Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
NRA Life 1971
Joined
·
8,570 Posts
Our 5kw gas fired unit is over twenty years old and still runs very well.
The plan is to replace it with an American made small diesel unit. Probably a Winco, Gillette or Generac, each costing more than 10 times what I originally paid for the gas unit.
 

·
Micro-homesteader
Joined
·
607 Posts
Which fuel?

Click HERE to see the chart.

Useful information if you're still deciding. I purchased an inexpensive gas portable generator and plan on installing a tri fuel kit.
If you're just talking about a portable tri-fuel generator, I think I would run if off the fuels in this order:
  1. Natural gas because it's there and doesn't require filling a tank, is pretty safe, doesn't go bad and burns clean.
  2. Propane for the same reason as natural gas, but I have to fill a tank. Definitely would have some 100# propane cylinders as backup to the natural gas.
  3. Gasoline is last because it's more problematic for the engine itself (old fuel, ethanol, etc)

Otherwise, my vote for the best prepper fuel is either diesel or propane, depending on how you're set up. But even then, I lean toward diesel.
  • Diesel is much more energy dense, more BTU/gal
  • Diesel is cheaper per BTU, less $/BTU.
  • Diesel is arguable safer to store, but both store very well. Propane probably stores longer though.
  • Diesel much safer than gasoline to store.
  • Diesel can power more engines than propane: truck, tractor, heating, etc. But propane can be used for cooking and heating too.
  • 1800RPM liquid cooled diesel generators last almost forever if maintained.
  • Diesel is more portable than propane. That is, you can move it from container to container easily, from a big tank into 55 gal drums and put it in the back of a truck. Can't really do this as easily with propane.

But if you're already set up for propane (like you have a big tank), then propane may be the best for you.


--- Lobanz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
I have had three types, Gas, LPG/NG and Diesel.

In my opinion, best to worst is Diesel, LPG/NG, Gasoline

A generator is all about fuel and engine life, If you can't feed it fuel or it breaks it is useless. And they eat a LOT of fuel!

On multiple occasions, due to weather / storms, I have been with out power for weeks at a time. After paying the bills on the fuel for those outages, I now have a different plan for long term outages, after a day or two of full time power, I switch to running about 4 hrs in the AM and 4 hrs in the PM, charge all phones, laptops, batteries, fill water containers (we are on well), etc...

These are my thought:


Diesel:
I currently have two diesel generators (10kw, 7kw)

In the North east Home Heating Oil is very popular with most tanks in homes being 275 gal, and you can burn that in a Diesel generator. If SHTF this fuel could be scavenged from around here.

During power outages I have had no problem finding diesel at fuel stations even if they were sold out of gas or had long line for gas.

I have read numerous articles quoting the 18-24 month shelf life of diesel but I can tell you from my experience Diesels shelf life is longer then 24 months. I have used diesel at least 4 years old with no problem, I know my neighbor had diesel sitting in a dozer for 15 years and with a new battery it fired right up and worked fine.

Engine Life,
Reputable diesel engines are known for long life
Both my generators are 1800 rpm water cooled (quieter and longer life)


LPG/NG:
I have had two LPG/NG generators (12kw, 15kw) (still have one at a rental property)

These are good generators, but fuel hungry, forget about running long term on grill tanks,
my 15kw ate a 325 gallon LPG tank in a less then a week

LPG has the best fuel storage life, But LPG has the worst fuel availability at least for me.
NG is completely dependent on the utility.

At both homes I had these, I ran into problems having the tanks filled during power outages.

Engine Life,
Both my LPG generators were 3600 rpm, air cooled
LPG/NG has a better life then gasoline but not as good at diesel.


Gas
I have had numerous gas generators, I sill have a 1kw portable for carrying around to charge batteries in winter.

Although these generators are readily available for cheap, I will not own one again for prime power.

Modern Gasoline is horrible for Fuel storage its lifespan is short it is a constant chore rotating 5 gallon containers,
Gas engines are very sensitive to bad fuel, Fuel is rapidly exhausted from fuel stations during a time of need.

