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A Generator Thread for Preppers
Self | 31 July 2012 | Lurker

Posted on 07/31/2012 4:08:41 PM PDT by Lurker

A couple of weeks ago someone on the weekly prep thread thought a post on generators might be useful to some. Now I have recently completed the “biggest” prep project of mine to date. Considering the recent catastrophic power grid failure in India I thought it would be a good time to share what I’ve done to deal with an extended power outage at the Compound of Clan Lurker.

Project Overview:

I wanted to be able to power my home during an extended grid failure without having to run a bunch of extension cords through open windows, etc. My criteria for a successful project was this:

1. Be able to power critical items such as refrigerator, freezer, lights, television and radios, and at least one good sized room type air conditioner.

2. Not have to run extension cords through open windows or doors.

3. Be able to take advantage of multiple fuel types so as to not be dependent on gasoline or diesel which may drastically increase in price or not be available at all.

Doesn’t sound too difficult, right? Well it wasn’t, really. It did, however, require quite a bit of research and a few hours of time. Now I’m not saying what I did would be good for everyone to run out and do. Your circumstances are probably very different from mine and what I picked may not be appropriate for where you live, how you live, etc. Also I have NO financial relationship to any of the manufacturers whose products I purchased. None. Everything I picked is the result of my own research. I strongly recommend that you do your own research as well.

The Process:

The first thing to do is pick out what you absolutely HAVE to power in your home. This is important because generators put out a finite amount of electricity which is measured in watts or amps. Most generators display the running and maximum, or “surge” wattage somewhere on them fairly prominently. While this information is useful, what’s really important is amperage. Most “mid-sized” portable generators, those which range from 5,000 to 8,000 watts in output, have a 240 volt, 30 amp output on them.

That means you’ll need to find out how many amps each thing you want to power in your house requires to not only run, but to START as well. For instance my furnace requires only about 5 amps to run, but 9 amps to start the fan motor. You have to take this into account as all electric motors as in air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, etc, require more amperage to start them initially.

So step one is learn the running AND starting amps for everything you consider “critical” to have during a power outage. Then you can select a portable generator of the appropriate size. Yes, bigger is almost always better but there’s a significant price increase as you go “up”. Just add up the “running” amps of your equipment, multiply that by 110, and you have a rough idea of the wattage you’ll require. OK, so don’t every electrical engineer in the place jump on me at once. I said “rough” idea. Take the figure you come up with and get a generator the next size up. For instance I came up with about 5,000 watts, so a 5,500 watt unit fit the bill.

Getting The Power Inside:

As I said I didn’t want a bunch of extension cords running in and out of windows, running across floors, up stairs, etc as this creates a safety hazard. So what’s the solution? It’s a piece of hardware called a “transfer switch”. I bought this model: Reliance 6 Circuit 30 Amp Transfer Switch.

This device connects to your home electrical system through the panel which contains the circuit breakers in your house. CAUTIONARY NOTE: While there are very good instructions and a video to help the do-it-yourself types, hiring a competent, bonded, certified, insured real live electrician would be a VERY good idea if you have the SLIGHTEST doubt in your ability to install this device yourself.

Behind that panel in your house lurks 240 volts of electrical death just waiting to grab you. So if you’re not COMPLETELY confident in your abilities, write the check. I accept NO RESPONSIBILITY for crispy fried Freepers. Got that?

The device, when properly installed, isolates your home from the local electrical grid and switches the circuits you’ve selected to generator set. It’s INCREDIBLY important that your home NOT be connected to the electrical grid when you’re supplying power to it from the generator and through the panel. High voltage can leak back down the lines MILES away and give the poor guy trying to repair all those downed lines a VERY, VERY bad day. You can, and most likely WILL, be held both civilly and criminally responsible if you harm someone because you haven’t properly isolated your house from the grid!

