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Old 06-01-2016, 09:01   #16
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Re: Ideal Generator?

There has to be a compelling reason what the generator section on a purpose built generator is so big and heavy. I think by the time you end up designing the nearly perfect generator, it might look a whole lot like a Northern Lights?
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:03   #17
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have never seen hydraulic drive on a yacht, but many ferries etc., but then how many Yachts have I seen, not many.
Hydraulic is about as KISS as it gets, very simple system and I'd want it for redundancy of two power plants, and the more customers you have, the more sense it makes, hydraulic thrusters and furlers I think are mainstream.
One of it's advantages is you can now put the engine(s) anywhere you want to, even get real slick and have a retractable drive, anything is possible if you have enough money.

Same for electric I guess, I'm just more comfortable with hydraulics in salt water.

I don't think you can replace an AC generator with alternators, not really. Forgetting conversion losses just to power a 30 amp boat, you need 300 amps of 12 VDC, half that for 24 of course.
I haven't yet seen an alternator make full, rated output, especially not continuously.
I suspect the real, continuous output of an average alternator is about half, maybe three quarters of its rated power at best.
With a huge battery bank, and massive charging capability, I guess you could replace a generator.
Ah, you've never met the Leece-Neville school bus alternator. Has nothing to do with car alternators, which are not made for bulk power production. These will put out 100% of their rated power, day in and day out, in ambient temperatures up to 100C, and not break a sweat (so to speak).

Produced at 24v (better 36v), and run through a good inverter, this is a perfectly adequate substitute for an AC generator. The efficiency is at least equal and could be greater. And the big advantage here is extreme simplicity and serviceability.

Good heavy duty AC generators like my Kohler are also ok (I love mine), but if something does break, you're pretty screwed if you're in a remote location, because you need proprietary parts and a trained service tech.

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Old 06-01-2016, 09:19   #18
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Having 3 diesel engines aboard (twin Volvo D2-55 and Farymann 1-cyl in 5kw generator), my next setup will be easier... much easier...

A catamaran with:
One D2-55 (no ECU) or old-style Yanmar with a stock 110A alt. With stock saildrive and Autoprop.
Not in the owner hull and soundproofed to death.
One aux CE Niehoff 570A 24V alternator (that 10kw+), externally regulated to give 48V
24-36kwh Lifepo4 (Li price is going down)
Electric 15kw pivoting saildrive in the other hull, with folding prop.
10kw 48v Victron inverter/charger.
48-24v DC-DC stepdown and 24v buffer battery
maybe engine-driven watermaker

Sound complicated? It is not, you have most of it already.

This will give me:
- diesel propulsion and a lot of gen when motoring
- generator on anchor
- silent A/Cs at night without gen
- all electric kitchen
- regen under sail (pivot electric saildrive 180 deg)
- lots of weight saving and less maintanance
- silent getting out of the port early morning with family sleeping
- and yes, maneurability in the port side to the wind!

Of course, the only engine has to be cared for, with additional sensors, electric water pump, spare parts etc.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:49   #19
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVI View Post
Having 3 diesel engines aboard (twin Volvo D2-55 and Farymann 1-cyl in 5kw generator), my next setup will be easier... much easier...

A catamaran with:
One D2-55 (no ECU) or old-style Yanmar with a stock 110A alt. With stock saildrive and Autoprop.
Not in the owner hull and soundproofed to death.
One aux CE Niehoff 570A 24V alternator (that 10kw+), externally regulated to give 48V
24-36kwh Lifepo4 (Li price is going down)
Electric 15kw pivoting saildrive in the other hull, with folding prop.
10kw 48v Victron inverter/charger.
48-24v DC-DC stepdown and 24v buffer battery
maybe engine-driven watermaker

Sound complicated? It is not, you have most of it already.

This will give me:
- diesel propulsion and a lot of gen when motoring
- generator on anchor
- silent A/Cs at night without gen
- all electric kitchen
- regen under sail (pivot electric saildrive 180 deg)
- lots of weight saving and less maintanance
- silent getting out of the port early morning with family sleeping
- and yes, maneurability in the port side to the wind!

Of course, the only engine has to be cared for, with additional sensors, electric water pump, spare parts etc.
Well, that's the classic electric hybrid drive, but with a twist -- the mechanical drive through one normal saildrive. I like it! You could add one more diesel engine, about 20kW driving a DC alternator, to complete your redundancy, as that would drive the electric sail drive with the main engine knocked out. I would definitely add that to your spec.

