Generator Opinions

RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
Currenly I have an 8kw gas generator that I use for charging my battery bank when bad weather sets in. Plus I use it for large loads if necessary. The generator I have was originally bought for the purpose of providing power for the actual construction of my "house" and figured I would wire it into the system with an AGS module. Well I have done that, and it works .. with the exception of the choke .. it a manual one. So, while it all works fine automatically, its not something that can actually work unattended.

Anyway, I have decided to get a new generator and am looking at the "Generac EcoGen Series 5818- 6kW Standby Generator for Off Grid Applications (LP)". It was built specifically for offgrid renewable system like mine. Its quite, runs on LP, and is low maintenance. For the LP, I can hook it into the large tank I will be installing, or run it off of smaller 20lb/40lb bottles.

Does anyone have an experiance with this generator or anything close to it (Generac makes a few non-re ones that look almost the same)?

Any opinions would be appreciated.

Roy

Comments

  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,970 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Roy,

    There has been some converstaion re the EcoGen 6-ish KW generator on the OB Forum:
    http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4591

    FWIW, 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.
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Thanks for the link. I'll post some followup in that thread.

    Roy
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    There are many folks ( myself incuded) who don't hold Generac in high esteem. Can't speak to any specific models, but many of the ones I have run across have not performed as one would expect.

    Tony
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Can you give me anything that I should look out for and inquire about?
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Generac has its name on a number of machines, some of which they build, others that they lable. What I have found is that they are not very long lived, particularly the engines. I suspect there is a difference between the single cylinder 3600 rpm homeowners big box store units and the bigger more commercial ones.

    I have seen a couple with Honda power that looked a bit more promising.

    T
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    OK.. I'll look into the actual manufacture of this system (engine, electronics, ect) and see if it was a "re branded" system or actually manufactured by Generac.

    Thanks!

    Roy
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,970 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Several years ago, was looking for an LP fueled genset. While trying to determine the manufacturer of the engine used in several Generac units, discovered that they claim that they make all of the engines and major components in all of their smaller and medium sized units. This is not believable, but convenient for them.

    Generac seems to have worked very hard to tarnish their name in the small/low-cost end of the market. I would have a lot of trouble buying one of their air-cooled LP/NG-fueled units, just based on experiences of others. And they have quite a lot of company in the low-cost end of the market -- the home Stand-By gensets. This market is extremely cost-sensitive. This factor could tend to drive out any quality that ANY manufacturers might have wanted to design in ...

    YMMV, 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.
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: Generator Opinions

    My personal experiance ..... stick with Kohlar or Cummins/Onan. They both make some good units.
    Chuck
  • 65DegN65DegN Solar Expert Posts: 106 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    I have a 5KW Generac powered by a Honda engine. Its a few years old and so far a bad spark plug wire damaged the ignition coil by drawing too much current. Replaced both.
    The Generac was noisy so I replaced it with a Honda 2000i. So far the Honda 2000i starter rope broke. Replaced with a 3/16 ths braided nylon rope that is shorter but will last longer. That has held up well.
    Third winter for the 2000i and I think it's a great little generator. Very quiet.
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 140 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Can you run it off a 20lb tank? You might need a 100lb tank with a 2 stage regulator.

    I have a kohler 8.5rmy which has been good. The only problem so far was the battery was undersized for cold weather starts. There was really no hope of starting the thing in 0 degree or below temps. I replaced it with a standard car battery and no problems since.

    I also have a portable 8.5 gas generac which has always been one pull and it's running.
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    My opinion.

    I had a 15 kw 1800 rpm propane Generac backing up my off grid system for 5 years. This was one of their "high end" units. Mine was continually down for expensive emergency repairs both on the engine as well as electronic control components happening at the most inopportune times.

    After a lot of research, I replaced it with an Cummins Onan RS 20000 propane 1800 rpm unit which is performing very well. Their warranty covers solar applications within a reasonable hour standard and the machine's design and manufacturing is the best I've seen so far. Also, the unit is brushless using an exciter instead. It came down to Cummins Onan or Kholer.

    With propane fueled units you have to derate them for altitude. In our case, at 5,100 feet our new unit is producing about 18.5 kw.

    Cummins Onan builds fewer models which in my opinion results in a better manufactured 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 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
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    icarus wrote: »
    I suspect there is a difference between the single cylinder 3600 rpm homeowners big box store units and the bigger more commercial ones.
    T

    They have 2 cylinders.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    Mangas wrote: »
    With propane fueled units you have to derate them for altitude. In our case, at 5,100 feet our new unit is producing about 18.5 kw.

