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B2019

Charging batteries by generator and generator recommendations

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Hi boaters, 

 

I've got three batteries and two solar panels. Any advice on how to charge batteries by a generator ( how to wire up as well) and what generator to buy?

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45 minutes ago, B2019 said:

Hi boaters, 

 

I've got three batteries and two solar panels. Any advice on how to charge batteries by a generator ( how to wire up as well) and what generator to buy?

 

Yes. 

 

My advice is to use the search function and read lots of the battery threads so you can get a basic understanding of how it all works. Its very simple on the surface, and once you've grasped the principles it will stand you in very good stead. And you will be able to answer your own question. 

 

In particular search for "battery charging primer", and "cable sizing", I suggest.

 

 

 

 

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If the genny is just to recharge batteries (as opposed to running large loads) then a small ish one will be best, because it will spend a lot of it's time putting in just a few amps (research "tail current" the last bit of charging that takes ages). That is with the proviso that you have enough output (amps, or watts) to do the initial charge (when batteries are low on charge and rather hungry!) - this will depend on what you are running the genny through, a sophisticated thing like a Victron 3000 will allow you to set the maximum charge that will be taken from the genny, thus avoiding having it trip out). You could be looking at a smaller (1kw) Honda, for example.

If you want to power large loads as well (washing machine etc) then you may need over 2kw. Try to get one with a "smart throttle" so it chills out a bit when not doing much. I think the Kipor are next best after Honda, and cheaper.

If you are a serious user, consider a built in diesel unit - bargains regularly come up on ebay but quite a faff to get installed, lots of bits and pieces needed.

To sum up, you really need to think carefully about what your usage pattern will be. If you have been enjoying the solar power, you'll be in for a reality check come end of autumn :(

  • Greenie 1

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15 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

In particular search for "battery charging primer",

To save you looking...

 

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Do not get seduced by the marketing for what is an obsolescent car alternator strapped to a 12V car alternator that you may find on-line.

 

Also be aware that the 12V output on many suitcase generators like the Honda will only deliver 8amps and will be unregulated so can all too easily destroy your batteries by over voltage. A decent generator plus a multi-stage charger is the way to go.

  • Greenie 1

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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

A decent generator plus a multi-stage charger is the way to go.

Wholeheartedly agree. We used a Honda EU 2.0i, converted to LPG, this was connected via an armoured hose and bayonet fittings to a regulator on one of the gas bottles in the bow locker.  Use a motorcyle lock cable to secure the generator to the armco, or a mooring ring. the a shore line cable back to the entry point on the boat gave 230 V to the onboard battery charger (Mastervolt 80amp three stage)

 

It is, admittedly a bit of a faff, to set all this up, and you need somewhere to store it all but it certainly does the job. I wouldn't like to have to do it every day in the winter! You will also need a good budget to buy reliable kit.

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I used to do a long absorption with a Kipor 2kv inverter genny, at tickover it would use 1.8 to 1.9 litres over 8 hrs, very quiet at that speed. 

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In winter we are almost totally dependent on a genny.

Our genny is a Hyundai 2kW with inverter output and smart throttle. As well as charging the batteries via an ancient  40 Amp Sterling charger, it is capable of directly powering the washing machine, toaster, fridge and a travel electric kettle, but not all at the same time!
It is wired into the boat via the usual blue shoreline plug/socket arrangement.
It is a very easy genny to start and maintain, and is comparatively light and quiet, though a little noisier than my mate's Honda genny (which are over twice the price.) Honda's are the "industry standard" and are probably amongst the best, but our previous Yamaha was 22 years old when it lost the will to live.
I have never properly measured the fuel consumption, but it is noticeably better than its predecessor, which did not have a smart throttle.

I am considering an LPG conversion for the winter mooring where we can use a 47Kg gas bottle, but I see no great saving when using a 13kg "boat size" bottle when on the move.

