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  #11  
Old 02-13-2012
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The Hondas do have a direct DC outlet but as Nightowl noted output is only 8 amps, most onboard chargers are at least 10 so you are better off charging thru the 120 shorepower outlet and heating water. We find that we need to heat water every few days at anchor or on a mooring and it's faster off the generator and tops up the battery a little.
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I have a Honda EU2000i which I used for exactly that purpose (until I installed solar panels). As mentioned, its DC output is limited, we get a much higher/faster charge using the AC output to run our Freedom2500 inverter/charger.

One "nit" is that I had to reduce the "power sharing" setting of the Freedom charger slightly to prevent its initial bulk charge from tripping the Honda's overcurrent limit. On paper and as measured with an ammeter the charger's AC draw is still just within the generator's capacity, but in the first 20-30 seconds or so the charger often trips it. Reducing the charger to (if I recall) some 80% of max lets the Honda survive the Freedom's start-up surge and hasn't materially affected my charging on shore power (come to think of it, I don't believe I ever set the charger back to "max" since changing to solar).

The Honda is pretty quiet at idle and under load (obviously not as quiet as solar panels, but a lot smaller than three 130W Kyocera panels and the arch that holds them up). ECO mode reduces the noise under light load and automatically throttles up on demand, so I'm not aware of any power reduction when using ECO, except that they recommend ECO be switched off with intermittent loads and to cope with heavy start-up loads. In fact, the sound of the generator slowing to near-idle aboard was an indication that the charger had backed off from "bulk" to "float" mode.

Interestingly, this thread prompted me to check the generator and Honda docs regarding the parallel option (and make three trips to my garage to check the serial number), and look for the (non-existent) parallel jacks. Short version: there is indeed an option to parallel two identical generators to increase capacity, but it is not present on my Canadian-purchased unit (presumeably due to its meeting stricter CSA rules vs UL). Looking at the schematic in the US version's manual, the parallel jacks are simply in parallel with the inverter output, but before the circuit breaker. Personally I would not run two generators simply from the noise/space/bother aspect. While one is quiet, two not-quite-in-sync are likely to be less pleasant to listen to, even if theoretically only 3dB louder. Would be interested in feedback from anyone who has actually paralleled two of these units.

Still happy with the generator, now keep it at home to deal with occasional power failures.
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Old 02-13-2012
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bl, where do you find a SMALL diesel genset, comparable to the Honda and similar gas sets?
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Thanks, all for the replies. I am thinking that my sailing plans of the future will include one of the small 3.5 kW gensets and perhaps a solar panel or two. For a 2-year trip, the cost of the solar panels may not be worth the power provided. I will need to increase diesel capacity.

One question - will a small, fresh-water cooled diesel gen allow one to heat a hot-water heater? I was thinking the coolant water would run through the heater before the heat exchanger? Not much experience right here.

Anyway, the vision is a small generator, running 2 or so hours a day, topping off the batteries, perhaps running the fridge, and powering a water maker. Ok, maybe I need a bigger genset...

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Old 02-14-2012
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bl, where do you find a SMALL diesel genset, comparable to the Honda and similar gas sets?
First, the OP may be underestimating his needs if he wants to run air conditioning and a water maker. Chances are if you have a boat with a watermaker and air conditioning you probably also have a microwave and a tv, etc.

Second , by the time you put two 2000 watt Honda generators together you are approaching the same physical size as a 3 kw diesel generator.

Third, there are lots of 3-5 kw diesel generators out there

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diesel.
period.
the rest of the anchorage will thank you.
Totally agree. While the gas gens are fairly quiet, you are clocked into the wind and those downwind will hear it much better than you. A well insulated diesel gen locker will present little more than the intermittent splash of raw water from the exhaust.
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I run two Honda generators with little noise two others, so they say. I only take one with me if the weather is mild and you can talk in a normal voice next to it. They run about six hours on a tank of gas off econo mode and about 10 on econo. When there not in use I take it to shore being it weight is 47lbs. At the time the two were about $1900 with shipping. Once I get some panels up I won't use them much except for the ac. Think it over.
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I run two Honda generators with little noise two others, so they say.
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Please consider your neighbors.
After dark even the splashing of a genset gets loud. I had 2 rafted power boats anchor next to me a couple years back. The exaust for their gensets on both boats was venting twords the other boat. The echo was incredibly loud. They ran all night. We couldn't sleep. I sent their yacht club a very plesant letter. I will remember their burgee forever.
I had another incident w/ a sailboat anchor on top of us. At dusk they pulled out a portable generator, put it on their swim platform, fire it up and go below. It couldn't have been 20' from my bow. After about an hour for some reason it stalled and they couldn't restart it. Not sure what happened. Bad gas I guess.
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Not sure what happened. Bad gas I guess.
Jim
Yea Right, what was it sugar, diesel?
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