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Old 10-04-2019, 10:28 AM   #1
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Question Auxillary power solutions? Advice needed?

We've been living aboard for a year and two months now. Over the summer we experienced a lot of power outages, and discomfort as a result. We do not cruise as we work full time, so the extent of our needs is limited to short days out on the water, or weekend cruises to other bayside marinas etc. We currently DO NOT have a generator, or battery bank, and any 12v appliances run directly off of the engine starter batteries. I've received quotes for generators ranging form $4k for used/rebuilt to $10K for brand new installed. I've also received quotes for battery banks with and inverter/charger for $3300, but that doesn't include the power to run the A/C's.

I currently own a Honda 2000 portable generator, and since our needs are not THAT overwhelming, I'm trying to figure out a way to create comfort during the few short times we need it.

My current train of thought is that I can get two Group 31 AGM batteries, a second battery charger, and move the house 12v load to these. I can then install the Dometic Smart Start or Supco capacitors on my Webasto 16K A/C and run it on my portable generator. The generator could be moved between the A/C unit, or the house battery charger as needed.



Problem:
Auxillary power needed for short cruises, or extended power outtages at dock.

Possible Solutions:
Generator
Battery bank with inverter
Additional batteries, charger, and portable generators

Appliances needed:
Refrigerator 12v/120v
Air Conditioners (2)
Fans 12v/120v

Costs:
Generator $5K - $10K
Battery Bank w/ inverter - $3300
Additional batteries, /inverter charger, portable generator - $1800 (gen already owned)

Any thoughts, opinions, advice, or tips provided while I think this through would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:54 AM   #2
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Cheapest way to do this is to parallel a second generator. Honda makes a cable for this... you probably won't make friends in anchorages but it should work....
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ka_sea_ta View Post
Cheapest way to do this is to parallel a second generator. Honda makes a cable for this... you probably won't make friends in anchorages but it should work....
We dont anchor out overnight. If we anchor out, its for an afternoon of swimming and grilling. And we stay within a 10-20 mile radius of our marina.

But I didn't think about that. If I parallell generators, I can pump 4kw of power into the boat shore power cord couldn't I? The genset that was taken out was 6.5kw.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:20 AM   #4
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With a soft start, you should be able to run your AC by connecting your Honda to your power cord. You won’t be able to run the water heater and possibly your battery charger but with some load sharing you’ll be cool.

Micro-Air makes one that is easy to install and it has a good track record.

https://www.microair.net/products/ea...nt=30176048267
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:29 AM   #5
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Your Honda 2000 watt (1,600 watts continuous) probably won't run your 16K btu Webasto unit. So you will need two 2,000 watt gensets in parallel or one 3000 watt Honda or similar.

The paralleled Hondas are you cheapest solution, maybe $1,100 for genset and cables and are perfectly acceptable for short term use at the dock when the power goes out.

At anchor, maybe not so acceptable. You are in Seabrook, Texas right? Most nice anchorages that I remember are tight and you probably would be annoying your neighbors. And of course A/C is essential half of the year in your area.

A built in generator would be much quieter but as you note, will cost many thousands of dollars.

So it is a question of balancing money, noise and being a good neighbor at anchorage.

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Old 10-04-2019, 12:59 PM   #6
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More battery capacity and an inverter shouldn't cost $3300, I think. Unless that includes labor for installation?

Even then... I think our 2000W/70A inverter/charger was in the neighborhood of $800, and a couple really good (like Odyssey or Lifeline) G31 AGMs would be maybe $650 or so.

That wouldn't run an AC, but then again it will run lots of other stuff for a while...

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Old 10-05-2019, 08:42 AM   #7
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Air cond takes a lot of power. AS your ability to cruise more should grow over the years , I would replace the old removed noisemaker with a new one.

6.5 KW will operate everything your shore power cord would.

Folks here can give advice to the brand to select.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:57 AM   #8
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Given an environment with frequent and long-duration power outages at the dock... I think I'd run right out to get that second Honda 2000... consider the immediate problem semi-solved... and then I could think about whatever else might be useful. Might be nothing else required.

I shopped on portable gensets for house back-up purposes, and decided I didn't want to lift the 3000, whereas I could individually lift each 2000 in a pair.

My plan was to convert those to run on propane, given issues with infrequent use in our situation and ethanol gas vs. long-term storage.

For longer-term and were it me, I think I'd eventually investigate a new installed marine genset... but that's a budget thing, convenience thing... and anyway my aim would be about having power available while underway and quieter at anchor (for aircons, in south TX, for example, plus hot water, battery charging, etc.). Could eventually sell off a Honda or two after that...

-Chris
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