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Old 04-09-2013, 11:03   #16
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
I'm still thinking a portable inverter makes a lot more sense in that size range. By the time you add in installation, you are probably looking at 6-8 times the cost and no way is the diesel lasting 10 times as long unless you are assuming the portable is dunked in the water after a couple hundred hours. If the AC is off, it throttles back and is no more noisy than the built in units. If the AC is on, we close up the boat, so we don't hear it anyway.

If you never run the AC, you are probably better off with a good solar/battery system for light loads. You can get a real nice setup for $4k.
Certainly a portable inverter generator makes more sense than an unreliable diesel generator. No question about that.

Whether a reliable diesel generator is worth the extra expense is up to every individual sailor, I guess.

For a boat which is completely off grid with no shore power, like mine is, and which has a whole lot of electrical demand, like mine, it's certainly worth it -- I can't imagine living day in and day out with a portable gasoline generator.

If you are on shore power and only need the generator occasionally, then the case for a portable is pretty overwhelming.

If your electrical demands are modest, then of course solar is the killer app, if you have a place to put the panels.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:09   #17
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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
and its useful life will be about 1/10., etc.
I disagree, we have put 1500 hours on a honda eu2000. Still running Used it for 4 years at shows, events, our tree farm and boats. It has only needed frequent oil changes w synthetic and one pull cord replacement. She is quiet enough to have a normal conversation next to. Runs 7 hours /gal in eco and 4.5 hours wide open. There are tradeoffs but im guessing in the maintenance, weight, cost to replace dept the honda wins.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:14   #18
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

Is it for sale? Or only new purchase?

Thanks, Burt
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:28   #19
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
I disagree, we have put 1500 hours on a honda eu2000. Still running Used it for 4 years at shows, events, our tree farm and boats. It has only needed frequent oil changes w synthetic and one pull cord replacement. She is quiet enough to have a normal conversation next to. Runs 7 hours /gal in eco and 4.5 hours wide open. There are tradeoffs but im guessing in the maintenance, weight, cost to replace dept the honda wins.
Another big advantage of portables is that if they need repair, and you can't do it yourself, you just take them. Changing one for another is trivial. None of this true of diesel gensets.

1500 hours is impressive and I bet fairly unusual.

But 10x is not far off the mark, I guess. A real heavy duty diesel generator rated for prime power -- that is, for contiuous, not standby duty -- will usually go 15,000 or 20,000 hours without major repairs, unless some part of the marinization fails.

But of course we are already not talking about $3600, but closer to $10,000 when the installation is figured. You can wear out a lot of Hondas for that kind of money.

So of course you're right -- portable generators are a great solution for a lot of sailors.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:59   #20
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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......
But of course we are already not talking about $3600, but closer to $10,000 when the installation is figured. You can wear out a lot of Hondas for that kind of money......
Yeah....ten of them, to be exact :-)

As always on a boat, the choice depends on how you use the boat as well.

I have both (NextGen 3.5KW marine diesel genset aboard my boat for the past 10 years or so), a brand new Honda EU2000i for standby use at the house. Also, I had a Kubota-driven DC marine generator for several years aboard my boat, before I fitted the NextGen.

There are advantages and drawbacks to each solution.

The Honda EU2000i is an exceptional generator. It is utterly reliable, very quiet (much quieter than my NextGen, even in a sound enclosure), and uses relatively little fuel. Many boaters have got hundreds, even thousands of hours of use with few or no problems. However, it's not permanently fitted, needs to be set up and later stored whenever you use it, has an integral gas tank so you've gotta be careful where you store it, puts out potentially lethal fumes (CO), and normally isn't well integrated into your onboard electrical system.

A real built-in marine diesel generator has the advantage of perhaps a bit more longevity, no need to set it up/take it down for use, can provide much more power, can be integrated into your onboard electrical systems, etc., etc. However, it will cost 10 times as much by the time all is said and done and maintenance and repairs are best done on-board, since removing one can be a nightmare.

Unlike portable gensets, the built-in genset has the additional advantage of not having to be set up outside in the rain, snow, or other inclement weather.

