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4 years after launch, we finally came to the conclusion that we needed a built in 'proper' generator. After much research we purchased a Fischer Panda 4.5ND with dry exhaust. For installation and photos of installation click here
Our 1st attempt at 'Generation'
From launch (2004) we had an
Electrolux Travel Power generator installed (this is attached to the main propulsion engine). But it didnot performing as well as we had hoped,
We experienced a lot of problems getting the Electrolux to work initially, with the 'silver box' eventually being replaced.
When working we found the output to be much less than we had expected. We also got a quickly diminishing battery charge (through the 240c Victron battery charger), thought to be because the alternator takes precedence, and confuses the 'intelligent' Victron charger .
And of course the engine must be running for it to work, which adds hours to the engine. Is not good for the engine (running under no load conditions) and is not very fuel efficient.
We then purchased a 2Kw petrol suitcase (Honda look-alike) generator, but although claiming to have a smooth power output, it failed to run the Victron Battery charger. We also disliked fiddling about with petrol on board and finding a suitable dry location where it could be run was never easy.
We also purchased
260W solar panels. We like these very much, as they provide a reasonable amount of power during the summer months. But whilst great for 'extending' a stop over mooring whilst cruising in the summer to over a week, they do not provide the power we need through winter or even spring and summer weeks.
So we finally came to the conclusion that a 'proper' generator was required.
For installation and photos of generator click here
Post a message or question, let other readers comment / answer it.
After 4 years we decided to installed a 4Kw 3000 rpm Fisher Panda generator (4.5ND) We purposely ordered a dry exhaust generator (around same price as standard river cooled). It is still water cooled, but I have used the central heating radiators (and calorifier) as the coolant. Good when chilly, not so good in a heatwave!!). I could convert the cooling from central heating radiators to use the engine keel cooling, but I do not think this will be necessary.
So far the longest time I have needed to run the generator is 2 hours. It takes the radiators about an hour to get hot, outlet water temperature of the generator after 1.5 hours is around 45 degrees. Not sure when the in built high temp cut out kicks in, probably around 80 degrees, so confident it will run for 2+ hours with no problem
We have found that we do not need a generator during the cruising season when cruising an average of one hour per day. Our batteries and solar panels give us around 7 days on a mooring without power (but then we have to cruise 7 hours to charge up batteries). We run the washing machine when cruising. So we only need the generator when not cruising and on a mooring for a week or so. We use the generator primary to charge up the batteries (gas cooking, no air con.) The battery charger takes around 2Kw (70a at 24v) so we still have 2Kw spare for other use (washing machine or vac or hair dryer etc.) when the generator is on, so a 4Kw generator for us is plenty. With generator on through the Victron Multi plus we have around 7Kw available if needed, more for very short periods of time.
The Fisher Panda generator is installed adjacent to our Perkins M92 engine, in the engine room. Inside the barge the generator is much quieter than the Perkins (you know it is on, but quiet enough to speak normally etc), outside however the generator is louder than the Perkins, our Perkins is very quiet as it has a very large hospital exhaust. Bit disappointed in the outside noise level of the generator, but happy with inside level. The dry exhaust silencer was supplied by Fisher Panda. A larger silencer would be quieter, but we do not have the room.... And inside is fine!!!!
Advantages of dry exhaust with water cooled from central heating radiators. Free heating, possibly easier to install (no river water connections) if central heating pipes are near by.
Disadvantages. May not be able to run continuously for hours on end. Will warm up boat even on a hot day. Can not run central heating and generator at the same time (but no need to!). Need to open / close 2 valves when switching between central heating use and generator use (to isolate one unit from the other).
Conclusion. Can not beat a stand alone generator. For us a 4Kw one is sufficient, but need a larger one if cooking on electric or using air con.
For installation and photos of installation click here
Created 12 April 2009 - Last updated 02 February 2012