in St. Marys. S/V I Wanda passed along two great batteries which I
installed in a separate bank. They enabled me to double my battery
capacity. Those batteries continued to serve me for several more
years. Thank you again Christian and Mary.
All boats always have project lists. This is
Christian ↓ working on I Wanda.
This photograph was taken by our friend Cap'n Bob
Winter. You met him in the
Power for Seaweed has two components. The first is generation of
power. Along with that is storage of same. The solar panel purchased
from S/V Tsamaya nicely bundled with the batteries from I Wanda. I was
on my way to power self-sufficiency.
often refer to each other by the name of our boats, especially if
the boat has a unique name. If you live aboard a Dove, or a Wind
Dancer it is likely that you will be known by a nickname.
solar panel began my quest to have "enough" power generating
ability. Newsflash: There's always another product that
requires power, thus the ever expanding "need" for same. I'm STILL
not there yet, though I can manage all of my needs at present, more
than ten years after starting the quest for power. Wants are another
The next part of this series brings generators into the equation. More on that
tomorrow. This article became massive. Thus I am splitting it into
smaller portions. It is far easier to download a smaller webpage
especially when the internet connection is iffy at best. This is Part One.
Date: 10 October 2021. Adding an Air-Breeze
Wind Generator (#2 in series)
As described in part one of this series
Power, Initial Purchases,
I first added a single 75 watt solar panel to Seaweed back in 2010.
Later friends passed along two batteries which I added to my system.
Though better than where I started by a wide margin, I knew that
more would be better. In that regard there were other options to
I was offered a SouthWinds Air-Breeze wind generator at an entirely
reasonable price. Thanks to Ken on Sparrow who installed same,
Seaweed was on the river to self-sufficiency at anchor.
This is my friend Ken.
Solar panels when combined with a wind generator meant I had
redundancy. This is important because if the sun isn't shining often
the breeze is often blowing. If I were to run down my batteries,
having the ability to sit tight and have them recharge via wind or
sun is a comforting matter.
Growing up aboard our 40'er, one of the things we strove for and
eventually achieved was abundance. We had three belt sanders,
two alternators, two anchors, a spare shaft, spare prop, extra
pieces of steel, two welders (one regular, one TIG), and just
one child. Hey, they hit it right the first time -- no need for
a replacement, eh?!? Although if I were to be completely honest,
Daddy did say one of me was quite sufficient.
But I digress...
Now the stats according to literature
at SouthWinds stated that this unit would produce a peek of 40aH.
Although I have yet to see those results, I am not complaining.
Experience has lead me to believe companies tend to provide best case scenarios
when describing their gear. On the east coast where sea breezes are the norm the
wind generator was a Great addition to my power situation.
Here on the west coast the Gulfport anchorage has good breezes. As a matter of fact, I have seen more sailboats actually
sailing in that area than any other since leaving Pensacola. A bit about the
town can be found in the
Gulfport, FL weekend dockmaster Tom
The wind generator post is just aft of my initial 75
watt solar panel.
One gent had given me
the Schedule 40 (heavy duty pipe, with thick walls) stainless
support that holds my wind generator.
And then Dale (you met him in the
Birds and my friend Dale the Welder
article) welded the piece together. Dale added a davit I had found
by the side of the road to the wind-gen post. He went above and
beyond to create a cleat for me to use. That cleat has been even more
useful than I had originally imagined. I am grateful.
A night heron is perched on the dinghy davit Dale
welded to the wind generator post for me. Note the cleat too.
When Ken sold the Air-Breeze unit to me he said he'd supplied
Air-X blades as his kitties were annoyed by the sound of those
blades on his unit. I thought that was a mite strange and let it
pass. It was wonderful to have a working wind generator and
blades are blades, aren't they?!?
Then a square wave inverter was installed aboard Seaweed. It
had the worst tone/hum... the sound of the unit running was
beyond annoying. Though I love having an inverter I almost
always shut mine off at night so the noise won't disturb me.
