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Old 26-05-2012, 18:18   #1
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Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

There has been some pretty economical new ways to get air conditioning on your boat nowadays and wonder what setups people are finding works best?

The one setup that seemed good was this;
A small Yamaha generator, seems much better than the Honda. With a conversation so you can run it much longer and probably cheaper.
-Triple-Fuel Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator.
-Then use this device to control the spike.
http://dometic.com/cbcde79f-6594-4d0...e153c982.fodoc
-I heard up to 16,000 BTU is being run this way.
Then I guess just deciding on which air conditioner is best for you. Portable or designed for a boat.

Anyone else using this setup? If so how are you finding it working and how long will a 5 gallon tank of LP Gas last?

Cheers

Mike
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Old 26-05-2012, 21:52   #2
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Re: Portable Generator Air conditioner setup.

I couldn't make the link work but I couldn't run my 5K BTU marine air conditioner on a 2kw Honda until I installed a hard start capacitor that I bought from a refrigeration supply company. It cost less than $20.
E Class Hard Starts
I like the idea of running the generator on propane on a boat. It greatly reduces the chance of CO poisoning. Unfortunately it reduces the power output of the generator unless the generator was designed to only run on propane. Tri-fuel generators will have different ratings depending on which fuel you choose. Gasoline giving you the most power. Another nice thing about running a genny on propane is that the carberator doesn't clog up from just sitting. My emergency generator at home runs on propane. I start it about once a year at the start of hurricane season. It has always started every year for about ten years now. Come to think of it, I should start it next weekend. That special time of year is here!
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Old 27-05-2012, 04:54   #3
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Re: Portable Generator Air conditioner setup.

I'm curious to hear the answer to this question. I've been researching this and haven't found a really great solution. People used to rave about the Krusin Kool AC which was a suitcase model, but they don't make it anymore. Most of the stand-up versions aren't really marine ready and are a mess with water output, etc. Hatch ones don't seem to be a great option, just because of storing and putting it in. Some people have said they run regular Wal-mart window AC's and have created some kind of rig to connect it to a hatch, which also seems like a bad setup. Hopefully, there's a portable ac that fits the bill.
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Old 27-05-2012, 06:45   #4
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

With so much innovation or "creative destruction" going on in many different industries...is there perhaps an industry wide reluctance to fully embrace the concept of...moving on? Seems like new designs face a serously up-hill task to get a fair shake with new radical ideas. Are sailing folks just....old dogs & set in their ways???
See the reactions to the SMG 50 thread.........for examples.
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Old 27-05-2012, 06:55   #5
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I have a thru the hatch model, and a sunshade made by Shadetree which drops the inside temp from 105 to about 90 in August in Maryland. I also have a 5000 BTU hatch unit. To avoid humping the hatch unit up/down, I build a box to cover it, painted it the same color as the deck, and vented it. It is locked down and inexpensive. HOWEVER... Going from 90 to 75 only happens at night 5000btu on a 31 is not enough if you are there in the heat of the day - especially in a marina where wind is nonexistent.

What I am looking at now is a portable "big box store" model. 14,000 btu. Some "claim" to exhaust the condescension but in my case I can run the line out.

Why this route and not a built in? The "cheap" estimate is $6500, I lose a locker + 20% of all the lockers the hoses pass through and I only need it for 2 1/2 months of the 7 I am on her.

Option 2 - someone showed how the did this by grassing in a locker in the cockpit. I don't have that link right now, but that would also need to be a DIY to cost justify it.
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Old 27-05-2012, 07:20   #6
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

For the amount of trouble, it would seem like someone would make an engine run compressor.
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Old 27-05-2012, 08:44   #7
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
For the amount of trouble, it would seem like someone would make an engine run compressor.
Several do.

Ie:

Ocean Breeze Marine Air Conditioning - Engine Driven A/C 12k to 36k

NautiCool Air System

http://www.seafrost.com/pdfs/ED%20AI...d%2012VOLT.pdf
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Old 28-05-2012, 01:33   #8
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Several do.
Yeah, but then it's all those engine hours.
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Old 28-05-2012, 02:11   #9
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

For air conditioning on a cruising boat there are two major considerations - first, how often are you going to use it. And secondly, what does it cost.

Cruising in the islands generally provides excellent constant winds and breezes that along with being surrounded by water keeps the boat liveable. Most important is having a good coverage awning over the top of the boat. There is a dramatic decrease in the heat getting to the boat if you have a good awning. Some people even do "double awnings."

Of course if you are in a marina or land-locked/blocked bay or cove there may not be much in the way of winds and breezes. Marinas are probably the places where having air conditioning becomes a priority. And if you are in a marina, you have electricity available to run just about anything.

As an aside, remember that the best form of "air conditioning" for an anchored cruising boat is to divest yourself of all apparel and do a "swan dive" into the water. Evaporation when you emerge will really cool things down.

In the second major consideration, cost - portable Walmart/Home Depot/Target/ etc. type window air conditioners are about as inexpensive as you can get. And a 5,000 Btu or 8,000 Btu unit is not that large.

If you have sufficient money that air conditioning on the boat is "expected" then you can afford to have an "installed" unit and run it off the boat's genset.

