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Old 11-10-2013, 07:23 PM   #1
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Belt-driven generators

I'm considering a belt driven generator for Seaweed. Is there any wisdom
from the field regarding same? The new-to-me diesel does not have an
alternator and I'm intrigued by the belt-driven units available. The price
is less than half a Honda or Yamaha 2k which appeals to my purse.

Belt Driven 2900 watt generator head
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDN2 ($400)

or
Belt-driven 5500 watt
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDMY
($500)

or for you big guys
10kw belt-driven generator
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDNX
($900)

Side note: Seaweed carries 275 watts of solar at present (with room for two
more 100 watt panels) and I've an Air-Breeze wind gen (latest motherboard)
so for the most part I've got power. Not enough to run the reefer full time
but with the canning I'll do during the engine swap, really a refrigerator
is almost a luxury. Not that I don't like my luxuries!

What's the word from the field regarding the generators shown above? Is
this too good to be true?
Charging to a Xantrex TrueCharge20 (it works/knock on teak) but basically I
don't have anything AC except the Haier refrigerator and until the battery
bank increases (at 450 amp hours currently) I'm not comfortable running the
reefer.

Advice sought!
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
I'm considering a belt driven generator for Seaweed. Is there any wisdom
from the field regarding same? The new-to-me diesel does not have an
alternator and I'm intrigued by the belt-driven units available. The price
is less than half a Honda or Yamaha 2k which appeals to my purse.

Belt Driven 2900 watt generator head
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDN2 ($400)

or
Belt-driven 5500 watt
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDMY
($500)

or for you big guys
10kw belt-driven generator
http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/i...1&a=B0000AXDNX
($900)

Side note: Seaweed carries 275 watts of solar at present (with room for two
more 100 watt panels) and I've an Air-Breeze wind gen (latest motherboard)
so for the most part I've got power. Not enough to run the reefer full time
but with the canning I'll do during the engine swap, really a refrigerator
is almost a luxury. Not that I don't like my luxuries!

What's the word from the field regarding the generators shown above? Is
this too good to be true?
Charging to a Xantrex TrueCharge20 (it works/knock on teak) but basically I
don't have anything AC except the Haier refrigerator and until the battery
bank increases (at 450 amp hours currently) I'm not comfortable running the
reefer.

Advice sought!
Except for hot water and airconditioning...I would run a 12 volt boat in the perfect world.

If I need hot water or air conditioning...do you really want to run your main engine for them? Hot water maybe..but air for the time you want it?

Running your diesel with a big alternator to charge batteries and heat water at the same time isn't a bad idea..but to run an Air Conditioner for hours seems a waste.

Thst's what you really have to decide...what hotel services you want, when, for how long and what type electricity is best suited to run them.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:48 PM   #3
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To correct the links:

2900 watt ($400)
Amazon.com: NorthStar Belt-Driven Generator Head - 2900 Watt: Patio, Lawn & Garden


5500 watt ($500)
Amazon.com: NorthStar Belt Driven Generator Head - 5500 Watt: Patio, Lawn & Garden


10kw watt generator ($900)
Amazon.com: NorthStar Belt Driven Generator Head - 10,000 Watt: Patio, Lawn & Garden

And yes psneedl... essentially Seaweed is 12-volts. I have a little cube refrigerator (Haier, $70 circa Walmart) and a crock pot. Plus two small lights that are AC. And at Christmas my tree of course.

The goal is to charge the batteries while underway. Generally I run for a few hours two or three days then sit back and wait for weather. Or if I like the spot I might stay for a month and just enjoy life.

The only reason I've been here in Carrabelle so long was the initial blown head gasket (repaired) and the opportunity for a small diesel was too good to pass up. I'd been offered a 10kw which is rather ridiculous (and too big for my engine) but the little one? Well, it's something to consider.

I'd dearly love to have a working refrigerator -- mine is only turned on when the wind blows hard or if the days are sunny. I don't feel like I have enough battery bank to run the reefer regularly. Then again I don't like taking my batteries below 12.3 though I have taken them down to 12.2 on occasion.

Hey... and Pau Hana: I see you reading the thread. Where be you? How's you lovely lady? Etc. PM or come visit my website. I'd wondered about 'cha.
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Old 11-10-2013, 11:13 PM   #4
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pretty sure those pulley driven generators have to be driven at a set RPM...I think you are better off with a decent one or two alternators for charging batts and a cheapo inverter for 110v for your limited 110V needs.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:38 AM   #5
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The problem of the requirement for a single constant speed at the gen head forces the boat to operate with the gen CPS as tach , not the speeds the operator desires.

