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Old 08-05-2012, 22:06   #1
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Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator?

We have a 3500 watt Lifan generator that operates at 68 decibels at half load.

Relatively quiet, but it's been replaced twice and repaired 4 times all within a year.

Home Depot will let us replace the generator with a 3500 watt Champion generator at 68 decibels or a 2000 watt Champion inverter generator at 53 decibels.

Obviously we would like to go as quiet as possible - but we are concerned with salt air damaging the computer circuity rendering it useless.

Is anyone using an inverter generator and if so - what is your experience ??

Thanks,
Hatch
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Old 08-05-2012, 22:10   #2
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

Now you've done it! Expect to see the word "Honda" a lot in this thread.
I'll start it off. I love my Honda.
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Old 08-05-2012, 23:02   #3
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Honda. Just pull the trigger.
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Old 08-05-2012, 23:18   #4
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

LOL !!
I understand - and if we could afford the eu Honda, we would get one.
But the question still remains - even for a Honda, do inverter generators hold up in salt air conditions.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:24   #5
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

How fastidious are you?

How mechanically skilled?

Salt air isn't sulphuric acid. If you don't leave them uncovered on deck and perform regular wipe downs of the Hondas and keep them in vented boxes (not when running, unless it's a very well made box...), and are prepared to disassemble, inspect and derust parts before they get badly corroded, it's not going to be an issue. Don't put them away hot, because they will condense water out of the air, for instance. Spray Boeshield or something similar on all electrical contacts, and check for resistance issues with a meter.

It's really the same process as you do with anything electrical on the boat: keep it dry, keep contacts coated and keep it clean, like batteries, cables, busses and looms.

Also, you want two Honda 2000s, one regular one and the other the "companion" model with the 30A socket. Ganged together, they sync up output and you can run A/C, charge the house bank like you were at the dock, and run big grinders, Shop-Vacs and other big-draw stuff.

Total weight is under 90 pounds and most of the time you only need one. This makes more sense to me than a built in genset, which I couldn't take in the tender to the native village to run the drill that's going to get me half a roast pig and plenty of hospitality!

YMMV. If all you can afford is some Chinese junk made from melted down Tonka toys, the answer is "probably not". But even there, quality aside, your own effort determines the outcome.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:29   #6
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

I wouldn't bother with that home depot stuff. If you add your trouble, travel time & fuel, and down time to the cost of the cheapo unit I don't think your gonna save any money. Honda's are only $900 ish? I live in place where power outages are commen and its funny how many people get a cheapo $500 gen claimed to be 8500 watts. And think their worlds ahead of my $2500 honda 5000 watt. Silly, silly frugal folks. and they get a new one every few years.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:43   #7
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

Thank you all for the advice.
We will take it all into consideration.

We have equipped our vessel with solar and wind generators.
We were hoping to keep added cost down by purchasing (what we thought) was a quality generator for under a $500.

Obviously, that's not the case.

We were told by different manufactures that inverter generators experience the same amount of problems as "Framed" gens.

Difference being that the framed is basic and easier to repair.
I will have to look closer at the inverter gens. to see how easy they are to spray electrical and water repellants inside.

We are now thinking of keeping our 3500 watt framed gen. and looking for a used inverter to have as everyday.

Thank you all for your input.

Hatch
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:33   #8
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

Another one to consider is the Yamaha EF2000is. We love ours. No issues after a year. Also the Yamaha generators seem to put out very clean power and all models have the ability to pair up with another one as a standard feature.

As part of our quest to get gasoline off the boat, were adding a tri-fuel kit to ours so it will run on gasoline, propane, or CNG. You may want to consider ordering one with the kit already installed.

(No affiliation, just a happy customer.)
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:54   #9
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

buy the honda once.. and "fuggedaboudit"
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:04   #10
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

Heck Camping world has the Honda 3.5 on sale for under a thou!!and 2000 even more cheap !
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:30   #11
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

I personally have a 2kw Hyundai pure sine wave inverter generator which cost 450. Seems very well made, starts easy and is easily stowed away when not in use. However, since purchasing, I have also fitted a large 550 AH battery bank tied into wind and solar power, connected to a 3kw inverter and with this setup, see the Hyundai as simply a backup as the above copes with most needs.

If you have a decent 'passive' charging system then a genny should only be considered a backup and therefore, cheaper models are more than adequate.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:13   #12
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

5 easy letters but $$ HONDA. Love mine.
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Old 10-05-2012, 20:16   #13
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

Thank you everyone for the great advise.
I wasn't aware that Hyundai or Yamaha even made generators or even inexpensive inverter gens.

I have decided to keep the 3500 watt as a back up and go look for one of the two listed above.

We do have solar and wind gen., two battery banks, with a 2500 watt inverter.

The only place for our 110lb. 3500 watt gen. is on top of our pilothouse.
There is a canvous cover on it, and we use it once a day to run the microwave.

But, salt air works on Hondas, Yamahas, and Hyundais - so, I dont think spending $500 or $2500 really protects it from hard motion while running or salt corrosion on calm days.

We do spray and protect the electronics. so we are hoping for longevity.

However, this thread was to determine which is better for a boat, either a framed or inverter gen.
Looks like everyone who replied has an inverter gen.

The manufacturers say to stick with frame for easier repair in third world countries.
So - we will try both !!!

Thanks again for everyone's input.

In Him,
Hatch
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Old 10-05-2012, 20:38   #14
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

I'm not sure why the manufacturers are tell you the open frame gen. are easier to work on. The enclosure on my Honda will come off with only a few nuts leaving an open frame gen. under it. Honda has done their home work by having the regulator,carb., electronics, ect. easy to service. I use a spray corrosion block to extend the life of our generator. 8 yrs.
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Old 10-05-2012, 21:07   #15
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Re: Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator ??

My understanding of an Inverter Generator is that there are three major components that are controlled by a circuit board.

If the boards start to corrode, at any part, it disables the gen.
Parts are not easily available in some countries.

We would prefer an inverter gen. but don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot and have it as our only larger power source, knowing it may be problematic.

But - if you have gotten 8yrs out of one - I'm feeling hopeful.
(we would rather something at 53 descibles than 68 !!)

Thanks for your reply !!
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