Ken's crew, Erin and Lessa
I am in league with kitties. I too
empirically certain sounds can be annoying.
So a few years into the journey I am making progress. At that point
one 75 watt solar panel with a Morningstar 10 solar regulator.
Friends passed along two great batteries which doubled my battery
bank. And then I purchased the Air-Breeze wind generator. I am on my
way to a self-sufficient life at anchor, thanks to friends both new
Make sure before you opt for a wind generator that your cruising
area has strong prevailing winds.
There are going to be more additions... those will be detailed in
the next article in this series. Thank you for reading.
Date: 12 October 2021. Gasoline Generator Added
(starting the wrong way) (#3 in series)
Shortly after installing the wind genny described in the
Adding an Air-Breeze Wind Generator
article I moved Seaweed to the west coast of Florida. Those winds I was so
used to experiencing became virtually nonexistent where I was anchored.
Though I could power my necessities, decadence was rather sparse.
For those curious, this is the reason I came to Pensacola:
This is the Original Grand. She is wonderful!
The Original is truly a
How wonderful you may ask is the Original? Well, let
me tell you
she writes letters. There is something
incredibly special about receiving illustrated thank you
notes. I treasure them.
←She is growing up so
But I digress...
After the Original Grand was born I headed east from Pensacola along the
PANHANDLE encompasses the region from the
Alabama state line to the "big bend" where Florida curves southward.
Referred to as the panhandle this region is not just
coastal. It includes the area further inland too.
Later, while heading east along the panhandle I met a wonderful
couple. I told you about Frank and Jewell in the
By the Shipyard
article. One thing I did not share in that article was the
blessing they bestowed upon me. First, they allowed me to stay at
their dock for a few days so that Baby could mail me a mi-fi
device, thus enabling me to surf the internet.
That area was brimming with
Jewell was a
true gem to take me to a large grocery story so I could provision.
It had been more than a month since I had visited a grocery store.
My lockers were nearly empty. Alas shopping took longer than I
anticipated. All this happened as I cruised along the panhandle of
Jewell and Frank live just east of
PANAMA CITY. It is a beautiful area.
addition to their hospitality, Frank and Jewell gifted me an 800
watt gasoline powered generator. That became a part of my power
solution too. Manually starting the generator was possible though it
took a lot of strength.
My friend Irene over on the east coast opted for a Yamaha1000
specifically because she can start it manually. This is an
Irene made a cover for her
Decisions I make are made after careful consideration. Of
course I take into mind what will work today, however that is
not all. I MUST believe that any purchases made for such
things as power (generators and the like) will work in the
long term as well.
Boaters like me on a budget have to be wise with our money.
Selecting items that will mesh into my infrastructure takes
a great deal of saving in order to afford such luxuries.
Folks with poor upper body or wrist strength need to be aware that
pulling a cord to start a generator can be Extremely difficult. It
doesn't matter how wonderful the generator is if it cannot be
started. This is Exactly why I do not own a Honda2k. I am unable to
*cold start it. Now if I could
figure out how to install a starter into that unit... but that's a
matter for another day.
A cold start means that the motor has not been run recently. At that
point, starting the generator can be difficult. After the genny has
run for a few minutes it is considered to be warmed up. Pulling the
cord is much easier when the unit is warm.
How-To start a generator (and this is DEFINITELY
all wrong and bad for said genny) however I have seen
recalcitrant generators started by this method when *all else
*Definition of all else:
Pulling the spark plug, cleaning same, then blasting
connections with starting fluid. Also, hitting the air intake
with ether sometimes works. Replace the plug and pull cord.
some former inmates demonstrate this method... apparently in
the Big House aka prison, the guards do not allow inmates to
use a pull-cord. Instead, this is how they start a generator:
First remove the fan casing and fan blades.
There, where the fan blades connect to the unit is a spot where a
socket can be inserted to spin the shaft like the pull cord would do.
They utilized a 12-volt rechargeable drill with a socket to
start the generator. Then they would place a fan blowing at the
generator to keep it cool.
