FAQ: Energy on Estrellita

We had a recent question from a reader about our Honda gen and I thought I would expand a bit. We’ve come to a good energy equilibrium (between our usage and our production). With the following set up, we do not need any extra charging except on the rare occasion that the solar has been terrible for many days in a row or when we are near an internet access point and we spend entire days online (thus using the computers too much).

aGreen energy: We have 245 watts of solar with an MPPT controller feeding into an AGM house bank with 500 amp hours (12V).  The solar provides for the bulk of our energy needs. While on passage we also use an older model Aquair tow generator that we purchased used.

Gasoline: Approximately every 4th day, we use our Honda 2000EUi Companion generator to power our AC Seamaker 20 watermaker for 1-1.5 hours. While this generator is running, there is enough extra power to also charge computers, handheld radios and other peripherals and also to put amps into our battery bank. So far it has run like clockwork with irregular maintenance. We like the Companion because it has a 30-amp plug so we can use our normal shore power cord with it.

What we don’t have/use: We do not have a wind generator. We do not use the main engine for charging although we have a 100 Amp Balmar alternator (downgraded to 80 Amps with its controller) to add to the batteries when we are motoring for other reasons.

In the past we’ve also written a bit about our general energy usage, our batteries, and our solar panels and controller. For those interested in energy, you might also be interested in our diesel and propane numbers in BC, and numbers from Tofino until our puddle jump.

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