Making yer own backup generator?

Awl --
The online big-box for generators appears to be http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/power/natural-gas-generators.html
and I was seriously looking at Generacs, woulda bought one some time ago if the lead time wasn't MONTHS, after all that weather bullshit in the northeast.
Then I started hearing some dicey stuff about the Generac engine AND their crappy service, and they weren't nearly as quiet as one is led to believe (some youtube vids).
So ahm still poking around, cuz I really need a backup, and I found http://www.generatorsales.com/natural-gas-generators.asp
where these guys (in Maine), put together their own generator systems, using nat gas Honda engines.
Now, here's the Q:
Is this something a half-baked diy-er can do, or is it best left to people who, well, actually do this? As I understand it, any gasoline engine can be pretty straightforwardly converted to nat gas, and all's you need is the generator motor and an automatic voltage regulator -- or so I think.
Or is it the case where it's not so hard to do, put procuring the parts at an economical price is the difficult part? Such as http://www.nextag.com/honda-gx630/products-html where they're asking $12-1300 for the Honda motor itself.... which is already a substantial fraction of what generatorsales is asking....
Generator sales has a 13,750 W jobbie (double the net wattage of the low-end Generac), for a few more dollars, and a much simpler (read: reliable?) system it seems -- ballpark $2,000. Plus you can *talk* to these guys in Maine, without all the big-box bullshit.
Next Q: Can these things be made substantially quieter with an automotive-type muffler? An enclosure?
Any other companies making affordable nat gas gensets?
--
EA



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[etc., etc.]
Prolly not what your looking for but still a pretty cool approach: http://www.priups.com . My brother used to work for this guy - hes pretty nutty, but still, it's a cool setup.
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wrote:

[etc., etc.]
Prolly not what your looking for but still a pretty cool approach: http://www.priups.com . My brother used to work for this guy - hes pretty nutty, but still, it's a cool setup. ===================================================== A great idea, and in principle, any car engine would work. A guy I know in fact uses his car with a small inverter, just to keep his boiler going, which uses circulating hot water, so no big blowers or anything. And mebbe a radio and a light bulb or two. Not bad, actually, and a lifesaver in the winter..
But I'm using this to A/C and shop stuff, so I need some oomph.
--
EA






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Existential Angst wrote:

If you want quality and quiet in a packaged standby generator you have to bypass the air cooled consumer lines (any brand) and move up to the liquid cooled commercial models. Those models from most any brand are pretty decent.
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Yes indeedy, I've seen/heard WhisperWatt diesel generators (used by outside food trucks), very impressive. But, $6K++ for 6 kW, and you need diesel fuel. Also the better units are 1800 rpm, which quiets things down.
So do you think a car muffler would help?
--
EA



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Existential Angst wrote:

The smaller packaged liquid cooled standby generators are usually Nat gas/LP. This is not the same as the Multiquip Whisper Watt diesel mobile generators.
I think the commercial standby units are pretty much all 1800 RPM. A car muffler or even a critical grade muffler will do *nothing* to quiet an air cooled engine as most of the noise emanates from the engine block, not the exhaust.
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Weeelllll... it sure will do _something_ positive. I have a 1962 Dayton 3.5KW with an old-style updraft 8HP Briggs on it. (It'll run a 4.2KW load all day).
I replaced the silly pancake muffler with a small, low back pressure automotive style, and cut the noise level by way more than half.
Yes, the engine makes a lot of noise all by itself, but half as noisy is still a good deal.
LLoyd
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On Jul 12, 12:59pm, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

Agreed, but half as noisy as the 13KW the OP was looking for is still going to be really loud if it's air cooled. Stationary air-cooled engines have to have large fins, and they tend to amplify the sound a lot. You can get some relief with rubber dampers between the fins, but it's still a pretty big sounding board.
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Agreed, but half as noisy as the 13KW the OP was looking for is still going to be really loud if it's air cooled. Stationary air-cooled engines have to have large fins, and they tend to amplify the sound a lot. You can get some relief with rubber dampers between the fins, but it's still a pretty big sounding board. ==================================================== But.... but.... but, it's a HONDA engine!!!! ???
--
EA



