Avoiding the bigger/more expensive death spiral…

On, “So It Goes” we have  a 400-amp hour battery bank made up of lead acid golf cart batteries with 350-watts of solar panels being the prime charging input. I should also note that I have two 50-watt panels that I have not included as they currently need repair (so much for lifetime warranties) that I have not got around to fixing yet and the jury is still out on whether or not I can actually fix them.

I mention this because, like most cruising boats, “So It Goes” could use a kiss more power generation and storage. Now, the current group-think mindset where power is concerned is to simply throw out the existing system and replace it with new state-of-the-art components. Which would entail..

  • Throwing out batteries that have at least two years of remaining life.
  • Buying new batteries/charger of the Lithium sort.
  • Buying new solar panels.

Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that new batteries and solar panels have some real advantages. for starters, as solar tech continues to improve the size to power ratio, it would enable me to have more charging watts with a smaller footprint which is a big advantage in deploying panels on a 50-year old 34-foot boat. New batteries with a bit more capacity would be no bad thing and, while I’m impressed with the claims of Lithium performance, I can’t quite get past the fact that I have to replace every six-months the lithium battery that powers the computer I’m currently typing this on. 

The fact is that replacing the current system would, at best, be a small improvement to the overall system that actually works pretty well. As it stands and as lithium, as a system, is still in flux with several alternative systems waiting in the wings I think waiting a bit since prices seem to be coming down on both solar and batteries are concerned makes some sense.

So, how do we improve the system in the meantime?

More on that soonish…

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