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Old 20-12-2008, 08:00   #1
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why use a Honda generator?

I'm amazed at the number of people that go the honda generator route for charging while cruising. Do people know that there is a better way?

You can spend $1000 on your heavy gas generator and then everyday lug it out of it's hole, set up your cord, and spend the next 2 hours annoying yourself and neighbors with the steady hum. All for about 80 amp-hrs a day. You carry extra gasoline. You buy extra gasoline. Oil changes, new ethanol fuel gumming up your carbareuter, another Gas Engine to maintain! Then, in a few years, you can buy another one! Don't forget, everyday, be sure to go back to your boat so you can charge your batteries

or

For about $2000 you can install solar panels and mppt and average the same 80 amp-hrs a day, without any daily ritual of hauling out and setting up your generator, without the noise, and in a few years you're even with the guy buying gas,oil, and generator; and his generator is done and he needs to buy another. Also, with solar, you can leave your boat on a mooring for a week with the fridge on and not drain your batteries. And did I mention no noise? No effort? No maintenance? Most cruising boats have an inverter for ac anyway. For anything long term, a year or more of cruising, IMHO, solar beats the crap out of a honda generator. So why do so many of you suffer with those things?
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Old 20-12-2008, 08:06   #2
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This has been discussed at great length here so if you are interested in why folks use this have a look
http://www.google.com/cse?cx=006394725354117985890%3Auohwdubba0q&ie=UTF-8&q=Honda+generator&sa=Go
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Old 20-12-2008, 08:26   #3
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Old 20-12-2008, 08:41   #4
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I find these generators hideous and going solar is a much better approach. If you don't have the cash, use some credit and pay it off over time which would the same as the costs of fuel etc. Evil credit can be useful at times, if you can't save and "need" something such as extra amps now.

There are so many reasons NOT to use a gas powered generator it's amazing how many do, especially when most already have one fuel burning engine which can be fitted with a high out put alternator and achieve a similar result.

And if you designed your energy systems with some planning you can use your engine to charge your batts, make hot water, and drive a compressor for the refer and actually use the power to "go somewhere" at the same time, even if it's to the dock to take on water each day (assuming you're anchored off or you'd have shore power available).

Running the main engine is not terribly efficient JUST to charge batts, but if you do OTHER things at the same time then it makes more sense... and though not as quiet as solar, it's quieter and less strain on your back then doing the gen set thing. And who needs more junk to take care of and weigh the boat down anyway?

And then there's all the eneregy saving strategies like LED lighting since lighting consumes a fair amount of the amps for live aboards. Much better bang for ther buck!

And the noise is really really nasty with gensets and I feel like shooting the A holes who run them next to me in an anchorage.
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Old 20-12-2008, 10:36   #5
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We all have our own ways to do things on our boat and to say those that have Honda's should get rid of them and get solar and wind power only just because that is your preference just doesn't fly. We had wind, and solar and a Honda. When the wind was not blowing and it was overcast we charged the batteries with the Honda. That was our choice and I did not go on a discussion board and ask if it was OK with everyone else. The new Honda's put out very little noise and no one could here it if they were more than 100 feet from the boat. Perhaps you are one of those folks that needs to anchor right on top of everyone else so that is why their generators bother you. If you don't like them, don't buy one and don't use it. But to assume we should all stop because you don't like it is a bit presumptuous on your part.
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Old 20-12-2008, 11:10   #6
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Geez, how many solar panels does it take to get 80-90 AH a day? Seems like a pita living with all that clutter... not that I like generators. A 6hp diesel with large alternator can be run at low rpm and is quieter than a main engine...
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Old 20-12-2008, 13:13   #7
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Chuck,

I assume that post was directed at me and I was expressing my opinion. I assume other sailors can form their own. I don't anchor close to others and prefer to be isolated as possible, but that doesn't mean someone can drop their hook close to me and fire up their genset which has happened enough times for me to not care for them.

You might remember Sean Sullivan who had a Gulfstar and the noisiest generator which he ran in Newport harbor when we were anchored hundreds of feet from him and it drove me crazy and I told him so. I didn't know it was a fellow board member and rather cool guy who was resonsble for all that noise. So why did HE need all those extra amps? I suppose it was charter guests who waste power. I've never had a genset, don't stay on docks and my batts are kept up pretty much by 110 watts of solar and the motoring we do with a high output alternator. And the only offensive noise coming from us is the occassional barking of our Westies.

Frankly I don't care how people charge their batts, but I don't see why one needs one of these things as opposed to just running the diesel. Could you explain that kindly?