WARNING: I am
certain you are not supposed to do this with a generator. I found
the method curious and share it here with you as an anecdote.
DO NOT recommend this.
Alas, due to my
inexperience at the time no doubt, the generator Jewell and Frank
gave me eventually would
not start despite my best efforts. In retrospect, I suspect a carburetor failure. I
to believe I am smarter now.
That generator was later passed along to Lynn and Dave, friends of mine
introduced to you in the
article. Lynn is a fun gal. I hope to get to see her again before
she heads off across the Atlantic ocean aboard her sailboat.
Lynn is known for her fabulous New York sourced home-made apple sauce. Hers is
chunky and delicious.
Lynn makes wonderful apple sauce. It is chunky, and tastes almost
like eating the good stuff out of an apple pie. I've tried canning
my own but thus far mine is not as good as hers. Not yet anyway. I
believe next time I will add more sugar.
I am still
working on getting sufficient power aboard Seaweed for all of my
wants. Needs are met, however wants are another thing entirely. For
instance, I cannot run my cube refrigerator... there simply is not
enough power to do so. Not yet. The next article will cover yet
another step in providing power aboard my home.
and thank you for reading.
Date: 16 October 2021. Adding Renogy and Upgrading Solar Regulator (#4 in series)
living aboard Seaweed for approximately six years I had accumulated
a 75 watt solar panel and an Air-Breeze wind generator. An 800 watt
generator was in my charging system for quite some time too. This
combination allowed me a minimal level of comfort. True decadence
was beyond reach however.
fortunate in that my cooking was done on a propane stove.
Directly across from the stove is one of my
↑ aboard Seaweed.
wanted the ability to power a small cube refrigerator I owned at the
This is the
original reefer ↓ Baby purchased for me all those years ago for
provide minimal comfort at anchor with just one small solar panel.
Because I cooked with propane, this was sufficient. In the
summertime having a way to keep the refrigerator running moved up
the priority list. I needed more solar panels to make that happen.
This is my *Morningstar ProStar-30 solar regulator.
I like that this solar regulator displays the
battery voltage in numbers rather than simply colored lights. The
precision makes me happy.
*Update circa 2023:
The new Morningstar regulator sold is a spiffier unit than my own. I
have the older version.
The Morningstar ProStar30 solar regulator was wonderful. It is a
standard version, versus the "better" MPPT solar regulators
available. MPPT's are interesting, and now I do have one. Back then
though it was beyond my means. It takes a while to save up for the
goodies. Details on the differences between the less costly standard
solar regulators and MPPT's can be found in the
(Standard vs. MPPT)
I had an end plan of where I wanted Seaweed to be, I have been able
to eventually have everything I desire, almost! Yes, what I have now
is totally amazing. However please note that this has taken more
than a decade to achieve, and much of it could not have been done
without the help of friends near and far. I truly am blessed.
The two 100 watt Renogy solar panels were installed
on the top of my pilothouse.
Yes, that is my
favorite night heron Buddy. His girlfriend is off to the side aft
near the Air-Breeze wind generator...
Details on the night herons can be
found in my favorite bird book,
Birds of North America.
I continually flog this book because it is excellent. Frankly,
Birds of North America is the best bird book
I have ever seen. A couple weeks ago I again purchased a copy, this
time for my Grand. She likes it too.
The link provided takes you to a page selling this
Golden Guide to Birds of North America.
Pick the least expensive
edition, as except for the covers the contents are identical. Older
copies (more than 50 years old) do have glue issues. After half a
century the glue holding the pages to the binding isn't as good as when first manufactured. Aboard
Seaweed I have Golden Guides published in the 1950's. Several of my
Golden Guides came from our 40'er way back when. Frankly they are
the best Bird Books made.
I should get a commission from
Golden Guides, though if you do purchase via my link Amazon does
monthly deposit a bit into my cruising kitty which is rather nice.
Oh, and check
-- the book should be less than $10 unless you opt for brand new.