    That is true for any fuel source. You also have to derate for hot temperatures, usually above 77 F.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    To the OP - you may want to check out the Ziller Electric forum, they have one of the best Generac forums.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    jtdiesel65 wrote: »
    Can you run it off a 20lb tank? You might need a 100lb tank with a 2 stage regulator.

    I have a kohler 8.5rmy which has been good. The only problem so far was the battery was undersized for cold weather starts. There was really no hope of starting the thing in 0 degree or below temps. I replaced it with a standard car battery and no problems since.

    I also have a portable 8.5 gas generac which has always been one pull and it's running.

    From what I read about the system, yes you can. But I will go back and double check.

    Roy
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    techntrek wrote: »
    To the OP - you may want to check out the Ziller Electric forum, they have one of the best Generac forums.

    Thanks. I will go look for that forum.

    Roy
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    techntrek wrote: »
    They have 2 cylinders.


    The one I am looking at has 2 cylinders.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Please note that many generators will draw enough fuel that you will need to draw liquid propane,, rather than vapor. At high volumes, propane will freeze if it is delivered as vapor.

    Tony
  • RoySalisburyRoySalisbury Solar Expert Posts: 82 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    icarus wrote: »
    Please note that many generators will draw enough fuel that you will need to draw liquid propane,, rather than vapor. At high volumes, propane will freeze if it is delivered as vapor.

    Tony

    I did not know this. I will make sure on the tank size.

    Roy
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions
    icarus wrote: »
    Please note that many generators will draw enough fuel that you will need to draw liquid propane,, rather than vapor. At high volumes, propane will freeze if it is delivered as vapor.

    Tony

    Not any of the consumer Generacs.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Whether or not a generator will draw liquid or vapor is a matter of how many BTUs are consumed, and how fast the tank and regulator can deliver them in vapor form.

    Icarus
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,970 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Have been running an 18 Kw Kohler genset on a 100 Lb tank. The outside does frost, but in the moderate climate, here, has not been a problem.

    Roy is in LV, NV, which can get colder than here.

    One issue with feeding liquid LPG to the gneset is the Evaporator (or "Converter") for air-cooled gensets. They must be made, and perhaps Generac or the others offer some solution -- electric or possibly exhaust-heated.

    Believe that at about -- 40F, LPG freezes, but, most here do not have that severe weather.

    Just adding more noise to the thread. 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.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    After 32 years of claiming that some day he would get a generator, I finally talked my Dad into buying a Honda EU6500is. He lost power for 3 days after the hurricane in August, which brought up the subject - again. So after much additional discussion on what was available he finally had the 6500 delivered about 2 weeks ago.

    I saw a quick demo when I was there for Christmas, plus he's done a break-in run of 5-6 hours. My first impression is this thing is a beast - it is a very good thing that they include handlebars and wheels in the package. It is smaller than my own permanent-mount 12 kw Generac, maybe 1/3 of the volume, and about 1/2 of the weight, but still not something you can pick up without a winch, pulley system, or a come-along. Fit and finish was excellent, I looked it over and it appears to be well made. It started right up using its electric starting system. Pull-start is an option but I certainly wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis with an engine that big. Next time I'm over there I'll try it just to see how easy (or hard) it is, since I was ready for family fun I wasn't in the mood to do it this time. It has a digital readout which shows several parameters. I don't remember all of them but I clearly remember RPM, and I think voltage and VA were other selections. There was a fourth which I don't remember at all. On Eco mode it ran around 2400 RPM, on full mode it was around 3400, although this was unloaded. My biggest impression of this thing - dang it is quiet. Again, it was unloaded so the overall sound might be different if it is chugging out a full 5500 watts (6500 surge), but there was barely any difference between Eco and full. Three of us stood right over it having a normal conversation in both modes.

    I'm convinced if I had to do it all over again I would get this model, or one of its siblings, instead of my LPG-powered Generac. Between the silence, portability, the fact that I never use mine to its full ability, and that I'm an indentured servant to my LPG provider, there would be a lot of advantages even though I would have to deal with stockpiling gasoline. This model outputs 120/240 split-phase so larger items like well pumps can be run w/o messing with tranformers. I'm very impressed.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    Another good point with the honda and yamaha inverter generators is the tri fuel kits you can get for them. solarvic
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Opinions

    That would definitely have to be part of my mix if I did it all again.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
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