How to decide on which Generator to buy

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Nadja, Feb 12, 2011.


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  1. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I've noticed that a lot of people on this site and several sites seem to be just shopping for price when looking to buy a generator. Lets look at this a little more closely folks. Fisrt thing would be to determine the basic uses that you need to cover. In other words, is it for the week long power outage you could be facing because of weather events etc, or is it for just temp. usage to run your well etc. Then there are those that need it to run for many hours a day to power pretty much everything. Those are most of the real determining factors when looking at gennies. If you buy the most expensive and largest gennie around when it is only for emergancy back up , you bought way to much and vise versa if you buy a very small unit to run full time, you are way underpowered and also under sized. Lets see what some of your thoughts are
     
  2. franks71vw

    franks71vw Monkey+++


    That is correct however most of the little hondas etc type gennies are not ment to run for days at a time so that is also a determining factor. Personnally, I have detroit Diesel 15 and 45 KW(aka screaming demons), there biggest negative factor is the noise they make however pros are that there are a ton of mechanics out there and tooling for them, no centralized injection system just individual injectors (no injection pump) looking at about 70 an injector per cyclinder vs finding someone to runa nd calibrate an injection pump and cost you several hundred dollars, cheap parts, and can run a variety of petroleum based fuels, Diesel, tranny oil, engine oil mixes, WVO. If you do need to run quiet then by all means run a honda type etc for a few hours and yoour good to go.
     
  3. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    45KW ? What on earth do you do with all that power , besides pour fuel in it all the time ? Unless your running several houses or a business with it, I can find no practical use for it at all. To run the average size house , especially in an emergancy or grid down situation, you should be able to get by on about a 10 or 12 kw unit. Unless your using an elect range, water heater and forced elec heating unit.
     
  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    I bought one of these under the name China Diesel in 1999 for less than $3000 including delivery. An 8kw one. It has served me well then and now. Have used it for a few hurricanes. This is not portable! The price has almost doubled today. $5500 or so for the 8kw now.
    .
    Small & Portable Diesel Generators 7-33 kw
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  5. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Years ago, I was looking into the china diesels and a friend of mine found a used one. Never could get the thing to work right. When I found them new with a complete inside rebuild kit included with them , we both started laughing about it. If you bought one back then, you were expected to tear it down and totally rebuild it from scratch in order to get it to run. Quickly changed my mind on them.
     
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  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Generators come in all shapes, sizes, and fuels required. If you are thinking that one should be in your future, then you really need to do some serious "Soul Searching" and planning, on just what the need is, and how best to fulfill that need, BEFORE you plunk your FRNS down on the sales counter. There is, what I believe, a good explanation of these issues, on my MonkeyBlog, Alaska Wilderness Building - Survival Monkey Forums This was written with Alaska, in mind, but the Generator Sections, are universal, for most users. Up here, we generate ALL our own power, so I have to practice, what I preach, in this area, as do all my neighbors.
     
  7. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    If you had read reviews of them and the info about the rebuild kit, you would have read that it was for after you put 50,000 hours run time or more on it. MINE RUNS FINE AND HAS SINCE DAY ONE!!! Mine came sans fuel. I did have some trouble getting it started the first time. In fact I spent several frustrating hours on it before calling a mechanic friend. He laughed, and said he would be right over. Unknown to me, any diesel engine run dry or new and sans fuel, must be fueled and you have to bled the air out of the fuel line before attempting to start. After that it will start right up. He was there less than 5 minutes before he had it running. That might have been your friends problem?
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  8. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I think that the real bottom line here is this: What are you going to use the generator for ? How big is going to be big enough to do the required jobs of it ? Fuel is a big consideration and should be looked at pretty hard before making the decision to plunk down your hard earned shekles on it. Is it going to be permanent or do you need to move it from time to time? As they gain in size, they also gain in weight. Something else that really needs to be considered greatly. Will parts be available when you are going to need them ? I am not trying to discourage you from buying a gennie , just the oppisite , but I want you to really look into the different possiblities before you just run out to home depot or whatever and buy one. Only to get home and when you need it , it is either way to small to do the jobs you have in mind.

    If you run out and buy the little Honda inverter / generator which is say 2kw, you will find it runs excellent, but it is not big enough to run a standard refer/freezer and a lot of other things in your common basic house. Especially all at once. If you buy to large, you will only be wasting fuel most of the time.
     
  9. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Back when I was looking into them, the computer was just barely coming out, and info was sparse to say the least. I find it interesting that you just bought one and also state the it runs fine and has since day 1. By calling the dealer in so. calif, I found out that most of them were haveing a lot of running problems from day 1 ! Once I get a bad taste in my mouth from something , I ususally never go back for a second taste or look. period !
     
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a NOTE, here: The Chinese diesel engines, that we see commonly around, were a German Benz Design. Soon after WWII, the Red Chinese Government, needed to supply small diesel engines to their Ag Farms, for tractors, water pumping, and electricity. They contracted with the German Benz Company, to come to China and build them a COMPLETE Factory, including Forge, Casting, machining, and ALL the Required Tooling, to build a single, twin, and Tri cyl. diesel engines, of the WWII Benz Designs. This factory was finished in the early 50s, and produced these products for 30 years, before they started looking for overseas markets for their products. These are rugged little engines, designed to be COMPLETELY Field Repairable, with the provided wrenches, and parts sets, by un-trained chinese farmers.Once the first Factory was well known, the Chinese Military built MANY duplicates, around the country, to help fund their operations and provide jobs for the people. Some turn out total CRAP, but some turn out very quality products, on the original Benz designs. Today many of these factories turn out clones of the Japanese Yanmar and Kubota diesel engines as well. Again quality will vary from factory to factory, but some of these are really GOOD, as clones go, some much better than the Indian Listroids coming out of India.....