OK, now that I’ve scared the crap out of everybody I can tell you that I installed this device and the associated Inlet Box in under 90 minutes. The included video was extremely helpful and laid everything out in logical, consistent steps so even a Freeper could understand it.

The Inlet Box has a 30 amp male plug to which you connect one of the female ends of the 30 amp cord. The male end plugs directly into the 30 amp, 240 volt output of your generator set. The inlet box is connected to the transfer switch, which is connected directly to the main electrical panel in my house

The Fuel Dilemma:

Now you’ll most likely get a generator that’s powered by gasoline. Mine has a 6 gallon tank and claims a 6 hour run time at 50% load. That means it will run for about 6 hours on a tank of fuel IF you’re only putting out half the power that set is capable of, roughly 2750 watts in my case. Larger loads will consume fuel even faster. So I did some math:

6 X 4=24 gallons of gasoline per day. 24 x $3.50 a gallon is $85.00 to run that sucker for 24 hours. OUCH!

What’s the solution? It’s called a Tri Fuel Kit. This allows your generator to run not only on gasoline, but propane, or natural gas. Now a pound of propane is roughly equivalent to a gallon of gasoline and around here a 20 pound tank refill runs about $18.00. So you can see that’s significantly cheaper than gasoline. But what’s even cheaper is the natural gas already coming into my home. This cool little Tri Fuel Kit also allows your generator on natural gas, which is even less expensive than propane. You can run it for literally a few bucks a day.

Now you’ll need to connect your gen set to the gas source somehow. Since I’ve opted for a semi-permanent installation (more on that later) I purchased 50 feet of ½ rubber hose suitable for use with low pressure natural gas. This came from the same vendor as the adaptor kit. A quick connect set up on either end and I can hook it directly from my gas meter right to the regulator on the Tri Fuel Kit. Voila, I’ve got fuel for a few bucks a day! Yes, it’s dependent on the natural gas grid, but in my area they’re by far the most reliable utility we have. And I can always go back to propane or gasoline with a flick of the fuel switch. Pretty slick!

Generators Are Loud!

Even the smallest generators are noisy little suckers. Bigger units sound like you’re surrounded by The Lawnmowers of Hell. After a few hours both you’ll hate it and your neighbors will hate both it and YOU! So I did a little more research and happened upon this guy’s solution to the problem. God I love redneck McGyvers!

This is the “semi-permanent” part of my project that I’ll be starting on in August. Mine won’t be identical to his, of course. But this is definitely the general concept I’m going for

.

The Cost:

OK, of all my prep stuff, this is the 2nd most expensive. Firearms are the only thing I’ve spent more money on. So here’s a breakdown on what I’ve got into this so far and what I expect to end up having spent when I get that cool little shed put together.

Generator: $800.00.
Transfer Switch Kit: $275.00
Tri Fuel Adaptor: $200.00
Gas Line: $150.00
Miscellaneous Parts: $200.00
Shed: Haven’t bought it yet but the one I’m looking at lists for $230.00 at Wally World.

Total: $1,625.00

Pricey? Well, yea. This is a lot of money for us but we didn’t do it all in one day. We’re still not done, actually. There’s that smoking cool shed for it to build yet, but I have the costs of the parts nailed down pretty well. So break the purchase down into manageable chunks. Get the generator first, that way you have it even if you do have to use extension cords. Then you can start acquiring the other items. We got the generator first, then the Transfer Switch Kit, then the Tri Fuel, and so forth. It went in some sort of logical progression for us. Yours will probably be different. That’s ok.

But the point is that if there’s an extended power outage we’re set to run what for us are the essential electrical requirements of our home for an extended period of time without being an undue disturbance to our neighbors.

Now remember generators require maintenance and that includes actually starting them up and having them power something. This needs to be done on a regular basis according to the instructions in your owners manual. You can’t just leave these things sit for a couple of years and expect them to work when you need them. So if the maintenance instructions say to start it up and power some stuff, do it. Don’t shove this expensive piece of hardware in a corner of the garage and forget about it.

