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Old 18-09-2018, 05:22   #1
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Gas generator in the winter

Since I deal with hotrod car stuff there are about any size radiator you could imagine available.

So with some relatively easy plumbing it would be possible to connect a radiator to the raw water system. This would allow operation of the generator using an antifreeze syatem to the heat exchanger of the generator. Granted you could simply run the gen on the cold raw water. However we can get some really cold snaps rather quickly so constantly heating the engine room is not perfect. There are power outages at the marina. About a month ago a very strong wind blew a section of dock out that had all the electric power cords on it. Not only was there no electric power you were stranded on the boat as some thirty feet of dock went with it. This could happen in the winter with an ice storm.

The heat from the radiator would easily heat the engine room even with the vents open. You could also blow heated air up the bilge.

Essentially the gen would not have to be winterized except for the raw water system....if you even kept it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 18-09-2018, 05:40   #2
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

I got lost in your description, not at all sure what you are proposing. It sounds like you want to run a petro/gasoline generator. There are many that are air cooled avoiding all the plumbing and heat issues. But that is so obvious you must be after something different.

We lived on a dock a few winters; snow, ice, unattended for a few days. All of that.

We have a 44’ Steel center cockpit. We have an Espar D4 installed. I would close off the v berth and aft cabin and just heat the saloon which also kept the engine above freezing. You need to be very careful when ordering thermostats, you need to get the 7day programmable one OR the stick one. The remote digital thermostat will kick off after 10 hours. PITA.

Anyway that will get you heat without external power. If you have no solar or wind you will eventually run batteries down, and over a long enough period you will need more diesel. You need to stick a glow plug and fan as spares if it is a necessary item.

Sorry if I completely missunderstood your question.
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Old 18-09-2018, 10:57   #3
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Gas generator in the winter

Heís wanting to use the generator as a source of heat, and doesnít understand he can install a bus heater and do what he is thinking of doing with a radiator.

Bentwings,
You know how your engine is used to heat water in the water heater? Well you can install a school bus heater in a loop just like the water heater is and use engine waste heat to heat the boat that way.
May take a little fabrication to install on a generator, but not as much as a radiator.
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Old 18-09-2018, 11:07   #4
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

I'm not clear on the objective. Are you attempting to keep the engine block from freezing or are you attempting to heat the boat?
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Old 18-09-2018, 11:14   #5
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

A more reliable approach is to not be exiled so far out on a dock where 30 feet of it was blown away. Now you know why God invented diesel heaters. They aren't expensive.
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Old 18-09-2018, 11:24   #6
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

There is no reason you need to use sea water to cool an engine. Millions of cars and heavy trucks do billions of miles without a hose in the ocean. Most have far larger engines than our tiny auxiliaries. I have considered that a well designed yacht would have no sea water connections or hull penetrations except for water maker and wash down. Imagine never corroding a heat exchanger or any other motor part. A Modine oil cooler with switchable inside/outside air flow would ventilate the cabin, heat or cool the cabin.
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Old 27-09-2018, 05:36   #7
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

Younhitnitbright on the head of what I was asking about. Essentially convert the generator to a cooling system like a car. Venting the radiator heat to the interior of the boat. Mostly for emergency usage but capable of providing extra interior heat when it gets really cold ....well below 0 deg. F

I think it would be mostly ducting or simply use a ď busĒ heater as you note. Itís expensive heat but available for power outages. Dealing with CO and the exhaust fumes being an issue.

Iím going to look into this during our 5-6 months hibernation. I know there is not a lot of room for a radiator but a car size one is not needed.

Byron
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Old 27-09-2018, 05:41   #8
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

What will load the generator electrically while heating? Electric heaters?
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Old 27-09-2018, 07:40   #9
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentwings View Post
Younhitnitbright on the head of what I was asking about. Essentially convert the generator to a cooling system like a car. Venting the radiator heat to the interior of the boat. Mostly for emergency usage but capable of providing extra interior heat when it gets really cold ....well below 0 deg. F

I think it would be mostly ducting or simply use a ď busĒ heater as you note. Itís expensive heat but available for power outages. Dealing with CO and the exhaust fumes being an issue.

