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Old 08-08-2017, 02:20   #1
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Generator yes or no?

Hi Guys, just after some advice on a generator.
I am looking at buying a new Beneteau 41.1 oceanis. As i am planning on cruising, they have recommended a Generator. Do i really need this? it is a extra £10,000

I will have Solar!! and eventually Wind Gen. I just thought that turning on the engine would be enough to charge the batteries up? or could this damage the engine?

We will have normal applicances onboard appart from Air con.

Your help and advice will be highly appreciated.

Richie
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:32   #2
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Re: Generator yes or no?

Without air conditioning, I would not bother with the generator.

Between solar, wind, and engine alternator, you won't need the generator if you do the other three right.

Throw in a large ac watermaker or scuba compressor or air conditioning, and the generator becomes necessary .
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:37   #3
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Re: Generator yes or no?

well my boat didn't have a generator and I am glad I installed one last year

but of course you don't NEED a generator
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:52   #4
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Re: Generator yes or no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
well my boat didn't have a generator and I am glad I installed one last year

but of course you don't NEED a generator

Yes. What he aaid. Unless you want to run air conditioning at anchor you don't NEED a gennie but they can be handy. I don't like to use the engine as a primary charging source as it adds a lot of hours, wear and maintenance but with wind and solar engine should be the tertiary charging aource.
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:22   #5
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Re: Generator yes or no?

The engine becomes a vastly more useful charging source if you put a large frame, externally regulated, heavy duty alternator on it.


As to needing vs wanting a generator -- only the OP can answer that question for himself. Can be awfully handy, especially if you have or someday will have batteries (future lithiums?) that have a high charge acceptance rate. But without air conditioning and with a decent solar installation, a generator is probably not all that necessary.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:06   #6
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Re: Generator yes or no?

By the way, if you don't install a gennie a Honda EU2000 portable is a handy backup power sourcw.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:16   #7
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Re: Generator yes or no?

The answer will depend on your energy budget. How many amp will you need vs what will you produce via solar and wind. It's certainly possible to avoid the need for a generator, but it all depends on your set up.

I cruise on a 37' double-ender, which means limited space for solar panels. Only high amp consumer I have is a decent sized fridge and tiny freezer. Also run computers, pads, plus all the normal stuff.

My charging system is a 400 watt solar with (theoretically) a 400 watt wind gen. When we motor we also can charge via alternator, but I almost never run the big diesel just to charge the batteries.

The solar/wind is usually is enough to keep the batteries topped up (hit float) each day. But if it's thick overcast for a few days I have a 1000 watt gas generator as final backup. I've had to use this once for about 2 hrs in the last 40 days while cruising St. Lawrence area, so somewhat northerly climes.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:49   #8
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Re: Generator yes or no?

Hey Mike, you hit The Rock yet?
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:43   #9
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Generator yes or no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
By the way, if you don't install a gennie a Honda EU2000 portable is a handy backup power sourcw.


With no built in I this is logical.
What tripped my desire for a generator was air conditioning at times, not full time, but when you sitting below sweat dripping off your nose because you have to be closed up do to weather or bugs, air conditioning is nice to have.

Plus a watermaker, I went to an AC one only because. I was going have a generator anyway, and partially due to the Wife's allergies to many washing powders, we will do our own laundry, and that sort of requires a generator if you take the easy way out.

However I think if you forego Airconditioning except when on shore power, go with a Spectra watermaker and have your clothes washed ashore or use an non electric method, you can be fine.
However I'd want that Honda for sure, to top off the bank, and for those extended cloudy days when you have a frontal passage etc.

And, you can add a generator at any time, likely pick a better one Than the factory and likely a better install too. Save mucho dinero that way as well.

Very soon after taking delivery take Dockheads advice, get a good alternator and external regulator, if there is room a large frame alternator can make High power, the little guys I suspect can make rated power for only a short time, then they have to derate or burn up. Your sending a boy to do a man's job with a small frame alternator.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:48   #10
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Re: Generator yes or no?

When we outfitted for cruising, we listed all the electrical needs and consumption on a daily basis we used. The one thing never considered, because we didn't use it locally, was the ham radio. My Kenwood broadcast using 100 watts of power, and with a couple of nets a night, ended up being a fair size electrical consumer. Having a 200 amp alternator and a 2500 watt inverter gave us all the power we needed, to run a drill, micro etc. Now, we have a generator, which is just opulent.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:10   #11
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Re: Generator yes or no?

I did a spread sheet of things I intended to add to my boat for upgrades. On it I did things based on having a generator to power stuff and for just having 12V for the same things. The cost difference between the 115V AC equipment and the 12V DC equipment was almost the same as the cost to get my 3.5KW generator. And the generator allowed me to run the air conditioning while on anchor, which has been a blessing the last few months. A generator is truly one of those things that you don't know how nice it is to have till you have not had one and later get it.

Every time I see one of these "should I get the generator" threads when the person is talking about getting it as an option on a new boat they are getting I want to scream "hell yes if you can afford it!".
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:12   #12
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Re: Generator yes or no?

I love mine, and not just for air conditioning. I would not recommend a portable one.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:34   #13
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Re: Generator yes or no?

New boat option, yes of course, you are spending so much more on the boat and these days it's just expected, for good reasons, when you resell. Would you buy a new car without the power windows and power locks?

Please don't go with portable type that you must run on the deck, causing all kinds of disturbance to your neighbors.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:37   #14
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Re: Generator yes or no?

Unless you anticipate having house loads over 2000 to 3000 watts, then maybe not. If under those loads then an inverter or two and a good sized battery bank will do you fine.

Or if you cruise offshore then you might consider a smaller generator for topping up your batteries if your engine's alternator is not adequate or if you do not want to have to run your propulsion engine to top up.

There is not really a right or wrong answer. It depends largely on how you are going to use your boat.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:43   #15
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Re: Generator yes or no?

2000 W at 12.5 V is 160 amps, that is hitting a bank hard. We will run a short time load like that off the inverter, like the toaster for instance, but you can't pull that many amps for long.
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