Charging Batteries with Honda Generator ?

Sam Vickery

Member II
This year we hope to spend more time at Catalina and visit some harbors within a day or so of Dana Point. My question is: Does it make sense to carry a small honda generator eu1000i to charge my batteries. I understand I could do this with my engine, but she is very old and tired and was apparently abused/neglected by the previous owners. My current batteries and charging system is:

2 Sea Volt Deep Cycle 75 AH house batteries
1 Starting Battery
Xantrex True Charge 10tb amp Multi Stage battery charger

My thought was to use the small (28 pounds) generator to plug directly into the shore power and charge the batteries that way. Thus saving the engine and keeping the noise and heat level way down.

Does this seem reasonable? Are there any dangers in this plan?

Thanks

Sam
86 32-3
 

Mike.Gritten

Member III
I have often thought of doing exactly the same thing, Sam. I have a friend who follows this program but with the 2000 watt version from Honda. He claims great success!
 

Rhynie

Member III
There is a nice little Coleman unit with carry handles, think it is 1800 watts has a Briggs engine. One kept fans, lights and refrigerator going for at least two+ weeks after Katrina for us, and again last year for maybe 3 days when the grid was knocked out by Gustav. I'd get about 6 hours run time on a 2 1/2 gallon tank (I have a larger unit also, but getting fuel was the issue, big one has now been converted to natural gas).
Just be careful of wind direction and exhaust gases.
 

jkm

Member III
Sam

That's the way to go.

The nice thing about the Honda is that it won't drive your neighbors nuts. I have an old 800 watt Kawasaki that I use at Catalina and just plug into the shore power receptacle. I have to sit mine in a milk crate with cardboard around it as it tends to be noisy.

Last time over the guy next to me had a 1000 Honda and I was quite envious.
Could barely hear it and he claims it charged up his boat in no time.

Just make sure you've made your boat as energy efficient as possible. LEDs and make sure your icebox is well insulated.

I like to stay over at Two Harbors for a few weeks at a time.

John
 

Gary Peterson

Marine Guy
Small gasoline generators can be very dangerous because of carbon monoxide. My opinion would be to install a carbon monoxide alarm inside the boat. Can't be too careful.:nerd:
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Excellent advice! CO monitors are inexpensive insurance and take the guesswork out of the equation.
Resulting from an ins. survey several years ago, our insurer insisted that we install one. Our surveyor was all in favor, also.
Whether you welcome their concern or curse them for trying to mandate your presumed "safety" this may well be the future, in any case.

I posted the short story here of how ours worked one night last year - damned thing was loud -- but it did indeed have a reason.
:rolleyes:

Loren
 

u079721

Contributing Partner
Maybe the new generators are not nearly as loud, but my experience with them - on other people's boats - has always been very negative.

Most folks tend to set them up on the side deck and then leave the boat to go ashore for a hike or go fishing in the dinghy to get away from the noise. Their neighbors in the anchorage are not so fortunate, and have to put up with the noise for hours at a time - unless they too are driven to abandon ship by the constant din.

I can see it as a short term solution perhaps. But long term to you need to find a less obnoxious way to charge your batteries.
 
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tenders

Innocent Bystander
I have an air-cooled two-cycle Coleman generator with both AC and DC outputs. It is shockingly, obnoxiously loud. I purchased it for emergency charging purposes as well as for occasional AC power on the boat, but inverters became so much less expensive about five years ago that I no longer need the generator for AC power and haven't used it in years.

The new Hondas (4-cycle I believe) really are quite quiet. I would estimate they're about as noisy as an idling modern automobile--certainly no louder than a boat's inboard engine.

If the objective is simply to charge the batteries, a direct DC connection from the generator to the batteries will be much more efficient than going through the AC battery charger.
 

FullTilt E28

Member III
Beware of noise

The portable generator thing is seeing more and more negative reponses from your fellow cruisers sharing the mooring field etc.

