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Old 07-11-2017, 09:01 AM   #1
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Generator alternatives?

I have a 40' kha shing trawler that 'had' a 7kw generator. My diesel guy says that is no longer the case :-(
I rarely used the one I had, but need to have either a new one (ouch) or some sort of inverter set up to do things short of running the AC...any ideas out there? I have twin 250 hp Volvo diesels...if that matters.
Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:12 AM   #2
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What is your AC usage? heavy or light? What do you run on AC?
Answer will depend on it I guess.

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Old 07-11-2017, 10:18 AM   #3
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AC=air conditioning

I should have been more clear. If I could run my (semi full sized) fridge, 2-3 lamps (my dome lights run off my batteries) and a box fan, I could survive. I don't suppose there is a way to run the air conditioner w/o a generator is there?
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:34 AM   #4
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Generally, no. AC draws too much power to run on batts/inverter unless the batt bank is HUGE. The loads you listed could be handled by a 1500w inverter, maybe even 1000.

Also, you could go with a smaller gennie, a 5kW can do the job on most boats with a little load management.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:41 AM   #5
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I have the same issue . My generator is 7.5 kw and only use it for roof top air and small refrigerator. It needs cylinder walls honed now because of light load. Even if I rebuild it I will still have the same issue. I would like to replace mine with something smaller .
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:43 AM   #6
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The good thing is that if you buy a quality generator, and install it properly it will be a one time purchase.

I do not consider a generator to be "optional" on a over about 35' boat (depending on the configuration of course), but thats just me.

This is true for boats with or without AC. People talk about light loading, but that is really a problem with their load management during generator run time.

Here's a good example...

With no other loads and a good size house bank and charger you can and will load your generator well above any point of "damage" with just the battery charger. Our battery charger is 150 amps. We set the maximum AC input to be 25 amps, and the charger sits at something over 20 amps during much of the recharge cycle.

The charger provides (all by itself) enough load on our 9KW generators engine to not cause any issues.

Add that to the 10 amps it takes to run the hot water heater and we are pulling 30 amps.

Choose to run the watermaker at the same time adds another 10 amps.

Wash some clothes and there is another 10 amp load (abet intermittantly)

Cook some food and you're drawing another 10 amps.

It's easy to see that properly managing your loads will keep plenty of load on a moderatly sized generator.
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:52 PM   #7
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If it is only y to run a fridge, 2 lamps and 1 fan I would say that you should check on the solar side with good size batteries and inverter.
During the day I guess your solar panels (if large enough) could run your fridge and top your batteries while during the night your inverter will run your fridge from your batteries.
For the lamps I changed all of them with 12v LED bulbs so I can light them directly from the batteries while keeping a very low consumption. Don't see the need to mix 110v and 12v lights like the PO did on my boat.

On my 30 feet boat the only electric appliance I am using are few 12v led lamps drawing very small amps, 12/110v fridge, bilge pump and fresh water pump and the anchor light. The only moment I used my mini geny (1500W Yamaha) was while I stayed 4 days in a row at the same dock without power to top up my 2 house batteries and I plan to install enough solar power to not have to run the gen for this. I even prefer to use my oil lamp when I am out on the deck at night as I love the warm soft light it produces.
I guess it depends how you intend to spend your time aboard. Being very conservative on power is not an issue for me.

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Old 07-11-2017, 03:15 PM   #8
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When I bought my genset-less boat, it was primarily 12V and propane. 120V AC power was used on shore power only...charger, small 900W microwave, 120V AC feed of the 120V/12V Norcold fridge.

Over time, I expanded the house bank, decreased lighting loads by installing all-LED, increased the size of the shore charger and alternator, and bought a Honda generator. I also installed a 1000W inverter to power an additional small apt size fridge (~3 cu ft), the small microwave and coffee maker. The 1000W works fine for those loads, as long as the coffee maker is not my Keurig! That baby requires 1500W!

If I was to do it again, I'd forgo the Honda generator and add solar over my FB bimini to keep my batts charged. I'd also up my inverter to a more proper 1500-2000W.

In the meantime, I'll suffer along with my inexpensive Honda eu2000i humming along on my FB while I make coffee and breakfast in the morning.
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:42 PM   #9
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Running my ac in the wheelhouse on these hot and humid days has made a wussy out a me . If it wasn't for that I would ditch my generator. If I would man up I could simplify some stuff and get rid of that rooftop eyesore and the genny .
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklv View Post
I should have been more clear. If I could run my (semi full sized) fridge, 2-3 lamps (my dome lights run off my batteries) and a box fan, I could survive.

