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Cat Gensets

Discussion in 'Generators' started by NEO56, Jun 11, 2014.

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  1. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Don't be too hard on the guy who suggested doing a load survey then add 20 percent to size the generator. That is how generators are normally sized and it is the technique recommended by most genset builders. It allows for load growth.

    Oddly enough, I have seen a lot of boats decreasing their loads by replacing older less efficient electrical equipment and lighting.

    The upside is that a new genset will be perfectly capable of operating from about 25 percent load to 100 percent with occasional excursions to 110 percent. However, there may be manufacturer's load factor limitations that apply.

    For example, if you get a genset with a JD prime mover rated for 60kW and your hotel load is a fairly constant 50kW, you will exceed JD's limit of 67 percent average power over 24 hours. It looks like you will need about 80kW and that is more than the 20 percent increase being sneered at isn't it?

    Look at the generator ratings, many of them don't show the lower end but several do and they provide ratings down to around 25 percent. You can operate that low but there is little good reason to do so for continuous operation but it means you don't have to operate at 70 or 80 percent load all the time to obtain satisfactory performance and long life.

    It also means you don't have to run two gensets because your loads routinely approach the top of the installed rating. That is just as foolish as grossly oversizing as it means you now have two generators operating at partial load just to stop the lights from flickering and next thing you know you are going to drop a $100K into a silly load bank.

    Speaking of which, yes, the SeaClean system can function as a load bank, an exhaust cooled load bank that assists particulate filter regeneration. The only thing leaving the stack is a tropical breeze :D
  2. dsharp

    dsharp Senior Member

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    Would you mind explaining what a load bank is?
  3. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Good lord, where on earth are you pulling 100 K for a load bank?? Dometic and several other manufactures have very reasonable priced load banks on the market for 30 K or less at variable load ratings.
  4. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    That is what I was speaking to. Loads seem to be getting lighter with the advent of LED lights and more efficient electrical equipment.

    But I see your point about lessening the need to run two gensets just to cover a slight over load condition.
  5. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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  6. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I have seen them for more. When you add in the installation of electrical supply cooling water plumbing, pumps and controls then buy fuel to heat the ocean or the chill water loop for a few months and maintain the thing you just blew $100K

    There is more cost than just ordering the box of parts.
  7. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Trust then verify...that's one of the reasons I'm here. The vast majority of those who respond here go back to 2004 (I went through all the threads on Technical questions) I understand that my Rep is the Builder's Rep, which gives me pause for concern. I'm going to run a lot of choices by all of you. I consider you all experts (at least the ones who usually respond to me) And trust me when I tell you that I'm more inclined to take your advice over someone who is making a commission off of me. Make sense?
  8. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    New build contract 62 meter European yard, 400 volt three phase 20 to 55 KW sea water cooled load bank with control integration priced out @ Eu 38,000 three months ago. I have no skin in the game here. Just saying...
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Thanks for the information.

    Using your cost of USD $51000 to buy the box of parts and assuming annual use of the load bank is a conservative 50kW 12 hours each day for 6 months the first year with USD $4 per gallon diesel fuel, we are up to about USD $80K. If the boat is in Europe, add about a dollar to the fuel cost and raise the total to a bit more over USD$ 88K.

    That is before shipping the box of parts, and installing the breakers on the SB, running wires, installing piping, strainers, valves, and painting it all.

    Looks Like I might have been a bit too conservative.
  10. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Wow, thats some fuzzy math their Richard, My clients quotation was for a installed soup to nuts system with integration with the switchboard for a new build contract so pipe work and painting of said pipe work kinda comes standard yes?. If not mistaken I do believe the through hull fittings and " nuts and bolts" that you keep referring to are included also. If the gen is on the board than you'd be burning fuel anyway, and yes you'll be burning the load KW difference . This is time tested technology that's proven itself through the years. Hopefully your clean seas system will catch on with new builds in lieu of refit work so far and we'll see what comes. Let's not flog this dog anymore to prove or disprove each others point ok? Like I said before, I have no vested interest to poo poo other alternatives for artificially
    Loading a generator.
  11. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I am opposed to all forms of artificially loading a generator for no purpose other than to increase the load. If the energy can be used to perform some useful work, then it may be worthwhile.

    Heating the ocean is not doing useful work, especially when the cost of fuel to do so can exceed $200 per week.

    Not to mention that the addition of heat to the ocean will increase the local evaporation rate and salinity! :eek:
  12. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Thank you Marmot,
    This is the response I was looking for. This makes sense to me, and I don't claim to know about Electrical systems, like I admitted earlier, I'm a moron when it comes to Electrical systems, which is one of the reasons I'm on here. After I send this reply, I'm going to follow the wikipedia link provided on this thread and learn what a load bank is.
  13. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Marine Generators

    Some general comments:
    1. The worst situation for marine gen sets its to NOT RUN.
    2. The poorest situation other than #1 is to run occasionally at light load.
    3. The best situation for marine gen sets is to ALWAYS RUN and maintain load 75-90%.

