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Old 09-03-2009, 18:57   #1
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Help with my new Genset

Big Moe I need a little schooling! The genset on my 49 will be my first. I have a few questions. Can I run the generator while I am sailing to keep heat on in the cabin? In the event of a power outage at the dock should I disconnect the power cord before I start the genset? Is it always a manual switch over from shore power to Genset at the dock.

I have a Westerbeke 7.6 KW Generator.

Thanks,

Big Moe
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Old 09-03-2009, 19:09   #2
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Big Moe, Mine and most gen sets do not behave abnormally with a heel to a vessel and should run normally while under sail. We have done this though not frequently. All built in below decks generators that I have seen have a three way power selector switch for the power supply to be received from the "Shore- Off- or Ship's supply". I suppose there could be a system that requires turning off the shore cable first, but it doesn't sound reasonable. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-03-2009, 19:17   #3
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when i had a genset built in (onan) it would merely kick in when the power at the dock wasnt enough to sustain the electrical needs of the boat-we only had 15 amp service in tha t marina...donot have to unplug cord..you are in a goood spot--just check your switch positions-----should say for you......have fun!!
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Old 09-03-2009, 19:20   #4
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Moe--

If the genset is properly installed, there will be a selector switch on the panel that will allow you to choose between shore power, no power; or ship's power. As this is a "break before make" switch, you should turn off your AC Panel Master Switch before changing the position of the Selector Switch so that it doesn't arc as the connection is broken. With that selector switch, there is no reason to disconnect your shore-power cable when you run the generator as it won't be connected to anything anyway.

As to whether you can run your generator while you are under way, that depends upon your heeling angle and how your exhaust is set up. You'll have to check with your generator manufacturer (or Gordon May--the wizzard of search on this site) to know what angle you can safely operate your generator at. Ours, a Panda, will work up to about 20* although we don't push it just to be safe. You'll also have to be sure where the exhaust leaves the boat and whether you have a silencer that splits the water discharge off from the exhaust gasses and discharges them through separate through-hulls. On our boat the water dischage is under the water-line while gasses are discharged through the transome. If there's a following sea that may cover the transome discharge from time-to-time, it's unwise to try to operate the generator. In a flat sea, when you just want to run the battery charger or Air Conditioners for awhile to cool the boat off, it's no problem. On passages, we usually find a few hours each day when we can run the generator to keep the batteries topped up, cool the boat of etc. Of course, when one is powering, or motor sailing, there's probably no need for the generator at all, eh?

Good Luck!

s/v HyLyte
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Old 09-03-2009, 21:25   #5
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Under way, Etc. (In furtherance of the post above)

The reason for the concern underway has to do with the lubrication of the engine being interrupted at extreme heeling angles. The 20 degree angle may or may not be an occasional event -- as noted above.

I don't turn-off all the AC power before switching over my Bass manual transfer switch -- though it won't hurt if you do. But, I would make sure that ALL of the AC items are disconnected and covered by the manual transfer switch. SOMETIMES, improperly wired systems have some outlets that aren't covered by the transfer switch. In that case odd things can happen.

An example is the conections that sometimes are made to the inverter charger -- if you double load that with out-of-phase or doubled-power, you'll fry the circuit boards in the inverter.
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Old 11-03-2009, 22:05   #6
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It is good practice to power down AC circuits, pull shorepower cord, put generator on-line and power up.

Everybody probably does it differently. Since I work on a variety of vessels and can't be certain as to how or who wired them up. I turn everything off. I don't take it as a matter of faith that just switching from shorepower inlet to generator is adequate or safe.

BTW the owners manual should have info on angle of operation in both directions depending how genset is mounted
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Old 11-03-2009, 22:48   #7
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Chief Engineer is on top of that heeling issue. My Northern Lights can have a 20 degree heel but only if it's mounted "lengthwise" (dunno the correct English term..). I know the oil-pickup from the pan can be changed to deal with it, creating a sump and a longer pick-up pipe to draw it from that sump.

