Re: How much Solar?
Ken Powers SV Aquarius <ken@...>
Aquarius was fitted with 600W of hard panels, and we did pretty good for 3 years. Then our Victron Batteries Started to go. Once your batteries start to go, they take more energy to charge. As they age it's like cutting your battery capacity in 1/2 as well as your solar capacity. My video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcWBiDnB794 about batteries is still relevent.
Remember not use your bow thruster too much, and when you do, turn on your genset with all the chargers going full blast. But, you probably only have a 100A of charger, so you will be sucking 300A every time you push that joystick. Sucking 300A out of your 400AH battery pack is not really good for them, and if you don't run your genset, you will be sucking 400A. Just a note for all SM and A54 owners - the less you use your BowThruster the longer your Lead Batteries will last.
We just switched to LiFePO4 batteries. They are better, and yes, cheaper than Lead. Too man benefits to list here. Now, I can run my AC in one cabin 3 or 4 hours a night without turning on the genset. Now that is a game changer. And, another cool thing, 400A is nothing for a 600AH bank of LiFePO4. I bought my new batteries for under $4000. There are a lot of people out there trying to scare you about LiFePO4 batteries. In my opinion LiFePO4 is cheaper to buy, easier to maintain, and all the the scare tactics from those who what to make bigger profits, are just keeping to the sales strategy.
For a 400AH bank of Gel, the cost is just over $3000. They are rated for about 600 to 800 cycles, so if you're really good, they are going to last you 1200 cycles. The LiFePO4 batteries are rated at 5000 cycles, so if I'm really bad I might see 2500 cycles. Man, I don't know why anyone is buying Lead these days.
But, I will say there is one good thing about Lead Batteries on an SM. Your SM will be weighted correctly, and it will tilt much less to port when you're running low on fuel.
All the Best,