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Old 28-07-2007, 19:40   #1
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Portable Generator on Boat

A neighbor at the marina, asked my opinion of putting a portable generator on his boat. He wants to send the power in thru his shorepower inlet.

I told him I would not do it for a couple of reasons. Carbon Monoxide, heat from exhaust, stowage of unit when not in use, and questionable amount of power that is actually available.

Most portable (small) generators, that I have seen have two outlets.
It seems that he is asking for too much.

I DID NOT BRING UP THE NOISE ISSUE I.E. IRRITATION TO OTHERS @ ANCHOR.
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Old 28-07-2007, 20:02   #2
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I have been looking at Honda Inverter generators. 2kw, low noise. light and very small. use one litre an hour and provide good pure sine power. Would be no noiser than running your main motor to charge the battery.
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Old 28-07-2007, 20:17   #3
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I have a Honda eu2000i, which I chose after quite a bit of research. If you already have gasoline for an outboard (which I did until yesterday, when my trimaran sale closed) then a very convenient hack is to use the same fittings with a Y-valve, allowing operation from a standard plastic tank. To stow the generator, disconnect while still running and burn the remaining fuel in the line... so explosive fumes in a locker or below are minimized.

The little Honda generators are absolutely excellent... very quiet, self-adjusting to match the load, and easy on the back (the 2000 watt unit is 43 pounds). They also have a direct battery charge output and can be parallelled for twice the power.

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Old 28-07-2007, 20:52   #4
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I also have a honda eu2000 and its great. Noise is not an issue, I can watch a movie without hardy knowing its running on deck. The air valve closes so no fumes when stored. A deck mounted storage box may be an idea on some boats, I store my'n in the lazarett.
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Old 28-07-2007, 23:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer
A neighbor at the marina, asked my opinion of putting a portable generator on his boat. He wants to send the power in thru his shorepower inlet.

I told him I would not do it for a couple of reasons. Carbon Monoxide, heat from exhaust, stowage of unit when not in use, and questionable amount of power that is actually available.
These are not reasons not to do it. They are just things you have to take in to account when devising your solution. You have to think about CO, hot exhaust, and storage on land too. And fuel storage, and maintenance.

As for questioning the power available, it isn't that hard to find out of the generator meets its published specifications. If it doesn't, it is defective and you demand your supplier repair/replace it.

Quote:
Most portable (small) generators, that I have seen have two outlets.
It seems that he is asking for too much.
If he is going to feed power in through the shore power inlet, he only needs one outlet. Make sure it is suitable for the amount of power. i.e. Use a 20 amp plug in a 20 amp socket to draw 20 amps from the generator; make sure the generator is properly fused; that sort of thing.

Yes, a small portable generator doesn't give you the same amount of power that a 30 A shore power connection can provide, but it is enough to run a battery charger or a microwave oven.

Quote:
I DID NOT BRING UP THE NOISE ISSUE I.E. IRRITATION TO OTHERS @ ANCHOR.
That can also be an issue, but it can also be managed. It is no longer the case that all small generators sound like a muscle car with a failed muffler. And, of course, you have a choice of when to run the generator.
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Old 29-07-2007, 06:13   #6
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After much thought on this I am considering changing camps and getting a small honda or yamaha generator. They are becoming quieter which is making it easier to justify them from a 'good neighbor' point of view. But for someone with a small boat they have the added advantage of size and weight. Having a light generator that can be stored low in the boat while underway is preferrable to adding the weight of solar, wind and support frame eight feet above the waterline. Has anyone used the Yamaha EF1000iSC?
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Old 29-07-2007, 06:15   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer
A neighbor at the marina, asked my opinion of putting a portable generator on his boat. He wants to send the power in thru his shorepower inlet.
This is simple. I send all 6KW of my "portable" (air cooled) Yanmar diesel genset into my twin 30 amp shore power circuits via the existing shore power cables, a Y adapter and a special 50 amp socket I installed on the genset panel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer

I told him I would not do it for a couple of reasons. Carbon Monoxide, heat from exhaust, stowage of unit when not in use, and questionable amount of power that is actually available.
Carbon Monoxide is not an issue if you do the installation of the air cooled genset with that in mind. Two things can be done: 1) route the exhaust gas through a dry exhaust stack up above deck level if installing the genset below decks. 2) Simply put the genset aft, where the wind at anchor will carry the CO aft off the boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheif Engineer
Most portable (small) generators, that I have seen have two outlets.
It seems that he is asking for too much.
Just rewire to accept your shore power receptacle. Piece o' cake.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer

