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Old 17-02-2019, 16:00   #1
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New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

I have a Fischer Panda 24V 4kW genset - where the EA300 Kubota is broken beyond repair. (Salt water was ingested and it sat for a while.). Genset is relatively low hours so it just needs a new engine.

Hence I either need a replacement EA300, or the newer EA330 which I heard will fit as well.

Or an entirely new genset (diesel). What is worth getting these days - are there some new fancy marine generators that are much cheaper? A new 4kW Fischer Panda is more than 10k USD ... We can easily do with 2kW - if that exists. If it's cheaper, and somewhat reliable. Must still fit where the old genset was, so no larger nor heavier.

We used a portable gas generator for a while (2.5kW "Honda style") but we are looking at getting the genset back in order.

It's a catamaran with two 40 HP Yanmars, each giving 1.2kW to the house bank. That would work except I don't want to run an engine just to charge the house batteries.

Other options are maxing out on solar and doubling the battery bank. Finding space for enough panels is an issue though.
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Old 17-02-2019, 21:57   #2
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

How motivated are you to save money?

Keep the head, new engine, I'd look for low-hours second-hand.

You need solar as well, takes 6-7 hours to get lead bank back to Full 100%, needed few times a week for longevity.

Don't need much, last 4-6 hours pretty low amps will do.

But more you can fit, less ICE runtime is a Good Thing.
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Old 17-02-2019, 23:16   #3
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

Are you running air conditioning?


Without air conditioning, I would not want a third diesel engine on a catamaran. For less money and a whole lot less weight, you can fit a large alternator to one or both main engines and call it done. You talk about charging the main bank, implying that's the main job -- did we understand you right?



There are many ways to skin that particular cat. In order of increasing expense and trouble:


1. Upgrade the existing small case alternators. There are different variants; like Mark Grasser. You can get a more or less reliable 2kW out of each of such alternators, and that much load should be ok for the health of the diesel.


2. Go to large frame alternators -- either in addition to or instead of the existing ones. Which of these, depends on your installation, room available, etc. This is more expensive but large frame alternators are better in every way, run cooler, last longer, etc. I get 2.5kW out of my bog standard school bus alternator, at low idle, and I only just replaced the original one which lasted 17 years with just one relatively inexpensive rebuild. This is a great, practical, solution which is inexpensive and long lasting, but for any possible installation challenges, but the worst of those will still be far cheaper than a new genset.


3. Go to a special heavy duty alternator like Echotec, or the new integrated main engine driven power system, I forgot what it's called. This now gets much more expensive, and whether it's really worth the improvement over the last variant -- I don't know. One advantage is that some of these produce 5kW, 6kW, or even more, and so produce a very good load for the main engine driving it. BUT you do have to be careful not to overload the engine -- propeller curves should be studied, perhaps by real engineer, or perhaps you set it up to run only when you're not using that engine for propulsion (simple task on a cat).


In any case, although I love my separate genset (heavy duty Kohler 1500 RPM 6.5kW), I would never want one on a catamaran, where you've already got two diesels, and where you really care about weight.
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Old 17-02-2019, 23:26   #4
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
How motivated are you to save money?

Keep the head, new engine, I'd look for low-hours second-hand.

You need solar as well, takes 6-7 hours to get lead bank back to Full 100%, needed few times a week for longevity.

Don't need much, last 4-6 hours pretty low amps will do.

But more you can fit, less ICE runtime is a Good Thing.

Yes, and on a catamaran, a ton of solar. With solar and upgraded alternators, you will forget all about generators.
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Old 18-02-2019, 01:17   #5
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

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How motivated are you to save money?

Keep the head, new engine, I'd look for low-hours second-hand.

You need solar as well, takes 6-7 hours to get lead bank back to Full 100%, needed few times a week for longevity.

Don't need much, last 4-6 hours pretty low amps will do.

But more you can fit, less ICE runtime is a Good Thing.
I have been looking for EA300 and EA330 Kubotas - but not easy to find. It seems Kubota mainly sell as OEM, not to end consumers like me. Although they seemingly don't make EA300 engines any more - Fischer Panda still sell 4000AGTs with ... the EA300!

Seacock, exhaust, control panel and other integration - all votes for getting a new Kubota. A friend of mine is very good with diesels and can put it back together. But sourcing one ... not easy. I think it was 2300 USD for an EA330 (should be compatible). That was USA West coast - so I need to add shipping to Asia on top of that. Possibly as "dangerous goods"?