But I digress...
addition of the solar panels while on the panhandle, I was
up to 275
watts of solar, plus the wind generator. Life was indeed good.
Next I added
a larger a/c powered refrigerator. It is a standard 3.1 cubic foot
under the counter two-door model.
Buddy is standing in the doorway waiting for me to
retrieve "his" hotdogs from the reefer...
is wonderful. Like all things boat however it came with
complications. Making certain I have enough power was the main
problem, especially when days were cloudy.
On sunny days I would be fine. The current (at that time) solar
panel wattage totaled 275, which roughly translates into 90 amps per
day. Watts divided by 3 equals amps per day, roughly, at the 30th
latitude. The new refrigerator required 60aH daily, which is doable with
the first three panels, especially if there is wind.
Having the ability to keep foods cold increased my
contentment level enormously.
As long as the sun is shining, I have a working reefer. This is a
Having spent years without a
refrigerator of any sort, I can tell you without hesitation that
having one is a mark of civilization. I am SO GLAD that I have one
now, and mine even has a freezer section. Life is becoming more and
more decadent... I am indeed blessed.
At this point life
aboard Seaweed is good. The solar panels provide sufficient power
for the reefer when it is sunny out. In seven years I have achieved
a comfortable life off-grid. I am closing in on a level of decadence
only dreamt about way back when I first bought my home.
Thank you for reading.
Date: 22 October 2021. Solar on Cloudy Days
(#5 in series)
Of course any off-grid
power set-up tends to be tweaked, improved, and upgraded over time.
There are always more projects on a boat. We reach one plateau and
promptly extend the goalposts a bit further with the next Great
Idea. I started with two 100aH batteries, which doubled to four due
to the gift from Mary and Christian. Over the years I have increased
that to seven batteries in the bilge. That is a lot!
Being able to generate power
is only one part of the off-grid solution. Having adequate storage for said
power is critical too. Thus, batteries are a required element. And
the more, the better.
For a synopsis about
batteries aboard Seaweed,
please read the Batteries
Store Power article.
Chasing green water, I
moved the boat south to the St. Petersburg area.
I've been here meandering around for quite some time. It is
beautiful, albeit crowded.
Once I arrived in St.
Petersburg I was gifted two more solar panels from Bucky. This pair made
Thank you again Cap'n Larry and Eva. Your panels put me over the top
in power production.
The two 85 watt panels were installed outbound above my
two Bucky panels increased the total wattage of my solar array to
445 watts. That sounds like a lot, and
indeed it is. The five panels reliably provide 150aHs per day when
sunny. This is sufficient for my decadent lifestyle. Excluding the
air conditioner, there is zero difference between my life at the
dock or while anchored. Those last two panels secured a relaxed
off-grid life. I now really don't consider power at all, unless it is
I currently use approximately 150
amp hours per day.
In total I have seven
batteries, each with the potential to store 100aH. That means
the when batt is fully charged, I have 700 amps. Nigel Calder
Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4the Edition tome recommends that
folks like me with Lead Acid batteries not take our batts down
below 50% of full. Thus, though I have 700 amps of power
it is unwise to use more than 350aH of said total.
Lead Acid batteries are the least expensive available. They require
maintenance. Details on how I check my batteries is found in
Battery Check and Cheater Method
I am happiest when my
batteries are above 12.4 though that is not
usually possible until the sun shines on my solar panels in
Normally on a sunny day the
batteries recharge to full via solar panels.
*Charging Via Solar ... even on a cloudy day I can
generally get in 30 amps via my 445 watts of solar panels.
|Day 1, start
||minus 150 =
||plus 30 = 580aH
|Day 2, start
||minus 150 =
||plus 30 = 460aH
to batteries going down I
would now cut back to 100aH daily...
|Day 3, start
||minus 100 =
||plus 30 = 390aH
At this point, Day 4, the refrigerator has
to be shut down. I am in a difficult situation.
I do not want to use my Lead
Acid batteries below the 50% mark. Although occasionally it is okay
and the batts will recover, I prefer to be careful. That is why my
batteries last from five to seven years on average.
