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Marine Generators: Choosing the Right One

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 28, 2018
South Shore Generators Commercial Marine - Wareham, MA

After the main engine, the most expensive single piece of equipment aboard is often the generator, AKA marine genset. Moreover, a marine genset can log two or three times as many hours as your main engine(s), so choosing the right one is an important decision. You’ll want a generator that’s reliable, offers longevity, and delivers a comfortable time on board.

Choosing the right marine genset can be easy if you work with a generator dealer and analyse your requirements carefully. This guide to choosing the right generator will familiarize you with a few terms and help you acquire a basic understanding of the different types of generators and how they operate.

AC or DC

The choice is really dependent on your application. If you primarily have a battery charging application then a lot of people put small generators in just to charge batteries, so you have to go ionto a mains powered battery charger and then to the batteries. If you go to a specifically designed DC charging battery generator the efficiency will be higher, the size and weight will be smaller and you pick up the advantage of a variable speed generator.

A lot of the earlier DC generators where simply a diesel or petrol engine with an automotive alternator, which by today’s standards was inefficient and noisy. New technology has seen the development of alternators that are highly efficient.

Inverter or Generator?

Inverters change DC electricity from your battery bank into AC power to run your AC equipment. Inverters work well for vessels that have relatively low power demand (1000-3500 watts) for short time periods. Boats with larger, consistent power demands and electric motors require a generator or both generator and inverter.

Engine, Hydraulic Drive, or Both?

Powered by a hydraulic pump on the main engine, hydraulic drive generators are best suited to boats with small, intermittent power requirements or long range cruisers. Generally, it is best to rely on a hydraulic generator when only small amounts of power are necessary because operating the main engine for electricity alone is inefficient.

Operating Speed Of Marine Gensets

Electronic equipment is designed to consume electrical energy with a fixed frequency. The international (SI) unit for frequency is hertz, symbol Hz, which is equal to one cycle per second. The United States and Canada use 60Hz power.

A modern 3000 rpm engine is very fuel efficient and comes with a long life span. They are significantly smaller and lighter than 1500 rpm generators and while the engine life is probably a little shorter the chances of doing enough engine hours to wear one out is unlikely. The average genset hours on a cruising boat is probably around 100-150 hours a year and the typical life of a modern 2-3 cylinder high speed diesel is probably between 3000-4000 hours. With a proper sound capsule and engine isolation mounts, it will be as quiet and smooth as a 1500 rpm unit.

Gas or Diesel Marine Genset?

You’ll need to decide whether to buy a petrol or a diesel generator. If your main engine is a diesel, your genset should be, too. Keep in mind that the explosive nature of gasoline requires a spark-free generator, and therefore a diesel genset is a safer bet for a petrol main engine as well.

Cooling Systems

Liquid cooled generator engines are engineered to be used in a marine environment, and they are available in three configurations: heat exchanger, keel cooled, or direct seawater. Your generator should have the same type of liquid cooling as your main engine.

Marine gensets that are heat exchanger cooled feature two cooling water circuits. The “seawater cooling circuit” includes a rubber impeller or centrifugal pump that moves water from outside the boat, through a heat exchanger, and back overboard, often through the exhaust elbow. The “jacket water (also called freshwater) circuit” has a circulation pump that moves a coolant mixture continuously through the engine block and exhaust manifold (where it cools them) and heat exchanger, where it is cooled by the seawater.

Keel cooled generators have only the jacket water circuit. A circulation pump moves the coolant through a cooling grid on the bottom of the boat. Keel cooled generators require their own keel cooler so they are not tied to the main engine’s grid.

Engine Type

Marine gensets with in-line 4-stroke engines, whether diesel or petrol, are easy to install and service. Since four-pole generators operate at low rpms, the engine needs to produce its maximum torque near or below the operating speed. Automotive engines produce maximum torque at higher speeds. For example, when they run at 1800 rpm, almost all automotive engines are working at a point below peak torque, which will limit the engine’s ability to pick up extra loads such as watermakers, air conditioners, or refrigerators. Engines that are made for heavy-duty, industrial applications offer you strong, reliable low-end torque and provide the power to pick up supplementary electrical loads, even when running at full power. The penalty of course is extra size and weight, which can be quite significant.

If you are looking to produce under 10 kW with a 3000 rpm engine then you are still able to run a 2-3 cylinder unit, while if you are wanting the same from 1500rpm the requirements are generally for a four cylinder engine. As engine technology has developed in recent years, the negatives against high rpm small diesel engines has certainly been diminished.