Iím going to look into this during our 5-6 months hibernation. I know there is not a lot of room for a radiator but a car size one is not needed.

Byron
Don't forget that the raw water is also cooling, and silencing, your engine exhaust. If you no longer have raw water circulating, you will need a whole new dry exhaust system that will be totally incompatable with raw water cooling. Your generator will now be as noisy as a lawnmower...
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Old 27-09-2018, 10:13   #10
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Gas generator in the winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by billknny View Post
Don't forget that the raw water is also cooling, and silencing, your engine exhaust. If you no longer have raw water circulating, you will need a whole new dry exhaust system that will be totally incompatable with raw water cooling. Your generator will now be as noisy as a lawnmower...


No, you divert the water through the bus heater and from there it goes to the exhaust for the generator.
Or if you have a fresh water pump for your motor, you tie into it on the way to the heat exchanger where the water is hottest. My little generator is cooled by thermal siphon on the fresh water side, no pump.
Bus heaters come in all sizes and usually with a fan etc. find one that fits neatly under the bottom step of your companionway ladder, supply 12V for the fan and plumb it in and your done.
If I were to cruise in cold water, Iíd have one in a heartbeat, but I plan on not being cold again.
Should that plan break down, Iím getting me a bus heater so we can be warm while we motor South to warm weather.
Iíll install mine on the main engine though.
Car radiator is no less expensive than a bus heater, is larger and frankly would look ghetto. Bus heaters are just a shoe box sized black box sitting under the companionway stairs.
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Old 27-09-2018, 11:11   #11
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

That TBD boat has to be determined before going much further in the discussion.
IF you have steps, you could put a small horizontal heater core and a 12vt fan or two behind a step blow hot air out into the saloon. Just extend the engine cooling loop to get to the installed heater core(s).
I also recommend isolation valve AT the engine so you can isolate the heater cores and extra hose and or control the temps as necessary.
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Old 27-09-2018, 12:18   #12
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

"a radiator to the raw water system."
Except, there are damn few "hotrod" radiators made with monel coils, and the usual aluminum ones will quickly corrode in raw water. Copper will do somewhat better, with proper galvanic protection, but still...
Boats usually use water cooled heat exchangers because they don't get the huge volume of cooling air that slams under the hood of a motor vehicle. I'm sure a 30" box fan could help remedy that.(G)

If the goal is to use the generator as an emergency heat source, to ensure a non-winterized engine is kept warm despite any electrical failures, then it would seem like the simplest way is to have an autostart on the generator (so it powered up during line voltage failures) and then to just have the generator powering up a couple of small "ceramic" heaters, or heating tape, or heating pads, all standard simple equipment with no moving parts and easily replaced or relocated as needed. Heck, even IR heat lamps and plan spotlight bulbs have been used to keep engines warm all winter.
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Old 27-09-2018, 12:39   #13
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Re: Gas generator in the winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"a radiator to the raw water system."
Except, there are damn few "hotrod" radiators made with monel coils, and the usual aluminum ones will quickly corrode in raw water. Copper will do somewhat better, with proper galvanic protection, but still...
Boats usually use water cooled heat exchangers because they don't get the huge volume of cooling air that slams under the hood of a motor vehicle. I'm sure a 30" box fan could help remedy that.(G)

If the goal is to use the generator as an emergency heat source, to ensure a non-winterized engine is kept warm despite any electrical failures, then it would seem like the simplest way is to have an autostart on the generator (so it powered up during line voltage failures) and then to just have the generator powering up a couple of small "ceramic" heaters, or heating tape, or heating pads, all standard simple equipment with no moving parts and easily replaced or relocated as needed. Heck, even IR heat lamps and plan spotlight bulbs have been used to keep engines warm all winter.
Assuming you have 120vt on board, put in, what we called, a "freeze plug heater."
That will keep the diesel coolant hot enough to start the engine even at -46F below zero. I used one on my Bronco when I worked in Canada.
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