I know a sailor in the BVI who for some years lived aboard a Cheoy Lee ketch off-the-grid very nicely using a Honda generator. He simply added a measured amount of fuel each evening, got it running, and went ashore for Happy Hour and dinner. When the gas ran out, the genset stopped, hopefully with the right amount of charging. Cheap solution, but not one which would fit all sailors' needs or preferences :-)

In my experience and on my boat, I find the 3.5KW NextGen to be a bit undersized. Wished many times it were 5.5 or 6.0KW. It's too small to run even one of my A/Cs, water heater, 120A battery charger, 55A battery charger, etc...simultaneously.

And, truth be told, it's not a true 3.5KW output. When it heats up a bit, it cannot sustain that load. I get by with it, but wish it had more ooomph.

My chief gripe with it is that it puts out very dirty power, even with the optional "deluxe voltage regulator". Unless you load it up with a resistive load first, the wave form is such that my Victron MultiPlus won't accept it's power even with all the "dirty power" settings programmed into the Victron.

And, of course, if you wire the inverter/charger into your AC system as you're supposed to, AC power is passed thru the Victron....or NOT, if it doesn't like the incoming AC waveform, as in the case of the NextGen.

So, I wind up having to separately load the generator with an A/C or other load before the Victron will accept power from the NextGen, activate the 30A transfer switch, and pass generator power thru to my boat's AC system.

Gee wiz, and I paid 10 times the price of a Honda portable for this setup????

YMMV,

Bill
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:02   #21
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

can you run an AC off solar? i always thought that AC required a generator.

i am 50-50 on AC anyway and only torn because i have an excellent bot dog and while she barely has a brain... i would prefer to not cook the little one she has below deck any more than i want to leave her above deck when i am off the boat for hours at a time.

i am about to install a saildrive so the time for a generator install is now...

On the MD2030 up to 6.5 kW can be taken from additional pulley number one (nearest the engine). On the MD2040 the same amount of power can be taken from each pulley, e.g. 7.4 kW + 7.4 kW + 7.4 kW, which gives a total of 22.2 kW.

i have a 2030 and am sorting out if i can up to a 2040 3 pulley setup.

-steve
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Old 04-09-2013, 13:28   #22
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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can you run an AC off solar? i always thought that AC required a generator.

i am 50-50 on AC anyway and only torn because i have an excellent bot dog and while she barely has a brain... i would prefer to not cook the little one she has below deck any more than i want to leave her above deck when i am off the boat for hours at a time.

i am about to install a saildrive so the time for a generator install is now...

On the MD2030 up to 6.5 kW can be taken from additional pulley number one (nearest the engine). On the MD2040 the same amount of power can be taken from each pulley, e.g. 7.4 kW + 7.4 kW + 7.4 kW, which gives a total of 22.2 kW.

i have a 2030 and am sorting out if i can up to a 2040 3 pulley setup.

-steve
Runing the air/con is usually the deciding factor between solar/batter vs generator.

It's theoretically possible to run air/con off solar but by the time you set up your system to handle it, a generator makes more sense.

By the time you move past 3.5kw, built in units start to make a lot of sense because a "portable" unit isn't very portable.

Between 2.0-3.0kw, the inverter based portables hit thier sweet spot. Quite, reliable, clean power supply, small enough to move around (or set them up as a quasi built in by securing it on deck with a cover). They can run a modest air/con unit. All for a low price.

I'm still choking on the idea of getting 10 times the hours out of a diesel unit. Maybe with a total rebuild ever couple thousand hours that costs more than a couple of new portable units.
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Old 04-09-2013, 13:47   #23
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Yeah....ten of them, to be exact :-)

As always on a boat, the choice depends on how you use the boat as well.

I have both (NextGen 3.5KW marine diesel genset aboard my boat for the past 10 years or so), a brand new Honda EU2000i for standby use at the house. Also, I had a Kubota-driven DC marine generator for several years aboard my boat, before I fitted the NextGen.

There are advantages and drawbacks to each solution.

The Honda EU2000i is an exceptional generator. It is utterly reliable, very quiet (much quieter than my NextGen, even in a sound enclosure), and uses relatively little fuel. Many boaters have got hundreds, even thousands of hours of use with few or no problems. However, it's not permanently fitted, needs to be set up and later stored whenever you use it, has an integral gas tank so you've gotta be careful where you store it, puts out potentially lethal fumes (CO), and normally isn't well integrated into your onboard electrical system.

