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  #21  
Old 04-24-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sahara View Post
To me, running the engine or genset after 5:00PM to charge batteries is very poor manners. No kidding.
I would no more do this nor leave the boat with, say, a running propane barbeque. This is the place where poor etiquette intersects poor safety awareness. I don't even let an outboard run at dock if I'm tied up and dash into the club for a pee!
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  #22  
Old 04-24-2009
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Val,

Putting 2 2000W gensets together is "VERY COMMON" in the land yacht RV area of life. many do this because as mentioned, you have a spare per say, along with you can run one when you are doing lite things, and run two when you need to run the AC, battery charger, hair dryer etc. Along with typically, a 2-2000W units are less weight than say my Honda EB3500 at 125-135 lbs. BUT, even if mine went south today, for how and where I use my genset, I would replace it with a EB3500, OR since I see Honda has inverter units in the 3-4000w range with the handles and wheels to cart them around like mine, I would look at one of those. Being as mine usually is setup on a contruction site for when I need power and it is not availible, or running the house. For my boat, I would look at a 1000 or a 2000E EU series personally. I would figure that out based on my battery charger, as that is my biggest power user, other than spouses hair dryer etc. Even that is not needed on the boat, as we do not have a shower! So she can use the HD in the marina's womens room!

If you need more info on how to hook up 2 Honda's, I know a couple that do that, and can get the info, but reality is, ANY Honda dealer should be able to set you up with a snap of there fingers.

Good luck on what you choose.
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  #23  
Old 04-25-2009
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Valiente;

What you said is why, in what I wrote, I left it pretty much up to the individual to decide. I admire your fortitude in surviving with an Atomic 4. That engine is an amazing survivor. There are about 20,000 still in service out of the more than 40,000 made around 30 years ago. As you said though, you have to know it's limitations. I have investigated a few fires on boats that had Atomic 4's. It was almost always due to lack of service or substituing auto parts for marine.

I have written to ABYC about the portable generator issue. What I asked for is simply a statement in the manuals about the dangers involved in using them in a marine environment and precautions that should be taken. I'll probably never see it though. The industry is rather reluctant to include that.

The issue is one of education and prudence. If you want to see why just set yourself up a google or yahoo news alert on carbon monoxide. Every day several people die from CO poisoning and a significant portion is from using portable gnerators improperly.
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  #24  
Old 04-26-2009
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Thanks, Marty. I have one EU2000 already with which I'm quite pleased; what I did not immediately consider is that I would want a second one to solve the very few onboard problems the first one didn't cover!
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  #25  
Old 04-26-2009
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Originally Posted by peikenberry View Post
Valiente;

What you said is why, in what I wrote, I left it pretty much up to the individual to decide. I admire your fortitude in surviving with an Atomic 4. That engine is an amazing survivor. There are about 20,000 still in service out of the more than 40,000 made around 30 years ago. As you said though, you have to know it's limitations. I have investigated a few fires on boats that had Atomic 4's. It was almost always due to lack of service or substituing auto parts for marine
I replaced the entirety of the fuel, vent and exhaust system in 2005, including going to a Vetus waterlock instead of the stupid and rusty Onan waterlift, and she runs very well. Gas doesn't bother me, because I respect it and I sniff the "carb side" and give the engine a wipe on occasion. I also have a fuel line shutoff I can work with a boat hook if I was ever facing a burning block.

The beauty of the Atomic 4, besides its mechanical simplicity and reliability, is that a low-compression gas engine is by its very nature a better choice for the typical recreational sailor in my view. I have run the engine 18 hours since 2006 (although I ran it about 40 in 2005 when we cruised her after a rebuild). Lawnmowers get more hours. Consequently, if you're going to run a cold engine for 15 minutes until you've got the main up, you want an engine that will run to 165-175F in that quarter-hour, so that oil runs freely, rings seat, and every part gets lubed. Do that with a diesel, and you prematurely age it and foul or wear various components.

With my 52 HP Westerbeke in my bigger boat, I motorsail at 1,500 RPM just to get the engine thoroughly warm, because I like to think I know what diesels prefer (start them, run them to a typical RPM, and let them run for hours until they get hot and happy).

