Friday, January 13, 2017

Power to the People

Thursday, January 12, 2017

As I mentioned in the past, we've been having a bit of a power shortage problem.  The refrigeration consumes so much, that we go through almost our entire available battery reserve overnight.

This has gotten somewhat better since the front went through, since we've had great winds, and the wind generator has been putting out lots of power.  Some nights we end up with more power than we started with!

But as the winds have slowly diminished, the shortage has come back to haunt us.  We've been forced to run the boat's engine anywhere from 2 to 4 hours per day to charge the batteries.  This has the unfortunate side-effect of heating up the engine compartment, causing the referigeration to have to run even harder!

And then there's the laptops.  Bill needs his to do his contract design work, and Joanie and I use ours to blog.  And the chargers really suck down the battery.

So, given all this, we decided to spend some of our contingency fund and purchase a Honda generator.  Most of the cruisers here have the 2000 Watt Honda 2000, but it's more than we need, and it's heavier than I want to lug around.  The Honda 1000 is only 29 lbs and puts out more than enough power to run our shore-power charger and all of the laptop chargers, and is much more efficient than the boat's engine in its gas usage.  Plus it gives us redundancy, so it seems like a smart idea.

Bill located a Northern Tools store (sort of a Harbor Freight on Steriods) within a reasonable distance of us that had one in stock, so off we went.  In order to do this, Joanie was going to have to ferry Bill and I to the shore in the dinghy, and then get the dinghy back to the boat by herself.  And later, she would have to reverse the process and pick up us and the generator. 

We had previously established that Joanie could start the sometimes cranky outboard by herself, so off we went.  She did really well on the way in, and got us ashore.  Leaving was somewhat less smooth, but she didn't capsize or hit anything, so it counts as a win!

Meanwhile, Bill and I went off in pursuit of a generator.  He used his Uber account to summon a ride.  Right away, troubles began.  The first driver couldn't find our location.  When he called and Bill tried to give him landmarks, he hung up!  We cancelled the ride and started over.  The second one went smoothly.   This was to become a recurring theme during the trip.

So, we got to the store and purchased the generator.  In reading the manual, it said that the generator must be run outdoors (Duh!), but that it should not get wet!  So I went back in to purchase the optional (why optional?) cover, only to find that that's a "special order" item!  So for now, I'll have to use a plastic sheet to cover it when not in use.

And our Uber troubles continued.  I'm beginning to think I'm a jinx to any form of public transportation.  Over the course of the day, we had a total of 3 out of five Uber failures.  On the last one, Bill's phone died, so we ended up using my phone to call a cab.

Back at the boat,  I unpacked and set up the generator on the stern.  We ran it ran for 2 hours, and got us up to 75% of battery charge, enough to get us through the night. And charged all the laptops too.  And all on about a quart of gas!

This is where we'll store it when not in use.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ed
    It's nice to be looking forward to your progress reports again. I've had a small but growing (thank, in part, to you and Joan) interest in doing the trip you are on in a year or so. And, like you, I have a keen interest in power supply and usage. Several companies are now making Honda "wanna bees" that I've been reading about. Personally, I think you made the best choice - the Honda and the 1Kw. It is interesting that some electronics take very little power (stereos, VHF, etc.) but that the laptops eat it up. Anyway, it will give you lots of relief knowing that you can run the generator when the wind and sun are not cooperating.
    Enjoy the sunny Florida sunshine.