Generator Shelter Plans

northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
I'm about to build a shelter for my small portable generator (EU 2000) and looking at design options. Main thing I believe is to keep the generator out of the elements (rain and snow) and to ventilate it well for air intake and exhaust out. I was just wondering if it's worthwhile to incorporate other elements. One is to insulate the shelter. I live in an extremely cold environment in winter, and thought it may be a good idea, plus may help with noise reduction? The other is fire proofing. I really don't think that's necessary either, particularly if you vent it well. I will be running on natural gas primarily and thus will locate vents up high in the structure. Another concern is to build it high enough to prevent snow buildup from blocking any vents. Eventually, I will upgrade to a larger genset with auto start capability. Any other ideas or things you may incorporated into your generator shelter?

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    I keep my EU 1000 in the house in the winter to keep it warm. In the summer I keep it under an upturned Rubbermaid box. If it is raining or snowing, I just prop the box up on a stick, to keep the rain and snow off.

    The biggest issue is to keep the engine warm enough to start easily, hence the reason to keep it inside

    Tony
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    If it is close enough to buildings, you probably do not want it to burn, so fire proofing is important. If it is far from everything, then burning the shed will not harm anything.

    There was couple threads here where Chris Olson (can't find them right now) described how he built the shed, and his shed were insulated and also incorporated heating to pre-heat the generator before starting. He said his generator started fine at -35C. At any rate, it is not very pleasant to find out that your generator cannot start when it's -40C outside, more so in the middle of the night.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    It will be within a few feet of my building, so I may consider fire proofing. I would tend to think that the risk of a fire, particularly with NG is quite low.

    I also believe that the cold temps won't affect the operation, running on NG, as it would with gasoline or propane. I may consider insulating with that foil backed fiberglass, and I could build walls and floor out of concrete board if need be.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    For whats it worth and I don't know any of the circumstances a Honda EU 2000 has been said to get Ice in the crankcase breather tube and blow all the oil out on extended runs in very cold weather. You might want to research it, I have read about it several places. There is plenty of heat that could be recycled off the muffler.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Honda_EU2000_Generators/conversations/topics/8482
    .
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    For whats it worth and I don't know any of the circumstances a Honda EU 2000 has been said to get Ice in the crankcase breather tube and blow all the oil out on extended runs in very cold weather. You might want to research it, I have read about it several places. There is plenty of heat that could be recycled off the muffler.

    Thanks for the info on that Blackcherry. I did a bit of searching and there is a kit available to address this problem (10 watt heating coil that prevents ice from building) My Eu2000 came with an insulated pipe cover, so not sure if Honda has fixed the problem with that, or if extra heat is necessary to solve this? I have a feeling that if a run the generator in an insulated shelter, this shouldn't be an issue.
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    northerner wrote: »
    It will be within a few feet of my building, so I may consider fire proofing. I would tend to think that the risk of a fire, particularly with NG is quite low.

    I also believe that the cold temps won't affect the operation, running on NG, as it would with gasoline or propane. I may consider insulating with that foil backed fiberglass, and I could build walls and floor out of concrete board if need be.

    My cabin is in an area that has MANY forest fires (unfortunately intentionally set by the hunters) each year.
    Anyone who builds now generally uses that cement board on both the inside and outside of their structures (with insulation inbetween) and metal roofs. If you take your time on making the cuts on the inside walls, the cement board can actually look real nice when painted. Almost a woodgrain effect and helps to prevent fires on both the inside and outside.

    Another option that a friend did was have one of those built-on-site metal storage buildings installed and then framed the inside with metal studs and insulation and the painted cement board on the inside as the finished walls. It looks really good and is about as fireproof of a structure as you can get. And the cost of the metal building, considering they come and set it up, was about the same as framing one yourself (considering your labor has a value) and the entire 30'x60' building was erected in under 2 days.

    I know this is overkill for a shed, but I was just mentioning this because of the "fire-proof" and "insulation" factor that also applied to our cabins.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    Another option is a small 8 or 10 foot shipping container, other than the interior floor , entirely fire proof and theft proof, sorta.... reason I mention it is our local prices have dropped substantially recently. Was 2500 now 800.
     
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  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    westbranch wrote: »
    Another option is a small 8 or 1 foot shipping container, other than the interior floor , entirely fire proof and theft proof, sorta.... reason I mention it is our local prices have dropped substantially recently. Was 2500 now 800.

    The shed I plan to build will be very small, a little over 2 feet by less than 3 feet long. If it costs me more than $100 in materials, then I would consider it over budget.:roll:
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    For whats it worth and I don't know any of the circumstances a Honda EU 2000 has been said to get Ice in the crankcase breather tube and blow all the oil out on extended runs in very cold weather. You might want to research it, I have read about it several places. There is plenty of heat that could be recycled off the muffler.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Honda_EU2000_Generators/conversations/topics/8482
    .