I would install a truck 135A (under $150) and 3 or 4 stage V regulator , and a SOC meter and see what developes.

For rational folks thats all that is needed.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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Janice, the suggestion of an auto or truck alternator with proper regulator and perhaps a inverter seems to be the best idea. Your power needs are not that great.
On the few times I ran my AC on the hook , I used my Honda 2000 genny. Its quiet and very thrifty to run.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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When I bought my boat the PO had changed out the Kohler for a Power Ginny 3KW belt driven generator. It was made in Costa Mesa, CA and had a metric cog belt driving the alternator. The engine was a two cylinder 9 or 10 HO Kubota diesel engine. It ran at 3600 RPM constantly to maintain 60 cps and 120 VAC. It was actually the right size for the boat and the 7KW was way over sized.

WHen they placed the two on the frame they made, they didn't have them exactly parallel so it made the belt work towards one side of the pulleys which chewed it up over time.

I had 179 hours on the hour meter when the Kubota blew up. I contacted them and that engine was now obsolete and parts hard to find.

What I learned is, find an engine that is reliable and can power it at 1800 RPM and belt it accordingly. You will be much more happy when it's running.

Good Luck and the last tip, get an attachment for that gen so it makes a true sine wave, not a modified square sine wave.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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If you go to NorthStar Belt-Driven Generator Head 2900 Watt | Generator Heads| Northern Tool + Equipment In the Q&A section it says "This generator head requires at least 5HP and 3540-3720 RPM". Making this work off your main engine seams problematic at best.

I would definately go with a large alternator but make sure you get one that your engine can handle. Some small engines can not handle large alternators hung on the front end. The alternator will produce DC power that you can dump directly into your battery bank, only limited by the charge acceptance of the battery. This will provide the minimum run time to recharge your battery bank. An AC generator will force you to run the engine at a constant speed and it will produce more power than your battery charger can handle. Recharge rate will be limited by the battery charger so engine run time is increased.

BTW the worst thing for a battery bank is to discharge it and leave it discharged for a period of time, such as waiting for wind or solar.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
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I'm going to just come out and say it, being in the generator business...

1. Any $900, 10KW generator end is junk, pure and simple.

2. Almost any 3600 RPM generator end is junk (I only put almost in this one because someone might pop up with a good 3600 rpm unit).

The concept of a generator end, and not having a prime mover to turn it at its exact rated rpm does not work.

to the OP...

In your situation, if you need AC power, and are on a tight budget buy a honda or like generator, or an inverter. Attempting to utilize a generator end like you linked to will only result in frustration, and heartache on your part.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:45 AM   #10
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In your situation, if you need AC power, and are on a tight budget buy a Honda or like generator, or an inverter. Attempting to utilize a generator end like you linked to will only result in frustration, and heartache on your part.
Could not agree more! I have seen sooo many cruisers (sail boaters) in the Sea of Cortez that have Honda 2000EUs. These people are the ultimate "miserly" cruisers. They can squeeze a nickle until the buffalo poops and they have Hondas purring (yes, purring!) away, atop their cabins. Brand new, the Honda is about $1,000 & I've seen them on the Internet for $800. In your situation, that is what I would do.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Hond...t=firefox-beta
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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We have a 5KW cruise gen powered by the main 671. I had to re sheave/pulley on the 671 bigger to be able to maintain the required gen rpm at the cruise RPM of the main 671. One we are out in open water and will be cruising for hours at a constant 1500 rpm I switch to the cruise gen. In the marina and at slower speed use the main gen set which power the bow thruster and the get home. So the gen set is back up for the main 671 and the main 671 is back up for the gen set.

Cruise gen sets are some what popular on for sail boats and even small trawlers as an option. Our is a Auto-gen 120/240 AC 60 Hz 5500 wt requires minimum of 1750 RPM. Mfg by Mercantle Manufacturing company, Minden Louisiana.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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We have a 5KW cruise gen powered by the main 671. I had to re sheave/pulley on the 671 bigger to be able to maintain the required gen rpm at the cruise RPM of the main 671. One we are out in open water and will be cruising for hours at a constant 1500 rpm I switch to the cruise gen. In the marina and at slower speed use the main gen set which power the bow thruster and the get home. So the gen set is back up for the main 671 and the main 671 is back up for the gen set.

