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Old 01-02-2015, 07:46   #1
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Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

We're going to have to give up our residential mooring, so what kind of generator would be best to run domestic equipment? (From phone chargers to washing machine)

Also, our boat's mostly set up for 240v, 'cause it's always been on this mooring. What are the implications of that now we're gonna have to cruise?

Grateful for any & all advice!
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:11   #2
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, melissiti.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:16   #3
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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Originally Posted by melissiti View Post
We're going to have to give up our residential mooring, so what kind of generator would be best to run domestic equipment? (From phone chargers to washing machine)

Also, our boat's mostly set up for 240v, 'cause it's always been on this mooring. What are the implications of that now we're gonna have to cruise?

Grateful for any & all advice!
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:18   #4
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Genset? I would go for the Northern Lights low 1,800 rpm 3 cyclinder set up. If you happened to go to the 120v region, just have a 3kva step up transformer to step up your 110v 60Hz to boat's 220v. Some device that rely on the 60Hz/50Hz will be off in the timing.

For small equipment like computer, one of the low cost small 12v to 110v inverter or a more efficient device is DC to DC convertor for your notebook specific.

Most handphone have a 12v adaptor for cars, so have a cigarette lighter sockets is handy.
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:24   #5
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

You expect to run it daily and for several hours at a time? If so a Northern Lights is hard to beat, but
If only occasional use, as in a couple of times a week, a couple of hours each time
and if weight, cost or size is a big consideration, then maybe other options may be better


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Old 01-02-2015, 09:29   #6
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

I will third the recommendation for Northern Lights generators.

But a question. You say you are set up for 240V but that could be interpreted more than one way. Could you tell us where you're located?

In Europe they use AC that is +/- 240V but is 50Hz. In the US there are +/- 240V AC but it is 60Hz. Also the two are wired a bit differently.
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:32   #7
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Very helpful, thanks guys! We're happy to make any useful changes around the boat that'll make all the electrics more efficient, so suggestions there appreciated muchly, too! Eventually hopefully be able to go solar for summers at least, but we're still shackled to fossil fuels 'cause of initial cost for the time being :/
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:33   #8
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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I will third the recommendation for Northern Lights generators.

But a question. You say you are set up for 240V but that could be interpreted more than one way. Could you tell us where you're located?

In Europe they use AC that is +/- 240V but is 50Hz. In the US there are +/- 240V AC but it is 60Hz. Also the two are wired a bit differently.

We're in the UK, it's AC and presumably 50Hz?
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:45   #9
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Why are you worried about your boat being 240V? Do you plan to stay in a lot of Marinas?

Our boat is 240V and we haven't found anything to be a problem. We use adapters to change our American style plugs then just plug in. Pretty much everything we own is rated for 110-250V. A few of exceptions were hair dryer, toaster and computer printer. We had to purchase 220V versions of those items.
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:49   #10
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Though Northern Lights is a good generator, there is a bit more to deciding what generator to install on a boat. You need to know your power needs, your powering desires, and your powering budget. Installing a 3KW generator when you need 5KW will leave you as frustrated as over powering your boat needlessly. Today's modern cruising boats are becoming more power hungry every year. It's far more rare to see the Pardy life style today. Even large mega yachts use powering calculations on what is needed and what size generator to fit. You should (if you already haven't) sit down and figure out as close as possible all your energy needs and desire by calculating your electrical devices draws and how often you will want to use them and for how long. This will give you a good start. Then talk to the generator suppliers and get their input after telling them your preliminary requirements. Just pulling out a KW range from thin air is not the best way to approach this.


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Old 01-02-2015, 09:51   #11
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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Why are you worried about your boat being 240V? Do you plan to stay in a lot of Marinas?

Our boat is 240V and we haven't found anything to be a problem. We use adapters to change our American style plugs then just plug in. Pretty much everything we own is rated for 110-250V. A few of exceptions were hair dryer, toaster and computer printer. We had to purchase 220V versions of those items.

Ah ok, I wouldn't say I was worried, more that I didn't know if/how it would affect everything, but if you're saying it basically doesn't, then obviously leaving things as they are is far and away the easiest option! Thanks
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:56   #12
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

Doesn't the boat have an engine already?
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:00   #13
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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Though Northern Lights is a good generator, there is a bit more to deciding what generator to install on a boat. You need to know your power needs, your powering desires, and your powering budget. Installing a 3KW generator when you need 5KW will leave you as frustrated as over powering your boat needlessly. Today's modern cruising boats are becoming more power hungry every year. It's far more rare to see the Pardy life style today. Even large mega yachts use powering calculations on what is needed and what size generator to fit. You should (if you already haven't) sit down and figure out as close as possible all your energy needs and desire by calculating your electrical devices draws and how often you will want to use them and for how long. This will give you a good start. Then talk to the generator suppliers and get their input after telling them your preliminary requirements. Just pulling out a KW range from thin air is not the best way to approach this.

What would be a standard/average requirement (kw) for a pretty power-hungry semi-widebeam (beam = 8'6") 60' narrowboat with kitchen electricals (fridge, mini oven & washing machine), a computer, a games console, four mobile devices and a family of four living aboard? Not to mention most lights. That's all 240v. The water pump, bilge pump & bathroom lights are our only 12v bits.

I ask so that I know whether my own eye-popping calculation was correct or not... I really hope not!!! Many thanks!
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:02   #14
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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Doesn't the boat have an engine already?

It does, but I know, from listening to my neighbours on non-residential moorings across the canal, that generators are a great deal quieter than sitting there with your engine running! For my own ears as well as everyone else's
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:23   #15
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Re: Best generator for day-in/day-out use?

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What would be a standard/average requirement (kw) for a pretty power-hungry semi-widebeam (beam = 8'6") 60' narrowboat with kitchen electricals (fridge, mini oven & washing machine), a computer, a games console, four mobile devices and a family of four living aboard? Not to mention most lights. That's all 240v. The water pump, bilge pump & bathroom lights are our only 12v bits.

I ask so that I know whether my own eye-popping calculation was correct or not... I really hope not!!! Many thanks!

Ah, the Onan site had a better calculation tool - looks like we're gonna want 6-8kw
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