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  #21  
Old 10-31-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

I use three LEDs at 90 milliamps each, for about 3 hours a day. My composter head uses 80 milliamps, 24 hours a day, which makes my total power consumption 2190 milliamps, or 2.19 amps a day.
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  #22  
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

We have exactly what you describe, JulieMor. Ordered it after the Derecho, installation was completed a month ago...and two days ago it kicked on. They are outside cutting up the tree that took out power on this street right now. After that they can get to restoring power. And I was thinking if we bought the thing it would guarantee we never needed it! I'm very glad we bit the bullet on that item.
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  #23  
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by Frogwatch View Post
OK, I can see it if you have medical issues but if you can't last two weeks without electricity there is a lot wrong with your life.
We get along just fine with solar panels and the diesel engine (alternator) for extended periods of time, possibly indefinitely, now in SE Alaska.
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  #24  
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by steel View Post
How does the delay work for engine spin up when suddenly connecting a 2000W load?

Yeah 3600 RPM is just too much to run continuously. We have a 1000W with a Briggs and Stratton 3HP but I know that at 3600 RPM it only has about 2 months of life at that speed. Since it's small and it doesn't get used much it does the job.

One of those 6HP air cooled diesel engines at 1800 RPM with a 2000VA generator on it would be great. It would use half as much fuel as a gasoline engine and probably last 8,000+ hours. You could probably run it on cheaper gasoline with some 2-stroke oil mixed in once you got it warmed up.
The 'econo' mode can't be used, the refrig and freezer (big surprise huh?) are too hard to start. However since the generator has a stepper motor governor it still puts out as little power as it needs. I blew out my wattmeter so I am guessing my load is around 500 watts continuous up to about 1500 for short periods.

I once owned a 3500 watt Generac with a 1 cylinder Lister diesel. It would run fully loaded for about 20 hours on one 4 gallon tank of fuel. I came out on a job where they were using it and it was puffing a little smoke. I grabbed an ammeter and checked it, they were running a 5000 watt load continuously! It had been running that way for hours, but I had them shut some stuff off. Great little generator, but very noisy.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by steel View Post
The alternator on a car engine puts out a AC at a high frequency which varies directly with the speed of the engine. The voltage is maintained at a constant ~14 volts by the regulator which adjusts the current going in to the thing in the middle which spins, called the field winding. It gets converted to DC by a rectifier and the battery smooths it out so the frequency doesn't matter. Alternators have a minimum speed at which they can put out the correct voltage at the rated current. This might be 2000 RPM with a 2.5:1 belt ratio.

You can just get a high current alternator like the people put on cars for their high wattage audio systems, and then put that on the boat. You could increase the belt ratio a little bit to make sure it is spinning fast enough when your engine is idling, or to allow you to idle even slower. Car alternators have to be able to handle 15,000 RPM because people rev their cars up to 6,000.

Then go buy a 2000W inverter (150 amps at ~13 volts) and run everything off that! As long as your diesel is loaded down and warming up all the way it won't be harmed by a slow idle.
They make generators designed to belt right on to an auto engine. I bought one at an auction once, it was in a lot with a bunch of other stuff and I didn't realize what it was. I never hooked it up because the control box was missing.
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
There are generators designed specifically for residential applications that are fueled by natural gas. They are very efficient. They have an automatic transfer switch so when the power goes out the generator kicks in and all you have is a short power loss. What gets powered back up on generator power depends on the size of the generator and the homeowner's needs/wants.

The only thing you have to do is maintain it properly but any backup generator requires regular maintenance, maybe only once or twice a year. The nice thing about natural gas power is you don't have to worry about the fuel going bad.

I worked on a job where a large office building was converted over to natural gas power because, in the long run, it was cheaper in terms of utility costs. This setup was being installed on other buildings in the area as well.
If you want a larger generator for a home, natural gas is the only way to go. Primarily because you won't be driving around to gas stations and waiting in line for hours to get gas, EVERY day! Alos since you will never do any maintenance on it until the power is out again it is the only kind that will likely run again at the next power failure.

However, they are NOT highly efficient. Try living with one for a month and see what your costs are compared to your regular electric bill! They just seem more efficient because you aren't measuring the fuel use by the 5 gallon can.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Me too. I thought, "Since when was GHL in the 1%??"
Medsailor
1983, then I did something really stupid and never got back there. My wife has never forgiven me.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by ftldiver View Post
a 5hp lawnmower engine and a 1 wire alternator would be better way to go:
fyi: Building your own generator.


fwiw, I was on a genny for 5 weeks after andrew (90+ degrees & 98% humidity).

finding gas was the biggest problem.

I would like to put a motorcycle muffler on my 10hp briggs... any thoughts of how to tune the muffler?
We had an onan welder/generator one one of our cranes. That thing was really noisy, it had a can muffler. I just bought a cheap car muffler and welded up an exhaust pipe adapter. What a difference! Then I had to tell the guys to shut it off, it no longer bothered anyone enough to walk over and flip the switch.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
I use three LEDs at 90 milliamps each, for about 3 hours a day. My composter head uses 80 milliamps, 24 hours a day, which makes my total power consumption 2190 milliamps, or 2.19 amps a day.
Your boat was set up to use very little power. I can live on very little power myself. However there is my wife to consider. So we are heating a 1700 square foot house, running the 42" TV and satellite reciever, my laptop, the refrigerator and heater, and occasionally the big freezer. The lights work all over the house, I've even lent power to a neighbor to run a couple of CFL bulbs so they aren't sitting in the dark.

Last year I was an idiot for buying this generator. This time I got laid. See the difference? It's all a matter of perspective.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

Quote:
Originally Posted by vega1860 View Post
We get along just fine with solar panels and the diesel engine (alternator) for extended periods of time, possibly indefinitely, now in SE Alaska.
My brother-in-law installs big rooftop solar installations, in the multi megawatt range. I was over there there the other day and noticed he has a pile of about 30 slightly damaged panels measuring 4' x 6', they couldn't install on a new job. I'll have to see if I can get a kilowatt or two and an inverter.

Gary H. Lucas
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