Engine Life,
All have been 3600 rpm, air cooled.
Carberators can be very finiky with todays fuel of left in them
Worst engine life of the three




This is JMHO take it for what it is worth
 

·
reluctant sinner
Joined
·
17,914 Posts
Interesting the chart doesn't list gasoline as popular anywhere for any purpose. Propane doesn't just last longer in storage - it last forever if you can keep it in the can. They have underground tanks - I would love to have several large tanks with isolation valves. Makes me wonder who paid for the study.

Have spare parts like fuel/air/oil filters/spark plugs/fuses. Get the factory rebuild manual if you can - or try and score the complete wiring diagram.

The most expensive power you will ever buy is the stuff you generate yourself. At least 10 times as expensive.

If the power is out for a few day no big deal, a few weeks it starts to matter.

Having a plan B like a woodstove for space heating with a flat top for cooking and large containers to melt snow, pressure canner and supplies for the stuff in the freezer. LED lighting with at small photovoltaic system with battery storage and perhaps an inverter to charge devices, run a radio/TV. I have car chargers for almost all my stuff so I can get by without an inverter. The well would be an issue - lots of spring nearby here - but hauling water by hand sucks. I just got done with 9 months of that, but I still have the 12 V system for water and could hook it back in minutes.

A solar shower bag can filled with water off the stove. I have hooks in the ceiling so I can use it in the shower or the kitchen sink for dishes.

+1 for 1800 RPM units. I have an X Corps of Engineers gas 2kW 6 to 8 hours on a gallon of gas - no electric start and it weighs like 300#, very quite though.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
349 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
In the North east Home Heating Oil is very popular with most tanks in homes being 275 gal, and you can burn that in a Diesel generator. If SHTF this fuel could be scavenged from around here.
I was interested in this statement so I looked into it. Please read this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
I was interested in this statement so I looked into it. Please read this.
My statement was intended to be used as a source for fuel in a SHTF BUT,....

I have (and so have many many people I know) been burning HHO in all sorts of equipment Backhoes, bulldozers, generators etc.. I will tell you HHO does gell easier in winter. But this can be a problem with any diesel that is not a winter blend and can be solved with many different additives. Or a propane torch but I wont go in to that.

In a SHTF scenario, I would not hesitate to burn any of the diesels if it meant my survival.


However for normal use, I keep 4 - 55 gallon drums of diesel Two are off road diesel (Dyed) and two are on road diesel. One of each is in use and in a state somewhere between full and empty and two are full and ready backup. When either of the two in use goes empty it is swapped with a full one and filled within days.



FYI most states in New England have or will mandated a switch to ULSD for home heating oil

2012 NY ULSD required
2014 MA, NJ, VT <500PPM
2016 NJ ULSD required
2016 ME <50 ppm
2018 MA, ME, VT ULSD required
 

·
2nd Amendment zealot
Joined
·
757 Posts
I guess I will be the odd man out for choosing gasoline and here's why. Stored and handled properly gasoline is pretty safe. True it is flammable but millions of people who own lawn mowers do it all the time. I do not own any diesel powered vehicles so buying a generator that uses diesel means I have to add another fuel to my preps.

My gasoline stock serves many uses. Chainsaw, cars, ATV, generator and possibly bartering. Gasoline stored properly in a sealed container will last longer than most people realize. I have used two year old gas that worked just fine.

If the SHTF any fuel you have will probably be that last you will see for some time. Propane I keep is better suited for heating or long term cooking needs but everyone's situation is different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
819 Posts
This is an awesome Thread. Before I started reading about this issue in other Threads on SB a few months ago, it was something I didn't even think about. You used gas to run a generator. Now I'm searching for a generator, and have yet to make a commitment.

For fuel, if price of the generator wasn't an issue, I would go with diesel and propane. If I had to choose one, it would be diesel. Basically for all the pro-diesel points made in this Thread.

However since price is an issue, and I don't plan on living off a generator long term, it will most likely be gas. I'm still keeping my eyes open for an adequate used diesel I can afford though.
 

·
Micro-homesteader
Joined
·
607 Posts
Some diesel generator considerations...

This is an awesome Thread. Before I started reading about this issue in other Threads on SB a few months ago, it was something I didn't even think about. You used gas to run a generator. Now I'm searching for a generator, and have yet to make a commitment.

For fuel, if price off the generator wasn't an issue, I would go with diesel and propane. If I had to choose one, it would be diesel. Basically for all the pro-diesel points made in this Thread.

