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Old 01-06-2013, 08:42   #1
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Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

We have a 37 ft. Endeavour sailboat that does not have A/C installed. However, the boss (wife) likes to have A/C for sleeping, on our trips in July and August when it often gets over 90 degrees during the day, and not a lot cooler at night. Installing an onboard boat-specific A/C and a generator to run it, and all the other electrical things required is not in our budget or within my skill and dexterity level. And I also don't want the electrical complexities that would come with it either.

So... here's what I've come up with:
While tied to shore power, this setup works great for us. I bought a 5000 BTU portable (home window type) A/C unit for about $100. It weighs 37 pounds (not too heavy to lug around for an old guy). It draws 515 watts. I then made a replacement hatch door out of marine plywood, cut it out to accept the A/C unit and varnished it to afford some additional protection from the salt air. I then bolted the A/C unit to this hatch cover. It slides in pretty good in the slot the original hatch cover slid into. So I can fairly easily get it in and out and store it below in a fairly minimal amount of space. This A/C unit is very functional and cools our whole below deck space when hooked to shore power. That was the easy part.

Now to get the A/C unit to work while moored or anchored:
I bought a Honda 2000i portable generator ($1,000) which can easily handle the 515 watts the A/C unit draws. The Honda is very quiet and when I put it in the cockpit and run the A/C, we can hardly hear it. The Honda unit only requires its "eco" mode to run this small A/C unit, and just hums a little (can barely hear it whether standing in the cockpit and not at all down below. The A/C is also pretty quiet and is not at all disturbing so as to inhibit us from falling asleep after a good day's sail and a little reading. And I'm sure the Honda generator will not disturb any neighbors at anchor, as the Endeavour has a deep cockpit and a high bridge deck that retains the humming sound of the Honda unit. So far... so good.

I think the only downside to this setup when we're not on shore power is storing the gasoline necessary to run the Honda generator. I can put up with this in order to have A/C whenever we want it (provided we don't stay away from shore power for too long at a time - which is fine, because the boss likes to tie up to a marina every few days anyway.). And the overall low cost of the whole project definitely fit the budget of us two old retired folks.

Has anybody else tried something like this?
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:28   #2
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I use a Honda 2000i on my boat to charge batteries and run some appliances, though not AC. My only caution about the set up you describe is the exhaust. CO is a real concern if you run the generator in a deep cockpit. Please be certain you have good ventilation that doesn't bring the exhaust into the cabin through opened hatches, ports, dorado vents, etc. Also, a CO detector inside the cabin is a must.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:31   #3
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

I used one of the cruise air hatch AC's one season with a Honda 2K. We had a PDQ 34. The AC struggled when in the main salon when cooking. It was great in the cabin. Yes gasoline is a problem, but it is the same problem for the dingy motor.

We did that for one season then bought a bigger boat.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:38   #4
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

Tayana42... Thanks for the advice to get a CO detector for the cabin. I did not think of this, but will get one before using the Honda generator in the cockpit away from a marina. Although, to maximize the A/C's efficiency we make sure all ports and vents are closed when using it (except for the port in the head, and we keep the head door closed). Still a good idea to get a CO detector. Thanks again.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:56   #5
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

Be careful, Please.

BBC News - Kelly Webster and Lauren Thornton die on Windermere boat
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:00   #6
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

I have a 5000 BTU marine air conditioner but no generator on my boat. When I want AC while on the hook I also use a Honda 2000i to power it. I just run a power cord from the Honda to my power inlet and every thing works fine. CO is a real concern and I hate gasoline on my boat but right now it's all I've got.
I see that Lehr is working on a propane powered generator. Propane puts out less CO than gasoline and is less messy to handle. I guess I could convert my Honda to propane as well.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:08   #7
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

A hammock attached on deck for your night sleeping habits! Instead of counting sheep, you'll be counting stars before going to sleep. All bets are off if it rains! By the way, consider leaving the Honda generator on top of your deck thus allowing exhaust fumes to dissipate in open air; no more worries about CO getting in your confines. Mauritz
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:24   #8
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

Less CO is still CO. It sneaks up on you, is accumulative in your blood, and kills you.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:51   #9
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim767 View Post
The article says the generator may have been faulty (killing them). Generators are going to produce CO faulty or not.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:05   #10
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

In rivers where, the current and winds are opposite, it is very easy for the boat to get turned where the wind comes from the stern. Happened to me a few times.

Great care needs to be taken when anchored. The winds are not always on the nose in those cases.

I would not run a generator at night even with a CO detector, which I have.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:32   #11
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

Do you have dorados or other openings allowing air or CO into your cabin? For example, vents to your engine compartment? My diesel has vents in the cabin and on deck to draw additional air. I found that when the cabin was cooled down, the air conditioner, at night, made it too cold in the cabin.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:46   #12
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

I would love me some dorado vents....

Sounds yummy!!!
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:26   #13
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

"Less CO is still CO"
Can't argue with that but in this case less is better than more.
You're right, you still need to be very careful.
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Old 01-06-2013, 13:28   #14
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

I've ordered a combination CO/smoke detector. Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:01   #15
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Re: Portable A/C run off Honda 2000i generator

I would check the start-up current draw of the AC also - it may be more than the max output of the Honda 2000. Our 16000 BTU AC has a start-up current of 14 Amps, but requires only 5.5 Amps to run.
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