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

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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.
LeaLea,

I love your videos! I recently found them and I really like the daily log format. It really helps us see how things go, as they are going. It seem to me that things are much more freshly told in your videos than in ones that are told after arrival.

Keep it up!

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  #32  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

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Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
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
if you have natural gas line, and it doesn't break, that is the way to go.
if you have propane, then you are limited by your tank size.

I would think refilling propane would be be much harder than finding gas. (carting 20# bottles or even 60's will get old fast). -let alone getting the truck to refill your 500# tank....

-in fla, they passed a law that if a gas station is less than 1 mile from an expressway it needs a generator.

so I have only gas gennys. I just have enough jugs for 3 days. (which is typically how long it takes to get things moving again).



fwiw, northern tool sells some tri mix gennys, but I have no 1st hand knowledge.
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Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

[QUOTE=GaryHLucas;941249]If you want a larger generator for a home, natural gas is the only way to go. However, they are NOT highly efficient. [QUOTE]

That's not working out to well for those in NJ on natural gas.
You are correct they are not efficient. We had looked into a propane unit but when I figured out the fuel consumption, we bagged it.

We've got a well so a 2000 w generator doesn't cut it for us. A couple of winters ago when we got hammered by the ice storm (the night it rained firewood) we were without power for 10 days.

Before this storm we filled up the pick up & car. I figure there's always some place or something that has gasoline.
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

With natural gas prices as low as they are at the moment, you can run a natural gas generator and the produced electricity is comparable to the costs from the electric company. You can use the engine heat to heat your house too!

So if you use enough electricity to produce enough engine heat to heat your home, you are essentially getting free heat.
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Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

If you are heating your home with #2 fuel it is the exact same as diesel.

A Diesel generator is the way to go, simply plumb a line to the multi-hundred gallon tank and you have unlimited fuel. Simple air cooled diesel gens in the 8kw range are available for under 1200 bucks (a little more than the over priced Honda 2000's everyone seems to love).

Even if you aren't using #2 to heat the home, diesel has the advantage - no one will be forming a line at the gas station for diesel so the refill time is quicker.
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Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

IF I was sharp enough, and motivated enough, and I'm rarely both at the same time;

I don't see any reason why a couple of jackstands, a flywheel that bolts to the rear wheel of a car, a belt and a generator could not be easily rigged up and would put out loads of power at idle.

Remember those engines and tractors that could be rigged to a saw, a pump, a generator, whatever?
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Learning to live with less than 2K a day

I like the idea, but you would have make a way to press the gas pedal down. Then there is no way to regulate the speed of the engine so you would have to go with the variable speed generator and inverter method. Your engine might go up to 3,000 RPM when the load is removed and then down to 1800 when the load returns. Since the throttle is at the same position when there is no load, it is actually using more fuel than when it is under load. The greater engine speed makes more vacuum and so more air/fuel mixture is sucked through the throttle.

Running an engine at partial load is highly inefficient, especially for gasoline engines. You would need some way to regulate the engine throttle.

If you had a diesel engine with a low speed governor, and a manual transmission I could see how this would work nicely. That's like 3/4 of all the cars in Europe but only a few percent of the cars in America. We have a lot of diesel trucks with manual transmissions. Just jack up the back wheel and there you go!
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