Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SW Michigan
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Portable micro electric generators
I have been contemplating doing some cruising on Lake Michigan in my 21' Cal in the future. I've been considering various methods of energy supply. I have an outboard motor and run it as little as possible; three times last summer. Solar panels do not impress me for energy output for deck space consumed and they are pricey. I like the idea of the towed generators but they do not really begin to shine until 5-6 knots, I've only found one under a grand, and of course you have to be moving to generate the juice. Realistically I'm only going to carry two batteries due to space limitations. I'm adding an autopilot and am smart enough to know that I will probably under estimate my actual amp usage. So I really can't get around the point that I have to charge those bricks somehow and relying on periodic shore power seems pollyannaish if not poor seamanship. Although I am of Dutch extraction I'm not against spending some money if I can see how it will meet my needs and be a long-term solution.
I got thinking about generators and how small does anybody actually make one. As usual, if one can get out of the "boat" and "marine" mind-set it opens up a lot of options. What I found was a Yamaha built gasoline powered 900 watt portable inverter generator. Now the good part: It weighs 28 lbs and measures 18"x15"x9" and emits 47-57db. It'll run on 7/10 of a gallon of gas for 12 hours at 25% load. The inverter function is apparently to give one a regulated supply of DC voltage. I could use the AC output to run my "shore side" battery charger though, and thus taper my charging.
Ok. Shoot me down!
I found it at www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com