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Sailing the seas of Confusing Portable Generators


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Been on the lookout for a decent Silent Portable Generator (price vs. quality) and so far havent found anything that i could relate to budgetwise.

 

After having touched on this topic, people mostly on the forums stand by a variety of manufacturers such as (high to low cost):

1- Honda,
2- Hyundai,
3- Yamaha,
4- chinese makes on the lower end of market.

 

For the latter it obviously reflects on quality over a period of time.
Albeit not in the range of low to medium budget, the general consensus is that all the glory is taken by Honda- youd get what you pay for and the
equipment would last a lifetime.
Followed by Yamaha as a cheaper cousin of Honda.. its reminiscent of choosing the second or third cheapest drink at the bar- cant go wrong, but cant go
full potential either.
Yamaha's older models apparently have proven to have a good reputation over the years by its users, however it appears they havent kept up
with their quality nowadays.

 

Since it would be more convenient to have it as a back up, rather than switching engine on when battery bank goes low during the evening hours etc.. Initially was intending to purchase a budget diesel/petrol powered portable silent generator to power all appliances on the boat (when necessary i.e. "flat batteries"). However considering the investment it only makes sense paying a little extra and paying only once, rather than ending up with two/ three budget low end units which have have to be replaced every other year or so.

 

Based on gathered intel and basic requirements, would anyone be able to comment in regards to this matter?

 

1. Required power output for generator in range of 3 - 3.5kw.

2. Perhaps anyone has had experience, and could share some wisdom on German manufactured MIL SILENT 8500W generator? Are they reliable?

3. Does anyone use Hyndai HY3200SEi or any other Hyndai generators? Would like to stay on the safe side by ordering the 2nd/3rd cheapest drink...

4. What could be your best recommendations for a reasonably priced and decent silent generator?

 

Ta'

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Why as much as 3-3.5kw ..... you will find it very difficult to move on and off the boat when using it.

 

Where do you plan to store it?

 

I could just about manage a Honda EU20i at 21kg, and much prefer the EU10i at 13kg that I replaced it with when its inverter thing failed.

 

I think if I wasnt buying Honda I would probably buy Kipor.

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I second Richard's point about weight and portability. We have a Kipor IG1000 which is just powerful enough to run a 45A charger and that's what it's used for. The boat is wired so that the 240v loads in the boat continue to be powered from the inverter whilst the batteries are being charged by the 240v from the generator via the charger. That way I only have to size the inverter for peak loading and the generator is sized just for the battery charger. Heaving anything heavier that the 14Kg of the Kipor would be a pain.

 

Ours is two years old and has been pretty good. Totally reliable and easy to start. Two criticisms only. First the amount of oil between full and the low oil sensor activating is tiny. To avoid the possibility of it shutting down on low oil you have to check it quite regularly and it's a bit of a pain to do, as it requires a screwdriver to remove the non-captive screw holding the side panel on. Second, ours is the version sold by Midland Chandlers with a female commando socket fitted, rather than a conventional 13A socket. This is great as they are more weather proof, but the plastic panel it's fitted into is a bit flimsy and flexes a lot under the force needed to withdraw a commando-type plug. Nothing has broken yet, but it's on my todo list to reinforce it before something does.

 

MP.

  

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16 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

I think if I wasnt buying Honda I would probably buy Kipor.

 

Seconded.

 

It's like most things sometimes the perceived 'quality' item will fail unexpectedly and the so called 'budget' brand will go on for ever.

 

ie the old adage 'buy cheap buy twice' sometimes applies and sometimes it just doesn't.

 

I have never had need for a generator but I know at least two people who have Kipors and both are getting on for two or three years running with no issues what so ever. That said one is run at least weekly and the other barely two or three times monthly.

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31 minutes ago, Batainte said:

Been on the lookout for a decent Silent Portable Generator (price vs. quality) and so far havent found anything that i could relate to budgetwise.

 

After having touched on this topic, people mostly on the forums stand by a variety of manufacturers such as (high to low cost):

1- Honda,
2- Hyundai,
3- Yamaha,
4- chinese makes on the lower end of market.

 

For the latter it obviously reflects on quality over a period of time.
Albeit not in the range of low to medium budget, the general consensus is that all the glory is taken by Honda- youd get what you pay for and the
equipment would last a lifetime.
Followed by Yamaha as a cheaper cousin of Honda.. its reminiscent of choosing the second or third cheapest drink at the bar- cant go wrong, but cant go
full potential either.
Yamaha's older models apparently have proven to have a good reputation over the years by its users, however it appears they havent kept up
with their quality nowadays.