Engine Benefits

  • Cast-iron, liquid cooled exhaust manifolds increase safety. Dry manifolds can be a fire hazard. If there is a turbocharger, make sure it’s liquid cooled.
  • All service points should be gathered on one side for easy maintenance. This also allows the non-service side of the generator to be installed directly against a bulkhead to save space in the engine room.
  • On larger machines, choose one with liquid cooled, replaceable cylinder liners. This will dramatically lower rebuild costs. If it’s a smaller high rpm diesel it may be cheaper to simply replace the engine.
  • You will also benefit from having safety shutdowns for high water temperature and low oil pressure on your next generator.
  • L ook for a design that eliminates unnecessary, troublesome equipment such as hoses, belts, and gaskets.

Single-Phase or Three-Phase?

Marine gensets produce either single-phase or three-phase power. Three-phase motors are less expensive than singlephase motors. And while three-phase power is better for motor starting and running, 20kW generators and smaller usually feature single-phase motors.

Variable Speed Marine Gensets

Until recent times fixed RPM generators have been the only technology available. Regardless of whether they are low speed (1500/1800rpm) or high speed (3000/3600rpm) they have the same drawback. That is, the engine can only deliver the power available at one particular rpm. In the case of the low speed generators this results in a large engine being required to develop relatively small amounts of power. In the case of the high speed generators the compromise is on engine noise and engine life, although in reality neither is an issue on some models.

The Right Size Marine Genset

Selecting the right size generator for your vessel is critical. If it is too small, it will wear out quickly, produce excessive exhaust smoke, and potentially damage electrical equipment. If it is too large, it will run under-loaded, lead to carbon build-up in the combustion chamber, leave unburned fuel in the exhaust, and operate inefficiently. A generator should never run continually with less than a 25% load. 35% to 70% is optimal.

Two generators may be the best answer for boats with varying power requirements. You can use a higher kW generator for high demand periods and a lower kW generator for times when power demand is minimal. Another option is to use a medium size generator that runs singularly or together with paralleling switch-gear or a simple split bus distribution panel.

It is best to have your generator dealer perform a load analysis of your vessel to determine what size generator you require. Your dealer will need the wattage requirement listed. Use this formula to calculate wattage: amps x volts = watts. Turning on appliances that utilize electric motors produces a current inrush, which can cause voltage and frequency dips and lights to dim. Depending on the quality and size of the motor being started, the amount of power necessary to start the electric appliance can be up to ten times its running wattage. This is why it is so important to supply your dealer with both the starting and running wattages of each motor. We can help calculate the electrical load of all the equipment you will run at one time.

For more information on marine generators, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: boatmags.com

How to Choose a Marine Generator

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 22, 2018
South Shore Generators Commercial Marine - Wareham, MA

A marine generator will keep the current flowing to all of your electrical equipment on your boat

Today’s sport-fishing boats brim with power-hungry electrical equipment, from air conditioning to audio systems, spreader lights to live-bait pumps, refrigerators to radars and microwaves to water makers.

Supplying enough current for all of these accessories can pose a challenge, particularly on extended trips to fish remote waters with few marinas and no shore power. One option is to run the main engines to keep power flowing to the AC/DC system. Yet fumes, vibration, noise and fuel consumption render this practice annoying, especially on anchor or tied to the dock.

A quiet-running marine generator offers a more pleasing solution. Whether you’re adding, upgrading or ordering a new boat, consider these factors when choosing among the many brands and models of gensets.

Space Constraints

If adding a genset, think about location. Generators go below deck, often in the engine room or an aft compartment. Determine how easily you can access the space for installation and maintenance, as well as how the new unit will affect weight distribution.

For tight spaces, look at compact gensets. On boats less than 30 feet in length, fitting in a genset could prove impossible. In these cases, a portable marine generator might be your only option.

Fuel of Choice

For convenience, choose a genset that operates on the same fuel as your boat. For example, with gasoline inboards, select a gasoline genset so you can tap the main tank.

There is one possible exception. On an outboard fishing boat, which runs on gas, it’s sometimes wise to have a diesel generator. Outboard boats rarely feature ventilation for below-deck compartments. Diesel (less volatile than gas) is safer to use in such enclosed spaces. You’ll need a separate diesel tank, so account for that when evaluating available space. If adding a genset, you’ll also need to customize a system to usher air to the generator.

