Old as Dirt!
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Thanked 139 Times in 132 Posts
Rep Power: 8
I am familiar with the expression "don't look a gift horse in the mouth", but I'm asking for clarification if I actually have a "gift" horse or a "fleabag"?
My sailboat came with a 6kw Fischer Panda AC generator. It is loaded with "safety" switches that can cause grief if they mis-read anything; temperature, oil level, voltage, rpm, etc. These safety devices have cost me over $300 already, in addition to a new battery, and the upcoming required periodic service.
I installed a 230 watt Solar panel that keeps my 630ah house bank brimming full. The generator is only a backup at this point unless the house air conditioner is run while on hook. It may "sip" fuel, but only charges at 40 ah which seems to never peak the batteries while the main engine charges at 100ah. Several hours of motor sailing has the batteries fully charged.
Our next planned trip will be the Bahamas Fall 2012. With an excellent solar panel and normal expected motor sailing, is a generator still a desirable piece of equipment or a noisy budget hogging, space hogging piece of iron?
At this time, other than running the A/C unit, I don't see any value for a generator while cruising the Bahamas from December to May. But I'm the novice asking those of you who have experienced the Bahamas with or without a generator for your candid opinion.
If the unit is properly maintained, it can/will be a valuable addition to your TOE. If not, not. We installed one at my wife's insistence and short of a few problems caused by, in one case an improper installation of the control box by the original vendor's electrician and in a second case, a defective raw water pump--that Panda acknowledged and replaced without cost after 6 years (a $400+ concession), we have rarely had a problem and those we did have were my own fault and easily corrected with help from Panda's tech's. Frankly the units are only problematic if they are not maintained--which usually only happens when they are installed where they are difficult to access or service; or, the owner/operators are too lazy to do the tasks.
Being able to fully charge one's batteries in a few hours while cooling the yacht for a few 10'ths of a gallon of fuel is pretty nice.
PS: For other discussions, use the site's search function for "Panda".
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."