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post #21 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

Silentwind sounds good, most of the boats near me have the "Annoying Noise 24/7" models.
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post #22 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

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The worst thing you can do to your diesel primary propulsion engine is to use it to charge your batteries. The engine doesn't have enough load on it to reach optimum temperature and it will age your diesel quickly..
If that's the case then why did I get over ten years out of an engine in my over the road trucks which spend an average of 8 hrs a day ideling in the winter.

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post #23 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

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Originally Posted by THEFRENCHA View Post
Better safe than Sorry!
I have one Just for peace of mind ...Even with battery monitoring and solar panels...accident happens and draining a battery happens fast.

In my experience , not being able to start the engine can really ruin a nice cruise.

So mine is in a locker ...just in case ! and knowing that it is here helps me sleep better and fully enjoy the cruise

I carry a portable battery "Jump Starter" http://www.walmart.com/ip/13035281?w...422384&veh=sem just for this reason. That's on top of having a isolated start battery by way of a ACR SI-ACR Automatic Charging Relay - 12/24V DC 120A - Blue Sea Systems I have yet to need the start battery to start the engine, the house bank works fine. (HB = 2each 6V L16 Tojans for 430 ah)

No, I don't think you need a generator, that means carrying a can of gas, where do you store it, etc...plus like said, you have an engine already correct?

With 12V refrigeration, fans, lights, electronics, we can stay at anchor for about three days before needing to run the engine to recharge, which is only using about 215 ah or less, or 50% or less of battery capacity.

You would be better the add more battery at this point IMO
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post #24 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

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If that's the case then why did I get over ten years out of an engine in my over the road trucks which spend an average of 8 hrs a day ideling in the winter.
I believe because they are often run through the RPM range thereby controlling or eliminating the glazing that can occur with a marine diesel in a sailboat. I regularly run my engine at full throttle under load for 5-10 minutes just for this reason.
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post #25 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

Outside of high latitude exploration, if you need a generator, it's because there's a flaw in your setup. It may be not enough generation, inadequate storage, bad monitoring, or bad efficiencies. Working with a generator and hauling/storing gas is not fun or desirable.

For us it's inadequate storage... We have 540 watts of solar but only a single 4D wet cell (200 amp hours). That's really not enough battery for a 50' boat with 6 people living on it. Sure enough, over the summer we had 3 overcast days in a row, so I borrowed a neighbor's Honda 2000 for a couple days. The only reason I needed the generator is because we ought to have 2 more 4Ds.

How did I let this happen? We have a mismatched system, but with a good battery monitor I kept a close eye on everything. And we charge the 3 iPads, 2 computers, etc. during the day. I also have my Advanced Fridge/Freezer Controller* that aggressiveley (but carefully) lowers the fridge and freezer temperatures during the day. With extra "pink" inslation inside, our fridge/freezer doesn't have to run at night! Between that and LED lighting, we get very little drain at night.

As an aside, I found that I could run my inverter to power the microwave off a single 4D batery when I turned the engine on. The alternators would actually take-up half of the 120 amp load, and a 4D can do 60 amps for the few minutes necessay. This last part is probably why I'll upgrade my battery bank next summer.

My advice? Put your money into LED lights, batteries and solar. Watch an iPad instead of a TV. Get AGM batteries that charge amazingly fast, for when you do motor.

Note: wind is useless unless you are in a windy anchorage. And the average daily wind speed data seems to be actually average daily peak wind speeds. They are nowhere near actual. The years I spent on wind were a noisy waste, when solar power could be easily had, and for less than $1 per watt.

For what it's worth, we have our panels resting right on the bimini and tied to the bimini support poles and to attachment points on the deck, to the dinghy davits, etc. I glued padding to the underside of the solar panels to prevent chafe. This setup significantly saved the cost of a special frame for the panels. Since we coastal cruise, this meets our needs in terms of storm survivability. You may need a more secure mounting depending on how you sail.

Regards,
Brad

*Built the Advanced Fridge Controller myself out of low-draw digital voltage and temperature sensor(s). True there was a steep, expensive learning curve, with too many hours spent on it, and if I sold them there wouldn't be enough demand to make up for it. Next is 12v hot water heating with extra solar power. But may never get to that project.
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post #26 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

TQA, somewhere I've seen refrigerator/freezers that draw less than 2 amps, which could easily be run by my 100-watt solar panel during the day. At night, well, the fridge draws the same power, and that power will be coming from your house batteries. My current refrigerator/freezer draws 5.7 to 6 amps, but I have 4 t-105 house batteries, at 225 ampere hours each, so during the day, even with the refrigerator on, my 100-watt solar panel is doing a bit better than break even, while at night, of course, those batteries are providing the entire boat's power. I've never had a time when I couldn't fire up the engines on the house batteries, even when sailing for several overcast days in a row.