 

Since it would be more convenient to have it as a back up, rather than switching engine on when battery bank goes low during the evening hours etc.. Initially was intending to purchase a budget diesel/petrol powered portable silent generator to power all appliances on the boat (when necessary i.e. "flat batteries"). However considering the investment it only makes sense paying a little extra and paying only once, rather than ending up with two/ three budget low end units which have have to be replaced every other year or so.

Based on gathered intel and basic requirements, would anyone be able to comment in regards to this matter?

 

1. Required power output for generator in range of 3 - 3.5kw.

2. Perhaps anyone has had experience, and could share some wisdom on German manufactured MIL SILENT 8500W generator? Are they reliable?

3. Does anyone use Hyndai HY3200SEi or any other Hyndai generators? Would like to stay on the safe side by ordering the 2nd/3rd cheapest drink...

4. What could be your best recommendations for a reasonably priced and decent silent generator?

 

Ta'

 

Are you thinking that you can sit a petrol generator on the back of the boat and run it there ?

You should lift the generator off the boat and place it down eind of the boat and run it on the bank - you will be unlikely to lift a 3.5Kw genny about.

 

You cannot run your engine (genny or boat) after 8pm so you need to plan your battery charging during the day - you cannot just switch it on when convenient :

 

If you are looking at 3.5Kw, or even 8.5Ww then you need to be considering on-board silent water cooled generators which will cost about £10,000 installed.

 

Have you carried out any evaluation / review of your actual electrical usage ?

 

Assuming that you are looking for a 'portable petrol generator' I'd suggest that if the Honda 2.0I is too expensive, look at the 'next one down' which would be the Kipor 2.0i I am more than happy with our Kipor.

Good quality and a 'fraction' louder than the Honda.

 

 

From the BSS :

 

There are three critical risks linked to using generators that boaters must know about and manage if they are to keep themselves and other people safe from being poisoned, being electrocuted and avoiding fire.

Generator 3 Risk Warning 270X285For some boaters wanting off-grid electrical power means that they see portable generators as the only option, but if the risks that come with their use are not fully appreciated deaths, injuries and loss of property can and has happened

Carbon monoxide (CO) – generators especially petrol ones can produce extremely high levels of CO, a poison gas that can kill in minutes or leave survivors with long term critical health effects. However diesel engine exhausts have also been linked to illness and CO deaths

Fire & explosion – the mishandling of petrol and leaking fuel from generators have resulted in spectacular incidents and that have seriously injured people and wrecked boats.

Generator In Hatch WFRS 270X270

Also the use of poor cabling and connectors can also introduce just as real although possibly less obvious fire hazards.

Electrocution – any 230V ac system can be a killer and must be given

proper respect and precautions should be taken to guard against shocks.

These are the core points that should never be forgotten.

  • Never install a portable generator permanently or make unauthorised modifications that are not supported by the manufacturer, or proprietary component supplier.
  • Never run generators on the boat, or on the bank near to doors, vents, windows and hatches. If you can smell exhaust fumes in the boat, it could mean the cabin is also filling with deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Never refuel any generator anywhere aboard the boat; take it to the bank and ensure you are a safe distance from other boats and potential sources of ignition.

 

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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I have a Hyundai HY2000i, bought new about 18 months ago. It's only done 124 hours so far but, touch wood, starts on the first pull, runs nice and used no oil so far. It's fairly quiet but not as quiet or as light as a Honda third of the price.

So far so good - only time will tell.

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I won't go into detail about the generator choice other than to say that I'd second (or is it third, or fourth?) the Kipor suggestion, but I did pick up on this...

4 hours ago, Batainte said:

Since it would be more convenient to have it as a back up, rather than switching engine on when battery bank goes low during the evening hours etc..

Firstly, you shouldn't be running any engine in the evening after 8pm but more importantly your charging regime/bank size is wrong if you need to.

 

Have a read of this post: 

 

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There is no such thing as a silent portable generator, they vary from annoying buzz at 100 yards to deafening shout over at 100 yards.  The most annoying I have seen was the guy who started his 20 yards from our cabin at 6:00 pm and then buggered off to the pub for a meal.

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30 minutes ago, Detling said:

There is no such thing as a silent portable generator, they vary from annoying buzz at 100 yards to deafening shout over at 100 yards.  The most annoying I have seen was the guy who started his 20 yards from our cabin at 6:00 pm and then buggered off to the pub for a meal.