The Shore-Off-Genset switch is called a transfer switch. You can buy an automatic transfer switch, or some inverter-chargers have them (the Trace does). The Trace inverter/charger can even start your genset if shorepower fails plus another set of goodies like start it periodically for checking it, settable hours-of-day for allowing genset running etc. Some inverters can help your generator or shorepower with starting big loads etc. Lots of possibilities but I prefer manual switch on the panel for selecting a source. I use a small 600W inverter for computer so that it always powered from the batteries.

cheers,
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Old 11-03-2009, 23:28   #8
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What is meant by "Heeling"? ...

Sorry catamaran humor..... ; )
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sail Warehouse View Post
What is meant by "Heeling"? ...

Sorry catamaran humor..... ; )
Heeling is when you need to escape through those hatches in the bottom of your cat... or use the emergency hammer to break the windows there!

Sorry, sailboat humor ha ha ;-)
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sv Jedi
... My Northern Lights can have a 20 degree heel but only if it's mounted "lengthwise" ...
The term longitudinal means along the major or long axis, as opposed to latitudinal which means "along the width", transverse, or across.

Hence “rolling” or heeling is a latitudinal, crosswise or transverse movement, whereas “pitching” or hobby-horsing is a longitudinal fore & aft displacement.

Your NL engine can roll up to 20 degrees off athwart-engine horizontal level.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:52   #11
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It is good practice to power down AC circuits, pull shorepower cord, put generator on-line and power up...
ABSOLUTELY!
Always transfer and switch power (connect &/or disconnect) electrical sources under "no load" conditions (as far as practicable).
To do otherwise is VERY hard on the switching contacts.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Chief Engineer is on top of that heeling issue. My Northern Lights can have a 20 degree heel but only if it's mounted "lengthwise" (dunno the correct English term..). I know the oil-pickup from the pan can be changed to deal with it, creating a sump and a longer pick-up pipe to draw it from that sump.

The Shore-Off-Genset switch is called a transfer switch. You can buy an automatic transfer switch, or some inverter-chargers have them (the Trace does). The Trace inverter/charger can even start your genset if shorepower fails plus another set of goodies like start it periodically for checking it, settable hours-of-day for allowing genset running etc. Some inverters can help your generator or shorepower with starting big loads etc. Lots of possibilities but I prefer manual switch on the panel for selecting a source. I use a small 600W inverter for computer so that it always powered from the batteries.



cheers,
Nick.
With respect boats or ships, "longitudinally" would be the term.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:35   #13
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longitudinal & latitudinal. Okay, easy, just like navigating.

So, I meant longitudinal ;-)

thanks,
Nick.
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Old 12-03-2009, 14:37   #14
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Another vote for turning everything off first, before powering up the genny.

As I'm aboard lots of different boats, mainly for electrical/electronic work, I see all sorts of things, some of them very scary.

It's just good practice to power everything down before starting the generator, and then transferring loads to it in sequence after a brief warmup period.

Another tip: after hard use with a heavy load, it's good practice to remove the load progressively and let the genny run a few minutes to cool down. Failure to do so can result in very high heat conditions immediately after shutdown...enough to wreak havoc with some of the electronics (like automatic voltage regulators).

Automatic generator startup installations scare the pi__ out of me! I've even seen these on houseboats where the generator and the two engines it's sitting between are gasoline powered. IMHO, this is just an explosion waiting to happen.

I much prefer the manual switching method, and the practice of being very, very careful when moving loads between shore and generator.

Bill
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Old 12-03-2009, 16:07   #15
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Bill: I agree with you fully and think these auto-start features are mainly designed for use ashore. Many automatic standby power systems are in use ashore (like for hospitals, data centers etc) and they work well.

We (well, my company) rented space in a data center on broadway, NYC (the Cunard building) and these systems kicked in during the WTC attacks. They failed a day later because of dust in the cooling radiators (quickly fixed) and when they ran out of diesel. Batteries bridge the gap between outage and warmed up diesels and transfers are all automatic. But I would not want that on the boat!

cheers,
Nick.
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