So during a power outage here is how our rig would work:

Shut off main breaker to house. (You can’t be too careful with electricity)
Plug 30 amp cord into outlet on generator and inlet box on the house.
Hook up gas line to gas outlet on meter and inlet on regulator.
Start generator and warm up according to manufacturers instructions.
On Transfer Switch turn house circuits on ONE AT A TIME, waiting a few seconds between each one.
Check generator to make sure it’s running well.
Go back inside and get a cold beer from the fridge.
Get ready to meet the neighbors if you haven’t already. They’re going to wonder how in the hell you’re the only one in the neighborhood with electricity.

We tell them we worship Cthulu and he provides for the True Believers. They leave skidmarks.

OK I know this is a lengthy post and well longer than most of the ones on the Prepper threads here but I wanted to share what we’ve done to get ourselves ready in case of an extended power outage. As usual all the opinions expressed here are mine, which of course makes them absolutely beyond question.


TOPICS: Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: generators; preparedness; preppers
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A thread on portable generators for the preppers.
1 posted on 07/31/2012 4:08:51 PM PDT by Lurker
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To: Kartographer

Kart,

Would you be so kind as to ping the Prepper list?

Thank you.


2 posted on 07/31/2012 4:20:01 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

Thank you


3 posted on 07/31/2012 4:20:35 PM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Lurker

Great thread, and thanks for posting. BTT.


4 posted on 07/31/2012 4:27:24 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Lurker

Cool.

I’ve got a bit more money, so I’ve been looking at the more permanent generator solution. The one thing though I would really want is to be able to easily swap from Propane to natural gas. I can get a generator with kits to swap back and forth, and maybe that would be good enough.

My idea is to get a large propane tank buried in my yard, but run the generator on my natural gas (which is, as you said, generally very reliable).

The generator I have in mind is I think from GE, and comes with everything. IT does an automatic switch, and switch back, when power goes out. It is a “smart” system that will allow you to have more total equipment than it can run, and will prioritize so if your A/C needs to run for a while, it will switch off something else until the A/C turns off (like if you had an electric clothes dryer).

My house is mostly natural gas anyway. The point of propane is that if things get REALLY bad, and the gas goes, I’ll still have power. Then I’ll need to equip my heater with electric coils, so if the natural gas goes, I can run it on an electric heat emergency setting.

Unfortunately, we don’t lose power often enough to push me to action.


5 posted on 07/31/2012 4:28:27 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

You’re quite welcome. If there are any questions I’ll be happy to answer them here to the extent that I can. Just realize that I are not an electrical engineer or a plumber.

I’m strictly a Big Box store handyman, not a professional.


6 posted on 07/31/2012 4:32:06 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

I think you missed something important...

Generators come in 2 varieties. (3 actually but the third is of no consequence)

Cheaper units run at 3600 rpm. The more expensive ones run at 1800 rpm. The necessary speed of the engine is determined by the number of “poles” in the generator.

The units used in motor-homes are almost always 1800 rpm. There are two reasons for that; First, they are much quieter. Second, the life span of the engine is much much longer. If this is a generator that is going to be run 24 hours a day, you do NOT want one that runs at 3600 rpm - period.

The 1800 rpm units are more expensive because the engine has to be larger, but you really have no choice here.


7 posted on 07/31/2012 4:38:00 PM PDT by babygene (Figures don't lie, but liars can figure...)
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To: Lurker
i bought a diesel generator because i have a 250gal fuel tank that runs my backup furnace(i have coal and electric as primary heaters) because if the power goes out, it'll prolly be out at the gas stations too... and who can store/afford a hundred gallons of gas for a generator???
8 posted on 07/31/2012 4:39:26 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Lurker

Thank you very much. I have saved this and am going to start putting things together. Thanks again for making it as easy as you could for a non electrician but an experienced do it yourselfer..


