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Old 13-05-2010, 13:49   #1
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Panda Mini 8

pandi mini 8 I that a good trouble unit Whats the thought of those that have owned one?
thanks
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Old 13-05-2010, 13:57   #2
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Make good anchors.
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Old 13-05-2010, 14:02   #3
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I thought I had read that
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Old 13-05-2010, 15:39   #4
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Poor quality rubber pads inside of the case - go bad if oild/fuel touches them. Bad access to the exchanger (if 8 is like 10 which we have here).

They are not top quality, but they are compact and pretty silent. I think I have seen more trouble with Panda Service men than with the genset per se.

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Old 13-05-2010, 17:01   #5
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The Mini 8 genset is both quiet and light, at 350 lbs. It easily runs all our AC consumers, including the air conditioning, and does so unobtrusively and efficiently, burning about about .5 gph when heavily loaded. It is great little genset, although it has one irritating characteristic that took me awhile to figure out.

Fischer Panda loves to use banjo fittings for the fuel system. Way overkill, in my opinion. The banjo fittings use copper washers. Every time you change out the fuel filter, you have to bleed the system. Those copper washers are easily warped and nicked and thus let in tiny bits of air, but enough to make the engine shut down. I tore my hair out for a long time in frustration until I figured it out. Now, I keep a good supply of those copper washers and just change them out rather than reuse. No more problem.

I've had mixed experiences with the service people. There is a particular Fischer Panda service center in Ft. Lauderdale that is to be avoided at all costs. I learned this the hard way, of course. However, the factory service people I have found to be top notch. Very helpful, and kept working with me on a problem, even via email, until it was solved.

It has been my experience, as well as that of the other cruisers I've met "out there", that gensets are one of the most frustrating pieces on a boat. Doesn't matter the brand, it seems that everybody has a complaint and a horror story.

ID
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Old 13-05-2010, 18:10   #6
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[QUOTE=Fischer Panda loves to use banjo fittings for the fuel system. Way overkill, in my opinion. The banjo fittings use copper washers. Every time you change out the fuel filter, you have to bleed the system. Those copper washers are easily warped and nicked and thus let in tiny bits of air, but enough to make the engine shut down. I tore my hair out for a long time in frustration until I figured it out. Now, I keep a good supply of those copper washers and just change them out rather than reuse. No more problem. ID[/QUOTE]

FYI copper washers are used because they may be reused indefinately. They work harden as they are compressed when the fitting is tightened. Whenever they are removed from an application, heat them to red hot and plunge into cold water. Unlike most other metals, this will anneal (soften) the washers, making them as good as new.
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Old 13-05-2010, 19:08   #7
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Cool! (as in, "nice", although I suppose that's also the second part of the instruction, too!)

Thanks for the tip.

I've also taken fine grit sandpaper to them, as well, but that's a lot slower and probably not nearly as effective as your method.

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Old 13-05-2010, 21:47   #8
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Panda model AGT4000 really sucks.Never have anything to do with one of those.
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Old 14-05-2010, 02:54   #9
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I hate the whole idea of them. The whole engineering philosophy behind them is just wrong for marine use IMHO. See: Fischer Panda: The Final Chapter. They are overstressed, underbuilt, overpriced, over-engineered and poorly engineered (the last two, a terrible combination). A Rube Goldberg, student engineer's fantasy, made to torture you.

To add insult to injury, the one-cylinder AGT 4000 has a practical continuous output of only 1.5kW (see the referenced article), despite being marketed as a 4kW unit. If light weight and compactness are so important to you, you would be much better off with a Honda portable generator, which will produce an honest 2kW day in and day out for one tenth of the cost and 1/100 of the headache.

For serious loads, though, give me a dead simple, underengineered, relatively inefficient, cheap, heavy, low tech, fixable by anyone, low continuous speed (1500 RPM) genset with an oversized, understressed, completely mechanical diesel engine driving it. Like our 6.5kW Kohler lump of iron with its 1,000cc three-cylinder Yanmar engine. I'm sure it uses twice the fuel and weighs three times as much as the comparable Panda, but you press the button and it starts. Every time. And runs, throbbing away quietly, with a pleasant, loping, understressed sound, until you shut it off. You change the oil and filters once a year and keep the raw water filter clear. That's it, for years and thousands of hours. And that's the way gensets should work, in my opinion.
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Old 14-05-2010, 07:44   #10
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The Panda model that was Whisper's is a single-cylinder (Farymann, IIRC), DC model and yes, everything I've read about it is that it should be avoided. The 8 Mini uses a 2-cylinder Kubota engine.

With the Mini's, it's not the engines, but (I think), the over-engineering of the overall unit that contributes to the reported problems. The model does have advantages, but they come with some costs.

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Old 14-05-2010, 11:14   #11
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The AGT4000 that I have been working on has a Kubota E300 engine.I think all AGT4000 models had this engine.Its probably a good engine.Its the Panda bolt on stuff that causes problems and makes those problems hard to work on.
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Old 14-05-2010, 11:23   #12
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I've worked on a fair number of these things, I hated them all. the 4kw units run a single cylinder engine at the redline, sealed in a box, with the sacrifical anode being the only thing keeping the saltwater from spraying all over inside the sealed box. The capacator box has been a nightmare as well as a godsend. you can add capacitors to start larger loads than comparable gens, but if any one of the several fails (and they fail) nothing works. On certain thinner hulled boats the slower heavier simplier gensets are quieter, the wild redline revs of the panda transmit to things that you'd never imagine could make sound.
Just my 2c
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Old 17-05-2010, 01:37   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post

It has been my experience, as well as that of the other cruisers I've met "out there", that gensets are one of the most frustrating pieces on a boat. Doesn't matter the brand, it seems that everybody has a complaint and a horror story.

ID
Not me. No complaints and no horror stories.

If you read the data on gear used in the ARC ("Great Atlantic Gear Test"), you will see a huge difference in statistics of breakdowns of some kinds of gensets, compared to other kinds. If I recall correctly, the breakdown rate for Panda gensets on ARC transats was usually more than 50%. Others (I think Onan was consistently the best) were 0% some years.

Gensets should not be the "most frustrating" piece of gear on a boat. They should be engineered to be dead reliable. That should be the main design value. The engines should be oversized and understressed. They should be rugged and simple. They should avoid flights of engineering fancy at all costs.

IMHO.
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