Running Diesel To Charge Batts = Bad - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-31-2007
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Running Diesel To Charge Batts = Bad

After this topic was discussed in another thread, I asked the Mack Boring (Yanmar Distributor) the question: why is running a diesel at anchor to charge batteries bad for the engine?

Their response:

Dear Mr. Leslie,

Prolonged operation of an engine in an "unloaded" condition, such as
when using the engine's alternator to charge the batteries, can result
is a condition known as "glazed" cylinders in the engine. In an
"unloaded" engine, there is very little pressure on the engine's piston
rings which can cause them slide lightly over the surface of the
cylinder walls rather than being pressed firmly against the cylinder
walls. This can "polish" the cylinder walls resulting in low
compression, high oil consumption and excessive smoking. This is
particularly true with engines still in the break-in period.

If necessary to run the engine to charge the batteries at anchor or in
a
slip, run the engine in-gear and at not less than 1200-1500 rpm to
assure there is a suitable load on the engine.

We hope this information will be helpful to you.

Respectfully yours,

Bob Schroer
Service and Parts Coordinator
Mack Boring & Parts Company
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Old 03-31-2007
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I am rather green on the topic of diesel operation and maintenance, but even I knew this. It's the main reason I rail against charging via the engine at anchor. I have no problem charging when underway...even if it means doing five knots in a circle for three hours.

From an efficiency viewpoint, it's about the least economical way to make power.

What the world could use would be a diesel generator that weighed the same as a Honda 2000 and that could plug into your charger or your battery banks directly. I could live without an outboard and then I would just need a single fuel. As it stands, however, I have 140 gallons of diesel, 10 gallons of gas (for outboard and generator), five gallons of kerosene (for lamps and emergency crankcase flushes) and 40 lbs. of propane. Beer and wine aren't really fuel.

It's not a sailboat...it's a fuel depot!
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I wonder what the length of the average breakin period might be? I am assuming it is rather early in the engine's life. If an engine can run for 200,000 hours I would assume breakin would be less than 2000 hours. Once beyond this breakin period, I wonder if polishing remains a critical factor. Also once mixed engine running for charging purposes along with normal usage, will the polishing tend to be eliminated during the non-charging periods of use ? Running the engine in gear while at anchor can have the additional benefit of proof testing the anchor and rode with the load.
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Valiente I have had the same thought. I have found some smallish diesel motors on the web which look like they could be retrofitted to my gas powered generator replacing the gas engine. They appear to be made in China and are advertised with limited marketing skills. I have toyed with the idea of pursuing this but haven't taken action yet. I don't have the URL available, but I found them through some simple Google searches.
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I found a 5 hp deisel engine for $199.00 and combining that with that pepboy genset .........
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Freesail - Exactly. 5HP sounds big. How heavy is it ?
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You can find the link to the 5 hp deisel engine here
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Here's a sample of what I am looking at:

DEK engine F420 F400 F300 F210

Make sure you DON'T install the language option, unless you read Chinese characters.
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The main difference as I see it, is that the engine link I posted is available in America and it's made by Kubota.
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So long as it will fit in a suitcase. I need to get it to Puerto Rico.
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