9 posted on 07/31/2012 4:40:03 PM PDT by depenzz (As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Unfortunately, we don’t lose power often enough to push me to action.

Our grid has been pretty darned reliable around here, too. But... you never know. Perhaps if you look at a smaller investment the cost/benefit ration would look a bit different and you'd be more inclined to get "good enough".

I'd sleep a lot better if we had one of those GE units, but getting one of sufficient size and having it professionally installed would be about 5 times what I've got into our solution. I just can't swing that now or in the near future.

The Tri Fuel kit is really, really slick. I have very minimal small engine knowledge and I was able to install mine in about 2 hours. And it works just fine.

Best of luck to you.

L

10 posted on 07/31/2012 4:43:59 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

Great writeup.

I’m not sold on his enclosure setup for hot weather, but you could always open the doors if it was running too hot.


11 posted on 07/31/2012 4:43:59 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Lurker

“1. Be able to power critical items such as refrigerator, freezer, lights, television and radios, and at least one good sized room type air conditioner.”

You may want to look into propane or kerosene refers/freezers, as they can run on next to nothing, and have to require you to fire up a generator for that capability.


12 posted on 07/31/2012 4:46:46 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: babygene

Well I know I’ve learned something today. Thank you.


13 posted on 07/31/2012 4:48:07 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Billthedrill

You’re welcome and thank you.


14 posted on 07/31/2012 4:48:54 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Chode

Like I said, everyone’s situation is different. In your case my rig would be inappropriate. I hope your information can help someone else.


15 posted on 07/31/2012 4:51:33 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

“Now a pound of propane is roughly equivalent to a gallon of gasoline and around here a 20 pound tank refill runs about $18.00.”

Sorry, not true. If I had to estimate, I’d say a it would take 10 pounds of propane to equal ONE gallon of gas. I’ll check now.


16 posted on 07/31/2012 4:51:51 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: Lurker

I think your equivalence on propane is way off.

1 gallon of propane = 4.2 pounds @ 60F.
1 gallon of propane = 84,300 btus
1 gallon of gasoline = 114,100 btus

so a 20 pound propane tank is 20/4.2 = 4.76 gallons
equivalent to 4.76 X (84300/114100) = 3.5 gallons gasoline


17 posted on 07/31/2012 4:54:10 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: nascarnation; BobL

Thanks to both of you. I knew smarter folks than I would find the holes. I appreciate the sharp eyes.


18 posted on 07/31/2012 4:56:29 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

Here are some numbers:
“Now a pound of propane is roughly equivalent (in energy) to a gallon of gasoline...”

Propane: 1 pound = 21,500 BTU
Gasoline: 1 gallon = 125,000 BTU
Diesel: 1 gallon = 139,200 BTU

So 1 gallon of gasoline has about 6 times the energy content of propane, and Diesel has even more energy than gasoline.

I misunderestimated the low density of Propane or I would have been closer.


19 posted on 07/31/2012 4:57:55 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: Lurker

“Thanks to both of you. I knew smarter folks than I would find the holes. I appreciate the sharp eyes.”

Any time - that’s what make this such a cool website.


20 posted on 07/31/2012 4:59:07 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: Lurker
i agree with all you said... i just need to know i will have fuel for my generator when there's no power at the gas station
21 posted on 07/31/2012 5:00:54 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: BobL

Indeed it is. But I like to think what I’ve got going on here is pretty slick, still. One thing’s for sure, it’s way ahead of what my neighbors have done.

LOL.


22 posted on 07/31/2012 5:01:51 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

“Indeed it is. But I like to think what I’ve got going on here is pretty slick, still. One thing’s for sure, it’s way ahead of what my neighbors have done.”

Sure...but in most parts of the country, having an extra 20 lbs. of rice puts you light years ahead of your neighbors.

But keep up the great work - prepping is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL, especially when we keep running $1T deficits every year.

