What kind of generator setup do you have?

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Gary V, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    I'm thinking about upgrading my generator. The one I'm using now is small, a 5.50kW portable (on wheels). If we run the water pump & water heater together (with lights etc.) it will pop one of the breakers on the generator. When this happens we have only 1 side of the 220 v supply coming in to the house which causes some weird brownout situation. When I lose one phase I believe I have a miswired fixture in my house that is allowing power to pass from the hot leg in the panel to the dead leg which causes this brownout where some of the lights won't turn on until you turn something else on - then they are dim too. I didn't know the problem existed until I overloaded the generator. I believe it is a ceiling fan/light that was miswired. I'm not too worried about it since it has been this way since he house was built in 2003 but it needs to be fixed obviously.

    My house wiring has been modified. The previous owners had a 2nd 200W panel installed in the house so they could separate the 1st floor wiring from the 2nd floor. A generator transfer switch was installed too. Theis selector switch toggles the supply for the 1st floor panel between "generator" or "normal". This allows me to run my 1st floor on the generator via an outside cord that was also installed.

    I would like to install a larger permanent generator outside. I would appreciate any info/experience you can share. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  2. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    How big is your generator? 550 kw is pretty large.
     
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  3. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

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    I have a 8500 portable with what is called a “Generlink” supplied by my power company. It is outside of the meter. Green light appears when the their power is restored. 75 ft power cord also supplied by the power company
    Have used it several times with no problems. Powers everything I need. Pump, kitchen, water heater, furnace. I keep everything else to a minimum.
     
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  4. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    What's that thing called? A decimal point?? Ooops!
     
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  5. roadwarrior

    roadwarrior Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    20kw Briggs fortress stand alone on 2 - 100 pound bottles of propane, it will run everything except for the central air and hot tub at the same time. Move up from a 5000 watt honda with a main disconnect.
     
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  6. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    I'm curious what size fuel tank does it have?
    * then I remembered you said "propane"... I had a total brain fart.

    That was a sweet deal. I wish...
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  7. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

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    I’m running a Honda 6500 - My home is wired for the generator, so I just throw a switch and power the lights, 2 refrigerators, micro wave and air conditioner in the summer or the furnace in the winter. I keep it stored in the garage and just wheel it out onto the driveway when needed and run a 25 foot cable to the box in the garage. That Honda is a gas sipper and runs real quiet.
     
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  8. roadwarrior

    roadwarrior Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I only have a sweet generator because i have a severely handicapped son who needs power 24/7. I love it when the power goes out but my wife becomes a BEAR.
     
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  9. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    Sorry to hear your son has this need but it's heartening know that the utility assisted. My wife is the same way about power. We lost power yesterday, late afternoon, and within 15 minutes my wife was going stir crazy and had me roll out the generator. It's like this is the time she needs to run every appliance in the house too - while she takes a hot shower. I think it's a great time to read a book myself. The power came back on early this morning. We don't generally have many problems but that's the 2nd time we lost it this past month. The first being during Michael. I want a larger generator because I'm afraid I may eventually burn out my well pump or damage something else that's costly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  10. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

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    The only thing I need to do regularly when running more than 24 hours is to change the oil. The generator has an oil viscosity monitor. When it gets low it will not run, thus a quick oil change and back in business.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  11. Back50

    Back50 Supporter Supporter

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    A stand alone generator should be run on a regular basis or (in my experience)may not start easily when needed most. After losing power @ 10 below and learning this lesson I traded my stand alone for a tractor mounted one. My tractor is used often and so far has always started. 15 KW runs everything I need. AB2C96FC-3659-47DD-BB21-F2AB7CFE8119.jpeg
     
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  12. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    Nice. I have a tractor but it's an old '76 MF diesel and I'm not too keen on leaving it running unattended for hours. That looks pretty handy around the farm for all kinds of reasons though and you can't ask for anything easier to move. I'll just put that on my wish list for now. Thanks for the info!
     
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  13. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I have both small generators and large 6.2 but I'm primarily on battery using solar and wind and automotive alternator if necessary.
    However things that can be run directly on an engine I prefer to use directly. Welder , air compressor ,saws ,etc …
    Diesel is by far the better of the mode of fueling seeing it is easier to handle and it ages well NOT under pressure ,leakage is not usually as dangerous as other fuels .
    Diesel have a reputation for lasting longer than gas engines especially in this service .
    the only advantage gas engine have is ease of starting ,but that may be a thing of the past .
     