I like it, but I think it's a little too complicated for me. The hybrid drives I know about are fairly troublesome; the early Lagoon hybrid cats were horror shows.

This setup obviously has lots of advantages, and I would certainly consider something like this, but only if it were really well developed by a serious engineering company, and definitely not home built.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:52   #20
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVI View Post
Having 3 diesel engines aboard (twin Volvo D2-55 and Farymann 1-cyl in 5kw generator), my next setup will be easier... much easier...

A catamaran with:
One D2-55 (no ECU) or old-style Yanmar with a stock 110A alt. With stock saildrive and Autoprop.
Not in the owner hull and soundproofed to death.
One aux CE Niehoff 570A 24V alternator (that 10kw+), externally regulated to give 48V
24-36kwh Lifepo4 (Li price is going down)
Electric 15kw pivoting saildrive in the other hull, with folding prop.
10kw 48v Victron inverter/charger.
48-24v DC-DC stepdown and 24v buffer battery
maybe engine-driven watermaker

Sound complicated? It is not, you have most of it already.

This will give me:
- diesel propulsion and a lot of gen when motoring
- generator on anchor
- silent A/Cs at night without gen
- all electric kitchen
- regen under sail (pivot electric saildrive 180 deg)
- lots of weight saving and less maintanance
- silent getting out of the port early morning with family sleeping
- and yes, maneurability in the port side to the wind!

Of course, the only engine has to be cared for, with additional sensors, electric water pump, spare parts etc.
Intriguing, but no redundancy if the engine has problems.

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Old 06-01-2016, 18:04   #21
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Well, that's the classic electric hybrid drive, but with a twist -- the mechanical drive through one normal saildrive. I like it! You could add one more diesel engine, about 20kW driving a DC alternator, to complete your redundancy, as that would drive the electric sail drive with the main engine knocked out. I would definitely add that to your spec.

I like it, but I think it's a little too complicated for me. The hybrid drives I know about are fairly troublesome; the early Lagoon hybrid cats were horror shows.

This setup obviously has lots of advantages, and I would certainly consider something like this, but only if it were really well developed by a serious engineering company, and definitely not home built.
No, it's not a hybrid.
Think of it as a single motor diesel propulsion, with electric motor serving only as convenience (thruster/regen function).

Additional gen is not needed - I am not going to motor on electric power. In case diesel stops - 24kwh battery is more than enough for anchoring or easy docking.
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Old 06-01-2016, 18:11   #22
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Re: Ideal Generator?

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
Intriguing, but no redundancy if the engine has problems.

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From my experience, serviced diesel engine dies from bad fuel only. Two engines will not save you. Twin filters with spare jerry can of good fuel will.

Monohulls have one engine, no prob. And for contigency I have sails, it is a light sail catamaran, after all.

One more convenience - the empty motor compartment can be the location for extra systems (inverter / watermaker / scuba /tools & spare parts ) conveniently located on the sides. With a comfortable seat in the middle to monitor or repair.
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Old 06-01-2016, 20:25   #23
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Dockhead, et al,
Putting aside for a moment that we are talking about sailboats that should be using mother nature for propulsion (and hopefully for many of the on-board energy needs, as well), I do have some "good news - bad news" for you all.

Most of what's being discussed, dreamed about, and proposed here has already been done (in cruising yachts)....some of it works, some of it doesn't!


1) I want to start, by telling of some of my own experiences and real-world observations...but, first I wish to highlight a very important sentence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
For a long-distance high latitude adventure cruising boat,
This is important, because with low-latitude cruising/voyaging, you have different energy needs and much better angles for use of solar...(although, many hi-latitude cruising can make use of wind power in a much more efficient way that those in the tropics and/or on trade-wind passages)

Air conditioning is the only thing on-board most cruising/voyaging boats in the tropics that cannot effectively/efficiently powered by batteries charged by solar...and few find the need for "hot showers" when it cools off to 80*F at night!

If cruising at high latitudes is your desire, your solar angles are low, but if choosing a big Cat you should be able to install enough solar to be energy self-sufficient???

So, my first point is:
You may not really need the generator you are designing...
Just something to keep in mind..



2) Okay, you want a standard marine propulsion engine, driving a generator unit?
It's been done a lot!! (mostly in the past, but it DOES work....and work well!!)

