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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 more on our generator use click here
Our engine room is small (approx 8ft x 6ft). Sufficient size for engine, batteries calorifier. hospital exhaust and webasto heater. But not much room for a generator. Indeed I first thought it impossible to get a build in generator into the engine room. Just not possible!!. But the compact gen sets are very compact.
If space were not a problem, we would have chosen a 1500rpm gen set (half speed of 3,000rpm sets, with longer service intervals and generally longer life).
Why Fisher Panda?. Victron (manufacturer of our inverter / charger combi) had done a test on a number of different manufacturers of generators, Fisher Panda came out very well, especially when linked to the Victron, which we know from experience (with cheap petrol generators) needs a good smooth power supply.... and FP were price competitive. They also make a dry exhaust system, which would suit our needs, as otherwise we would need to dry dock to have a water intake valve fitted (around £1000).
Why Dry Exhaust? Besides having no 'river' water valve (needed for cooling the generator), I felt that the we should try to use the 'wasted heat'. So my thinking was to connect the 'cooling water' side to our central heating system. Free Heat. A dry exhaust generator is
still water cooled, but I have used the central heating radiators (and calorifier) as the coolant.
Was the installation difficult?
he first thing I did was install a solid (level) base plate. I did this prior to delivery of generator. Bolted to base plate frame (see photo left).
However the hardest part was installing the dry exhaust, this was simply because of space limitations. The dry exhaust pipe required was 1.5" and the hole outlet through the hull side was finger tip reach away. I used 1.5" iron screw fitting to connect pipe to elbows, exhaust etc. Many chandlers stock these, and will put a thread onto a length of pipe. I used a 200mm long stainless stell flexible pipe to connect exhaust to generator, this to allow the generator to 'move' on start up and shutdown (which it does quite considerably).
I used the diesel supply to the Webasto heater, and the return connected to main engine return. Not recommended in the FP manual, but seems to work fine. Maybe issues if I were to run generator with engine or webasto heater, but I can not see why I would ever want to do this (with engine running we have sufficient power supply from alternator, and with generator running we can heat up the central heating radiators).
Photo right -
Created 12 April 2009 - Last updated 20 December 2009