Cheers,

Gary

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post #27 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

Here is an idea for wind that's small and cheap at less than a buck a watt affordable wind turbine and solar panel made in the USA

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post #28 of 92 Old 09-17-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Outside of high latitude exploration, if you need a generator, it's because there's a flaw in your setup. It may be not enough generation, inadequate storage, bad monitoring, or bad efficiencies. Working with a generator and hauling/storing gas is not fun or desirable.

For us it's inadequate storage... We have 540 watts of solar but only a single 4D wet cell (200 amp hours). That's really not enough battery for a 50' boat with 6 people living on it. Sure enough, over the summer we had 3 overcast days in a row, so I borrowed a neighbor's Honda 2000 for a couple days. The only reason I needed the generator is because we ought to have 2 more 4Ds.

How did I let this happen? We have a mismatched system, but with a good battery monitor I kept a close eye on everything. And we charge the 3 iPads, 2 computers, etc. during the day. I also have my Advanced Fridge/Freezer Controller* that aggressiveley (but carefully) lowers the fridge and freezer temperatures during the day. With extra "pink" inslation inside, our fridge/freezer doesn't have to run at night! Between that and LED lighting, we get very little drain at night.

As an aside, I found that I could run my inverter to power the microwave off a single 4D batery when I turned the engine on. The alternators would actually take-up half of the 120 amp load, and a 4D can do 60 amps for the few minutes necessay. This last part is probably why I'll upgrade my battery bank next summer.

My advice? Put your money into LED lights, batteries and solar. Watch an iPad instead of a TV. Get AGM batteries that charge amazingly fast, for when you do motor.

Note: wind is useless unless you are in a windy anchorage. And the average daily wind speed data seems to be actually average daily peak wind speeds. They are nowhere near actual. The years I spent on wind were a noisy waste, when solar power could be easily had, and for less than $1 per watt.

For what it's worth, we have our panels resting right on the bimini and tied to the bimini support poles and to attachment points on the deck, to the dinghy davits, etc. I glued padding to the underside of the solar panels to prevent chafe. This setup significantly saved the cost of a special frame for the panels. Since we coastal cruise, this meets our needs in terms of storm survivability. You may need a more secure mounting depending on how you sail.

Regards,
Brad

*Built the Advanced Fridge Controller myself out of low-draw digital voltage and temperature sensor(s). True there was a steep, expensive learning curve, with too many hours spent on it, and if I sold them there wouldn't be enough demand to make up for it. Next is 12v hot water heating with extra solar power. But may never get to that project.
I agree, if you can fit enough solar and a large enough battery bank solar is the way to go. My problem would be the "flaw in the setup" statement. Let's be honest, a Catalina 30 won't have the real estate or the load carrying capacity that a 50' Benetau has. This means less solar wattage and less amp hours of battery storage for the Catalina. Is this a flaw? No a fact of life. For a case like this the Honda generator would be a welcome addition.
Let's also not forget that he is located in the PNW where the sun doesn't always shine. Solar is great but not a guaranteed source of power.
Also for most people, they haul and store gas for their dinghy so an extra 5 gallon can for the Honda generator can't make for much of a hardship.
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post #29 of 92 Old 09-18-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

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WOW DOUBLE WOW

Running a fridge on an 85 watt panel. Which fridge is it? I need one!
he is in Canada, a warm day is still colder than good beer should be served! How much refrigeration could he need?

The thing is if you can get by all year with solar just think of the advantage of not hooking up to shore power. Many marinas have dirty power so you could save in saved corrosion by never hooking up.

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post #30 of 92 Old 09-18-2014
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Re: generator a good idea?

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Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
.... if you can get by all year with solar just think of the advantage of not hooking up to shore power. ......
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Mita,

It's NOT "IF". We cruised full time, 24/7/365 for about 5 years down the west coast and in the HOT (Think 99+ air & 95+ water) Sea of Cortez with nothing but solar (NO WIND during the summer there) with not a lot of problems at up to about 2 + months of anchoring out at a time.

We used ALL of our gear (HAM/SSB/ chart plotter etc) with almost no running the engine other than motoring from point to point at times. We even made water with a water maker during motoring.

We NEVER HAD OR USED a generator and had no problems.

And by the way, we are a 27 foot boat!

Greg
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