I primarily rely on solar to
power my life off-grid.
With the reefer turned off, I can maintain a
minimal lifestyle at anchor. Although I won't be nuking
popcorn I can utilize propane for cooking. I will still be
able to visit
Trawler Forum online via the lovely tablet I was
given. Thank you again Cap'n Gary for that. I never imagined
how cool a tablet could be! And too, my Kindle beckons on
these lazy days of autumn... I am indeed blessed.
The thing is, as long as I am
having windy days I can manage to continue life as normal with
the power generated by my Air-Breeze wind generator. It will
supplement the lack of solar on cloudy days. Often times, if
the sun is not shining there is some wind.
I will say that in Gulfport I found the breezes
I had missed since the east coast.
This Tidewater center console boat is heading
across the bay near Gulfport.
The Problem with Gulfport is that my boat is smaller than
most. Gulfport has a great deal of fetch. I explained fetch in
By the Shipyard
article. Basically the danger occurs if there is a long
distance between you and the shoreline combined with winds.
Winds will cause the waves to increase.
For those of
us with smaller vessels, it is wise to anchor in areas with
nearby shorelines. This means I chose to be out of those
winds. Therefore I rely on my solar system for power. Solar
when combined with a hefty battery bank enables my life to be
incredibly decadent. But there's more to it than that. The next article
will conclude the series.
Thank you for reading. Happy
Date: 28 October 2021. And in Conclusion (#6
As written about in the previous articles of this series, I
purchased a beautiful boat which happened to be totally
inadequate for life off-grid. Seaweed
when in production was marketed as a weekender. See the
article for details about her origins. That said, I always
knew life at anchor would suit me. Some of my favorite
memories when young occurred while anchored off deserted islands.
Before I was an adult I had
15,000 miles at
helm of our 40'er. Life afloat was indeed good.
We were not
financially wealthy so in retrospect I suspect some of our choices were
made due to a lack of resources. We ate a lot of seafood
because it was abundant and free.
This early life enabled me to
understand that there are a multitude of ways to do many
way where money is no object and issues can be resolved
fix that will work until a better solution can be found
adjustments so as to manage until improvements can be made
In my view folks starting their life afloat should begin boating while
docked at a marina, preferably
one near a boatyard. Marinas like C-Quarters pictured below
with a shaded front porch tend to have boaters sitting around
chatting. Those people either have the answer to your
questions or know someone who can resolve difficulties. I
highly recommend places such as C-Quarters for their down-home
The blue Hatteras 48 "Lady Pamela" is passing
in front of C-Quarters in Carrabelle, FL.
But I digress...
Seaweed went through stages of comfort, from minimal to now
decadence. There were serious budgetary constraints, thus I
did add items gradually. I believe even if I were blessed with
Big Bucks that my way has advantages.
The Primary Benefit of being
broke is that I did not go all in with any one system. I
appreciate that there are redundancies. Seaweed makes power in
more than one manner, thus I do not rely on a single means of
creating power. Instead I have an integrated system with the
ability to capture power from multiple sources. Those include
solar, the wind generator, a small
alternator on my engine and a portable generator.
On a smaller boat such as mine no one system can consistently
provide every bit of power required. I have the ability to
make adjustments as needed. For instance, if it is overcast I
might forego using the microwave to make popcorn during my
afternoon DVD movie time.
Instead I can pull out the
propane burner and cook popcorn the old-fashioned way.
I do not do without, rather, I opt for a different method to
obtain the same end goal of popcorn.
The biggest bonus is that if (when!) I make a mistake and take
my battery bank down too low, there are multiple means of
recharging. I am never stuck. Having options is HUGE!!!
One thing I overwhelming
advocate for is 12-volt meters, visible from every place one sits
Aboard Seaweed I have six meters displaying the
status of my batteries.
Like many, I
have one battery fully charged that is set aside just in case
I need to start the engine while my house bank is depleted.
