Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

tyageltyagel Registered Users Posts: 16 ✭✭
I'm in need of replacing a Kohler Propane generator. Although its now on its last legs we had little problem with it starting up or draining the battery down despite the fact that it would go for weeks without being run (and in middle of Vermont).

We will be putting in a solar system, but right now we just run on the generator when we need power. There seem to be a bunch of considerations around

- Generators that aren't intended to be primary power source
- Having the battery drained when (right now i turn a key, last thing i want to do is unhook a battery and bring it in and out everytime at the house or something).

I'd like to pick a propane generator that works well now and will support our solar system when we put it in.

Could you please point me in the right direction on this topic?

Thanks,
Thomas

Comments

  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    Any of the Inverter/Generators will work. mine is a key start and has plenty of power for our place.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    You haven't mentioned your loads or the battery specs. These are important to determine the gen size needed to best fit your system, especially if you are going to add solar...
     
    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
  • tyageltyagel Registered Users Posts: 16 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    Thanks. Max 500kwh / mo. Probably less. I have no idea on the batteries, but I could easup be running off grid with just generator until 2016 (will install beforeverything tax credit expires).

    The Kohler guy is saying I need 8.5kw but that seems like overkill and he is the same guy that 'repaired' my current generator for $800 and it has never worked worse.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    that works out to ~ 16.6 Kwh per day, an average on grid household...

    what conservation measures have you made recently? LED or CFL lights, new fridge in last 3 - 5 years etc?? Other appliances?

    It's cheaper to save a Kwh than to produce it..

    hth
     
    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
  • tyageltyagel Registered Users Posts: 16 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    I was giving a very 'conservative' number. All of my calculations show around half of that number with all possible scenarios.
    Unfortunately, we currently use about maximum of 1-2 hours of generator a day without any batteries (and may have no solar or batteries for at least another year).

    We would very much like to have more power than that but our generator is seriously dying and we are looking for recommendations on a generator that works well off-grid, on propane, as a primary power source (for at least some period of time). I'm not worried too much about over paying for a 6Kw generator when i could have gotten by with 3, but I absolutely don't want to pay for a for a 10kwh when I never needed more than 3....

    So i'm really looking for advice on a brand and model of propane generator that can work as a primary off-grid power source (used ever other week or so for a full weekend or more). I've read enough to know that some work better than others but many seem to be not rated for off-grid application. Any recommendations the forum could give would be helpful.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    Champion makes some decent units for low cost. And Costco sells (or sold) a dual fuel unit (gasoline/propane) for ~$700-$900.

    http://reviews.costco.com/2070/100112008/champion-power-equipment-champion-7000w-running-9000w-peak-dual-fuel-generator-w-electric-start-reviews/reviews.htm

    They do not seem to be stocking them now, but there have been some units left over at Costco as they been clearing stock (a month or so ago I saw a few).

    And I see that Home Depot is now selling a version:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Champion-Power-Equipment-71531-Champion-Dual-Fuel-Gasoline-LPG-Portable-Generator-71531/205449443

    One person bought one on the forum (that I know of).... Hopefully they can give us an update on how well it is working.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    http://www.amazon.com/DuroMax-XP4400E-Portable-Generator-Electric/dp/B001BMDFPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415991184&sr=8-1&keywords=duromax+4400


    this might work for you if you only need 3kw. not propane, but the price is fantastic.
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 239 ✭✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    When you say battery drain, what do you mean? I have a 8.5rmy which came with a really crappy undersized battery that didn't have enough juice to start it in winter. I put a car battery in it maybe 10+ years ago and works like a champ ever since. What else is wrong with the generator?

    IMO, better have a plan on reducing below Max 500kwh

    also panels are at all time cheap. You might want to do whatever you can to buy now vs later.
  • tyageltyagel Registered Users Posts: 16 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    Thanks Guys.

    1. Although I know its important to accurately size a system I am really looking to replace my generator. If the feeling is that at 6.5KW generator is too small to support the power requirements I've mentioned then just let me know or I'd love an idea of what suggested ranges would be for that size generator. I know smaller footprint is better and cheaper is better but I am not that price sensitive on the generator. I am thinking under 5K but not that worried. I'd rather go for quality and dependability also.

    2. It must be a propane generator. I have a full 1000 gallon tank, though I could switch to something else I like the convenience of having the tank filled a couple times a year and not worrying with it otherwise.

    3. With respect to the battery drain issue i mentioned, I have no problem with that with my current generator. Its battery works fine. Its just not working. It will run for 30 minutes max and then not for a while. I spent a good amount of money having a service technician work on it and he felt it was time for it to be replace. I'd be happy to have someone else look at it but I don't want to sink another big chunk of money for an evaluation.

    4. I was looking at ecogen as possible replacement and noticed some comments complaining about battery drain. Also with a couple others.
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    I would get an second opinion, worth a couple hundred to save thousands. IMO
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Replacing Propane Kohler 6.5 RMY

    To prevent battery drain on my generator I just installed an eaton 28VDC 100 amp circuit breaker.
    When not in use I pop the circuit breaker, so there is an air gap in the circuit breaking connection between any solid state bits that can leak current.
    Sounds like a weak battery and slow cranking speeds. It wouldn't be the first time some one replaced a prime mover due to a weak battery.
    (I have seen a $140,000 gas turbine replaced because 1 of 2 starting batteries were bad)

    My open circuit method works pretty good, if I don't use my generator for 4 to 6 months I go put the charger on it for a little while and even then the battery is still mostly charged.

    If you only ran the generator for 30 minutes, with the battery out in cold VT temperatures I would not expect it to take a full charge.
    I would unhook the OEM magneto charger and run a real battery charger, so that way you know the battery took a full charge.
    Those factory magneto chargers only put out a few amps at a set voltage. They are only designed to charge the battery under normal conditions. Normal conditions likely translates to a 68'F day at sea level with several hours of charge time.

    If I was in VT and looking for a generator to use that much I would get something liquid cooled and runs at 1800rpms. That would allow me to pump that hot liquid coolant to a radiator inside the structure during the winter. A generator running half speed (1800rpm) would save a lot of fuel. I might even try running it at 50hz at about 100v to save even more fuel, since most small gadgets will run 100v 50hz power no problem. (Warning: cheap battery chargers are one item that don't work so well off 100v 50hz power)

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

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