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Em
Em

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:16am

Post Subject: Inverter Generator options.

Having subscribed to “Canal Boat” for well over a year (from Australia), it’s apparent from several articles that when cruising, a generator is desirable to fully charge batteries and operate some electrical appliances. The obvious choice is an inverter generator such as a Honda or Clarke due to their quiet running and light weight. However, I am not a fan of having petrol aboard a boat, but despite seeing LPG conversions advertised, I have not heard of a diesel option inverter generator. Are they available? If not, why not? Great magazine, looking forward to cruising the canals next year.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:41pm

Post Subject: Inverter Generator options.

Thank you for your kind words about the magazine and I hope you have good weather so you can really enjoy the canals next year. I am afraid that I can not agree with your perception re. generators. I have an almost totally 12V boat and carry out extensive cruises during the summer and the only use I have for a generator is to run power tools. Many new boaters seem to think that owning a boat is similar to owning a property and expect all the modern "conveniences" that come with that. Microwaves, bread makers, coffee makers, hair dryers/straighteners, large screen TVs and so on. They seem to expect to be have mains type electricity with just inserting a plug. Some even demand a fully "no gas" boat and whichever way you approach that it puts a higher electrical demand on the boat's system. When these boats decide not to cruise for a day or so they may well find a generator is indispensable. If one approaches boating with a more "old fashioned" frame of mind and specify the charging and battery system properly for the way YOU use the boat then I would suggest a generator is not really needed for cruising. The situation may be different for live-aboard boaters who move very little. As an example, yesterday We cruised for about three hours in the morning, stopped until about 19.00 for lunch, dinner and watching TV all afternoon and the cruised for another 90 minutes. I used the computer whilst my wife watched TV. This morning we cruised for 4 hours before stopping and before I shut the engine down the ammeter was showing a charge of about 2 amps per battery so they are well charged. We use a 12V electric fridge. The battery life will be extended if I can ensure they get close to 100% fully charged every few weeks and to this end I use a 60watt solar panel. I find it is usually people who have not specified their systems for the use they put it to that need generators to overcome other problems. For instance, if you really are only going to cruise for short periods there is something known as a Travelpower which in essence is the equivalent of an inverter generator but driven from the main engine. These are rated at a few KW so can be used to power a high output battery charge (and usually are). Once people start looking for diesel generators they often choose one permanently installed in the boat with an acoustic housing. If you look in the articles section on my website (TB-Training.co.uk) you will find details of how to do a power audit and charging calculations for YOUR use of a boat. They will not be 100% spot on but are a good guide. That is where I suggest you start before looking to spend money on generators - and no, I have not heard of a diesel inverter generator. Tony Brooks

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:41pm

Post Subject: Inverter Generator options.

Thank you for your kind words about the magazine and I hope you have good weather so you can really enjoy the canals next year. I am afraid that I can not agree with your perception re. generators. I have an almost totally 12V boat and carry out extensive cruises during the summer and the only use I have for a generator is to run power tools. Many new boaters seem to think that owning a boat is similar to owning a property and expect all the modern "conveniences" that come with that. Microwaves, bread makers, coffee makers, hair dryers/straighteners, large screen TVs and so on. They seem to expect to be have mains type electricity with just inserting a plug. Some even demand a fully "no gas" boat and whichever way you approach that it puts a higher electrical demand on the boat's system. When these boats decide not to cruise for a day or so they may well find a generator is indispensable. If one approaches boating with a more "old fashioned" frame of mind and specify the charging and battery system properly for the way YOU use the boat then I would suggest a generator is not really needed for cruising. The situation may be different for live-aboard boaters who move very little. As an example, yesterday We cruised for about three hours in the morning, stopped until about 19.00 for lunch, dinner and watching TV all afternoon and the cruised for another 90 minutes. I used the computer whilst my wife watched TV. This morning we cruised for 4 hours before stopping and before I shut the engine down the ammeter was showing a charge of about 2 amps per battery so they are well charged. We use a 12V electric fridge. The battery life will be extended if I can ensure they get close to 100% fully charged every few weeks and to this end I use a 60watt solar panel. I find it is usually people who have not specified their systems for the use they put it to that need generators to overcome other problems. For instance, if you really are only going to cruise for short periods there is something known as a Travelpower which in essence is the equivalent of an inverter generator but driven from the main engine. These are rated at a few KW so can be used to power a high output battery charge (and usually are). Once people start looking for diesel generators they often choose one permanently installed in the boat with an acoustic housing. If you look in the articles section on my website (TB-Training.co.uk) you will find details of how to do a power audit and charging calculations for YOUR use of a boat. They will not be 100% spot on but are a good guide. That is where I suggest you start before looking to spend money on generators - and no, I have not heard of a diesel inverter generator. Tony Brooks

alanclarke
alanclarke

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:37pm

Post Subject: Inverter Generator options.

We don't live aboard and aren't cruising every week end although we do stay on the boat at week ends. 2 years ago we moved moorings to one with out 240v shore line so with only having a low amp out put alternator it was a struggle keeping our batteries charged so we decided to invest in to a Honda eu20i converted to LPG, although the battery charger that is built into the generator it was of no use charging 3 x 3110ah batteries so another investment was made buying a CTEK charger this meant the 2 combined resolved the situation, in the end after a nights viewing with a table light on the next day was a combination of say 2 hours running the generator + 1 hour running the engine got the batteries satifactorily charged. This year whilst out on a 3 weeks holiday we got up one morning to find it was banging it down with rain, this was were the generator came in to it's own, we were in the middle of no where so the generator was stood on the tow path plugged in to my mains supply on the boat with the charger plugged in, we were able to stayed moored in the pouring rain using all of our modern power gussling equipment with out a worry of flattening our batteries in fact they were being charged, it was worth the cost of having it converted to LPG so there is no chance of explosion, once the gas bottle is turned off and the generator stops running it can be stored safely in the engine room as there is no fuel left in it. Hope this helps, Alan

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:54pm

Post Subject: Inverter Generator options.

I think this illustrates what I meant about a properly specified system. Alan says he has a small alternator and in his case the most cost effective way for him is to use a generator and charger but if he had twice and many batteries or sufficient alternative charging like solar he could stay in place for two days without charging. Unfortunately the original poster gives no background to his question. Is he intending to hire, buy a secondhand boat, buy a new production boat or buy a new bespoke boat. Each is likely to need a different set of best advice depending upon its exact specification. Tony Brooks

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