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Old 10-26-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Honda portable generator?

Question...

Anybody have real experience using a small portable generator to charge your 12 volt batteries?

My Grand Banks 32 does not have a generator but has a pretty adequate house battery bank--rated at about 650 ah. That's plenty for one overnite and maybe two, even with the frig running.


But, we are planning on some extended cruising next summer in the PNW, and I am thinking about the need for a small portable gasoline powered generator, just in case I manage to kill all the batteries! (I have no problem with carrying some gasoline around, since we already have a little gas outboard for the dinghy.)

The Honda eu2000 seems like the right choice. In one of the videos I think they even mentioned an optional 30 amp plug which I assume I could just plug into my shore power inlet.

So, any experience with these or similar units?


Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:00 PM   #2
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We've used a Honda Portable for the last 10+ years. Our previous boat had 2xGroup31 AGM for the house and a Group 27 AGM for starter. Our current boat has an 8D AGM for House and an 8D AGM for starter. We were on a mooring this year. We went for months without plugging into shorepower and never had any issues.

Run the genny for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening. We leave our fridge on 24 x 7 during vacations. (Note: This required us to tie up for the evening before we'd leave so we could plug in and get the fridge down to temp first). We also heat the hotwater twice per day (every 12 hrs). it allows for hotwater 24 x 7 and takes less time to reheat than doing it every 24 hours.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:04 PM   #3
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The Honda 2K will also run a small Heat/AC unit (5K). So we can get heat or AC in the Master, Guest and Head, but not the main cabin. We did find that the heat from the cabins forward will rise and handle the main on a cool evening as well. AC, not so much.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:22 PM   #4
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Oldersalt,
I have disconnected the start batt several times thinking we may run the batts down too much.
Not sure my Zantrex isolates the start batt. But I know an experiment could be done to see if it does.
Do you have an isolated stert batt? If you do then it’s just a matter of capacity. Or is it? Perhaps if one had more house batts they would last longer not getting run diwn so much.
I’m probably exposing some ignorance here but what follows will probably be beneficial to at least some.

You’re going north next summer?
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:32 PM   #5
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The Hondas are great. Used two connected together on my old boat when the old Onan crapped out. Put them on the swim platform and turned on the a/c. Worked great.

There are probably hundreds running almost full time in the Virgin Islands since the storm blew away the power grid. Since power won't be restored until Christmas for most of the islands the Hondas need to be strong.

The things I have been sending to my friends in the islands to keep their Hondas running has been sparkplugs, air filters and carb gaskets. Because of the poor quality of gasoline they are having to clean the carburetors often thus needing the gaskets.

All in all they are excellent pieces of equipment in my humble opinion
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:35 PM   #6
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I've been using a Honda eu2000i for about 10 years now. It usually runs on my FB and plugs into my shore power cord via a 15A/30A adapter. The 2000 is really rated at 1600W/13.3A continuous power. Because of these real limitations, I have to be careful to avoid overloading the unit. High draw items on my boat that can easily tax the limits are the 1100W water heater and the 1500W Keurig coffee maker. I also run a 900W microwave, 55A shore charger (rated at 13A peak load, but it never seems to get that high), ceramic heaters, fans and misc electric tools.

If I was to replace the unit, I'd probably opt for the Honda 3000 with remote start. The larger fuel tank, remote start/stop and higher capacity would be a welcome upgrade. The negative is that the 3000 has nowhere near the portability of the 2000.

Obvious precautions apply re: CO and fuel storage, but those points get beat to death normally at the mention of a gasoline powered generator onboard a boat.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:36 PM   #7
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You can charge your house batteries with the Honda if you have a right sized shore charger. Don’t bother with the Honda’s 12V output as it wont do much.

The Honda EU 2000s continuous AC output is rated at 13A max. That means you probably can’t power the typical 100A inverter/charger. You have to have a less than 75A charger and for some less than 60A.

Edit: Flywright beat me to this point while I was typing.

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Old 10-26-2017, 03:27 PM   #8
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I have a Honda 2000EUi since my Westerbeke died. It will go over 13 amps for a while, but i do not run it there. My 100A Inverter charger draws 15.5A on full charge. I have to limit it to 10A @120VAC when on the Honda. This gives me about 65A DC charge with a little room to run the fridge, icebox, and TV. I never try to run the Air Con on it. Since its generally less than 15 amps, I use a 15A to 30A adapter on a shore power cord. I can place the honda in free air to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Above 50% load, the Honda gets noisy. Be kind to your anchorage neighbors.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:11 PM   #9
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Harbor Freight sells a 2000 watt unit called a Predator for about $500, about half the price of the Honda. I was looking at one of these as a backup to my primary Northern Lights 5kw genset when we're in Alaska. Anyone have any experience with a Predator? Certainly not Honda quality but for occasional use it may suffice.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:17 PM   #10
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Don't dismiss the Yamaha IMO its a far better unit than the Honda
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaston View Post
Don't dismiss the Yamaha IMO its a far better unit than the Honda


This is the one I have aboard, very pleased with it.