Even worse - the ones the OP is thinking of using are 'frame generators', not even a 'quiet suitcase' type.

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On 29/06/2020 at 14:38, Batainte said:

Been on the lookout for a decent Silent Portable Generator (price vs. quality) and so far havent found anything that i could relate to budgetwise.

 

After having touched on this topic, people mostly on the forums stand by a variety of manufacturers such as (high to low cost):

1- Honda,
2- Hyundai,
3- Yamaha,
4- chinese makes on the lower end of market.

 

For the latter it obviously reflects on quality over a period of time.
Albeit not in the range of low to medium budget, the general consensus is that all the glory is taken by Honda- youd get what you pay for and the
equipment would last a lifetime.
Followed by Yamaha as a cheaper cousin of Honda.. its reminiscent of choosing the second or third cheapest drink at the bar- cant go wrong, but cant go
full potential either.
Yamaha's older models apparently have proven to have a good reputation over the years by its users, however it appears they havent kept up
with their quality nowadays.

 

Since it would be more convenient to have it as a back up, rather than switching engine on when battery bank goes low during the evening hours etc.. Initially was intending to purchase a budget diesel/petrol powered portable silent generator to power all appliances on the boat (when necessary i.e. "flat batteries"). However considering the investment it only makes sense paying a little extra and paying only once, rather than ending up with two/ three budget low end units which have have to be replaced every other year or so.

 

Based on gathered intel and basic requirements, would anyone be able to comment in regards to this matter?

 

1. Required power output for generator in range of 3 - 3.5kw.

2. Perhaps anyone has had experience, and could share some wisdom on German manufactured MIL SILENT 8500W generator? Are they reliable?

3. Does anyone use Hyndai HY3200SEi or any other Hyndai generators? Would like to stay on the safe side by ordering the 2nd/3rd cheapest drink...

4. What could be your best recommendations for a reasonably priced and decent silent generator?

 

Ta'

 

We've used Hyundai and Kippor and a Honda sub-brand ems or something like it (in a blue case - others will know)

All good  - if pressed I would say the Kippor was the better item. 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Detling said:

There is no such thing as a silent portable generator, they vary from annoying buzz at 100 yards to deafening shout over at 100 yards.  The most annoying I have seen was the guy who started his 20 yards from our cabin at 6:00 pm and then buggered off to the pub for a meal.

Right now, at 4.35pm, my Honda EU10i is currently making an almost inaudible buzz, (or whatever it is), at 10 yards. I agree that it would be unacceptable in the quiet of night when ambient noise is almost nil.

 

My neighbour has a "very noisy" frame genny, (I think it's 5kW max, and I think he was sold it on the basis that it was much quieter than it is). However, when it runs, I can hardly hear it from inside my boat, and I am probably about 20 yards from it in the saloon. I'm not defending it, merely just saying. When I walk up to and past it, it's really loud.

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We had an lpg Honda ex 650, on our butty. ( so it got some use)

Fanatical care meant it lasted from 1987 to 2005 when it was sold with one of our boats, still running but by then back on petrol. Ok some of that time we had moorings and it had lay up periods but total reliability.
If I Was forced to get a genny it would be a Honda.

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Hionda are light years ahead of the others. Even an old third hand one will probably be better than much else new. Kipor are a cheap but not bad copy that seem to do well.

 

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On 01/07/2020 at 16:40, Richard10002 said:

Right now, at 4.35pm, my Honda EU10i is currently making an almost inaudible buzz, (or whatever it is), at 10 yards. I agree that it would be unacceptable in the quiet of night when ambient noise is almost nil.

 

My neighbour has a "very noisy" frame genny, (I think it's 5kW max, and I think he was sold it on the basis that it was much quieter than it is). However, when it runs, I can hardly hear it from inside my boat, and I am probably about 20 yards from it in the saloon. I'm not defending it, merely just saying. When I walk up to and past it, it's really loud.

Yes but it is a bit cooler now and you can have your windows and doors closed. When it is 30 degrees in the shade things are a lot different.

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  • 5 months later...
7 minutes ago, Jim Wortelhock said:

I have had a Kipor 1kw (let me down a couple of times), a 2kw Honda (heavy and cumbersome) and now a 1kw Honda which starts first time,  is ghostly quiet, light and easy to store. 

I guess this one would be my pick!

 

Yes, the smallest one that meet your requirement is a good choice, but the 1kw (800 watt) is way too small for most people - it wont even run a medium sized battery charger.

