generators

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tnborn, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. tnborn

    tnborn Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    I am wanting a generator for my home. Which one is better propane or diesel?
    I want to try to get off the grid so I wanted to install a generator. Which watts are recommended to operate appliances if needed? What are some good brands?
    tnborn
     
  2. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I dont mean to burst your bubble but if you are wanting to get off grid to save some money buying a generator of any kind is not the best way to do that. fuel for the generator will cost more than you are currently paying for power to the local power company. plus you will have to haul or have the fuel delivered, another cost to you. even if you go solar/wind/hydro it is not cheaper in the short run than the power company. over many many years it is cheaper once the equipment has paid for itself. we have solar /wind/ generator as our only power sources and we are only paying less than we would to a power company because we are "ultra" conservative in our power use. No heating elements, no elect frige, no coffee maker, electric skillet, toaster etc. good luck to you though. i would think propane generator would be handy since the fuel would be delivered once or twice a year and stored on site in a tank?
     

  3. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    If you go diesel, make sure you get a 1800 rpm generator. The 3600 rpm ones make good occasional use, but wont last as long! This is the idle speed of the generator BTW. Currently I use a gas, run it only when needed to top off the batteries -- fairly cheap to run, I might go thru 10 gal of gas in a bad month and zero all summer. Best use of a generator is not to run the house, but to charge the batteries and use them to run the house -- my current gen is 3000 plus watts.
     
  4. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Propane is far cleaner running. No hot or cold fuel concerns.
    How cold does your area get.? Meaning will you have to put in additives to diesel fuel to keep it from gelling during the winter. That stuff is pricey.

    Stay away from cheap ($ 500 ) gas gennies they have very poor voltage regulation and a very short life.
    Size. (watts)..??....What is your intended load..??

    A fossil fueled gennie is by far the most expensive way to get electrical power.
    You wanna start the gennie just for a light bulb for using the bathroom at 2am....????..........not good.

    If your reasoning for a gennie is because of high electric bills, then be prepared to spend far more for your gennie Kwh's.


    Guess I should say I'm off grid with Wind & PV
     
  5. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As noted, off the grid doesnt mean using a generator. While a generator is a vital part of a solar based home electrical generation system, its not the main piece. Alternative energy is almost never cheaper than commerial power if power is already available at your site. Aside from wanting to get away from the power companies control your not gonig to save any money. You also have to keep in mind maintenance. YOUR the maintenace man on your solar/alt system. Your the electrician, your the person to do the diagnostics. Factor that into your cost.

    The LP vs diesel is often a case of what is available now. DO you have LP already? If so then LP would be a better option. If you have neither then diesel is a good option. Keep in mind you need to keep a fuel supply handly. Where do you store large amounts of diesel or LP.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Onan , makes the best line of gas , liquid propane , and diesel gensets available . Onan is owned by Cummins . They make a line of small diesel gensets from 5500 watts up to 12,000 watts . ALL , of these gensets are liquid cooled and will last a long time if serviced on a regular basis .
    ................Patarini is correct about the 1800 rpm situation . But , ONLY the 10,000 watt and the 12,000 watt gensets are low rpm. The 5500 , 6500 , 7000 , 8,000 watt models are 3600 rpm . The 10kw and 12kw units are going to run around $8,000 not including shipping .
    ................Kubota also makes a line of small diesel gensets but I'm not sure if they are available in the US . fordy.. :)
     
  7. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    I live off the grid also and use solar panels only at this time. We have added to our system little by little as we can afford it.

    As noted above, the small generators that are common will not last very long. We used to use a older vehicle for charging our batteries, but that is not good either.

    So we bought a generator from www.backwoodssolar that is made for charging the batteries. It only does DC, doesn't do AC and is made strictly for charging the batteries. It uses gas, but we only charge them about once a week now, so it doesn't cost much. It is called a Battery Booster Kit and it is $859.

    But you still have to be conservative in power usage. Though we use 2 laptops, day and night.
     
  8. dscott7972

    dscott7972 Well-Known Member

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    I may be buying an Amish farm and I also was wondering about Generators. My major desire is to have something to run a refridgerator, freezer, stove and computer.
    What am I looking at as far as size of unit and cost of running it for these items?
    Light, heat, etc. will not be an issue; I will be going non-electric on these.
    I also wondered about just generator for charging batteries but doubted batteries would run freezer and fridge.
     
  9. skruzich

    skruzich Well-Known Member

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    for continual use charging, like your freezer, you don't want to go with anything less than a genset that has watercooled engine. Any of these small gensets won't last you a year or two at the most. They usually have briggs motors on them and they have a average hour life of 750 hours before having to replace the motor.

    give you a idea on how long that engine will last, lets say 2 hours per day for one year and you will be replacing the motor.

    get you a 4 banger diesel and you can run frenchfry oil in it.
     
  10. dscott7972

    dscott7972 Well-Known Member

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    French-fry oil? Really? Are you being fasicious? I was looking at a really big unit, about $3000, which is in my price range, I just don't want to be puttting $50 a week in gas/diesel/french-fry oil.
    Is there a web site that gives you voltage/wattage use on stuff ?
     
  11. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    A refridgerator and a stove can both be run on propane - a far better source than electric. For a computer - get a laptop - a few batteries and a vehicle charger. The batteries will last about two hours each and can be recharged from your vehicle.

    cheers,