I have solar, but it tops at maximum 150W or so. Some hard panels on the davit give most of it - and then 6 walk on panels (Solbian, I think), that give hardly anything. It will just barely run the fridge and freezer, but if many people on board, items like heads and other usage means we can't keep up on sunshine only. Not in our current setup.

Do I use air con? Only when on shore power or generator is running. I would need a lot of battery capacity, and a lot of solar, to use even a small A/C. I found I get much more out of a smaller air-to-air 1.1 kW unit (makes me 9000 BTU) than the built in sea water Webasto. I use the air to air to "pressurize" the cabin so it's quite dry inside - and the dry (and somewhat cold-ish) air makes it to everywhere in the cabin (thanks to the overpressure). Again, I can't run this without either more solar, and/or a working generator.

I already DO have alternators on the engines for the house battery. So each 40HP Yanmar drives its standard 12V alternator to keep the start battery topped up - as well as a dual belt alternator giving about 1.2kW from each engine. Since I got AGM batteries, that is plenty for charging the house battery bank (they won't accept much more anyway). Just a bit silly to run engines just for electric power.

At some stage this year, our catamaran goes up for sale and I was told that "It must have a working genset to be sellable". But most of what I do at the moment is with regard to selling it.
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Old 18-02-2019, 01:29   #6
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

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Are you running air conditioning?


Without air conditioning, I would not want a third diesel engine on a catamaran. For less money and a whole lot less weight, you can fit a large alternator to one or both main engines and call it done. You talk about charging the main bank, implying that's the main job -- did we understand you right?



There are many ways to skin that particular cat. In order of increasing expense and trouble:


1. Upgrade the existing small case alternators. There are different variants; like Mark Grasser. You can get a more or less reliable 2kW out of each of such alternators, and that much load should be ok for the health of the diesel.


2. Go to large frame alternators -- either in addition to or instead of the existing ones. Which of these, depends on your installation, room available, etc. This is more expensive but large frame alternators are better in every way, run cooler, last longer, etc. I get 2.5kW out of my bog standard school bus alternator, at low idle, and I only just replaced the original one which lasted 17 years with just one relatively inexpensive rebuild. This is a great, practical, solution which is inexpensive and long lasting, but for any possible installation challenges, but the worst of those will still be far cheaper than a new genset.


3. Go to a special heavy duty alternator like Echotec, or the new integrated main engine driven power system, I forgot what it's called. This now gets much more expensive, and whether it's really worth the improvement over the last variant -- I don't know. One advantage is that some of these produce 5kW, 6kW, or even more, and so produce a very good load for the main engine driving it. BUT you do have to be careful not to overload the engine -- propeller curves should be studied, perhaps by real engineer, or perhaps you set it up to run only when you're not using that engine for propulsion (simple task on a cat).


In any case, although I love my separate genset (heavy duty Kohler 1500 RPM 6.5kW), I would never want one on a catamaran, where you've already got two diesels, and where you really care about weight.
In the summer in South East Asia, it gets to around 95F or so - but the main issue is the humidity. If it was just a dry heat, it would be no issue, but 80-95% RH is often the case. May to September is almost not bearable, without at least some A/C, to keep humidity/temperature just a little lower inside. With just one engine running, we can run the A/C (but then the battery won't charge much, if at all).

Charging the main bank (house batteries, although it's no house, I know) - well, that's the one that's running the systems (24V 440Ah AGM at the moment, so around 200Ah@24V usable, in order to not be too brutal on the batteries). Each engine has its own 12V starting battery - and the genset, its own 12V AGM as well (but not in use at the moment).

I don't have the space to put in a large sized alternator/generator, but I do agree - those big block diesels will last a long time.

What I really wanted to do was:

Install plenty of solar (if I can fit it). The weight of those panels all add up, but if I can save about 250 pounds on not having a genset, that will offset the weight of those panels. But then I also have to add up on the batteries, and probably go LiFePo4. Which ... will set me back quite a lot.

And I am still waiting for a reply from Schionning, about how much weight my davit can take (for dinghy, solar panels AND the mount itself for the solar panels). Add to that ... wind loads, and heavy seas.

There are plenty of worries and problems. No matter which direction I go, I can't see a "no-brainer" solution - there's always "something". Investing in solar and LiFePo4 - is preferred in the sense that there is infinite fuel, no noise and little maintenance - then using engine generators as "backup" in case you need power when nothing else is available.

