Barry's Blog #82 - Luxury… Sheer luxury

The email from Christopher at Green Yachting said "Congratulations you are one of five finalists chosen from many applications to receive a complimentary Solar Green 12 volt hot water heating package."

To say that we were excited at receiving that email is an understatement. We were stoked. Permanent hot water, even while at anchor, was going to be luxury… Sheer luxury.

How did it all begin?

It all began in April when our friend Mike gave us a heads up that a guy had put a post up on the Med Sailing Facebook group calling for people to help him promote his new product. In return for receiving the heating system for free the winners were asked to make a video of the installation process and promote it across social media. We could definitely do that.

Once we'd received the good news a few more emails went back and forth and we arranged to meet Christopher from Green Yachting in the harbour at Pythagorion on the Greek island of Samos on May 18th 2019.

On board Christopher's yacht he showed us the 12 volt heating element and the smart controller while explaining how the system worked. The element is exactly the same size and thread as a standard 220 volt hot water heating element, so it was a simple case of unscrewing and removing one and replacing it with the other. Simple is definitely not how it was and I'll tell you all about that later in this blog.

How does it work?

A B Sea battery bank

The requirements to make the system work are a minimum of 200 watts of solar panels and 200Ah of AGM or lithium batteries. On board A B Sea we have 600 watts of solar and for domestic use we have 285Ah of flooded lead acid batteries.

Our electrical power consumption is fairly low and each morning when I check the state of the batteries I have never seen less than 80% capacity still remaining. Couple that with our over specced solar input and usually on a sunny day our batteries are back up to 100% by 10.30am even during the winter months.

The Solar Green smart controller monitors the batteries and if they are less than 80% it will not heat the water. Once it sees that the batteries are back up to 100% it will begin heating the water up to 50C (122F) and then switch on and off as needed to maintain the temperature between 43 and 50 degrees, so power consumption overall is very low.

How long did it take to install?

Three days. But that has nothing to do with the product. That has everything to do with being on a small Greek island and not having the right tools for the job. Installation went like this;

Day 1: Empty the aft cockpit locker to get access to the hot water system. Empty the aft port side cabin to get access to the batteries and negative bus bar. Run a mousing line from the water heater compartment to the battery compartment to make running the electrical cables easy and to measure the distance so we knew how much electrical cable we needed to buy.

Day 2: I spent nearly all morning at the local chandler getting the correct gauge electrical cables cut to length and customising the cable terminators to be able to connect them to the smart controller, the heating element, the 35amp circuit breaker, the negative bus bar and the positive battery terminal.