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TOPIC: Portable Generator

Portable Generator 22 May 2017 08:26 #1

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Hi all. Being a newbie I have only been on short day trips around our lake but am planning on spending a few nights on board. I have bought a small portable generator which I intend fitting on the swim platform for when I am moored up on the lake to run the tv and lights. Am I right in assuming I can plug the generator with the correct lead into the shoreline power socket on the boat?

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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 09:33 #2

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Yes. You'll need an adapter to plug the the shore power into the gen. What size gen are thinking of getting? I have a 2000 watt Champion inverter that works well and didn't break the bank. It will run the microwave which is nice.
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 09:45 #3

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It's just a small 1,000 watt but it's only to run the tv and lights when I'm moored on the lake.

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Mel & Pauline Martin
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 12:36 #4

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If you are new to portable gensets and/or this type of boating please be very careful of electrocution and Co emissions.
With portables either is possible and in fresh water these electrical issues are very real and very dangerous.

Happy boating
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Northport NY

Portable Generator 22 May 2017 13:12 #5

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melmartin wrote: It's just a small 1,000 watt but it's only to run the tv and lights when I'm moored on the lake.


We also power our battery charger with our 1000 watt generator.
This is what we use with a short, outdoor extension cord. 30 Amp adapter
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 15:13 #6

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First, welcome to the BOC! Your lights should be 12 volt, and you can get a small inverter to run the TV off the batteries as well. Then just use the genset as needed to charge the batteries.
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 15:20 #7

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Like I said in an earlier post. My on board generator cost me more and more money trying to keep it repaired, that I just gave up and got a portable 3100 Champion with remote start. I love it. Though I can't run everything on board, I can run enough. I agree with Jeffw about using the generator to charge the batteries and run things on board using the batteries. I run mine two hours in the morning and two hours a night to keep the house bank charged. I have a inverter to take care of things the rest of the time.
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Just love being on my 3870............Bill
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 15:32 #8

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I bought a Honda 2000 several years ago and wanted to have it on the boat in case of a dead battery and to keep the fridge going. It has a 12V 8A battery charger so not only can it charge the battery directly, it can run the charger I have on board. I had a problem with my alternator one weekend and having the generator on board saved me...

Even though the generator is very quiet, I got one of these:

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002AP95H2/

To run the TV and DVD player (too cheap to get a 12V TV). I see it's unavailable now but I bought it for $25.

I also made up a cord to go from 120V 15A to 120V 30A using this:

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BSTXZ04/

and a cut off extension cord. Usual disclaimers about not doing this yourself unless you know what you are doing.

A friend of mine built a box out of 1/4" plywood (not requested but a great gift) that I bolted to the swim step. The exhaust goes out a hole I cut and I put a lot of vent holes in it, but the lid has to stay open or it gets pretty hot. I take it out when I'm trailering to keep the weight off my aged swim step. The dis-advantage of the box is that it obscures part of my aft nav light so I need to move the light. I'd love to find a fiberglass equivalent.
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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 17:10 #9

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I have a 2000 watt Honda gen. And I use the shore power plug also with an extension cord ,of course i am anchored 40 miles from no where and need a gen. to run my hot water heater to take showers

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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 17:49 #10

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Please be safe - today news, electric shock drowning....

www.msn.com/en-us/health/healthtrending/...nb7Kz&ocid=DELLDHP15

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Northport NY

Portable Generator 22 May 2017 19:05 #11

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smitty477, are you saying that no boater should use a generator at all?

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Just love being on my 3870............Bill
1985 3870
Twin 130 Mits. not turbo charged
Name of boat is "Plenty Of Fish"
Live on board full time.
North Myrtle Beach, SC

Portable Generator 22 May 2017 19:24 #12

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smitty has a point, but it's not clear to me that a generator on a boat alone could cause ESD (electrical shock death). One apparently authoritative source even says it would not. There are a LOT of houseboats out there (some in crappy condition) that people run generators on and swim off of, yet I haven't read about ESD resulting from that - however, that could be because it was a mis-diagnosed drowning.

Also, imagine this - you have a power boat tied up to a houseboat that is running a generator, and some sort of electrical connection between the houseboat and the power boat (maybe rails touching, or you've run an extension cord to run the microwave on the boat or charge the batteries). I think at that point you've essentially duplicated the conditions of dock power that could result in ESD if there was any marginal wiring. To be on the safe side I'm probably going to shut down the generator when people are swimming. Since I learned about ESD from docks I've never let people swim off docks (even if "everyone else is doing it").

Quickly turning ion to a topic that should have its own thread...

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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 20:55 #13

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The generator of all generators....The fabulous Kipor. Advice....yes you can plug it all in, but are you trying to do too much? If your batteries are in good condition, running a few lights and a stereo or small TV/vcr shouldn't cause much need for a portable. Here in the south, I don't use a generator for anything but air conditioning and battery charging. Even though the boat is large, I still use combo gas/electric stoves and manual most everything I can. But...for a good discusion of generators, start here...