My panels are rated at 3 amps each total of 6. so if you get 5 hrs of sun perhaps you can count 30 amps. Mine sit on the deck over the lines running to the cockpit. That's not 80 amps but one could double this and use higher output panels and get to 80.
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Old 20-12-2008, 13:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
Chuck,


Frankly I don't care how people charge their batts, but I don't see why one needs one of these things as opposed to just running the diesel. Could you explain that kindly?
Rather than try to rehash all that has been already discussed in great detail I again refer you to the several discussions already done here on the board that address those issues and will answer your question at


http://www.google.com/cse?cx=006394725354117985890%3Auohwdubba0q&ie=UTF-8&q=Honda+generator&sa=Go

These are discussions from this very board.
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Old 20-12-2008, 13:19   #9
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It seems like some opinions can't be given here without some level of arrogance at recognition that may be a myriad of ways in which we choose to do things, not all of which are wrong except the one someone suggests.
As one trivial example, suggesting a genset such as the H2000 can be replaced with a few solar panels quickly looses any credibility when you consider a few cloudy days or any day, sunny or otherwise, during which one wants to use their A/.C while at anchor or any other power hungry equipment.

Solar panels are fine but as with anything, is a compromise, and to imply otherwise is simply misleading.
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Old 20-12-2008, 13:39   #10
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If you read my post I asked why one can't use the diesel with one or two high output alternators. You can run it at night and on overcast days.

Why not run the diesel?
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Old 20-12-2008, 13:51   #11
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Saw a small cat with an outboard that relied on solar. A cloudy week (not unusual in the Bahamas) and he had to borrow a Honda to start his engine. I have wind and a Honda. When the wind dies I haul out the Honda. Fish, I don't know if you're out cruising but I can tell you all the theory goes out the window in the real world of cruising, there is no guarantee that the wind will blow or the sun will shine. Solar would be nice but I opted for the Honda for $850. Mounting hardware, panels, mppt controller, it all adds up.
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Old 20-12-2008, 14:01   #12
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I used to lug around a generator. Have 400 watts solar and windgen, after I didnt run gas gen for year I gave it away. If my batts get a little low from overcast I go ashore and get some Ice to put in fridge.
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Old 20-12-2008, 14:27   #13
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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
I used to lug around a generator. Have 400 watts solar and windgen, after I didnt run gas gen for year I gave it away. If my batts get a little low from overcast I go ashore and get some Ice to put in fridge.
We don't go very far. Just to the Bahamas but more often than not we are anchored off cays where there is nothing, no inhabitants, no stores, no West Marine and certainly no ice. That's the real world of cruising I wrote about earlier. You have to be self sufficient and a Honda certainly helps.
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Old 20-12-2008, 14:44   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Rather than try to rehash all that has been already discussed in great detail I again refer you to the several discussions already done here on the board that address those issues and will answer your question at


http://www.google.com/cse?cx=006394725354117985890%3Auohwdubba0q&ie=UTF-8&q=Honda+generator&sa=Go

These are discussions from this very board.
Chuck, all those threads are 'what charger should I use', 'can I use this charger with a gen', 'why do I get a reverse polarity light', etc. Don't get offended by my question, it's nothing personal against those that already have a gas generator onboard. Some people just tend to do things the way they've always done them, without a lot of thought as to whether or not it's still the best way. I bring this up as thought material for those who are contemplating which way to go with their electrical plans.

This whole debate has been going on in my mind because when I was planning out my electrical needs a good friend tried really hard to convince me that the eu2000 was the way to go, that's what he'd been doing for years. We went back and forth over the numbers, output,convenience, and costs. After seeing what 2 panels cost and put out, even on cloudy days, I think he's come to reconsider the 'old school' advice.

The point of the thread wasn't that those with generators onboard should throw them out, but rather that those contemplating their needs should give it a close analysis. There seem to be more advocates of these generators than I think they merit, and I didn't want to derail somebodies 'which charger should I buy to go with my honda' thread by suggesting that they are barking up the wrong tree altogether.

And Vasco, of course an outboard powered boat needs more than just a solar panel. I'm talking about the average cruising boat with a large battery bank and high output alternator on the main engine.

I don't agree with the high upfront cost as an issue either, it only takes one year for the costs to equal out. Hopefully this isn't too sensitive of an issue to prevent a debate of the merits of each system.
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Old 20-12-2008, 15:00   #15
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Fish, i guess it is all in the presentation. Had you begun the thread along the lines of your recent post you may have the discussion you are looking for. Embedded in the posts about chargers and reverse polarity are a lot of discussions as how and why cruisers use these generators. There are also post on the advantages and disadvantages of the Honda but it is a lot of reading. We all have our reasoning to do the things we do on our boats. We write articles for several boating publications and have for years. In each of those articles we emphasize that the subject is simply OUR approach to things and not the right, wrong or absolute way. If you would like to start a discussion on a specific subject it might be helpful to state up front in a more open question rather than "Don't people know there is a better way?" "So why do so many of you suffer with those things?"
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