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Thread: The PF generator thread

  1. #21
    Brigham Jung pls schüler's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by Alembic View Post
    Fuel: If I remember correctly. Propane is not as fuel-efficient as diesel, which is not as fuel-efficient as gasoline, but propane ofcourse has almost unlimited storage time.
    A duel fuel model seemed like a interesting option, but I'm not an expert.
    You already mentioned output de-rating and long term storage advantage.

    90-100lb LPG tanks are easily moved with a hand truck, responsible transport and storage must be considered. Realize that exchange 20lb cylinders (really, 16lb due to 80% fill) are not always full.

    Dangerous emissions are much lower with propane, no problems working in say a vented garage during a hurricane.

    Oil changes show the much cleaner burning fuel - oil is darker but still clear. My brother's FIL managed a Honda powersports store for 12yrs. He says the worst things people do with small generators is neglect oil change schedule. It helps to put a small fan on the engine for cooling.

    The only thing I don't like is the external mounting of the regulator. Not the greatest if you're throwing it in the back of the truck all the time without protecting that.

    My brother has a Honda 6k he converted to tri-fuel. He uses propane is a backup option only, has a few 90lb tanks. He doesn't keep bulk gasoline beyond yard machine needs unless a hurricane or hard frost is due for SE TX.

  2. #22
    Brigham Jung pls schüler's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by ragnar_d View Post
    I know its annecdotal, but down where I work there are a lot of food trucks/taco trucks around at lunch time and just about all of them have either a Honda or the HF knockoff. Those things are running hours and hours daily and there's one old eu2000 that's almost faded white. Never talked to the guys to get the scoop but I'd imagine that most of those generators have been run hard.
    Around here it's 90% Hondas and Miller welder/gen on the job sites. All of the others look newer... for a reason.

  3. #23
    I run several generators between 3 properties and have upgraded generators over the years. I am by no means an expert, but I seem to have several and I have gone towards the known in reagards to quality or proven performance when it comes to generators. I think you need to understand your need and purchase accordingly when it comes to fuel type as they all have pros and cons. Initial purchase price, cost to run the generator, maintenance schedules, and service life are factors but depending on how much you use the genset these factors can be misleading. Ideally, redundancy and options are a good thing especially if your consideration is for power in a disaster situation.

    For portable generators, I have run Smarter Tools AP2000i SinePower Pro and two Champion 2000's. I upgraded to a single Honda EU1000i and two Honda EU2000i gensets. I heavily considered Yamaha's but our Honda Dealer has an annual sale and the Honda EU2000's were $850 for the standard and $900 for the companion version with 30A outlet. Also the dealer included the parallel cable kit in the sale. Not sure if this type of annual sale is standard across dealers, or just this particular dealers annual promotion.
    Honda's are definitely not the cheapest options in this size of generator.

    I sold the Smarter Tools and Champions as the load capability was not as good. Also, the Champions were a bit heavier and bulkier than I wanted. I like that the two Honda 2K gensets can be easily run in parallel, have great fuel efficiency, and the portability was a big factor. A single 3K or larger genset is harder to load and unload as opposed to two smaller ones. Plus the addition of using just one or both, maybe in different locations is appealing.

    In the 5-7K range, I had a Coleman powered by a Briggs and Stratton that was very loud and is now dead. I still have a 7K PowerBoss with Honda engine with a LOT of hours on it, still going strong, a Honda EM6500SX and I recently picked up a Champion 7500 Dual Fuel that Costco either had an unreal sale or mispriced them. I have had good success with the PowerBoss and the Honda EM6500SX. The EM6500 has a remote start wired and is quieter than the PowerBoss but not as quiet as the EU line. The Champion 7500 is still in the box.

    For Diesel, I have 3 Military gensets and all 3 are the tactical quiet variants. One 5K MEP-802A and two 10K MEP803A's. I will say that they are a good 15-20% underrated on power output. 1 is trailer mounted the other 2 are skid. As for Diesel generators, these things are beasts and very quiet for their size.

    This is what my usage looks like;

    Location #1, Residence. Grid-tied. No NG supply, possible delivery for Propane. Dual Honda EU2000's for portability and backup power as needed. One 10K MEP803A for primary back-up power. I rotate gas and diesel into my vehicles and small gas power tools.

    Location #2, Residence/Ranch. Grid-tied. No NG supply, possible delivery for Propane. MEP803A for primary backup and a PowerBoss7K for portable power supply moved via tractor as needed. Diesel, Gas and propane storage on site. Diesel for trucks, machinery, generator. Diesel does not sit long enough to need rotating and supply is routiely maintained to full levels. Gas is rotated into vehicles and small gas operated equipment. In addition there is a tailered Miller welder/genset that could supply power. We have considered a PTO genset, but don't find it necessary.

