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DIESEL GENERATOR??

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by blkcloud, Dec 15, 2010.

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  1. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    Im thinking of installing a diesel generator at my house incase of a power outage.. what brand and what size would I need for a 4000 sq. foot house? thanks!
     
  2. mollyone

    mollyone TS Member

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    I would look at L P or nat gas only, no fuel problems


    Wattage? do a walk through of your house see what you need to run

    during an outage, some want whole house, some just want necessities

    Make sure you have a complete disconnect from your service when running

    unit

    jpark
     
  3. len loma

    len loma TS Member

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    Been in generator home standby business for 17yrs. Diesel is not the way to go on a home standby generator. They are difficult to start in the winter unless an expensive to operate block heater is installed. The up front cost will be 3-4 times more then a LP or natural gas unit.

    I would look at a Generac home standby package unit. Air cool units goes from 7 KW all the way to 20 KW with an automatic transfer switch. Can be operated on LP or natural gas.

    How it works: say your gone on a trip and the wife and kids are home alone. Generator automatically starts, shuts down utility power and supplies your home with generator power. Once utility power is sensed it automatically switches back to utility. Generator can be programmed to self test every week and will alert you if there is a problem so it is always in working order when you need it.

    Generac has excellent units and sell more home standbys generators then all the competition combined. Check out Generac website.

    Len
     
  4. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt a diesel is good for a home unit but we run Whisper Quiets diesels when we set up the remote Heliports for forest fires. They will run for 3 days on 30 gal and are really quiet. Mounted on wheels so it can be towed
     
  5. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I was the engineer in charge of all diesel/stanby power for a major metropitan fire dept.

    Diesels have several inherent problems:
    1) if ambient temp falls below a c ertain tem based upon the design of the prime mover (engine) starting is difficult or impossible

    2) batteries must be heated & maintained in order to keep starting power up

    3) the most critical aspect is fuel, fuel must be stabilized & conditioned.
    algae can grow and slam your primary fuel filters shut in a heart beat

    4) So if I was going the diesel route I would have the generator in a heated enclosure, I would have a day tank of holding enough fuel for 24 hrs & I would have a fuel polishing system to guartee only good fuel went into the day tank

    Philo Berkowitz
     
  6. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    Sounds like lp is the way to go.. I knew you all would know.. thanks!!
     
  7. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Particurally if you have LP- and a tank full of it. You dont have to go get fuel

    You dont have to depend on the gas lines to even be working

    LP is the way to go

    regards from Iowa

    Gene

    Diesel would be the last choice of any for a home generator
     
  8. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    Diesel works good for us, just start one of the tractors, hook up to the generator, 40 KVA, hook it up to the pole and flip the disconnect, and we always keep about 1000 gal of diesel on the farm


    And we can run anything we want
     
  9. KRE

    KRE TS Member

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    First of all, Generac is not a very good choice if you looking at total back money, plus dependability. That comes from someone that has 40+ years of power generation exp. Do not buy anything that has to have the engine, ATS, Voltage regulator, or speed control mother boards programed with a computer.


    Fuel is the next choice, ever try carrying N/Gas or propane in a 5 gallon bucket, when the fuel supplier can't provide? Diesel has it's draw backs, but so do the others. There's much to be said for an on site fuel supply, "YOU" can add to if needed.

    W/O running a load cal on your home or knowing if your total electric or not, a wewag says 45-65KW low side 60-80KW high side. If you have an elevator you'll need the movement style, an motor starting numbers to check if the voltage dip(when starting)will be within reason, if the prime mover has a turbo or not.

    The Mfg's I would suggest, are Katolight(now known as On site Power) Onan, Kohler or any set that has a quality Prime Mover, None compounding Alternator, Electronic speed control, and a ECU Control package. The ATS, I'd go Onan first, ASCO second, an GE/Cutler Hammer last.

    Whoever you have do the install, make sure they know what their doing from the get go. I've seen alot of money wasted do to the installer not knowing and the home owner 99.9% of the time foot's the hosed up job.


    Back up A/C power generation (EPG)is not cheap, and it gets much worse if you try to nickel and dime the front money out of the gate.



    Kenneth
     
  10. twotimer

    twotimer Member

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    Blkcloud, I have a 20kw generac that runs our whole house-2 A/C units, elevator, etc. We have had it 5 years now and it has been trouble free. We have it professionally serviced once a year. If you have access to natural gas that would be great! We don't, have a big propane tank. We live in the panhandle of Fl, at least 4000Sq ft. Mike
     
  11. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    I have an 8KW Generac that will run everything in my hose except the A/C or the Electric Oven.