One the other hand weighs that a potential buyer will not like if there is no stand-alone genset. And the genset and all its install is there - just need a new Kubota.

Is there a "no-brainer" solution?
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Old 18-02-2019, 01:41   #7
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

To fix my GenSet, I am probably looking at around 3000-3500 USD, and then it's a new engine but still ... the original alternator, controller and such. And it's still noisy, consuming diesel, needing service.

So how much solar can I get for 3500 USD? That is one question. And another question is - what would a potential buyer think? Running one engine at high idle through the night, just to keep cool and dehumidified - is not an ideal solution at all.
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Old 18-02-2019, 02:41   #8
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

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In the summer in South East Asia, it gets to around 95F or so - but the main issue is the humidity. If it was just a dry heat, it would be no issue, but 80-95% RH is often the case. May to September is almost not bearable, without at least some A/C, to keep humidity/temperature just a little lower inside. With just one engine running, we can run the A/C (but then the battery won't charge much, if at all).

Charging the main bank (house batteries, although it's no house, I know) - well, that's the one that's running the systems (24V 440Ah AGM at the moment, so around 200Ah@24V usable, in order to not be too brutal on the batteries). Each engine has its own 12V starting battery - and the genset, its own 12V AGM as well (but not in use at the moment).

I don't have the space to put in a large sized alternator/generator, but I do agree - those big block diesels will last a long time.

What I really wanted to do was:

Install plenty of solar (if I can fit it). The weight of those panels all add up, but if I can save about 250 pounds on not having a genset, that will offset the weight of those panels. But then I also have to add up on the batteries, and probably go LiFePo4. Which ... will set me back quite a lot.

And I am still waiting for a reply from Schionning, about how much weight my davit can take (for dinghy, solar panels AND the mount itself for the solar panels). Add to that ... wind loads, and heavy seas.

There are plenty of worries and problems. No matter which direction I go, I can't see a "no-brainer" solution - there's always "something". Investing in solar and LiFePo4 - is preferred in the sense that there is infinite fuel, no noise and little maintenance - then using engine generators as "backup" in case you need power when nothing else is available.

One the other hand weighs that a potential buyer will not like if there is no stand-alone genset. And the genset and all its install is there - just need a new Kubota.

Is there a "no-brainer" solution?

There are certainly no brainer solutions, but these are invariably high $$$ solutions. I think the most no-brainer solution would be to replace the genset with new. Job done.


I would choose one of the "brainer" rather than "no brainer" solutions.


If you run the a/c a lot while off shore power, then perhaps you need a genset. If you plan to sell the boat within a relatively short time frame, then non-standard solutions might indeed hurt resale value.



I would not repair the FP, however. Those are very complex and very unreliable, and expensive to maintain. The problem you have is very typical for the one-cylinder ones, and there are unfortunately many other "typical" problems.


I would look rather at something like a NexGen, which is light and very simple, very reliable, and very easy to repair. Opposite design philosophy from FP.


OR, I would do a very careful calculation of energy required. I believe that you could run some air conditioning systems on a large frame alternator. I run my washer/dryer, which uses peak 2.3kW, without any problems from my Leece Neville school bus alternator. If you have enough battery capacity, then you could cool the boat down with one engine running, then after the sun goes down and the hatches are closed, then maintain humidity off battery power. You would have to calculate the load to be sure that it's enough to keep the engine from wet stacking, but I think 10% of maximum power (without turbo boost), as a rule of thumb, should be fine.



You have dual alternators on each engine it sounds like, right? If the second ones are large frame, then it's a no-brainer to upgrade them to something bigger. You can get the standard large frame alternators in sizes up to 4kW or 5kW, but obviously power transmission (and propeller curve overhead) gets more complicated. But 1.2kW is tiny for a large frame alternator -- 100 amps @ 24v nominal or 135 amps is pretty easy to accommodate with standard dual belts. It will cost you no more than maybe £500 each to upgrade them, if the wiring is suitable and if you already have large frame alternator mounts.




I would be happy with this, I think. I cruised for decades in Florida with a boat which had air conditioning, but no generator at all. We simply did not use the air conditioning if there was no shore power available, and we were not uncomfortable. But where you are might be hotter than that, so YMMV.


