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Generators The Prepper Way http://coolprepperstuff.com
Why Do You Need Electricity? • Fridge/Freezer • Food Preparation Appliances • Well Pump • Sump Pump • Communication (Ham Radio, Small TV, Cable Modem, Cell Phone) • Furnace/Water Heater Fan (Assuming NG or Propane heat.) • Battery Charging • Some Lighting
Extras you may want, but don't need • Air Conditioning • Will require much larger generator and waste fuel • 55” LCD TV • Xbox/Playstation • Washer/Dryer
System Goals • VERSATILITY • Be able to power ONLY what is needed. • Low Fuel Consumption • Keep running when there is NO GAS • Portable • Long Storage Life • Convenience • Reliability • Quiet • Security • Low Price
Generator Selection • Just Big Enough – 2,000 – 3,000 watts • Inverter Technology (Not just a generator) • Low Fuel Consumption • Quiet • Cleaner Electricity (Smoother AC Voltage) • Reliable • Portable • ~$1000 - $1200+
Other Options (Better than nothing) • Big/Cheap Generators (As lows as $300) • Big Enough to Power Your Whole House! • High Fuel Consumption • Incredibly Loud! • Less Reliable • Less Portable • Whole House Natural Gas Unit ($2000 - $3000+) • Not Portable • Very Convenient but Not Versatile
How Much Power Do You Need? • Size your generator based on needs +30%. • Assume only half of your appliances are running at the same time. • Anything with a motor will draw at least 1.6X normal load upon startup. (But they won’t all start at the same time.) • Fridge, Freezer, Furnace Fan, etc… • Most Large Appliances have stickers that indicate their running Watts. • Watts = Amps X Volts • US standard outlet is 120V • Large appliances, AC/Drier use 220V • Use a Kill A Watt meter to measure small appliances • Use a Clamp Meter to measure large appliances.
Fuel Options • GAS • Only if you have too • Ethanol eats engines • Some places sell 100% gas, for a price • Degrades in 3 months, can be extended to • a year+ with Stabilizer • 2 X Tanks of Propane • 2.44 Times the BTUs/Volume of Natural Gas • Costs more to run. • The 2nd is a backup tank for your grill! • Lasts Forever • Natural Gas • Most Convenient • Lowest Cost • Short of a Extreme Earthquake we will have fuel. • Slight loss of power. (~3 amp loss) • Cannot Store Natural Gas, Required Pressure is too high. (2,800+ psi)
Fuel Options (cont.) • Diesel • More energy per gallon than Gas • Known for being slightly dirtier/smelly but • modern engines are much better. • Diesel engines are easier to convert to alternative • fuels. (Various biofuels/oils.) • More Cost Efficient than Gas • Last for 2-5 years dependent on • temperature. • Lasts 10+ years? with Stabilizer Diesel Formula
Fuel Options (cont.) • Kerosene • Not for Generators • Included to be thorough • For kerosene lamps and heaters. • Less refined fuel, means its extremely stable • No Stabilizer needed • Lasts 10+ years
Why Not Run On Multiple Fuels? (Tri Fuel) • With relatively small changes most standard generators can be made to run of multiple fuels. • If your somewhat mechanically able you can do the work yourself. • You can buy generators ready for Tri Fuel • More fuel options mean more flexibility and the ability to run longer. • In a real emergency, fuel is precious and you will only be running ~4 hours a day, just enough to keep the fridge cold, anything more is wasting precious fuel.
Tri-Fuel Research • Goal is to run off Gas, Propane or Natural Gas (Wood Gas ??) • Kits and Services are available for a price. • http://www.propane-generators.com/honda-generators.htm • Google “Honda Tri Fuel DIY” • Found a Great Tutorial (Tutorial Files Are Below) • http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/631123__ARCHIVED_THREAD____Honda_EU2000i_TriFuel_Install.html&page=1 • Have not found any negative reviews about doing a conversion. • Larger Generators need adapters for the conversion, small generators just have the carburetor drilled. • READ MY NOTES, the diameter of the hose from the Carburetor to KN Regulator is too small! (I found out the hard way.)
