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Schooner Captain
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2,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want my generator to be more safe.
Right now it may have an oil shutdown, but I am not sure.
I would like to add a water shutdown, but am out of ideas on this one.
At least out of ideas that would not cost close to $1000 to initiate.

Any thoughts how I might add a water flow shutdown?
I want to be able to sleep while it is running, or be on deck sailing, and not worry about it.
 

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Senior Member
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Should be all manner of small line flow switches available.. have a look here:

Liquid Flow Switches/Meters

Simply wire it in with your fuel cutoff solenoid.. (assuming it's not a 'kill cable' type shutoff)
 

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Master Mariner
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Every diesel generator I've ever had installed on a boat (or shoreside for that matter) has a high temp shut down that operates in conjunction with the temp gauge sender. Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks to install a normally closed sender (for whatever temp you desire) at the same point that your present temp sender is located and run it to the fuel solenoid power wiring. Engine gets hot, sender opens, cuts power to the fuel solenoid and Bob's your uncle; your gene goes to sleep. Easy, cheap and reliable.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Every diesel generator I've ever had installed on a boat (or shoreside for that matter) has a high temp shut down that operates in conjunction with the temp gauge sender. Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks to install a normally closed sender (for whatever temp you desire) at the same point that your present temp sender is located and run it to the fuel solenoid power wiring. Engine gets hot, sender opens, cuts power to the fuel solenoid and Bob's your uncle; your gene goes to sleep. Easy, cheap and reliable.
EGT probe too? I want to save a burned hose and muffler.
 

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Master Mariner
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EGT probe too? I want to save a burned hose and muffler.
So get a 200 degree sender. Generators are constant speed engines that rarely vary a few degrees in operating temp while operating, so if the standard operating temp is 180, 200 should do the trick before any damage occurs. What's an EGT probe?
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So get a 200 degree sender. Generators are constant speed engines that rarely vary a few degrees in operating temp while operating, so if the standard operating temp is 180, 200 should do the trick before any damage occurs. What's an EGT probe?
I guess I need to time how long it takes the generator to hit a high temp under load with no raw water flow?
 

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Are you sure your generator doesn't already have a raw water flow switch. Many do, I found out the hard way. ;-) Long story short the o-ring on my strainer basket was missing after I took delivery. It ran for a bit but then the impeller finally gave up. It shut down quickly and would not remain running upon restart. They also may have an exhaust gas temperature sensor, as does mine. I assume this is to prevent a melted piston or valve?

See if you can find the original brochure describing the features of your unit.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are you sure your generator doesn't already have a raw water flow switch. Many do, I found out the hard way. ;-) Long story short the o-ring on my strainer basket was missing after I took delivery. It ran for a bit but then the impeller finally gave up. It shut down quickly and would not remain running upon restart. They also may have an exhaust gas temperature sensor, as does mine. I assume this is to prevent a melted piston or valve?

See if you can find the original brochure describing the features of your unit.
no, I shut it off for a full min yesterday. It didn't notice. It was not under load, and the temp didn't go up at all. In other news the start/run solenoid is either bad or does not have a good ground.
 

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While not designed to shut the motor down, there are many raw water flow alarms on the market. If you are alerted to the lack of flow, it could even be sooner than a temp gauge knows what's going on. In either case, you've likely eaten an impeller.

All that said, I would never sleep with a generator running. While accidentally frying the genset is one reason, which the OP is trying to prevent, presumably the generator is running to power something. That power draw is a fire hazard, while sleeping.

Our Mase generator has both an oil and temp cutoff built in. Still, no sleep with it running. In fact, I've received false alarms too and the motor won't start, thinking the oil is low. I dig into the genset locker, check, no issue. Have to fully reset the brains on the genset and start over. Fail safes are not fail proof either. Again, why one shouldn't rely on one while sleeping.
 

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Freedom 39
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While not designed to shut the motor down, there are many raw water flow alarms on the market. If you are alerted to the lack of flow, it could even be sooner than a temp gauge knows what's going on. In either case, you've likely eaten an impeller.

All that said, I would never sleep with a generator running. While accidentally frying the genset is one reason, which the OP is trying to prevent, presumably the generator is running to power something. That power draw is a fire hazard, while sleeping.

Our Mase generator has both an oil and temp cutoff built in. Still, no sleep with it running. In fact, I've received false alarms too and the motor won't start, thinking the oil is low. I dig into the genset locker, check, no issue. Have to fully reset the brains on the genset and start over. Fail safes are not fail proof either. Again, why one shouldn't rely on one while sleeping.
There is an Onan in a charter fleet that did shut down (repeatedly) when it sensed a lack of water flow, complete PIA as it was far to sensitive for charter guests to trouble shoot. It is still connected and functional but another electrical pump was added to help increase the raw water flow...

Do you sleep with the air conditioning on when at a slip? Isn't that power draw a fire hazard too? What about the battery charger? Refrigeration? You don't trust that those devices are wired up to the current standard (bad pun) and that the breakers will trip as designed and save you, do you?

I recall you have chartered in the BVI. The majority of the hundreds of catamarans in the charter fleet have generators that run every night, and many all day, for AC. In the 9 years I've been here I've yet to hear of a single fatality. Have you? I'm not disagreeing that running any electrical item while asleep has the potential to be hazardous. The act of boating itself carries risks. Statistically I'm aware of far more people seriously hurt after being hit by ferry boats than of having been injured by a generator. Ferry operators scare me, generators do not. Again, why one should be scared of ferries in the VI.;)
 

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Good points FarCry, however, I've never seen a genset on any bareboat I've chartered. I charter smaller vessels for just the two of us. Our boat at home entertains guests routinely.

I would also much prefer to deal with a fire at a marina, near shore, than on the hook. Much more likely to get out and have somewhere to go, fire services are far more readily available, etc. I also think that shorepower is more reliable than adding a running engine. Still, I get your point.
 

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Freedom 39
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No worries, it's all good Minnewaska. I understand your concern. My belief is that if factory installed generators are killing people in production boats, somebody is getting sued and the problems will be fixed pronto!!! Even before the lawsuits are filed, there will be threads galore on the sailing forums. If some hack were trying to install a Honda 2000 inboard with some PVC for exhaust piping and a death was the result, probably a lively thread but not so much concern for other boaters.

I spent a fair amount of time on a 54DS and it never entertained me. What does yours do, juggle?:D Teasing, I know what you meant, very comfortable vessel that is excellent for entertaining above or below deck. The way you wrote it made it seem like your DS routinely served drinks and took care of guests while you were away. That's a factory option that would be popular.:)

Fire scares me more than anything else on the water.

When are you coming back down to sail the local waters?
 

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Our DS has a huge ice maker and two fridges, one dedicated to beer, wine and ritas. Trust me, it's entertaining! :)

Once again, we waited a tad too long to pull the trigger for bareboat this winter. It's a trend. We're still enjoying sailing here when we need to commit. We had our eye on a two cabin 40ish Jennie/Bennie in St Martin, but it was booked before we committed. Wanted another couple to come along this time. Hoping first week or two in Feb, but probably going to be a last minute opportunity/deal that would make it happen. BVI or St. John maybe, just given the greater likelihood of last min inventory.
 
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