There is still an outside chance that things will change in this country before we have to collapse - and we’ll know that within a year.


23 posted on 07/31/2012 5:08:18 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: Lurker; appalachian_dweller; OldPossum; DuncanWaring; VirginiaMom; CodeToad; goosie; kalee; ...

DONE!

Preppers’ PING!!!


24 posted on 07/31/2012 5:13:49 PM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: BobL

LOL, you’re quite right about the rice thing. I appreciate the encouragement. I’m sure others have done this already and probably better than I did.

But that’s what I love about these threads, I always learn something.


25 posted on 07/31/2012 5:18:43 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

Yea, there are others that also do a good job. But they’re human - so they cannot post 24/7. Having more people join in is only better.


26 posted on 07/31/2012 5:22:43 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: Chode

Propane in tanks will last a very long time (decades perhaps?) with no intervention.

Long term diesel fuel needs to be treated with biocide because bacteria will grow in it.

The automatic transmissions we ship to the Army as service backups often are in storage for long periods and we have to treat the ATF with biocide.

http://www.powerservice.com/bk/


27 posted on 07/31/2012 5:26:42 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Lurker
Here is a link that most preppers may find useful. Every device with a motor should have LOCKED ROTOR CODE LETTERS.

This is the "inrush" values which can be significantly higher than the wattage required to run the motor. You can visualize this with a garden hose analogy. When you first turn the water on, you have to fill up the hose first with water before you can begin watering.

This is useful for both generator sizing and inverters. Specifically if you have a deep well in the range of 3/4HP. You will need to size up in order to handle the starting wattage.

Hope this is helpful.
28 posted on 07/31/2012 5:33:00 PM PDT by PA Engineer ("We're not programs, Gerty, We're People")
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To: Lurker
I have a 4200 watt Coleman portable I picked up from a relative. It is my main back up should I need it. My secondary back up and the one I use first in an outage is a simple 500 watt 12 volt to 120 volt inverter. I have about 6 deep cycle batteries thanks to my wife getting new wheelchair batteries periodically and I keep them charged. For a few lights and a laptop that will do for 6-8 hours per batter easy. In event of longer outages the batteries can also serve to service & rest the generator.

Now for stowing ideas. Mine sits on my front porch. I keep it amongst a few odds and ends stored there. But it's inside a wooden cover built to look like a work table and has stuff laying on top of it. It's more secure there than inside a garage or shed where thieves would look for it.

29 posted on 07/31/2012 5:36:27 PM PDT by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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To: nascarnation
thx for the tip! but the propane set up costs $$$ i don't have, but i DO have the generator and the diesel is filled every year... and the cost of a large propane tank isn't cheap and renting one costs money too

but for people that heat with propane it's the hot setup

30 posted on 07/31/2012 5:37:37 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Chode

I’m sure if you turn over your diesel supply yearly, you’re in good shape.


31 posted on 07/31/2012 5:42:01 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: babygene
The 1800 rpm units are more expensive because the engine has to be larger, but you really have no choice here.

Any suggestions? Brand Names?

32 posted on 07/31/2012 5:43:23 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: PA Engineer

Thank you VERY much. That’s extremely good information.


33 posted on 07/31/2012 5:46:32 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

Thanks Lurker, great job that is very much appreciated.

I was already plan on purchasing a bigger generator, because mine cannot run the water pump. When power goes out I can run the fridge, TV, and some lights but that’s about it.

I had been talking to some neighbors about switching it to propane and thanks to you I now know what I need.

I live in the country with no natural gas, so propane is the cheapest I can get away with, but it’s better than gas.

I have copied your prepper list and will be checking it often.

thanks for all the work and investigation you did.

God bless you and yours.

Chuck


34 posted on 07/31/2012 5:50:25 PM PDT by OneVike (I'm just a Christian waiting to go home)
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To: BobL
Diesel has even more energy than gasoline.

