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Date: 16 October 2021. Adding Renogy and Upgrading Solar Regulator (#4 in series)


This became a multi-part series on power for an off-grid life afloat. It details the order in which I added power to Seaweed. In the series 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 Four.

For those that prefer everything on one page, this is the link you want:
Power from None to Now (the complete series)


After 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.

I was fortunate in that my cooking was done on a propane stove.

Directly across from the stove is one of my FIRE EXTINGUISHERS aboard Seaweed.

I wanted the ability to power a small cube refrigerator I owned at the time.

This is the original reefer ↓ Baby purchased for me all those years ago for Seaweed:

I could 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.


Although on the east coast my wind generator was most excellent, the sea breezes I had become accustomed to disappeared on the west side of Florida. Thus I decided to purchase two more solar panels. This time I opted for two Renogy 100 watt panels paired with a MorningStar ProStar-30 solar regulator.


Renogy 100 watt panels

MorningStar ProStar-30 amp (12/24v)
affiliate links

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 Solar Regulators (Standard vs. MPPT) article.

Because 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.

Side Note: 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 eBay too -- the book should be less than $10 unless you opt for brand new.

But I digress...

With the 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...

The refrigerator 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 wonderful life.

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.

What brand of solar panels do you have?
And, what is the total wattage of your solar array?

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2021, 2023

Categories:  Books, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Recommendations, Wild Things,

Gasoline Generator Added (starting the wrong way) (#3 in series) ~ Previous Post ...   
Next Post ~ Solar on Cloudy Days (#5 in series)


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. Lao-Tzu.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty via
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.

My Buddy, and his girlfriend...

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