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Old 23-09-2011, 19:11   #46
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

I love my Honda 1000, but know that Yamaha is a great unit too, had one of those years ago.

Would pass on the Kipor, or Honeysuckle... Honeywell... whatever.
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Old 23-09-2011, 20:37   #47
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

we live on the hook in the bahamas for a few months at a time, on a 37 foot sailboat. the engine has a standard 90 amp alternator but i don't run it just to charge the batteries.

we have one 130 amp kyocera solar panel. it's wired directly to the battery bank - no controller. i'm guessing on a good day i get 40 or more amps out of it. but since my adler barbour uses about that much i figure i can't possibly overcharge the batteries. i keep it on 24/7.

my battery bank is 4 golf cart batteries (house) and 1 deep cycle 'starting' battery - total about 540 amps.

the boat came with an old 10 amp built in charger which i pretty much ignore. instead of going the big bucks for a 'real' marine charger i bought a 'smart' automobile charger that starts at 35 amps and gradually reduces the rate. because my battery bank is so accessible it's easy to hook it up anytime i need to use it.

to run the charger i bought a honda 1000. i might have bought the 2000 - it's not much more expensive - but the 1000 fit neatly in my lazarette and the 2000 did not. it provides more than enough power to run the 35 amp charger; i know because when i switch to eco mode the generator slows down noticeably. i'm guessing i could easily run a 40 or 45 amp charger with the 1000. i can also run all my power tools from it if i need to.

i'm not a big time power user. the biggest draw is the adler barbour fridge - maybe 40 or so amps per day. we occasionally run the small vacuum cleaner (but only when i'm running the honda/charger setup). we use some interior lights and keep the vhf and navtex on 24/7. maybe the occasional computer use, or playing a dvd. under way, add the cpt autopilot.

to get to the point, i find we have to run the honda for a few hours (1 quart of gasoline) every three days or so. i think if i could fit a second 130 watt solar panel i might never have to run the honda, or maybe just occasionally. i've never really been able to justify a wind gen, although i'm certainly not opposed to them.

the honda, by the way, run almost flawlessly. if you're going to get a generator, get a honda.
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Old 23-09-2011, 21:16   #48
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
we have one 130 amp kyocera solar panel. it's wired directly to the battery bank - no controller.
I am surprised that one panel is sufficient, also that you haven't boiled your batteries but it is good to know. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

It seems kyocera is the panel of choice, eh?
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Old 23-09-2011, 22:48   #49
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

as i mentioned, one panel just about runs the fridge. a second panel would probably cover the rest of my daily usage, which is pretty light. because the one panel can only run the fridge, my other electrical drains take care of any 'excess' amps that the panel might put out. so the battery bank is never overcharged. if i added a second panel i would certainly have to add a controller because then it would be possible to put in more amps than i normally take out of my bank.

i'm not saying i've got the best setup, just telling you what has worked for me so far and what i would do to improve it (add a second panel). the nice thing about solar panels is that, once you've installed them, they're pretty much maintenance free because there are no moving parts. not true of wind generators. but you will notice that most long term cruisers have both wind and solar.

and yes, kyocera seems to be the panel of choice. i bought mine a few years ago for $400 from a dealer in tarpon springs florida. never had a moment of trouble with it.

the battery charger i mentioned, by the way, was bought at walmart for $70 four years ago. the honda 1000 i bought used from a friend for $300 - he was 'upgrading' to a honda 2000. did i mention that i am cheap???
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Old 24-09-2011, 08:06   #50
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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I am surprised that one panel is sufficient, also that you haven't boiled your batteries but it is good to know. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

It seems kyocera is the panel of choice, eh?
I would say it's the rigid panel of choice in the cheaper monocrystalline format. There are newer, more efficient materials in polycrystalline panels, and there are flexible panels you can affix to your cabin top. Why, there's no limit to the money you can spend.

But if you want to get full value, think a little outside of the box. This is my "Panels as Bimini" setup. It's 4 x 135W Kyoceras. We'll see whether I need to rig a fabric piece under it when we are back in the water.