Tri-Fuel Research - Additional • After doing this, I found this site, which was recommended and does seem to have good kits. Even has an adapter plate for the Honda 2000 watt to avoid drilling. http://propanecarbs.com/ • Also found a security bracket for the Honda 2000 watt. Nothing is fool proof but at least it helps slow them down. http://propanecarbs.com/
Kits/Services VS DIY • Drilling Services Results Will Vary • DIY Results Can Be Very Clean • Sourcing individual parts will save some money. Honda 2000 will need drilled, very limited room. Drilling Service: Ugly, Brittle and Sloppy Green Epoxy DIY: Clean and Strong JB Weld
My Wiring and NG Setup • 15 Amp Transfer Switch, they also make large whole house switches. • Input Plug and Natural Gas Hookup In Garage
Security • Simple Chain and Lock
Tri-Fuel Storage and Maintenance • Stored with Gas Tank Empty. • No Ethanol Gas destroying the engine. • Can be stored indoors! • Still ready to run in minutes. • Change oil every 6 – 12 months. • Will last till the gaskets/seals rot away.
Convenience • Extension Cords • Transfer Switch • Parallel Cable (A great excuse for redundancy!) Reliance Controls 15 Amp, 4 Circuit <$200
My Natural Gas Connection • T from connection behind Kitchen Stove • Through wall behind stove into garage wall. • ¼” Quick Disconnect • Clean looking cover.
My Natural Gas Connection (Cont.) • Convenient hole through the side of garage.
Tri Fuel Conversion Basic • Can be done on essentially any generator. • Different “Kits” for different size generators and high/low pressure propane operation. • “Kits” for small generators may or may not require drilling the carburetor, depends on available space. • For $75 + Shipping, Kit manufactures will drill your carburetor. (But why do this? You still do the work removing it, and a drill press can be purchased for $125. Another great excuse to buy more stuff!)
Honda 2000 DIY Tips • Make sure you use 3/8 inner diameter hose from Carb to KN Regulator, without it the generator will not run right off of Natural Gas. • Use at least a ¼” OD brass tube. 3/16” OD is too small. • The gas shut off valve can be bought at Auto Zone. • I ended up using http://www.hose-man.com/ to source a 25 foot Natural Gas hose. • If your careful bending the brass tube you don’t have to cut off the white support. • Take your time drilling the hole.
Tri-Fuel Portability • 1 Large Person can carry everything. • Natural Gas Quick Disconnect can be moved from one house to another in minutes with just two wrenches.
Extreme Security (Only in EXTREME circumstances!!!) • Electrical and Natural Gas Connections in Garage • Pass Through Hole in wall is large enough for makeshift exhaust install. • Garage provides a level of separation between fumes and home living area. • Would be easier to defend. • Quiet generator inside garage would be hard to hear from outside. This is dangerous! I have not done this and hopefully never will. Unless people with guns are outside stealing generators, you should not ever consider this, and even then very carefully. I assume no responsibility for anything you do.
Extreme Convenience • Automatic Load Cycling • Essentially a 4 Zone Thermostat • Auto Cycle between Furnace, Water Heater, Fridge and Freezer based on Temperature • Remote Override • Load Sensing to prevent cutting power while load is running.
Back-Feeding Your Whole House • Dangerous • Can Kill Electrical Repair Men Miles Away • Generally Never Consider Doing This • If truly in a Extreme situation, like after an EMP or Solar Flare and you know power will not be restored for a LONG TIME: • ABSOLUTE MUST TURN YOUR MAIN BREAKER OFF!!! • Find a way to physically stop the breaker from turning on, at the very least duck tape it off and write a note. • If possible remove the main breaker?? • May be convenient, but high load can be a problem. This is dangerous! I have not done this and hopefully never will. I assume no responsibility for anything you do.
Future Possibilities • Auto Load Switcher Kit • Running of off Wood Gas