Most large sport-fishing boats usually have diesel inboards, so a diesel generator makes the most sense. Whether you choose gas or diesel, a separate canister-style fuel filter helps ensure delivery of clean, water-free fuel to the genset.

Output Options

Marine generators are rated by kilowatt output — from as little as 3.5 kW to as much as 200 kW. To determine the right model, add up the power needs for the accessories you plan to run. Then select a genset with about 20 percent more output than your total requirement.

Resist thinking that more is better. A genset running at insufficient load leads to carbon buildup and other complications. On the other hand, don’t run all of your accessories at once. A genset operates best when carrying 35 percent to 70 percent of its rated load.

Installation Details

Gensets are water cooled, so when adding a unit plan on installing a water intake with a strainer to keep debris from clogging the cooling system. Also, you’ll need plumbing for cooling water to exit overboard.

As mentioned, gensets need air. Yet gensets also need exhaust systems. If adding a unit to your boat, plan on having a separate exhaust rather than sharing the engines’ exhaust system.

Most gensets come with remote ignition switches and basic gauges for installation above deck — usually near the helm or in a cabin — and a second control panel on or near the genset.

Quiet and Clean

Thanks to insulating shields, isolation mounts, mufflers and underwater exhaust, marine generators are quieter than ever.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a concern, especially with gas generators. Yet companies such as Kohler (www.kohler.com) now make low-CO gasoline generators with lower emissions. The Kohler Low CO models feature self-monitoring systems that shut down the generator if CO builds to dangerous levels.

As the electrical demands of today’s sport-fishing boats grow, so too does the need for a convenient way to keep the current flowing. Today’s gensets deliver, whether at the dock or far from the marina.

For more information on marine generators, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: sportfishingmag.com

Backup Power Systems for Healthcare

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 21, 2018
South Shore Generator - KOLHER Industrial Generator

Healthcare is changing rapidly, and hospital and clinic staff are working hard to improve patient outcomes while simultaneously controlling costs. It’s not a simple task, and it’s one that’s brought even more high-tech solutions to medical facilities. With this new technology comes an increased need for reliable, 24/7 backup power.

HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGE

Today, providers can access electronic health records instantly through a health information exchange (HIE). An HIE brings incredible convenience and, by providing key information quickly, can even improve outcomes during emergency situations. Yet it also increases the need to protect privacy and ensure HIPPA compliance.

DATA ANALYTICS

Big data has also become an essential part of the healthcare transformation, as hospitals and practices sort through clinical, claims and socioeconomic data to identify key trends and opportunities. Through data analytics, health systems are increasingly able to identify and target opportunities to help patients better manage chronic conditions and avoid hospital readmissions.

PATIENT CONNECTIVITY

While all this is happening behind the scenes, patients are noticing changes as well. Many are getting care from the comfort of home with telemedicine, and providers are even developing new virtual care centers to support this trend toward reaching more patients more efficiently.

It’s a rapidly changing landscape, but one thread runs through it: technology. For today’s Healthcare facilities, power isn’t just about keeping the lights on and equipment running. It’s also about keeping connected.

Accessing Facility Needs

POWER SUPPLY

Redundancy is an essential design feature in a hospital setting to ensure operating rooms keep running without disruption, medications are safely preserved and environmental control systems continue to function and protect against the spread of disease. To prevent interruptions to the power supply, all components, including the emergency systems, are installed in duplicate with multiple generator sets.

SECURITY

To comply with HIPPA and other regulations, electronic medical records and other key electronic data must be protected. If servers go down, even temporarily, sensitive data could be jeopardized.

A CAREFULLY CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT

To keep the healthcare environment operating in a safe manner, environmental control systems regulate indoor air quality (IAQ), temperature, humidity, airborne organisms and air pressure. These systems must be up and running at all times, which can require significantly different backup power systems for a large hospital vs. a small satellite clinic.

RESPONSE TIME

Healthcare facilities have power needs 24/7, so there’s no time to wait for a response team. They need a service team that can provide timely emergency recovery no matter where the power system is installed.

Accessing Facility Needs

Power Considerations

Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and long-term care facilities are already some of the most complex places for backup power. And they’re becoming even more high tech. Yet each facility has its own needs and requires a customized solution to protect the significant investments made in state-of-the-art equipment. Here are some considerations when discussing your facility’s unique needs.

TOTAL SYSTEM INTEGRATION

A power system is only as good as the parts that define it. KOHLER engineers every detail down to the last bolt. This isn’t your typical power system. A KOHLER® industrial power system is designed and manufactured with KOHLER components—including generators, transfer switches, paralleling switchgear and controllers. No matter how large or complex your job, everything will work together seamlessly.

