Installing the Fischer-Panda Genset
For our trips to Canada and Alaska, we never really needed an alternative energy source, because we did a lot of motoring in the calm fjords of the Northwest. A spare alternator was all we needed. But, with the long distances and greater power demands of the South Pacific, it was clear that we would either need to idle the main engine for long periods of time, or we had to find some other power source.
Originally, I wanted to rely on solar power. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit big enough solar panels along the rails, and the Malö's arch made it difficult to add yet another arch to hold the big panels overhead. Neither Lee nor I like wind generators with their constant "thwip, thwip" and whirling blades. After struggling with this for a few months, I finally decided to get a small genset.
On Todd Rickart's (Sound Rigging) recommendation, I went with a Fischer-Panda AGT 4, a very compact, very quiet unit built in Germany. They have a checkered reputation on the web, but Todd assured me that when installed properly and operated within their parameters, they are as reliable as any other generator out there.
We installed the Panda in the cockpit locker, as it was the only place big enough to hold it and still have some room around it for servicing. The unit is oriented athwartship, as this minimizes the chances of exhaust water sloshing back into the exhaust manifold.
The waterlift muffler is located above the propshaft, in the engine compartment, the lowest point we could find in the boat, again to minimize the chance of water making its way back. The exhaust then goes to a water separator, for the absolute minimum in noise.
Shea Weston, of Offshore Outfitters in San Diego, did the majority of the installation.