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Anyone knows anything about generators?

Posted by caleb 6 (adrian@adrianruehl.com) on
Mon, Sep 1, 03 at 16:13

I'm looking for a diesel generator to provide energy for a midsize home. I'd like to know if there's something outthere that will do the job without making a whole lot of noise.

The idea of being in the middle of knowhere for me is to listen to the sounds of nature. Hearing a loud motor all day long would drive me insane.

Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

You could dig a rather large hole, sort of like a mini basement with a insulated roof and keep the generator in there that should cut down on the sound.


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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

Running a motor in an enclosed pit can explode if fumes collect. An old-timer here told me the town's generator exhaust ran into a pit with a wooden lid over it. It blew the lid to smithereens one day.

It seems to me you'll burn a gallon or more of fuel per hour, generators typically are not the best answer for an all-day all-year long-term electricity supply.

-Ed


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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

Thanks for your suggestions guys,

I just heard there are some very powerful generators that were specially designed for quietness to be used by film crews on location. This might do it! I'm going to look into it.


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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

Caleb,

Bear in mind that generators that run for extended periods with a small load don't run well very long. Plus, you're in the middle of nowhere, so when the inevitable break down occurs,(generators are rated in 'hours to breakdown') expertise and parts are hours and hours away. I've been off the grid for 20 years and have had to depend on gens for 240V all that time (well pump, etc.). Go with wind and solar as much as you can. No noise, no fuel, no trying to channel Thomas Alva for advice.


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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

We have a 10,000 watt 120/240/12 volt backup generator.Make sure you get one that runs at 1800rpm.The generators that run at 3600rpm are not designed for continous duty,they will fail if used as such.Diesel is the only way to go.Build a insulated shed for noise control,but make sure it's vented for cooling.A good book on generators is 'More Power to You'by H.Skip Thomsen.


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RE: Anyone knows anything about generators?

If you can go the solar or wind power route, that would be much quieter.

When you say "provide the energy for a mid-size home" what exactly does that mean? Electric water heater? Air conditioning? Jacuzzi pumps? (Less load on the generator means you can run it less.) Also, is there a battery bank with inverter or is the house running directly off the generator? Have you figured out how many watts you will need?

Some things won't run on a generator. I have a fish tank air pump (of all odd things) that won't run on the generator but runs just fine on the inverter. The washing machine gets goofy with the generator, but does fine with the inverter. The inverter puts out a modified sine wave and I'm not sure what the generator puts out. I think our current one is a Coleman, but I'm not sure, it's been ages since I've looked in it's "hut". We will be getting a diesel generator (with a starter motor! YAY!) soon to replace the gas one.

Will this be a vacation home or a full time residence? If you live there full time you will probably want a better system than if it is just for "vacation" use.

I think in my "ideal" generator setup, it would run on propane, be about 4 KW feeding a battery bank with two inverters (stacked). Probably about 16 to 24 batteries and a 24V system into the battery bank. Most of the system power would be from solar panels, but the generator would come on for heavy loads and when the battery bank got low. An automatic off/on triggered by the battery bank's charge state would be lovely. We have about 3/4ths of this set up now.

Use less power, then you won't have to make as much!


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