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Old 28-12-2015, 11:04   #1
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Novice air cond question

it seems we cannot live w/o air conditioning...I see that a lot of boats have it but not many have a genset to run it offshore.. would prefer not to use the Honda solution...what type of electrical set up will power AC w/o a genset..I assume it involves a big alternator/ big inverter and isolated switching??
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Old 28-12-2015, 11:26   #2
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Re: Novice air cond question

Practically speaking, you're not going to run an AC without a generator...,,,,no do you need one 98% of the time at anchor. The other 2% can be tolerated.


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Old 28-12-2015, 12:14   #3
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Re: Novice air cond question

The whisper quiet Honda 2000 becomes obnoxious when asked to run a 12-16k btu a/c. You might try to find an Auto-Gen, a great constant velocity generator that belts to the main engine. I was given a 2.5 kw, they are heavy and somewhat bulky. I ended up passing it along as it refused to fit in the space available. Running up hours on your more expensive main engine to run a/c instead of a generator is not the best idea either.
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Old 28-12-2015, 12:27   #4
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Re: Novice air cond question

I pondered that question for awhile and even bought two Honda's to connect together, and that works surprisingly well, but you now of course have two of the things to store and haul out and fuel etc., plus only way I could completely eliminate CO was to put the things in the dinghy. This made it so they couldn't be heard inside of the boat, but even though they are quiet, they aren't silent so I wouldn't use them near anyone else anchored nearby.
I now have a Nexgen 3.5 KW that easily runs the 30 amp boat, and it not very loud to others, but it does make more noise inside of the boat, AC noise covers it well though.
To run a 16K AC off an alternator and an inverter, you would have to have a very large Alt and inverter, plus of course your putting lots of hours on your very expensive motor, but it should be feasible.

What does work very well is a 5K AC in your sleeping area, if you can close a door, it's likely it will keep the sleeping area cool and one Honda will run a 5K in Eco mode and maybe even charge your bank too.


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Old 28-12-2015, 12:28   #5
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Re: Novice air cond question

You'd need more than 10 100 amp hour 12v batteries just to run a 10K unit for an hours time total. It's not practical. Maybe someday
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Old 28-12-2015, 13:22   #6
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Re: Novice air cond question

We have an aquair 16 000 BTU unit onboard and it requires about 1300W. We have an 3,5kw diesel generator but we also run it from an Mastervolt combi Ultra 3000W/150A inverter/charger. With 1000Ah Lifepo4 we can actually run it for 8-9 hours on inverter only.

Having dual Balmar alternators (one 200A and one 150A) with external mastervolt regulators also helps a lot.. Seems like about 250A continous is ok, and we tested this for hours with temp sensors and IR meeter.
At full 350A they are dangerously hot in just 15min..

The mastervolt duo charges at 150A but we also have an additional mastervolt 100A charger so we can charge quite quickly when we have shore power or when the generator is running.

We also have 654W solar.

So it can be done without the generator. but its not cheap.
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Old 28-12-2015, 13:29   #7
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Re: Novice air cond question

The Mastervolt Combi Ultra can do 3000W contious and 6000W peak.(230V). and the 1000AH Lifepo4 is up to the job.
We even do our cooking on two induction plates.. all from the inverter/batteries.
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Old 28-12-2015, 13:46   #8
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Re: Novice air cond question

Climma makes a 4.2btu unit that runs easily on a 1000w inverter. Works well cooling down one cabin enough to sleep off the batteries at night; draw with fan, compressor, and pump is appro 450 watts or 35a/h using a 12v => 120v inverter. it won't handle a boat but will make your cabin 'sleepable' if you're stuck in a humid Chesapeake Bay anchorage in August. Alternative, be in Maine in August....
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Old 28-12-2015, 13:53   #9
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Re: Novice air cond question

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwilletts View Post
it seems we cannot live w/o air conditioning...I see that a lot of boats have it but not many have a genset to run it offshore.. would prefer not to use the Honda solution...what type of electrical set up will power AC w/o a genset..I assume it involves a big alternator/ big inverter and isolated switching??
AC on an inverter is not a practical option.

A diesel genset is a tried and true solution.

I hate those honda gennies that people love to keep running in quiet anchorages.