How about an example from my childhood/teen years?
Growing up sailing and voyaging with my folks, on their Hinckley they had a 12.5kw - 15kw Westerbeake genset, which had a Perkins 4-108 4-cyl diesel, running at 1800 rpm....it's own group 27 start battery (which could be paralleled with the main engine's start battery with a push-button switch...and either could also be paralleled to the house bank if needed), its own external fuel filters (not sure if they were Racor, but that was 40 some years ago), its own fuel source selector manifold, its own 12vdc alternator (to charge its own battery), etc.
This beast drove a 120vac/240vac electrical panel, which had SCUBA compressor (which could fill two 72 - 80 cu ft tanks simultaneously, in about 30 - 40 minutes), reverse-cycle Air Cond units, 150 amp battery charger, microwave, oven, TV sets, electric toaster, coffee maker, etc. etc. etc...
When they sold the boat after 20+ years and 10's of thousands of miles, the damn thing still cranked right up and ran like a champ....and as far as I know the 3rd and 4th owners still have the same damn genset (as one of them added a big 120vac watermaker)...
And, the only actual maintenance I or my Dad ever did was oil/filter changes, fuel filters, and a new battery ever few years!



2) Hydraulic drive for sailing craft, cruising boats....a boondoggle!!
The "advantages" of big industrial hydraulics don't scale-down....and the weight is a huge issue...
(not to mention the inevitable maintenance issues...as well as the mess that leaks cause!)

I've seen a sailing Cat with hydraulic drive (a "tourist day-charter boat" now a days, and my brother used to captain it), and what a pig of a boat....
60' some feet, with diesel(s) driving the hyd pumps, even with no passengers could only manage 4kts - 4.5kts or so!!!
And under sail....it was worse than that steel-hulled fake pirate ship!



3) As for a "second engine, with shaft and prop"....on a monohull, no way is that ever going to be efficient for motoring, nor under sail (drag, and asymmetrical drag, at that)..



4) Diesel-Electric drive....Electric-Hybrid drive....they have merit...but again weight of carrying both batteries and fuel can be an issue....
As long as you manage the weight, these can work...





To sum up....in all honesty, for a "high-latitude adventure cruising boat", I'd opt for two things above all else:
a) Simplicity / KISS
b) Reliability

And, in my opinion, that means as much solar as you can fit, wind gens if you can stand the noise and will be in areas with enough wind...and if you need additional energy, an "old-school" low-rpm diesel genset (hopefully using a decent marine diesel)...



Hope this contributes...

fair winds..

John
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Old 06-01-2016, 23:32   #24
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Dockhead, et al,
Putting aside for a moment that we are talking about sailboats that should be using mother nature for propulsion (and hopefully for many of the on-board energy needs, as well), I do have some "good news - bad news" for you all.

Most of what's being discussed, dreamed about, and proposed here has already been done (in cruising yachts)....some of it works, some of it doesn't!


1) I want to start, by telling of some of my own experiences and real-world observations...but, first I wish to highlight a very important sentence: This is important, because with low-latitude cruising/voyaging, you have different energy needs and much better angles for use of solar...(although, many hi-latitude cruising can make use of wind power in a much more efficient way that those in the tropics and/or on trade-wind passages)

Air conditioning is the only thing on-board most cruising/voyaging boats in the tropics that cannot effectively/efficiently powered by batteries charged by solar...and few find the need for "hot showers" when it cools off to 80*F at night!

If cruising at high latitudes is your desire, your solar angles are low, but if choosing a big Cat you should be able to install enough solar to be energy self-sufficient???

So, my first point is:
You may not really need the generator you are designing...
Just something to keep in mind..



2) Okay, you want a standard marine propulsion engine, driving a generator unit?
It's been done a lot!! (mostly in the past, but it DOES work....and work well!!)

How about an example from my childhood/teen years?
Growing up sailing and voyaging with my folks, on their Hinckley they had a 12.5kw - 15kw Westerbeake genset, which had a Perkins 4-108 4-cyl diesel, running at 1800 rpm....it's own group 27 start battery (which could be paralleled with the main engine's start battery with a push-button switch...and either could also be paralleled to the house bank if needed), its own external fuel filters (not sure if they were Racor, but that was 40 some years ago), its own fuel source selector manifold, its own 12vdc alternator (to charge its own battery), etc.
This beast drove a 120vac/240vac electrical panel, which had SCUBA compressor (which could fill two 72 - 80 cu ft tanks simultaneously, in about 30 - 40 minutes), reverse-cycle Air Cond units, 150 amp battery charger, microwave, oven, TV sets, electric toaster, coffee maker, etc. etc. etc...
When they sold the boat after 20+ years and 10's of thousands of miles, the damn thing still cranked right up and ran like a champ....and as far as I know the 3rd and 4th owners still have the same damn genset (as one of them added a big 120vac watermaker)...
And, the only actual maintenance I or my Dad ever did was oil/filter changes, fuel filters, and a new battery ever few years!



