early on in my conversion plans, I researched gasoline gensets, and came to the conclusion that Yamaha makes the most functional ones.
However, after spending several nights at Ismus cove morred next a Honda 2000 genset, I had second thoughts:
They are LOUD compared to the near silence of a nice anchorage - I could hear my nieghbor's buzzing away all morning, and it was annoying - something I seek to escape when I cast off.
I dumped the gasoline outboard for the same reason - "noise vibration and harshness" as automotive engineers call it. I absolutely hated it, and the Diesel powered boats I've been on were worse, becuase of the smell of thier fuel
, which I find absolutely nauseating.
So I installed a larger solar
array, (silent and still) and purchased a wind/tow gen (nearly silent, nearly still) and figure I'll just need to slow down a bit when the wind
In return, I get the near silence of my electric outboard, and zero vibration and harshness.
My limited generation capacity means I have to pay close attention to my electrical
systems maintence and state of charge.
All modern boats have electrical
systems these days, so the argument that they add complexity is moot:
Its already there, powering such "neccesities" as autopilots, chartplotters, windlasses, bow thrusters, bilge
lights, and radar
- so it behooves you to understand how it works, and to make it as redundant and robust as possible.
I decided to completely rewire my boat becuase of the electric motor
upgrade, and I'm glad I did:
1) The old wire was un-tinned and not run through gromets or conduit. Its insulation
had chaffed through in several places creating a fire hazard, and it was undersized. The terminals were poorly crimped, and some it was corroded.
Had I not decided to go electric, it would no doubt have let me down at some point.
2) If you install the electric propulsion system yourself, you will be forced to understand the intracacies of boat electrical systems, which are complex.
Start now - it took me about three months of reading to get a handle on all of the issues surrounding a properly designed system. I highly recommend Nigel Caulder's "Boat owner's Mechanical and Electrical Guide".
I'm a retired Architect, and worked as a professional mechanic
in my youth, and raced automobiles for several years, doing all of my own engineering and "wrenching" on those cars. I have read litterally hundreds of technical books
in my life.
Caulder's is the best I've ever come accross. Its written in plain english
, and he provides clear photographs and charts
explaining what he writes about. I recomend getting his book even if you dont plan on going electric.
At any rate, generators seem to defeat the purpose of going electric to me.
Here's another thought:
Why not do what NASA does with thier solar arrays on your boat:
Close-up view of folded solar array. (Large image) -- Ookaboo!
I have a plan for a 300 watt system like the one above that will cost $1500, stow in a large duffle bag on deck
and is capable of being hoisted up the mast
or scattered around the boat to catch optimal sun angles.
you could even float it on a dinghy
at anchor, or tow it in calm weather
This is an area that cries out for innovative thinking and experimentation, something most sailors seem loathe to embrace...
Keels and batteries are both lead you know....