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Old 18-08-2015, 10:42   #16
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Uh oh, here come the tech police!
No, just clearing up a common misunderstanding. Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:51   #17
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Amps is not power, it is current. For DC, voltage times current is power.
But since power is E x I, current (along with voltage) directly determines power. In our systems, E ~= 12.5. If I = 100, then P = 1250 watts.

So by saying that he will "need 100 amps" you are also saying that he will need ~ 1250 watts. We don't know this. He may need 5000 watts (420 amps) or only 100 watts (9 amps).

He never said how much power he needs to run his boat, and THAT power usage will determine how many amp (hours) he needs.
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Old 18-08-2015, 11:39   #18
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Solar is good, but may need some form of augmentation as the sun doesn't always shine. (downside to Solar is it takes up a lot of room, and may not be the best looking thing to do to a boat, plus windage, weight hanging off the back of the boat etc.)
You can get that from your propulsion engine (downside is maybe that isn't really good for the engine and your putting a lot of hours un-necessarily on an expensive rescource).
You can get that from wind, (downside is some are noisy, and the wind doesn't always blow, and output may not be all that great).
You can get that from a portable generator (downside is you have to store it somewhere, it burns gasoline, and possible CO concerns, as well as grounding issues to name a few)
You can get that from a built in generator, (downside is noise, vibration, expensive, heavy and takes up quite a lot of room, plus is another Diesel engine, cooling system, exhaust system etc. to maintain)


Until someone invents the back to the future Mr Fusion, everything has a downside.
My plan is to run the day to day off the Solar, firing up the built in generator hopefully once a week for four hours or so to make water, wash clothes etc. and use it if we have rainy days, un-planned mosquito attacks in the middle of the night etc., but not to get in the habit of running it all night.
My opinion is Solar ought to be the main source, augmented as necessary by other means, but not everyone wants a Solar farm on their boat.
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Old 18-08-2015, 12:13   #19
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Unless you do a good job of muffling the noise emitted to the environment, you could be the pariah of every anchorage. Nothing pisses me off more than an unthinking lout that runs their poorly muffled generator in a quiet anchorage. If you have the realestate, solar panels can supply your needs with enough panels and battery storage. Won't be able to run A/C but an awning and windscoops make life livable on a boat except in the very hottest days.
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Old 18-08-2015, 13:54   #20
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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I think I'm going to have about $1,500 in a 750W Solar install.
I think I have about $6,000 in my Nexgen 3.5 KW install.
I have done all the work for both myself, so labor was free, but the generator is always (I think) going to cost more than Solar, but 3500 W of actual Solar output would be tough to achieve.
I think once installed if done correctly Solar is almost maintenance free where the Gennie will always need fuel, filters, oil, water pump impellers, strainer cleanings etc.
Good point.

I have about 300W of solar and a 10kVA genset. They fill different needs.

The solar is good for bringing the batteries from 90-100% while the boat is unattended, or at helping keep the batteries charged while on a passage. However, including autopilot, electronics and refrigeration, the solar doesn't satisfy all of of the daily power needs.

The genset is good for pretty quickly bringing the batteries up from 50 or 60% to 70 or 80%. The genset is necessary to power our watermaker, or the A/C units, the dishwasher, washer/dryer, or the water heater if we haven't been running the main engine.

In other words, the solar silently tops off the battery or reduces drain on passages, but the genset when run for an 30-120min a day addresses our larger power needs that no (practical) amount of solar would solve.

The generator is noisy in that you can hear it when inside the boat, but it is virtually inaudible on deck or off the boat. I have never had any fuel smell from our generator.
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Old 18-08-2015, 14:00   #21
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Ignoring the eco-green faith issues, it comes down to practicality.

If your power needs are realtively light, a solar/battery/inverter setup is ideal. Quiet and negligible effort to keep it up. If you just want to run lights a pump, maybe a few hrs of TV in the evening, it's a great option.
If your power needs are heavier duty (typically that means running the air/con), a generator is the only practical alternative unless you put together a silly large solar/battery system which won't fit on most normal cruising boats.

