Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-06-2017, 04:34   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2016
Boat: Hunter 41 DS
Posts: 38
Generator for boat

Again looking at a different boat. Some I have found have generators, which at times could come handy, I know I could go with solar too.
Question, is a generator a must have for cruising up or down the East coast and Bahamas, or is solar the way to go?
__________________

Dockhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 05:03   #2
Registered User
 
MV Wanderlust's Avatar

Join Date: May 2016
Location: Palmetto, FL
Boat: "Wanderlust" -- 1999 Jefferson Rivanna 52'
Posts: 839
Images: 28
Re: Generator for boat

During the summer months, along the southeast coast and in the islands, it is quite possible you'll want some air conditioning. Some people do without it, many prefer to have it. For that, you'll need a generator. There aren't too many solar rigs that can power an a/c unit.
__________________

MV Wanderlust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 05:15   #3
cruiser

Join Date: Jan 2017
Boat: Retired from CF
Posts: 13,304
Re: Generator for boat

Not either/or usually, only frugal energy users can get by with little or no genny, and IMO everyone​ needs solar.

Generators are required for large long-running loads, but don't get batteries recharged to 100% as required for longevity.

Solar does that job well, when the bank is well depleted charge Bulk stage off genny in the morning, then solar handles "the long tail" at lower amps rest of the day.
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 05:47   #4
cruiser

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Bahamas
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 16,293
Re: Generator for boat

You don't NEED a generator as much as you do solar. Solar by far is the best for getting batteries fully charged economically. A generator is great if have air conditioning/heat and to handle large loads. I put a generator in my boat last year and in 14 months I've run it almost 400 hours, so that is how useful I have found it to be. But if you aren't an anchor out or a mooring type and plan to do marinas a lot there a generator is less useful.

If all things in your boat choices are equal definitely get the one with the generator!!!!!

BTW - if you do the math on getting diesel heat and a water maker and having enough solar to take care of those, or getting a small generator in order to do the same with AC powered stuff the diesel becomes free
sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 06:28   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Buenos Aires
Boat: SOLD
Posts: 126
Re: Generator for boat

For me it's a must have, even having a solar array and wind gen. One thing to consider if you are installing one is the nominal generating power. It's always better to go big: 30 to 50% more than your actual need minimum. You never know if you will upgrade your A/C, your fridge, watermaker.......it will run smoother and longer by not working at maximum capacity. Just remember, it's always better to have and don't use, then need and don't have

Mariano
Fair winds
Mariano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 06:50   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Alamosa, Colorado
Boat: S2.....7.9/26'
Posts: 379
Re: Generator for boat

I have to recommend the solar plus small genset with inverter....such as a 2000i Honda or Champion etc. Good smallish gensets with inverters are remarkably efficient and produce a pure sign wave power signal that is very good for electronics.

There will likely be times when a solar array does not produce enough power. Large solar inverters are also power hungry, much like a large auto engine that needs a lot more gas to simply idle.

Power tools, a/c, vacuum cleaners etc. A 13 amp tool may have a start up surge exceeding 20 amps.

I have studied gensets to some degree. Apparently they run best when handling a load that is at least 50% of their capacity. So using a 5000 watt genset for a 1000 watt is both bad economics and doesn't help the genset either.

This subject gets a bit complicated. You will be well served if you study it with diligence. Especially consider your anticipated loads and try to keep them light. Making your own power is multiples more expensive than buying power from the utility company.

Also remember that even good solar batteries may only last for 5 years. Golf cart batteries are very efficient for solar applications.

Solar pros can drain a bank account quickly so I can't really say "Hire a pro." It depends on the pro of course. But you cans save yourself a lot of heartache if you can find a buddy who knows the ropes with solar and genset power. Unfortunately that often takes a pro. The subject gets pretty involved.
softdown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 08:31   #7
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denmark (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 27,312
Re: Generator for boat

I've had both solar, suitcase inverter generator, and a heavy duty diesel generator.

They are all rather different in what they can and can't do.

Solar is the killer app for light loads -- PROVIDED you have a place for the panels and don't mind the ugliness and windage. Far more reliable and less trouble than any generator, and zero operating cost. We loved our solar installation. Solar goes with lead-acid batteries like cookies and cream -- they give LA batteries exactly the kind of charge they like. But if you ever go to LiFePo -- you might be craving a way to put power in faster.

Suitcase gen supreme in terms of convenience and cost -- no installation, cheap, easy. But there are some risks with carbon monoxide, and they do make some noise. Not as efficient as a diesel generator.

Fixed installed diesel generator more efficient than suitcase, often quieter, safer, longer lasting, especially if it's a low RPM heavy duty one. But it won't like charging lead acid batteries unless you "bunch" loads -- find other things for it to do. Unlike a suitcase gen, diesel gens don't like to work at very small loads, and it can damage them. But if you get LiFePo batts -- and the biggest battery charger your generator can run -- you'll be on the contrary very happy. You can then put a ton of energy into storage in a short period of time, and then shut it all down and relax.

Whether you even need all that, depends on how you use power on board. If you don't use a lot of electrical power, then a diesel generator and LiFePo batts would be a waste of money.
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 09:42   #8
cruiser

Join Date: Jan 2017
Boat: Retired from CF
Posts: 13,304
Re: Generator for boat

Good summary that
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 19:57   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 1,093
Re: Generator for boat

I do not see the logic of getting $5,000 marine generator (say 3.5kW) that can supply a good 200A DC current through a charger and then worrying about bulk/vs accept charging for $500 batteries. Just discharge your batteries as low as you dare and then recharge in one hour and be done with it. When the batteries fail, just replace.