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Old 10-26-2017, 04:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
I have disconnected the start batt several times thinking we may run the batts down too much.
Not sure my Zantrex isolates the start batt. But I know an experiment could be done to see if it does.
Do you have an isolated stert batt? If you do then itís just a matter of capacity. Or is it? Perhaps if one had more house batts they would last longer not getting run diwn so much.
I have had a dedicated House and Starting bank with an isolation switch. I start and run on the start battery and sit on the house bank. I wouldn't feel comfortable otherwise.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:37 PM   #13
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We've used our Honda eu2000 as a "backup" generator a few times. Works great in that capacity, as the shore power plugs directly into it. But it can be pretty annoying, not that it is too loud, more so it's the droning frequency of the sound. I've been in anchorages where someone else is running their Honda for 3-4 hours a day, and even at a couple hundred yards it can be annoying. When we used ours, we were very cognizant of neighbors and the time of day.

We much prefer the quiet gurgling of the main genny's exhaust...
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
We've used our Honda eu2000 as a "backup" generator a few times. Works great in that capacity, as the shore power plugs directly into it. But it can be pretty annoying, not that it is too loud, more so it's the droning frequency of the sound. I've been in anchorages where someone else is running their Honda for 3-4 hours a day, and even at a couple hundred yards it can be annoying. When we used ours, we were very cognizant of neighbors and the time of day.

We much prefer the quiet gurgling of the main genny's exhaust...
I second that. I have a Honda, but could never really find a spot for it that wasn't annoying, and listening to others at anchorages just decided I didn't want to subject neighbors to it either. Nothing wrong with it if that is your best option, but we prefer alternatives.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:53 PM   #15
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I love my Honda eu2000 in the desert. Use it as a back-up to my RV generator and at night. It's very quite and reliable. Might get another one as a back-up for the boat.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:24 PM   #16
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We are using an Eu1000i aboard IRENE. While off-grid, we charge our batteries via shore cord and onboard Guest charger. This is done for an hour in the evening and an hour in the morning. We also run a vacuum, space heater, and stovetop burner individually as needed.

Admittedly we are just a little operation aboard our boat. The Eu1000i is small enough to be moved around by my wife, and the noise and fuel consumption are tolerable. We run it on a foam pad, placed on the swim platform and secured.

When my previous Eu1000i was stolen, we replaced with the same unit.

We agree with MOONFISH & DELFIN regarding the noise, and try to be good neighbors.

I would have rather installed an EFOY fuel cell, but for the number of days we need the power the math made no sense. If we were cruising off-grid more, the EFOY would have been the winner.

Best Wishes
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:26 PM   #17
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I have a Hyundai 2000w inverter generator. Also about 1/2 price of the Honda. This unit is rated continuous 2000w, peak 2200w, if you can believe the literature. My Heart Interphase 2500 has a built in charger capable of 140 Amp output at 30 A shorepower input. The generator breaker would trip at this 30A setting. De-rating down to 20A input prevented the generator breaker from tripping but the charger would only put out 85A, which under most circumstances is plenty. The Hyundai has 2 AC output plugs which will accept either a regular 15A 125V or a 20A 125V AC male plugs (slightly different than your typical 15A AC wall outlet). Negatives of the Hyundai are that it is about 50% heavier than the Honda (about 75lbs full of gas), and not as quiet or as fuel efficient as the Honda. Only had it less than 1 season so the jury is still out as to durability. Also, have not been able to find any references as to whether this unit has parallel capability, the Honda for sure does. If you are budget conscious, and have a strong back (lol) this might be a good choice.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:34 PM   #18
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I bought a Honda eu2000 for emergency use. I don't have diesel gennies any more, but do have 2000W of solar and 2 x 200 A alternators. I plug the Honda into the shore power inlet, but found that the Victron 3000/120 inverter/charger was typically wanting to put 88A into the 12V house bank. I had to limit the shore power current to avoid continual overloading of the Honda.

The solution I choose was to get a second Honda eu2000 and their parallel cables. It works a treat, with the charger taking what it wants, and both Honda's idled back quite a bit so much less noisy.

Knowing what I know now, I ought to have bought the Honda 3000 unit! To the OP, what I would say is to look at what your charger outputs. As indicated by posters above, if it is greater that about 65-70A then the eu2000 could be a bit small for you.

If I ever do another boat refit I would find a way of having a small stationary engine driving one or two large 12V alternators. Running a Honda to create AC, to connect to shore power, to power a charger, to put 12V (nominal) into batteries, is simple to connect but a roundabout way to do it. With alternators you can get a much higher charge rate, which AGM or lithium can easily accept.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:15 PM   #19
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Insequent, I like your idea of having a small engine run some alternators to do the charging. Might be less expensive than a purpose built marine generator and easier to repair if needed. drawbacks would be figuring how to marinize it. It's hard to beat the quiet of a well designed marine unit with waterlift muffler.

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Old 10-26-2017, 10:55 PM   #20
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Have any of you checked to see if these portables are wired correctly for marine use. One of the issues with marine standards is the prevention of electrocuting swimmers in the case of wiring failures. Generators don’t have to be wired correctly to power your boat but do need to be wired correctly to prevent catastrophic injuries. I am not saying these portables are unsafe, just asking if anyone knows for certain if they are safe in a marine environment.

Just reciently it has been discovered that a significant portion of fresh water drownings has turned out to be fresh water electrocution.
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