Using the main engine alternator on a daily basis is an outdated method. Works as a fall back plan if you get several cloudy days in a row but not what you want to plan on.
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Old 18-08-2015, 16:22   #22
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Using the main engine alternator on a daily basis is an outdated method. Works as a fall back plan if you get several cloudy days in a row but not what you want to plan on.
Having the main engine alternator charge the house bank on a daily basis is something I do by default when cruising. If hopping from one harbor to the next, even if I am able to sail, I still use the main engine probably at least an hour. As a by-product, an extra 50-100 A-h are put into the bank (a 150A alternator, 24V system, but I've never seen it charge at over 100A).

If you motor a fair amount as a regular part of use of the boat, that is another viable charging source. If that is how you use the boat, by all means consider that in the plan.
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Old 18-08-2015, 16:37   #23
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Generators I love em.Heats my shower water,charges batts and powers the aircon and watermaker plus makes toast and boils the jug not all at once of course.I also have a Honda 2000 which has been ultra reliable over 10 years on a boat or outback in the 4x4 but I would hardly call it quiet.But then again I personally find other people's music banging out of external speakers far more intrusive and self centred than any generator.
We also have 700 plus of solar which under most circumstances stays on top of 2 fridges and a freezer,lights TV ,radio ,IPad and phone charging etc .
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Old 18-08-2015, 16:54   #24
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Again, there's nothing more obnoxious than somebody running a generator in an otherwise quiet anchorage all night long just to power their AC. Your neighbors have their windows open attempting to live quieter and one with nature. Why are you cruising? Same can be said for load music, but that rarely goes all night. And turn off those stooooopid underwater lights...

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Old 18-08-2015, 16:59   #25
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

I have heard the fish complaint about the dumb underwater lights as well
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Old 18-08-2015, 18:24   #26
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Noise is 80% structure borne , so a well installed Gen on soft mounts can easily be vibration free.

Improving on your engine room insulation with Soundown materials makes a huge difference on the airborne noise from both the main and gen.

An exhaust gas/water separator has the water silently exiting just below the water line and the dry gas exiting downwind at stern....you will not even hear or smell it from the cockpit.

Diesel smells implies leaks....should not be an issue
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Old 18-08-2015, 19:15   #27
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Again, there's nothing more obnoxious than somebody running a generator in an otherwise quiet anchorage all night long just to power their AC. Your neighbors have their windows open attempting to live quieter and one with nature. Why are you cruising? Same can be said for load music, but that rarely goes all night. And turn off those stooooopid underwater lights...

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My reasons for cruising vary. Moreover, not everyone’s seeking a zen-like experience to cultivate transcendental enrichment. Super-minimalists should maybe consider building a Kon-Tiki replica, I suppose.

How about 67dB? That’s approximately the same decibel level as normal conversation or a dishwasher in the next room. Generally considered “moderate to quiet”. Personally, I’m certainly not going to row to a neighboring boat and ask someone to stop talking because I declared that taps was an hour ago.

With that said, I’ll take this one:

>>> Cummins Onan “Quiet Diesel™ SeriesMarine Generator Set. 13.5/17 QD – 67 dB

AC, big freezers, gobs of electricity, and a very happy life.

Lookin’ and soundin’ good, Billy Ray!”… “Feeling good, Louis!
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Old 18-08-2015, 19:36   #28
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

I don't care what you do with your generator if you install a gas/water separator, as well as route your a/c overboard at or below the waterline.

The splash splash splash all night is what really gets me!


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Old 18-08-2015, 19:52   #29
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

With a gas/water separator there is no splashing water. That's the whole point of the things.
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Old 18-08-2015, 19:55   #30
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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I am struggling making a decision whether to go green to help the environment or to save money & stay with diesel generator for auxiliary power. I haven't sailed for long periods so dont have experience on needing to recharge batteries while on water (we recharge at the marina). Searching on forums, I see that many of us are using solar or wind to support extra power needs. Just wondering whether is it conscious decision to be environmental friendly or you are really bothered with noise/smell/pollution etc of generator? Is it an important factor to consider when going for longer trips?
We have wind, solar and a generator.

Solar is very reliable and provides our primary means of daily recharging. Maintenance is almost nil.

Wind is great but is a lot less reliable than solar. Low maintenance.

Our generator allows us to produce lots of power and hot water when needed. Maintenance is higher than solar.

We dont have any diesel smell. We're very pedantic on maintenance.

I suspect in as little as five years solar and battery storage will reduce the need for diesel generators.

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