    This is my Winter Project, this winter....http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=83256 Built around a chinese diesel....
     
  11. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Just for giggles, and since I was running my mouth on emotion instead of brains for a little bit there, I decided on a little test. My gen set I hate to say used to get regular testing and maintenance. It has set ignored for over 2 years. I just got back from the generator building. It has been so long I wasn't sure how to start it. I found the instruction and installation package and read the starting instructions. I checked the oil. The battery is a high dollar automotive type 12 years old. I have a trickle charger hard wired to it to keep the battery topped off but not overcharged (float switch). I pushed down on the electric start button and center button on the start and gauge panel as indicated. BINGO, fired up and ran in less than 5 seconds, oil pressure came up, and it smoothed out. I normally would run it for 20 minutes with a load, but since this wasn't a full blown maintenance check I just smiled and shut it down ...... yup, first time every time. I am very happy with my China Diesel. You might want to take a second look!
    .
    while I am bragging about products, How about that 12 volt Optima Car battery still going strong after 12 years? It is kept charged and maintained with a Schumacher 1.5 amp fully automatic charger/maintainer model SE-1-12S that I think I paid $20 for... http://www.bing.com/shopping/schuma...+1.5+amp+battery+charger+maintainer&FORM=HURE
     
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  12. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I keep my battery charged up on a small solar battery charger that was about $35.00 when I bought it at northern tools. Works fine, plus , should the grid go down for any reason, it will still work. It is a maintainer , not a charger. But does keep a charged battery charged for long periods of time. Glad you have had really good luck with your China Diesel gennie. But that is not always the case for everyone.
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  13. CANDY fISHER

    CANDY fISHER Monkey+

    as you know I just won a brand new one on ebay for 60.00 and the reason I got it was so I could charge my kindle and several other things at once. its small and its got 3 plug ins so Im happy with this. it runs several hours on 1 and a half gallons gas and that will be perfect for me getting things charged. my kindle goes a whole month with out charging so the 1200 watt gen is perfect for what I wanted.
     
  14. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Hi Candy. For what you are intending to use if for, you got a great deal. But don't try plugging in your refer etc to it, as it can really damage the motors in refers etc
     
  15. CANDY fISHER

    CANDY fISHER Monkey+

    hank2222 likes this.
  16. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    You know we had dueled fueled 2-12v71 years ago offshore....
    using n-45 injector's and had a adaptor plate made for the blower...mounting 3 impco natural gas carb's above the blower...
    linked the govoner to the carb's and put a few ounce's of natural gas thru the carb's to the blower into the cylinder's...worked quite well....Save's on diesel usage....Gator...


     
  17. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Contrary to what some others may have said. Yes I have had excellent service from My old China Diesel One cylinder with Huge flywheel 1800 rpm generator. The model I had was sold in the USA from 1977 until sometime after 1999 when I bought mine. There were a ton of positive testimonials where these things were used as the only source of electricity by hardy souls in Alaska 24/7 with little or no major problems. The engine I have is no longer available new. It was indeed a very simple and rugged 3 world targeted generator meant to be easy to use and service. The tools and rebuild kit that came with it was for 50,000 hour or greater run time rebuild. If you can get your hands on one that looks good and runs good at a good price, I would highly reccommend you get it. Mine has served me well for 12 years. I can provide xerox operating and installation data provided at purchase to any members needing it. All of this is moot to anyone looking for a new diesel generator. The old engine did not meet present epa emmision standards and is no longer available new. The Company I bought from is the same under a new name, "Hardy Diesel". They sell a perkins powered 1800 rpm diesel gen set for $5550.
    .
    My counter-posters experience with a similiar product, was with a used unit. Who knows how it was used or abused, or the level of knowledge of the new owner. Regardless, his limited exposure to used unsatisfactory product, hardly rates an endless overall condemnation of the manufacturer. That would be no different than me buying a used as is Cadilac, that turned out to be a total lemon, and then stating I would never ever by a General Motors product again ever.
     
  18. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    about 3 years ago I got a Briggs & Stratton Genset from HomeDepot on clearance. Don't know why it was on clearance, but it was about $150.00 off the reg. price. Haven't regretted that purchase yet.
    I did the recommended "break-in" and for the 1st 2 years did regular "maintenance" runs with it. About a year ago I converted it to "tri-fuel" (gas, LPG, & NG) I have only used LPG & gas so far and it works great.
     
  19. franks71vw

    franks71vw Monkey+++

    Well it has to run the basics at a shop and yes multiple homes hence the 15kw is setup to pull about 10-12 since i set it up with smaller injectors but if i have to i know i can get a solid 15 out of it... and fuel yup i dump anything into it like i stated... so far so good... oh and did i tell you these engine can run at 5lb psi of oil at idle...
     
  20. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Well, in your case, it sounds to me like you have the right unit for the job it needs to do. Fantastic !
     
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