    Location #3, Residence/Farm/Hunting/Recreation. 100% off Grid, currently with low power demands. Biggest power draw is water pump from catchment into residence and it is overkill at the moment. No NG supply, possible delivery for Propane. Primary power is via generator with solar in the works. Generators that are on site, Honda EU1K, Honda EM6500SX, Champion 7500 Dual Fuel, and MEP802. Currently being off grid the power is supplied to different structures with its own generator. When complete, solar will fill primary power role to main residence with generator backup. Some structures will remain generator for primary power as that need is not full time. Generator backup options are Gas, Diesel and Propane. Propane storage for appliances and backup generation, plus gas and Diesel storage. Rotation is also done via equipment.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alembic View Post
    Fuel: If I remember correctly. Propane is not as fuel-efficient as diesel, which is not as fuel-efficient as gasoline, but propane ofcourse has almost unlimited storage time.
    Alembic, I think you will find that a search on BTU/gal output of common fuels will rank them as Natural Gas (not in your list), Propane, Gasoline, and Diesel, with Diesel having the most BTU/gal and NG the least.

    Propane's main advantages are it's 'shelf life' and how clean-burning it is, but storage is a hassle and topping back off is a potential issue in an emergency situation. At the risk of stating something already commonly known, propane is usually used in vapor form by generators, but stored in a liquid form in tanks. The liquid in the tank off-gasses as vapor is drawn off, keeping a constant internal pressure. It takes a certain amount of time for the liquid to change to gas, so a large genset is going to require a tank big enough to vaporize quickly enough to run the engine. More rare are gensets that draw liquid propane in to run on. Small tanks such as BBQ tanks, for example, won't power a large generator at all -- they don't have a liquid port and aren't of sufficient size to produce the vapor needed for a good-sized engine. So where on a gasoline-powered genset you *can* run it if you come up with an extra 1/2 gallon of gas, you won't be able to do that on a sizable propane generator if you come up with a full BBQ tank. Hope this makes sense; I can clarify if it doesn't.

    Diesel is the most efficient per unit of fuel and stores better than gasoline, but it can't be stored indefinitely and in some cases is harder to come by in emergencies. If you run out of fuel in a diesel genset, you'll often have to go through a fuel bleeding process to get it running again -- something that a fair amount of people are not familiar with. I know of some diesel fuel systems that are self-bleeding, but am unsure of how many gensets are using this type of fuel system.

    Gasoline has the shortest storage life but better efficiency than propane and NG. Most people will be paying road tax on gasoline, so it isn't quite as economical as it could be, and then you have the ethanol issues as well. All that said, gasoline is still probably the best fuel choice for a small genset.

    It should be noted that NG, propane, and gasoline all run on spark-ignition engines, so they're similar and dual-fuel options are available aftermarket if not from the manufacturer. Diesels are of course compression-ignition.

    NG and propane are similar enough that a small tweak to the fuel system will allow you to swap between the two on the same engine. NG is much cheaper, but us country folk don't have access to it, but rather have propane instead.
    Last edited by TBone550; 10-16-2017 at 12:08 AM.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by GuanoLoco View Post
    Warning: Brief research indicates that this is a VERY bad idea for yourself and others. Do your homework BEFORE you lose power and internet connection. Research transfer switches for the right way to do it.
    The Interlockkit is seemingly much cheaper, although not automated.

  6. #26
    I'm torn in between the HF 2000w and the HF 3500w inverter gennys, but will prolly go with the latter as I want a genny that my wife can simply fire up and use, no screwing around with parallel cables, therefore the more powerful, the better. Furthermore, Northern Tool sells this parallel cable kit for their version of the HF 3500w inverter genny so I can plan to buy another 3500 w in the future and double available power.

  7. #27
    Member Alembic's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Southern Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleLebowski View Post
    The Interlockkit is seemingly much cheaper, although not automated.
    I have the interlock kit on our breaker. A simple breaker lock that keeps you from running your genny power back into the grid and potentially electrocuting the lineman tryng to restore power. Not a bad precaution.
    "If you like the moon landing, the interstate highway system or plan on cashing a social security check, you are a progressive."

  8. #28
    Site Supporter David S.'s Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Generac has a 2000w inverter generator for $800 on amazon. Can be paralleled. Advertises it's quieter and smarter than the Honda.

    Don't forget that your car is just an inexpensive 800-1400W inverter away from being a portable generator. It's not optimal for every situation, but it's a good emergency option.

    Another +1 on Steven Harris work. I have a portable battery bank (Single deep cycle) started.
    Last edited by David S.; 10-16-2017 at 01:24 PM.

  9. #29
    Site Supporter hufnagel's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    NJ 07922
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleLebowski View Post
    The Interlockkit is seemingly much cheaper, although not automated.
    Makes it very easy, and safe, to backfeed your entire panel. then you can pick and choose what circuits get power, and when. install a power inlet box on the outside of your house, and it's just a matter of connect one cord, start generator, throw interlock. I have one on my panel for this reason.

    also, have you thrown AVR (automatic voltage regulation) equipped generators into your search? not as good as a full blown inverter genset, but lots cheaper and much cleaner power output than a standard generator.
    Last edited by hufnagel; 10-16-2017 at 01:27 PM.
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  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tensaw View Post
    Just a quick note on TBone's comment re: rotating gas. If you are running non-ethanol gas on the genny, do NOT mix that with ethanol gas in your car. You will experience problems.
    Can you elaborate on this? Lots of general aviation people use a mix of mogas (91 octane LL) and avgas (100LL) in their aircraft.

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