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Old 12-02-2006, 06:38 PM   #1
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Generators

My next prolect is a generator.

Choices on fuel Gasoline, Diesel, Propane.

Any ideas on which is the best, and is bigger better?
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:46 PM   #2
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Gasoline or propane. A small 1K unit and a big one with electric start, especially if you're not young or in great shape, or you think there's a chance that a female may have to start the big unit.

If I ever build another house, I'll have a 10k unit wired in with a auto fail-over UBS. It will be a propane fired unit. Then there's point of service tankless water heaters, solar power, and lots of other stuff, but this is a generator thread.
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:56 PM   #3
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Propane. A good gen is a must up here in downeast Maine. Most everybody up here uses propane Almost 0 tune up costs. Mine starts up on its own about once every two weeks to keep it lubed up. Mine is also patched into the house if the power cuts out as it often does way up here it kicks on and switches over all by itself.

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Old 12-02-2006, 07:21 PM   #4
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if you put the genset in a shed you can get a 20 kw to a 50 kw with out the housing for a few thousand more than a 10 k with a housing
you can also get one with dual fuel for propane and natural gas with automatic switching between fuels

figure up your amperage or wattage you need are you just wanting lights , tv and refrig or do you want to run the whole house and do you need it portable or stationary?

propane units you have to decide on size of tank and the refilling of the tank
if you check the rating on the gensets you will find a derate on propane as a 4000 watt genset on gas or diesel will have a 3600 watt rating for propane and the propane uses more fuel per hour but propane burns cleaner in the engine with very little carbon buildup on heads and the oil stays cleaner longer
diesel stores better than gas and you don't have to worry as much about diesel going stale like gas

if your looking for portables there are a lot of people happy with the cheaper chinese kipor gensets but the honda and yamaha genset generaly top the list of the best (don't tell my boss i said that as i work for cummins power generation)
the honda eu models are the only ones that you can get a cable and hook two smaller gensets together to get more power and run one when you dont need the extra power and save more fuel than running a larger genset.
you can go to http://www.rv.net and check out the tech forum for a lot of post on portable gensets and http://www.wind-sun.com/smf/index.php for info on solar and wind systems and i have no ties to these forums except as a member and if there is a problem with me posting the links a moderator can just please delete the links
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Old 12-02-2006, 07:28 PM   #5
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Old 12-03-2006, 02:44 AM   #6
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Synthetic crankcase oil is good especially in winter with a recoil start. For a big unit at home base, I'd go

1. Diesel
2. Propane
3. Gasoline

For a large unit I prefer them trailered for transport in case service is needed elsewhere, or in case of emergency relocation. At home, you can back it into a shelter and jack it up.

Small units for limited duty at home or camp, Gasoline 1KW is more than enough, especially if you dump incandescent lights for compact fluorescents. I can get away with an old 500W Honda for hunting camp after doing just that.
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:45 AM   #7
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Remember that a diesel generator has it's own problems. Most large generators use a 150-200 gallon storage tank. With EPA regs on buried tanks, they tend to be above-groudn. In truly cold climates, diesel will gel. Makes starting it a true adventure. There is also the fact that diesel will also support several algae growths that can and will plug filters. They aren't a fill and walk away set-up. Many also require enough battery power to operate glow-plugs prior to the physical start-up. Glow-plugs on a 10 KW generator draw heavily on batteries, and then the cold engine draw is added in.

A good rule of thumb is to expect an installed generator, with automatic start features, automatic switching, and maintenance start features, to run roughly $1000 per kilowatt. It can be done more cheaply, but the auto-everything set-up is right around there.
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Old 12-03-2006, 12:07 PM   #8
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propane stores better than gasoline or diesel, in a big way. if you regularly use the generator, that's less of an issue. if you don't, then think about it.
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Old 12-04-2006, 04:54 AM   #9
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Gas

Got a 15KW gas that has already pulled me through eight hours of power outages since the last six months. Actually the outages were longer but I usually give them an hour or so to get it back before I start up the generator.
It's really nice to be sitting there with the TV on when the rest of the houses are blacked out.

It's a two cylinder gas engine with electric start that I keep ready with a small charger that keeps the battery charged. It makes me completely self-sufficient since I pump and heat my water and house with electric, backed up by a wood burner and propane gas log stove which pretty much eliminates any electric heat coming on.

Didn't get a propane gen due to hook-up considerations and with some 30 feet of heavy 220V wire the gen is located away from the house and reduces the noise of it.

