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Old 19-06-2010, 13:17   #31
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The Honda, while a nice genset, requires gas, maintenance, and produces enough noise and pollution that others in the anchorage may vocally object. However, it, coupled with an appropriate sized battery charger can do an excellent job of restoring batteries. The other consideration is that I wouldn't leave the vessel as long as the genset was running.

I'd look at the load you place on your electrical system first, and the cost of the Honda vs solar panels second. If you get the loads down to something within your battery capacity and discharge level, and the solar panels more than exceed the average draw, you'll get longer life from the panels.
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Old 19-06-2010, 13:35   #32
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The Honda, while a nice genset, requires gas, maintenance, and produces enough noise and pollution that others in the anchorage may vocally object.
Yes, the Honda takes about a pint of oil during an oil change (there is no filter) oh and a spark plug, about 10 minutes work. With the honda running in the cockpit if I walk a couple of boats down the pontoon it can't be heard, unlike flapping halyards. Interestingly several of the channel island marinas allow battery charging up to mid day, so thats gennies, engines, windy things .

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However, it, coupled with an appropriate sized battery charger can do an excellent job of restoring batteries. The other consideration is that I wouldn't leave the vessel as long as the genset was running
No I wouldn't either but a big multi stage battery charger will make short work of the charging with 1.6kw from the Genny.

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I'd look at the load you place on your electrical system first, and the cost of the Honda vs solar panels second. If you get the loads down to something within your battery capacity and discharge level, and the solar panels more than exceed the average draw, you'll get longer life from the panels.
That assumes you sail somewhere there is sunshine.

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Old 19-06-2010, 13:44   #33
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Quote:
if I walk a couple of boats down the pontoon it can't be heard
Yes, but if you were anchored upwind from me, I wouldn't be able to hear myself think. It's all relative - in a marina you have lots of other noises, and are in close proximity to other boats, so maybe it blends in better. Right now I can hear birds chirping in the mangroves about 200' feet away, and waves lapping at the bow.
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Old 19-06-2010, 13:51   #34
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I smile at those who refuse to carry a Honda because it runs on gasoline. What do their outboards run on?
It's not what they run on, it's how they're stored. My outboard sits on a pushpit mount. That's a huge difference than storing a generator in an unvented locker.

Huge.
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Old 19-06-2010, 15:53   #35
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Well heres my 10cents worth, while we were cruising in Tasmania a few years back I installed 270W of solar panels cost about $2700 all in with hardware, and too be honest in southern latitudes I'd have been better off spending money on diesel for our genset, Local Tasmanian paper had an article a few weeks ago showing time to recover costs on land based solar panel installations down here blew out to (Ithink) 25yrs, so unless you are thinking of moving north, buy the Generator, also make sure you have a smart reg for your engine driven alternator and a good battery monitor, and then do some dock wandering and talk to people in your area who have solar panels and see what they think, we know live in Tassie and maybe wind is the way to go
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Old 20-06-2010, 06:53   #36
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It does depend on where you sail and what your energy requirements are. My boat is similar to the OP and I have two 85 watt Solar panels an Outback MMP and a Honda 2000i generator.

I'm in the Caribbean.... most days the solar panels handle my electrical requirements of a Freezer/ refig, radio, computer, DVD, GPS and about anything else I have with no problem. However, like the past few weeks, we have had a front moving through Invest 92 and good sunshine has been hard to find. While I could run and ware out my boats 27hp diesel to recharge with the accompanying noise... the Honda 2000i has far less noise and can be heard less and will allow me to use the small Microwave I have and any power tools I may want to make use of with out the losses of using an inverter.

The cost of a wind generator and less than optimal location available have prevented me from considering installation. I typically do not care to take a mooring or anchor where I have 15+ knots of wind and that is another factor... plus in my area those winds are not typical in the summer and early fall times.

I find no problem storing the Honda 2000i in a locker in the cockpit. I typically run it dry but as has been previously stated they do have a superior gas tank/ lid system and have no real problem with moving them into the cabin for short moves about the area. I typically install the Honda 2000i in the Walk Thru to the swim platform and secure it with a strong board/ rod thru the handle and lock it with a good cable primarily to prevent it's unortherized removal. I store the extra gas on deck in 3 gallon containers that have a nice nozzle that fits the generator so well you never spill a drop when refueling.

As I tend to "stay out" more than a few days and generally more like a couple of weeks before I come into a place to re-provision with fresh foods/ fruits/ bread... and my personal love of having an Ice Cube or two in my Sundowner most evenings... I want/ need to have the power aboard to handle it. I feel the three sources I have fit my personal needs in the location I'm operating in. #1 Solar, #2 Honda 2000i #3 the boats engine.

Everyone has their own requirements for their specific area and type of sailing they are doing. However if you are in an area where Solar can work for you... it is by far the better and most cost effective method of keeping the power in the batteries for use on the boat. I think everyone should make sure their boat engine is able to supply back up power to the banks but it is the least desirable way to do it. The Honda 2000i is a great alternative for most small to medium size boats as the OP was talking about. Larger boats should most likely have built in diesel water jacked for cooling and lower noise operation... but are normally not an option for my size boat.
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Old 20-06-2010, 07:10   #37
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My personal situation:
I sold my Honda 2000i and installed 2 x 140W solar panels with a bluesky charger. I also have 300Ah battery bank. My wife could not stand the noise and smell of the generator. We live aboard since last november and I had to run the boat engine for charging only a couple of times. It depend how much Ah you use, I average around 60 per day, most of it is for the fridg. Everybody I meet that have a ''freezer'' also have a generator...

