Mastervolt and Fischer Panda
My first boat had a Fischer Panda and my newest has a Mastervolt.
I never had any problems with my FP, but I have heard many people talking about warranty issues with them lately. They are quiet and dependable. Mine was a 4.5, and it ran two a/c systems (a 12k and 16k) marginally well, but preferred to just run one or the other with the charger or other ac systems. On a hot day, it was tough to run the microwave and the ac without a shutdown. You do have to keep a pretty good eye on the panel and load to keep from overheating it.
My newest boat has a 3.5 Whisper Mastervolt. I got it with some reservation, but love it now. I would reccommend it without reservation. it shows you the load, run time, has auto start function for batteries, etc. Its control panel is pretty dummy proof. You will especially like the way it shows the %load, so you do not over heat. I can run both a/c's (12k & 16k) for about two hours before it really starts getting warm, or can run one a/c and everything else indefinitely.
I would probably lean toward the Mastervolt if I was going to reccomend one of the two. It seems about as powerful as the 4.5 FP, and has soooo many more functions that make it very nice.
My very strong reccomendation when sizing a generator is not to exceed 80% load. The trick is also not to oversize it. ANything over 80% load will likely overheat your genny or reduce its lifespan. However, oversizing it and not having it under a good load can be as bad or worse.
I know at first it might seem to make more sense to have a generator that can run every single ac item on your boat at the same time, but chances are that if you size it that big, you will be underloading it 90% of the time. One a/c unit in the evening should get your boat down pretty cool... and you can flip back and forth between them to pull the temperature down. The charger can be a big draw if your batteries are low, so keep that in mind too.
Let me know if you have any questions. Hope that helps.
Last edited by Cruisingdad; 08-09-2006 at 04:48 PM.