School me on Generators

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Aceman
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School me on Generators

Post by Aceman » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:27 am

Hurricane season is coming up. Thinking about a Generator

Goals

#1 Run a fridge
#2 Some lights, computer TV, iCrap, etc...
#3 Bonus points: AC
#4 What about some backup batteries?

I have no idea about any of this stuff. My deal on most is "When it's dark, sleep" and no one will freeze in Florida, and eat the cold stuff first. I know I can run fridge a couple hours and keep it cold for a couple days, etc... Electricity is NOT my thing!!!!

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Re: School me on Generators

Post by KYZHunters » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:11 am

crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Stercutus » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:46 pm

Budget? You already said you know nothing about it so I am thinking making the correct and to code hook ups are well beyond your capabilities. Just to get into running all the things you want to run will cost you over $2K.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by raptor » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:24 pm

Read this sticky on alternate energy. It has links to many threads which will give you a better understanding of the issues.

The key 40,000 foot question you need to ask is how much power do I need/want and then for how long do I have to supply this level of power?

That dictates the approach you will need (i.e generator or solar/wind/battery with inverter or other power supply)

Once you have identified the power generation method the next big question is fuel. A generator without fuel is useless. A battery based system without a method of recharging is likewise useless.

BTW as a frame of reference I have just priced a 50 kw diesel generator for data center backup. The cost of the generator is about $21,000, the main power cables (a 700 ft run) will be about $11,000 and then electrical labor, equipment rental and assorted bits (including engineering) will be about another $12,000.

A 20 kw generator would have cost about $14,000. Installed in a home you could probably have saved about $10,000 since the generator would be closer and the install to a transfer switch would have been simpler and less labor intensive.

The reason I mention this is that the generator itself is actually the cheapest part of most installs.


BTW a typical home has a 200 to 400 amp feed. A 50 KW generator will supply 208 amps @ 240 volts. However, if you eliminate the electric water heater, stove and dryer a 20KW will generally supply ample power for an entire house (you can even run the above elctrical items albeit not all at the same time).

In my area 15kw Natural gas generators are quite common and work quite well even with 3 tons of HVAC.

On the other hand if all you want to do is run a refrigerator, some CFL lights and have power to charge cell phones a simple 2kw inverter type generator will do this quite nicely for less than $1,000...as long as you have gasoline to run it.

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Re: School me on Generators

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:07 pm

With the items you mentioned you can get by with a 1200w generator, under $200. I've had to use just this setup during the winter, both my wind turbines decided to take a gonzo just when the weather was turning bad.
If you ever think you might want to run any power tools (air compressor in my case) you'll need a larger amperage gen. I'm ready to purchase a 3500w gen from Cabelas. Page won't load for me right now, but it was under $600. It has a remote start capability which will be appreciated during snake season. I can fire up the spotlight from inside before I step out. I'll also be able to charge the battery banks, laptop, cellular without suiting up in the winter to fire up the gen.
There is no need to bankrupt yourself with a multi thousand dollar gen for the handful of items you mentioned.
My home/cabin has internal lights in DC flavor, 400AH of storage more or less.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Stercutus » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:33 pm

With the items you mentioned you can get by with a 1200w generator, under $200. I've had to use just this setup during the winter, both my wind turbines decided to take a gonzo just when the weather was turning bad.
I want to get a good look at the 1200 watt generator that powers a fridge, TV, lights, computer and AC. That thing could do me right.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Aceman » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:51 pm

Blacksmith wrote:
With the items you mentioned you can get by with a 1200w generator, under $200. I've had to use just this setup during the winter, both my wind turbines decided to take a gonzo just when the weather was turning bad.
I want to get a good look at the 1200 watt generator that powers a fridge, TV, lights, computer and AC. That thing could do me right.

Yeah - this is me! Maybe not AC.

