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Old 21-09-2009, 22:16   #1
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Generator Questions

Need advice on choosing a genset for our endeavour 40.
It would need to run a 12000 btu and a 10K btu marine turbo air conditioning system.
It would need to be able to work with the victron inverter.
It would need to be able to power the microwave, the hot water heater, and the induction cooktop. Not all at the same time, but sometimes it might have to.
Working with the victron, which is 3Kw max, the a/c units which are 6 amps and 6.8 amp running, startup would be staggered, plus the march pump that takes 1.2 amps.
Plus battery chargining, which is a 120 amp charger.

What is the best generator in Kw for this application ?
I am considering 3 units at the moment.
A Northern lights 5kw model running at 1800 rpm
A westerbeke 4 kw at 1800 rpm
a westerbeke 5.5 Kw at 1800 rpm.
The westerbeke is probably the most expensive at around 10K.
I am still gathering quotes.
I do not want more generator than I need. Actually the smaller the better.
I don't know how often I would be running the a/c off grid, but would like to be able to do this. I am looking for quality, longevity, and value.
Noise level is a large consideration.
I looked at other units, but either because of high rpm, cost, size, or cost rejected many.

Still not sure if my budget could swing this, but if I can make it work, I feel the genset is a good piece of equipment to add to our boat soon.

Also if you could add only one high dollar item to your boat, would it be a genset, a water maker, or something else?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 26-09-2009, 07:35   #2
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Wow. Over 70 peeps looking and not one response....
Guess no answer is better than a bad one...
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Old 26-09-2009, 07:58   #3
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From what I have read Northern Lights seems to have the best reputation amongst marine generators.
I would make up a good list similar to what you have done but with all your AC elect draws and bring that to a couple of suppliers and see what they recommend.
Very important, whatever you have installed check to make sure you will have access to all maintenace locations on the Genset. Installers may do what is easy for them but will be a nightmare when you do maintenace or replace a component.
If you are having it installed try to get a firm price from the supplier including installation these things seem to wind up more difficult than estimated and more $$$
I have owned a 4KW 3600 rpm Kohler in my previous boat and now own a 9KW 1800RPM Onan
Both have been trouble free, I would definitely prefer a generator running at the lower rpm mainly for the noise factor.
Good luck!
Steve
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Old 26-09-2009, 08:05   #4
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What is your plugged in electric service on the boat - 30 or 50 amps? I don't think you can get 50 amps continuous service out of a 5kw genset but 30 amps wold be 80-90% load. I replaced a Fisher-Panda with a Northern Lights 2 years ago. With the sound shield it is a quiet as the F-P.

As to what to add - depends on where you sail. We never use our A/C in the Carib unless we are in a marina. We use the watermaker as it keeps us out of marinas. We use the genset daily to recharge batteries and run the 110v. watermaker every third day or so.
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Old 26-09-2009, 08:09   #5
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Thanks Steve.
What do you usually load your 9Kw with... how many Kw?
Can you run a 9kw or a 4kw at capacity or do you have to run it at a lower load?
Never had a AC genset before...
Access will not be a problem. Center cockpit boat with good access on all 4 sides.
Only problem on install will be exhaust, and if I exhaust it out the side, will not be a issue.
Do you have a PTO on your genset, and if so, do you use it?
thanks!
Bob
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Old 26-09-2009, 09:43   #6
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I have heard good things about the Norpro Yanmar generators.

I like the thought of a Yanmar engine, especially if i am running a Yanmar in the boat. They also have a 5 year warranty. They are rated at 1800 rpm.

http://www.4norpro.com/pdfs/NAVIGATOR%20Y/7NY-A.pdf
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Old 26-09-2009, 09:52   #7
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Bob,

I seem to have roughly the same AC loads/equipment you have and we are very happy with our 6 kW Northern Lights. I think the 6 kW NL is the same size and weight as the 5 kW !!

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 26-09-2009, 09:54   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve_C View Post
I have heard good things about the Norpro Yanmar generators.

I like the thought of a Yanmar engine, especially if i am running a Yanmar in the boat. They also have a 5 year warranty. They are rated at 1800 rpm.

http://www.4norpro.com/pdfs/NAVIGATOR%20Y/7NY-A.pdf
I have seen a generator with a Yanmar motor but it's nothing like a Yanmar marine engine. Within hours the gears of the flimsy raw water pump were stripped. It looks like the marinization was done by "el cheapo & friends".

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 26-09-2009, 09:59   #9
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Originally Posted by bobfnbw View Post

Also if you could add only one high dollar item to your boat, would it be a genset, a water maker, or something else?

