Questions for Alex’s Around VI presentation

MYCBC – Why Join Us Forums General Discussion Questions for Alex’s Around VI presentation

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    Rick Thompson

      Hi Alex.
      Great presentations. It has taken a while to sink in but now I have some questions I didn’t think of last night. Hopefully you have time to answer mine and anyone else who has questions to post here. If members didn’t catch the 2 presentations they are in the MYCBC VIDEO GALLERY
      1. How often did you need to use your Wallas boat heater?
      2. Were your solar panels able to keep up with your freezer? How many watts do you have? and estimate the number of days you could go without having to run the engine to charge the batteries.
      3. How many batteries do you have?
      4. What kind and size of freezer packs do you use to keep your cooler cold?
      5. What setting do you need on your Engel freezer to re-freeze the ice packs?

      David Romanick

        Hi Alex – Great presentation last night. Thank you. A couple of questions for you:

        1. Think we noticed an auto pilot. Did it get lots of use?
        2. Wondering what kind of head you have? Composting or otherwise?



        Revised Sept 28th :  presently, I think the Firefly battery will be too big for the battery location.

        Thanks Rick for the great questions. Electrical consumption is probably the biggest issue for all boaters. You never have enough!

        1. We liked to use the Wallis stove/heater on cold, rainy nights and mornings. Unfortunately, both of my batteries developed bad cells and wouldn’t hold their charge, so I was having to monitor carefully the use of equipment. We didn’t use the heater as much as we wanted.

        2. I have one 100 Watt solar panel which I believe could not keep up with the freezer, which uses approximately between 1 and 2 Amps per hour. Therefore, in one day the freezer would require around 40 Amp hours. I had to run the motor every day. I will have a better idea in June when I’m on the water with new batteries. I believe that 100 W solar panel would take several days to fully charge a 100 Amp Hour battery. Please look at my consumption calculation below.

        3. I have two batteries. Currently my research is suggesting that an AGM battery would be a good replacement. I have considered a Lithium battery but the overall cost of batteries and required modifications with the charging system became too costly. I believe that the AGM battery yields approximately 140 Amp hours.

        4. Interesting, I was at MEC yesterday looking at Yeti ice packs, which cost approximately $40 per 4 lb pack. Presently, I have 4, Cryopak Icepak Xtreme ice packs which weigh 2 lbs each. At the beginning of a cruise the Engle is used as a freezer and contains packaged meals and 2 ice packs. The cooler contains 2 ice packs and every day the ice packs are switched. Remember a container of frozen food takes approximately 2 days to defrost in the cooler. I bought the ice packs at Canadian Tire..$10 each?

        5. Our Engel fridge/freezer is AC/DC model MR040F-U1. Normally, we set it at 2 or 3 with 1 being cool/fridge temperature. If I’m running the motor, then I would crank it up to 3 or 4. During the night I turn it down to 2.
        You might want to run your Engle with some frozen meat at 3 and the try lower settings until the meal begins to defrost. Remember that your Engle manual suggests that you run your Engle regularly during a storage period.

        My principal electrical consumption is as follows:
        VHF, AIS 1.0 amp/hr x 10 hrs = 10 amp hours
        Chart plotter, depth/fishfinder 2.0 amp/hr x 10 hrs = 40 amp hours
        Fridge/freezer 2.0 amp/hr x 20 hrs = 40 amp hours
        TOTAL 90 AMP hours per day

        Therefore, my assumption is that 2 AGM batteries with 280 AmpHours could last me for 2 days without running the motor and if the sun is strong, then I might even get 3 days.

        Hopefully, Todd will have more information on the Club night.


        Hi David,

        My auto pilot, an Autohelm ST4000+ ,has been a disappointment. I have changed the steering cable from the helm to the motor and also put on a special bar that disconnects the motor from the steerage when sailing and the result is that the auto pilot still only works well in beautiful calm seas. I think a sturdier rudder bracket with less play in the rudder would eliminate the wallowing of Impulse as she moves through the waves.

        I still use it when I go below deck, but I don’t waste anytime before returning to the helm or peeking out of the companion way.

        I still have the original porta potti. Commodore Rick & Sue Thompson have a composting toilet. He has had it for a few years and likes it. Rick has a MacGregor M.


        Rick & Sue

          Thanks Alex.
          Great information. I think you might be over calculating the AH use of the Engel. I have one and have calculated the AH based on 2 amps but it does not run continuously. I have estimated that it actually runs about 1/4 of the time so (2 amps x 24 hr)x .25 = 12AH per day.
          I bought 2 lead acid AGM batteries last year but have not had a chance to try them out. I should have about 190 AH of which 90 AH would be useable to keep batteries to required minimum 50% charge.
          Firefly batteries cost at least 3-4 times as much as my AGM’s. I couldn’t justify the extra cost.

          Rick & Sue

            Hi David.
            I highly recommend the C-head composting toilet. No smells, no messy dumping. The other makes of composting toilets are more expensive and limited by proprietary liquid collection containers. Check out the Mod Video in the Gallery.

            David Romanick

              Thanks for the info Alex and Rick.

              We were still working with the original porta-potti which we weren’t keen on so I’ve since put together a composting toilet prototype with some household items. Being able to customize it allowed for a perfect fit in the boat. The preliminaries seem to be pretty promising. Now we look forward to field testing it soon.

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              Rick & Sue

                Hi David,
                Nice work on the composting toilet. The only thing I see missing is some way to stir the solids into the Peat moss. That is what dries the solids and prevents smells. Are you planning to just seal and remove the solids each time? Otherwise I think you might get some smells.

                David Romanick

                  Thanks for the feedback Rick. My plan is to start off by bringing some peat moss with me in the boat and layer it over the solids each time. I was planning on cedar shavings but since viewing your video and doing some research, I’ll go with peat moss. Everything will be in a compostable bag with the idea of carrying it to shore for disposal. As I don’t usually stay off shore for too many days, I’ll see how it goes.

                  I did look at your video after the fact and the C-Head looks pretty skookum. I’ll see how this works and modify if, and as needed.

                  On another note, your stern reel video inspired.

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