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Old 24-09-2011, 09:41   #51
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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This is my "Panels as Bimini" setup. It's 4 x 135W Kyoceras. We'll see whether I need to rig a fabric piece under it when we are back in the water.
Thanks for the picture. I was planning on doing something similar as per this photo which was provided to me by the shop who gave me a quote. In looking at the collection of panels I see I have a lot of choice and many decisions to make...
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Old 24-09-2011, 09:47   #52
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
the battery charger i mentioned, by the way, was bought at walmart for $70 four years ago. the honda 1000 i bought used from a friend for $300 - he was 'upgrading' to a honda 2000. did i mention that i am cheap???
Hey, if works for you, all the power to you (or as much as you need)!
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Old 24-09-2011, 10:37   #53
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

As an intermediate measure for recharging batteries for a month or so over the next couple of years, have you considered just getting a larger alternator for your auxiliary engine? You would have to run the diesel hundreds of hours to surpass the cost of a gas AC generator, and for those hundreds of hours you are getting a large amount of DC amps straight to the batteries.

Michael
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Old 24-09-2011, 10:53   #54
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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As an intermediate measure for recharging batteries for a month or so over the next couple of years, have you considered just getting a larger alternator for your auxiliary engine? You would have to run the diesel hundreds of hours to surpass the cost of a gas AC generator, and for those hundreds of hours you are getting a large amount of DC amps straight to the batteries.

Michael
Yes, I was considering that as well and it is a good point to keep in mind. Thanks for mentioning it. Often with so many choices we forget those that are easiest, and cheapest, to implement.
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Old 24-09-2011, 10:59   #55
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
As an intermediate measure for recharging batteries for a month or so over the next couple of years, have you considered just getting a larger alternator for your auxiliary engine? You would have to run the diesel hundreds of hours to surpass the cost of a gas AC generator, and for those hundreds of hours you are getting a large amount of DC amps straight to the batteries.

Michael
If you do get a high output alternator make sure you upgrade the wiring. Friend had a fire because a hi-output alternator was installed without upgrading wiring.
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Old 24-09-2011, 11:02   #56
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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If you do get a high output alternator make sure you upgrade the wiring. Friend had a fire because a hi-output alternator was installed without upgrading wiring.
That is something I wouldn't have thought of. Thanks! Isn't that always the way it is with boats. You fix one apparently small thing and it leads to other things that need to be done.
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Old 24-09-2011, 20:10   #57
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

for short cruises, svcambria's idea of just putting a bigger/smarter alternator on the engine is a good quick fix. but for long term cruising, where you spend an awful lot of time at anchor, it's not healthy for the diesel to be run at idle or near idle speed without a real load on for a couple of hours each day. i used to have a big alternator on my engine but when it went south i decided it wasn't worth replacing.
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Old 24-09-2011, 20:50   #58
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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I would say it's the rigid panel of choice in the cheaper monocrystalline format. There are newer, more efficient materials in polycrystalline panels,
Don't like to leave information like this hanging on a thread. While expensive (not "cheaper"), monocrystalline silicon cells are the most efficient PV cells on the market (up to 25% conversion). Polycrystalline silicon is next (up to 22%), followed by the many other materials.

If you doubt that assertion please check all the information here:

Sandia Labs

For less detailed coverage you can try:

PV Efficiency

Or:

Efficiency Research

Lots of other reasons to select various types of cells besides just raw efficiency, but for the area monocrytalline cells provide the highest power output under typical conditions. Installation issues, particularly on a boat, can change that, but probably a discussion for a different thread.
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Old 24-09-2011, 21:17   #59
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

Couple of hours running the Generac you will be throwing it overboard due to the noise, and then will go buy the Honda. Not the way to save money. Get Honda first
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Old 25-09-2011, 06:24   #60
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Re: Gasoline Generator Recommendations

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Couple of hours running the Generac you will be throwing it overboard due to the noise, and then will go buy the Honda. Not the way to save money. Get Honda first
Ya, buy once and be happy. If I go with a generator that is what I will do.
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