The Generator Thread

Spurred by TonyStewart's response to this thread: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=9371 regarding his satisfaction with a Kubota generator, I thought it might be a good idea for everyone to post the make, model, specifications, and satisfaction rating of their generators in one thread where people can be directed when this question comes up. Perhaps add in a few other links to relevant generator-related threads. If I'm off-base here, the Moderators will please delete. :D

Note to Icarus: Please do not "hog the thread" with details of your massive antique generator collection! :p Well, okay; go ahead.

My "main" unit: Honda EI2000. 2000 Watt rating is really 1600 Watts. Very quiet, very economical. I find it entirely suitable to my purposes; back-up for small off-grid power system. It replaced a Honda EI1000 which was a tad too small at 1000 Watts (really 800). I also have a Coleman 5000 Watt with B&S 10 HP motor. It's fairly worn out, but it served well. On the down side it is and always has been noisy and a fuel hog, to say nothing of inconvenient to move about. The even older Onan 3kW twin cylinder unit isn't really relevant.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Also, if anyone has information/experience with reliable (and quiet?) alternative fuel (propane, diesel) gensets in the small to medium size range that are currently shipping... I am not sure, but with the new emissions laws in California--there are few (if any) off grid capable options out there today.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    1500rpm 5kW Diesel genset from Vidhata (Basant products India), sold by Volvox Engineering in the UK. Weighs about 500kg, huge heavy alternator and cast iron engine block. Poor workmanship throughout, and have had to replace numerous parts, entire electronic control system, the fan, the water pump, injectors, pump, (because they mis-connected the fuel filter) - it only has 200 hours on the clock.
    Vidhata were actually very helpful in troubleshooting and sending out spares, but the fact remains that I should never have had those issues in the first place.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 913 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    10kw 30 year old Simpower diesel (Nissan 3 cyl). Under 600 hours on it. Had to rebuild the injector pump due to faulty workmanship (slightlly out of warranty). Great unit.

    5kw Subaru diesel portable. Used seldom, ok for inverter charging, but it has condensor type voltage regulation which is great for big loads like compressors or saws...not so fine for electronic loads (like inverters). Impulse buy, did it while the 10 kw unit was down, wouldn't recommend for off grid.:cry:

    Hydro One (multi billion dollar public utility in Ontario Canada). Now used for charging batteries (still cycling like off grid, not floating) since I'm now grid tied to sell (see signature). Recommended for minimal use, off peak only.:p

    Ralph
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread
    stephendv wrote: »
    1500rpm 5kW Diesel genset from Vidhata (Basant products India), sold by Volvox Engineering in the UK. Weighs about 500kg, huge heavy alternator and cast iron engine block. Poor workmanship throughout, and have had to replace numerous parts, entire electronic control system, the fan, the water pump, injectors, pump, (because they mis-connected the fuel filter) - it only has 200 hours on the clock.
    Vidhata were actually very helpful in troubleshooting and sending out spares, but the fact remains that I should never have had those issues in the first place.

    How does one get 60 hz out of a 1500 rpm genset? Sounds like a 50 hz genset.

    Marc, you're no fun! I could strart with a ~1929 Kohler water cooled 4 cyl DC plant iwht auto start, and go up to the most Recent EU 1000 IX!

    Seriously, the biggest issue is matching the gennie to the load. I am a great fan on Hondas for light to medium use. Aside from the EU series, the EX series are pretty robust and reliable. I still keep an EX1800 around for lighter shop use, as it will allow me to run the small table saw and other power tools. I also have a 2900 Mitsubishi that runs great but has had control board problems (which the Mitsubishi tech services seems to have solved as a ground loop in a PV system) I bought it from my neighbour for $50 since he couldn't keep control boards in it. I haven't had a single problem.

    I also have used a number of Robin (Subaru) powered 3600 RPM construction gennies with auto idle features. These are great machines for a construction site, as they will idle along until you pull the switch on the tool, and then they will spool up. A bit noise, and fuel hogs if used full bore at less than load.

    Finally, Onans, especially the 1800 rpm commercial units. A neighbouring bush camp has a 6 kw rig, with ~ 10,000 hours with no significant service, except a decabonization every couple of years. It runs 18 hours a day for several months a year. Onans are often available from the used RV market.

    Tony
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Kohlar 11KW for battery charging about 10 years now and the regulator just went out on it. I also have a 60Kw Olimpia Whisper for the shop and its been going scince 1995 and has over 9000 hours on it
    Chuck
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    a) Honeywell 2000i genset & Iota 48V charger (functional)

    b) listeroid 6/1 & 3KW 240VAC alternator to drive XW inverter charger ckt. (in process)
    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 ,

  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Honeywell HW2000i.

    On my third one. More that you ever wanted to know about it on this thread:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=5840
  • dagr51dagr51 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Onan 5.0 CCK: @ Hunting cabin. Charges batteries through Iota 75/12v, runs tools.
    Honda EN 2500. Backup to Onan.
    Honda ES 6500, water-cooled, electric start. Used on construction job sites.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    That CCK is a great machine, hang on to it. I have a 10.0 cckb that is the same engine, except it spins at 3600 rpm and makes tons of noise. Won't have the life expectance either, but still a great machine. I also have a 3.5 cck from ~1948 still in stand by service.