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  14. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    We finally settled on a whole house system from Generac. The company got the permits, installed, and wired the system up. Looked into it 10 years ago but cost was an issue then. We (I kept wife happy) made do with a small 1850W Coleman and a few extension cord. But when the 1850 turned out to not be sufficient to run what the wife needed I then I bought a 9500W Honda from Costco, and still ran extension cords for many years. June of 2016 we put the 9500W Generac in. Totally automatic. When utility power drops, the generator fires right up, power stabilizes (Maybe 5 seconds?) then house is connected and things are normal again. Only time we know the utility power is back on is when we hear the Generac shut down. The Generac is propane powered. It's control panel has a self start timer function to start it up every 2 week and runs for 10min, (Completely programmable) there's even a cellular control module available (We didn't choose to have)
    We should have made an effort those many years back to get one installed then. Now, since I'm working nights again, I don't worry about power outages and having the wife start a generator, string out extension cords, run them to all the crap that needs power, IE plug in the fridge, TV, cable box (internet) PC, a lamp or two, and the Microwave
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  15. BradGad

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    We’re in great shape on that front... a 22kw Generac and a 500 gallon propane tank. We have a neighbor who’s a general contractor. He let us buy it with his wholesale ID and installed it for a song.

    My only input is to say that the peace of mind is a great thing and if you can afford a whole house generator go for it.
     
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  16. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    I have a 1976 tractor with a Perkins 203 diesel (about 60hp) and it purrs like a new engine still. I don't know about the new diesels but these old ones appear unstoppable. It does crank kind of slow in cold weather though. I installed a heavier battery last spring and I'm hoping it will crank OK when we hit single digits again. If someone could find an old diesel tractor that runs but can't be driven for other reasons it would make for a nice generator setup like @Back50 has (albeit stationary).
     
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  17. Gary V

    Gary V Scout

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    That brings me to one of my biggest fears. I have a roll out generator. Many times when we need our generator it is blowing heavy rain. We tend to get broad areas here in VA that get hit by the edges of hurricanes. Violent electrical storms too. Standing on wet earth and handling electrical cords or touching a running generator that is soaking wet is pretty scary. I'll reach out with a stick and hit the off switch before I do anything but this is not the way I like to live. I need to look in to something a little more permanent.
     
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  18. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    IMG_3199.JPG IMG_3199.JPG IMG_3261.JPG My last generator (The Costco Honda) was an electric start, (Replaced the battery one time) So I just had ensure the battery was good if the wife needed to start it. She would not use the pull start. Even then I'd hear a ration of shade if she had to use the on switch, cuz that meant she'd be running the extension cords and complaining every step. I didn't mind running the cords to the crap that needed power, but I admit it was getting old. More often that not, as soon I finished running the 4 or 5 cords to all the crap, the damn utility power was usually restored! Guess who got to put all that crap away.
    Not a worry now. Infact, we sold the Honda, and gave the little 1850W coleman generator to a more needey family so no protable generators for use anymore. The Generac we have powers the house fully. Picutes are of the day of install, The new transfer control box next to the old tiny fuse box (Old phone box below) I'm sure there are other generator manufacturese around, but we have no complaints about this company. The install crew were quick and courtyous, answered any questions I had. System ran us $5k! (Financed!) Thats everything pulling permits, Generator, running the conduit and wires, electrical tie in, new control box, the works. Were happy with it.
     
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  19. hlydon

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    I have a Generac as well.
     
  20. Seacapt.

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    Just my little Honda EG2800. Way more than I need just to run my furnace if I run out off wood or to lazy to go out and get it. I've never needed the excess wattage for lights, micro wave or electronics since I always look forward to using my camping gear for lights, cooking ect. when there' IMG_5514.JPG s a power outage and water is never a problem since the lake is 20 ft. from my front door.
     
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  21. lopie

    lopie Scout

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    do you live in a freeze zone? If the power goes out, do you drain your hot tub?
     
  22. roadwarrior

    roadwarrior Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I live in New England. I do not have to drain the hot tub. I only drain it in the summer, I use the tub for pain management. The generator has a block heater and and engine oil cooler.
     
  23. whtshdwwz

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    Foulwind....is your gender piped to run off natural gas?....to me that would be ideal and it would be a seamless transition as needed.
     

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