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Old 22-07-2014, 12:55   #1
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Engine Driven Generator

Has anyone used a engine driven 110V Generator like the Powermite and can give a good opinion?

BELT DRIVEN GENERATOR | POWER MITE | UNDER HOOD GENERATOR | FABCO POWER
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Old 22-07-2014, 13:39   #2
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

120V engine driven generators are nothing new. The only problem I see is that they must be run at a constant speed (3600 RPM) to produce 120V, 60 Hz. Depending on pulley sizes, that probably means that the engine must be run at considerably above idle speed, and diesels don't like to be run at speed with very little load. But if you use it while cruising, and the engine is turning at the proper speed anyway, I don't see why it wouldn't work.

The pictures show a single groove pulley. These generators will require 6 to 8 hp to turn them at max output, and since 12V alternators over about 100A usually require a double belt, my guess is that they will require either a double belt or a multi-grooved flat belt.

The alternative of course, is to charge your batteries using the existing engine driven 12V alternator (I assume that it is an adequate size) and then use an inverter to produce 120VAC.
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Old 22-07-2014, 17:44   #3
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

reading the specs on what you posted, it seems less than ideal to me. In order to maintain 60hz you need to keep your engine speed constant. There is a better solution.....I have used it in the oilfield marketed as roadpower and it survived, and I have seen it on a boat before marketed as seapower.

MEPS // Products

The beauty of this system is that you can vary your engine speed (like a honda generator) and still maintain proper frequency. You wont be able to carry as large of a load at too slow of a speed, but by speeding up a little the full output is available.
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:53   #4
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Quote:
I have used it in the oilfield marketed as roadpower and it survived, and I have seen it on a boat before marketed as seapower.
Wait a minute. That looks like an alternator with an inverter.
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:57   #5
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Wait a minute. That looks like an alternator with an inverter.
Looks that way. Also the home page specifies a minimum order of 25 units.
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Old 22-07-2014, 19:37   #6
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Looks that way. Also the home page specifies a minimum order of 25 units.

It's not an alternator in the sense that the output is 12/24 volts,it's higher voltage, and the output power is only compatible with the proprietary inverter.

The mobile power is only for fleet orders, but I believe you can buy the road power or sea power as a one off.
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Old 22-07-2014, 21:30   #7
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Perhaps you might be interested in one of these: Just add a pulley and a mount.

NorthStar Belt Driven Generator Head — 5500 Watt | Generator Heads| Northern Tool + Equipment

We use one on our farm.
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Old 23-07-2014, 09:39   #8
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

I was told these run full output at 1600 RPM and can be pulley geared to run the curve of my engine cruising RPM's of 1200 - 2200 RPM. With a load of ~ 4HP and can be run with a single pulley, but we are going with the Balmar serp kit anyway for longevity regardless. Most important aspect is the built in safety on grounds and shorts in a marine environment.

These are not the old technology or anything like the one from Northern Tool and was told they are being run on a number of boats. The idea came from a buddy who's Fire Department uses them on their equipment. I was trying to find someone who is actually using them (on a boat) for a real world opinion.

The application is to be able to run a 10K BTU AC (with SmartStart) while running under power and increase fuel economy/range at maximum comfort on a 30' Pilothouse sailboat doing the loop. Remove the 4KW diesel circa 80's genset in place of a little Honda EU2000 for use at anchor for cooling and microwave use (not at the same time, obviously).

The reason looking in this direction over a very high amperage 12Volt alternator/inverter setup is to keep the two systems separate and essentially redundant.

The MEPS system seemed high cost in nuts to nuts comparison for what I am trying to achieve.
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Old 25-07-2014, 15:33   #9
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

As mentioned the Sea power system was popular in the 90's and I mostly hear they worked pretty well. My guess is they saw more income potential in the truck market then the marine market. The one you show look a lot like the underhood ready welders my friends used to put on their jeeps (those output 115V DC but a cheap drill motor would still work on it. ) As mentioned it has an RPM range it works with in I guess they would know better what range it works in but the site seems a little lite on details. I'm curious about their voltage regulator as well.

A few years ago I saw a Raven genset on a fire truck, they seem to be out of production but I always thought they were cool. Raven Technology LLC » The Blackbird™
I actually spoke with a company rep years ago at a fire show about marine applications. He seemed a bit leary for some reason but said there was no reason it couldn't be adapted.
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Old 14-10-2014, 13:24   #10
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Hi Tdoster - did you finally invest in a Powermite ? I ask as I am interested in exactly the same solution for my Catamaran with one addition the ability to fully charge the house batteries. I have a 150A second alternator on the one motor and would like to fit a Powermite 220V to the other. If you have taken the plunge let me know hoe it has gone.