Diesel is louder and harder to start in the winter.

35 posted on 07/31/2012 5:50:40 PM PDT by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: BobL

I hope you are right....the 50lbs of Rice we have could go bad...plus I have 20Lb of Jasmine rice that I think WILL go bad....(don’t eat much in the way of carbs)


36 posted on 07/31/2012 5:53:02 PM PDT by goodnesswins (What has happened to America?)
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To: Lurker

Great thread! I have a simple gas powered Honda 1000W generator that is also used to charge car batteries, run electric tools beyond extension cord range from the house, and camping. It will only handle the fridge and freezer though. I’m need to size up so I can power the well pump too.
everything else is just gravy.


37 posted on 07/31/2012 5:56:03 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: OneVike

Dear Sir,

I’m very pleased I could,be of service. That’s why I wrote it. Please do be sure not to really solely on my research. As we’ve seen I’ve gotten a couple of details wrong. LOL

Good luck.


38 posted on 07/31/2012 5:57:11 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Sarajevo; babygene

At one time the best RV genesets were made by Onan.

I think that Onan is now parts of Cummins.

Regards

alfa6 ;>}


39 posted on 07/31/2012 5:59:47 PM PDT by alfa6 (...Moderation is for monks RAH)
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To: SVTCobra03
Diesel is louder and harder to start in the winter.

In Afganistan, I would tape a couple MRE handwarmers around the fuel filter and let them do their thing. If your batteries are good, your diesel should start with no problem.

40 posted on 07/31/2012 6:01:52 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I’ve got a bit more money, so I’ve been looking at the more permanent generator solution.

I have done something different. Another Freeper referred to it as a "submarine" method.

I use stacked inverters with 8-L16 Trojan Batteries. These are sized to provide power for refrigeration, water, coms, and some lights for about 5KW a day. The generator runs for about 1.5 hours a day to charge the batteries and run other items such as laundry and central vacuum.

This method is a fuel extender and does provide a bit more opsec because of the noise from the generator. It is more expensive, however it does use much less fuel and is quiet in inverter mode.

We experience numerous power outages a year and have used this system for over 14 years. We replaced the batteries last summer and upgraded the generator. One of the technological advances in battery maintenance is the BatteryMinder. This unit keeps the batteries charged and prevents sulfation.

This arrangement is worth it if you want to spend the money. When the electric goes out, the quiet inverter power up is just one switch away.
41 posted on 07/31/2012 6:10:22 PM PDT by PA Engineer ("We're not programs, Gerty, We're People")
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To: Lurker

Thanks Lurker. Bump for later reference.


42 posted on 07/31/2012 6:15:12 PM PDT by sjm_888
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To: Lurker
Right on Lurker!

Can I add a couple things?

That means you’ll need to find out how many amps each thing you want to power in your house requires to not only run, but to START as well. For instance my furnace requires only about 5 amps to run, but 9 amps to start the fan motor. You have to take this into account as all electric motors as in air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, etc, require more amperage to start them initially.

Exactly right. Here is a good rule of thumb:

The amps shown on the unit (run load amps or RLA) is the operating amperage. You can figure six times that for lock rotor amps (LRA) to determine starting amps if it is not given.

Now you’ll need to connect your gen set to the gas source somehow. Since I’ve opted for a semi-permanent installation (more on that later) I purchased 50 feet of ½ rubber hose suitable for use with low pressure natural gas. This came from the same vendor as the adaptor kit. A quick connect set up on either end and I can hook it directly from my gas meter right to the regulator on the Tri Fuel Kit.

Love that idea. I would add this. Use soap bubbles from a hardware/plumbing supply store to make sure there are no small leaks, ESPECIALLY if you connect in side a building anywhere.

Sounds like a great setup. Thanks

43 posted on 07/31/2012 6:23:41 PM PDT by MileHi ( "It's coming down to patriots vs the politicians." - ovrtaxt)
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To: SVTCobra03

“Diesel is louder and harder to start in the winter.”