Cruise gen sets are some what popular on for sail boats and even small trawlers as an option. Our is a Auto-gen – 120/240 AC 60 Hz 5500 wt – requires minimum of 1750 RPM. Mfg by Mercantle Manufacturing company, Minden Louisiana.
Cruise generators used to be more popular before inverter technology evolved and became commonplace.

They work, if and only if you keep the exact steady state RPM on your main engine. The way voltage regulators work, and especially the older ones is that as the frequency dropped off, so would voltage. Increase frequency and the voltage increases.

With the inverter technology available at modest prices today, in a new installation I would not even consider a cruise generator. A good high output dc generator/alternator is a much better option since they are not dependant on engine rpm for anything other than output current capacity.

You wont get 5KW out of a DC alternator, but thats why we have marine generators onboard.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #13
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I have no experience with them, but there are portable propane operated refrigerators available as well if that would address some or all of your needs.

Porta Gaz 61211 Silver 3-Way Portable Gas Refrigerator : Amazon.com : Automotive
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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Thank you for all the explanations and details -- I needed an education and you've provided same. Thank you. Of course I was in the "might as well's" territory (always dangerous to the purse) so it's good to know that this can be tabled. The theory was nice on the surface but it's the devil in the details.

Truly I'm looking for a nudge in recharging and the idea of running the engine to charge the batteries isn't something I do. When Seaweed's motor is running we're going to raise the anchor and go some place -- even if only for an hour or two. There's something that just goes against my grain about sitting in one place and idling.

Yes, I've looked at the Honda2ks... and the 1ks by Kipor as well. Size wise, with the limited boost I'd like, smaller is better. Of course if this generator thing was a better mouse-trap... but it's not. Such is life.

For the time being I'll concentrate on the new engine and let my mind rest easy. You have no idea how thrilled I am to finally have a diesel going into my girl. The ONLY thing I swore when boat shopping was that I'd not have a gasoline engine (was real close to a boat that blew that I ended up with a couple broken ribs from being slammed down on the dinghy dock) ... so of course I bought Seaweed with a huge gas beast. And I'm glad.

This new/old diesel swap is the culmination of desires for her transformation from boat to full-blown cruiser. The fuel consumption will be lots better too.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Thank you gents. It's been an education and I'm always glad to learn.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:56 PM   #15
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Could not agree more! I have seen sooo many cruisers (sail boaters) in the Sea of Cortez that have Honda 2000EUs. These people are the ultimate "miserly" cruisers.
Hmm. . . I wonder what the fuel consumption per hour is on the 2000EU? Their owners manual doesn't list it. These puppies are spun up pretty tight too, 4500 - 5000 rpm's underload. I wouldn't mind having one for home use, if they had a decent service life.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #16
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if you are mostly a 12volt boat...you can always just use the Honda (or equivalent) 1000 to just power a battery charger....it's plenty unless you have a mega charger and doesn't use much fuel.

When at docks or anchor and I don't need 110volts except for my morning coffee and a battery top off...I run the Honda instead of the installed diesel 8kw genset....it's a lot smaller and lighter than the 2kw Honda so it's an inexpensive and fairly quiet way to charge batteries if you aren't a floating solar farm.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:55 PM   #17
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Hmm. . . I wonder what the fuel consumption per hour is on the 2000EU? Their owners manual doesn't list it. These puppies are spun up pretty tight too, 4500 - 5000 rpm's underload. I wouldn't mind having one for home use, if they had a decent service life.
I think that in reality a honda generator aboard a boat, probably gets more use than the average home backup unit. You'll robably get many many years out of one of them.

Home backup power runs the gambit of budgets. Its easy to sink 25K or more into a whole house backup power solution.

I have Two backup generators at our house. If the power goes out, within 3.5 seconds the main generator is running and the house is connected. If that generator fails for any reason it takes about 20 seconds for the second unit to start up and connect.

I guess I'm a generator geek.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:57 PM   #18
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Mines 10 years old...looks and acts new...on it's second boat and many house storms plus field use for powering hand tools.

But neglected as Honda's seem to tolerate well...unused for 6 months then pressed into hard use....
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:16 PM   #19
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Hmm. . . I wonder what the fuel consumption per hour is on the 2000EU?
Here's some info on the fuel usage...
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:59 PM   #20
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Thanks for the Info...
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