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Old 25-08-2013, 18:46   #1
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12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

I know that a lot of the portable 110/220vac generators out there also have a 12vdc output on them, but that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a small gas or diesel powered generator (or alternator) that puts out 12vdc only. I'm looking for something in the 50-100 amp range. The last time that I saw one of them was probably close to 20 years ago. Do they still exist anywhere in the US retail market? Has anyone used one lately? Can anyone give me some performance reports?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 25-08-2013, 18:55   #2
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
I know that a lot of the portable 110/220vac generators out there also have a 12vdc output on them, but that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a small gas or diesel powered generator (or alternator) that puts out 12vdc only. I'm looking for something in the 50-100 amp range. The last time that I saw one of them was probably close to 20 years ago. Do they still exist anywhere in the US retail market? Has anyone used one lately? Can anyone give me some performance reports?

Thanks,
Jim
I can't but the only one I know of is the Genie from Ample Power in Seattle. I have used their products before and they are excellent.

Genie Diesel Alternators
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:10   #3
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

There is also Polar and Panda. Do an advanced search on the forum for Panda. There are many for and against arguments. I have no other info on Polar except that they use a brushless alternator. Do your research. Sorry I can't offer more help.
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:21   #4
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

Your inboard is one.

No inboard?

b.
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:30   #5
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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Your inboard is one.

No inboard?

b.
No motor.
I'm old school.
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:35   #6
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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A little bigger than what I'm looking for, but interesting.
Thank You.
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:37   #7
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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There is also Polar and Panda. Do an advanced search on the forum for Panda.
Lots of reading to do there... That should keep me busy for a while.
Thanks for the key words.
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Old 25-08-2013, 19:57   #8
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

I got a look at this unit at the Miami show earlier this year and its interesting.

ZRD - Generators DC and AC

I'm not sure I totally get it yet but a couple of the engineers were pretty sure their unit would easily replace my 6KW genset and save space and weight at the same time. However it would require an extensive house battery bank upgrade and a bigger inverter than my 2000 watt unit is capable of in order to run my ACs and other high draw items. Anyway it might be worth a look.
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:08   #9
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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I got a look at this unit at the Miami show earlier this year and its interesting.

ZRD - Generators DC and AC

I'm not sure I totally get it yet but a couple of the engineers were pretty sure their unit would easily replace my 6KW genset and save space and weight at the same time. However it would require an extensive house battery bank upgrade and a bigger inverter than my 2000 watt unit is capable of in order to run my ACs and other high draw items. Anyway it might be worth a look.
I didn't spend a lot of time trying to understand their pricing, but this is the same physical size as the Ample Power Genie, same output, same motor, but looks a bit more expensive.
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:30   #10
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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I didn't spend a lot of time trying to understand their pricing, but this is the same physical size as the Ample Power Genie, same output, same motor, but looks a bit more expensive.
I couldn't even find the pricing for the DC generators. Any hints on where to look?

I'm guessing they won't be cheap since they are quoting solar panels at $13-$20/Watt when you can find top grade Kyocera, Sanyos and such for $2-$4/Watt
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:37   #11
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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I couldn't even find the pricing for the DC generators. Any hints on where to look?

I'm guessing they won't be cheap since they are quoting solar panels at $13-$20/Watt when you can find top grade Kyocera, Sanyos and such for $2-$4/Watt
Looks like $6,800 but there information is very confusing. Turn off to me. Ample Power really does know what they are doing and have been at it for decades. I wouldn't take a chance on these folks, especially since the Ample Power unit is $5,700.00.
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Old 26-08-2013, 00:05   #12
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

Have you considered making your own?
A marine water cooled 12v generator is not difficult.
All you need is a small marine deisel engine sans gearbox then a frame to bolt it to with a drive shaft pullies and a couple of alternators.
Most of the work is sourcing suitable components rather than any great mechanical knowledge.

If you want more portable, to use off the boat you need an air cooled version and the cooling is more difficult to engineer.
A Honda generator (gas) with a battery charger is your best option here.
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Old 26-08-2013, 01:37   #13
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Have you considered making your own?
A marine water cooled 12v generator is not difficult.
All you need is a small marine deisel engine sans gearbox then a frame to bolt it to with a drive shaft pullies and a couple of alternators.
Most of the work is sourcing suitable components rather than any great mechanical knowledge.

If you want more portable, to use off the boat you need an air cooled version and the cooling is more difficult to engineer.
A Honda generator (gas) with a battery charger is your best option here.
+1

Don't forget the installation of a water-cooled generator, which is fairly expensive and complicated. You need a throughhull or two, a muffler, mixing elbow, exhaust hose, hole in the transom for the exhaust, etc.

A portable Honda generator is far simpler and cheaper. There's not a lot to choose between AC and DC generators; both get the job done. If you have a decent charger (which you need anyway), you don't really care whether you are taking AC or DC power on board.
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Old 26-08-2013, 02:17   #14
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

There are also DC Gensets from portable to built-in generators. But not a lot...
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Old 26-08-2013, 06:18   #15
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Re: 12vdc generators - any good ones out there?

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Have you considered making your own?
That was actually the first thing that I considered, but I figured that I would look to see if I could just buy one first. I'm not really finding what I want on the open market, so building my own is looking more likely. I have access to a machine shop, so the fabrication end of it is not a problem. Finding the right motor is looking to be the toughest part. I want something around 1-1.5 hp, small & lite. Maybe like a Wisconsin Robin aluminum block pull start. I would prefer diesel, but 1hp diesel engines are like hen's teeth to find. They seem more rare than sub fractional hp 3-phase motors.
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