Experience with generator mfgr's? Triton, SWP, Central Marine, Hardy...

aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
 I'm curious if anyone has recent (last two years) experience they'd like to share in purchasing a diesel generator from any of the below companies? I'm getting quotes but looking for the sales/shipping and support experience from anyone who's dealt with any of these companies. 

Hardy Diesel, Triton, Southwest Products, Central Marine Diesel or others? 

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,873Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Bought my 3kw diesel from UnitedGenerator dot com
    Subaru RGD3300H  about $3K Free shipping to you, shipped from warehouse in SoCalif, to NorCalif

    At 52 hours, governor had loosened up and unit was over-reving and inverter would not qualify it.  So much for german engineering on the Hatz diesel in it.  5 months repair cycle, and 200 mi ea way to service center


    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
     OK, so I might not want to buy from them. ? I'm looking at a 15KW diesel unit as my bank is rather large, 48V 1766Ah and using the XW 6848, charging at 140A. Since I'll be using this in Alaska you can pretty much forget the sun for close to 3 months, meaning I'll be using the generator every few days and utilizing those "run days" as laundry days and any other high load tasks I can relegate to when the generator is running, so I want to be able to carry a load for the house plus, without impacting the charging cycle. 

     The EPA stuff has confused the diesel market, or at least confused me, now that we have Tier 4 final and Flex etc.. I just want a unit that has 500 hour service intervals, sips fuel and can give me roughy 800 hours a year for years to come. I've seen quotes in the 8-9K range for an open unit on a skid, which is all I need. Quotes I'm getting in Alaska are like 14-15K! 
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,764Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    In terms of low-sulfur etc environmental regs, I'm more worried about how my older engines will work with new fuels than new engines with new fuels.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26 #5
    My experience with generators has been with larger commercial installations, Catipiller and Cummins Onan were the brands we used, Catipiller were generally less expensive but both are excellent, including after sales service.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,873Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The ultra-low sulfur fuel has lower lubricity, and I add 2 cycle oil to the diesel if I can't get bio-diesel.   Without it, I can hear the injector pump moan, which is not going to be good for it.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    mike95490 said:

    The ultra-low sulfur fuel has lower lubricity, and I add 2 cycle oil to the diesel if I can't get bio-diesel.   Without it, I can hear the injector pump moan, which is not going to be good for it.
    The removal of sulfur also caused nitrile seals to go hard resulting in injection pump leaks over older pumps not designed to use ULSD.
    Newer diesels designed for the new fuels are able to cope without sulfur even with injection pressures of 2000 bar, or 30 000 psi
      
    http://blog.autointhebox.com/diesel-engine-problems-using-extra-low-sulfur-fuel.html
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
     Well I found out today that Southwest Products bought Hardy Diesel, so one in the same now. FWIW I did have a great conversation with SWP's Nat. Sales Mgr. Looks like a good outfit to go with, at least on the west coast. 
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 36Registered Users ✭✭
    CMD is complete garbage Triton never heard of them SWP ought to know what they are doing but have not been impressed with their company Have you considered Multiquip? Get their smallest 1800 RPM unit with a Kubota, 10kw I think? They actually know how to build stuff that does not fall apart. You do not want to get to the step above 13 kW or it becomes full insane electronic Tier 4 garbage. Below that and it is still mechanical injection and such and very reliable. They call it Tier 4 but the small stuff has much looser emissions standards. Kubota or Isuzu are best, Perkins should be a ways down the list but they are OK.
  • aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
    CMD is complete garbage Triton never heard of them SWP ought to know what they are doing but have not been impressed with their company Have you considered Multiquip? Get their smallest 1800 RPM unit with a Kubota, 10kw I think? They actually know how to build stuff that does not fall apart. You do not want to get to the step above 13 kW or it becomes full insane electronic Tier 4 garbage. Below that and it is still mechanical injection and such and very reliable. They call it Tier 4 but the small stuff has much looser emissions standards. Kubota or Isuzu are best, Perkins should be a ways down the list but they are OK.


