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  #11  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallucination View Post

does everyone concur? or have I thought wrongly
No, don't concur.

If you need short term 110v use the inverter and the battery bank.
Use the Gen set for the intended purpose - high / long 110v need and battery charging.

Use the main engine for moving the boat, only. I rather doubt the alternator on it is better than 100 amp.
Mind unless you have newer more efficient alternator that 100 amps is full power in ideal situations (i.e you'll be good at half rpm to get 70amps out).

70 amps * 12v doesn't even completely power the 1000w hair dryer or microwave. If it doesn't do the job why run it for partial?

Insulate the Panda better.
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallucination View Post
I know this post probably falls into the "newbie" category, but this is the first GEN-SET equipped yacht for me. so yes...I am a newbie

I have a fischer Panda 4200 for the genny, and a volvo penta 95HP for the main.

What are the pros and cons of using one or the other for ship board systems/charging? The main engine is quite a bit more quiet than the genny, so I am tempted to use the main with the 3000w inverter for (be easy on me here) the wife's hairdryer, coffee maker and blender. And save the Genny for when AC is absolutely really needed.

I suspect that they both will only last a certain amount of time and cost 4 times as much as one would think to fix either one of them. The Panda does seem to be more intricate "in other words, breakable". where as the engine is much more "industrial"

I have not had time to really see fuel use at idle for the main, vs fuel use at 3000 watts with the genny.
As was pointed out, the generator is really made more for that than the main. It is also a LOT more efficient. I have a Mastervolt 3.5 kw that uses a pint/hour. My main, at cruising speed, is a bit over a gallon/hour. And given that your alternator is probably at best a 130 amp, you will see better fuel economy and longer life by running your generator.

Now, we do not always run our generator for charging. When we want hot water (and charging), we run the main. It seems the fastest way to get hot water and still charge the batteries.

Remember with your inverter, you do not have to run your generator. I also have a inverter (Xantrex Prosine 2.0). We do not run the generator except to charge batts or to run A/C. It is a better power management (gets your batts to 80% soc, then give them a good long charge versus periodic bursts).

My opinions.

Brian
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  #13  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Plumbed for a generator but have yet to put one in (need to spread the pain over a few years). Have 2 d400's and solar panels with highout put alternator. Figured would keep me going until moving south or adding watermaker. Wondering about sharing suggestions for diesel gensets. Fischer Panda was on the list until Zanshin's kind post. Hate engine noise and not too keen on wrenching either ( do it but grumble). Thanks.
I have owned a Fisher Panda 4.2, a Mastervolt 3.5, and the Tayana has a Ferryman.

This is all opinions (and some hear-say), so take it as such. But I have owned these...

I never had any real problems my FP... but many people did. They seem t have gone through a few ups and downs. They started off with a great product. Then they tried to change or cheapen things up. Maybe they had a problem with distributors? Then they started making a better product again. My issue with them was never the issues per se, but their customer service was purportedly terrible. I now understand that they have really tried to make amends and are making a good product again with good customer service. I would consider one, depending on the use.

My current generator is a MasterVolt. Well, we have had a love-hate relationship. I have had a lot of problems with this generator. That said, Mastervolt has really tried to stand behind their product and have good customer service. I think they are not doing a lot in the US market anymore. Last heard there is only one US distributor and he is out of Texas, IIRC. I personally would lean back to FP over the MV.

Last is the Ferryman on Pop's Tayana. That thing is a clanky, loud, vibrating generator. However, it is as dependable as it gets and loves loads. It also runs at a lot lower RPMS and will handle about anything you throw at it. Dad recently rebuilt it, and it is probably good to go for another 4000 hours.

If I was going to buy another generator, and I had the real estate for it, I would put in a 'Ferryman' type generator. Maybe a Westerbeke or Onan, etc. I would opt for something that was a lower RPM that ran smooth ad liked to run long hours. The high RPMs Generators (like mine that idles at 3750 RPM), are very quiet and take up very little space. But that space comes at a price in longevity, and difficulty to maintain. Plus, when you cram that much stuff into a little bitty box, things seem to wear out quicker or seem more likely to break.

If I did not have the space for a large footprint generator, I would go to a FP type generator. But I would suggest that you over size it some. My 3.5 is very easy on the diesel, but we also have to be very careful what else is running or we will overload it. I personally would opt for nothing less than a 5kw on a typical cruising boat in the tropics, where you may want to run the a/c (and you will want to run the a/c at times).

These are all my opinions, take then as such.

Brian
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
Fischer-Panda generators run at high-speed, for a diesel, and can thus output a lot of power per pound of generator weight or per cubic foot of generator volume.
Good stuff from Z. Many manufacturers, such as Mastervolt, make high-speed diesel generators (running at 3600 rpm for US and 3000 rpm for EU power) and medium-speed units (running at 1800 rpm for US and 1500 rpm for EU power).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
Then look where the genset's access is - the impeller is the first thing that comes to mind, then the oil filter/oil change mechanism. If those aren't accessible in your planned installation then go for another brand which is accessible.
I suggest that access to the heat exchanger is also an important issue. Some have a pencil zinc you have to maintain, and almost all of them will need to be descaled periodically.
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  #15  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallucination View Post
I know this post probably falls into the "newbie" category, but this is the first GEN-SET equipped yacht for me. so yes...I am a newbie

I have a fischer Panda 4200 for the genny, and a volvo penta 95HP for the main.

