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Old 02-21-2014, 03:24 PM   #21
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99.9% of the issue with carbon monoxide is ignorance and/or sleeping when it is possible... I never run my gas genset when sleeping...no need to so danger is a bazillion levels away from safe use. I too have carbon monoxide detectors and use my head for other things...

Money doesn't buy ultimate safety...just gadgets that help.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:48 PM   #22
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Bay Pelican's Westerbeke 8 kw needed a new AC portion after 28 years, but my thoughts are that the salt water spray that came from the combination of a leak in the fresh water pump and a leak in the heat exchanger caused the AC portion to fail.

Over the last 10 years the alternator, heat exchanger, both water pumps, the coolant reservoir, the fuel pump, exhaust elbow, hoses and overflow coolant container have all been replaced. But then after 29 years ..........
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:14 PM   #23
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:33 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the ideas. I am talking with the local Westerbeke distributor (Gallery Marine). They do all our engine work. They are putting a 5.5k generator in a boat almost exactly like ours in a week or so. I'll swing by and see what it looks like.
Gallery Marine is tops in my book for Westerbeke genset knowledge and expertise.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:53 PM   #25
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I've had 2 Westerbeke gens, a 6.5 gas and the 8.0 diesel in our current boat. Neither one had a sound shield and both very quiet just a hum while on the boat, with Grandkids onboard & TV on we don't hear the gen. Both very dependable with just normal maintenance. Good luck on your choice
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:29 PM   #26
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Willson just posted a used diesel in classifieds.
Quick call him.

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Old 02-21-2014, 10:41 PM   #27
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Northern Lights.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:46 PM   #28
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Northern Lights.
+1 If your willing to spend the dough.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:34 PM   #29
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Northern lights 5-6kw top on my list. Not a perfect machine, but dang good. Westerbeke 5kw also a nice unit, but voltage reg is through capacitor exciter, and not as "tight" of volt control as the NL. But the NL has brushes.

My rules for spec'ing little gensets:

Forget anything 3600rpm. Just plain take them off the list.

No computer controls. A genny does not need a computer to do the job. And the computer stuff FAILS. NL and Westy still use relay/switch controls (I think they still do). Onan uses a computer on most models, but to their credit have proven pretty reliable. But I think their 5-6kw units are 3600rpm or some other undesireable setup.

3cyl 1800rpm is the gold standard.

3cyl 1800rpm units generally do not need a soundbox. Quiet enough as is. Sound boxes are a PITA and discourage maintenance.

Belt drive units can do the job, but generally use 2800ish rpm and 1 or 2 cyl engines. These are better than 3600rpm engines, but due to low cylinder count tend to be rough and noisy.

Many other brands package gennies, such as Norpro, Nextgen, and some others that seem to be escaping my mind at the moment. I don't keep up with these brands, but they usually are simple designs with parts available from the original suppliers. They can stay on the list as long as some homework is done. If locals are using brand X, that is a good sign. Like Norpro up in New England.

In summary for 5-9kW: 3cyl, 1800rpm, no computer, no soundbox.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:34 AM   #30
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I have a 8,5 KVA Onan and one when I woke the house batteries and all other batteries was died. Just in case I bought a RYOB 2200 Generator at Home Depot.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:50 AM   #31
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Perhaps someday soon the noisemakers purchasers will desire the efficiency that is common in Honda gas units.

These make only enough electric to meet the load , and run the engine at only the rpm required to produce the electric.

1800-3600 doesnt change a thing efficiency wise if less than full power is required.

Sad but the Yachyies are paying big bucks for 50+ year old tech.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:28 AM   #32
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These make only enough electric to meet the load ...
I haven't met a generator yet that didn't.
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:32 AM   #33
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These make only enough electric to meet the load ,

and run the engine at only the rpm required to produce the electric.

It is the abiliry to lower the RPM and load the noisemaker engine harder , to run more efficiently (and perhaps quieter) with a longer service life that counts.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:33 AM   #34
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All good advice. I will add, that if you are not doing your own work, the cost of installing a generator from scratch will be very close to the cost of the generator. So obviously you will do your due diligence, but plan on a solid $4-6k for the labor and parts to install. That figure is a WAG but just to give you a heads up. If you think of all that is involved with an install you will realize that is not just "bolt the thing in and start it up". There are a lot of extra parts(plumbing, wiring,etc.) that require a lot of hours to install...not to mention some potential "re-engineering"....FYI.

