A Day in the Life of a Liveaboard Sailor

I am almost finished installing the 285-watt solar panel! It’s in place and connected, but I still have two more holes to drill for the mount on one side. Something I learned, which wasn’t something that I had come across before, is that if you have a panel that puts out 38 volts and you connect it in parallel with panels that put out 19 volts, the lower voltage panels will drag the higher voltage panel down to their level and you lose almost half of the power from the larger panel. I disconnected the two 100 watt panels and the larger panel was able to feed its full 38 volts into the charge controller. I do have a spare controller that I can connect the two 100 watt panels to, so all is not lost. With just the 285 watt panel I am able to turn off the battery charger and run all of the 12 volt systems without losing any voltage. That includes running the main fridge/freezer, the drawer freezer and a cooler in the cockpit which runs all the time. All told the systems are pulling about 13 amps when they are all on. We’regoing to add another 285 watt panel in a few weeks, so that will bring our total solar up to 770 watts. We’re planning on replacing our three-year-old lead-acid batteries with AGMs for now, and later Lithium.

New panel and MPPT charge controller.
Testing the new panel.

A few smaller things I tool care of is defrosting and cleaning the main fridge/freezer, fixed the second pantry door latch, lowered the furler and checked the bearings, and cleaned the bottom at the waterline. Lots done, but you’re never really done!

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About Captain

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.
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