    I had a closer look at my EU 2000 today and noticed it has the cold weather kit installed which includes the small 10 watt heating element and insulated cover for the breather tube pipe. So appears that cold weather kit is now included on the latest units, sold around here anyway.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    northerner wrote: »
    I had a closer look at my EU 2000 today and noticed it has the cold weather kit installed which includes the small 10 watt heating element and insulated cover for the breather tube pipe. So appears that cold weather kit is now included on the latest units, sold around here anyway.
    My guess would be the specifications for units sold in Canada are probably different, I guess it all depends when they changed and if it's some kind of gray market unit. Just like Cars, people in the USA would have a hard time believing that some cars there don't have A/C as standard.

    I looked at a new one I have , same rubber tube. It's a couple months old, manufactured in February 2013. Does your's have the New big Fat gas cap thats tethered ??
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    I looked at a new one I have , same rubber tube. It's a couple months old, manufactured in February 2013. Does your's have the New big Fat gas cap thats tethered ??

    Not sure what you mean by that, as I haven't seen any previous models, but does measure about 2 1/2" in diameter including the knobs. The gas cap does have a shut off switch, which I do believe opens and closes a vent to the tank.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    northerner wrote: »
    Not sure what you mean by that, as I haven't seen any previous models, but does measure about 2 1/2" in diameter including the knobs. The gas cap does have a shut off switch, which I do believe opens and closes a vent to the tank.
    The New cap is at least 3 " and it has a plastic piece ( tether ) that sticks down into the tank so the cap cannot be removed from the generator.
  • TiminatorTiminator Solar Expert Posts: 32
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    When it's raining or snowing here in Ohio I use a portable dog kennel to house my Yamaha EF2000is. It's got great ventilation and shelters the generator easily. I've never insulated it, but I guess you could with some spray on adhesive and firewall insulation.
  • SCharlesSCharles Solar Expert Posts: 123 ✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    I have a Honda 4500 w. generator just outside the house. I built a small shed for it from some galvanized metal panels someone gave me, I think from an old chicken house, something like that. The floor is concrete, as is the back wall [up against a hillside]. I used 2 x2 lumber for framing, and that will burn, but everything else, roof included, is the metal siding. I can open the top [lid] of the shed for extended generator run times, though it might not be needed. I left air vents at the tops of the end walls, and the front is a tri-fold door I can block open. So heat is not a problem for the engine. I also made the shed long enough to have a place to put my small air compressor in there, four feet or so from the generator. We have a PV-powered home, and I don't run the compressor off the PV but, rather, the generator. The shed cost me a few dollars for the Portland in the floor, a few deck screws to secure the steel panels to the framing, a few cheap hinges and latches. I don't know the shed dimensions: maybe three feet tall and a couple deep, long enough to house both the generator and compressor with some space in between. I used to keep oil and gasoline for the generator in there, too, but decided that having combustibles next to the running generator would be bad news if for some reason the generator caught on fire, so I've moved them to another shed.

    I did not incorporate noise reduction, the thing is located back of the house and isn't a problem. I do like the other poster's suggestion of lining the inside with backer board or the like, I might have to think about that one. Mine is not quite fire-proof, those 2 x 2s would burn, though not much fire there.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    Remember that metal buildings are actually not good to be around in a fire (and not considered fire resistant)--Structurally, steel begins to lose most of its strength above temperatures of ~450 degrees.

    Obviously if a 3 foot tall metal shed collapses due to a gasoline/diesel/etc. fire, it is not going to put put anybody's life at risk (beyond the fire/fuel itself).

    The wood structure in your "metal building" is actually more "fire resistant" than the steel itself (no mater how hot the fire, wood can can withstand the heat better than the steel--structurally). Obviously, wood is also a source of fuel. Using concrete backer board or similar to protect against heat/fire is not a bad idea.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • YehoshuaAgapaoYehoshuaAgapao Solar Expert Posts: 280 ✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    I put my generator inside a suncast GS2000 shed. It has 12 rectangular soffit vents for it to breathe through. Have an exhaust kit to keep it from getting to hot inside.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    One important consideration when building a generator shelter is to make sure there's no blow back from the exhaust back into the shelter, as this will affect the available oxygen for the air intake and thus the generator output. This is particularly important if the shelter is relatively small. I found it best to open up one entire side (of a small shelter) to properly expel exhaust gas and to have good sized air intakes on the opposite side! In my application, I have a shelter that is about 2 feet wide by 4 feet long and close to 3 feet high. I originally had a 9" square opening to expel exhaust from my Honda EU 2000, and found there was gas blowing back into the shelter. This lowered my output, both on gasoline and natural gas by about 10 to 15 %! An extension of pipe on the exhaust is not recommended either. Best to have it running in the open us much as possible.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    northerner wrote: »
    One important consideration when building a generator shelter is to make sure there's no blow back from the exhaust back into the shelter, as this will affect the available oxygen for the air intake and thus the generator output. This is particularly important if the shelter is relatively small. I found it best to open up one entire side (of a small shelter) to properly expel exhaust gas and to have good sized air intakes on the opposite side! In my application, I have a shelter that is about 2 feet wide by 4 feet long and close to 3 feet high. I originally had a 9" square opening to expel exhaust from my Honda EU 2000, and found there was gas blowing back into the shelter. This lowered my output, both on gasoline and natural gas by about 10 to 15 %! An extension of pipe on the exhaust is not recommended either. Best to have it running in the open us much as possible.