     What experience have you had with SWP that leaves you less than impressed? I have not looked at Multiquip as I do not want to pay for an enclosed generator. I'm looking for an open unit. They also seem to skip the sweet spot of 15KW I'm looking for with an engine that can deliver roughly 75% load at 1gph or less. 

     While I originally had my eye set on an Isuzu powered set, SWP quit producing that particular model and now uses the Perkins 404D-22G which by spec looks just fine to me. I have no recent knowledge of how Perkins has faired now that it's owned and produced by Caterpillar in the US.
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 36Registered Users ✭✭
    edited June 28 #11
    I have only ever seen older SWP sets but they were just the same as everybody else, an engine bolted to a generator mounted on a frame with a questionable radiator and peripherals.  We tried to get parts from them but they did not seem to have a clue on something they had built.  The thing lost its coolant and completely fried shortly after, so it was never resolved.

    They became a Perkins dealer so that is why they use Perkins now.  But I work at a commercial generator repair business and the prices they charge for simple parts are just outrageous even B2B.  So I can't imagine what it would be like to a consumer.

    Perkins is kind of the bargain basement of the small diesels.  They are usually OK but once in a while they do something stupid like lose an oil pump.

    As for your comment on paying for an enclosed generator, building a proper shed will cost a lot more than an enclosure.  But maybe that is what you need in Alaska to be able to get to it.

    TBH most of the open frame units we have ever seen are just thrown together cutting cost at every corner.  The engine and generator may be good but the peripherals are junk.  Sorry to be a downer but that is the way it is.  These companies you list are not really companies for the most part, they seem to operate more like some guy in his garage.

    SWP has multiple locations now but that is a relatively recent development.  I have not seen their recent product but the Perkins thing annoys me.  They should be able to get Kubota or Isuzu for a nominal upcharge if the customer asks for it.
  • VicVic Posts: 2,904Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 28 #12

    aksala,

    I only have personal experience with name-brand gensets.  Meaning,   that a known manufacturer integrates all of the components (even is this is done by a sub-contractor),  and  that named brand takes responsibility for the warranty,  service (under a service contract,  or  from trained dealers),   documentation  and supplying parts for some reasonable time,   into the future.   These gensets can seem a bit expensive,   but may well be worth the investment,  over a period of time.

    My favorite manufacturer has been Kubota,  with their SQ series.  These are enclosed 1800 RPM diesels.
    MQ  makes a good genset (IMO),   with fairly good parts availability,   and outstanding Tech Support.

    Both of the above quiet units are designed for the Rental or large contractor market,   and are often seen with more than 10 K hours on the clock,   and generally have needed no major repair in that time period.

    mcnutt probably has much more info on the quality of either of these,   as well.

    Know that you only need a skid-mount genset. Probably Kohler,  Onan-Cummins,   Cat,  Olympian,  etc could supply a  quality skid-mount genset,   with stem-to-stern high quality parts,   all of which would be under their warranty.

    In metro areas,   you can find name brand,  quality diesel gensets,   that were Grid Stand-by units,   with very low hours (often mostly exercise hours),   that had to be removed  due to non-compliance with EPA Tier  whatever,   for fairly low prices  --  perhaps on Craigslist,    if you like to take a bit of a chance.  Do not know the state of compliance required at your ultimate destination,   or what the future might hold for non-commercial use of older diesel gensets,   compliance-wise.

    Have looked at many ads for  Hardy,   Maine,   and many,   many other generator suppliers,   and had felt that this a bit of a cutthroat business,   where every corner HAS been cut,   that there had been no engineering,  per se,   just bolting el-cheapo parts onto a skid,   collecting $$  and shipping it.

    Am not certain,  that an engine manufacturer would honor their warranty on many of these units,   as there could be questions about adequacy of cooling,  exhaust backpressure etc.   Guess that we might hear more horror stories   if many of these gensets were horrible,   on average ...

