Friday, October 10, 2014 Power Generation

Power Generation 

Woke up: Ripper’s Cove, Santa Catalina Island, California

Went to sleep: Ripper’s Cove, Santa Catalina Island, California

After coffee, we pack our go-to-shore bag and dinghy to the beach. This time we set our sites on the highest pinnacle and start our upward trudge.  Sixty minutes later, Peter informs me if we go another quarter-mile it will make our round trip foray an even five miles.  Well, of course, let’s go.

Hiking from Ripper's Cove

Hiking from Ripper’s Cove

By noon, we are back on board Penelope.

We’re getting enough wind and solar power to run the water maker and still be in the positive.

Solar Panels

Wind Generator and Solar Panels

We continuously monitor the status of our battery bank. The four 6 Volt Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) house batteries can supply 600 Amp-hours (amps) of DC power.  Since you never want to discharge your batteries more than 50 percent, we effectively have 300 Amp-hours available.  Three hundred Amp-hours allows you to use something that draws 1 Amp, say a light bulb, for 300 hours or something that draws 15 Amps, say my hair dryer, for 20 hours.  Life is full of little tradeoffs.

Almost everything on the boat, except the couch pillows, requires power. When we are plugged into shore power, of course, it doesn’t matter.  I can go crazy drying my hair, making toast, and playing the stereo to my little heart’s content.  When we’re running off the batteries, though, it’s a completely different story.  It’s necessary to make sure everything is turned off that isn’t essential.  Candle light dinner, perhaps?

The control panel reports how many of our available 300 Amp-hours we’ve depleted. First thing in the morning, with the refrigerator cycling on and off throughout the night, the AIS transmitting our location and the anchor light signaling others of our presence, we’re typically down about 120 Amp-hours.  Once the sun shows up, the solar panels start to produce electricity.  At maximum production, the four 100 Watt panels can produce 22 Amps, total.  For each one hour they are producing 22 Amps we get back 22 Amp-hours.  If the wind picks up the wind generator can kick in up to 60 Amps.  If the sun shines, as it frequently does in southern California, and the wind blows we can pretty easily produce 120 Amp-hours through the course of a day.

Today we are making water. It’s best to run the water maker for a longer period of time infrequently than a short period of time more frequently.  The water maker uses about 6 Amps per hour.  If we run it for 10 hours, it will produce 70 gallons of water, at the cost of 60 Amp-hours.


Wind Generator

Ripper’s Cove is an ideal anchorage. The sun shines and the wind blows all day every day.  This location gives me mountains to climb in the morning, fresh water to drink at the end of our hike, and enough power to watch a movie after dinner.  I think we’ll stay a while.

Ripper's Cove

Ripper’s Cove

About Susan M. Gierga

Everyone already knows everything there is to know about me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. To learn current details. Visit my blog, CruisingwithCaptainPeterandtheAdmiral.
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3 Responses to Friday, October 10, 2014 Power Generation

  1. Rhonda Freeman says:

    Terrific updates, thought of you today as we celebrated our first baby shower without you, our Natalie is about to pop, matter of fact you can see that girls belly button poking out….. There has also been talk of you this week in the CAD room, so I updated everyone as to your whereabouts and we laughed about the dinghy story coming ashore sideways and wet and returning to Penelope trying to time it right. You guys are so brave and just a little crazy!

    Not sure if you have one or not but a nice propane lantern would be a terrific light source when your running low on electricity. Our larger propane tank in our trailer runs the fridge, heater, and lantern mounted above my stove and last for several months. You of course can just use the smaller tanks too but there not refillable.

    We miss all you so much and I personally can’t wait for your updates.

    Take care,



  2. Rhonda Freeman says:

    Oh noooo, mostly just envy of your retirement and wondering where you are! And we miss you..


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