For 220V power in the boat, better inverter or generator?


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For 220 V power on the boat, better the inverter or the generator on board?

Let’s start with the definition of these two facilities. The inverter is a device connected to the electrical system that transforms the voltage from 12/24 to 220 volts. It uses the power reserve of the on-board batteries to power the consumers at the latter voltage. The generator is an actual engine that usually works at a low RPM. Connected to it is a powerful alternator capable of delivering electrical “energy” at a voltage of 220 volts. Similarly, the alternator also serves to recharge the batteries.

Premised on the differences in running your own 220-volt utilities, you need to evaluate a number of elements:

1) Available space on board: a generator takes up more space than an inverter, and must be installed in a convenient location to connect it to the cooling (water) circuit and outboard exhaust.

2) Energy requirement: the energy requirement of everything on board operating at 220 V voltage must be calculated. The unit of measurement to consider is the Watt, and it is also the distinguishing parameter of inverter and generator models. To size them consider, for example, that if you use two 600 W consumers on board simultaneously, you need to calculate a 1200 W system. This power translates into a draw of about 100 ampere-hours (Ah) at 12 volts (i.e., using the batteries and thus the inverter). If you have a 200 Ah battery bank, halve its capacity in one hour. With the generator, on the other hand, there is no time limit on its use (as long as its power is greater than the sum of that of the utilities, i.e., greater than 1200 W).

3) Type of utilities: if you use 220-volt utilities for a long time at the same time, your choice should be a generator. Imagine a microwave oven, hair dryer, charging phones, etc. On the other hand, if the need becomes less, the inverter is the best solution.

Pros: compact size, ease of installation, highly powerful models exist.
Cons: Limited use to the scope of the battery bank.
Pros: continuous and stable electrical supply. Reliability.
Cons: large size, noise.



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