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Old 18-08-2015, 08:52   #1
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Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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?
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Old 18-08-2015, 08:57   #2
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Id love a diesel generator, I'm installing solar over the next couple of weeks due to cost.

240 Watt Solar Panel + charge controller and big bloody battery: free left over from one of my dads solar projects.

Deisel: a long way from free.

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Old 18-08-2015, 09:05   #3
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Depending on the size of the boat, we already have an engine which just does the charging when running. Solar / wind etc is add on. Personally I have a pair of panels I am adding to my boat in order to minimize having to start the engine just to charge. Solar just works whenever there is sun. It does what it does silently and reliably. I love solar for just that reason.

No / less smell / fuel is just an added benefit.
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:14   #4
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

I have a love/hate relationship with my generator. Yes its great when I need to charge the batts on a cloudy day..... but yes its damn loud and the exhaust stinks WAY more than my main engines (I may need to have it looked at).
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:17   #5
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

A healthy and well installed genset is less noticeable than many wind generators (esp. Air-X and its clones).

Environment? Hmmmm, if we allow for environmental cost of making, transporting and disposing of a solar panel ... it may be way less green than most of us like to think.

If you have a good genset, I cannot see any reason to part with it.

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Old 18-08-2015, 09:27   #6
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

A problem??, not for me... except that I need to soundproof (and air condition) the onboard recording studio so that generator noise doesn't bleed into the tube microphones. Very hard to edit out that noise in the final mixdown.

As for being green, do you drive an electric car? I always find this topic interesting in light of the fact that industrialized and industrializing nations are polluting to beat the band, while the general downtrodden serfs are expected to recycle plastic water bottles for free. Yesterday, Obama approved Arctic drilling for Shell. Yippie-kai-yay! Nothing against being eco-friendly, yet ain't it a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors lost cause? I took a course at Berkeley about this exact topic, and you'd be surprised how US governmental "pollution credits" (i.e., amount allowed to pollute) are doled out. It's depressing.

Compared with the global industrial pollution footprint, I don't see pleasure boaters with generators being a big issue. Except for maybe keeping your mooring-ball neighbors awake.

As comedian George Carlin opined, "Don't worry about the Earth, 'cause it will just shake us off like a bad case of the fleas."
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:28   #7
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Originally Posted by Neosplit View Post
you are really bothered with noise/smell/pollution etc of generator?
Yes, very much so - especially when you hear those damn things gurgling all night from a nearby boat...

Dave
All solar + two alts on each engine; we don't need a noisy gen
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:28   #8
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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.
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:34   #9
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

As far as smell goes, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 Diesels don't smell badly at all.

There will be times when you want to motor distances where what you can get from the limited energy storage of batteries will prevent you from doing so. The energy storage of Diesel on a per volume and a per weight basis is far greater than batteries.
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

I have a portable Honda eu 2000i which I use on deck to recharge batteries at anchor. Also use it to run power tools, recharge computers, heat water etc. (4 years now, 3 full time living aboard) No trouble, no maintenance other than appropriate oil change. Very little noise. All good. But barely enough electric power to run a small cabin heater if little other draw is on at the same time. If you need more power a built in generator is the way to go.


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Old 18-08-2015, 09:49   #11
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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Environment? Hmmmm, if we allow for environmental cost of making, transporting and disposing of a solar panel ... it may be way less green than most of us like to think.
But then you have to take into account the environmental costs of making, transporting and disposing of the generator and all of its parts. Someone somewhere ripped up a lot of land for coal and iron and aluminum to make that generator.

There is no free lunch.
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Old 18-08-2015, 09:58   #12
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

You will need on the order of 100 amps a day. Plus or minus. A gen set would probably drive me crazy, although if the boat is set up to just run a couple hours a day it would be fine. I wouldn't want one I had to turn on to cook every time etc. I don't think most are doing solar to be more "green". It's just a good source of power... especially if you are going to or in the lower latitudes.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:21   #13
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

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You will need on the order of 100 amps a day. Plus or minus.
I don't see where the OP discusses his power draw. He could need less, he could need far more.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:34   #14
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Re: Is generator noise & fuel smell really a problem?

Amps is not power, it is current. For DC, voltage times current is power.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:40   #15
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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.
Uh oh, here come the tech police!
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