In the camping world its actually being banned in some locations. I think the major reason is due to what most would consider generator abuse vs nessesity. If you need to leave your boat while the generator is running then you need to park it away from everyone else or find another way to charge your batteries.

I watched a motorhome owner get chased out of a campground last year after running his generator all day (he left) then came back. Several campers asked that he shut off the generator for the evening/dinner hours etc. He basically told them to go take a hike.

4am the next morning some one had rounded up all the kids in the campground along with parents and other fellow campers and we had a full on base ball game with over 100 people cheering on the kids - home plate was 8ft from the front of said generator guys motor home. The game ended at 7am. 9am the generator kicked on and all of the baseball players - parents and campers returned surrounded the motor home and asked them to leave. Seems the reason he had to run his generator all day was because he was watching sports games on his 32inch flat screen in the evenings.

So my advice take energy saving efforts serious - LED lights etc - install a couple of solar pannels on the boat and enjoy your cruising. If Pacific Cup racers can sustain race equipment - running lights - SSB's for 12+ days with minimal engine usage by using LED lighting and solar pannels a cruiser on anchor should easily be able to do the same.
 

Rob Hessenius

Inactive Member
Generaters

I have a small 1k Generac portable generater. It stows perfectly in the cockpit settee. When I go cruising I take it along to recharge the batteries and to use a few ac convienences. It is by no means whisper quiet, but it does serve its purpose. I try to be courteous to neighboring boats as to when in use. If there is no wind as I go to another anchorage and I have to motor, this is when I love to use it most often. I dont disagree with Fulltilt, but I like some of the things that a generater does provide.
 

u079721

Contributing Partner
I have a small 1k Generac portable generater. It stows perfectly in the cockpit settee. When I go cruising I take it along to recharge the batteries and to use a few ac convienences. It is by no means whisper quiet, but it does serve its purpose. I try to be courteous to neighboring boats as to when in use. If there is no wind as I go to another anchorage and I have to motor, this is when I love to use it most often. I dont disagree with Fulltilt, but I like some of the things that a generater does provide.


Rob,

If your Generac is gasoline powered, then how is it safe to store in the lazarette? Aren't you worried about the gas fumes in the bilge?
 

Sven

Seglare
"Throw me overboard"

I thought seriously about getting one of the Hondas for La Petite charging. Later I got Nancy to promise me that she would throw me overboard if I suggested it again.



-Sven
 

FullTilt E28

Member III
Generator stuff

The whole - cheap generator thing / Noise and the boating community is seeing a large surge in issues with this. It's been a motorhome/camping issue for several years which has led to bans on generator use in some campgrounds and limitations put on when you can use them etc.

I don't want to see the same thing happen to the boating community not to mention we have plenty of very good alternatives to reducing the need for noisy portable generators - which by the way have much - much larger impact on a quiet cove or bay vs a campground full of trees and campers.

Even the most quiet generators can greatly impact a small protected mooring or anchoring area. A proper genset unit plumbed correctly is quieter than any of the small portable generators- much safer also.

I guess the biggest thing is that the reason the portable generator is being discussed here is that its a very cheap temporary way to fix a problem that really needs a more complex solution - being proper battery resources on board - power saving lighting - solar pannels etc. In the long run your much safer - more independant - and less apt to have an issue if you develop a good systems that allow you to minimize or virtually eliminate any additional engine charging needs for your weekend or even extended week long trips.
 

Jeff Asbury

Principal Partner
I have basically the same set up as you Sam. Two 80 amp hour deep cycles and a starting from Sam's Club (not yours :)). I have spent a week at Catalina and never ran out of Juice. If I stay at one anchorage over night I will run my little 8 hp Yanmar (also old) for about 15 minutes the next day. When I am motoring to different coves, I switch the battery selector to all and charge them up that way as well. I also have a 5 Watt Solar panel that I got at the auto parts store about 5 years ago. Not sure if it really gives the system that much of a boost but I try to keep it aimed at the sun. Usually a lot of Sun over there in the summer. Better than nothing.

