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Old 23-01-2014, 08:37   #1
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Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Does anybody cruise with a propane generator aboard?

What is the output? Would you recommend one?
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Old 23-01-2014, 09:21   #2
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

I assume you're talking about a portable generator. I'm a big fan of propane powered equipment. It's clean and the engines tend to be more reliable. My dinghy outboard is a Lehr 2.5 and I love it. I have a Honda 2000i gasoline powered generator I carry on my boat that I plan to convert to propane. I don't want gasoline on my boat. That said I'm just a coastal cruiser and never far from a source of propane. I think you have to consider where you'll be cruising.

Also consider that a small gasoline powered generator that is converted to propane will put out a little less power unless you change the pistons to get a higher compression ratio. Propane is 110 octane so some of it's energy is lost in an engine designed to run on 87 octane gasoline.

There are generators that can run on either propane or gasoline and that might be a good choice for a cruiser.

The Lehr outboards are designed to run on propane and take advantage of the higher octane of propane. My Lehr 2.5 seems to be a very strong 2.5 hp.
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Old 23-01-2014, 09:35   #3
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Thanks Hopcar.

I had seen your comments when I did a search on the topic.
There's not much info on them yet. We're ahead of the
curve.

Is there a propane generator you would recommend?

I am also looking at the Lehr outboard.
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Old 23-01-2014, 09:41   #4
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

All depends on your load and capacity of course!

google came up with some pretty good information rather quickly... This site seems pretty helpful...

Propane and propane generators

one example a 5k, seems to be overkill for your boat, but gives a good place to start...

How long would a 5000 Watt Generator with a 10 HP engine at 50% load run on a 20# propane cylinder? (edit regular 5 gal cylinder)

10hp at 50% load would be using 5 horse power to generate 2500 watts of energy.
5hp x 10,000 btu would consume 50,000 btu per hour.
Using a 20# cylinder that produces 441,600 total btu, the engine consuming 50,000 btu per hour would run for about 8.8 hours.
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Old 23-01-2014, 09:54   #5
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Thanks Happy.

That site gives lots of data. I guess I'm looking for more
subjective responses.

There's a 1350w generator on Ebay for $304US. Would it
stand up to the marine environment? Anybody use one?
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Old 23-01-2014, 10:04   #6
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
Thanks Happy.

That site gives lots of data. I guess I'm looking for more
subjective responses.

There's a 1350w generator on Ebay for $304US. Would it
stand up to the marine environment? Anybody use one?
No problemo on the help!

Seems like for $300 + $100 for lines/reg/solenoid plus your tank... Can't complain about longevity.... Be our guinea pig man.....

BTW... You will need to mod a locker or mount that tank outside... AND... get a CO/gas alarm for your sound sleep (AND ABILITY TO WAKE UP)
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Old 23-01-2014, 10:08   #7
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Happy:

Roger on all that.

I just might be that guinea pig.
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Old 23-01-2014, 11:45   #8
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

I have seen propane Onan generators in motor homes where they were installed in an outside compartment with good ventilation. The worry I would have about one inside is that it is a vibrating piece of equipment which often times have a tendency to loosen stuff. Being mounted in the lower portion of a boat creates a trap in the bilge for any leaked propane gas. A scary scenario. If mounted outside where any gas would go overboard it would be fine.
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Old 23-01-2014, 11:52   #9
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Lancerbye:

That's true, just like any generator on board.
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Old 23-01-2014, 13:56   #10
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

I've come across a few converted ones. They seemed fine.

The hassle I've always seen is propane is not as convienet to come by as diesel or gasoline.
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Old 23-01-2014, 14:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
Does anybody cruise with a propane generator aboard?

What is the output? Would you recommend one?
Have not seen them aboard boats, but have a friend who runs one ashore. His is just a good old Brigs & Stratton motor with a conversion kit.
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Old 23-01-2014, 14:36   #12
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

I'm a big fan of the Honda EU2000i and I think a lot of boaters agree. The similar Yamaha gets good marks as well. My home back up generator has a Honda engine but is not a Honda generator. I bought it from Northern Tools. It will run on Gasoline, Propane or Natural Gas. I start it once a year at the beginning of hurricane season and for more than ten years it has started right up.

These people make a lot of conversion kits: Generators
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Old 23-01-2014, 14:47   #13
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
Happy:

Roger on all that.

I just might be that guinea pig.
seems hard to believe, but I just ran numbers from that website???

1350 w with a 2.7hp burns 13,500 btu/hr @ 50% .... 441,600 btu in a 20# cyl means 327 hrs of run time?

I may beat you to the guinea pig stage....
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Old 23-01-2014, 14:54   #14
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

I don't know about your math, but you'll burn more than one gallon of propane to equal one gallon of gas
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Old 23-01-2014, 15:07   #15
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Re: Is a Propane Generator Feasible?

> 1350 w with a 2.7hp burns 13,500 btu/hr @ 50% .... 441,600 btu in a 20# cyl means 327 hrs of run time?

Make that 32.7 hours (441.6 /13.5)
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