Light tower vs Generator

morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
Hey folks,
Anybody know the difference between how a Diesel light tower and a generator operate? (besides the obvious fact there is a big old light tower attached to one of them)
The reason I ask is I have been looking for a deal on a "lightly" used diesel generator and they seem to come in at a premium. Do a search for Light tower and what appears to be the same thing - Kubota 1800rpm, single phase, water cooled, 6kw, etc etc - come in thousands less. More or less the same hours on the clock.

Any idea if there is a difference between how they operate?

Cheers.
12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is

Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Did a search on one, a Generac with Kubota engine and it would appear that it is basically a genset on wheels with a light tower, has 120 & 240V receptacles, only searched one so others may vary. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,153 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #3
    the difference is probably, if any, in the gen head used, lots up on the auction block I hit with a simple  search: light tower kubota 6 Kw
     
    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
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #4
    I have worked on both, besides the additional lighting equipment there isn't any difference. They are 60hz, most run 4 pole 1800rpm for long generator life and improved fuel efficiency. Almost all of them are 120/240 single phase. Occasionally you will see a 120v only light tower, these are tiny.
    Very large light tower generators may run 480Y277 volt power. But I have never seen one in person.

    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.

  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Thanks guys.
    I spent the better part of last night looking around at spec sheets and for the life of me, I can't find a difference.
    I even came across a used heater trailer of some sort with all sorts of equipment I have no need for, but it had a Northern Lights Marine Generator in it and it was about 1/2 the price you would find it as a used stand-alone generator. Though it was WAY too big for my needs.

    So, I guess now I need to figure out if I actually "need one" or just "want one".

    I'm using a Yamaha 3000w inverter generator to keep the bank charged up when the sun is not playing nice. last year I logged 80 hours, the year before was 60. I'll round up to 100 hours a year to keep me honest. That's pretty low for Diesel and you have to wonder if it's worth the initial expense. Though, every time I start of the Yamaha, I cringe a little bit knowing I am one step closer to it being scrap in the yard.


    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,639 admin
    If the Yamaha lasts 2,000 hours--You are looking a 20 year life--Probably something else will go wrong before it simply wears out.

    I like smaller gensets that are sized to your needs/loads. Bigger gensets are more fuel hungry (if you cannot load them to 50%+ of rated load) and can get into maintenance issues.

    However--Having a spare genset is nice--And if the spare is large enough to run the whole house+shop+etc. until you get a solar system failure repaired (and for shop loads/remote job or repair)--It is hard to turn down a good running larger genset (assuming you have place to store).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Hi BB,
    I like your positive opinion of my generators expected lifespan!
    I would hope for that as well. I run Mobil1 in it...change it well before it's due...good gas, follow the maintenance schedule etc.
    Maybe I'll let it simmer in the back of my head for a wee bit.

    Thanks.
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • DKSDKS Registered Users Posts: 1
    Light towers generally have a capacitor regulated generator.  The regulation and waveform aren't as good as an Automatic Voltage Regulator generator, and certainly not as good as your inverter generator.  I'm not sure how important this would be in your application.
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    I have only ever seen flood lights with AVR.

    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.

  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016 #10
    Cool,
    I will make sure I keep these details in mind.
    There is a huge downturn in the oil and gas industry in my area and tonnes of these things are sitting around at the moment.
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    If you are going to use mobil1 in your air cooled generator only use the Mobil oil for motor cycles.
    The car motor oil doesn't have nearly as much antiwear additive or detergent as the bike oil.

    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.

  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Nice info...thanks!
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,311 ✭✭✭✭
    In a water cooled diesel, I'd run Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

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