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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at buying a propane generator , (Sportsman GEN7000LP). Manual states:

"If you are using a generator above sea level, the generator may not function properly because of air flow getting through the mixer."

I live in Colorado so I know all about derating NG and LP appliances. I plan on using this generator anywhere from 4000 ft to 8000 ft elev. I know I won't get as much power out of the engine ( engine is 13 hp, let's derate it at say 20% then it's 10.4 hp.) Not sure how that will affect the generator side.

Anybody have experience with this? Let's face it, most generators are used above "sea level" (duh!!) so is the manufacturer just covering themselves with that statement?
 

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I told you so!
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I have a honda propane 8 hp we live at 3650' elevation, I have used it on a job at 4400' ele
works great, the only problem is in the winter the valve on the 5-10 gal tanks will freeze up after about 1 hr of use, but only when it is real cold. JT
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know the statement "may not function properly" is probably valid, but that could cover a lot of ground. Does that mean you just won't get full power out of it like what it would be rated at sea level? Or does that mean it just won't work at all? Or something else or in between?
 

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6 Boys and 13 Hands
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Propane won't boil very efficiently when it's cold. They make electric blankets for several sizes of tanks. But then you have to use the generator to power the blanket. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm not worried about the cold. I've built houses (including concrete work) at 8500 ft. in the dead of winter in the Rocky Mts, so I know how to deal with cold.

Altitude is a different animal.
 

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I know the statement "may not function properly" is probably valid, but that could cover a lot of ground. Does that mean you just won't get full power out of it like what it would be rated at sea level? Or does that mean it just won't work at all? Or something else or in between?
Yes you have to derate it, yes it might function improperly due to less oxygen and pressure, and also yes it may not run at all without adjustment.

What temperature does water boil at 5000ft?
 

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6 Boys and 13 Hands
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I'm not worried about the cold. I've built houses (including concrete work) at 8500 ft. in the dead of winter in the Rocky Mts, so I know how to deal with cold.

Altitude is a different animal.
Cold has everything to do with propane being efficient. If it gets cold enough the amount of vapor being generated may not be enough to power your generator or appliances. Larger tanks may offset the issue but they will even need to be kept as full as you can.
 

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You talkin' to me?
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Propane boils, and produces combustible vapor, at -44f at sea level atmospheric pressure. At altitude it will boil at even lower temps so vapor volume shouldn't be an issue, however, oxygen percentage can effect performance as well. Might have to open up the air intake.
 

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We used to ride our 1500 Gold Wing over the passes in CO. At sea level, the bike put out around 95 HP - no problem passing anyone, drop one gear and gas it.

At the top of trail ridge (about 12,000 ft), it felt like it had about half power. Had no way to measure it, but my butt told me about 40-50 HP max.

WW

shoot straight - stay safe
 

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in the woods
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I've run my RV propane generator in the mountains of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona and never had any problems; Both winter and summer from 6000' to 9000'. I don't know what these other naysayers are discussing, just my personal experience over the years. YMMV :rolleyes:
THIS ^^^

I live at 8,400', generator in MH, (motorhome), runs fine. In fact, use in in power outages which last more than a couple days. Gas is different than propane though, plus pretty sure the generator is fuel injected as is the MH. Carbureted engines need to be jetted for higher altitudes.

Propane space heaters, (no direct vent air intake), have a limited elevation they will work at, usually to 7,000'. Higher that that and the air intake port needs to be opened slightly more than factory settings to get them to work.

I am not familiar enough with propane generators to give any advice. I can tell you my neighbor down the road converted his gas generator to propane in their MH without problems at this elevation.
 

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Doesn't butane work at temps and altitudes that propane doesn't? I believe that it isn't too hard to set up for butane.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the replies, some good info for me to do further research. I'm going to contact the manufacturer and get some feedback on the issue.

Living at altitude can have unanticipated problems. Living at 8200 ft. I once ordered a weather station, and when it arrived directions said it didn't work above 6000 ft, had to send it back.

Live and learn. That's why I have a pressure cooker.
 

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Have a 3600 watt propane generator in our Class C RV and it had no problems at all putting out plenty of power, even at low temps (20F) and 6900' (Taos, NM). However, spent the night up in Jemez Mountains a few wks ago at 27F and 8200' - and generator absolutely would NOT even start at that altitude - just a lot of backfiring! Good thing we didn't really need it. Ran fine once we came down in elevation again.
 

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"Champion" brand generators offer a "high altitude" jet for gasoline which apparently is for elevations above 3,500ft. Without this smaller orifice jet the engine will run "rich", and will foul the spark plug. There is no fuel compensation required for propane.
 
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