2) Hydraulic drive for sailing craft, cruising boats....a boondoggle!!
The "advantages" of big industrial hydraulics don't scale-down....and the weight is a huge issue...
(not to mention the inevitable maintenance issues...as well as the mess that leaks cause!)

I've seen a sailing Cat with hydraulic drive (a "tourist day-charter boat" now a days, and my brother used to captain it), and what a pig of a boat....
60' some feet, with diesel(s) driving the hyd pumps, even with no passengers could only manage 4kts - 4.5kts or so!!!
And under sail....it was worse than that steel-hulled fake pirate ship!



3) As for a "second engine, with shaft and prop"....on a monohull, no way is that ever going to be efficient for motoring, nor under sail (drag, and asymmetrical drag, at that)..



4) Diesel-Electric drive....Electric-Hybrid drive....they have merit...but again weight of carrying both batteries and fuel can be an issue....
As long as you manage the weight, these can work...





To sum up....in all honesty, for a "high-latitude adventure cruising boat", I'd opt for two things above all else:
a) Simplicity / KISS
b) Reliability

And, in my opinion, that means as much solar as you can fit, wind gens if you can stand the noise and will be in areas with enough wind...and if you need additional energy, an "old-school" low-rpm diesel genset (hopefully using a decent marine diesel)...



Hope this contributes...

fair winds..

John
Very interesting contribution; thanks John.

I'm still at the "kicking around ideas" stage, so all this is very helpful.

One approach, a pretty classic one, is just to have a single main engine with simple mechanical shaft drive, well maintained, and with a good fuel system (day tank, excellent filtration, polishing system, sumps in all the fuel tanks, etc.), and a normal heavy duty low speed AC generator, like a Northern Lights. Definitely a lot to be said for that.

There is no redundancy for propulsion, but there is for power production -- if the generator goes down, you can produce power with a school bus alternator on the main engine. So this is pretty good, and with the huge advantage of everything being large production standard equipment.


But one better for the generator would be a setup like Noelex's, with a small propulsion engine driving two school bus alternators. Better because it is much more serviceable, and there is even redundancy in the power heads. I see a clear advantage here for a boat which is indifferent about AC/DC, that is -- it has a robust charger/inverter system, which I would want in any case (ganged smart charger/inverters).


Whether or not to make the small engine also capable of propulsion is another question. I don't think the drag will be a big problem -- this is a 65 foot monohull, after all, and a good folding prop means little drag.

Does a sailing vessel NEED redundant mechanical propulsion? Maybe not -- maybe it's just cat envy speaking. But redundant mechanical propulsion has a couple of useful features, besides backing up the main machinery --

* super efficient slow motoring in calm conditions, and dead calms are pretty common in high latitudes.

* you might make the main engine a little smaller, because you could run both engines when you need max power


Is it worth the cost, extra hole in the boat, drag? Dunno; have to think about it some more.

For sure I don't want some experimental hybrid drive. There are some advantages, but imagine what that's going to be 10 years down the road -- three more and better generations of the system will have come out, and this will be long obsolete, unserviceable, and basically junk. I don't want to be up in Greenland somewhere with problems with a system like that which can't be fixed without a $500,000 diagnostic rig and gang of trained techs.


As to solar -- up here the windage is not worth it. Solar production in the summer in high latitudes is actually greater than in the tropics, because the days are longer, and temperatures lower (as you know, solar panels are very sensitive to temperature). But if you are out regularly in Force 8 or worse, you just can't afford the windage of solar panels. Maybe if panels could be embedded in the coachroof or something.

But solar (which my father had on his boat in Florida, and it was wonderful there) goes well with lead-acid batteries and relatively low power consumption boats. Lead-acid because these like to be charged slowly, and like to be kept topped up. Lead-acid doesn't go very well with generator power because of the long runs required to get them up to something close to fully charged.

For a high power consumption boat (my next boat will be even more electrical power intensive than my present one -- I plan on electric cooking for example), and especially, one with lithium batteries, generator power starts to make much more sense. You can produce the power you need in a short run with a large generator, and then run on batts.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:16   #25
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Another solution.
I'm building a 35'ish mono and there's not enough room for two diesels so I'm embedding all in one engine, Westerbeke 71hp diesel. Changed a new gearbox with two bolt PTO and in the engine there's another PTO available. In the smaller one in the engine I'm installing a hydraulic pump to run windlass and a bow thruster (if I'm installing one dunno yet). The other one will have a clutch and either a tractor pack generator or a school bus alternator, got plenty of time to decide which one. The propulsion is CPP.
On the coach roof as much inbuild solar as it fits, about 400w in todays solar effiencies. If needed there's space for 250w more on the arch.
All galley is domestic electric, induction cook top, separate owen, micro and a freezer.