The other point is that except for a continuous high load such as air conditioning or drying there is no other use to run the generator continuously.

Thus, most boats (<40 feet) will be well served by a Honda 2000 style generator as long as we can find a good way to reduce the risk of CO poisoning. Speaking of that, is it possible to feed the Honda exhaust into the water? How much back pressure can the engine take?
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 20:24   #10
cruiser

Join Date: Jan 2017
Boat: Retired from CF
Posts: 13,304
Re: Generator for boat

What's this $500? A big bank from a quality vendor can easily be 10x that.

And with an investment of time and the right gear can be made to last 12-15 years easy.

Sure for some treating them right isn't possible, so yes get the cheap stuff and replace frequently.

Or get Firefly Oasis where that $500 won't even get your first 100AH.

No one right solution fits everyone's situation or preferences
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-06-2017, 23:57   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 1,093
Re: Generator for boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Or get Firefly Oasis where that $500 won't even get your first 100AH.

No one right solution fits everyone's situation or preferences
Agree but sometimes people make poor choices because they do not understand. I know I have and I am thankful to many people here for showing me the light.

1. Use a generator/engine to charge your batteries in bulk/mode. Fast and efficient. For this you need a small generator.

2. Using solar to top of the batteries - it is a personal choice but what people should know is that one hour of Honda 2000 run time will put 35% charge in your batteries (bulk charge). You need around 400-500 watts of solar panels to replace this one hour of genny time for a typical battery bank. I am not against solar (I have some solar on my boat for emergency use but I do not rely on solar to meet my power needs).

3. Some people buy watches for $100, others for $1000... at least you can look at and enjoy a quality watch. The batteries are usually hidden
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-06-2017, 00:32   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Sydney
Boat: Lagoon 400
Posts: 1,679
Re: Generator for boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by softdown View Post
I have to recommend the solar plus small genset with inverter....such as a 2000i Honda or Champion etc. Good smallish gensets with inverters are remarkably efficient and produce a pure sign wave power signal that is very good for electronics.

There will likely be times when a solar array does not produce enough power. Large solar inverters are also power hungry, much like a large auto engine that needs a lot more gas to simply idle.

Power tools, a/c, vacuum cleaners etc. A 13 amp tool may have a start up surge exceeding 20 amps.

I have studied gensets to some degree. Apparently they run best when handling a load that is at least 50% of their capacity. So using a 5000 watt genset for a 1000 watt is both bad economics and doesn't help the genset either.

This subject gets a bit complicated. You will be well served if you study it with diligence. Especially consider your anticipated loads and try to keep them light. Making your own power is multiples more expensive than buying power from the utility company.

Also remember that even good solar batteries may only last for 5 years. Golf cart batteries are very efficient for solar applications.

Solar pros can drain a bank account quickly so I can't really say "Hire a pro." It depends on the pro of course. But you cans save yourself a lot of heartache if you can find a buddy who knows the ropes with solar and genset power. Unfortunately that often takes a pro. The subject gets pretty involved.
i have similar view. Do not want to sacrifice aestethics ,sailing abilities of the boat and add weight for electric bonanza.

honda 2k, 360 W solar is enough. We use external lithium batteries to capture extra energy from solars in a/n.

Keeps electric system simple and fire free.

if i found real expert at reasonable price, would reconsider but reality is there is no such thing in paper based economy.

My 480 ah batteries show no signs of aging at 5 years. They are fully charged by end of day 80 % of days by solar only.

Look like we are modest electicity users.
arsenelupiga is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-06-2017, 00:36   #13
Registered User
 
TeddyDiver's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arctic Ocean
Boat: Under construction 35' ketch (and +3 smaller)
Posts: 2,245
Images: 2
Re: Generator for boat

So much variety to choose from.. Personally I'm against AC just have plenty of big dorades to get good airflow below, and some oscillating fans in the cabins as well insulation against the sun heat.

After that enough solar to run every day basics. A genny or big alternator on the tranny PTO for occasional use when bigger loads as laundry or dive compressor whatever happens.

For solar I'd like to find small panels, like 3to6 cells each with bypass diodes (or those better mosfet things mentioned in another thread) and cover all the cabin top with them. But not found such choice so far...
TeddyDiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-06-2017, 00:38   #14
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 13,459
Images: 14
Re: Generator for boat

We sold the honda genny when we installed solar.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-06-2017, 03:16   #15
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denmark (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 27,312
Re: Generator for boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
I do not see the logic of getting $5,000 marine generator (say 3.5kW) that can supply a good 200A DC current through a charger and then worrying about bulk/vs accept charging for $500 batteries. Just discharge your batteries as low as you dare and then recharge in one hour and be done with it. When the batteries fail, just replace.

The other point is that except for a continuous high load such as air conditioning or drying there is no other use to run the generator continuously. . .
Different boats use electrical power in different ways.

A lot of boats, especially larger cruising boats, can use a heavy duty generator very effectively. Not by "running it continuously", but on the contrary, by concentrating heavier power using tasks into one or two periods a day when you have the generator running for an hour or two each time.

And as we discussed, lithium changes everything, because lithium batteries will take the full output from a generator and store a lot of power in a short period of time.
__________________

Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
boat, generator

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Portable Inverter Generator or Reg. Generator? Hatch Liveaboard's Forum 54 15-06-2017 23:05
Generator vs Inverter Generator (Genset) Jon4399 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 30 11-01-2011 10:13
Portable Generator vs Solar Panels or Wind Generator Sweet As Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 120 16-09-2010 18:27
Any way to convert a DC Generator to an AC Generator? Latitude9.5 Engines and Propulsion Systems 13 06-04-2007 11:06

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 18:32.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.