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  1. #31
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    One advantage of solar panels not yet mentioned is that they are incremental so you can easily add more when budget and need dictates. With a wind-generator, if you buy one too small it is very expensive to upgrade it as you have to sell the first and buy another.

    I would advise you to get a couple of solar panels, see how you get along with them. I would also advise getting an amp-hour counter at a relatively early stage, as that will give you a much better understanding of what you need and what you are getting. Defintely buy an amp-hour counter before getting a wind-generator as otherwise you risk ending up mistakenly buying too small a wind generator.

    Wind generators are by no means all noisy. Only the Air-Marine is really noisy, The Aerogen range are relatively quiet, and the Rutlands really don't make any annoying noise at all (well mine doesn't).

    I think the Duogens look rather dodgy and inefficient. If you must get a dual-purpose generator, get an aero-aqua4gen from LVM. It is a proper wind-generator when in wind mode, and a good water generator too.

    I am in the Med and have both solar and wind and both are very useful, particularly at anchor. They are less useful when sailing as the sails shadow the panels and the wind generator loses efficiency on some points of sail. I would like to add an aqua4gen at some point to provide good power on long ocean passages.

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  2. #32
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    Talbot is offline Registered User
    Location : Stavanger, Norway
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    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    I can only move the outboard through abt 30 degrees each way, which is fine if there is no wind, but if there is wind, it can get a bit fraught! - parking on a pontoon when the wind is blowing off can get very interesting [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
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  3. #33
    Talbot's Avatar
    Talbot is offline Registered User
    Location : Stavanger, Norway
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    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    Suggest you read the specs for the duogen versus the aqua4 - no comparison. You are also not towing shark bait behind you. Besides it will fit much better on my boat. I have done the energy budget to ensure that I am going to have sufficient power for all my needs (now and future) and thus buy the correct kit initially. Thus the solar panel will be a 170w panel sized to be fitted above my dinghy davits (and thus clear of the sail shadow).

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    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
    Robert A Heinlein

  4. #34
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    Dec 2003
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    793

    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    Yes I have read the specs and I agree that they show that the duogen produces more power. However, I am very suspicious of the specs of the duogen - frankly I don't believe them. According to their specs, in wind mode it produces more power than dedicated wind-generators of similar size like the Rutland 903 or the Aero4gen, despite having rather primitive untapered blades and a power-sapping right-angle in the power transmission shaft, and a tail-fin that I doubt is powerful enough to hold the fan into the wind on a rocking boat. Also, in water mode it is sited very close to the rear of the hull and I am suspicious about how much the impellor stays in the water in a sea. I'd believe their specs if I saw them backed by an independent test but have never found one.

    All manufacturers of wind turbines, solar panels and water generators exaggerate their figures, or at very minimum establish them in totally unrealistic perfect conditions. They never produce in reality what is claimed. But I find the duogen's figures less believable than most - I bet their wind figures were measured by strapping it to a car, blocking the tail in position, and driving at a steady speed down a runway - a measurement that is totally irrelevant to the gusty and rocking mounting on a boat. I bet they also measured the water-mode current by running it in undisturbed water at the bow of a motor-boat on a lake, and not off the back of a sailing boat in a heavy sea.

    I would buy the Aeroaqua4gen because I know that LVM is a reputable company, their products are well designed, and I regularly meet satisfied owners. I have yet to meet a duogen owner - have you?

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    I'd miss my compost heap

  5. #35
    Talbot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    yes - 2 (both very satisfied)

    In any case I have now decided that the duogen will wait for a couple of years (while bank recovers from all the other purchases [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]) which will give me a chance to gather more data from duogen users.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by Talbot on 15/01/2004 11:23 (server time).</FONT></P>
    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
    Robert A Heinlein

  6. #36
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    262

    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    Have you actually seen a Duogen yourself? This product is very well designed and engineered. I looked at all the wind generators at the Southampton boat show. The Duogen, in my opinion, is head and shoulders above the rest.
    The only one that comes close is the Pacific 100. This looks more durable.
    The rutland, by comparison looks fragile, although I have heard good reports about this unit.

    I have had feedback from one user of the Duogen who has crossed the Atlantic. He was delighted with his Duogen and had no problems.

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  7. #37
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    Dec 2003
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    793

    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    No I have never seen one and only base my comments from looking at their website. But I am an aero-engineer, so tend to look quite critically. I would welcome being proved wrong, as I have in the past considered getting one myself. But I just found their reported output rather surprising. Combine that with the fact that I have never yet seen one actually sold to a real-life customer (and I always look at wind-generators on boats - one of my favourite subjects) led me to be a bit cynical. I'd still welcome an explanation as to how their claimed output with rather unsophisticated looking constant pitch blades (judging from the pics), fed via a power-sapping right-angle joint, can beat the power output of (say) a similarly-diametred Rutland 903 which has blades that change in pitch the length of the blade. Wind-generator output figures are one of the most easily-massaged statistics out there, so I tend not to believe them at all unless I have seen them verified in a fairly rigorous back-to-back test via a reputable magazine (and not one that carries lots of ads for the winning product in the same issue!!!)

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    I'd miss my compost heap

  8. #38
    Talbot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    The blades are quite a bit bigger (longer) than either ampair or rutland, which must make a bit of a difference. The only one that I have heard off which has failed was on the singlehanded Pacific rower's boat, but as that boat was pitchpoled and rolled several times, I dont suppose you can moan about that! [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
    Robert A Heinlein

  9. #39
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    262

    Default Re: Solar Panel or wind generator

    I have a Duogen, purchased at the Southampton boat show. I am in the process of installing at the moment.
    Why do you assume the right angles joint is power sapping? You are unlikely to have ever seen a joint like the one Duogen uses! I hadnt, and I am an engineer too.
    The Rutland is a smaller diameter than the Duogen and as I am sure you know, the square law plays an important role when diameter increases a little, so increase in performance of Duogen is to be expected. The Duogen is 1.1 metre as opposed to 0.91 metre.

    I dont doubt the performance of the Duogen in wind mode. Duogen were giving away a nice little anenometer at the boat show to actually measure the wind speed over the deck so you didnt have to guess. Wind speed at the mast head is often 30% more than at deck level. I supsect this is why people are disapointed by the performance of their wind generator rather than untrustworthy figures.

    The performance of the unit in wind mode was not my main reason for purchase. I am interested in the turbine performance. This is vastly superior to the competition.

    I suspect most people would purchase this unit primarily for the turbine, otherwise you can buy a wind only generator like the Rutland for a fraction of the price

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  10. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    639

    Default I have a DuoGen too

    ...I've had it since just after they launched and it has been updated as the design has evolved. I'm extremely pleased with it and can confirm the output figures they quote!

    My initial reason for buying, apart from ease of switching between water and air mode, was the fact that the bulk of the weight (the alternator itself) is kept at deck level and not perched on top of a long pole.

    Feel free to ask any specific questions you may have and I'll try and give an unbiassed opnion! If you are in the Plymouth area any time I''d be pleased to show you the unit in action.

    Regards, Jerry

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