A real built-in marine diesel generator has the advantage of perhaps a bit more longevity, no need to set it up/take it down for use, can provide much more power, can be integrated into your onboard electrical systems, etc., etc. However, it will cost 10 times as much by the time all is said and done and maintenance and repairs are best done on-board, since removing one can be a nightmare.

Unlike portable gensets, the built-in genset has the additional advantage of not having to be set up outside in the rain, snow, or other inclement weather.

I know a sailor in the BVI who for some years lived aboard a Cheoy Lee ketch off-the-grid very nicely using a Honda generator. He simply added a measured amount of fuel each evening, got it running, and went ashore for Happy Hour and dinner. When the gas ran out, the genset stopped, hopefully with the right amount of charging. Cheap solution, but not one which would fit all sailors' needs or preferences :-)

In my experience and on my boat, I find the 3.5KW NextGen to be a bit undersized. Wished many times it were 5.5 or 6.0KW. It's too small to run even one of my A/Cs, water heater, 120A battery charger, 55A battery charger, etc...simultaneously.

And, truth be told, it's not a true 3.5KW output. When it heats up a bit, it cannot sustain that load. I get by with it, but wish it had more ooomph.

My chief gripe with it is that it puts out very dirty power, even with the optional "deluxe voltage regulator". Unless you load it up with a resistive load first, the wave form is such that my Victron MultiPlus won't accept it's power even with all the "dirty power" settings programmed into the Victron.

And, of course, if you wire the inverter/charger into your AC system as you're supposed to, AC power is passed thru the Victron....or NOT, if it doesn't like the incoming AC waveform, as in the case of the NextGen.

So, I wind up having to separately load the generator with an A/C or other load before the Victron will accept power from the NextGen, activate the 30A transfer switch, and pass generator power thru to my boat's AC system.

Gee wiz, and I paid 10 times the price of a Honda portable for this setup????

YMMV,

Bill
Bill,

We have the 5.5kw version and it also has dirty output power. However, our Victron multiplus has no issues with it at all. As far as the AC system, those really should be wired separately from the inverter or you risk them hitting the inverter hard during a power outage.

I can't speak for your NextGen, but ours is very quiet compared to a Honda 2000. While the Honda is "quiet", and has passed into common knowledge folklore for its "quietness", those things are very noisy. Particularly when it loads up (it is very quiet at idle). Pushed near their top loads, those things are screaming like banshees at times.

I wish there was a law requiring people with Honda generators to only operate them in the same space occupied by their owners. There is a reason these things are always on the back step of a sugarscoop or floating out in a dinghy connected to the boat with a long cord (or, in your example, leaving the boat entirely).

I'm happy that they are not open frame generators, but I have yet to hear any inboard diesel generator make as much anchorage noise for others as the Honda does.

Mark
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Old 04-09-2013, 13:56   #24
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
I'm still choking on the idea of getting 10 times the hours out of a diesel unit. Maybe with a total rebuild ever couple thousand hours that costs more than a couple of new portable units.
It depends, of course, on the diesel. If it's a one-lunger air-cooled Kubota rototiller diesel, called upon to deliver its max power at 3600 RPM all day long, then all bets are off.

But if it's a real continuous-duty rated, primary not standby power, low speed, heavy duty unit -- then you are supposed to get about 20,000 hours out of them -- by design -- without a major overhaul. YMMV, of course, and you will be less likely to get this 20,000 hours if you are stretching them over many years of use.

I only have 1000 hours on mine (160 when I bought it), so I can't tell you anything from experience yet. But AFAIK it's just barely broken in at this stage.
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Old 04-09-2013, 15:09   #25
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Bill,

.... As far as the AC system, those really should be wired separately from the inverter or you risk them hitting the inverter hard during a power outage...

Mark
Yes, Mark, that's right. And, mine (both A/Cs) ARE wired separately to another leg of the generator, not the inverter. That's how I load up the NextGen.

Once the waveform becomes acceptable, the Victron will decide the power source is OK, and will throw its internal 30A transfer switch, providing power to one of my two 30A 120VAC circuits.

RE: noise, I'll grant you the NextGen is very quiet for other boats. But onboard noise is something else, even in its noise enclosure.

