Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Sunday, 17 January 2016

It's Been a Long Time...

Since I saw a wide, blue sky like this:

Quite a few weeks, in fact. Certainly the battery has suffered due to the solar panel not getting enough sun.

The battery was below 12v even though the solar panel was generating nearly 13. I'll be looking at the charging circuit tomorrow just to make sure it's working ok.I brought the battery home and it's currently on an overnight charge from my Lidl intelligent charger.

I've been thinking about some form of wind generator. I've been wondering if old computer fans could be put to use. I'll see if I can get hold of one and see what sort of voltage it generates. On a swinging mooring you don't need a fancy rotating windmill as the boat always faces into the wind. Just 2 or 3 old fans bolted to a removable pole should suffice.

Today I took the mainsail off Sprite 2 and ran the £16 sail up. It's about two thirds the size of the original sail, but flatter. Even in the slight breeze it seemed to work like a sail. So if tomorrow is dry I might take it out and try it.


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  2. I'm very interested in your computer fan wind generator idea. I have a lot of old computers I can scavenge for parts.

  3. I think I'd be wondering what was draining the battery if all that's going in is charge?? Nice picture b.t.w - Hurley in the foreground looks sad - rudders gone... from memory I think the yellow one is a Fantasie 19 (same as my first boat)....

  4. Peter, the computer fan thing I just thought if they can generate electricity, they're cheap enough or you can even get them for free. Get hold of a few of them to generate enough voltage to trickle charge the battery that's a cheap way to recharge. As the boat always points into the wind on a swinging mooring you don't even need to mount it on a pivot. 4 fans on a pole might generate a trickle charge.

  5. Steve, the battery master switch switches everything off, so it's just natural discharge in the battery. But because it's been overcast for the past 3 months, the short days and the boat has been facing mostly to the North, the solar panel hasn't generated enough electricity to keep up with the battery's natural discharge rate. It was an old battery any way, so it may just be on it's last legs anyway. So far it's been on the charger at home for 3 days and still isn't up to 13.8v

  6. Makes sense re. the battery as it's quite a big discharge for just natural loss... I have one sitting in the garage waiting to go in to Sparrow when I can get my ar*e in gear and it's pretty much full every time I check it, even though I last charged it November'ish?? (Wish I could say the same about the one in the car!)

    1. ah, cars are different, there are so many circuits still connected to the battery these days, even with the ignition off. I've got a year-old car battery I was given that should do for now. If the original recovers enough I'll keep both of them on board. I'll also check the solar charging system just to eliminate problems with it.