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Solar Power For Boat Lift and Dock

EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
Anyone using solar power for their boat lift and dock? I am going to finish up my dock this Spring and I am trying to design a simple solar system to power my Aluminum Boat Cradles lift and have additional power for a few lights computers, etc.
I was going to run electrical service down my lot but it is going to cost about 10k just to run the underground power plus the monthly costs.
I am thinking about a system with a 3000W inverter, 3 deep cycle batteries and a 100w solar panel. I just want to be able to raise and lower the boat several times a day, run a computer, have several led lights I can turn on. Nothing that's going to constantly run. I am using a generator now but it's loud and takes up a lot of space.



  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    I am a harbor freight addict and I know that some of their stuff is junk, other not so bad. They have these products. A Jupiter 3000W inverter and solar panel. Thinking may not go wrong buying the inverter and 3 year warranty? They have a 5000 W that is a 100 bucks more?

  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 769 Crazy Baller
    Is 3000kw enough? I run a 6500kw generator and it doesn't really like my boat lift. A buddy has a floating hydraulic boat lift that is all solar. Not sure what the panels output is but I know the battery has to be taken out once a month or so and recharged. That is with maybe a half dozen cycles every weekend. I have also not seen the extended life of a deep cycle battery out way the extra cost of one. If building a battery bank I would go buy a group 31 battery from your local semi truck parts place. Usually can get a 1000 cca battery for $80 and they have a 3/8 stud for terminals. Makes wiring easy.
    Travis Torley
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,244 Mega Baller
    Is the hoist a DC motor or A.C. motor? avoid extra steps, but I will say A.C. motor on inverter usually a dog, if possible I'd swap the motor to DC so that you can run direct on battery power instead of inverter.
    Pat MMarcoAndrepumpinpete
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,188
    edited March 2018
    As a Musician I play a lot of outside venues and use a large OPTIMA battery, with an inverter, and it powers Elec. Guitars with 2 Guitar Amps, Keyboard plus amp, and a huge PA System for hours. Had a 7500W Gen. but didn't need it.The Optima Battery lasts hours.
    If you couple that with Solar Backup, like they use on Motorhomes, you should be fine. More than just that one 100 Watt Panel.
    Our house is a 48 panel, 10K system, that powers everything, including the dock.

    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,595 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @jayski has a nice one on his lift at Cottonwood. Not sure of make but works with a remote
    Shut up and ski
  • jayskijayski Posts: 900 Mega Baller
    @MS is correct, Sunstream hydralic lift with fancy schmancy remote all run by RV battery solar charged
  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    My electric motor is AC. I had a tired 2000w generator that wouldn't quite do the job lifting the boat. I have a 4000 watt generator that does the job easily.
    I did some research on the Jupiter. It is a modified sine wave, not a pure sine wave inverter. Supposed to deliver 3000 continuous and spikes to 5000. I have heard like Old Jeep said to go to a more high end inverter but they are about $1000 so is a big difference in cost. I always like to go higher quality in things. But I could buy the harbor freight and warranty it for 3 years for 3 times for the cost of the better one. Don't really know if the best would go 9 years to the break even point? The best are the more efficient pure sine wave units though.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,519 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited March 2018
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,365 Crazy Baller
    edited March 2018
    Eric, how many amps does your lift draw while lifting your boat? I've never measured mine, but it runs on a 20 amp breaker and has never tripped. 20 amps at 120 volts is 2400 watts. What kind of hoist are you using? I can't remember my brand but it has the plate with motor, ring and worm gear to connect to a 2" pipe that winds up the cable. Is a pure sine wave needed for a motor? Oops you said run a computer also.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,429 Crazy Baller
    If you can, forget the inverter. Go with a 24 volt lift motor with a 24 volt solar panel and two batteries. It works great on my cantilever lift. Not sure if it has enough poop for an overhead lift though.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 500 Solid Baller
    How much does you AC lift motor cost? I would not use a modified sine wave inverter on AC motor applications. The motor will run less efficiently and generate more heat shortening it’s life.

    I would either invest in a good full sine wave inverter (may even want to look at Marine rated due to the outdoor installation) or convert to 24V with solar charging. You could run AC yourself but find a competent electrician to do the final wiring with the proper grounding and GFI protection. Personally I don’t like having AC by the water and would build a solar DC system using 6V golf cart batteries.
  • skiepskiep Posts: 328 Solid Baller
    Inrush current can be up to seven times the full load current! So if you have a 1 HP motor running 16 amps @ 120 volts inrush could be 112 amps for a fraction of a second. Run the circuit and be done.
  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    Thanks for all the good advice.
    Leon I am not sure of the AMPs, I will find out Saturday
    Wayne the motors are about 300 dollars, the DC may be better.
    I think I will try the Jupiter inverter just for kicks Saturday. I know will not likely work but I will be the beta tester.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,365 Crazy Baller
    Eric, your best bet on batteries is 6V golf cart batteries in series. That's what RVs use. I have four in my MH to run a 2000W inverter. The extra 2 are mostly a length of time between charges thing.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    Well tried it and it seemed to work great. I just used 2 deep cycle 12 v batteries that I have in my garage. The motor started without hesitation. The battery cables did not heat nor did the inverter fans even had to come on. Was not even warm. I think I will initially do 3 batteries(may do 4 6v.) and do 1 300w solar panel all grounded and fused. I can add batteries and solar panels if I need them. They make some great charge controllers with remote battery monitors.
  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    I took a video of it lifting, but I can't figure out how to load it.
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,889 Mega Baller
    I have a DC lift motor and use a Kohler 15 watt solar panel that has a voltage regulator built in to it. Worst thing you can do to a battery is overcharge it!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
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