UPTIME AND RELIABILITY

Designing power systems that meet requirements for the highest levels of uptime requires expert attention to system architecture and equipment redundancy. Getting the right combination of uninterrupted power supply and generator sets is crucial to meet your facility’s needs. Kohler power systems enable your facility to comply with NEC and NFPA requirements and meet Joint Commission (JCAHO) accreditation and certification.

PERFORMANCE

A reliable power system plays a major role in preventing environmental and health disasters.

REDUNDANCY

Redundancy is an essential design feature built into healthcare facilities of all sizes, with essential components duplicated in the event that one component fails. While a facility might install a single large generator to meet its power needs, paralleling two or more generators with paralleling switchgear offers practical benefits and advantages over a single-generator system.

Generator sets should start providing backup power within seconds of a break in utility power supply, and transfer switches should provide seamless automatic switching between the electrical power from the utility and the backup power system.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source Kohler

Industries that Need Backup Generators

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 09, 2018
South Shore Generator - 625 Kw Gaseous Unit in Wareham, MA

We’ve all experienced power outages at one point or another; probably more than once. Power outages can happen anytime, anywhere and for all kinds of reasons.

But when the power goes out, businesses have to handle situations differently. And, each business is different. Those that are prepared have backup systems and procedures in place, most of which include generators. And this is true of many businesses and industries across the nation.

What industries use backup generators? You may be surprised that a multitude of businesses use backup generators to keep their operations running 24/7 – even when the power goes out. Here are a few examples of some industries that use generators along with the reasons why.

Hospitality/Tourism

When the power goes out, these types of businesses need to make sure their guests are safe at all times.

Hotels – heating, lights, elevators, security cameras, communication services
Resorts – restaurants, trams or gondolas, pool filtration and pumps
Amusement Parks – rides, food storage and prep, restrooms, payment services
Zoos – keeping cages locked, heating/cooling animal enclosures, keeping the lights on for guests
Ski Areas – snow production machines, ski lifts, heating lodges and buildings
Casinos – slot machines, cash machines, security cameras, communication systems

Food

When the power fails companies in this sector can’t afford to lose all of their products due to temperature and conditions. Distribution Centers – freezers, refrigerators, loading banks, computing systems
Bakeries/Catering Centers – ovens, packaging equipment
Restaurants – stoves, refrigerators, lights for patrons, payment stations and cash registers
Ice Cream Trucks – freezers, payment station
Seafood Facilities – freezer storage, temperature stability, communications

Government/State Services

When the power goes out, these services must still be available.

Garbage & Recycling – separation equipment, cleaning equipment, computers
Water Treatment – pumps, filtration systems, computers, communications
Schools/Universities – lights, computer systems and servers, libraries
Embassies – computer servers, security cameras and checkpoints, gated entrances

Telecommunications

The telephone is critical equipment in an emergency situation when people need immediate assistance.

Cell Phone Towers - almost every one has a standby generator on it

Switching Facilities - often have to run these with prime power in remote areas or during outages

Retail

magine getting stuck in a pitch black store?

Retailers must ensure that their customers, employees, and products are safe during a power failure.

Department Stores – lights, payment stations, security cameras
Car Dealerships – lights, computers, security cameras
Gas Stations – lights, pumps, payment services, security cameras

Entertainment

The show must go on. At a play, movies, or concert, the need for power is never ending.

Film Crews – cameras, lighting, microphones/sound computers
Concerts – lighting, sound boards, speakers, computers, ticket systems, payment systems
Events – ticketing systems, lights, communications, payment systems

Power Plants and Energy

To avoid running out of power modern power plants have generators installed for worst case scenarios.

Nuclear Power Plants - most have standby gensets installed for contingency plans
Wind Farms - for when the wind does not blow, many wind farms have backup generator sets in place
Solar Power Plants - for when the sun does not shine! Many solar installations use backup gensets
Renewable Energy Facilities & Microgrids - systems with combined renewables and energy storage often have gensets

Miscellaneous

There are all types of other companies that could potentially lose millions of dollars’ worth of products and services in just a few short hours of power loss. To avoid this worst case scenario, they utilize backup generators to keep production running seamlessly. This is just a handful of the types of businesses and industries that utilize backup generators to keep things running smoothly. If you’d like to learn more about industrial backup generators contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.


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