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Old 02-19-2007, 05:03 PM   #1
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Is there such a thing in use on small cruisers?

Recalling some of my earliest readings I was led to believe that some cruisers were generating electicity from water current. Exploring the concept further, I am coming up with nothing.

Now I am wondering how and why I got that impression. Maybe simply not knowing enough to understand what I was reading. Perhaps I read something about "Water Generators" {the process of converting sea water to potable water} and associated generators with producing electricity, and falsely assumed the machinery was water driven. For what ever reason I came up with the concept, I don't know, but it remains a question in my mind.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:57 AM   #2
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duogen makes one

have a browse of Feb07 Yachting World. iirc it has a review of equipment used in the recent ARC
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:37 AM   #3
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As advised above, DuoGen offer the best bolt on capability as it can be used submersed as you sail - or raised with a changed blade, and be wind driven when stationery.

There are other towed generators which fix to your transom - Ampair do one - but on deep sea passages they often attract big bities hence lost impellors.

It is also relatively easy if you have a fixed prop, to drive a generator linked to your propshaft and create power as the shaft turns when sailing.

Cheers

John
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Practical Sailor reviewed a unit like this awhile back. Everything I have read leads me to conclude that water and wind generators do not produce enough amps, require maintenance and often break down. Not worth it. Solar panels present mounting issues and are expensive but rarely give any trouble. RT
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:27 AM   #5
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I like the idea of wind/water gens

fyi, an airX gen puts out approx 10A in 15 knots

you need a few large panels to match that
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:10 PM   #6
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Yes 10A at 15kts is good. But what does it produce at less than 10kts? Most anchor in calm spots so seeing 15kts is not the norm? I can't imagine living with that noise when underway. I've been next to boats with those things and they are far from quiet. And they do take maintenance to keep up. RT
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwthomas1 View Post
Yes 10A at 15kts is good. But what does it produce at less than 10kts? Most anchor in calm spots so seeing 15kts is not the norm? I can't imagine living with that noise when underway. I've been next to boats with those things and they are far from quiet. And they do take maintenance to keep up. RT
I had a similar question, who sails at 15 kts, and how many hours on an average day, at that rate?

Does a typical cruiser at sea make that speed?

I haven't decided yea or nea on a water or wind turbine yet. I am just trying to get educated enough to make an informed decision.
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Old 02-21-2007, 09:15 PM   #8
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Hi Aqua Man,

Older wind generators used to be clunky things making lots of noise and generating little power. Certainly a pi**er to have one of those parked up alongside you in a marina.

But not so today.

Several modern wind generators are virtually noiseless and most provide adequate charging power in even ten knots of windspeed.

And they still work at night, and on overcast days, which sadly solar panels don't.

And whilst few sail boat will do 15 knots of boatspeed, many do sail happily to create 15 knots of apparent windspeed, and its the windspeed and not the boatspeed that matters with a wind generator.

If you went with DuoGen in it towing (as oposed to wind) mode, that towed impleller is a obviously smaller, but also at a much courser pitch than the wind blade. So it generates good power even if you sail at 4 knots.

Although it might knock a knot off your boat speed!

Hope this helps clarify some of whats available - there are multiple choices with most things - and most of them work out fine.

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:08 PM   #9
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A number of cruising boats here in the SF Bay have wind generators, mostly Air-X if this huge marina is any indication of popularity. We are immediately surrounded by three of them and have listened carefully, having experienced one in La Paz that screeched and others that sang--not condusive to good rest. One fellow in the slip next to us plans to get a second Air-X. He got his first onein Hawaii, recently brought the boat here, and is so pleased with the quiet and the electricity generated, that he's going to double up.

We have two 120-watt solar panels. They are absolutely silent and do quite well for us, so that we're thinking of buying more. But on cloudy, windy days, we might wish for a wind generator as well. The Air-X isn't silent--you can hear the rush of wind--but it's not unpleasant.
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:48 AM   #10
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Thanks,

That helps a lot, a variety of opinions, the popular brand, alternatives, the pros and con's.

I really like the renewable energy concept and am an advocate of redundant systems. In my plans to acquire and outfit a blue water cruiser, the last systems I purchase will be those relating to technology. E.g. especially electronics and electrical. Somebody keeps inventing a better, less expensive mouse trap.

Unless there was a dire need to run an annoying turbine, in a populated harbor, at night, I think it would be courteous to "set the brakes" for a few hours so everybody has a chance to get a few hours of good rest.

QUOTE (SWAGMAN): "There are other towed generators which fix to your transom - but on deep sea passages they often attract big bites - loosing impellors."

Your answer also relates to my question in another thread, about going swimming or diving while in the open ocean. If the sea creatures are biting off impellors, I am even more inclined to remain on board.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:06 AM   #11
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When considering how you will generate power, it is worth taking into account where you will be voyaging. In high latitudes a wind generator would be better than solar cells- In areas of fickle winds but reliable sunshine go for solar power. Of course, the ideal migh be to have a combination of both.

Also worth considering is the water turbine. This is most useful too at anchor in tidal waters. The Aerogen cold therefore be a good compromise.

IMHO, the best way to provide more power is to use less. I know many would differ but I get by without a fridge (when the ice runs out the beer gets warm), without fans, without heating system requiring electricity (I have a Taylors parrafin / kerosene heater and a stove of the same make) and have further reduced consumption by installing LCD nav lights and interior lighting. My VHF is my bigest consumer but it comes with an off switch. Otherwise it is the GPS and navtex which pull a couple of amps. I have a double battery system with one of the batteries reserved solely for starting so even if the domestic bateries run down I can start the engine and generate power. I do have an Aerogen (only fitted as a wind generator) however and, up until now, this has provided more than enough power. I terms of power usage on small sailing vessels, less is definately more.

Aye,

Stephen

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Old 03-03-2007, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Man View Post
Is there such a thing in use on small cruisers?
Yes there is.

I have an Aqua4Aerogen by LVM which I think has just been taken over by ITT.

Converts very easily from water powered to wind powered. In water mode puts out a respectable 8 amps at 6 knots *24 hours a day* day after day after day.

Yes there is a small drag penalty ( un-noticeable in practical terms ) but better 40 days at sea with cold beer than 39 and a half without.

Towed it from Australia via New Zealand to Chile without it being eaten.

In wind gen mod it does a reasonable job but as has been said before you are trying to anchor out of the wind and when running you normally don't have a huge amount of wind over the deck.

Specs can be found at

http://www.lvmshop.co.uk/article.asp?title...86AB1C171C6547C

Thats a bit of a mouthful...there is a new ITT site but it is pretty useless.

Hope this helps.

edited to add....observations in the south have shown Aerogens to be by far the most popular wind gens.
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