    It has been relatively trouble free except for the onboard battery charger which cacked when the previous owner (Electrician) let the Negative lead from the battery ground out with the positive lead still hooked up. This fried the onboard Battery charger. It also fried the circuitry to the battery charger so replacing the charger didn't fix it.

    Installing a $20 battery maintainer by piggy backing it and running a 110 cord to the genset solved the problem and it has operated just fine ever since.(5 years) I have to replace the battery about every 3 years. It automatically rns itself for 10-12 minutes every Friday at 11:30 am sharp.

    It runs on natural gas.

    Biggest problem with the Generac brand is that I can't find anyone local to me who will do warrantee work on it. It seems Generac doesn't pay very well or at all.

    This system came with the house I bought and like I said above it was previously owned by an Electrical Contractor who did pretty much everything on the cheap. The Generac unit was purchased from Costco for $2300, and he installed it and the transfer swith gear himself. The install was OK, not the way I would have done it , but OK.

    My house has several other options for hooking up aux power to the house. One of the garages (I have 3) has a input heavy duty 220 VAC receptical. I can hook up a portable generator thru that input should the main generator cack. I have a 2.8 KV portable generator, and I also have an Onan 4.0 out of an old motor home laying around. Both are gasoline powered.

    Never discount the old stuff as being outdated and therefore useless. There is no cutting edge on "basic power generation". It either works or it doesn't, and when my survival is at stake I don't care if it is a model T motor and generator as long as it lights the lights! Incidentially that Onan Genset was "given" to me by my local Interstate Battery store, and it runs perfectly. All I had to do is mount it to a metal frame with wheels. It is easily 30 years old, and as far as I know no one on this planet has ever worn out an Onan engine. thee genset show up in the local auto trader and pennysaver all the time. Keep your eye out.

    I have beeen looking for what I consider to be the ultimate Diesel Genset which is a 1-71 10KW Detroit Diesel Genset. I have a friend who has one and I will snag it if he ever lets go. The good thing about diesels is the variety of fuels they will run on, diesel fuel, paint thinner, jet fuel, Veg oil, and I could go on and on. Plus there is the mechanical relibility factor IE: they will run after an EMP attack which is a very real possibility. This is also why I have mechanical diesel cars and trucks.

    A really nice diesel Genset could be fabricated with a MBZ 240D engine and a welding generator. Older ones are fine because whereas they are old technology, they are mechanical and therefore have no electronic circuitry to fry. Plus that they can be worked on and fixed by a mechanically inclined person with normal hand tools.

    Another solution to the diesel genset problem is to find a diesel genset out of a boat. Yanmar makes good ones. None of this stuff is cheap when bought new, but you can make alot of power with used equipment. Diesels especially older ones can be a bit tricky to start when it is really cold, but there are simple ways around that. I once saw a guy who had a small wood stovewith a copper coil in it specifically for warming the coolant in his diesel engine for starting in cold weather. So it can be done from stone cold startup with not much imagination.

    All you need to do for a bare minimum install is to wire in a female 50 amp plug just above your houses main Circuit breaker. When power fails you flip the main breaker and plug your portable genset into the plug and away you go. You are at this point "Off the Grid". Pretty simple really.

    There are only about 3 zillion places you can go on the internet to learn about power generation for home use. It can be as small as a gas powered generator or some solar cells charging batteries or as elaborate as a fully automated power system that will run your whole neighborhood. There is everything in between available.

    A good place to look at different home power solutions is Northern Tool Co. they have about the largest selection of units I have seen in one place.

    This subject is very cool, and I have been interested for along time. I worked for SoCal Edison in the Steam Generation Divison for 6 years back in my youth. Wish I'd stayed, I'd be alot better off financially. They still sent me to their Steam Generation School, where I learned how lots of things work that I probably would not know about had I gone down a different path.

    Randy
     
  12. TjayE

    TjayE Member

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  13. kiv-c

    kiv-c Member

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    I noticed that Onan was mentioned in a previous post. I was pretty sure that they have been out of business for some time, and apparently Cummins bought up what was left of their inventory and parts.