And, yeah, when you load up the EU2000i it winds up and begins to sing a bit :-)

Bill
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Old 04-09-2013, 16:14   #26
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

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Yes, Mark, that's right. And, mine (both A/Cs) ARE wired separately to another leg of the generator, not the inverter. That's how I load up the NextGen.

Once the waveform becomes acceptable, the Victron will decide the power source is OK, and will throw its internal 30A transfer switch, providing power to one of my two 30A 120VAC circuits.

RE: noise, I'll grant you the NextGen is very quiet for other boats. But onboard noise is something else, even in its noise enclosure.

And, yeah, when you load up the EU2000i it winds up and begins to sing a bit :-)

Bill
Never mind my AC comment - I confused AC with A/C in your previous post and thought that you couldn't power your A/C until the Victron passed AC.

I think the over-riding concern for anyone installing a generator should be how quiet it is for other boats.

BTW, I put ours on double isolation mounts and it makes a world of difference. I mounted an aluminum plate to the compartment sole using flexible engine mounts and then mounted the generator (which also has engine mounts) to that.

Mark
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Old 04-09-2013, 16:55   #27
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

this all falls into the "there isn't anything on a boat than can not be corrected with the proper application of cash" world
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Old 04-09-2013, 17:02   #28
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

How about the inverter taking on all the AC and A/C loads? 48 volt input, 4400 watt (surge to 8800 watts) output. Housebank use the "no voltage sag" LiFePO4 cells, teamed with a diesel DC gen set at a much reduced weight of the same power AC gen set. Size solar to whatever deck real estate your boat offers.
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Old 04-09-2013, 18:29   #29
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Sure they do. 4.5 horsepower at 2000 RPM and 2.2 kW of maximum power. About 2 horsepower per kW, like most generators.

My Kohler is a little more efficient, with 11.6 horsepower at 1500 RPM, and 6.5kW of power (continuous rated), but it's a bigger displacement (1000 cc), torquier motor and so doesn't need so much of a margin.
Its its a ea330 engine they output about 3.7 hp at 200rpm. Then add in any engine driven loads. A 2.2 kw alternator is actually close to 3hp + additional friction losses . This leaves nothing to spare really

I built one of these units years ago. The EA330 engine needs to be run very hard , its very loud too. Other wise it SIGs down and struggles to prove the rated power. Its too tight a design.

The kubota mini series engines are much better. I've used Lombardi in other work and there nice engines too. I believe they make all of Koehlers small engines.

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Old 04-09-2013, 18:59   #30
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Re: A Really Cool Small Generator

My experience so far has been with Honda generators an RV generators. Most of my friends have 5KW to 9KW gas and diesel RV gensets installed onboard. Most of us have Eu2000s and EU3000s for backup or light load applications. The (not so) funny thing is, all of us have come to rely on our Honda generators as being more reliable than the much more expensive onboard gennies. A couple of other nice side benefits are they are very frugal with fuel and can be paralleled for more power.

One friend of mine never fixed his diesel genny, he just bought 2 Honda 2000s, paralleled them, bought a portable outboard tank and connected it to both generators via self siphoning "extended run" gas caps. At the beginning of the weekend he fills them all up, starts them both and leaves them running until he packs up 2 or 3 days later.

Another buddy of mine discovered that he could run his 15K BTU AC with a Honda 2000 after he installed a hard start kit on it. But it was *screaming* the entire time, so he bought a Honda 3000 and paralleled them and he too uses the extended run cap on his 2000. I bought a 3000 and installed a remote start kit on it. It was great, push a button on a keyfob in my pocket, and it started right up or shut off. Even while running my 15K BTU AC, it was pretty quiet and only burned 1 gal every 5 hrs. Loved that thing until someone stole it Easter morning...

I know a 3 cylinder diesel genset is supposed to be more reliable, but from what I've seen, the Hondas have been far more reliable than anyone ever expected them to be. I'm sure everyone realizes the 2000 is peak watts, it's actually 1600 continuous, and the 3000 is 2600 continuous. I do know 2 guys with Yamaha gennies. One has the Yamaha EF2400 (2000 w continuous) and the other has the Yamaha EF3000 (2800 w continuous). They're both about as quiet as the Hondas, but they haven't had them long enough to say how reliable they're going to be in the long run.
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