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Small Deisel Generators???

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by erudne, May 2, 2015.

  1. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I'm thinking of getting a generator to power my home appliances; 2 deep freezes, a fridge, microwave and electric water heater.
    I'd like a diesel because the fuel stores well and is available in my AO
    any input would be greatly appreicated
     
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  2. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    If you can afford them then go for it. I have wanted one for years but it seems that something always comes up and it gets put back on the bottom of the list...:(
     
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  3. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Do you intend to use the genset frequently or for a long period of time, or only for a possible but infrequent power outage that will last for a few hours to a day or two?

    A diesel genset with low RPM (1200 to 1800 instead of 3600) or an inverter setup, will conserve fuel and will last longer (maintenance, etc.). A water cooled genset would be even better (especially if you can hook it into the grid to power a block heater up until you need it).

    OTOH, a small inverter gas/propane/NG (tri-fuel) setup can power fridges and some freezers, and with some you can add capacity by hooking them together as needed.

    However, most of these small inverter gensets that are portable (e.g., HOnda EU2000i) will not output 220/240 VAC, only 120VAC. Many hot water heaters require 220/240 VAC and 4+KW which most small inverter gensets cannot supply.

    So a LOT depends on how you intend to use the genset.

    Also, if you have a well and a pump, most of those use 220/240 VAC and require significant startup peak power sometimes 3 to 4 times what they need to keep running. Take the horsepower of the pump and multiple that by 3 to 4 KW and you should be okay. Also, you probably want to run your well pump at the same time as your water heater - you don't want to run low on water and you don't want a cold shower.

    I personally have a used 5KW construction type Honda air cooled gasoline genset that can bump up to 6.5 KW peak for 30 seconds (which is handy for my well pump). The construction type will run at idle until you put a load on it - a cutoff saw for example. This saves fuel and doesn't require someone to go start it every time they are using a tool on a job.

    Although I had a number of power outages I have yet to use it (I start it up every 6 months to check function and then shut off the fuel to drain the carb). The outages don't last that long - the longest was 4 hours. I need to get a small inverter setup like the Honda EU2000i to power my freezer which is in my standalone shop (separate power feed) and to have handy as a much more portable genset and as one I can loan out to neighbors or my kids.
     
    erudne likes this.
  4. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of lightly used gensets on Craigslist for considerably less than retail.

    I paid about one third retail for mine.
     
    erudne likes this.
  5. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    OK, New Question:
    Propane powered genset?
     
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  6. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    If not diesel, then I suggest you go "tri-fuel".

    You can setup a gasoline engine to run on gasoline, propane or natural gas and switch between them.

    If you are like me, way out in the boonies and don't see natural gas in your future ever, then you can drop the natural gas setup and just setup for propane and gasoline.

    I.E., it isn't an either/or question. You can switch between gasoline and propane and not be stuck with only one or the other.

    So my answer would be both. Do not get a propane only genset, get one that will run both gas and propane.

    It is good to have fuel diversity. Even in a short term emergency, you cannot be absolutely sure which fuel will be available when you run out of your current supplies, so why not be able to use both?

    You can store and run propane, which stores better than gasoline and burns cleaner and you have less maintenance, but then you could fall back to gasoline if it is available.
    ----

    If diesel, you can run inject propane into the intake system, extend your runtime and lower fuel costs. Google "propane fumigation". I intend to do this with my diesel truck - I will have several propane tanks on it for camping, and I will use one for engine fuel also.

    Basically such systems add propane while you are also running diesel. Without major modifications you can't run propane or natural gas alone in a diesel engine, you have to run them together.

    There are some trucks that can run CNG and then switch to diesel and back again, but these are specially modified engines, not something you can do yourself, and I don't know where you would find a consumer genset capable of doing that. You would mostly find these trucks in S. Calif., usually running in and out of the San Diego ports - they run CNG within the city to meet smog requirements then run diesel once outside.
     
    mjbskwim likes this.
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    There really arn't too many small diesel generators out there, usually the smallest you'll find fit on a trailer and are somewhere around the 10-20kW mark. I think the real question is how much juice are you actually using?
     
    mjbskwim likes this.
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'd check out Yanmar.. you can get a new one for around $3400.. weigh around 200lbs. I didn't really shop around for price or specs but Yanmar makes some viable hardware.. I think they make the engines for Kubota tractors and stuff.

    http://www.generatorjoe.net/subcatmfgprod.asp?1=556
     
  9. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    There are single and twin cylinder air cooled diesel gensets available, but yes, most under 10kw that are owned by consumers are gasoline consumer type gensets. You can buy portable diesel gensets, but they will be more expensive than the gas gensets and you won't find many used.

