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Old 04-13-2020, 07:17 PM   #1
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Generator size

What size diesel generator is needed to power a 32' trawler with reverse cycle heat / ac, electric stove, lights and other basics while anchored? Has anyone heard of Nexgen they make a 4K genset. I am working on figuring out how much the boat will cost above sale price before making an offer. Thanks Unclematt
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:23 PM   #2
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You need to know what the sum of the loads are that you would be running all at the same time. We would need to know how you plan on using the boat and what creature comforts you desire. Suggest you get a copy of Calder's "Boat Owners Mechanical and Electrical Manual". I know a few people with Nexgens that seem happy. Look also at Phasor for "budget" gensets.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:29 PM   #3
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For a 32 boat a 4KW genset seems fair. Keep in mind that you may need to do some load management. We have a 9KW on out 41 and it is too big IMO. You do want to load the genset enough to get it up to temp. I would prefer a 6 or 7 KW in our boat but it came with the 9.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclematt View Post
What size diesel generator is needed to power a 32' trawler with reverse cycle heat / ac, electric stove, lights and other basics while anchored? Has anyone heard of Nexgen they make a 4K genset. I am working on figuring out how much the boat will cost above sale price before making an offer. Thanks Unclematt

I agree with what caltexflanc said.

I don't think a 4 Kw generator is big enough for an ac/reverse cycle heat and electric stove.

The AC start load is high and in combination with the stove or hot water heater running will pop the breaker unless you manage the loads.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:47 PM   #5
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My sense is that generator needs are based on the systems of the boat, not the boat's length.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:39 PM   #6
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Depending on how many AC units you plan to run, a boat with 2 units will likely be happier with a 6KW.

The other consideration is how much you plan to use it. The smaller generators are generally higher RPM units and noisier. If you plan to use it much, I would spend the extra money for an 1,800 RPM unit. Don't know if they are available below 8KW. This assumes that any you buy, will have a sound shield enclosure.

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Old 04-13-2020, 09:13 PM   #7
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I had an older Chris with that size Genny, about the same size boat also. No air though.

If I had something going on the stove and the water heater kicked on, then the refrigerator the microwave would send it into overload. I just learned to turn off the water heater and don't use the toaster or microwave if I had the stove on.

Wasn't really a problem

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Old 04-13-2020, 09:19 PM   #8
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The Northern Lights is available in a 5 and 6kW in three cyl 1800rpm. Pretty heavy unit for a 32. I run a 5k NL in my 38, it powers 12k and 6k AC units, a water heater and a pancake air comp. Can run any three of those four. Can actually run all four but exhaust gets smoky. No electric stove.

Add up your loads, but to size the gennie reasonably expect to do a little load management. Like if cooking, turn the water heater off. No big deal.

The nexgen belt drive units are a little noisier and rougher than a slow turn 3-cyl, but not horrible. A little noise is way better than sweating in bed.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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The other consideration is how much you plan to use it. The smaller generators are generally higher RPM units and noisier. If you plan to use it much, I would spend the extra money for an 1,800 RPM unit. Don't know if they are available below 8KW. This assumes that any you buy, will have a sound shield enclosure.

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I've had a 4.2 Kw Entec, a 4.5 Kw Westerbeke and a 5.5 Kw Westerbeke in Sandpiper.

The Entec was a 3600 RPM single cylinder generator but very quiet. It vibrated like crazy and the sympathetic vibrations were not pleasant. It was very small and light, 234# for generator and sound enclosure. I would not recommend it. Only reason I had it was because I was a dealer.

The two Westerbekes, 4.5 and 5.5 uses the same 3 cylinder Mitsubishi 1800 RPM engine. The generators are around 400# with enclosure. They are very smooth and quiet.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:42 PM   #10
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I have an Onan 8KW 1,800 RPM with the 3 cylinder kabota engine in sound shield, with lift muffler, exhaust silencer, and Soundown vibration isolation. Very quiet and no vibration.

