Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Thanked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 12
That's 12 amps @ 120V (1440 watts), NOT 12 amps @ 12 volts (144 watts).
Many cruisers use small AC generators to charge their batteries and provide 120VAC for tools, hair dryers, and other purposes. The favorite is the Honda line, with many favoring the 2000EU. Great little generator.
The problems with the small AC generators are:
1. They're gasoline powered and, as such, produce a considerable amount of carbon monoxide. You have to be very careful where and how you mount them, especially if you're planning to run them while sleeping.
2. They may not be able to sustain their output ratings in high ambient temperatures. Like any generator/alternator, when the temperature rises their sustained output falls somewhat.
3. They may or may not have enough oomph to absorb high starting loads, such as air conditioners or refrigerators draw. While a 16,000BTU A/C may draw 16A while running, startup current is much higher. For example, my 16,500BTU Flagship marine A/C draws 14.1 amps at full load (running) but draws at least 21 amps (about 2,500 watts) when starting. This heavy draw is momentary, but you need to have a generator which is fully capable of handling it.
Finally, why not a fixed diesel generator? It may be a space problem, but for many cruisers it comes down to a cost issue. A small Honda generator will cost about $1,000. A small diesel generator will cost at least five times that, even if you do the installation work yourself.