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On Fri, 13 Jul 2012 01:49:59 -0400, "Existential Angst"

You can quiet down an air-cooled engine, but you'd have to put it in a rather elaborate sound dampening enclosure, with a foam-lined labyrinth for killing sound radiation from both the entering cold air and the departing hot air.
It isn't worth the hassle - Start with a liquid cooled engine and make the job a lot easier at the start. A good muffler and resonator will cut the exhaust note. And you want a big-bite slow speed cooling fan on the radiator, keep the blade tip speed subsonic.
And if the radiator is remote mounted on the roof so the hot air is totally separate from the engine room, you don't need huge labyrinths for the block compartment and generator head cooling air in and out.
--<< Bruce >>--
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On 07/15/2012 10:44 AM, Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

Or you could put the radiator in the house and use it for heating in the winter. How many watts of heat would a typical 4-cylinder radiator put out, anyway?
Jon
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A gallon of fuel oil is 135,000 BTU, if memory serves. You could figure out how long it takes to burn a gallon of gasoline, and do some math. Gasoline would be different BTU, but at least you're in the ball park.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Or you could put the radiator in the house and use it for heating in the winter. How many watts of heat would a typical 4-cylinder radiator put out, anyway?
Jon
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On Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:07:51 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Perhaps two radiators, one inside, one outside, with a diverter vale to select the most appropriate one depending on the weather??
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My 1940's aircraft engine book puts it at around 1/8 of the energy in the fuel. 1/2 goes out the exhaust.
jsw
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On Mon, 16 Jul 2012 08:47:40 -0700, Jon Danniken

Easily enough to heat the house to 120F in an hour and a half. Regulation would be the hard part. </swag>
-- Win first, Fight later.
--martial principle of the Samurai
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I guess you've never heated a house with a hand-fed wood stove.
jsw
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On Mon, 16 Jul 2012 21:35:57 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

Certainly not on purpose. I hate smoke-leaking, er, woodburning stoves. No regulation, smoke everywhere, stratified heat levels.
They get an F for complete failure in my book. Gimme gas-fired forced air, _any_ day. I ripped crappy, expensive old 240v electric baseboard heat and a broken (cracked flue) fireplace out of here when I moved in.
-- Win first, Fight later.
--martial principle of the Samurai
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Sounds like _someone_ needs some lessons in using a wood stove! <G>
None of what you wrote is true of a well-made, well _used_ wood burning stove.
About as close as it comes is that the room in which the stove is located will be the warmest one.
LLoyd
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

Agreed, but I needed several years, remote thermocouple readouts, a draft vacuum gauge, and a mirror outside that shows the chimney top while I adjust the air inlet to learn how to use it well. The best air setting varies with outdoor temperature (draft vacuum) so I need a full winter to see the entire effect of any other change like chimney height or sealing leaks.
When everything is right it will hold a steady temperature with no visible smoke from the chimney for about an hour on three very dry 16" oak pieces roughly the size of my palm, my splitting gauge.
I still can't quite keep its temperature stable at the higher feed rate cooking requires, so one channel of the readout shows the temperature of the pot lid to show when it reaches boiling. The display jumps quickly from 60C to 90C.
jsw
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On Tue, 17 Jul 2012 07:49:28 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

Amazing! Americans heated their houses with wood burning devices since the country was settled. The Franklin Stove was invented in 1741 and today's generation has to "learn" how to use a wood stove.

Funny, my grandmothers cooked for years on wood stoves (my maternal grandmother until she died, during in the winter months). I doubt that they ever had formal training in stove management or a digital thermometer.
Ah! The wisdom of the ancients. Cheers, John B.
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