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Old 24-09-2005, 17:12   #1
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Small gas generators

Does anyone have experience or advice for purchasing and using a small gas generator (Honda, Yamaha) to help supplement electrical needs? I am delivering a boat from San Fran to Maine and do not want to permanently install wind generators etc. but need something beyond my high output alternator and solar panels.
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Old 24-09-2005, 17:25   #2
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I’ve had satisfactory use of a small gas Generator (Yamaha EF 1000) over several winters in the Bahamas.
It put out about 8 A @ 120VAC, getting about 6.5 hours/gallon gas, & weighs about 25 Lbs. Rated 850Waats continuous (@ 100% P.F. - 680W @0.8 P.F.)
This was more than adequate to power my 30A Battery Charger (3 - 10A outputs).
It’s not entirely convenient - but it is portable, and not too noisy.

Portable generators are suitable for quiet anchorages, and docks - but not for use whilst underway.
As most “deliveries” are marathon affairs, with few, if any, stops - I wouldn’t suggest a portable generator for this use.
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Old 24-09-2005, 18:10   #3
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Most common small gas generator I've seen in the last couple of years is a Honda EU2000i. I'm getting one this season to help on windless days when the Kiss won't hack it. Honda weighs 47 pounds and will do the job if you've got a big enough battery charger. Mine is 100 amps. If you have a 20 amp charger it might take a few hours to get the batteries up. Of course everything depends on your draw.
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Old 25-09-2005, 10:16   #4
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Ray, you don't tell us what size boat you'll be delivering - and bigger might help over smaller - but Gord's point is worth reflecting on: where are you going to site the generator while underway (and I might add, the quantity of gasoline you'll be needing) so it is chocked in place, emissions won't be a problem for the crew, noise not bothersome, and where it will be protected from salt water? If you actually mean 'delivery' (vs. just relocating the boat on some kind of loose sked), you'll need the amps from the generator more at sea (a/p, lights, etc.) than in port, just as Gord suggests. How practical is that for your boat?

This aside, take a good luck at the battery charger on the boat to be delivered and talk with the manufacturer about the compatibility of it with simple gas generators. Often, more sophisticated battery chargers won't work with simple generators; one reason (but not the only one) is that the charger will want to start out at the bulk charging rate even if the battery bank is at a 90% state of charge, and this will be more than the generator can provide. Sometimes a simple, secondary battery charger is purchased and clamped onto the battery terminals to overcome these problems...but that can introduce other problems. (There's a reason why panels and wind gens are popular...<g>)

BTW a common practice for GAS generator-equipped boats in the islands is to place a measured amount of gas in the tank (not much; note Gord's consumption figures...) for the length of charge the battery bank needs, start up the genny and then hop in the dink and leave to go swimming, spear fishing, etc. The genny does it's work, shuts itself down via fuel starvation, and the crew returns later to a peaceful boat with charged batteries. Not a bad way to go...unless you're anchored next to neighbors.

Jack
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Old 25-09-2005, 17:47   #5
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Gas Generator

I will sailing a deep keeled Tartan 37. You are right, the trip is somewhere between a delivery and a cruise--a loose sked tour with a definite destination. I have a couple of long hops, but mostly this is a series of short hops strung together with some time in various ports. If I was going world cruising, I would outifit for that with a KISS generator and a lot of solar (I have one 64 watt panel now) to back up the high output alternator and multi step regulator I now have. The shore charger is a 40 Amp TruCharge multi step. I have to carry gas for the dinghy anyway and these things do not take as much room and weight as other alternatives.

Feedback on my logic is requested and appreciated. I have done a lot of short deliveries, but nothing this long.
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Old 25-09-2005, 19:51   #6
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Ray,

The Honda EU2000i should work real good for you. The 40 amp smart charger is plenty enough. All you'll need is a short extension cord and a pig-tail to hook into your AC shorepower line.
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Old 26-09-2005, 05:30   #7
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How about using the smaller Yamaha 1000Eis? I really want to keep the size down.
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Old 26-09-2005, 05:43   #8
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Ray, I hope you've worked out the details of this gas generator plan...but for the T37 I'm left wondering how this will work for you when you need it most. (Nice boat by the way; did you read Sharon Ragle's book on doing a Circle in TIGGER, their T37C with the board glassed up!?) While coastal hopping and presuming the generator will be able to feed the TruCharger at the bulk rate, no problem. But when doing the longer hops (of which there are a number on your route, not just a few), at-sea electrical consumption will likely be heavier than when on the hook and I don't picture you being able to benefit by that genny. (I assume this since you don't mention carrying a wind vane).

Good luck on the passage. If you haven't, you might consider carrying a copy of John Rains guide for that run; it's titled something like Miami to California via the Panama Canal, and covers all the ports along the way, relevant weather systems, etc. I would also encourage you to carry the SSCA's latest CD of the last 8 years of their Bulletins - easily searched using Adobe Acrobat, its the best single source I know of more recent info on the ports, anchorages et al. of that route. www.ssca.org, Store, Pubs, CD (Sorry for the unsolicited advice, perhaps unneeded in your case...)

Jack
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