I priced an install on my last boat with a NextGen 3.5(Mainship OEM). The generator was $4100. The total estimate for the turnkey install.....$8k. This is with a reputable installer(i.e. maybe more expensive than some). You may be able to find a hack to do it for less....but just realize you generally get what you pay for.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:49 AM   #35
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Have you considered moving into the world of generators one small step at a time? As others previously have suggested, I'd recommend you think about investing around $850 in a 2000 watt little Honda. Reliable, efficient, cheap and quiet. No need for fancy wiring. Just plug your shore power chord into the front of the Honda using a pig-tail adapter. See how that works out for you. If the Honda doesn't cut it, pick up a built-in genset of 6-8K watts, then you'll have the Honda as a backup for those times when your AC needs are small. In addition to our Honda, we have an 8Kw Kohler built-in. I'd put it middle of the road for reliability v. cost. No complaints after 1000 + hours. But most of the time while on the hook, the little 2Kw Honda we have does yeoman duty at a fraction of the cost in purchase price and fuel. Good luck.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:28 AM   #36
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I have a Northern Lights and it is reliable and not too noisy. I run it off and on but particularly when cruising in hot weather to keep the sedan cool. For a few days two years ago when the marina lost power, I ran it steady. It was decent but I spun the boat around to make sure the exhaust was not trapped.
I used to carry a small old Honda for backup. It was OK but last year I switched to a newer Hyundai 1000 - lighter quieter and cleaner AC It is for emergencies if nothing starts. I almost never use it except to test it occasionally but I do like it and carry it on the swim platform along with the outboard for the dinghy and two gallons of gas as I do not want these gas items bouncing around unseen and unventilated below the cockpit floor.

I also have a CO alarm
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:48 PM   #37
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Have you considered moving into the world of generators one small step at a time? As others previously have suggested, I'd recommend you think about investing around $850 in a 2000 watt little Honda. Reliable, efficient, cheap and quiet. No need for fancy wiring. Just plug your shore power chord into the front of the Honda using a pig-tail adapter. See how that works out for you. If the Honda doesn't cut it, pick up a built-in genset of 6-8K watts, then you'll have the Honda as a backup for those times when your AC needs are small. In addition to our Honda, we have an 8Kw Kohler built-in. I'd put it middle of the road for reliability v. cost. No complaints after 1000 + hours. But most of the time while on the hook, the little 2Kw Honda we have does yeoman duty at a fraction of the cost in purchase price and fuel. Good luck.
We do the same - main gen is a 8kw 3600rpm ONAN which is loud and unreliable. Honda 2k always starts and runs like nobody's business. And we use the Honda as a backup power supply for our house via a transfer switch in case of power failures. The best thing about these little units is that if you don't like it, you can sell it for just about what you paid for it.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:49 PM   #38
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Do you need air conditioning?
If not a bigger alternator coupled with a propane stove & efficient refrig may meet your needs.
I personally don't like the idea of storing several gas containers and manually refueling a portable generator every couple of hours.

As for a recommendation; my westerbeke has lasted 15 years with only a water pump change.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:30 PM   #39
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Thanks all for your input. We are leaning toward a 5.5k Westerbeke at this point. I've been told we are in the $12-14k range for everything. Our power needs are low and we have lots of batteries. We will also need to build a fuel distribution manifold as a previous owner "simplified" everything when the previous generator was removed. The port tank goes to the port engine, starboard tank to the starboard engine. There is nothing else there.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:42 PM   #40
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Mine is plumbed that way from the factory as well. That's pretty typical of 70's era boats.

They put a "T" on the Starboard engine primary filter inlet and the generator draws fuel from that point to it's own set of filters which are mounted on the front of the generator. The four fuel tanks have a crossover connection to keep the fuel levels equal. It seems to have worked fine for the last 35+ years, so I've left it alone.
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