Regards Alan
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Old 10-11-2014, 13:12   #11
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

I think this is the same thing that i am considering?
I have not seen it on a boat as yet but have the opportunity to buy one cheapish in the Uk..
The original owner had it as power for a portable welding setup in his Ford van.
Mobile power vehicle mounted power solutions - Power with Unipower
They are from South Africa what i can see and they just look like a normal alternator..
I posted a question on here and also YBW forum and sort of got a load of negative comments etc along the lines of if they worked everyone would have them..
Few comments also were implying that the strain on the crank shaft would cause it to bend under stress etc.
At the minute i have 2 x 110 volt alternators on my 43HP Nanni engine.
I am considering installing one of these (240v alts)in place of one of the (110) alternators..
A good idea on a 43ft long boat with not enough room for a generator..
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Old 10-11-2014, 14:15   #12
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Why would you want a separate AC alternator?

There are two ways to produce usable AC power: (a) run an alternator at a constant speed; (b) run a DC alternator (alternator with rectifier) and run the power through an inverter.

(a) is unfeasible for our purposes.
(b) just duplicates the function that most of us already have.

An normal inverter is much more useful and versatile than one built into a separate unit just for use when the engine is running.

If you need AC power on board, just put on a large alternator, better a second school bus alternator with dual belts, separate from the regular alternator. And install a regular inverter.

Then you have AC power produced from battery power when the engine is off, and not just from when the engine is running.

I looked at the Unipower site. First of all, you can't generate 6kW with a "fan belt". That's a serious amount of power which requires serious power transmission. Read $$$$. Your engine won't pull that at idle, either. Secondly, who needs 6kW? That's 52 amps at 115 volts. Looks like massive overkill to me. Even on my big boat full of electrical conveniences, a 3000 kVA inverter (which practically gives more like 2.5kW or even less) is plenty. This is paired with a 110 amp x 24v school bus alternator, which produces theoretically 2.6kW and practically around 2kW over a wide RPM range.

I can even run a washer/dryer off this inverter when the engine is running. If the alternator is not producing quite enough power, the shortfall is merely made up for out of the battery bank.

This is a much more versatile and useful setup than a dedicated engine-mounted AC alternator.
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Old 14-01-2015, 16:57   #13
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan N Crichton View Post
Hi Tdoster - did you finally invest in a Powermite ? I ask as I am interested in exactly the same solution for my Catamaran with one addition the ability to fully charge the house batteries. I have a 150A second alternator on the one motor and would like to fit a Powermite 220V to the other. If you have taken the plunge let me know hoe it has gone.

Regards Alan

Yes, there is currently a couple left on Ebay for $250 each new. I picked up one and ordering the regulator from Power Mite. I had to fabricate and weld a mount for it and to test it out, ran it off the alternator belt w/o alt. In testing, I am pretty happy with it and not sure how it is possible, but it has less pull on the belt than I thought it would powering my 16K BTU in heat mode. And seems like less than my 100 amp alt.

So far, thumbs up in testing. Just have to finish fabricating the mounts and pick up the PTO flywheel so it has it's own belt.
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Old 14-01-2015, 17:18   #14
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Why would you want a separate AC alternator?

There are two ways to produce usable AC power: (a) run an alternator at a constant speed; (b) run a DC alternator (alternator with rectifier) and run the power through an inverter.

(a) is unfeasible for our purposes.
(b) just duplicates the function that most of us already have.

An normal inverter is much more useful and versatile than one built into a separate unit just for use when the engine is running.
.

I have to disagree, especially after investing less than $300 thus far. There are a couple left on Ebay for $250.

If you spend more time motoring (traveling the ICW, etc.) then it is more efficient to create AC directly then it is to invert it from DC. The unit does not require a constant speed if you purchase the regulator - It is good from about 1400 through 3600. The unit is much safer than high amp DC. They are used on Rescue/Fire Vehicles and grounds and shorts wont ruin your day.

And even starting the 16K a/c in heat mode, did not notice any more of a load on the belt than my 100 amp alt. And it produced far less heat than my 100 amp alt after testing.

The proof is in the long run, but so far in testing it, I think it will suit my needs and only add 40 lbs to the boat.

New Fabco Power Power Mite 110 Belt Driven Generating System | eBay
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Old 14-01-2015, 17:36   #15
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Re: Engine Driven Generator

Here is an example of another one on a boat for sale on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1980-San-Juan-28-LOADED-autohelm-wheel-AC-3K-genset-all-new-canvas-pressure-H2O-/151543036857?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2348ab3bb9&i tem=151543036857&pt=Sailboats
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