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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > New Portable Generator
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Thread: New Portable Generator Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-01-2008 06:20 PM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
You learn to get smart about your power consumption. When I sold out and moved to town my electricity bills were way less than any of our neighbours or friends. You get accustomed to conserving if you are generating the power.
Well, exactly. "DVD night" won't be the night at anchor after a rainy day with no wind, but after a sunny day with a decent breeze. Underway, I am happy to motorsail in order to charge on the go, and to compensate for the drawdown of occasional radar and communications use, like SSB, weatherfax, AIS, etc.

The ONLY constant draw will be the refrigeration. Everything else will be either intermittent or low-draw. We can get hot water via the inverter, of course, but in the tropics, a black five-gallon pail filled with fresh water and sealed inside a black garbage bag on deck will get ridiculously hot in a hurry. We can also simply schedule laundry day for the times when the heat exchanger fills the hot water tank with "free" hot water.

Much of energy wastage is due to poor scheduling, I think. Thanks for the comments.
04-01-2008 02:10 PM
bushrat By the way, I tried a 14 amp chopsaw for sh---- & gigles and this little unit ran it
04-01-2008 01:07 PM
bushrat I don't want to start a new solar panel debate
04-01-2008 12:54 PM
bushrat Oh, for sure. That's why I got the generator too and it is handy to have around for the house, boat, camping etc. For me I plan on just having a small panel to maintain the batteries and to run some 12v lighting. I'll pull out the genny for anything else. It's the most practical way I can think off for time spent away from the dock. The boat fund is not unlimitted. If I were cruising long term I would rethink things, but even still it's hard to beat a small economical portable generator. I knew others that lived off the grid that used the honda as back up to a large generator and didn't have any panals. They put the money into batteries and the inverter. It's a bit different with a house since most days you need a generator for big loads. My wife gave me a good run for the money with the washing machine just about every day. Plus with three small children in tow I wasn't about to say you can and can't use this or that. An automatic start feature on a generator/inverter system is nice. That way you don't hit the batteries to hard.
04-01-2008 11:37 AM
Vasco
Honda EU2000i

Nearly every sailboat (and some trawlers) down here in the Bahamas has a EU2000i. They're the best things going. Just plug it into your shorepower circuit. It's better if you have a 100amp charger so you don't have to run the Honda long. Starts first pull every time, after a season it sometimes needs a bit of choke to run and that's a sign that the carburetor is a bit dirty. Clean with carb cleaner and it goes like new again. Under $900 so it's quite affordable when compared to $10000 for a dedicated generator. As fo having to carry gas, that's no big deal. We already have jugs of dink gas so another jug isn't going to change things.
04-01-2008 10:22 AM
bushrat That should be more than enough panels and battery storage. I was running my entire house and business on less. A boat should be pretty much self sustaining with that. I could get by on less because my system was set up more like a hybrid system. Around a home and business I frequently had to accomodate high loads and used the generator for those situations and charged batteries at the same time. It was cost prohibitive to have enough battery storage and panels to do everything without a generator. You can get a lot of cheap electricity from a small generator. Your payback on panels and batteries takes a very long time. You can buy a lot of fuel for the cost of them. It's an option if your budget limits options for panels. I would take storage over panels if I had a back up genny.

The most useful tool I had was the meter which gives you a clear indication of your use, demands and reserve. On a windy night I used to grin when I looked at all the juice flowing to my battery bank.

You learn to get smart about your power consumption. When I sold out and moved to town my electricity bills were way less than any of our neighbours or friends. You get accustomed to conserving if you are generating the power.
04-01-2008 03:58 AM
Valiente Oops, double post. I should have stayed in speech therapy.
04-01-2008 03:58 AM
Valiente I hope so as well. Of course, if anyone made a reliable 20 kilo diesel genset that output 13 amps/2,000 Watts, I would have that instead of the Honda. The upside is that with the little Honda outboard, I should be able to keep just two 5 gallon gas jerrycans on deck to keep both tender and generator going for some time.

The wind generator I am thinking of would be the Duo-Gen, which can also be towed when under sail. I envision three or four 130W solar panels (arch plus pilothouse roof), and any combination of those sources topping up an 840 Ah house battery bank will, I hope, greatly reduce or eliminate the need to run the diesel to charge the batteries. Once or twice a week for a few hours, sure...no problem, but I find the idea of revving the diesel in neutral to turn the alternator wasteful and detrimental to the engine and my desire to keep a quiet boat.
03-31-2008 09:08 PM
bushrat Valiente, that's the way to go as far as being away from the dock. I lived off the grid for ten years using solar, wind and a diesel genny. I always used the genererator for big loads and the inverter for everyday small loads. The nice thing about using the generator when you need a tool, or in our case, doing the household laundry etc, twas that the battery bank was topped off nicely at the same time.

I added wind because of the limited sun light in the fall and winter, but I still had to fall back on the genny quite a bit during the short days. I would think you would get the same results with wind in a sheltered anchorage. I didn't find it was cost effective. I felt I was in a windy location on a lake shore but it was usually gausty and not consistant enough. I think your portable will prove to be a very versatile item on a long term voyage.
03-31-2008 05:41 PM
Valiente [QUOTE=bushrat;291838]Valiente, good luck with the new honda. I/QUOTE]

I got a bit of a deal because I bought a Honda 2 HP four-stroke with it as a package deal, but I'm sure it's dropped in price since the boat show as the Canadian dollar's rise has worked its way through the distribution channels.

Anyway, the dealer filled both items with gas and oil and ran them to check for problems, and delivered them for free to my house (I don't have a car). At this stage, while not averse to paying less, I am attentive to the sort of relationships I build with dealers and service people, as I can't do all the technical things I need to have done on the boat preparatory to long-term cruising.

My purchases were dictated in large part by what my five-foot-tall wife (she's young and strong...within limits...) can lift. She can haul the outboard one-handed (about 13 kgs. "filled" with a litre of gas and the half-litre of gear oil it takes), which means she can launch either tender by herself with the aid of a bridle or a safety line.

The Honda 2000 she can dead lift, but it's at the limit (about 23 kgs.) of what she can lift horizontally out of a locker.

I fired up the Honda 2000 on the back porch stairs (only recently snow-free in this longest of winters) and it started on the first pull. The choke has quite a wide range and the revs increase substantially when the mix is leaned out. I plugged in a 1500 W hair dryer as a test and the motor "note" barely changed. I am going to plug in a small wet/dry vacuum cleaner and a 1/2 in. drill as a harder test of the AC limits, and will try a string of lightbulbs, just to check it out on that score.

The main job this will do aboard is allow me to do AC power jobs on deck at anchor: power washing, vacuuming, grinding, drilling, running a compressor, etc. While I have a 2000 W charger/inverter will have plenty of battery capacity, it is simply more efficient to use a gas genset for relatively brief jobs that eat a few amps. I also intend to use it as a way to run emergency pumps and perhaps to charge the anchor windlass battery.

This means that I have the OPTION...but not the necessity...to draw down my DC banks with inverted AC power. My preference would be to use this inverter-supplied AC for light charging of devices, a strong light for the engine room when needed, or things like a coffee grinder, a mini-microwave, or "DVD night".

Because I plan on "segregating" my amp usage between the inverter's AC and the genset's AC (the genset being more efficient in some senses), I hope to keep the fridge, the DC fans and the LED lights running on solar/wind and to avoid using the alternator to make electricity the customary cruiser way.
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