Just to avoid a derail, while I would be interested in some future 45 lbs. 2000 W diesel genset, which would simplify the fuels carried and the economy of diesel, fire safety, etc., I would face the same problem: even a diesel genset won't like being turned on and off several times a day as one moves around the boat's deck, say. So gas gensets, used carefully, have that attribute that diesel, typically, do not.
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Old 04-26-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
With my 52 HP Westerbeke in my bigger boat, I motorsail at 1,500 RPM just to get the engine thoroughly warm, because I like to think I know what diesels prefer (start them, run them to a typical RPM, and let them run for hours until they get hot and happy).
I never understood this argument that running a diesel for short periods of time wears it out prematurely. To run an engine a long amount of time it first has to run a short amount of time, right ? So what does it matter if you just cut it off early instead of continuing to let it run and get warm and happy ?

SHORT TIME = wear
SHORT TIME + MORE TIME = long time, less wear ??????
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Old 04-26-2009
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We've had some informative discussions about this same topic in the past. Here are a few threads that I quickly dug up:

Honda portable gen set question

Portable Generator vs Genset

I haven't read PEikenberry's article, but we are of the same mind on this subject. In one or both of the threads above I cited the relevant USCG and ABYC guidance that strongly recommend against the use of portable gasoline gensets aboard recreational vessels.

Be careful!
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  #28  
Old 04-26-2009
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The recommedation for not running diesels for short periods is because when cold, diesels produce a lot of soot and acids that accumulate in the lubricants. When they are allow to get up to normal temps they burn those off and produce far less soot. Over a short life, that is a few years, it really makes no difference. But over the long run (no pun intended) of many years, it can shorten the time between rebuilds. But diesels are generally so much more reliable and need so much less mantenance than a gas engine that it really doesn't make a lot of difference.

Actually a diesel is happiest running without ever stopping, just keep feeding it fuel and lubricant. Some of the diesel engines that power aids to navigation for the USCG have been running almost continuously for ten or more years. I have heard anecdotal claims of 20 years for diesels in the artic that power oil company equipment.

John, thanks for your support.
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  #29  
Old 04-26-2009
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Peikenberry answered this perfectly, Wind Magic. I would only add that diesels burn hotter and under greater compression pressures than little gas engines like the Atomic 4 (ideal cylinder pressure of 95-115 PSI, if I remember correctly). They also tend to be heavier built, CC for CC. A short run will not heat the block equally entirely throughout the block, and as it's been explained to me, uneven heating can lead not only to the contamination issue mentioned above, but to microscopic fracturing of the metals due to uneven expansion and contraction. A diesel brought slowly to operating temperature and then kept there could indeed be expected to run for years.

Sailboat auxiliaries are kept off 95% of the time, run briefly, and then sit in a cold bilge again for a week. From what I know of the thermodynamics involved (a diesel is after all, a sort of elaborate kettle or a bolted together bomb), the way in which we typically run our auxiliaries is not ideal. I run my Atomic 4 for a couple of minutes before departure, mainly to confirm I haven't got spider goop in the vent (it will slow and stall as the weak fuel pump is overwhelmed by the vacuum in the tank). My diesel goes on for 15 minutes before I leave, and I try to avoid sudden throttle changes until I read a nice warm block temperature. Racers, on the other hand, are always late for the start line, and fire up their diesels as the last crew jumps on and then belt out to the course at seven knots for 10 minutes, and then shut off the engine. 150 minutes later, they repeat the exercise and then park the boat for six days in a basin with 10C water.

Which sounds better?
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  #30  
Old 04-27-2009
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Back on the topic of generators, does anyone know anything about some of the off brand "suitcase" gensets?

Sounds like there are a lot of the Hondas out there. But I have also come across a few that a significantly less in price. Such as:
All Power America Portable Generator — 2000 Surge Watts, 1650 Rated Watts, Model# APG3010 | 1,000 - 4,999 Watts | Northern Tool + Equipment $330

The honda seem to go for around $750 used to >$1000 new.

The noise spec does appear to be worse. The one above is 68 dB. The honda is 53 to 59 dB. That's more than 3X quiter, which is fairly significant. Funny how the price is almost exactly proportional to the different in sound emission!
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