3 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

Do not get seduced by the marketing for what is an obsolescent car alternator strapped to a 12V car alternator that you may find on-line.

 

Also be aware that the 12V output on many suitcase generators like the Honda will only deliver 8amps and will be unregulated so can all too easily destroy your batteries by over voltage. A decent generator plus a multi-stage charger is the way to go.

Agree 100%. The 12V output on our genny is hopeless. Proper charger needed.

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I've had a look around and at other posts on CW and everyone is saying get a Honda EU 2.0i but they are on the expensive side. 

I've got three batteries and two solar panels. 

 

My power demands are : one water pump, one shower pump, lED lights, charge laptop and phone, run work printer and will eventually buy a 12 volt telly. 

 

Any advice on a good cheap petrol generator? My budget is around £500 for a generator and multi charger controller ( as someone suggested earlier). 

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I would suggest you dont need a multi stage charger because you will want to stop the genny  before you go to float. So a basic charger and once the batteries are full switch it off.

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30 minutes ago, B2019 said:

Any advice on a good cheap petrol generator? My budget is around £500 for a generator and multi charger controller ( as someone suggested earlier). 

Try Gumtree or preloved for a Kipor 2000.

 

Just askin - have you considered how you are going to :

1) Source petrol

2) Store petrol (maximum legal amount 30 litres)

3) Store the generator.

 

https://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe/petrol-safety/

 

 

Don't be tempted to run the generator on board - lift it off and ensure it is down wind of your boat.

 

A gas fitter has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence after his partner and her daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat.

Kelly Webster and 10-year-old Lauren Thornton were overcome by fumes from the boat's generator on Windermere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34810360

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5 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Try Gumtree or preloved for a Kipor 2000.

 

Just askin - have you considered how you are going to :

1) Source petrol

2) Store petrol (maximum legal amount 30 litres)

3) Store the generator.

 

https://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe/petrol-safety/

 

 

Don't be tempted to run the generator on board - lift it off and ensure it is down wind of your boat.

 

A gas fitter has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence after his partner and her daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat.

Kelly Webster and 10-year-old Lauren Thornton were overcome by fumes from the boat's generator on Windermere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34810360

I'm going to buy a metal lockable container and drill in to the stern. I drive a lot so I will pop to the station every now and then and only store 5 litres at a time. I will make sure the box is able to hold the fuel container as well. Gas container will be at the bow. Where I will store it is separated from the rest of the boat. I will also invest in another carbon monoxide alarm as well to be on the safe side. 

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1 minute ago, B2019 said:

I'm going to buy a metal lockable container and drill in to the stern.

Are you planning to run the genny 'in the box' ?

 

You will need to sort out air supply and more particularly exhaust gas removal. That's what killed the couple on Windermere - they had a DIY exhaust connecting the generator to the 'outside' and the guy that made it was a qualified gas fitter !!!

 

You will need to be able to lift it out onto the bank to refuel.

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8 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Are you planning to run the genny 'in the box' ?

 

You will need to sort out air supply and more particularly exhaust gas removal. That's what killed the couple on Windermere - they had a DIY exhaust connecting the generator to the 'outside' and the guy that made it was a qualified gas fitter !!!

 

You will need to be able to lift it out onto the bank to refuel.

 I'm going to create/adapt a metal box whereby  two sides flip down meaning I don't needs to move it and just keep it locked in there. I am also going to put some seals on the stern door to make sure no fumes can enter the boat whilst running the generator. 

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Don't run it in the box, it will overheat. I tried it with 2 sides of the box vented with 10" x 10" louvre vents and the lid of the box off but it overheated. So then I used the 12v output of the generator to run a 12 fan above the generator to try to cool it down but it still got too hot.

 

If you're running it inside anything it needs to be more of a cage than a box. More empty space than sides if you see what I mean.