    T
  • dagr51dagr51 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Actually, Tony, I began looking for one over a year ago after you spoke so highly of them and you also directed me to "THE" generator forum at SmokStak. I've had it for about a year now and installed at my cabin since last summer. It has, unfortunately, developed an oil leak since I dragged it all the way up here, but I've decided to live with it for now. I converted it to propane, built a power shed for it 50' from the cabin and wired it to start remotely from the warmth of the cabin - it's running now and I can hardly hear it. Thanks for your good advice.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Good on ya,


    Where does it leak? Which propane conversion did you use?

    Tony
  • dagr51dagr51 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I have no idea where the leak is yet. The VacuFlow is taking it and blowing it everywhere, and I'm in the middle of hunting season, so I haven't narrowed it down. I'm just checking the oil level frequently and have spread Oil-Dri around to catch the worst of it. Propane conversion was an adapter on the carburetor (dual fuel now) from a Garretson KN and 12v solenoid valve, out of a propane "pig" in the yard regulated by primary and secondary regulators to 11" w.c. vapor.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Nice install!

    A couple of places to look for a leak. The first is the gasket under the mechanical fuel pump. It is one of the few places where oil can get out. Another is the bottom of the points box, where the plunger goes down into the cam. The other big source of leaks is the crankcase vent system. If that is plugged it can leak all over. With the exception of the front or rear main seals, I can't think of any where else it might leak.

    I have never worked with a vacu-flow system, all of mine have been pusher fans. Vacu-flow is such a great idea, as it directs all the heated air away from the genset and indeed out the building.

    Tony
  • The Original RalphThe Original Ralph Solar Expert Posts: 50 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    have a honda tri-fueled powered Northstar (fm northern tool) - 13.5kw surge/10.8kw continuous - have had it since 1998, has a little over 1000 hours on it, and compression still showing within 4-5% of original. honda's svc manual shows a life expectancy on the engine at 2500 hours before major overhaul. I suspect they're allowing for folks not changing oil or svcing their engines regularly.

    Fuel consumption is hoggish - 20 hp V-twin, runs 16-22 gals a day, dependent on load.

    one comment i'll share, in case folks weren't aware, the northstar or in-house northern tool generators are all usa built at their indiana facility. I was a little surprised to learn that but qualtiy and svc from them are super. A friend bought the same gen as mine, then screwed up and managed to connect it inadvertently to live panel and then start it up. Couldn't figure why it was running so erratically so he called me over that nite. He had fried the diodes in the generator head. I'm not electronically "literate" and before we identified the diodes as the only fault, we'd checked and northern tool offered the complete gen head for under $700 which actually surprised me.

    have one a little more research on them since and am really surprised at the consistent quality northern tool seems to put into their generator line.

    Just picked up a makita 5800 w gen (4800 continuous) used, that the mfgr's specs call for major overhaul on the wisonsin-robin engine at 200 hours (i've got to think that's a typo) but doesn't matter, i've got a honda 13 hp water cooled twin (as used in the ES-6500 gens) i'm rebuilding and want to connect it to that gen head. much quieter engine and super svc life.
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I will never buy another Generac.

    So far, the new Cummins Onan RS 20000 is a winner. Well designed, warrantied, brushless, 1800 rpm and overall a very well built piece of machinery.

    Sidebar, I still use my old reliable and durable EU 2000s'. Have had 5 of them. After wearing one out we tried rebuilding it with limited success. When you spread their cost over useable hours, we just replace them. Outstanding product.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I've owned a number of generators over the years, and all the others were loud and thirsty. While they worked fine, they do attract unwanted attention during a major power outage, and the huge fuel consumption issue made running them for extended periods not practical. FWIW, our last major outage was in 2004. Two back to back hurricanes knocked out power for 18 days.

    After that, I bought a Yamaha EF2400iS generator. A conventional generator consumes 1-1.5 gallons per hour. This inverter generator consumes about 1.6 gallons in just over 8 hours. So in a day, a conventional generator can consume upwards of 36 gallons, this one about 4.5 gallons. Multiply those by 18, you'll find out that this single event, will have paid for the generator.

    As it turns out, two coworkers proved this theory. One had a Honda 2KW inverter type generator, the other a conventional model. After that lesson, the second coworker has since bought the same Yamaha I have.

    The reason I went for the Yamaha 2400 rather than the Honda, is the Yamaha is rated for running an RV 13,500 BTU A/C unit by itself. It takes two Honda 2KW generators bridged together to run this same A/C, doubling the cost, and increasing the noise, fuel consumption, and overall weight.

    This generator also works as emergency power at my home too. While I do have a battery bank and solar panels, the weather following a hurricane is usually bad for a few days, so little energy from the sun. I can use an Iota 75A charger, in conjunction with the generator, to top up the battery bank, then turn the generator off again, greatly conserving my fuel.