But for "frugal" cruisers, you can't beat the window air conditioners. They are both small and extremely frugal on electricity. But you need some AC electricity to run them. The "suitcase" generators like the Honda EU2000i and others operate as DC generators with a built-in inverter to produce the AC power needed for the air conditioner. The big difference between these type generators and all the others is weight and noise. Classical AC generators are quite loud.

Mounting a window air conditioner on a boat's hatch is quite easy. You put the air conditioner's bottom lip over the hatch ring. Then use blocks to hold up the air conditioner so that it can drain water outside the boat rather than inside through the hatch. Then lower the hatch so it rests on top of the air conditioner.

Use R-Max foam insulation board/panels and cut triangles and rectangles to fill the resultant open gaps between the hatch parts, deck and air conditioner. I use the aluminum duct tape to hold everything in place and seal the opening so water and rain cannot get inside. That's all there is to it.

When it is time to move you use a razor knife to cut the aluminum tape and remove the R-Max panels. Then the air conditioner and panels get stored in the #2 head shower or lazarette or another space in the boat.

The idea is that the discount store window air conditioners are small, efficient and inexpensive. Fancier systems of installation like through companionway wash boards also works well. I have seen some folks who install plastic deck storage hatches in the side of their cabin top designed specifically for the window air conditioner.

But do all this before you leave North America - the window-style air conditioners are becoming extinct and just do not exist outside North America. What is available is the one piece push around portable air conditioners with the "dryer vent hose" for exhausting hot air overboard. They are big, clumsy and a royal pain in the butt to try to adapt to a boat.
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Old 28-05-2012, 03:09   #10
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

Hi
I work closely with the marine industry with comercial vessels.
They all use off the shelf split systems.

I have seen the same systems installed in 10m + yatchs.
These are inverter systems so are soft start & mostly run on
Honda 20eu generators, they are run all day in 35-45deg Celsius
& work well.
These semi permanent.
covers can be made for the outdoor bit.

Window style Ac also work but are not (inverter) soft start so may
Require a larger generator but in saying that,
I have seen them run on 20eu (turn in low & don't turn off.

The previously mentioned hard start capacitor sounds like a good
idea if it works.
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Old 28-05-2012, 03:13   #11
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BriaF View Post
Hi
I work closely with the marine industry with comercial vessels.
They all use off the shelf split systems.

I have seen the same systems installed in 10m + yatchs.
These are inverter systems so are soft start & mostly run on
Honda 20eu generators, they are run all day in 35-45deg Celsius
& work well.
These semi permanent.
covers can be made for the outdoor bit.

Window style Ac also work but are not (inverter) soft start so may
Require a larger generator but in saying that,
I have seen them run on 20eu (turn in low & don't turn off.

The previously mentioned hard start capacitor sounds like a good
idea if it works.
What are "shelf split systems"? What BTU? My Tri is 37' so looking for something easy.
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Old 28-05-2012, 08:36   #12
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

Actually I meant a compressor direct coupled to a small motor, like the portable generators. I knew about the pulley drive units, but as mentioned above......those engine hours. Also difficult to adapt to an outboard.
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Old 28-05-2012, 09:18   #13
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

I've employed what is probably one of the lower budget AC setups on my boat and find that it works well. For cooling I've installed one of the small Haier window units in the companionway of the boat.

http://www.amazon.com/Haier-HWF05XCK...sr=1-2-catcorr

The AC is a 5k btu unit and it came with a remote control which is very useful. It's nice to be able to adjust the temp or turn the unit/off on from the v-berth or anywhere inside the boat.

I built a few hatch boards that allow for mounting the AC very low in the companionway so that I can leave it in place and step over it as I go in and out of the boat. If needed, it's easy to remove or reinstall the AC as it is pretty light and I can just slide it up like you would a drop-board.

I put a shade cloth over the fore-deck and have put insulating window shades in the windows which both cut down on the heat a good bit. So far the AC has kept it very cool in the boat and I'm hopeful that it will at least keep it comfortable when it gets to high Summer. It's a small Pearson 28-1 so that helps.

For off-grid power I picked up a small Hyundai 1k generator.

Amazon.com: Hyundai HY1000si 1000-Watt Peak Portable Inverter Generator: Patio, Lawn & Garden

I was surprised that it ran the AC but it has no trouble doing so.

Here are a few photos of the AC install:
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Old 28-05-2012, 16:43   #14
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

Nice one! That whole setup for about $600! Even if it lasted just a season it would be great. Plus could pull it from the boat when needed. Does it drain into the cockpit? WOnder if 5000 btu would cool my 37' tri??
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Old 28-05-2012, 18:14   #15
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Re: Portable Generator Air Conditioner Setup.

The Haier 5k btu that I have doesn't drip, it collects the water and the fan for the condenser coil splashes around in it. I think this helps cool the condenser coil a little better than if the water ran off and the condenser was simply air cooled.

5000 btu isn't going to cool an entire 36 foot tri unless it is extremely well insulated/sealed and/or it isn't very hot out. 5k does fine with my boat but the shade cloth is necessary to help keep the whole interior cool and when it gets to the hot part of the day it starts to warm up inside. At night I have to turn the unit off or down but if I were headed to an extremely hot place, even with this boat, I'd probably want a slightly larger unit or better insulation/shading.

Jonathan
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