Thanks,
Bob

Definitely not a genset. If you're going to cruise and anchor the breeze at anchor is quite nice as opposed to the noise of a genset. If you're going to stay in marinas, just plug in. What I'd really like is a great big solar array but the cost is prohibitive so I make do with my little Honda eu2000i when the wind generator can't keep up with the fridge and the batteries get a bit low.

Can't help you with the genset problem. All I know about them is I hate to be downwind in an anchorage when the power boats run them all night.
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Old 26-09-2009, 10:07   #10
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I used to have a Northern Lights onboard. I never had any problems with it. I removed it when 3000 watt true sine wave inverters became available, not because the generator was not any good. It was excellent in fact.
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Old 27-09-2009, 09:00   #11
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I can't agree with Vasco/Rick. When we would be neighbors at anchor, he would not be able to hear my Northern Lights genset while his Honda 2000i would drive me mad. Of course, whatever type genset you have, you try to run it as little as possible.

If you prefer to cruise in "hiking mode" (no luxuries) you can do without genset and watermaker, but you need both if you spend significant time in remote areas. Many cruisers that say they do without the luxuries are not that tough and go to water maker equipped boats with jerry jugs asking for water in places like the San Blas. I prefer not to be dependent on others like that.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 27-09-2009, 10:09   #12
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Totally disagree with the comment on Honda 2000i being more noisy than any mounted genset I've ever ran across in the past 20 years! That just sounds like owner justification of their own equipment.

I do agree with Vasco that having a genset ruining in a nice anchorage and it will make you the most disliked person around... but many people don't care about other people and often do take their dirt home material things on the boat with them. Not really sure why but it really is spoiling the nicer anchorages and mooring fields. Why not stay in the marina and just plug in. Do with out the few days you may break away from the slip... it would be an adventure to actually see/hear nature again!
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Old 27-09-2009, 10:35   #13
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A friend had a honda 2000i outdoors at a camping event. I borrowed it for a few hours from him. He told me "it's over there..." I couldnt find it... he came over and pointed out that it was 4 ft from me.... and running! There is no way you can hear a 2000i on another boat unless you are rafted up and listening hard. I would buy the Northern lights. The Westerbeke arent bad, but arent great. That's a helluva lot of of A/C on a 40 ft boat! maybe just skip the A/C and cruise the Pac Northwest with the hatches open! :>)
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Old 27-09-2009, 13:10   #14
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A few months ago I was in Cane Garden Bay Tortola BVI during one of the festivals they often have. Lots of vendors with tents set up on the beach... most food and beer. Several where hooked up to a Honda 2000i which was set up under a couple of palm trees near the hotel north of the dink dock. One guy bought his food, plate full of lobster nuggets and Johnie Cakes and Provisions and walked up to the Honda 2000i and proceeded to take a seat on it. He sat down then jumped up when he felt the slight vibration running up from his butt. He spilled his food and beer because he didn't think it was running and was the only think that looked like he could set down on to eat. He was very impressed with its operation.

BTY it is far too narrow to make a good set!
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Old 27-09-2009, 15:06   #15
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Quote:
That's a helluva lot of of A/C on a 40 ft boat! maybe just skip the A/C and cruise the Pac Northwest with the hatches open!
Used to live in Seattle... beautiful place but would not want to spend another winter there.... I live on the Texas Coast. Hot, Humid, and Sun, all day long.
Takes a bit of A/c to keep a boat cool here. I have a 16500 btu unit now, and it can not keep up. Splitting it into 2 units only 6000 btu more should work, and with the new units out there, more efficient.

Yes I was leaning towards the northern lights as well. But then I return to looking at the yamaha 6Kv gas unit. Can be had for $2900 USD, No much of a install cost... Quiet ~58-64dB, can be used off boat, and I wonder if the added expense ~8500 for the Northern LIghts 5 Kw, plus install, is justified. In looking over a lot or RV forums, it seems that people are quite happy with those inverter type gas generators. Not sure what the life span on one is, and I am pretty sure it would be a bit more noisier than a built in unit...


Vasco, the last thing I like to do is anchor near anyone so the noise of a genset during the day, should not be a concern. And once dinner is done, and the sun is setting, the set would be off. I figure I would run it once a day for chargine, cooking, to top off the water tanks, and to cool the boat down a bit before night comes, Say 2-3 hours max. Occasionally we might run it longer, but that is not something I anticipate doing often.


Quote:
s/v Jedi
Bob,
I seem to have roughly the same AC loads/equipment you have and we are very happy with our 6 kW Northern Lights. I think the 6 kW NL is the same size and weight as the 5 kW !!
cheers,
Nick.
Nick with the power sharing feature of the Victron 3000 watt inverter, I figured the smaller the genset the better. Most of the time I would not be running the A/C systems.
Also might want a 120v scuba compressor at some point...

Still looking at options.

Thanks for all the replies,
Bob
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