    Just opinions.   It looks like you are designing a nice capable system.   Good luck,   Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 36Registered Users ✭✭
    I like Kohler as a company but they do not make a product I think you will be happy with.  Since they bought Lombardini I think that is all they use and it is all Tier 4 insane stupid computer control everything.

    Cummins used to be good but went downhill fast.  They use proprietary controls now which would not be so bad IF THEY WERE ANY GOOD TO START WITH.  But they have hardware and software problems and only their people can fix them and they charge drive time to and from the distributor which is usually half a state away.

    Check with Cat/Olympian, they have been very good to us for what few we have out there.  Also Northern Lights may be an option.

    Used units are a mixed bag as well.  If you get one from a major you will probably get proprietary controls and a proprietary generator and that may get expensive.
  • VicVic Posts: 2,904Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭

    OK,  thanks mcnutt..,

    My Kohler is probably 15-ish years old,   and is LP/NG.   A very basic genset,   but  has crank-triggered ignition ( Ford powered),   some of those type parts may be expensive/unavailable.

    Am also sure that Kubota and probably MQ  have expensive  controls/unique parts,   etc.

    Thanks for your perspective,    Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
     Well thanks for all the comments and insights. I did ask for a copy of SWP's warranty terms and they gave me the name of the company that does their warranty work in Alaska. I'll have to give that company a call and just see if they can confirm their warranty coverage. 

     It's a bit sad to hear that it's apparently difficult to get a well put together open generator! I simply do not need and thus do not want to spend the extra thousands on a sound enclosure. The set is going inside a heated garage (oil gravity fed heat) and so I just don't need all the extra stuff. 

     I'm also curious where they're cutting corners comparatively, since the quotes I've received for a similar generator by Northern Lights or powered by Kubota was $4,000 - $5,000 more. I'd rather put that money into more panels if necessary or into my kitchen cabinets or my hot water system. :disappointed:
    :
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 36Registered Users ✭✭
    The reason open generators are so generally junky is that they are marketing to a price point.  People who buy open generators generally are penny pinchers and are DIYers not listening to anyone with experience so the maker with the cheapest price gets the sale.

    What are your specs and what prices have you got?  How far in the bush are you?
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Free shipping Mitsubishi engine generator, will they ship to Alaska? Doubt it
    https://www.coloradostandby.com/diesel-generators-global-power-products-gpp15-of-15-5kw-open-frame-diesel-generator
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • aksalaaksala Posts: 35Registered Users ✭✭
    > @mcnutt13579 said:
    > The reason open generators are so generally junky is that they are marketing to a price point.  People who buy open generators generally are penny pinchers and are DIYers not listening to anyone with experience so the maker with the cheapest price gets the sale.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > What are your specs and what prices have you got?  How far in the bush are you?

    The screen on my 7 year old Macbook Pro decided to quit the job last night and typing much on my phone irritates me. 🤔

    I'm not in the bush, just off grid. I already have quotes to ship a generator from Seattle to Anchorage for less than $400. or to the build site for a little more than $700.

    My specs briefly, 15Kw, 1000 hours a year, max 1.3gph at 75% load, liquid cooled, auto start capabilities to integrate with AGS and inverter, 500 hour service intervals, auto shutdown for critical events like oil, temp...load while charging bank approximately 9kw.

    Pricing in line with the link you sent, about $1,000 per kw. For name brand.
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 36Registered Users ✭✭
    This is exactly what I am talking about.

    Mitsubishi engine which is difficult to get parts for.

    3 cylinder engine which shakes like a paint mixer so:

    Radiator mounted to engine will shake to pieces eventually.

    No-name controller mounted on side of engine will be shaken apart.

    Air filter may also be shaken off, can't tell if it is factory or not.

    Although if it really runs 1000 hours a year, these things may not make much difference.

    mcgivor said:
    Free shipping Mitsubishi engine generator, will they ship to Alaska? Doubt it
    https://www.coloradostandby.com/diesel-generators-global-power-products-gpp15-of-15-5kw-open-frame-diesel-generator

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