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Old 04-14-2020, 07:15 AM   #11
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I've always found my 6.5kw to be big enough. I wouldn't complain if it were a little bigger, but I wouldn't want much bigger. It's enough to run all 3 A/Cs (2x 10k and a 16k) and let the water heater cycle or use the microwave. It's also enough to run the big A/C or both small ones, all 3 stove burners and still have some headroom. It's not big enough to run everything on the boat at the same time like shore power can, but the generator doesn't need to do that.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:00 AM   #12
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There are some other threads out there regarding the cost of putting in a generator. Does the boat currently HAVE a generator? If not, the cost of the actual genny is probably not the major expense. Personally, on size, I would go with a 6+kw genny given what you've said you load is. You mention running Air Conditioners and other stuff at anchor, so I am assuming the boat already has the AC units and other stuff, but doesn't currently have a genny, sooooo . . . . figure at a minimum:
  • find space for the generator in the engine compartment, or lazzerette, one that will allow maintenance to be performed.
  • thru hull for raw water to the heat exchangers on the genny
  • raw water pump
  • raw water return
  • fuel to genny
  • fuel return to fuel tank
  • exhaust plumbing/avenue to overboard
  • wiring into existing battery systems/battery charger
  • start battery for generator
  • remote start/engine meter/load meter in cabin
The above is just a start. Figure a MINIMUM cost of 5k, just to install, IF you do all the labor yourself. If professionally installed, double it.
Figure minimum of 5k to purchase, so you are looking at from $10k (genny & materials to install) DIY, $15k minimum someone else does it.


Question: Might you consider another boat that already HAS a suitably sized genny already installed?
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:21 AM   #13
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Slow goes it, Nailed it.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:26 AM   #14
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Friends with a Great Harbor 37 had a 5Kw genny. 4Kw should be plenty for a 32 ft boat with one AC unit and electric stove. Assuming only one 30A shore power cord.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:41 AM   #15
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Yep, if you can live happily on your boat with a single 30A/120V shore cord without tripping breakers, a 4kW should be fine. 120V at 30A is 3.6kW.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:41 AM   #16
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I have always thought of a generator as a replacement for shore power. 60 amp shore power 7,5-8.0 KW generator. 30 amp shore power 4.0 KW generator. 100 amp shore power 12 KW generator.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:02 AM   #17
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Most common shore power setups:

single 30A/120V 3.6kW
dual 30A/120V 7.2kW
single 50A/120V (pretty rare now) 6kW
single 50A/240V 12kW

The OP's 32 likely has one or two 30A/120V cords.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:06 AM   #18
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FWIW, my setup is 2x 50A/125V, so 12KW of shore power. The 6.5kw generator is nowhere near as much power and is correspondingly not enough to run everything. But it's also pretty rare to have a desire to run everything except maybe in extremely hot weather. I don't like running the generator overnight, so if it's so hot out that I need to keep the A/C running non-stop I'm probably going to be finding a marina where I can plug in anyway.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:08 AM   #19
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I had a Prairie 29 with a 4kw. It had a 16k AC and all of the other AC accoutrements. It ran everything fine. I will admit, it was a 4 cylinder Kubota if I remember correctly..Onan Generator. I always thought that was very strange. It was definitely labelled as a 4kw. But it could handle every single AC appliance all at once.
Current boat has an 11.5 (e)Onan....Smart generator. I love it. It has already saved my bacon. Shutdown in the middle of the night and it tells you exactly why it shut down...."Waterflow". Went into the engine room, cleared the strainer...back in business. Simple as that. I do believe it to be a bit oversized but I do have 2x16k ACs and 2x6k ACs along with a washer/dryer. Whenever I run it I try to load it up as much as possible but that usually amounts to the two big ACs and the water heater....probably a whopping 5kw.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:30 AM   #20
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You might check out Dometic Smart Start unit. My boat has two 16,000 btu heat pumps run by a single 5 kw NL generator. The Smart Start takes 65% out of load start spikes. No problems with generator overloads and my generatorj load is probable 75% or more making for a happy generator.
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