This was a recent addition. The added costs, $100 for the
battery, plus cables, terminal ends, and then wiring made this
a lower priority than many would consider wise.
For the curious:
Yes, I run all seven of my batteries in the bilge together as a
single house bank. That is
why I have that spare battery on hand. In case I need to start
the engine, I have one battery capable of doing so at all
times. I have not yet wired it into the system properly. For
now the spare batt sits under the port side step into my
S/V Katja has solar panels in addition to her
Utilizing multiple charging methods is common among boaters
who chose to live off-grid.
I consider solar panels an ideal source of power. There is joy
in silently harnessing the power of the sun. As long as the cable (wire) connections remain
intact there is nothing to break. Well, actually a solar
regulator can fail. That has happened however all those
digital meters made me aware that there was a problem before
my batteries were depleted.
One of my digital voltage
meters is aft, starboard side in the corner of my galley.
This picture is from a previous Christmas. I
have not yet begun to decorate for that holiday this year.
Eventually I ended up with
445 watts of solar, plus seven 100 amp (standard, Group 27)
lead acid batts in the bilge. This allows me three days of power with
zero input from other sources. Most cruising boats have a two
day supply, so I believe I am good in that regard.
The main problem with solar
panels is having the real estate (flat surfaces) to secure said
units. One boat, M/V Freedom solved that by placing his on the
fly bridge railing. Other boats such as S/V In Ainneoin mount theirs
along the life lines on brackets so they can be raised and
A solar panel mounted to the
fly bridge rail in front of black canvas disappears into the
Aboard Seaweed my Air-Breeze wind
generator does input power provided I am in a windy anchorage.
This is generally not the case. I did see two wind generators
on a S/V Hodos, a large sailing catamaran many years ago. They
were proponents of dual wind gennys having just returned from the
Caribbean and those lovely trade winds.
I supplement solar
with the small alternator on my engine, along with a separate
generator. I told you about some of the issues I had with my
alternator "improvements" that basically broke the system in
Upsizing the Alternator - My Mistake
article. Definitely learn from my myriad of mistakes during
that whole Great Idea fiasco.
The problem with power is that with
each addition to the power available there is that one
more item that fits nicely into the "would be great to
have" column. From a small cube reefer that could only
be used when attached to a power cord, I've upgraded
myself into a spectacularly decadent lifestyle aboard
Seaweed. It has been a journey, and I'm enjoying it.
←My original cube
The upgraded larger two-door reefer
Over the years between the
start of my journey and today I have increased not just the ways I
can acquire power, but also the number of batteries to store said power. The
things to note are:
Solar panels are by far the most reliable source of
off-grid power aboard Seaweed. 445 watts generate on average 150aH
(amps) that I utilize daily.
Even if there is no sunshine, I do still get in
approximately 30 amps per day via my solar panels.
Adding batteries enabled me to have increase the amount of power
stored. This allows me the freedom to manage what power I have
available, using more when plenty of power is on hand.
I am always checking my voltage via bunches of
digital voltage meters
scattered throughout the boat. When the voltage goes down I make adjustments
by using less power. This primarily means I switch to propane for
I do have a wind generator. On windy days my
batteries are full before noon.
Regarding my engine alternator: My 18hp Kubota has a 15amp
alternator on her frame. I tried upgrading to a larger alternator,
twice, however that did not work out well. See the
Upsizing the Alternator - My Mistake
article for details on what not to do.
A separate gasoline powered generator provides back-up in case I
need to charge the batteries when the wind is not blowing nor the
sun shining. This necessitates keeping non-ethanol gasoline aboard the
boat. I'm fine with that, though some are not.
The addition of a spare battery allows me to start the engine when
all else fails. This will eventually be wired into my system. Like
all things boat, this project has not been tackled.
My favorite thing is that over
the years I have with the help of friends created a wonderful
home. To you and yours I wish the same...
Thank you for
If you're interested in life off-grid, what systems have
you added to your home?
What is your primary source of power when away from the dock?
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