When I only had one deep cycle I would often run it down in a weekend mostly playing the stereo. I have a little LCD solar lamp for the cockpit. I try to use portable battery powered lamps more than the cabin lights.

I am not a fan of the portable generators because if you have ever had to spend the night next to one you know what I'm talking about. If I we're to think about spending the money on one I would really look at the cost and relate it to the cost of a good 40 watt solar panel or a wind generator first.

IMHO

Good for Nancy Sven!

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I bought one of those big jump starters from Harbor Freight. I keep it for back up power and I have used it to power my AC/DC, TV/VCR with, not having to touch the house batteries. $60 bucks for that thing and it's been a comfort knowing I could jump start myself. It charges on the shore power and has a lighter 12 volt output.

Keep it Clean, Keep it Quiet.
 
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FullTilt E28

Member III
I have basically the same set up as you Sam. Two 80 amp hour deep cycles and a starting from Sam's Club (not yours :)). I have spent a week at Catalina and never ran out of Juice. If I stay at one anchorage over night I will run my little 8 hp Yanmar (also old) for about 15 minutes the next day. When I am motoring to different coves, I switch the battery selector to all and charge them up that way as well. I also have a 5 Watt Solar panel that I got at the auto parts store about 5 years ago. Not sure if it really gives the system that much of a boost but I try to keep it aimed at the sun. Usually a lot of Sun over there in the summer. Better than nothing.

When I only had one deep cycle I would often run it down in a weekend mostly playing the stereo. I have a little LCD solar lap for the cockpit. I try to use portable battery powered lamps more than the cabin lights.

I am not a fan of the portable generators because if you have ever had to spend the night next to one you know what I'm talking about. If I we're to think about spending the money on one I would really look at the cost and relate it to the cost of a good 40 watt solar panel or a wind generator first.

IMHO

Good for Nancy Sven!
Well put Jeff
Note that in most cases it really doesn't take much from a good solar panel to meet your needs. We ran an olson 34 17 days with electronics on full time - limited running lights - (thats a whole other story) but the point being we were able to charge our main house bank back up with a single solar panel mounted on the aft stern rail. To use the SSB and make up for the running lights we had to run the diesel for about 10-15 minutes every evening - the owner added a second solar panel recently and said that he only runs the diesel once every few days and that he can even do SSB checkins with out impacting the battery status too much. SSB's suck juice like a 46inch Plasma hungry suckers! The older solar panel he bought used 10yrs ago and it still covers almost all his power needs for 24/7 racing instruments - laptop etc. The second panel actually charges the batteries with most of his race systems running.
 

Heaven Net

New Member
Can't say anything bad about these units. Have had mine for 4 years and no problem (knock on wood). We fire it up each morning when the wife want's to make her coffee and toast the bagels. Much better than drainin the house bank plus you get to charge the house bank a bit with the internal inverter/charger. The fastest way to charge the starting and house banks are to start them engines and let the alternators to their their thing. Nice if you're motor sailing. But these Honda generators are awesome. Just lock them up if you're leaving them outside.
 

rwthomas1

Sustaining Partner
Dunno how I missed this thread originally but here's my 2cents: Honda generators, the eu1000 and eu2000 are simply fantastic. They are extremely quiet unless running at full throttle and even then much quieter than you would expect. Using them to power a shorepower style battery charger just gets them above idle, they sip fuel, and save abuse on your engine. I would put my eu2000 up against an idling sailboat auxiliary engine and say its actually quieter. To me, running the engine is much more obnoxious. The eu2000 will also keep up with the water heater, it is running full bore to do it but the water is hot in 18 minutes so its not a really long time. I understand the blowback from the "anti noise" crowd but you need to hear the Honda first before condemning it. I dont' run mine at night, or unattended in a packed anchorage. That is simple courtesy. Solar panels while perfectly quiet are quite expensive and have only one use, the boat. The generator is useful for non-boat use as well. RT
 
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