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Generators - new to me

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  • #61
    Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post

    Model and serial# can determine age and additional specs.
    Onan experts hang out on Arcs 'n Sparks.
    Nothing found for Arcs 'N Sparks except business links?
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician


    • #62
      Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post
      Looking at a used Onan 4 kw gas genset both 120 and 240 unknown condition but looks clean for $500 just wondering what its worth, out of a motorhome unknown hours.
      They tend to go for more than they may ideally be worth. I've looked into them a little. Stuff I found was top dollar, even though leaking oil from shaft seals etc, obviously going to need a fair bit in addition to the high purchase price in spares and labor. The market has discovered "name brands".

      The motorhome ones may not be best. There are also ones that were used in refrigerator trucks, which may be worn, but are worth rebuilding. My friend's 2 cylinder 3 phase genset is 60 or so years old, but works fine now. We re-built it extensively, (it's second rebuild, last one was in the 1970's after he got it out of a Pevely Dairy truck).
      CNC machines only go through the motions


      • #63
        Originally posted by Joel View Post
        There is a lot of good information in this thread.
        I might as well add some of my refinements in case they may be of use to anyone. We are only semi-rural, but the power goes off regularly enough to be a pretty big hassle.

        Before the generator gets hooked up to anything, I verify the frequency and voltage (and adjust the frequency if necessary). This stays hooked up inside so I can easily monitor it and be confident that all is well. It is just a cheap meter that I sealed up in an outdoor outlet box. It reads spot on with my Fluke.

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        I rigged this up with a $3 battery alarm clock and a relay that closes when the power is cut. I wired the battery though the relay and set it to 12:00. When the power goes out, it comes on, so I know exactly how long the power has been out. The clock sits by the bed, and the alarm is set for about 1.5 hours in the summer and 2.5 hours in the winter - and when the alarm goes off, I know that it is time to get out the generator (or UPS) to ensure that the refrigerator contents stays below 40°. I have added fridge/freezer thermometers (only about $20 for a nice wireless setup with alarms), so I now know exactly when it needs attention, but the alarm will wake us up if need be. We have 2 freezers, but they hold temperature very well and don't need attention for a long time.

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        I used this enclosed relay unit for convenience, but it was only $7 when I bought it. Obviously any appropriate relay will do.

        Outages happen so much that I got tired of dragging out the generator. I saw a couple of large rack mount UPS's on Craigslist for $30 a pop and got an idea.

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        The UPS originally accommodated 2 - 24v SLA battery banks. I got 4 lawn mower batteries ($17 each at the end of the season!) and did a little rewire on the UPS. The unit will run the fridge through 2 full cycles (after having come up to higher than normal temp) before the batteries get down to roughly 60%. If the power is still off an hour or so later, out comes the generator. Obviously this will run fans and lots of other things for many hours. I would like the keep the fridge behind this all the time, but there just isn't any good place for it.

        This is the heater I use in the winter during outages, and sometimes, just for supplemental heat to keep the heat pump from running too often. Surprisingly, it has no trouble keeping a 1,650sf house warm (the house is pretty tight). I do put a cheap 9" fan on the shelf above it to keep the air stirred up, which works amazingly well. A 20lb tank lasts a long time.
        For A/C during extended outages, we have a small window unit purchased off season for $60 that I can put in, but fortunately, haven't had to.

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        Joel: Sounds like you have a good handle on your generator setup. Obviously, you have electrical knowledge that would be a tremendous advantage. One question, what is a UPS?
        Thanks, Sarge41


        • #64
          An Uninterruptible Power Supply - a battery backup.

          Thanks, though I know maybe 1% of what most of the electronic whiz's on this site know. Some amazing folks we have here.
          Location: North Central Texas


          • #65
            UPS is an Uninterrupted Power Supply used mostly on computers
            Helder Ferreira
            Setubal, Portugal


            • #66
              Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post

              Nothing found for Arcs 'N Sparks except business links?
              Sparks & Arcs subforum of the SmokStak old engine board.


              • #67
                There are some bargains in state surplus auctions:


                • #68
                  I used to lose power often so I have two small Honda 2000w that can be hooked together and a 10,000 generac. After a huge storm that knocked out power to much of the county I found that my kids had used up all the gas in the mowers and the gas stations closed because they could not power their pumps. After that I converted to be able to run on propane or gasoline and as an insurance policy bought two 100 lb. propane tanks since gasoline goes bad but propane does not. These are not inverter generators so I just feed the output to an UPS to run my electronics.


                  • #69
                    I just saw an ad for a generator, 5500 watts, with a 3.5 gallon tank. The info stated 3.4 gallon per hour fuel usage. Ok, so at todays prices that's just short of $30 per hour, or $750 for one full day of running. Sure can't wait to get one of those-
                    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by darryl View Post
                      I just saw an ad for a generator, 5500 watts, with a 3.5 gallon tank. The info stated 3.4 gallon per hour fuel usage. Ok, so at todays prices that's just short of $30 per hour, or $750 for one full day of running. Sure can't wait to get one of those-
                      You saw a misprint or you aren't remembering it correctly. My Onan EC-20 consumes less than that at full load (20kw).