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Old 28-12-2015, 14:39   #10
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Re: Novice air cond question

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwilletts View Post
it seems we cannot live w/o air conditioning...I see that a lot of boats have it but not many have a genset to run it offshore.. would prefer not to use the Honda solution...what type of electrical set up will power AC w/o a genset..I assume it involves a big alternator/ big inverter and isolated switching??
PWilletts,

From your phrasing, I'm assuming shore power is not regularly available to you in your current boating lifestyle. Therefore I suspect you would need a generator if you don't want to prematurely wear out your primary engine charging batteries. [Unless you are motoring most of the time anyway...]

But I say this based upon how our boat is set up- which I'll share here for perspective on a thoroughly tested and proven setup:

The previous owners used our boat in the tropics for 15 years and therefore installed 3 independently controlled and regulated air conditioners [A/C: 9k BTU fore cabin, 18k BTU pilothouse, and 18k BTU in the master cabin. All are raw water cooled using a single pump and plumbing circuit.]

Since the A/C units each have a dedicated circuit breaker and thermostat, we can run 1, 2, or all 3 as needed. [Note: when at the dock in winter we use them for heat since our current hydro electric power rates are cheaper than putting hours on our generator or Esbar heater...]

Using shore power, running all 3 A/C units requires a 50 amp [or two properly paralleled 30AMP services] 115VAC [split 230VAC feed] to handle the A/C load as well as the normal boat loads [water heater, battery charger, etc.] A 6.5kw generator would also handle them and the boat, but we have a 10kw generator instead. [We were told it cost the same as the 6.5 at the time the previous owner's installed it...]

Back to your question: Could we run one of these air conditioners at a time from our 2800 Watt 115VAC/125A 12VDC inverter charger? Yes. [On paper anyway- I have never had the need to attempt it...] Our 900 AH 12VDC house bank would likely handle it for a few hours. However, the energy/time required to recharge the batteries outweighs the benefits for me. Therefore we choose to run the generator when away from shore power when A/C is needed, and let it take care of other needs during that run period. [Charge batts, etc.] The need for air cond is rare where we currently cruise [55N-61N] but we do exercising the units on those hot days when the pilothouse [AKA solarium] starts climbing through the mid-90°s F due to the sun.

I don't mind running our generator as it is very quiet and surprisingly fuel efficient. [Fisher-Panda running a 3 cyl Kubota diesel.] Yes, we can hear the gen hum in the pilot house, but the blower from the AC on high drowns that out. And outside our split exhaust arrangement makes it difficult to tell if it is running unless you wander over to the exhaust area and lean over to hear it blowing bubbles... Any neighbors would never know it was running... but neighbors are rare for us... We have had kayakers approach and not realize they were approaching the running gen exhaust until they were within ~10 feet of the boat...

I hope this helps provide some prospective from another vessel's point of view.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 28-12-2015, 15:23   #11
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Re: Novice air cond question

You might try 12V A/C - 12 Volt Marine Air Conditioner | For Boats | Cruise N Comfort
No experience with them, but I'm intrigued.
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Old 29-12-2015, 09:27   #12
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Re: Novice air cond question

Not to hijack the thread...........but!.....What are the pros and cons of using the Honda E2000i generator. We've got one but the marine writers seem to hate them and warn of dangers. I planned to point the exhaust aft thru our sugar scoop transom and run a 5000btu window a/c. Do I need to rethink?? Thanks in advance.
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Old 29-12-2015, 10:22   #13
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Re: Novice air cond question

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwilletts View Post
it seems we cannot live w/o air conditioning...I see that a lot of boats have it but not many have a genset to run it offshore.. would prefer not to use the Honda solution...what type of electrical set up will power AC w/o a genset..I assume it involves a big alternator/ big inverter and isolated switching??
Like everyone else said, not practical. If you have a big alternator then you could run your engine all night but most people don't like that option.

The only other option (except for the generator) is to spend several thousand dollars for a really big LiFePO battery installation AND the charging system to feed it.
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Old 29-12-2015, 11:22   #14
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Re: Novice air cond question

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
You might try 12V A/C - 12 Volt Marine Air Conditioner | For Boats | Cruise N Comfort
No experience with them, but I'm intrigued.
I was interested in one of these but at 40 ah I just couldn't swing it. My 320 only has 2 D4's and a group 27 to start it.

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Old 29-12-2015, 18:09   #15
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Re: Novice air cond question

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Practically speaking, you're not going to run an AC without a generator...,,,,no do you need one 98% of the time at anchor. The other 2% can be tolerated.


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