    DSCN6134-1.JPG

    dscn4134-1.jpg

    DSCN6132-1.JPG

    Had this one since 2006. Great generator. Did have a couple of fuel issues, both were relatively easy to fix (see videos at the bottom of my webpage).

    http://www.2manytoyz.com/yamaha2400.html

    Because of my webpage dedicated to this product, I've talked with many hundreds of owners worldwide. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this product, and fellow owners are also big fans of the product. I have never received a penny from Yamaha, or anyone else. Just a satisfied customer!
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I have the same genset only mine was modified to use propane. That mitigates both the fuel storage issues and the gummed-up-carburetor issues.

    What I like about the Yamaha is that it can power a window A/C yet still be lifted and carried for short distances; any larger or heavier and moving it using anything but wheels would be unrealistic.
  • jacobsjacobs Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    We’ve been using a 1946 Kohler 1.5 KW, 1000 rpm (yes folks, 1000 rpm), 120 volt DC, 4 cylinder, water cooled, model D for backup battery charging since 1981. The only maintenance that’s been necessary is change the oil, spark plugs, and replace a fan belt. It will run full load (2000 watts) for 14 hours on 5 gallons of gasoline. This type generator was very common in rural areas during the 1920's through 1950's. It’s very quiet and very long lasting. It weighs almost 500 pounds. It was originally introduced about 1920. We also have two 120 vac versions of that generator that run at 1200 rpm but are very seldom used. I don’t think there was a quieter, more dependable or well made gasoline generator ever made.

    We also have a “screaming demon” 1980 Kohler portable model 5mm65, 5kw @ 3600 rpm that we purchased new in 1980. It has about 2500 hours on it. Maintenance required has been to replace the balance gears once and update to the improved but expensive new design voltage regulator. Overall, it’s been a very dependable gasoline generator if you don’t mind the noise.
  • overboreoverbore Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: The Generator Thread

    In 1998 we were "ground zero" for Georgia tornado but we had a 5Kw Onan Ng powered gen set; this was after my live aboard experiences with a Onan 7.5 diesel gen set.

    We now have an Onan-Honda 7.5Kw ng /propane gen sent (3,600 rpm ) that is adequate for our needs; however, I just mounted a Listeroid 10/1 -1,000 rpm diesel engine powering a 6Kw pmg gneratror. my prime movers are all diesel and I have supply. It recharges our 1750 watt bat. banks.......

    Laus Deo
    overbore
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I've heard many good things about the Honda EU generators. When I was shopping for an inverter generator, I ended up with a Yamaha EF2000. The main reason I chose the Yamaha is because I wasn't really excited about the plastic camshaft on the Honda EU2000 engine. Now, I know that people have had great service life with the Hondas, so the plastic camshaft must be fine. I just prefer the metal camshaft and a removable cylinder head (not that I want to have to remove it and work on the engine). I expect that the engine will have a long life if maintained properly.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    I run a 6/1 Lister Clone belted to a 5KW genset wired for 120VAC. I rectify the AC and run it into a MidNite Classic 250 and charge my batteries that way. It works like a charm and does not bother the generator when I use my 200ish amp Mig Welder.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread
    jacobs wrote: »
    We’ve been using a 1946 Kohler 1.5 KW, 1000 rpm (yes folks, 1000 rpm), 120 volt DC, 4 cylinder, water cooled, model D for backup battery charging since 1981. The only maintenance that’s been necessary is change the oil, spark plugs, and replace a fan belt. It will run full load (2000 watts) for 14 hours on 5 gallons of gasoline. This type generator was very common in rural areas during the 1920's through 1950's. It’s very quiet and very long lasting. It weighs almost 500 pounds. It was originally introduced about 1920. We also have two 120 vac versions of that generator that run at 1200 rpm but are very seldom used. I don’t think there was a quieter, more dependable or well made gasoline generator ever made.

    We also have a “screaming demon” 1980 Kohler portable model 5mm65, 5kw @ 3600 rpm that we purchased new in 1980. It has about 2500 hours on it. Maintenance required has been to replace the balance gears once and update to the improved but expensive new design voltage regulator. Overall, it’s been a very dependable gasoline generator if you don’t mind the noise.


    Wow, another antique Kohler guy! I have kicking around somewhere a 20s vintage 1500 watt 120 VDC Kohler. I was in daily seasonal service for more than 50 years, before it was retired, still running great! It was hard wired into an multiple building grid that ran 120 vac during the day, but at 10 pm the big genny was shut down, and th Kohler fired up for a bit. It was an auto start, the cooks could turn on a light a 4:30 am and have lights. The trouble was if anybody left an AC device plugged in at 10 pm!

    Tony
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: The Generator Thread

    Ryan,

    That Lister type setup sounds good. The low speed should make for long life and good fuel economy. I like my Onan 6.0 DJE because it was an 1800 RPM diesel genset that was known for its legendary service life. That Lister type engine running 650 RPM must really sip the fuel and have a great service life.

    Edward
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