What are the pros and cons of using one or the other for ship board systems/charging? The main engine is quite a bit more quiet than the genny, so I am tempted to use the main with the 3000w inverter for (be easy on me here) the wife's hairdryer, coffee maker and blender. And save the Genny for when AC is absolutely really needed.

I suspect that they both will only last a certain amount of time and cost 4 times as much as one would think to fix either one of them. The Panda does seem to be more intricate "in other words, breakable". where as the engine is much more "industrial"

I have not had time to really see fuel use at idle for the main, vs fuel use at 3000 watts with the genny.
We have had the FP 4.2 KW Generator for about 10 years now and they are quite good machines provided one does the maintenance religiously. Most of those that have had difficulty have been weak in the maintenance department for various reasons. Your FP will generate far more power for charging than the alternator on your primary engine which will surely not be happy running under low loading and will heat up the boat to boot.

The FP needs be loaded to about 65%-75% of it's capacity to be happy. We use it for charging the batteries, running the air conditioner and heating water simultaneously and see fuel consumption in the range of .1 to .25 gal per hour depending upon actual load. We generally run ours for a few hours during the heat of the day to cool the boat and when other power demands are at their lowest. Our FP is in a sound enclosure and cannot be heard over the sound of the fan on the air conditioner when below nor from more than about 10 feet from the cockpit where it is mounted in our sail locker. Even in the cockpit, it is just a gentle purr. Some complain about generators aboard boats but we've had more than one such complainer ask to raft up to us a "borrow a few amps" when their batteries are weak and their other charging devices are not quite up to their needs.

FWIW...
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  #16  
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Good stuff Gentlemen- Exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. LOVE you SNers
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

I should add that I looked into the Fischer-Panda DC generators and, had my current boat not come with the 11Kw Onan ex-factory, might have gone the DC generator route and powered the AC loads on the boat with the 5Kw inverter.
AC generators need to run at a speed which allows the mechanical system to generate either 50Hz or 60Hz, thus they run at a given RPM which is most likely not in the optimal zone for diesel engines. A DC generator doesn't need to be RPM regulated and can thus run in the engine's "sweet" zone. The main issue that I see is that there are now 2 main components to running AC, the failure of either of which will cause an INOP system.
Regardless of which generator one chooses, the battery bank should be as big as practical (remember, a 1000AH bank lives between 60%-90% state-of-charge, so you only have about 300Ah to play with in normal use) and if it can accept large charging loads it is a great bonus; i.e. a 4Kw genset can generate about 300Amps at 12VDC but a 1000Ah lead-acid bank would normally only accept 100Amps (Using the 10H formula); if you go for AGM then many of them can accept very high amps for the bulk loading and that will shorten charging time by a huge factor.
I'd check up on the soft-start system from Fischer Panda, I looked into mine and it looked like it consisted of 2 huge caps and some electronics, but according to FP it would suffice to start up a dive compressor or another heavy load.
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Using the engine or genset for charging I would think is very expensive and not cost effective with the TRUE costs including not only the diesel fuel, but the cost of the part ( generator itself) plus the maintenance costs as well as repair bills. Most gensets are at least $7000 in initial cost not including installation and initial ancilliary costs which brings it to $10,000

On a larger over 40 foot boat a good robust solar panel, wind generator system will cost about $3000 and will supply many of the battery recharging needs for most cruisers. This would cut down on the cost of maintaining and usage of the generator for solely charging batteries in the long run. This would save the life of the generator for those creature comforts extras you need as well.

Also As Zanshin said having a large battery bank is very important in many reasons as well as for preserving its life through number of charging cycles. Keep in mind from and 85% charged battery bank to a full one takes many hours to top off as its not about the output from generator/ engine, but rather the acceptance rate of the battery which decreases the "fuller: charged it gets.

Not to mention less maintenance, less breakdowns or moving mechanical parts, less noise for you and less fumes for you neighbors.
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

So my initial decision to spend the money on the D400s, panels and controllers may have not been so bad. The usage addition suggests they are sufficient to run the autopilot, electroinics ( including computer and SSB) frig, incendentials ( lights etc.) and still have a bit left over to charge the bank. I figured to run the genrator only when running AC or watermaker. Thought was to actively generate what was lost. ?In that setting was thnking of ~4kw genset. ?suggestions.
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Re: Gen-set vs. engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
So my initial decision to spend the money on the D400s, panels and controllers may have not been so bad. The usage addition suggests they are sufficient to run the autopilot, electroinics ( including computer and SSB) frig, incendentials ( lights etc.) and still have a bit left over to charge the bank. I figured to run the genrator only when running AC or watermaker. Thought was to actively generate what was lost. ?In that setting was thnking of ~4kw genset. ?suggestions.
If you do not already have a generator in the boat you are buying, I would not buy one unless you are in an area where you feel you absolutely need to run an air conditioner when mains power is not available. Anchored out, in most places, one really doesn't need AC if one has shade covers for the yacht and can keep hatches and ports open for air flow. Here in southwest Florida, the conditions are such that AC is necessary for comfort at least some of the time, often enough for my wife that the generator is justified in her view. Me, maybe somewhat less, but... There are times when I am quite grateful to have the thing although I am often reminded then that I was opposed to the idea--and expense--at the out set.

FWIW...
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