    Why not to add to the exhaust pipe and route it to the outside? If you use larger pipe, this shouldn't affect the generator's backpressure.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Why not to add to the exhaust pipe and route it to the outside? If you use larger pipe, this shouldn't affect the generator's backpressure.

    I tried using a pipe (approximately 1" in diameter and less than 1 foot long), and the output was reduced. But I was also directing exhaust through the screen, so not sure if that affected output as well? I found that the pipe became very hot, so maybe that is the reason Honda doesn't recommend doing this in their manual?
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    Just picked up the Yamaha EF 3000 today. I find it quieter than the Honda, as I don't need to run it flat out to get a decent output. Also, starts much better. It was -25C tonight, and it started up right away and no stalling issues. Only problem so far is that I'm temporarily using the 15 amp outlet, and for some reason the breaker keeps kicking out. I had the limit on the inverter set to 15 amps initially and finally after reducing the limit to 12 amps, it no longer trips the breaker. Sounds like an issue with the breaker! I should have the twist lock connector cable ready for use in the next day or so, and then can use the 23 amp outlet.

    The manual recommends running the generator at least one meter away from any buildings or objects to prevent overheating. I'm thinking of building a hood to vent the exhaust and hot air out of the shelter I built. Probably best to make the hood double walled with insulation, to prevent heat from entering the shelter. And then really ventilate the shelter well. In hindsight, I should have made the shelter much larger!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    northerner wrote: »
    Just picked up the Yamaha EF 3000 today......

    Or figure out the airflow pattern, and build the shelter to take advantage of it. My Honeywell has fresh air intake through the bottom, and vents out out one end along with the exhaust port. But at -25, I'd worry about over-cooling it.
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  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    mike95490 wrote: »
    Or figure out the airflow pattern, and build the shelter to take advantage of it. My Honeywell has fresh air intake through the bottom, and vents out out one end along with the exhaust port. But at -25, I'd worry about over-cooling it.

    Good point, although the shelter must be designed to work out well in both winter and summer. I was thinking of putting doors on the opposite side as well that could be opened right up if need be to prevent overheating when it is warmer out.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    Have you looked at Chris Olson's design, with a fan built in to control temps etc.?
     
    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
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    westbranch wrote: »
    Have you looked at Chris Olson's design, with a fan built in to control temps etc.?

    No, haven't seen his, but I won't get too complicated with fans etc... Instead, I will build the shelter with doors that allow me to open it right up if need be. Not so critical at the moment overheating with the sub zero temps.

    I am really liking the new Yamaha EF3000i genset. It starts very easily, purrs like a kitten:p and is even quieter than the EU2000i due in part to the lower rpm's required. Also puts out plenty of amps. I would highly recommend it!
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    I don't have a 2000 but have noticed that my 3000 is , or seems, a lot quieter than a friends 2000 and it is softer in tone than the 1000.
    is the Yama adaptable to an auto electric start?
     
    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
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans
    westbranch wrote: »
    I don't have a 2000 but have noticed that my 3000 is , or seems, a lot quieter than a friends 2000 and it is softer in tone than the 1000.
    is the Yama adaptable to an auto electric start?

    I haven't looked into the auto start yet, but believe you must tap into the wiring to put it in. I know that you can get a remote start for it, but it is an extra $500 and not necessary.
  • basewindowbasewindow Solar Expert Posts: 63 ✭✭
    Re: Generator Shelter Plans

    This is a pic of my Gen shed. I salvaged an old dog kennel (must have been a big dog).

    Attachment not found.

    Inside is my China knock off 4kw petrol generator (Fuji-Micro)

    Attachment not found.

    I attached a small 40w panel and cheap CC to charge the start 50Ah AGM start battery. I might not be up there for a few months and was finding it was going flat.

    Attachment not found.

    It has remote key fob type start. A 230vac line runs into the shack, which I mainly use for the vacuum. I have a 20amp 3 stage battery charger for charging if I need it.

    Attachment not found.

    I have an air intake at the front and an extractor fan at the rear to vent the exhaust fumes. For extended periods of running I leave the door open.

    The shed keeps it dry and blocks the noise a bit. The claimed 59db at 4m isn't quite true.....

    It seems to work ok so far for what it's worth.
    Off Grid shack - Victoria Australia. 480W array, 500Ah AGM at 12V. 30A PWM Manison CC. Trimetric 2030. 300W Pure Sine Inverter. 120lt Dometic Gas Fridge. Composting Toilet. 5000lt water tank with 12v 35psi pump. Bosch Hydropower 16 for nice hot water. 4kw Fuji Micro Generator (dead after 7 years) 5kva Subaru Generator.
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