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Portable Generator 22 May 2017 21:12 #14

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"smitty477, are you saying that no boater should use a generator at all?"

I am really just saying to be as educated and careful as possible in my post.
Portable gensets pose a threat that many folks are not aware or especially in fresh water use as in the OP's post
If you are not aware of the potential dangers and know how to handle the grounds and safety it is even a higher risk.
If you read the entire article I linked to it describes how common these terrible events can be in real time.

For some other good feedback you can call your insurance company and see what their thoughts might be as well.
Safe and happy boating to all

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Northport NY

Portable Generator 22 May 2017 21:20 #15

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Alanmoor - adding some clarity

"One apparently authoritative source even says it would not"
No source that knows the facts will put that in writing if they are then responsible for the results.

"There are a LOT of houseboats out there (some in crappy condition) that people run generators on and swim off of, yet I haven't read about ESD resulting from that - however, that could be because it was a mis-diagnosed drowning."
There are plenty of known ESD events from this situation - read todays article and/or search on Google if you would like to see more of them. The other method to see how risky this is would be to contact your insurance company and request a rider on your policy to cover portable gensets.

"or you've run an extension cord to run the microwave on the boat or charge the batteries). I think at that point you've essentially duplicated the conditions of dock power that could result in ESD if there was any marginal wiring"
Yes - you have just initiated the same condition that could easily lead to ESD as well as severe galvanic corrosion. One will potentially kill you he other will just remove your underwater metals quickly.

Safe and happy boating is the goal - that is all.

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Northport NY

Portable Generator 23 May 2017 15:34 #16

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Sorry, I don't know what you mean by "todays article". A Google search reveals a lot of information on ESD resulting from swimming off a dock, but not swimming from a boat (not docked) with a generator (running). We're getting ready to do a weekend trip and friends are renting a houseboat (we'll have our cabin cruiser). It would be nice to have sources in hand that talk about this particular issue (although it probably won't take that to convince them to shut down generators while swimming).

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Portable Generator 23 May 2017 16:25 #17

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"Sorry, I don't know what you mean by "todays article"."
Post number 10 above has the link to the article that was in the paper the day it was posted.

"A Google search reveals a lot of information on ESD resulting from swimming off a dock, but not swimming from a boat (not docked) with a generator (running)"
A genset installed by the manufacturer would not be able to cause a shock unless a number of things happened to change the setup. A portable genset will have a much higher potential for this to occur. Here are a few thoughts about that subject 1. Do you know how to tie in the 'green' wire on the portable genset? (IMO - most any normal perosn would not) 2.Can you find an ABYC electrician who would be willing to help install a portable genset? ( IMO - there are none) 3. Can you secure an insurance rider on your policy that will cover a portable genset? (IMO - no you will not)

"although it probably won't take that to convince them to shut down generators while swimming)."

This was a post about portable gensets and my goal was to try and alert people to their potential issues. I believe there will only be 3 types of folks who get involved with these...
1. Those that are really well educated about this really unknown information and very carefully setup and use portable gensets and also test for safety.
2. Those that will use them no matter what and not want to know anything about the subject
3. Those that did not know about this at all and want to learn more to be safe
If I can reach some of the number 3s above the posts will have been worthwhile.

I will post some links back on the ESD conditions that will explain them better.
You will not read much at all about portable genset issues as they are 'not allowed' to be used in this way.
1.

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Northport NY

Portable Generator 23 May 2017 16:31 #18

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www.electricshockdrowning.org/esd--faq.html

Click the facts and prevention tabs on the top...

www.boatus.com/seaworthy/magazine/2013/j...owning-explained.asp

From Boat US - I am at work now so nit much time to search for others.
Perhaps find a certified ABYC electrician and listen to him/her as well.

Stay safe and have a great time boating...

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Northport NY

Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 00:57 #19

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Glad I came across this topic. I bought a Honda Handi-Portable to use on the swim platform. Heavier, yes but the extra 1000 watts could come in handy. 3000 W and it already has the 30 amp RV type plug, plus a 2x regular outlet. I plan on mainly using it for the A/C system at night through the A/C only (one A/C and one House on my 2655) plug on the boat. and the 110 (on the Gen which I plan on installing a " weatherproof" outlet cover over for added protection). . In general but MORE importantly on the water, you can't be too safe when it comes to anything electrical.

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 01:46 #20

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I'm confused by the comments on this topic. There is a HUGE difference between the power on a dock and a portable generator when it comes to ESD, and it has to do with the grounding.

Dock power is generated miles away, and part of that grounding is connected to the earth, water and wires leading back to the source. A positive source leak on a dock wants to travel back to its source to complete the circuit. If someone becomes part of that path, you have ESD.

A generator on a boat or dock has a very short circuit to complete, and most portable generators are rubber mounted so the only ground is through the plug. If you are running a generator to charge your batteries, use the microwave, or run a TV or computer, there is no charged path through the water EVEN if a leg of the neutral wire was laying in the water. It merely needs to get back to the generator.