    According to the Cummins Onan website " Although Cummins Onan no longer manufactures engines, Cummins Onan dealers and distributors nationwide will continue to support your engine with quality service and replacement parts."

    Too bad, they were pretty good engines!
     
  14. Etiquette

    Etiquette Member

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    KRE -- What is a compounding altenator? Thanks
     
  15. KRE

    KRE TS Member

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    Small units are fine for just getting by. I, think a man that has a 4k ft home would prefer not having to change his life style. The 45KW unit I have powers everything, so I don't have to worry about the family while I'm out repairing the ones (in the worst weather), folks forgot to service for the last 2-5 years. A small 5kw will run many things, but not all at once. If your looking to just get by, a 5-8KW 3600rpm fly-a-part will last a little while. As speed numbers drop and pole numbers go up so does the money, as well as the dependability. When it comes to my Family's safety or comfort, money is not an object. Funny how we'll spend $8K+ on a trap gun, $20K a year to shoot, ride in a $50K car or truck, but nickel an dime or not even have, something that can supply comfort and safety.

    I will tell you this, both in Florida and Alabama, I never knew how many friends I really had until the power was out for a few days. Trust me you won't turn away cold an hungry children no matter how sorry their parents are. Some of you might recall Florida X-mas eve to X-mas day 1989, and the folks here in Alabama remember well, March 1993. I don't trust my family's well being to the utility's, then again I am a odd sort.
     
  16. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

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    A compound alternator has a stator with duel windings for output's at different speeds.
     
  17. THALL

    THALL Member

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    I have been pleased with the 40kw PTO tractor driven generator for my house here in Alabama. I always have extra diesel fuel around & am very lucky to have access to diesel fuel even when others don't. Tim Hall.
     
  18. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Interesting discussion- I found the comment about being able to go get a 5 gallon of fuel interesting so I guess it comes down to what you envision

    I envision a day or even a few of being off the power grid, maybe off the natural gas grid as well. Could be caused by weather but maybe even some civil unrest.

    A 500 gallon or 1000 gallon of propane is going to last a long time-- You arent going to carry that many gallons of diesel or gas back and forth.

    Now if you envision the end of the world then you will run out of propane and you might be able to come up-- might-- with some fuel- but that will only last for hours- and will you put it in your truck or use it in your house?

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  19. KRE

    KRE TS Member

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    KRE -- What is a compounding altenator? Thanks
    Sorry missed that.
    I compounding A/C Alternator is one that draws it's voltage regulators, extra forcing power for motor staring, large load stepping ect.. This is a cheaper way around a buying PMG unit. The problem with compounding and self excited units is they are close loop systems, which means any nonlinear loading ie, scr's, large transformers, caps firing ect will affect the quality of the power provided to the voltage reg. Much like computers, garbage in garbage out. This is why Most all Public Utility's use static DC battery power to their voltage regulators.

    Most quality alternator's will have a 12 lead stator, so it can be wired for any voltage or phase require. When a 12 lead stator, is used you can pull two different voltages from the same machine, as long as the per winding spec, is not surpassed. Not the best way to do a duel voltage task, but it will work.

    As to the reference made by 251 "A compound alternator has a stator with duel windings for output's at different speeds. That is somewhat incorrect. Kohler some years ago built a small system that was an off shoot of a rolling UPS system that was hatched in Florida in the late 80"s. That system spin the stator (3200lb) at 3600rpm, when the input utility power was cut as the stator slowed down the cards started rewriting the north an south poles, so the out put power was maintained at 60Hz. The ride thru was approx 20 sec at full power (75KVa) which allowed the backup gen set to start powering the UPS. As the power was applied the UPS would spool up to sink speed again. Very small foot print vs a std UPS much less w/o the battery hassle.

    .
     
  20. KRE

    KRE TS Member

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    GN7777777,

    The bucket comment comes from a few years back in Alabama. Power was off for two weeks, roads blocked as well. Many that had Propane never had a stand alone tank for the gen set, they double tapped the home heating tank for the gen set. If your not heating while using the gen that's fine but, many found out the hard way that dog won't hunt long. There is safety in a fuel supply you can carry/haul. I've seen folks put their 500 gallon tanks on trailers only to get to the propane supplier and be refused filling for safety reasons. These same folks would then buy 100lb cylinders thinking that would run their 20+kw units in cold weather. We could what if forever I know, but when you remove all the things one has no control over, you now have much more control over the system an problems you do have.

    Kenneth
     
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