Keeping a charge

SWALLOW has an uncomplicated electrical system … relative to modern boats.  I like this as fewer gadgets means less to go wrong.

I do not plan to be spending much time in a marina so the ability to be ‘off the grid’ is important.  For this reason I’m trying to get a feeling for how well SWALLOW’s solar panel works, the two batteries ability to hold a charge and how much power I’ll use.

Based on the ammeter my power use almost always less than an amp an hour.  So I’ll say I’m using 15-20 a day.  The batteries are group 24 type each rated at 66 amps capacity (when new).  The solar panel, best case, can provide 2.5 amps an hour.  Solar ability on the Salish Sea mid-summer is 15-16 hours IF there are no clouds.  With sun angles and shadowing best case I figure an average of amp an hour.  This puts me in a energy deficit of about five amps a day.

SWALLOW’s 42 watt solar panel.

The days are getting shorter and more cloudy so I need to figure out how to store and generate more power.

Over the past couple of days it has been a good taste of how days will be come September and later – cloudy!  The house battery is low and sun isn’t forecast for another day.




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