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Old 08-07-2013, 06:38   #1
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HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

It was HOT HOT HOT the last few days so it is time to look into AC!

Now I have 2 AC units on the boat, a 16,000 BTU and a 7,000 BTU, but don't have a generator to run them (I have never run them in the 2.5 years I have had the boat). Why the previous owner got AC on a new boat and no generator to run it is beyond me. So am looking at the Honda systems to run them. (I also figure I can run in the colder periods at the start and end of the season till I move to a "no heat required" location)

I did a search and got some "answers" and learned some items. But it of course was a mixed bag of info. There probably are more threads if I could have come up with better search parameters, but...

What I learned is that there are 2 ways to go about this:
1 - Dometic Smart Start (looks to be around $400)
2 - Supco SPP6E capacitor (looks to be around $30)

From my research it sounds that using the Dometic Smart Start is the best answer and it sounds that the 16000 BTU unit would start and run even on the Eco mode of the generator.

The Supco allows the 16000 BTU to start and run, but the Honda Eco needs to be off to ensure.

I am guessing that the 7,000 BTU would run regardless without either of the options, which would cool the aft cabin for sleeping. But to me if things are worth doing they are worth doing right.

What experiences do others have as far as running AC off a Honda? Just how much of sound problem are these Honda units also.

PS -if your reply is "we don't need no AC" that is great for you, but you don't need to post it (like this will stop you)
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:54   #2
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

We kept our 40.5 cool when we had one in Rhode Island with just one A/C running at one time off our Honda 2000. Here in Florida, it's a different story but in NH, it's a different issue. If you really feel compelled to run both units simultaneously, you already know the answer...
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:59   #3
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

i keep my 41 comfy in the tropics in summer on 1/4 power with a 5000 btu window unit used only in summer in tropics. works great to remove the moisture that causes heat index to be high...and i tarp the topsides to keep off sunshine so is up to 10 degrees cooler inside than out in sun. air conditioning works easier with less heat to have to remove from boat. and my electricity bill is not huge.
when i sail, the unit fits under my berth safely and securely.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:08   #4
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

I have run my little 5000 BTU unit on a Honda 1000i but I had to install the Supco.
On older units like mine the starting current required is very close to the Lock Rotor Amps. The LRA is listed on the label of the compressor. My starting current works out to about 3000 watts. Without the Supco, I can't run it on a Honda 2000i.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:15   #5
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

We have been able to run our 16000 BTU AC on the Honda with the Smart Start, but it would not continue to run in Econo mode. Once the AC cycled down and attempted to restart, the Econo mode on the Honda took too long to cycle up with the AC. Runs fine in full mode for about 8 hours on the internal Honda fuel tank.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:10   #6
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

Neither the Soft Start or the Supco device do anything for continuous running amperage. A 16,000 btu A/C will require 12-13 amps continuous which is right at the Honda's continuous rating of 13 amps. So you will have to run the Honda in full mode to run it whether or not it will start in eco mode.

I know that a Honda 2000 will start a 7 amp, 7,000 BTU window A/C in full but not in eco.

So your best bet would be to buy a Supco, hook it to the output power of the Honda so that you could use it for either the 16,000 during the early evening and then run the 7,000 for sleeping (hopefully in eco mode). If the Supco won't start the big unit, then spring for the Soft Start.

Both of which (I think) can be wired to the output terminals of the Honda. In other words they don't have to be dedicated to an A/C.

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Old 08-07-2013, 08:34   #7
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

Yes the Hondas are really quiet. You might need a bigger genny for both A/Cs so if you go up to the 3000 watt unit then you can have electric start.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:33   #8
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don L View Post
It was HOT HOT HOT the last few days so it is time to look into AC!

Now I have 2 AC units on the boat, a 16,000 BTU and a 7,000 BTU, but don't have a generator to run them (I have never run them in the 2.5 years I have had the boat). Why the previous owner got AC on a new boat and no generator to run it is beyond me. So am looking at the Honda systems to run them. (I also figure I can run in the colder periods at the start and end of the season till I move to a "no heat required" location)

I did a search and got some "answers" and learned some items. But it of course was a mixed bag of info. There probably are more threads if I could have come up with better search parameters, but...

What I learned is that there are 2 ways to go about this:
1 - Dometic Smart Start (looks to be around $400)
2 - Supco SPP6E capacitor (looks to be around $30)

From my research it sounds that using the Dometic Smart Start is the best answer and it sounds that the 16000 BTU unit would start and run even on the Eco mode of the generator.

The Supco allows the 16000 BTU to start and run, but the Honda Eco needs to be off to ensure.

I am guessing that the 7,000 BTU would run regardless without either of the options, which would cool the aft cabin for sleeping. But to me if things are worth doing they are worth doing right.

What experiences do others have as far as running AC off a Honda? Just how much of sound problem are these Honda units also.

PS -if your reply is "we don't need no AC" that is great for you, but you don't need to post it (like this will stop you)
I have a buddy that has the same ac unit's you have and he is able to run them with a Honda eu 3000is. It has no problem running the a/c and keeping the batts topped off.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:25   #9
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don L View Post
Now I have 2 AC units on the boat, a 16,000 BTU and a 7,000 BTU, but don't have a generator to run them (I have never run them in the 2.5 years I have had the boat). Why the previous owner got AC on a new boat and no generator to run it is beyond me.

...

I am guessing that the 7,000 BTU would run regardless without either of the options, which would cool the aft cabin for sleeping. But to me if things are worth doing they are worth doing right.

---

Perhaps the previous owner was comfortable enough is typical offshore breezes while underway or even at anchor... and only intended to use the ACs at the dock.

There is some risk (carbon monoxide) in running a gas generator overnight. You can read about that... see here Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator for instance.

-Chris
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:52   #10
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

I don't plan to ever run both my A/C s at the same time.

I read a test done by Dometic. They used a 16,000 BTU unit and it would start on the Honda in Eco mode with the Smart Start installed.

But I've read in various places conflicting postings of whether a 16,000 BTU would cycle on/off with the Honda in Eco mode. At the same time in their test the AC would start on the Honda in non-Eco mode. So one has to use the full mode there may not be any reason to do anything. And if it wouldn't quite start maybe the low cost Supco unit makes more sense as you aren't saving anything.

On the other hand I bet that there is a lot more wear and tear and life reduction on the compressor motor windings using the Supco if it is "just barely" starting. This may make it worth the price of the Smart Start in the long run.

I would have thought the this wheel had been well inverted and there would be a lot more real world experience out there in CF land.

what to do, what to do?
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Old 08-07-2013, 14:33   #11
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

hey, Yamaha has a highly rated 2400W unit and the price is less than for a Honda 2000 + Smart Start!
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Old 09-07-2013, 17:57   #12
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

That 2400W unit is pretty heavy so back to thinking.

Lets go CF post your experience.
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Old 09-07-2013, 18:07   #13
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Re: HOT HOT HOT! running AC on Honda generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don L View Post
Lets go CF post your experience.
We've still never faced a situation where the 12v cabin fans and some frosty brews weren't enough. (Once or twice I've threatened to take a cold shower, but it's never actually gotten so desperate that I had to carry out the threat.)

My recommendation: spend two weeks sailing in Scotland next summer. You'll come home appreciative of the heat.
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