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Old 09-06-2008, 09:41   #1
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DuoGen

Anybody out there use or have knowledge of the pros and cons of DuoGen? Looking at adding it to our boat
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:28   #2
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Major con is the price!!
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:21   #3
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At $3500 they are almost twice as expensive as the very best wind gens.

As a windgen it has good specs but not overly so. A water generator I think is going to be a lot of maintenance. You can't just stick it the water and forget about. It will foul pretty fast without attention. Not that that is unreasonable but at twice the price you may want to consider the bigger picture. A balance between alternator, batteries, solar, and wind/water production is a bit complex to figure out. Add a genset and then the numbers get pretty wild.

It's a balancing act with your money. To forget about the financial aspects is more than foolish. Being green is as much about being efficient as it is about anything else. All systems have a down side to them. You can't run solar panels at night and the water generator won't make any power on the hook and the anchorage that makes 10 amps of power is not where I want to be. The noise and fuel of the genset or your engine.

How you cruise and how much power you require matters as far as how you make your power. Since my refrigerator died and we use ice I have not charged my batteries since November. They are always more than 95% copacity. The two solar panels keep the batteries so charged the tachometer fails to run due to no alternator power. I'll be adding a fridge but you can see the extreme in usage. Without refrigeration I know I could go on almost indefinitely. To be fair I use propane too.
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:41   #4
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On most boats refrigeration is your major draw. When cruising I use about 75 to 80 amps every twenty four hours. I think about seventy of this is from the fridge! Without a fridge I could live indefinitely at anchor with just my KISS. With the fridge I have to use my Honda 2000 if we go a few days without enough wind. Over 15 knots in an anchorage and I can go forever, unfortunately for me, it never blows all the time.
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Old 09-06-2008, 13:21   #5
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Rick,

I would say the same thing back when I had a wind generator and fridge on the last boat. Fridges take about what you indicate more or less depending on if you have walk in cooler or exceptional insulation in a small box. Even a Honda 2000 alone isn't that great. Friends just back from 8 months in the Bahamas found the Honda only went so far and then you started to loose bank capacity. It took an equalization charge from shore power every month or so to get the capacity of the bank back where it should be. They had no solar or wind. Just the basic fridge and assorted lights and electronics.

The windgen I think does best on a passage where you can expect more wind for a long period. Having what solar you can install seems to pay off but you just can't get enough panels out there.

I did see a thread some place about people using the roll up panels and spreading them out in the Sea of Cortez to run water makers during the late morning through afternoon. Shifting power use at times of great opportunity can't ever be a bad thing so long as the opportunity knocks regularly

Being agile is the key to cruising in any case. Being some place else when the weather turns sour or buying supplies where the prices are better before going to where they are not. One of those think global but act local approaches to life.
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Old 09-06-2008, 13:28   #6
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Paul,

I equalized my batteries once using the Honda generator. Kept it running all day but had to be real careful re-filling the fuel tank. A task much better done in a marina. Got AGM's now and they're supposed to not need equalization.
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Old 09-06-2008, 18:32   #7
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Meztrezat...what I've heard from people who actually owned one was that they loved the performance in water on passage but thought the wind generator performance at anchor left much to be desired. I'd buy a real wind generator like Vascos for 1/2 the price and then use the rest of the money to add a Honda or solar.

Vasco...no need to EQ the AGM's TYPICALLY....but you really need to bring them to a FULL 100% charge at least bi-weekly or you WILL need to EQ them. I assume you can do that with the Honda.
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Old 09-06-2008, 19:25   #8
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The Duo-gen is very popular on the ARC boats, and they have a gear survey each year. I have also heard that people were happy with the output of the water generator, but not so with the wind generator. While I was in St Lucia last December right after the ARC, there were a couple of boats trying to get parts to fix their Duo-gens, but I never did find out what their problem was.
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Old 09-06-2008, 21:44   #9
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Wind Dancer on sailblogs.com is using one right know on his around the world cruise. I'm sure he would give you a first hand review if you leave him your contact info in a comment on one of his posts.

I helped him install the unit before he left Juneau and found it very well built. He says it makes about 250 amp hours per day as an average under sail. It doesn't do as well in the wind mode at anchor.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:41   #10
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Two years later.

I started this post and now I can report back as to what we have found. We bought the DuoGen at the Seattle show and installed it later on our boat before we headed out. Wind wise, it's not worth a darn till the blow starts hitting a good 20+ knots. Only then will it put out some "decent" amps for the batteries. In water mode, you really have to be doing a good 6.5 knots and up to get any real push out of the generator. Any thing less and it's just not there.

In DuoGens defense, they tell you about the same thing in their sales literature.

We've logged almost 8,000 miles since we installed it and since we are now down South in Mexico, we really wish we had used the money we used on the DuoGen and bought a good solar array. We'd sure get lots more out of it as the Sun is always out down here. If you're up in the higher latitudes, it would probably make more sense to have the DuoGen or some type of wind generator.

We're about to take off across the Pacific. I guess we will see how she works on our passage. Hopefully well as I don't want to run the generator or the engine unless I have to.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:51   #11
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We have a Duo-Gen and have been very happy with it. 2 other yachts in our marina have just had one fitted as well, not because of us but because of their reputation and output.

At the Southampton Boat Show last year, we saw the latest version and it has a new carbon fibre shaft which I assume will be better.

We bought a full set of spares from the manufacturer, as we read that sometimes one of the pins fails or falls overboard (can't remember which!).

Be careful not to get close to the blades in full pelt though! My husband turned the cockpit red one night, with blood, not words, when he had too close an encounter with the Duo-Gen.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:55   #12
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Parts

I took ours apart for routine maintenance about a month ago and once back together it made a whole lot more noise than it did before I serviced it. Teach me to just leave well enough alone and not mess with something that is already working just fine. I'd already ordered in a few repair parts and after takeing the unit apart several times, I installed a replacement gear(the plastic one) and it quieted right back down. Can't see much wrong with what I took out but if it fixed the noise, that's just fine. I ordered two more plastic gears(at $99.00 each!) for use down the road. As for the pins, I brought in two more as I know I will loose one sooner than later. The elastic cord on ours already broke and I fixed it. I'm VERY careful when ever I take it off the unit.
As we are servicing most systems before we head across the Pacific in a month or so, I took off the wind prop unit and noticed that our plastic vane that rotates around the central shaft is bent way off center. It's anything but a straight line up the shaft. I'd noticed that when ever I put on one of the different heads(wind or water) I had to slightly bend the vane to get the prop unit to line up with the center shaft that goes around when the wind blows. Not sure if it causes a problem since with it being off center of the main shaft, it might cause excessive wear or friction on the unit. I just email the company so I will see how they respond. Just can't imagine that it being off center is good for the unit as it rotates.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:17   #13
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If one breaks then the other is broken too. Why not two separate units?

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Old 06-02-2011, 14:23   #14
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
If one breaks then the other is broken too. Why not two separate units?

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I'd certainly like that approach, but has anyone seen a lower (water) unit similar to what the DuoGen uses? It is only for their water generator design (straight shaft) that I would consider a DuoGen.

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Old 07-02-2011, 18:18   #15
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Watt & Sea (France) make a (rather new) dedicated hydrogenerator that will output up to 500W (40A @ 12v, 20A @24V). Very nice unit that is in use on many top racing boats. However, it's expensive.
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