However since price is an issue, and I don't plan on living off a generator long term, it will most likely be gas. I'm still keeping my eyes open for an adequate used diesel I can afford though.
I got mine used of craigslist. It's was designed to run those center pivot irrigation system on big farms. It was on a trailer with a big 60 gal tank (that was FULL). It has a 3 cylinder Kubota engine with 2400 hours on it. I got it for about $2300 (including the full 60 gal tank of fuel). Mine doesn't have a muffler, but I have a silencer (basically a super muffler) for it. Just haven't put it on.

Also look at the military generators, like MEP03. They are plentiful and pretty cheap. HERE's a video of one. They are not designed to be quiet and often don't have mufflers. You probably want to put a muffler or silencer on it. The military generators are about 20% underrated. So A MEP03 says it's 10 KW, but it's really more like 12 KW.

Also, make sure you're generator is not too big. 10 KW is a nice size. Mine is a 7.5 KW and it's fine. You're probably not trying to run your HVAC unit. Big generators use more fuel and a diesel generator is happiest at about 80% capacity. If you run a big diesel generator with a small load, not only are you wasting fuel, but something called wet stacking happens which is not good for the generator. Mine runs lights, fans, well pump, wall outlets, fridges, freezers, coffee makers, etc. But I can't run all that and also run my electric water heater. Water heater and well pump plus a few lights pretty much maxes it out. I think a MEP03 would probably handle the water heater too, but mine probably uses less fuel. I can run the water heater by itself for a while, then turn it off and then run the rest to take showers. A manual transfer switch makes this possible. I installed the transfer switch myself. Wasn't a big deal. Reliance Control has videos that walk you through every step of hooking it up and all.

Hope that helps!


--- Lobanz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
when storing the gas generator i made the mistake of always turning off the fuel and letting it run dry, thought i was doing good keeping the alcohol gas from corroding the carb but, the residue left in the carb still builds up and eventually clogs the jet anyway, best to run the unit once a month with stabil gas treatment, and if possible still use ethanol free gas when you can find it. Plus intend on getting a propane model too, it isnt as efficient but propane keeps forever.
 

·
Micro-homesteader
Joined
·
607 Posts
Generator and EMP

when storing the gas generator i made the mistake of always turning off the fuel and letting it run dry, thought i was doing good keeping the alcohol gas from corroding the carb but, the residue left in the carb still builds up and eventually clogs the jet anyway, best to run the unit once a month with stabil gas treatment, and if possible still use ethanol free gas when you can find it. Plus intend on getting a propane model too, it isnt as efficient but propane keeps forever.
This is the problem with gas generators. On my other gas engines (weed eater, tiller, etc), I use SeaFoam. When I put them to bed for the winter, I empty the tank and pour a little SeaFoam in them and start them up and run them dry. SeaFoam smokes a lot when burned straight, but it does really help. They start right up in the spring with fresh gas.


Does anyone know of any studies on EMP resistance with modern automatic whole house backup generators?
Not really, but I have an electrical engineer friend that said that mine should be pretty EMP proof because it's "intrinsically regulated". Not sure how it works but it means that it doesn't have a separate voltage regulator. I think that's the part that is the most vulnerable to the EMP and if you buy an extra voltage regulator for it and keep it in your faraday cage, that you have a higher likelihood of having a working generator. Same with voltage regulators for tractors and such.


--- Lobanz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Diesel:
I currently have two diesel generators (10kw, 7kw)...

Both my generators are 1800 rpm water cooled (quieter and longer life)
What are your 2 diesel generators? Are they both in enclosed canopys? I don't recall seeing any 7KW 1,800 RPM diesels that have an enclosed canopy. I have really beeg eyeing up the 10KW Multiquip Whisperwatt (1,800 RPM) but unfortunately Multiquip's 7KW size is 3,600 RPMs ugh! If their 7KW was 1,800 RPMs I'd probably already have bought it!

How do you do with wet stacking? I only want a generator for essentials, I'm wondering if a 10KW would be too big for me an lead to wet stacking. Smaller1,800 RPM units of high quality that I've seen are almost all open and not enclosed. I can't handle that much noise.