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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Stercutus » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:11 pm

Aceman wrote:
Blacksmith wrote:
With the items you mentioned you can get by with a 1200w generator, under $200. I've had to use just this setup during the winter, both my wind turbines decided to take a gonzo just when the weather was turning bad.
I want to get a good look at the 1200 watt generator that powers a fridge, TV, lights, computer and AC. That thing could do me right.

Yeah - this is me! Maybe not AC.
Unless you have a really small fridge it is unlikely the generator will have enough juice to start the compressor.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:32 pm

I never said it would do them all at once, even he said he'd run the fridge ever couple of days; and that the A/C wasn't critical. lol. More coffee?
I run a full sized fridge with mine, when the temps drop too low for propane to vaporize properly. It's selectable between gas & electric.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Stercutus » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:51 pm

PrairieRat wrote:I never said it would do them all at once, even he said he'd run the fridge ever couple of days; and that the A/C wasn't critical. lol. More coffee?
I run a full sized fridge with mine, when the temps drop too low for propane to vaporize properly. It's selectable between gas & electric.
Guys, I live this life daily.
Propane fridge does not use a compressor so IDK. With a compressor you would be hard pressed to find one that will use that little juice on start up. But it is listed on the device so that is what he should go as noted at Raptor's link.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:04 pm

My fridge is capable of using EITHER propane or electric. There are many models that have that option now :). Mine is a Servel RGE400 with a power selector knob, gas OR electric. It uses 717 refrigerant when in electric mode. I think it uses a heat transfer pump when in gas mode, but like you, I know nothing about it.
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Stercutus » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:40 pm

PrairieRat wrote:My fridge is capable of using EITHER propane or electric. There are many models that have that option now :). Mine is a Servel RGE400 with a power selector knob, gas OR electric. It uses 717 refrigerant when in electric mode. I think it uses a heat transfer pump when in gas mode, but like you, I know nothing about it.

Your refrigerator is 8 Cu Ft. That is less than half the size of the average US fridge these days. The electric back up is 325 watts and does not use a compressor. It is essentially a heating coil that replaces the propane provided heat on a temporary basis. Most US fridges operate with a start up load of 1500-2000 watts on the compressor.

Propane fridges are great though where electricity is an issue and propane is readily available. If the OP does get a propane fridge he can down size his electrical requirements considerably.

https://www.thenaturalhome.com/servel400.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: School me on Generators

Post by raptor » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:08 pm

PrairieRat wrote:I never said it would do them all at once, even he said he'd run the fridge ever couple of days; and that the A/C wasn't critical. lol. More coffee?
I run a full sized fridge with mine, when the temps drop too low for propane to vaporize properly. It's selectable between gas & electric.
Guys, I live this life daily.

Since propane vaporizes down to -44F silly question but why do you need a refrigerator at -44f. Unplug the frig and leave it outside.

On a more serious note Praire Rat different people have different electrical needs. If the OP live in Florida his refrigerator will draw more power daily than a person who lives where it get to -44f.

That is why every one who wants to explore alternate energy should calculate what their what their electrical needs are and what they expect to power.

The thread I posted has many links which answer many of his questions.

BTW calculation is very simple. If it uses AC power in the US it will have a UL label showing its maximum amperage draw at the voltage required to run it.

This one is for a 120 volt AC (1 ton/12,000 btu) air conditioner but something like with UL in a circle is on every electrial appliance sold in the US. It is normally listed in amps. Simply add up the power listed on these labels for everything you want to power. Covert to watts and that is your needs.

This item for instance uses 11.2 amps at 120 volts and thus needs 1,344 watts/1.344KW to run. A 1,200 watt generator would not be able to run this but a 1,600 watt or 2,000 watt unit would...assuming fuel was available.

Fuel is the other thing many people over look and fail to plan around.


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Re: School me on Generators

Post by Aceman » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:44 pm

Great info guys!

Again:

#1 Only need to run the fridge some every day / every other day to keep cold. Don't need constant.

#2 Lights and iCrap/computer, etc..is nice and doesn't take much really.

#3 Ok - so the AC is out. Maybe fans is a better first step.

I don't hink it would take much - but I'll look up the fridge info...

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