    Also, most of those are 3600 RPM gensets and not inverter. To get either the lower RPM or inverter, you will have to pay more money. You can find them, they aren't rare, you will just pay more money. Whether it will be worth it to you depends on how much you have budgeted and how you will use it, but the lower RPM or inverter will save on fuel and wear and tear, and will be quieter.

    Most larger diesel gensets are water cooled and either stationary (meant to be mounted and used on a stand and not portable) or are on a trailer of some sort.

    Again, it depends on what you want and how you intend to use it.

    I have a neighbor who has a nice system; automatic startup with a battery backup to keep power on until the generator is up to speed. Most of the time his system will just go over to battery for the few seconds there is a glitch in the power.

    This is what I have now:

    honda-generator-eb6500-eb5000.jpg

    When I retire, my new house will have solar with battery backup so much less need for a genset, but I will still have a genset for those times I need power in some remote place. I also intend to have a small genset on my RV (right now a flatbed 4x4) to provide power as a backup to RV batteries and solar and propane.
     
  10. Dan Wayne

    Dan Wayne Grant County Or. New Member

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    The Wife & I have been off grid for 28yrs. Great Solar system with back up Gen. Started out with the cheaper line of Gen sets. Went through two or three Generators before I knew What the H----was going on. The less expensive Gen just dont go the distance. Bought a Wisper Watt diesel and maintain it well, No problems. You will get what you pay for. Wasted a lot of money fig this out.
     
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  11. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the cost of a big diesel gen set would buy a lot of candles. Or maybe 4 medium gas gensets
    Now Heretic,from my small investigation of solar,it isn't quite as cost effective as they would like us to believe.Pound for pound,wind puts out more electricity.
    My friend was talking to a ellectrical contractor about the big solar projects at schools and such. He said that by the time the solar system and batteries are paid off they need some replacement. Mostly a tax break,feel good move for the school
    Only time it really shines is for RVs and for properties that are too far off the power system to run lines to the house
    YMMV
     
  12. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Wind only works if you are in a windy place, and it is a lot less reliable, even in a windy place, than solar. You can compensate for less sun by putting up more solar panels, because there is always some sun, even in the winter. But if there is no wind, and it has to be a minimum amount at least, then you get no power at all.

    I am not looking for a payoff/payback, I am looking towards self-sufficiency.

    I can afford the panels and batteries and they are less expensive than running a genset.

    Energy is only going to get more expensive and in general solar power costs keeps going down per KW. By the time I retire and move to a better spot where I have a southern exposure, solar should be even more affordable and will eventually reach grid parity, but the main thing will be to be able to be off-grid if I have to. I will only need to run lights, refrigeration, a pump for a geothermal heating system (heated floor using liquid heated by buried coils) and a few appliances.
     
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  13. kibs45

    kibs45 Portland Active Member

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    These guys offer diesel as small as 6kw. I have dealt with them in some capacity for some time, and they seem like well built machines. They may also offer trifuel options. The issue with trifuel is the EPA. Most manufacturers won't cross them, even though trifuel is technically easy. Always invest in commercial grade, much better than most residential/consumer grade machines.

    http://www.voltmaster.com/products/commercial.php
     
  14. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    One thing I've heard about those solar agreements/subsidies where you essentially wind up breaking even expenditure-wise over the thirty year agreement, is they'll often re-sell that contract and attach (put a lien on) your house so that it's difficult or impossible to sell. Often it's a 30 year agreement. Generally you have to be on-grid to be able to "get" theses subsidized "incentives" though..
     
  15. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the setup.

    From what I understand Solar City does a grid tie only system, and they take all the tax incentives/etc., so they basically get the use of your roof, and maybe even own the system itself.

    I would not go for such as system as I want to be self-sufficient so my system would need to be able to run when the grid is down or disconnected. I could/would maybe sell power back to the grid, but generally the goal is to be self-sufficient.
     
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  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Solar City.. many a nightmare regarding that company. I think someone recently wrote a book about them