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Old 07-01-2016, 01:42   #26
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Re: Ideal Generator?

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There has to be a compelling reason what the generator section on a purpose built generator is so big and heavy. I think by the time you end up designing the nearly perfect generator, it might look a whole lot like a Northern Lights?
Yes, a perfect AC generator will of course look just like a Northern Lights!

But for DC -- I think you're still confusing school bus alternators, with car-type ones. They are very different. School bus alternators are about the same size and weight per kW of output, as the generator heads on Northern Lights gensets. My fairly small 2.5kW one weighs about 33 pounds -- I had to rig up a Spanish windlass to install it. See: http://www.prestolite.com/literature...nators_web.pdf

It's a true workhorse which produces its full rated output already at 1800 RPM, and will produce it 24/7/365 without breaking a sweat. I run my washer/dryer off it, and even run the calorifier immersion heater. At full output in the summer here the case temperature rarely exceeds 80 degrees C. That's with engine room temperature of about 40C, which is far below the alternator's rated ambient temperature of 100C.

If it breaks (and I broke mine last summer after 14 years of hard service, operator error), you pull it off yourself and take it to any third world auto electric shop. No need for service techs or authorized service centers. You can keep a complete spare one on board for about $600. When I burned mine up due to operator error last summer, I pulled it off in about 30 minutes and had it completely rebuilt for $200.

This is true KISS power production -- simple, cheap, rugged, reliable, and totally field serviceable.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:22   #27
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Has anyone ever looked at the Steyr Motors hybrid drive system?

I am seriously considering one for my boat. The option of going either electric, diesel or both really interests me. From the brochures I get the impression that is could handle multiple fuel types, which could also be an advantage. Furthermore it could also function as a generator.. It could mean that I could go without a separate generator, but would mean that I'd have to take extra care of the combustion-engine-part as there's no redundancy there..
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:11   #28
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Yes, a perfect AC generator will of course look just like a Northern Lights!

But for DC -- I think you're still confusing school bus alternators, with car-type ones. They are very different. School bus alternators are about the same size and weight per kW of output, as the generator heads on Northern Lights gensets. My fairly small 2.5kW one weighs about 33 pounds -- I had to rig up a Spanish windlass to install it. See: http://www.prestolite.com/literature...nators_web.pdf

It's a true workhorse which produces its full rated output already at 1800 RPM, and will produce it 24/7/365 without breaking a sweat. I run my washer/dryer off it, and even run the calorifier immersion heater. At full output in the summer here the case temperature rarely exceeds 80 degrees C. That's with engine room temperature of about 40C, which is far below the alternator's rated ambient temperature of 100C.

If it breaks (and I broke mine last summer after 14 years of hard service, operator error), you pull it off yourself and take it to any third world auto electric shop. No need for service techs or authorized service centers. You can keep a complete spare one on board for about $600. When I burned mine up due to operator error last summer, I pulled it off in about 30 minutes and had it completely rebuilt for $200.

This is true KISS power production -- simple, cheap, rugged, reliable, and totally field serviceable.
Exactly. And a 570A 24v is built to mil specs, installed on a Humvee. They made a lot of them - hence mil surplus now.
Weights 51kg though. Still lighter than additional gen. And ca $500 on Ebay new.

With Lifepo4 batteries, the gen running principle became different - run your DC gen flexibly and with 100% load to charge batteries, and everything else from inverter.
If the bank is big enough - charge it when you motor.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:15   #29
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Re: Ideal Generator?

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Has anyone ever looked at the Steyr Motors hybrid drive system?

I am seriously considering one for my boat. The option of going either electric, diesel or both really interests me. From the brochures I get the impression that is could handle multiple fuel types, which could also be an advantage. Furthermore it could also function as a generator.. It could mean that I could go without a separate generator, but would mean that I'd have to take extra care of the combustion-engine-part as there's no redundancy there..
Complicated and expensive. Controlled by a water-cooled HCU.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:28   #30
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Re: Ideal Generator?

Off topic a little, but why does a School bus need a big Alt? Ambulance, yes, even my pickup as it could charge the bank in my RV, but a School bus?
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