Project : To design and create a useful energy budget for Ocelot.
An energy budget is basically a method which can be used to determine how much power is available to a system, such as our boat. An energy budget allows somebody to determine the state of their energy supply, and to answer questions such as, "Do we have enough power to add this?" "Why is our battery voltage so low?" "Do we need another source of electricity?"
Goal : To allow anybody, with no outside assistance, to answer the questions above, or any similar ones.
This project is not just to make an energy budget, but to make one that is useful and easy to understand. Although presumably I will always be able to interpret the raw data, it is a long and complicated process, even with all that I know about electricity. My goal is to allow anybody to answer questions like the ones above without having to consult and understand the tables of data.
Progress : Obsolete production data, some new data, and some consumption data gathered.
Although I took readings on the solar panel productions several months ago, we were using a different setup then. Although the changes made should have been predictable, I find that my current readings are not perfectly agreeing with the predictions. In order to make sure my data are accurate, I am taking a completely new set of readings. Fortunately, the most difficult part of this is that it will take a number of days, as a good sample is required for accurate predictions. As for consumption, most items we use regularly have already been measured for amp usage and I have at least estimates of how long they are used each day. However, I have not yet measured consumption while sailing. It is a difficult process to do so, since we do not often sail for more than a few hours, yet it may be 3 times as much one day as the day before. We also use different instruments on different days (autopilot when the seas are not too rough, navigational lights on night sails, etc.)
Conclusion : It is too early to make any definite statements, but things look like we should have notable excess power.
Any questions I was asked right now would need to be answered partially through educated guesses. I can make some statements through general observation, but nearly anybody could do the same. So far, the energy budget is still under construction, and I could not give any reliable answers yet. Somebody else, even if they had access to my data, would have an even harder time. As my goal is for anybody to use the energy budget, the project is certainly not yet concluded. However, I am confidant that a working model can be produced soon, after which a functional final project should be fairly simple. However, one thing that appears already is we may have as many as 33 amp-hours per day in excess of what we need. (See consumption and new production.)
Presentation : My conclusions, an interface to modify the variables and give new conclusions, and all the relevant data.
Publishing my answers to a few of the most important questions and the data that I used to reach them would not be too difficult, but wouldn't really achieve my goal. I intend to create an interface that people can use to determine what would happen in any contingency. Although I do not currently know enough programming to do this, I am learning. Hopefully, I will be able to do so soon. In addition to improving my presentation, this method of presentation will add an element of programming to my project. It is quite likely that when I have finished with the project, I will put it on this web site for people to view, examine, and use.
My apologies... This site has not been properly updated in several years (since late 2003). I hope to revisit it soon!
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