If you do think you need to run air conditioning for many hours a day, without shore power, then that is probably a good use case for a generator.


Make sure the generator is sized correctly for that. You don't want to underload it (especially a fixed RPM genset), but you don't want to overload it, either. You don't want to run any genset at max power for long periods of time.
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Old 18-02-2019, 06:06   #9
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

Yes, doing this to sell rather than use changes everything. Only do the "showpiece" bits, do not strive for functionality improvements that may not pay off.

Replace the genny with new sounds necessary.

IMO do not upgrade solar.
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Old 18-02-2019, 11:12   #10
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pirate Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

If Kubota is made in Japan and you are in Hong Kong, why don't you ask a local for a new Kubota. You then don't need to worry buying from old US and then back to Hong Cong. I think...
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Old 18-02-2019, 13:18   #11
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

FYI Brand new EA330 on ebay from Indiana for $1399 plus $100 shipping. You might want to find how else those engines are used. Hence, my Kubota Z820 is used alot in refers and generators for semi trucks. That engine might have another more popular number as well.
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Old 18-02-2019, 14:43   #12
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

Lots of good used Kabotas on eBay including dealers with new, used, rebuilt.
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Old 18-02-2019, 15:25   #13
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

Just overhaul it. Itís a wet sleeve motor I believe and has a ball bearing crankshaft.
Should be a new piston, cylinder and rings and have the head done likely replacing the valves is all.
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Old 19-02-2019, 15:49   #14
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

Thank you for all the inputs. Like most other journeys in life, there are different paths and most often - what seems the optimum path can turn out to be the worst path. Your feedback is much appreciated.

About the "no-brainer" bit - yes, money is (as is often the case) an issue. Genset is just one of several investments to upgrade this 10 year old performance catamaran. What is worth investing in the boat, that a potential buyer might do differently anyway - is another issue. I am going to take a big hit in any case, and I am considering to sell "as is" at a low price, to someone who wants a bargain and then fix the items themselves. Just because I want to get out of Hong Kong, but can't, until this boat is sold.

Hong Kong is a typical bling-bling and plug-and-play market. No patience - turn the key and go, or use it to live aboard (due to local high residential prices). Shiny looking means it's probably ok (!!!). Very few sailing boats here at all, our marina has around 5% with masts, while the rest are powerboats and house boats mainly. So the market is very limited. When I bought the boat, it "came with the wet berth", somewhat unofficially, but that is how it worked back then. Now, it will have to go the minute it is sold, so anyone who buys it must have their own mooring or wet berth. Demand for that is through the roof in Hong Kong (as in unavailable). That makes life much harder for me, as "my spot" is no longer "my spot", only as long as the boat is in my name.

-

The dual belt alternators are "Balmar 60-24-70-SR-IG Alternator 24V/70A" - so they should be able to give up to 1.7kW each, rather than 1.2kW as I mentioned.

I have a Victron charger-alternator that can give up to 3kW so running loads that temporarily goes up to that is no issue: It just drains the batteries a bit if the load goes above whatever the combined solar-alternators-genset production is. Running one engine only should be able to do laundry as well as charging batteries - while laundry and A/C at the same time would require more inverter capacity, or a direct A/C source.

NextGen generators come in 120V 60Hz only as far as I can see. I need either 220V 50Hz or even better - (nominal) 24V DC as that is what my setup is now.

About those Kubotas:

EA300 is out of production, and just about impossible to find any more.
EA330 is only sold in Korea and USA (according to Kubotas own website, any EA Kubota).

I could buy one in the USA, have it delivered locally, then have it shipped to Hong Kong by own efforts. A bit backwards but although it's made in Japan - they won't sell it in Japan (nor Hong Kong)

My EA300 can't be overhauled (took it apart already), it's beyond repair unfortunately.
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Old 19-02-2019, 16:45   #15
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Re: New EA300 Kubota - or new genset?

New EA330 on ebay here 1400.00.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Kubota-...S!-1:rk:1:pf:0

What's exactly wrong with the old one? Because of the configuration it is common for them to 'ingest' water into the cylinder on shutdown and seize after sitting, but the bottom end has roller mains and babbit rod bearings which are easily replaceable, Liner is wet and about 120.00. You should be able to get all the parts to repair it for less than 500.00; if you're mechanically inclined (unless the motor was submerged), you should be able to do a complete 'shade tree' rebuild in about a day...
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