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Date: 7 October 2021. Power, Initial Purchases (#1 in series)

janice142
 

This is becoming a multi-part series on power for an off-grid life afloat. It details the order in which I added power to Seaweed. In it I cover both the mistakes made, and the choices that were spot on. Feel free to learn from my mistakes.

For those with  slower connections I am splitting the series into smaller portions. It is far easier to download a smaller webpage especially when the connection is iffy at best. This is Part One.


As described in the
Power to Obtain Freedom (penguin request) article, 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.
 

 

The Story 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.
 

Many 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 was thrilled!
 

We 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.
 

Boat 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) article.

 


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 Time Stopped article.


Power for Seaweed has two components. The first is generation of power. Along with that is storage of same. The solar panel purchased from Tsamaya nicely bundled with the batteries from I Wanda. I was on my way to power self-sufficiency.


Aside: Boaters 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.
 

That initial 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 thing entirely.


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.
 

Thank you for reading.
 

I am curious as to what others have added first for power... generator, wind genny or solar?
And, which do you find as the most value added component of your system?
 

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

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COMMENTS:
 

2021

Categories:  Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations,

Power to Obtain Freedom (penguin request) ~ Previous Post ...   
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Next Post ~ Adding an Air-Breeze Wind Generator (#2 in series)

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