A generator also has a limited source of power, not like a dam or nuclear dynamo feeding it an endless charge from miles away that needs to find its way back to its source to complete the circuit.

I have no issue with anyone swimming near my boat if I am on the hook running my genset. Moreover, I have a computer running my heart, and I would still go swimming in this case. But plugged into a leaking dock? No way!

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 03:10 #21

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[quote= I have a 2000 watt Champion inverter that works well and didn't break the bank. It will run the microwave which is nice.[/quote]

I have had one of these for years and serves my purpose quite adequately. I might run it for a couple of hours a day. Never at night or when I'm not around.

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 11:05 #22

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CptCrunchie wrote: I'm confused by the comments on this topic. There is a HUGE difference between the power on a dock and a portable generator when it comes to ESD, and it has to do with the grounding.
A generator also has a limited source of power, not like a dam or nuclear dynamo feeding it an endless charge from miles away that needs to find its way back to its source to complete the circuit.
I have no issue with anyone swimming near my boat if I am on the hook running my genset. Moreover, I have a computer running my heart, and I would still go swimming in this case. But plugged into a leaking dock? No way!


Perhaps read the links above, here is a quote from one of them.....

"What does "minute" mean exactly? Lethal amounts are measured in milliamps, or thousandths of an amp. When flowing directly through the human body, these tiny amounts of current interfere with the even smaller electrical potentials used by our nerves and muscles. Captain David Rifkin and James Shafer conducted extensive testing of all aspects of ESD for a Coast Guard study in 2008, including exposing themselves to low-level currents in fresh water. "Anything above 3 milliamps (mA) can be very painful," Rifkin said. "If you had even 6 mA going through your body, you would be in agonizing pain." Less than a third of the electricity used to light a 40-watt light bulb — 100 mA — passing directly through the heart is almost always fatal"

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 14:13 #23

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smitty477 wrote:

CptCrunchie wrote: I'm confused by the comments on this topic. There is a HUGE difference between the power on a dock and a portable generator when it comes to ESD, and it has to do with the grounding.
A generator also has a limited source of power, not like a dam or nuclear dynamo feeding it an endless charge from miles away that needs to find its way back to its source to complete the circuit.
I have no issue with anyone swimming near my boat if I am on the hook running my genset. Moreover, I have a computer running my heart, and I would still go swimming in this case. But plugged into a leaking dock? No way!


Perhaps read the links above, here is a quote from one of them.....

"What does "minute" mean exactly? Lethal amounts are measured in milliamps, or thousandths of an amp. When flowing directly through the human body, these tiny amounts of current interfere with the even smaller electrical potentials used by our nerves and muscles. Captain David Rifkin and James Shafer conducted extensive testing of all aspects of ESD for a Coast Guard study in 2008, including exposing themselves to low-level currents in fresh water. "Anything above 3 milliamps (mA) can be very painful," Rifkin said. "If you had even 6 mA going through your body, you would be in agonizing pain." Less than a third of the electricity used to light a 40-watt light bulb — 100 mA — passing directly through the heart is almost always fatal"


Yes, I read it. The computer in my chest running my heart uses less than a milliamp to trigger my heart, so I am very aware of what the tiny yet lethal amounts of electricity are. And somehow you put that to plugging a generator in on a boat?

Now, I am not a moderator, though I believe one could have stepped in here. Many times I have read where the moderators suggest a new thread to someone making a contribution to that thread that isn't on point or is a related question - or statement - of their own. Such is the case here.

Even if the posts were about what kind of generator we are using, ESD still has no part of that thread.

AS it stands, the topic of this thread reads, "Portable Generator" and the first post was about melmartin connecting one to his boat. YOU introduced ESD in post #10, and the link was all about swimming off a dock. And if you read the linked articles you posted, they ALL refer to dock power, simply because those issues don't exist with using a generator onboard a boat. Then you attempt to fortify it in post #14. Personally, your post #17 was 95% unrelated misinformation about using a generator on a boat. Further along you have boaters reluctant to use their generators on their boats while people are swimming. IMO, I needed to step in.

IMHO, I suggest you start a new thread for your link, because ESD has nothing to do with the OP's question, much less using a generator on a boat.

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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
MMSI: 367637220
HAM: KE7TTR
TDI tech diver
BoD, North Olympic Peninsula Puget Sound Anglers, Sequim, WA
Kevin
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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 16:14 #24

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Four Pyrates wrote: The generator of all generators....The fabulous Kipor.


That's the one I have. Works like a champ. I transport it strapped down in the engine compartment with the tank vent closed and the carb drained. I run it strapped down on the swim platform or on the bow, depending on how we're anchored. Short HD electrical cord with adapter to my shore power receptacle completes the package.

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 18:27 #25

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You are right mike about the Champion, I have a 3100 watt Champion inverter. It has electric start. Works well on my 3870.

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Just love being on my 3870............Bill
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Name of boat is "Plenty Of Fish"
Live on board full time.
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