2 minutes ago, B2019 said:

 I'm going to create/adapt a metal box whereby  two sides flip down meaning I don't needs to move it and just keep it locked in there. I am also going to put some seals on the stern door to make sure no fumes can enter the boat whilst running the generator. 

 

You don't have vents in the stern doors? Petrol fumes from refueling are the other issue. They are heavier than air and behave in much the same way as lpg. What about petrol fumes that might go into the engine space? 

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9 minutes ago, B2019 said:

 I'm going to create/adapt a metal box whereby  two sides flip down meaning I don't needs to move it and just keep it locked in there. I am also going to put some seals on the stern door to make sure no fumes can enter the boat whilst running the generator. 

OK your boat, but read the BSS requirements for petrol storage as your proposal will not pass the BSS.

 

Read section 5:2:2 of the BSS 2015.

 

7 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Don't run it in the box, it will overheat. I tried it with 2 sides of the box vented with 10" x 10" louvre vents and the lid of the box off but it overheated. So then I used the 12v output of the generator to run a 12 fan above the generator to try to cool it down but it still got too hot.

 

If you're running it inside anything it needs to be more of a cage than a box. More empty space than sides if you see what I mean.

 

You don't have vents in the stern doors? Petrol fumes from refueling are the other issue. They are heavier than air and behave in much the same way as lpg. What about petrol fumes that might go into the engine space? 

 

 

You realise that the perception will be that we are being negative to a new member and putting him off.

 

No thought that we are actually trying to not only help, but, keep him alive.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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11 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Don't run it in the box, it will overheat. I tried it with 2 sides of the box vented with 10" x 10" louvre vents and the lid of the box off but it overheated. So then I used the 12v output of the generator to run a 12 fan above the generator to try to cool it down but it still got too hot.

 

If you're running it inside anything it needs to be more of a cage than a box. More empty space than sides if you see what I mean.

 

You don't have vents in the stern doors? Petrol fumes from refueling are the other issue. They are heavier than air and behave in much the same way as lpg. What about petrol fumes that might go into the engine space? 

Yes the door has no air vent.  It only has one air vent in the boat. 

9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

OK your boat, but read the BSS requirements for petrol storage as your proposal will not pass the BSS.

 

Read section 5:2:2 of the BSS 2015.

 

 

 

You realise that the perception will be that we are being negative to a new member and putting him off.

 

No thought that we are actually trying to not only help, but, keep him alive.

 

The BSS requirements- Portable petrol tanks which are not connected to the engine must be stored in the open where any leaked petrol would flowoverboard
unimpeded, or in a suitable locker.
Any locker used to store portable petrol tanks must be:
• drained to the outside of the hull from, at, or close to the bottom of
the locker; and,
• secure and constructed of a material of the required thickness, in
good condition; and,
• free from objectsthat could block the drain, damage the petrol tank
or cause petrol vapour to ignite; and,
• fuel‐tight to an equal or greater height that the top of the cap for the
petrol tank; and,
• self‐draining and the drain hole must have a minimum internal
diameter of 12mm (½in) and must not be blocked; and,
The locker must not open into any engine, battery or electrical
equipmentspace.
The drain line material including connections must be complete and in

 

 

So basically just a 12mm hole in the box that drains into the river.... 

 

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This is what I do. I built it from aluminium angle and sheet. I'm not recommending it to others as it doesn't pass the BSS. The other side of the box is a solid sheet. so it has 3 fully vented sides. I wouldn't do this on a narrowboat as it's too close to the rest of the boat.. 

IMG_20180912_190824.jpg

IMG_20180912_190758.jpg

4 minutes ago, B2019 said:

Yes the door has no air vent.  It only has one air vent in the boat. 

 

 

Your boat only has one air vent? Are you sure?

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1 minute ago, blackrose said:

This is what I do. I built it from aluminium angle and sheet. I'm not recommending it to others as it doesn't pass the BSS. The other side of the box is a solid sheet. so it has 3 fully vented sides. I wouldn't do this on a narrowboat as it's too close to the rest of the boat.. 

