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Old 06-01-2014, 13:53   #31
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

"a boat manufacture actually offered the Honda 2000 as an option. Mounted permanently in the engine compartment with a SS tube welded to the exhaust, and ran thru the transom with loop to prevent water ingestion."

Wouldn't that cost just as much as a small diesel genset?

What is the advantage of using a gasoline generator in those circumstances?
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Old 06-01-2014, 14:00   #32
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

"OK, let me step back in, don't like seeing it come to blows!"

There are few cruising topics that will generate as much interesting discussion, disagreement, and misstatements as will "how to produce power for live aboard in remote locations."

Over the last 20 years I've probably spent several hundred hours and countless beers arguing this issue with many knowledgeable cruisers. We all have, and most cling fiercely, to our opinions which are probably based on limited knowledge and experience.

Just listen to all the shouting and arguing and figure out what makes you comfortable. Which option will cause you the least stress when it has been cloudy for a week, in the middle of the night when you start thinking about boat fires, and when it comes time to write the checks.

All the options discussed have worked successfully for many years for many cruisers.
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Old 06-01-2014, 14:04   #33
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
"OK, let me step back in, don't like seeing it come to blows!"

There are few cruising topics that will generate as much interesting discussion, disagreement, and misstatements as will "how to produce power for live aboard in remote locations."

Over the last 20 years I've probably spent several hundred hours and countless beers arguing this issue with many knowledgeable cruisers. We all have, and most cling fiercely, to our opinions which are probably based on limited knowledge and experience.

Just listen to all the shouting and arguing and figure out what makes you comfortable. Which option will cause you the least stress when it has been cloudy for a week, in the middle of the night when you start thinking about boat fires, and when it comes time to write the checks.

All the options discussed have worked successfully for many years for many cruisers.
Yes, I understand this, just thought I would try to restore a bit of calm to the brewing storm. Since I started the thread. Don't want to cause any (additional) divorces.
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Old 06-01-2014, 14:12   #34
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

"Don't want to cause any (additional) divorces."

If you don't believe strongly and argue forcibly then it probably isn't worth discussing.

Most cruisers, at least the full timers I know, take these heated discussions as a source of entertainment and seldom take them personally.

I hope that is the attitude in this forum!
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Old 06-01-2014, 14:55   #35
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

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Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
...Most cruisers, at least the full timers I know, take these heated discussions as a source of entertainment and seldom take them personally.

I hope that is the attitude in this forum!
I rate this forum as the best "Technical Forum" on the net, it should not be treated as entertainment. Those that do would be better off in the "General Sailing Forum" where they can argue their case all day - and all night.

As you quite rightly say TascomSailor:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
"...We all have, and most cling fiercely, to our opinions which are probably based on limited knowledge and experience....
This is the heart of the problem. Too many people voice their opinions here instead of their experiences.
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Old 06-01-2014, 15:19   #36
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

Whoa!

Why would you think that entertainment and technical advice are mutually exclusive?

I spent my career providing very technical advice and education in state of the art computer technology and found it enormously entertaining... and I was one of the premier "experts" in my little esoteric field.

When I said entertainment - I meant the technical and detailed discussion was entertaining but that does not diminish the value or accuracy of the technical content.

As far as opinions go - I can state all the facts I want about gasoline generators and those facts might even be correct but it is still my opinion as to whether it is safe or wise to have the gasoline generator stowed below deck.

The facts stated by colemj are also correct and relevant but his opinion (how he interprets those facts) differs from my opinion.

So I think we all state the facts and interpret them or apply them to our boating situations based on opinions.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:04   #37
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

"You must have every anchorage to yourself... 7 hrs/day running a Honda? Can't imagine anyone anchoring within a 1/2 mile."
1/2 a mile is about right, 10 is even better.
Actually sailors tend to follow me around and refer to me as the mother ship as I carry all the things they want that don't fit on a sailboat.
I've asked but nobody has ever complained about the Honda.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:11   #38
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

"the fuel tank is sealed with the cap. run a fuel hose from the cap to a marine gasoline outboard can, and you now have a good fuel tank. problem solved."

The Honda will draw fuel from another tank up to 5 ft of head as long as the connection is airtight. Remove the vent from the cap and thread a nipple into the hole tightly. I've done this but prefer to fill the tank every day to check for problems. Dealers choice.
They make a companion to the 2000 the will connect to give you 4K and serve as a backup if the first gives you problems.
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Old 07-01-2014, 15:17   #39
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

Leaving aside the very real issues of gasoline below decks and the advantages of diesel engines. Electrically, using an AC generator to power a DC battery charger is inherently an inefficient way to charge batteries. I have a 4.4KW diesel generator driving a 100A DC inverter/charger. It works fine. But I will bet that 95% of my genset run time is to charge batteries not power other AC loads. If I had it to do over, I would install a small diesel engine driving a big DC alternator: simpler, cheaper, more efficient, less dangerous.
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Old 07-01-2014, 19:52   #40
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

