Marine generators are a little different from your average generator as they are built to withstand the conditions of a boat. While an ordinary generator would find it difficult to function properly, if at all, on a vessel because of the damp and wet environment, marine generators are designed differently to handle these kinds of conditions, so trying to use a regular petrol generator or diesel generator on a boat is not a good idea.
Although boats have batteries, any appliances that you are going to run may soon use up the energy that a battery can supply as the load they draw down can be high, especially if you are running more than one or two at once. Just toast and coffee for breakfast could draw down around 2000 watts of electric output. Therefore, if you really want to get some power to your boat and run some serious electrical equipment and devices, a generator is the way to go. You can also run the generator when you cut the engine to serve not only as a backup but as the power source for your appliances.
How does a marine generator work?
Marine generators are designed differently from a standard generator, both on the interior and exterior. One of the key design differences is that the generator will be made of a more durable material so that it can withstand the movement and vibration of the boat. It’s also likely to be made of material that prevents corrosion due to constant exposure to sea and salt. For example, the generator insulation system will be built to NEMA Class H insulation standards – able to withstand moisture, salt and abrasion. Another difference is that a lot of marine generators don’t have their own cooling system. Instead, the generator is cooled using hydraulic pumps that send seawater continually through the generator. This is a space-saving design, which is very important on a boat where all space is precious.
However, when it comes to the actual basics of how marine generators operate, they are very similar to a regular generator, transforming mechanical energy into electrical energy. The engine is connected to an alternator which turns. The alternator must turn at a specific speed so it can produce the right frequency of electricity which is different in various regions of the world. This then provides the electric current. Also, like standard generators, marine generators are usually fuel powered – using diesel or petrol. Usually, if the boat engine runs petrol, then the generator will run petrol, so the generator may be linked to the fuel line that serves the vessel’s engine. This can also save space because there is no need for an extra fuel tank.
How to install a marine generator?
To correctly install marine generators, you will need to read the manual for your generator and your boat and also, you may need help from a professional. There are some overall tips to consider, however.
When installing a marine generator, it’s really important that you pay close attention to the fumes that marine generators emit. As all fuel-driven generators emit carbon dioxide, once the boat stops moving, this can quickly build up inside the boat, which can be deadly. Purchasing a marine generator that has the safety feature of an automatic switch off when it senses high levels of carbon monoxide is a good solution. On top of this, it is a good idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around the boat as well.
It's also important to make sure there is enough room around the generator unit when you install it. This is so you can get to it easily to clean and maintain it, add more fuel, and check that everything is in good condition so that safety is also maintained.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the noise factor on marine generators. It’s really going to ruin the atmosphere if your marine generator is very noisy, especially at night. However, it has to be said that modern generators are generally a lot more quiet than their more dated counterparts. It is possible to install a hush box around the generator, which is basically a kind of cover. However, that can produce its own issues, such as cooling and access. Alternatively, there are soundproofing materials available which you may consider putting in when you install the marine generator.
Where can I buy the best marine generator near me?
At Outbax, we have generators for land adventures and for sea adventures. If you are going out on your boat and are looking for marine generators, we can sort you out. If you are looking into an auto start generator for your home, we can help out with those too. If you are heading out camping and need a small generator for camping or a generator for a caravan, we can advise you on the best kinds. Whether you are looking for generators in Mackay or Melbourne or anywhere in Australia, we can help you find the generator set you need. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about generators for boats or other outdoor equipment.