Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

cdrecdre Solar Expert Posts: 78 ✭✭
So I'm looking at my off-grid house project and considering generator options to use both while the project is ongoing and afterward for connection to my system. For context, I'm looking at likely an Outback FP2 with around 7000 watts in PV.

The site is in Belize (Central America) and completely off grid. Diesel fuel typically sits right at around US$5.50 and gasoline is about the same.

I need a generator to manage basic construction loads - drills, concrete vibrators, lights, etc - while not costing me an arm and a leg while it's idling (which I expect will be most of the time).

What are your thoughts on this Yanmar turning at 1800 rpm? With the 2 wire option, I can set it up to play nicely with my FP2 down the road.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Slow-Turning-Yanmar-5kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=yanmar_4kw

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid
    cdre wrote: »
    What are your thoughts on this Yanmar turning at 1800 rpm? With the 2 wire option, I can set it up to play nicely with my FP2 down the road.

    Are you sure 4 kw is large enough? You may not be able to start a table saw while the air compressor is running. Have you considered a Honda eu6500? It runs on gasoline and is an inverter generator... when you draw smaller loads the engine slows down to save fuel.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • cdrecdre Solar Expert Posts: 78 ✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Woops.... You are right on the loads. Probably would want to look at their faster running 5.6kW unit. http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Yanmar-6875-Watt-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=Y6875

    Trying to stay away from gas (maybe irrationally). My biggest aversion to the inverter generators is that I'll have a tough time getting someone local to fix them.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,489 admin
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Some of the non-inverter Hondas (and other) work-site gensets are not inverter type--but will idle down if there are no AC loads (obviously, if you have some always on loads like lighting, the genset will still operate at full speed).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Not that they re bullet proof but the Hondas are well tested. My 3000i will start my 'darn hard to start' Makita compressor even when it is 15*C and my 15A table saw at the same time. the 300i doesn't blip while my older 2800w non inverter gen will grunt when starting just the compressor... YMMV
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • n4wffn4wff Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    I don't own a Yanmar diesel, but I have a Titan generator which looks like a Chinese clone of the Yanmar 10hp engine. If it is the same as the Yanmar, when you turn the key off, the electric kill switch trips a solenoid which throws a mechanical linkage to the fuel shutoff. The 2 wire will start it fine the first time, but someone will have to manually switch the lever back to run every time the generator shuts down to make it ready to start again. Before you buy, check with the seller to confirm if there is a way around this.

    EDIT: I just read another post in this forum with a video showing the mechanics of the Yanmar diesel.
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?22153-increase-speed-%28and-frequency%29-in-a-diesel-genset
  • cdrecdre Solar Expert Posts: 78 ✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    n4wff, thanks for the info on start/stop - that's good to know. Definitely a ton of info out there on Aurora and other Yanmar clones.

    The other disadvantage the Yanmar I'm considering may have is a lower quality voltage regulator than Honda's, which I understand is amazing...

    Still a ton of research to do, but I appreciate the info on the gas gens. I'd pretty much written them off, but now I realize I need to give them some consideration...
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid
    cdre wrote: »
    n4wff, thanks for the info on start/stop - that's good to know. Definitely a ton of info out there on Aurora and other Yanmar clones.

    The other disadvantage the Yanmar I'm considering may have is a lower quality voltage regulator than Honda's, which I understand is amazing...

    Still a ton of research to do, but I appreciate the info on the gas gens. I'd pretty much written them off, but now I realize I need to give them some consideration...
    One thing to think of is that while the Engine is a Yanmar, the Generator end is whoever they buy it from. For instance, I have a Toyota Industrial engine, but the generator end is a Mecca-Alt from Italy. The AVR alone is a $1,600 item, but it has 3% distortion.

    I'd ask what the Generator end is and are there options.
  • cdrecdre Solar Expert Posts: 78 ✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Just confirmed they use the Mecc Alte generator heads as well. Thinking the best bet might be to move up to their Perkins 6.1kW unit - http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Perkins-6-kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=P6125. I can get warranty service at a local Perkins dealer.

    So many choices....
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid
    cdre wrote: »
    Just confirmed they use the Mecc Alte generator heads as well. Thinking the best bet might be to move up to their Perkins 6.1kW unit - http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Perkins-6-kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=P6125. I can get warranty service at a local Perkins dealer.

    So many choices....
    Thats good, I don't know if they are the best, they are well known and easy to get parts for.

    I have changed my mind several times over the years. With Inverter generators you can pair two of them when you need big power and just use one when required and charge at a slower rate. Then you always have a spare with redundancy, never a bad thing.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Plus the inverter-gensets have stable output, and they will sip gas when loads are light such as the end of a charge cycle or if you must use it to run base loads for long periods of time (for instance if your PV inverter dies).
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • SaggysSaggys Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    Inverter genset is semiconductor output, conventional genset is copper winding output correct? In a remote area I would opt for the copper windings.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid
    Saggys wrote: »
    Inverter genset is semiconductor output, conventional genset is copper winding output correct? In a remote area I would opt for the copper windings.
    If you are concerned about lightning damage, most generators will contain some semiconductors as part of the voltage regulating network, although it they may not be directly connected to the terminals which leave the generator.
    In terms of simple reliability, there is something to be said for the electronically generated output in terms of its better ability to protect itself and the engine under various fault conditions. I would not generalize without looking at the user experience over several years if I could access that. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small Diesel Gen for Off-Grid

    There are many people on this forum that have discussed the reliability of their Honda or Yamaha inverter-genset. One has put thousands of hours on one.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
Sign In or Register to comment.