Do not get fouled by the advertised numbers, rule of thumbs: you will get the equivalent of 5 hours at full rating. Exemple, my 280W x 5 hours / 17volts = 82 Ah. Read the numbers, panel rating in watts is at 17 volts not 12 volts.

If batteries are low and in bright sun I did see 16A charging current!! Use big cables, gage 6, 8 is minimum.
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Old 20-06-2010, 07:21   #38
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if you were anchored upwind from me, I wouldn't be able to hear myself think...Right now I can hear birds chirping in the mangroves about 200' feet away, and waves lapping at the bow.
Let's say immediately we're not advocates of the Honda or any other petrol/gas generator...and we ARE advocates of silence and serenity at our anchorages...BUT...isn't it the case that one just accepts there will be noise occassionally from nearby vessels associated with re-charging batteries? We love the sounds of birds and waves too, but unless someone's being very offensive (in which case we'd give serious thought to moving!) we can still think clearly with another vessel using some engine to charge their batteries for awhile.

We're looking seriously at buying the Honda and the demonstrators we see are very quiet, certainly not any louder than an inboard diesel running to top-up batteries and maybe even quieter. We're looking at a wind generator too. Clearly solar is the best of all because it is silent. If the sun's not co-operating, however, both wind power and engines involve noise...and we've heard plenty of wind generators that make a lot more noise than any internal combustion engine! Fortunately it seems the newest of both solar and wind models are improving markedly in both overcast and low wind conditions, respectively, and there are now 'silent' wind power units.

So we say (1) always avoid crowding anchorages; (2) use solar as much as possible and practical for your vessel; (3) use wind if you can but PLEASE look for the good, silent-running units; and (4) top-up when necessary with whatever engine power (petrol/gas or diesel) that suits you.
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Old 20-06-2010, 07:30   #39
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I am very happy with my Honda 2kw. No plans to add solar or wind. What with motoring a half hour or so into/out of anchorages, we only need to run the generator a couple of hours every second or third day. I run it late morning or mid day so as not to mess up sunset. We already have gasoline aboard for the dingy motor, so no added hazard. Generator is very quiet. Not much noisier than main propulsion diesel. Much cheaper first cost. Works in dark windless weather.
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Old 20-06-2010, 09:03   #40
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@Pete7 - Thanks for the added info on the Honda. I had a 1994 version and while it was efficient it made a lot of noise, thus my comment. I've looked at a couple of boats and installing a pair of solar panels isn't going to be easy or efficient so carrying a generator [EU2000i] may be the best alternative for a second source of power generation. And while I'd give up a gallon/4L of gas/10hrs to get a good charge on the batteries and getting the fridge charged, that's about a gallon of fuel a week. However, I could probably find a location for another 5gal/20L gas can easier than adding solar panels.

I failed to grab your location so the Solent. And that can make a considerable difference.
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Old 20-06-2010, 10:11   #41
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Common sense and common courtesy shouldn't that difficult for those with portable gas generators. Store them in a location where gas vapor cannot accumulate. Same as with the outboard and fuel cans (and propane, acetone, etc). As for running them.... use some courtesy. Don't run them early in morning or at sunset. Don't run them near other boats who are enjoying the peacfulness of an anchorage. If you need to charge batteries and another boat is nearby... it doesn't take that much to paddle over and ask.

Our generator, even though it only is seldom used now.... is stowed securely on deck (no, we don't use it in this location). Fuel is stored on deck. Not that tough.


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Old 25-06-2010, 02:02   #42
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Hi
No one seems to be http://www.plastimo.com/pdf/uk_marin...duct_sheet.pdf talking about fuel cell technology or The Balmar Genset/watermaker Voyager http://www.balmar.net/PDF/Genset-Watermaker Manual.pdf Manual.pdf Anybody tried any of it ?

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Old 25-06-2010, 02:33   #43
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Our experience of the last 6 months since we have installed solar panels is one of a fantastic difference in our cruising life.

Nothing has given us a bigger or better change.

Now we have truly set and forget electricity, vastly more than what we need. Its cheap, silent, no moving parts and we never have to run the engine except for propulsion.

Installation was a big pain before I worked out we could just stick em on the pushpit rails using some nylon block (Thanks Fast Forward!!!) and a few bits of Shock Cord.

In the photos below you will see some intruder set on stealing our panels. Fortunately my security camera has caught the thief in the act!

Setting them up can be so simple, so cheap and so good at sea. One doesn't need a SS arch to do it.


Thief shows how panel is balanced.



Dumb as all criminals this one can't work out how to release Shock Cord hook



Multi Tasking? Undoing 2 sets of butterfly screws is just too much!
Note: The alum flat bar I bolted onto the underside of the pannel to give it support.
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Old 25-06-2010, 02:43   #44
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Nice installarion Mark; I might have to copy it one day - thanks for the post and photos.
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Old 25-06-2010, 06:32   #45
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Solar panels with no sun, Wind generator with no wind - Versus - Portable generator any where, any time, any conditions.
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