+1 for 1800 RPM units. I have an X Corps of Engineers gas 2kW 6 to 8 hours on a gallon of gas - no electric start and it weighs like 300#, very quite though.

Wow an 1,800 RPM small gas generator!!! Do they still sell these? I'm trying to find more info this looks great!
 

·
2nd Amendment zealot
Joined
·
757 Posts
Not really, but I have an electrical engineer friend that said that mine should be pretty EMP proof because it's "intrinsically regulated". Not sure how it works but it means that it doesn't have a separate voltage regulator. I think that's the part that is the most vulnerable to the EMP and if you buy an extra voltage regulator for it and keep it in your faraday cage, that you have a higher likelihood of having a working generator. Same with voltage regulators for tractors and such.


--- Lobanz
Maybe he meant to say mechanically regulated. In a nutshell, most common gasoline generators (read cheap and simple) are self excited meaning in addition to an alternator they also contain a small DC generator to provide power to the alternator winding. They must run at 3600 rpm. The speed of the engine is controlled by a mechanical governor which opens or closes the throttle on the carb as needed to keep a constant RPM. If the engine is turning faster or slower the voltage will be either higher or lower than the desired (120VAC) output. The frequency (Hz) will also change or drift with the engine speed. Just about every electronic power supply made today will be happy with 100-130VAC between 50-60Hz. So these "cheaper" Gensets will work for most needs.

Some of the more expensive generators use an internal voltage regulator for the winding so the RPM's of the engine are not as critical. This type of generator creates a more reliable and steady output though it still can vary. The inverter type generators (read Honda I series and clones) are more complicated and contain an AC generator where the output is rectified into DC then inverted back to AC producing a clean and perfect 120 [email protected]

Nobody really knows how much damage an EMP will do because we have never had one. Starfish Prime doesn't count. If given those three designs the cheaper more basic type of genset should (theoretically) have a better chance of making it through the EMP provided the electronic ignition module survives.
 

·
2nd Amendment zealot
Joined
·
757 Posts
Wow an 1,800 RPM small gas generator!!! Do they still sell these? I'm trying to find more info this looks great!
I have 5 permanent magnet motors that produce 180VDC at 1750 rpm. These things are old school and HEAVY. Got them for free. I was going to rob the magnets but I can't in good conscience break a working unit. I was thinking about building a platform to mount them on and string them together with a pulley. Add a large inverter, old lawn mower engine with some kind of voltage regulator and you would be in business. Plenty of youtube videos on the subject of homemade generators but I don't know how to weld. :eek::
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
My gen has a tri fuel kit I don't have any natural gas around me but for propane I find empty tanks everywhere and when money is good I swap them out with new refueled tanks. So far I have 15, 30# and 6, 100# tanks.
 

·
NRA Life 1971
Joined
·
8,570 Posts
I caution against purchasing one of the inexpensive (for diesel) China made diesel generators. You will not save any money because they will fail.
I've seen this happen several times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,160 Posts
I guess I will be the odd man out for choosing gasoline and here's why. Stored and handled properly gasoline is pretty safe. True it is flammable but millions of people who own lawn mowers do it all the time. I do not own any diesel powered vehicles so buying a generator that uses diesel means I have to add another fuel to my preps.

My gasoline stock serves many uses. Chainsaw, cars, ATV, generator and possibly bartering. Gasoline stored properly in a sealed container will last longer than most people realize. I have used two year old gas that worked just fine.
Using only ethanol free gas in small engines prevents most problems.:thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
What are your 2 diesel generators? Are they both in enclosed canopys?
The 7kw is an Onan Rv generator it has an enclosure.

The 10kw is a Perkins with no enclosure. I built a small (3wx7lx4h) shed for the enclosure. I keep a 55 gal drum in the shed with it, One side has big double doors, The roof slides to either side for maintenance and for picking and placing the 55 gal drums.

https://www.centralmainediesel.com/order/Perkins-10-kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=Perkins10

How do you do with wet stacking?
I have had no problem with either generator. Its my belief that wet stacking is fairly rare, as long as you have intermittent heavy loads ie: Water Heater, Well Pump,heating system etc. You keep the engine warm enough you will avoid wet stacking. Wet stacking is pretty easy to diag, look for wetness in exhaust and black smoke during burn. I could be wrong on this but thats what I have read.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top