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Old 09-11-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
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Converting electric cooktop system for propane

Let me introduce myself with this first question. We are searching for our first trawler and have our eye on a GB but the boat doesn't have an oven and has an electric cooktop. I like a gas cooktop better but not a deal breaker the concern is the number of hours the generator would have to be run in order to use the microwave oven/electric cook top.

Can a propane cooktop be installed and the electric one removed?
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:39 PM   #2
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The answer is yes, but it's a bit complicated and somewhat expensive. You have to (OK, if you value your life you will want to) follow the ABYC standards for marine propane installations. These are fairly complicated.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:39 PM   #3
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Yes...installing propane is guided by strict safety rules that should be followed. But it is still quite easy to install as several members here just reported doing it and how relatively easy it was. Even the propane sniffers, continuous plumbing runs, etc...

http://www.pcmarinesurveys.com/Safe%...stallation.htm

even the recent BoatUS mag just had an article on it by Don Casey I think

Also...most gensets are not run enough for their health...you might want to factor that into your cruising plans.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:54 PM   #4
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Greetings,
I apologize for my loutish fellow members...Welcome aboard.
I can appreciate the desire for an oven. Microwave prime rib just doesn't turn my crank. The change over is not rocket science but as mentioned VERY careful attention must be payed to ALL safety concerns RE: installation, use and storage of propane. We did a conversion about 3 years ago. Works great and microwaves DO have a use on a boat if you have the space.
I'd like my prime rib medium rare please and some sour cream with that baked potato...
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:42 PM   #5
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With the right battery bank and inverter, you don't need to run the generator to use the microwave. So, for cooking on the range and or in the oven, you just run it for as much time as you need to do that. When we were living on a mooring full time or on the hook for extended periods, with an all electric kitchen, we would typically run the genset for an hour or two morning and evening to charge batteries, cook, do laundry, run dishwasher all at once. Personally we liked being all electric galley, it is superior for the oven and the newer cooktops are very versatile (such as combo dual burners for big pans) , very adjustable, with none of the replenishment and safety hassles of propane. We had a nice big gas grill up on the FB for things gas is best for. We're pretty serious eaters due to Ann being a really enthusiastic and excellent cook. On the Hatteras, the galley is right over the generator compartment and she really never seemed to mind at all.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:29 PM   #6
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Of course you could just install it like it was done by GB. Which I'm sure is not fully up to ABYC standards but has worked for decades on many GBs.

The bottles go under the port flybridge seat. In some cases as I recall the bottle was under the flybridge helm. But I don't recommend that.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:34 PM   #7
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The answer is yes, but it's a bit complicated and somewhat expensive. You have to (OK, if you value your life you will want to) follow the ABYC standards for marine propane installations. These are fairly complicated.
Yeah, what he said....
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Old 09-12-2014, 07:48 AM   #8
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With the right battery bank and inverter, you don't need to run the generator to use the microwave. So, for cooking on the range and or in the oven, you just run it for as much time as you need to do that. When we were living on a mooring full time or on the hook for extended periods, with an all electric kitchen, we would typically run the genset for an hour or two morning and evening to charge batteries, cook, do laundry, run dishwasher all at once. Personally we liked being all electric galley, it is superior for the oven and the newer cooktops are very versatile (such as combo dual burners for big pans) , very adjustable, with none of the replenishment and safety hassles of propane. We had a nice big gas grill up on the FB for things gas is best for.

Adding on to this...

Apparently electric induction cooktops are the bee's knees. Our combination microwave/convection oven is slick -- and we can easily do a standing rib roast like RT depicted

We too keep a portable gas grill on board for stuff that needs grilling.

Otherwise, I like the (mostly) all-electric approach.. and we have to run our genset ~2x/day to recharge batteries anyway... so we do that at morning and evening cooking times.

I've read generators often die from under-use.

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Old 09-12-2014, 09:57 AM   #9
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Check the GB be carefully. Sometimes when they were built I believe they plumbed in a propane line that went from the fly bridge port seat down to the galley. It is possible that line could already be in place. Our tank is on the fly bridge, port side in the seat compartment facing the stern. It is vented on the bottom of the compartment towards the stern. We prefer propane on our boat, but we also do not have a generator, just a large battery bank and inverter. Cooking with the gas top is great as well as baking pies and dinners in the oven. W have found our newer Princess stove to be miserly on fuel consumption.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:15 AM   #10
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TT54

It is just a personal preference, gas vs electric if you have a genset and inverter/battery bank.