IMG_20180912_190824.jpg

IMG_20180912_190758.jpg

Looks good. I guess its just a case of removing it and putting it in your car every three years during the examination. 

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6 minutes ago, B2019 said:

 

So basically just a 12mm hole in the box that drains into the river.... 

 

 

Your generator will overheat

1 minute ago, B2019 said:

Looks good. I guess its just a case of removing it and putting it in your car every three years during the examination. 

4 years

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3 minutes ago, blackrose said:

This is what I do. I built it from aluminium angle and sheet. I'm not recommending it to others as it doesn't pass the BSS. The other side of the box is a solid sheet. so it has 3 fully vented sides. I wouldn't do this on a narrowboat as it's too close to the rest of the boat.. 

IMG_20180912_190824.jpg

IMG_20180912_190758.jpg

 

Your boat only has one air vent? Are you sure?

I might have two on the ceiling but no fan has been connected. 

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5 minutes ago, B2019 said:

I might have two on the ceiling but no fan has been connected. 

Unless it's being used as an extractor point in a bathroom or galley, a vent on a boat doesn't require a fan. 

 

There are people on this forum with a lot of knowledge and experience. Before you decide what to do I'd listen to the advice that's being given.

Edited by blackrose

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14 minutes ago, B2019 said:

Yes the door has no air vent.  It only has one air vent in the boat. 

 

The BSS requirements- Portable petrol tanks which are not connected to the engine must be stored in the open where any leaked petrol would flowoverboard
unimpeded, or in a suitable locker.
Any locker used to store portable petrol tanks must be:
• drained to the outside of the hull from, at, or close to the bottom of
the locker; and,
• secure and constructed of a material of the required thickness, in
good condition; and,
• free from objectsthat could block the drain, damage the petrol tank
or cause petrol vapour to ignite; and,
• fuel‐tight to an equal or greater height that the top of the cap for the
petrol tank; and,
• self‐draining and the drain hole must have a minimum internal
diameter of 12mm (½in) and must not be blocked; and,
The locker must not open into any engine, battery or electrical
equipmentspace.
The drain line material including connections must be complete and in

 

 

So basically just a 12mm hole in the box that drains into the river.... 

 

And you suggest that 'folding sides meet those requirements ?

 

Read on :

 

The locker must not open into any engine, battery or electrical
equipment space.
The drain line material including connections must be complete
and in good condition.
NOTE ‐ these are identical storage arrangements for LPG cylinders the detail of which is to be found in
Part 7 sections 7.1–7.5.

 

Which your locker as proposed will not comply..

 

We could go backwards and forwards all night, I have tried to make you aware of the requirements, It is up to you what you do,

 

8 minutes ago, B2019 said:

Looks good. I guess its just a case of removing it and putting it in your car every three years during the examination. 

I bet you borrow your mates car wheels to get your thru the MOT as well !!

Saves you buying some new tyres.

 

The difference here is that if you do have an accident, a can of petrol causes a big fire and affects anyone around your boat.

 

Have fun.

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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57 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

And you suggest that 'folding sides meet those requirements ?

 

Read on :

 

The locker must not open into any engine, battery or electrical
equipment space.
The drain line material including connections must be complete
and in good condition.
NOTE ‐ these are identical storage arrangements for LPG cylinders the detail of which is to be found in
Part 7 sections 7.1–7.5.

 

Which your locker as proposed will not comply..

 

We could go backwards and forwards all night, I have tried to make you aware of the requirements, It is up to you what you do,

 

I bet you borrow your mates car wheels to get your thru the MOT as well !!

Saves you buying some new tyres.

 

The difference here is that if you do have an accident, a can of petrol causes a big fire and affects anyone around your boat.

 

Have fun.

 

I know what you mean. It's probably best for me to go to an engineer to fit a generator storage box. Takes away some liability on my part if anything happens. 

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