Pete, we built our own extended fuel tank for our Honda portable when we were using it, The Trawler Beach House: Extended Use Tank For A Honda Generator In 4 Easy Steps . That is until we installed a permanent genset, The Trawler Beach House: Do-It-Yourself Generator Install . Chuck
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:34   #41
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

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Pete, we built our own extended fuel tank for our Honda portable when we were using it, The Trawler Beach House: Extended Use Tank For A Honda Generator In 4 Easy Steps . That is until we installed a permanent genset, The Trawler Beach House: Do-It-Yourself Generator Install . Chuck
Wow, thanks Chuck, both of those are really terrific and clear and easy to follow. Great post. One question, you say your 3.5kw NextGen is running a 16,000btu A/C, do you know how many startup amps your A/C draws? The boat I am looking at has a Mermaid 16,500btu, the rated current is 12 amps, but the startup current is around 22 amps (1.8 x 12, according to their spec), with a seawater pump at around 1 amp that comes to around 23-24 amps. I'm concerned that it is too close to the 30A capacity of the NextGen 3.5, especially since their tech sheet doesn't indicate whether that is rated or max amperage. I would guess that as the A/C unit ages it will also draw more startup amps. So my question (long-winded) is whether you hear any significant slowing or near-stalling of the genset when you start up your A/C.

Thanks again for those two great links to your installations! Pete
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:05   #42
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

When you worry about the start-up surge of an A/C unit, you can install a soft-start capacitor.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:34   #43
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

As others have said:

A Honda or Yamaha suitcase generator (I mention specific brands because these two are notably better than others in terms of noise and reliability) is an acceptable solution for power, especially if it is just to supplement solar or wind or alternator charging and not for very frequent use.

In that case, for God's sake don't install it somewhere below decks. They are not made for that and you can have petrol/gasoline vapor leaks, exhaust leaks, other potentially deadly situations. Just use it on deck or preferably on a swim platform.

As you have heard, this will bother some people, so you will want to be sensitive about that and try to stay further away from other boats and don't run at times of day or night when you know people want quiet. That being said -- in my experience, the Honda and Yamaha generators (not other brands) are so quiet that it doesn't take much distance to protect your neighbors from annoyance. I have not, personally, ever been annoyed by one -- they are much less noisy than, say, Espar or Webasto central heating, and not really much noisier than a larger wind generator.

Real marine diesel generators are expensive because -- like a lot of things in life -- they are worth it. Really. A good fixed installed low speed generator like a Northern Lights, Onan, Kohler is a totally different animal from a suitcase generator. These will last for thousands of hours -- they are made for continuous use. They can be installed in such a way as to be almost silent. They use much less fuel per power generated, and are fed from your main tank so you don't futz around. You can run them every day for hours without annoying either neighbors or yourself.

They cost not double, but I guess 7 or 8 times what a suitcase generator costs, when you figure installation. But they are really worth it if you need power every day and/or if you need an abundance of AC power for things like watermakers, washing machines, etc.

But for many sailors -- especially those whose boats live in marinas with shore power, and who sail coastally, often stay in marinas, and don't usually spend more than a couple of days at a time disconnected from shore power, suitcase generators are a perfectly good solution, in my opinion. A real marine generator would be a waste of money for such sailors.

You might also look at solar. Very many cruisers are able to feed their whole power budget, or nearly all of it, from a good solar installation. This will usually be less expensive than a marine generator, and will have virtually no maintenance or running costs. Fantastic solution if you can make it work for your needs.
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:30   #44
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

As Dockhead posts. Those little generators are good for their purpose. They are engineered and designed as portable generators. Only run them out side on deck, lashed to the mast. They are not designed to be installed in a locker of any sort.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:24   #45
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Re: Inverter/Generator permanant installation

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Wow, thanks Chuck, both of those are really terrific and clear and easy to follow. Great post. One question, you say your 3.5kw NextGen is running a 16,000btu A/C, do you know how many startup amps your A/C draws? The boat I am looking at has a Mermaid 16,500btu, the rated current is 12 amps, but the startup current is around 22 amps (1.8 x 12, according to their spec), with a seawater pump at around 1 amp that comes to around 23-24 amps. I'm concerned that it is too close to the 30A capacity of the NextGen 3.5, especially since their tech sheet doesn't indicate whether that is rated or max amperage. I would guess that as the A/C unit ages it will also draw more startup amps. So my question (long-winded) is whether you hear any significant slowing or near-stalling of the genset when you start up your A/C.

Thanks again for those two great links to your installations! Pete
Pete, I doubt you will have any problems. Our AC is on a separate panel from all of the rest of the boats electrical. Both panels are connected to the genset. You will need a hard start capacitor on the AC unit for the genset. I would make a call to Next Gen and they can give you the definitive answer for your unit. I suspect my start up is the same as yours. Most generators will have a max surge for a short period of time and then a continuous duty max. The Honda would not start our AC unit. The AC is an older KingAir model. Using both panels, the AC has no problem with other things on the boat running at the same time as long as it isn't heavy duty like the water heater. Chuck
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