Agree - but preppers have different objectives. Some want to get through a post-hurricane scenario, where you still have civilization.

But for the serious stuff, having ANYTHING that attracts attention is simply not a good idea.


44 posted on 07/31/2012 6:37:13 PM PDT by BobL ( It's easy to be a saint when you have nothing on the line)
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To: goodnesswins

“I hope you are right....the 50lbs of Rice we have could go bad...plus I have 20Lb of Jasmine rice that I think WILL go bad....(don’t eat much in the way of carbs)”

When things go south, the Atkins Diet goes with them (and believe me, I’m familiar). Practically the only thing that matters is calorie count for the family. Nutrients can be obtained by the scraps of food that the government makes available, and other stored stuff - but without calories, one withers on the vine.


45 posted on 07/31/2012 6:39:40 PM PDT by BobL (Cruz'd to Victory - July 31, 2012)
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To: Lurker

Good job, really nice post.

I’ve had a small genset for more than a dozen years now. My recommendations on maintenance:

o If you’re using gasoline, buy premium and use 2X the recommended amount of Sta-Bil.

o Set a recurring quarterly reminder in Outlook, or whatever you’re using for a calendering app, for a Saturday. Pull your generator out (or open up the enclosure if you go the Suncast route) and run it for about 15-20 minutes so it gets good and hot. Preferably hook up an electric space heater to give it a little load, it will run better. If you are using gasoline, DO NOT USE THE KILL SWITCH TO TURN IT OFF. Instead, close the fuel petcock and let the generator empty out the carburetor to turn off.

o On the Fall quarterly date, set a reminder to change the oil. Yes, change the oil annually even if you only ran the thing for the four exercise sessions. I use Mobil1 10W30, it’s reasonable enough buying it at Costco or in the bulk gallons from Wal-Mart.

I also helped a friend install a large fixed nat gas genset with an automatic transfer switch that his wife impulse bought from Costco after watching the mayhem in the wake of Katrina. And by helped I mean I did all the electrical planning and work, with him helping. Fixed about half a dozen code violations his electrician had left behind after supposedly fixing up the main panel when he moved in, too. If anyone has questions about that, hit me with a FReepmail.

I’ve seen that trifuel site before. I really should bite that bullet. I’ve always got the equivalent of about 2 full bottles of propane around in the three I have, and if I did that, I’d probably add a fourth to the mix. Or maybe even get a 35 or whatever that next size is.


46 posted on 07/31/2012 6:42:54 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Lurker

Good info BTTT !


47 posted on 07/31/2012 6:44:29 PM PDT by Squantos
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To: BobL

YEP...the calories is why we have it....have some SPAM too, and actually wouldn’t mind eating THAT now! LOL.


48 posted on 07/31/2012 6:47:02 PM PDT by goodnesswins (What has happened to America?)
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To: PA Engineer

Another advantage of batteries is that you could spend some more money and buy solar panels and charge them during the day. That cuts down on the generator use, gives you noiseless operation when people tend to be up and about, and provides one more source of energy.

Even when you run out of propane and the natural gas cuts out, so long as the sun shines, you have some power to use.

And you could always buy a wind generator as well. And if you have a stream nearby, you could buy a water-powered generator.

One thing I’m working on is building up some LED lighting. Whenever I see clearance sales, I buy one or two. They use so little electricity, that if you were to use a battery system, you’d need very little to light up your house (and frankly, light is one of those things we all take too much for granted.


49 posted on 07/31/2012 6:50:19 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: goodnesswins

“YEP...the calories is why we have it....have some SPAM too, and actually wouldn’t mind eating THAT now! LOL.”

SPAM...there’s a reason I have everything else I can think of.


50 posted on 07/31/2012 7:01:38 PM PDT by BobL (Cruz'd to Victory - July 31, 2012)
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