I think whatever you use is up to your own considerations/conditions.

If you are in a very cold winter area I would count out a diesel.
I have a diesel tractor which will start when it's really cold but only after I heat up the block with the built in electric block heater and keep the fuel treated to keep it from gelling.
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:40 PM   #10
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For me, an important consideration is safety. An incident with a fuel spill is much less of a problem with diesel or propane than with gasoline. Diesel is almost a non-issue, with its high flash point, and propane is a matter of ventilation. Gasoline is very manageable, but a big thing is avoiding manual transfer from one container to another when refueling as much as possible. Another is fuel spoilage. There are good products like Sta-Bil out there that last for a year, you just have to remember to do it. I would treat no matter what. If your situation changes and for some reason the system sits unused for several months, untreated fuel will take the whole system down until it is cleaned and flushed. For a fixed system that sees regular use, I like diesel. The equipment lasts virtually forever, and like gasoline there are fuel treatments and things like kerosene to improve cold weather performance. Portable or a small set at home? Gasoline hands down. Big fixed system that sees only intermittent use? Propane. I'm in town with a reliable power company that keeps things going really well, and only have a small gasoline unit. My workplace had a transportable unit on 4 wheels that took a 1Ton to tow and a connector to the building the size of your leg. Now that was a generator.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:18 AM   #11
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The comments about gelling and bacterial (not really algae) growth in diesel are true. However, the fuel can be treated with anti-gel/injector cleaner combinations. You should be running injector cleaner anyway. There are also chemical additions for bacteria. Several sets of spare filters are also a necessity as well as a water separator. [I treated the tanks on my road tractor once with an anti-bacterial and went through 2 sets of filters in 400 miles. I expect it was the first time it'd been treated in 7-10 years.]

Keeping water out of the fuel limits the bacterial infecton chances. This can be a problem with outdoor tanks, make sure they're properly installed with a slope to allow water to drain to the lowest point and bleed it frequently (applies to gas also). A filter on the vent keeps insects out.

A really good bacterial infection of a fuel tank requires steam cleaning to remove and kill the stuff. They're rare, but no fun to deal with.

Bigger is generally better with generators, overloading a generator can smoke it when you need it most. Some of the better (more $) transfer switches also do load management. You can prioritize your circuits.

Last edited by William R. Moore; 09-05-2013 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:10 AM   #12
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For a very quiet and portable generator, I recommend the Ryobi 2200i...

It's as quiet as the Honda Eu2000 and a fraction of its price at $549 (less if you look for deals).
Home Depot is a distributor, but they're available on ebay too.

This has a built in inverter and puts out sine wave power, for sensitive stuff like laptops, tablets, etc.



The handle shown, collapses into the bottom of the generator.

Last edited by Phenix; 08-03-2016 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 08-03-2016, 03:07 AM   #13
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Did a Generac automatic running on propane. It's worked twice, but only for short periods 1hr or less.
I think it keeps hurricanes away.
Geoff
Who was once without power for 10 days.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:16 AM   #14
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PROPANE for certain, imo.

We are often "snowed in" at the mountain liar in WV & we bought a LARGE generator, hooked up to a 1,000 gallon propane tank for emergency Winter power.
(Good thing that we did, as last Winter we had about 5 weeks of "intermittent" or sometimes NO electricity from the local electric company.)

The "local propane driver" checks on us in periods of ice/snow & has on occasion brought the mail up the mountain with his AWD tanker.

yours, sw
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Old 02-05-2017, 04:56 PM   #15
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Gasoline is much better and the availability is higher.
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic49 View Post
Did a Generac automatic running on propane. It's worked twice, but only for short periods 1hr or less.
I think it keeps hurricanes away.
Geoff
Who was once without power for 10 days.
Follow-up when the hurricane did a near miss on the First Coast, the motherboard in my Generac failed. It has been replaced, but despite all the money spent, I spent the hurricane time in the dark for 24 plus hours.

Geoff
Who was very annoyed.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:20 PM   #17
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fuel is better, cheap to maintain and when it is faulty you can fix it yourself.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:38 PM   #18
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Generac is junk and, as mentioned, gasoline for availability if nothing else.

If you're not going to run it monthly, there's no sense to even have it.
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Old 03-13-2017, 02:50 AM   #19
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Mine runs automatically every Monday. I have a service contract and Amerigas comes once a year, but I check the Propane level every month.

Geoff
Who notes it's cool in NE FL this AM, but the North East Coast is due for snow on Tuesday.
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