    Its about that simple. All electrical equipment is rated on temperature rise as that directly relates to load. Now if the electrical equipment is not operated at proper temperature and load, just like diesel engines, it significantly shortens its life. Intermittent running is just as bad... use it or lose it. Windings develop micro cracks in the insulation but this does not effect operation except if the thing cools off and has condensation develop on the windings this wreaks havoc as it degrades the insulating varnish faster and opens the micro cracks. This must be monitored with insulation testing of the windings and other components in a marine situation routinely. This is done with a little test instrument that generates a high voltage and measures the charge leakage via a ohmmeter from the equipment being checked... a megger.

    Megger Insulation Resistance Test | EEP

    The various voltage control schemes (directly tied to generator design) used depend largely on the application size. Generally now-a-days they are solid state. Just like the varnish on winding solid state electronics do not like on and off cycles and prefer continuous operation. The reasons are actually quite similar.
    Operate the equipment at a constant within spec. load condition (read temperature) and it lasts for a long time. Don't and it goes bad quickly particularly in marine environments.

    Most any brand equipment if run continually will be better than the best brand run intermittently. That is the key... seem to say the same over and over because it is true.

    Brand wise I have preference to CAT... but that is mainly loyalty to investment!
    I actually consider your dealer service situation and you (if any) engineer taking care of the equipment more important than brand. Get good service guys and good maintenance and operational care you cannot really go to wrong. If you CAT mains and CAT generators and a good service situation and you spend the money needed to keep it up you are set. It's like fuel good fuel has few problems bad fuel no matter how cheap is more problem than its worth.

    Now design wise... a very good experience marine servicing dealer can help but get professional experienced marine advice in the design selection phase... this is cheap in the long run. Classed boats have less margin for error and it is partly why you pay the Classification costs in the first place!
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree with all of the sentiments. I've seen a Northern Lights need to be rebuilt at 1000hrs because it was always run at too light a load. The exhaust ports were all carboned up and cylinders were all glazed.
  15. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Testing Insulation Resistance

    How to do insulation resistance testing is the same on motors, generators, transformers, switch gear etc.

    How to measure insulation resistance of a motor | EEP

    It may seem strange to many but all electrical components are basically the same. Contactors and Switches have coils operating them, motors have coils (even a squirrel cage rotor of an induction motor is a coil), transformers are nothing but coils of wire (but don't get the mechanical stresses of motors and generators... but do get the thermal and electrical stresses along with the environmental conditions), even simple wires are insulated.

    On boats in the marine environment the biggest safety and operational failure issue on electrical and electronic equipment is insulation resistance failure. As the original article I posted previously states a motor or generator can be safe to touch but still experience failure due to stray currents from insulation failure.

    Diesel engines have their own problems too... which I am sure many here can relate better than I.

    The point is on generator sets and electrical equipment most of modern yacht operation and convince depend of proper operation of the electrical plant no matter how small or large the craft. If not properly designed, installed and maintained you can either develop electoral shock hazard safety issues or failure of the equipment. Unfortunately, failure of the equipment often results in a safety as sea issue. Even in the marina stray currents can cause bad things to happen... like galvanic corrosion that his extreme. Dock a a well regulated marina (like in Monaco) and you will find out you may be unwelcome guest if you don't have things well under control.

    I often see many feel oh it is just a generator set... but lose it as sea and you will be crying a different story... and may experience a YF story of a burn to the waterline fire or sinking... we all wonder and speculate about... and maybe loss of life to go with the loss of the boat. It is a realm for professional advice, consultations, design, installation and maintenance not some mysterious thing that just runs below deck that is inconvenient when it does not work.
  16. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    And I know of a set of C 18's used as Gennies that have gone over 20k hrs no major problems. Always run above 70%
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yup. I have had Northern Lights engineers quote me 20,000 hours in a yacht application for their generator and 40,000 hrs in a commercial application (100' commercial fishing boat) for the same generator where it runs all of the time and loaded.....and I believe it.
  18. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    To quote: " Well you can, I guess but, sometimes they roll over"

    Nah don't want that...if I did I'd contact Northern Marine!:D Seriously, I'm putting a hot tub up on that deck so I'm limited to a flats boat, and maybe a PWC...the PWC isn't a deal breaker. And I don't want to stretch anything...I didn't want to go over a hundred, but they told me if I went to the 105, it had a 24 ft. beam, and being a mild claustrophobic appealed to me. So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
  19. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Capt J, since we're on this Genset thread wouldn't running 16 cylinder engines at displacement speed constantly, hurt those mains? I thought diesels were happiest running at 60-80% load? I'm not trying to be a smart**s, but I'm now confused. I'd like to have Steel...but they are primarily displacement hulls. There have been times when we left Miami headed for Bimini...and half way across we encountered those seas out of nowhere....maybe not 15, but 10 -12.
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    With a displacement hull you should try to get your engines rated to run at 80% MCR at cruise, you will have some left for your occasional top end runs and they will run happily for a longtime if the selection and maintenance are both well done.

    Semi displacement are neither planing nor displacement so the usual rules have to be adjusted a bit.

    Are you looking at SD for speed? By this I mean shortest time between points?