Our cruising style has us running the genset for an hour or so at dinner time and sometimes AM too. This facilitates battery charging, pulling in a long heavy anchor rode and clothes washing and drying.

With an induction cooktop you have the best of both gas and electric. To keep it simple, and supplement your existing "hot" electric cooktop one can buy the "cold" portable induction unit that can run nicely off an inverter. Also our convection microwave can bake, grill and roast so no big oven needed.

Our portable induction cooktop and convection microwave can be used without the genset operating.

In this new century there are all sorts of alternatives to onboard gas units. Don't blindly accept the notion that gas is the only way to go.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:34 AM   #11
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........... Our portable induction cooktop and convection microwave can be used without the genset operating.

In this new century there are all sorts of alternatives to onboard gas units. Don't blindly accept the notion that gas is the only way to go.
I'm sure they can but for how long? You will be drawing 150 amps or so from your battery bank when using the cooktop. That's a lot of power for more than a couple minutes.

If the boat does not have a genset, gas is the only practical solution other than warming things in a microwave for a few minutes.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:53 AM   #12
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I'm sure they can but for how long? You will be drawing 150 amps or so from your battery bank when using the cooktop. That's a lot of power for more than a couple minutes.

If the boat does not have a genset, gas is the only practical solution other than warming things in a microwave for a few minutes.

Good points Ron. But the OP is talking about vessels that DO have gensets. When cruising and the genset down, the microwave or induction cooktop do not draw down the inverter bank very much if at all on our vessel. Alternators work wonders.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:14 PM   #13
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>one can buy the "cold" portable induction unit that can run nicely off an inverter.<

When asking I was told they do not even like a sine wave inverter.

Have you run one off an inverter , what brand?

****

Once a Propane system is installed the next step might be the propane reefer.

30 days on a 20# bottle , vs daily hours of noisemaker ($5.00 to $10.00 per hour) works for me!
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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>one can buy the "cold" portable induction unit that can run nicely off an inverter.<

When asking I was told they do not even like a sine wave inverter.

Have you run one off an inverter , what brand?

!
The PSW inverter is a Magnum 2800 and the induction top Frigidaire model FGIC13P3KS rated at 1300 watts (5 different power levels) at 60Hz and 120V. It would not operate successfully on our Xantrex MSW inverter.
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:07 AM   #15
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TT54 View Post
Let me introduce myself with this first question. We are searching for our first trawler and have our eye on a GB but the boat doesn't have an oven and has an electric cooktop. I like a gas cooktop better but not a deal breaker the concern is the number of hours the generator would have to be run in order to use the microwave oven/electric cook top.

Can a propane cooktop be installed and the electric one removed?
Your responses have been very helpful!
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:23 AM   #16
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I'm sure they can but for how long? You will be drawing 150 amps or so from your battery bank when using the cooktop. That's a lot of power for more than a couple minutes.

If the boat does not have a genset, gas is the only practical solution other than warming things in a microwave for a few minutes.
=================================================

Now Ron, think man, all ya gotta do is plug the battery charger into the inverter. Don't néed no 'stinkin genset....

Yeah, I crack myself up, being my only and biggest fan...
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:29 AM   #17
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=================================================

Now Ron, think man, all ya gotta do is plug the battery charger into the inverter. Don't néed no 'stinkin genset....

Yeah, I crack myself up, being my only and biggest fan...
There was a thread long ago on another forum where a new boat owner complained that his batteries kept discharging and after much discussion it turned out that he thought he understood from the salesman that the inverter/charger would do just that; keep the batteries charged without running the engine or plugging into shore power.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:32 AM   #18
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:35 PM   #19
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After reading some of the posts regarding Microwave Convection ovens I decided to take a look at some. It seems some require a 2 - 3" space around them. Is that really necessary? In convection mode do they generate a lot of external heat?

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Old 09-13-2014, 03:32 PM   #20
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Before even considering a switch to propane for cooking, one needs to understand the boats power requirements for everything else.

For example...

On the hook we have to run the generator for two to three hours twice a day anyway. It would be a waste for us to switch to propane, because we generally run the generator during meal prep time, allowing it to serve two functions, cooking and battery charging.

Thats not counting the load of clothes we can wash, the water we can heat, or the water we can make during that time, making very good use of our generator.

Propane, for our boat, and our style would not cut down on generator run time, and would just add something we have to replenish. As it is now all I need for the boat to operate is diesel fuel.
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