A Cool Hack to Save Your Generator

If you’ve been boating on the Upper or Middle Potomac River, you know that one of the biggest downers is having to continuously clean out your generator’s strainer. One of the biggest perpetrators of a clogged strainer is the dreaded hydrilla. This stuff rises up out of the deeps around August, and flows across the river like small islands in some places.

Of course, your generator intake is more than happy to suck this stuff up, causing reduced or even completely blocked water flow that is vital to your generator’s cooling. Thankfully, most generators will shutdown before they overheat, but you still have to go down into your hot bilge to pull and clean your strainer basket. That sucks!

Luckily, some folks on the river are inventive. David Wempa came up with a pretty smart solution that we think he calls the “Pre-Strainer.” Basically, it’s a home made external strainer that fits over the bare hole in your hull that is the generator’s water intake. It’s made of a wire mesh pencil holder, a dome-shaped plastic cap, some thin thread, and a thin line to wrap around it.

You start by drilling out what looks like a 1/2 hole into the bottom of the dome-shaped cap. Also poke 4 tiny holes around the outside of the cap, which you can then use to bind it to the opening of the pencil holder using the thin thread. Finally wrap the thin line around the top of the pencil holder. The thin line will need to have some length to it, as it will be used to pull the Pre-Strainer up and away from the generator intake, allowing you to stow it before you drive off.

To deploy, you have to dive under your boat and place the Pre-Strainer into position over your generator’s intake while the generator is on. The theory is that the hole in the dome-shaped cap will allow for the generator’s suction to keep the device in place around your water intake hole, while still allowing water through it. Supposedly the shape of this device prevents hydrilla and other muck from clogging up the intake.

Here’s a few pics of the finished product:

Now, we ain’t saying this is a great idea or not, but it sure seems compelling! Thanks for the cool tip Mr Wempa!