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2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Yes, the smallest one that meet your requirement is a good choice, but the 1kw (800 watt) is way too small for most people - it wont even run a medium sized battery charger.

I have a 1kW Kipor, and it runs a 45A battery charger. There's no spare capacity, but it does power it quite reliably. I'd class 45A/12v as a medium sized charger.

 

MP.

 

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1 hour ago, MoominPapa said:

I have a 1kW Kipor, and it runs a 45A battery charger. There's no spare capacity, but it does power it quite reliably. I'd class 45A/12v as a medium sized charger.

 

MP.

 

I guess it could be, I was thinking that 50+ would be 'medium', and probably 80+ as 'large'.

 

With hindsight I'd probabaly have been better saying "it won't power a 50 amp charger" (and of course that depends on Pf. It would just about run a 35 amp charger with a with a Pf of 0.6 )

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 19/12/2020 at 20:56, Richard10002 said:

My Honda EU10i just about runs my 60A charger. It usually has to have two goes at it, so it is probably right on its’ limit.

 

It works fine if I set my charger to 45A.

To those who may be considering a genny.  A small genny running flat out will be a lot louder than a larger genny running at low revs, and wear & tear will be higher.

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Just before Christmas I bought one of the generic German 3.5KW frame generators. It's rated as 96db, so not even close to silent. On the plus side, it has metal panels, so not a fully open frame and I've added some sound deadening, both rubber and foam which has quietened it down but added to the weight. I think the noise level is now less than my boat engine.

 

It was cheap, only 160.00 new from a facebook advertiser and delivered within two hours of enquiring about it.

It's needed some very specific positioning of the choke lever to get it to start and the exact position varies almost daily.

Checking and topping up the oil is awkward because of the panels

There's no way I could lift it on and off the boat from the bow, so have to carry it through the boat, which is awkward and in the process I've broken the fuel line. Luckily I had some better quality fuel hose on board, so only a few minutes to put right.

I would have preferred to get something better but it was needed in a rush. Engine head gasket blew, the boat is on a winter mooring in the corner of a silty basin (Cambrian Wharf)  I think the skin tank wasn't performing very well because it's knee deep in the silt.

 

I want to see if I can make it quieter. To me it doesn't sound too bad now, from inside the boat it's less annoying than my boat engine partly because there's less vibration and the windows don't rattle but the other evening, there were two people sitting on a bench nearby, when I turned the generator off one of them said, "bloody hell that was loud, they should ban people running generators". The fact they had managed to sit within about 15meters, while it was running, makes me wonder if it really is that bad but that being said, I don't like generating noise at the best of times.

 

Rob

 

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1 hour ago, p6rob said:

Just before Christmas I bought one of the generic German 3.5KW frame generators. It's rated as 96db, so not even close to silent. On the plus side, it has metal panels, so not a fully open frame and I've added some sound deadening, both rubber and foam which has quietened it down but added to the weight. I think the noise level is now less than my boat engine.

 

It was cheap, only 160.00 new from a facebook advertiser and delivered within two hours of enquiring about it.

It's needed some very specific positioning of the choke lever to get it to start and the exact position varies almost daily.

Checking and topping up the oil is awkward because of the panels

There's no way I could lift it on and off the boat from the bow, so have to carry it through the boat, which is awkward and in the process I've broken the fuel line. Luckily I had some better quality fuel hose on board, so only a few minutes to put right.

I would have preferred to get something better but it was needed in a rush. Engine head gasket blew, the boat is on a winter mooring in the corner of a silty basin (Cambrian Wharf)  I think the skin tank wasn't performing very well because it's knee deep in the silt.

 

I want to see if I can make it quieter. To me it doesn't sound too bad now, from inside the boat it's less annoying than my boat engine partly because there's less vibration and the windows don't rattle but the other evening, there were two people sitting on a bench nearby, when I turned the generator off one of them said, "bloody hell that was loud, they should ban people running generators". The fact they had managed to sit within about 15meters, while it was running, makes me wonder if it really is that bad but that being said, I don't like generating noise at the best of times.

 

Rob

 

I've never heard a frame genny which was anything other than anti-socially loud. 

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1 hour ago, p6rob said:

when I turned the generator off one of them said, "bloody hell that was loud, they should ban people running generators".

It is those sort of actions that 'turn the public' against boaters and unfortunately the spin off affects us all, not just the selfish bar steward who causes the problem.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

It is those sort of actions that 'turn the public' against boaters and unfortunately the spin off affects us all, not just the selfish bar steward who causes the problem.

True.

 

Rob - please save up for a quiet genny.

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