I DID NOT BRING UP THE NOISE ISSUE I.E. IRRITATION TO OTHERS @ ANCHOR.
Anchor far away and run the genset at noon or so when nobody is around. The bigger and louder your genset, the less time you should have to run it. I create a ruckus for about 1/2 hour to 45 mins each day. On the next boat, I'm mounting below decks so it can be run any time of the day or night out at anchor (we anchor VERY far out)
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Old 29-07-2007, 06:25   #8
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An ungrounded portable generator (a “separately derived system”) may provide a “floating neutral”, which allows a voltage potential between the boat’s neutral & boat ground, resulting in a reverse polarity indication.
The AC neutral and ground are not bonded aboard the boat, and rely upon shore-side (supply) bonding.

To determine if your generator uses a floating or bonded neutral, perform this simple test.
1. With the engine off, use an ohm meter between the ground and neutral conductors in the outlet.
2. If it indicates open circuit (infinite Ohms), the neutral is floating.
3. A short circuit (zero Ohms) will indicate that the neutral is bonded to ground.

See also:

Reverse Polarity Indicators (RPI):
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery...age.php?i=1717

Portable Generator How-to?:
Portable Generator How-to?

Electrical question:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tion-4208.html
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Old 29-07-2007, 07:26   #9
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I use a Honda EU2000i, had it a couple of years. Greatest thing since sliced bread. Very popular with cruisers now. I do get a reverse polarity indication on my panel but everything works fine. Just use a short extension cord and a pigtail to plug into my shore power plug.
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Old 29-07-2007, 10:29   #10
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Been using a Honda portable for years and with care it has been wonderful. No carbon Monoxide (again with care), very little noise, no complaints from neighbors, big savings from an installed marine unit, we carry gasoline for the outboard, so not a problem. it appears that chief engineer is basing his advise to his neighbor on personal opinion as opposed to the realities of the product as an option. As with any gasoline combustion engine operating on a boat, certain requirements make this a safe and convenient method of providing 120 volt power away from the dock and in emergencies where the power grid is down for whatever reason. It has served us well after storms have knocked dout the power for days at the marina.
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Old 31-07-2007, 21:16   #11
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Boy Oh Boy!!!!! You guys are great!!!!!

While I admit I have some opinions, I could not in all honesty (yes I am an Honest Yacht Mechanic) give advice without knowing that said advice was sound.

What better place to "bounce this idea around" than this board.

The depth of insight really impresses me, especially that intricacies of the finer points of reverse polarity....etc.

There seems to be a unanimity regarding Honda

Thank you
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:54   #12
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Other Brands

Has anyone tried one of the new generator brands that are popping up in every store (WalMart, CDN Tire)? The latest CDN Tire flyer lists a 2150W 4-hp Mitsubishi for $500 CDN. That is about one quarter the price of a Honda EU-2000. Be interested to hear if they are as quiet and how reliable they are.
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Old 01-08-2007, 07:58   #13
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phiggins,

I see quite a few Kipors around. They look exactly like a Honda except they're yellow. They are an inverter generator same as the Honda EU2000i. Probably a lot cheaper. Oops, just checked the price, they want over $900 for the 2000, that's more than a Honda!!
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:05   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phiggins
Has anyone tried one of the new generator brands that are popping up in every store (WalMart, CDN Tire)? The latest CDN Tire flyer lists a 2150W 4-hp Mitsubishi for $500 CDN. That is about one quarter the price of a Honda EU-2000. Be interested to hear if they are as quiet and how reliable they are.
We've got (had) one of those 950 watt cheapies from Home Hardware. First one split the gas tank second time I pulled the cord to start it. Second one ran once then never produced electricity again. The third one (which we have now) seems to work fine but have only run it once. I guess the best part is the dealer stood behind the product and replaced them as things happened.

We carried one with us last year (25' express cruiser). More of a PITA to deal with the extra gas can and storing the thing securely than it was worth. I don't imagine we'll be taking it with us ever again.
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:51   #15
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There are 2 separate threads on Kipor Generators:
kipor generators
Kipor Generators

And see also previous discussions:

Portable Generator How-to?
Portable Generator How-to?

Electrical question (re: Portable Gen’ Grounding)
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tion-4208.html
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