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Due to storms and other silly reasons,  power grid can be (is) unpredictable.

How do you handle your backup generators.

My initial idea is wire a mid sized diesel with electric start to a switch box.  Not to big as I want to conserve fuel when needed but big enough to handle the house, even a couple AC.  And also to have a small portable hand start gas in case the battery is dead to start the diesel or to carry around if/as needed.  We should be able to store some containers of fuel safely as diesel doesn't explode.

comments ?    what have you all done for the same issue.

Thanks for any ideas.

We live off-grid on the ocean in western Canada.  We rely on solar and wind power to charge a bank of 8 Surrette Solar Batteries, 6V, 1156 AHr.

We have a 7.5 kw Kubota diesel generator wired so as to direct charge to the batteries should there be insufficient sun/wind to do the job. If for some reason we wish to bypass the batteries, there is a "bypass" switch which allows current to be directed directly into the house wiring and 7.5 kw is sufficient to power the whole place under just about any load.  We have a Makita 2400-watt gasoline generator that can be used for portable power, since the Kubota weighs about 1,000 lb.

I would say 7.5 kw would be all you would need.  As diesel gensets go, it's actually on the small side. 


--- Quote from: FastWalk on September 22, 2018, 11:12:09 PM ---How do you handle your backup generators.
--- End quote ---

My perspective is biased to simplicity, maintenance, and longevity.  Not convenience or comfort.  So my solutions won't sit well with most folks.

I'll just throw a few thoughts out there.

I have heard, and I believe,  that gaseous fueled engines .... NG, LPG, etc far out last liquid fueled engines.

Diesel is better than Petrol.  Fuel stability is a real concern.

Inrush current is a problem.  It will flat shut a generator down if it is not dealt with.  Correct generator sizing or motor "soft starting".

I always found it easiest to have a mains in mechanical switch,  to cut out the grid and in the generator,  installed in such a way as to prevent both the feeds from ever being connected at the same time.   Back feeding into the grid can be a very bad thing.

I like to control the load at the breaker panel.  Every thing off.  Switch over to genny.  Bring her up to speed.  Then slowly energize only what I need to service. 

The best .... (most reliable, never failed when I needed it, easiest to service) ... genset I ever had was ......  and this is gonna chap a few expert's bottoms .....  An old hit and miss motor running off of LPG.

She was coldblooded .... a pain in the butt to start ..... but so simple even I could maintain it.

We just have a 4500 watt generator hooked straight to a breaker that goes straight to main power box.  Our Norsamelco power source does the same.  Cut off that breaker, turn on the generator, cut in it's power, and we are set.  Only Tina and I touch any of the breakers.  Just needed it yesterday as Norsamelco was doing some maintenance.  About once a month they take a Saturday for doing that.  Run our fridge, lights, some tvs and net off it is all.

I grew up with the lp gas generator and to this day my dad uses that.  He always had either city gas or the gas "pig" hooked to it.  Set it up the same way as I have my house now setup.  When power went out after a storm or something just flip the incoming power breaker and the generator one and we had power.  If we had a city gas or a large tank/pig I'd probably set that up here also.  Just don't use it enough to warrant that yet.

Here is a photo of the cut over switch I cobbled together from what was available.  I have one in each building to select grid or solar / genny.

Two fused blade switches, (one inverted), mounted on a plywood plate off set from each other.  So that the handles match up and are bolted together.


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