Working on our budget
Wait Mike! You said that you didn’t like being constrained by a budget. That’s true, where money is concerned, but the budget I am referring to is our energy budget, or in other words, how much electricity we have to run all of our boat’s tools and toys. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about increasing the solar or wind generating ability on our boat, and even the addition of a gas-powered portable generator. Some or all of those things are still in the works, but just about everyone recommends that the first step in the electrical input-output equation is determining what your needs are. Hence, the budget!
Disclaimer: This is yet another item in the long list of things I know very little about. More trial and error.
The Budget image below is a work in progress. I spent a chunk of the morning pouring over the various manuals we have for our boat gear, trying to find the manufacturers’ estimated power consumption for each device. Some I could find and others I couldn’t.
Assuming we could find what a particular device consumes, the next step was to estimate how many hours per day we will be using said device. Some are easy to calculate (for example an anchor light is on from dusk ’til dawn, or approx. 12 hours) while others are only used intermittently or while underway. Because of this, a portion of the figures in the image are correct while others are just placeholders. So, if a device uses 1 Amp and we run it for 12 hours, that equals 12 Amp/hours.
What do we have to draw from? Our boat’s battery bank can obviously only store a certain amount of energy. We have 8 – 6V batteries, each rated at 105 AH. Wired in series/parallel (my terminology might be off there) that should equal 420 AH at 12V (I certainly am leaving room to be correctly here). This doesn’t mean that we can use all 420 AH though, as the batteries couldn’t be depleted to zero without killing them.
Now here is where this gets really similar to a financial budget, at least for us anyway. Just like money, we are really good at spending the electricity. Determining how we will replenish the supply is the yet-to-be-determined part. Let’s see what we can come up with! 🙂