Is the fridge not an AC/DC model?

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Old 07-11-2017, 04:02 PM   #11
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I find the Efoy Fuel Cell Generator an interesting idea. Silent, always on, no exhaust. I imagine it would not provide enough power to run AC full time for those who cruise in the warmer climes.

I'd also want to know if it could run a source of methanol other than the Efoy "cartridges". Seems to me if it is pure clean methanol it should be OK.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pack Mule View Post
Running my ac in the wheelhouse on these hot and humid days has made a wussy out a me . If it wasn't for that I would ditch my generator. If I would man up I could simplify some stuff and get rid of that rooftop eyesore and the genny .
Good point...big difference between our climes.

I don't have AC and have never really regretted that. It's different in Northern CA than in the humid east. Last time we were there I told my wife that I couldn't boat there without AC...and that requires a genset running long hours in the summer.

PM, have you ever considered running a portable AC unit on a small generator? I think a Honda 2000 can run a small RV AC with a soft-start capacitor installed. I wonder how it would do with an off-the-shelf 12,000 BTU portable unit? Could a unit that size cool your boat?
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:46 PM   #13
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I find the Efoy Fuel Cell Generator an interesting idea. Silent, always on, no exhaust. I imagine it would not provide enough power to run AC full time for those who cruise in the warmer climes.

I'd also want to know if it could run a source of methanol other than the Efoy "cartridges". Seems to me if it is pure clean methanol it should be OK.
Very interesting concept and price point. Thanks for the link!

I don't think I'd want methanol aboard my boat. I have gasoline for the Hondas but it's easy to obtain and safely manage. You can't run a fuel cell in an diesel ER, could you? The manual states that it must not be operated above 104*F. I stopped reading at that point, so I don't know if there are other restrictions.

Maybe a better option for the land yachts and cabin dwellers.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:00 PM   #14
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Put the fuel cell under your bed, or in the lazarette, or somewhere cool. They are small.

Methanol is no problem, just don't drink it. Many on here have alcohol stoves.

I'd go solar. Just bought some and waiting to install. Exciting!
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:08 PM   #15
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It seems to me the Efoy and solar would work well together. Solar feeding the batteries as much as it can with Efoy kicking in as needed. I think Fisheries has a showroom setup demonstrating that.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:19 PM   #16
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I like the efoy too but it is still pricey. Up here the big model is at aroung 7000$ and the intermediate at 5000+. If I compare that price with having solar panel and batteries I do not think it is competitive yet.
But of course the beauty is the ability to run it silently with no exhaust.

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Old 07-11-2017, 05:37 PM   #17
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If your boat was designed to depend on a generator, I don't believe there are any alternatives to a generator at this point in time. At least no practical alternatives.


With propane cooking, no air conditioning away from the dock, a competent house bank and inverter, LED lighting and a smallish AC/DC refrigerator, you can make it work but if you are used to AC and power hungry appliances, you might as well get your generator repaired or replace it.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:40 PM   #18
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It seems to me the Efoy and solar would work well together. Solar feeding the batteries as much as it can with Efoy kicking in as needed. I think Fisheries has a showroom setup demonstrating that.
I would tend to agree. I don't think it would be a practical solution for those with AC, an electric galley, or those that are in remote areas, but for a PNW or BC boat with diesel heat, no AC, and propane stove, it might work really well. Some solar to augment it would be ideal.

My biggest concern has always been with price and availability of the fuel. I always get nervous about proprietary consumables.

Edit: The other consideration is that the Efoy doesn't produce that much in the way of charging amps. They claim a max of 8.8amps but 5-6 may be more realistic. One fuel cartridge may supply 900Ah of charging, but that is supplied relatively slowly. So as long as your electric needs aren't all that high, it might work OK.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:49 PM   #19
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I like the concept and technology for PNW boats. But the price is on the high side for the output, both the unit and the fuel. I'll wait to see if it catches on or fades away.....
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:36 PM   #20
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I'am in the same predicament as the original poster. My Westerbeke 8.0 BTD has bit the dust, at this point I'm waiting for a price to rebuild the engine. After that I'll decide whether to rebuild or buy a new generator. I'm leaning towards a 7.0 Kubota unit if I go new.
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