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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Generator ? for Billy Shafer

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wile E

12-15-2013 06:59:10
75.129.76.76



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Mr. Shafer. In your experienced opinion, which is better the Kohler or Briggs home standby generator? (in propane fuel mode) I am thinking about biting the bullet and buying a house generator early next year. I am seeing prices below $4,000 for the 14-15 KW range in both the Briggs and Kohler units. I looked at the Diesel gen sets, and those are too expensive. I have a 500 gallon propane source and would use this instead of diesel or gasoline.

Can you give a lowest to highest rating of the home standbys. With the following makers. Generac, Kohler, Briggs, Cummins/Onan Pramac, (They may only sell diesels)

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Skyhawk

12-16-2013 05:31:59
216.252.25.137



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
That sure looks simple. But how can it be safe if the neutral is not disconnected to the outside? If the neutral bar in the breaker box is grounded externally, does that make this device safe? Edit: I am referring to the interlock attachment pictured above.
This post was edited by Skyhawk at 05:35:44 12/16/13.



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buickanddeere

12-16-2013 06:35:27
184.151.61.78



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Skyhawk, 12-16-2013 05:31:59  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

If the generator has a floating neutral the neutral does not need to switch.



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El Toro

12-16-2013 04:16:26
96.244.7.206



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  

Here's the transfer switch that came with my Kohler. There was no state tax and shipping charges on my generator. Hal



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JD Seller

12-15-2013 16:27:08
208.126.196.144



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  

Wile: You can get the breaker blocking plate that prevents you from having the main and the generator on at the same time. You just feed the main breaker box back through a 220 volt breaker. Then this plate makes it physically impossible to have both the main breaker and the generator turn on at the same time.

I installed one of them at the youngest son's house to save money over a transfer switch.

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Stick welding

12-15-2013 12:58:12
96.53.210.246



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Interesting. I thought Generac was a division of Briggs & Stratton. I think I even read it on here in an old thread. Onan were very good but from what I have recently read, they are no longer in the small engine business. I don't know if they still make generators but wouldn't think so.



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 19:03:53
40.134.187.109



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Stick welding, 12-15-2013 12:58:12  
If I remember correctly. Briggs bought the portable and small engine side of Generac. But then sold it back to Generac.

Onan is now owned by Cummins. They no longer make their own engines. Nothing under 20KW except for RV units.



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 11:30:56
173.185.117.201



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Also try and find an 1800 RPM unit. They are quieter and last longer than the 3600 RPM units. However the 3600 units do have some good housing around them. So they are not real loud.



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 11:20:34
173.185.117.201



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Kohler would be my first choice. A good company that has people. Who know what they are talking about.Kohler has a very good reputation in the generator field.

Cummins/Onan would be second. I don't feel the quality is had good as it used to be. Training is not what it should be. Some dealers are hard to deal with. Even the factory branches can be a pain to deal with.

Don't know much about Briggs units. But we did use Briggs engines. On our liquid feed pumps at the feed store. None of the engines made it past a year.

Don't know about Parmac. But I will check them out.

I wouldn't go near a Generac unit.Been dealing with them for over thirty years. They do have some small diesel units that are good. But service is very poor. Even if you can get them to come out. They are very picky about what they will cover under warranty.If they cover it at all.

There construction is poor.Manuals are a cheap photo copy that can be hard to read.The price of parts. Well you will need a bank loan to get most parts. One example PH-8 oil filter. At the time was a 2.98 price at the parts house. Order it from Generac 39.95. Some times some of the filters didn't get painted. Before they were put into Generac boxe's

There is another company called Power Tech. Not sure what they sell now. But used to be a good well built. Easy tpo work on umnit.

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wile E

12-15-2013 11:44:28
75.129.76.76



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Billy Shafer, 12-15-2013 11:20:34  
Thank you very much. It looks like Kohler is going to be the one.

And, it will be under $4,000. I am talking about the 14KVA unit.



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 12:31:57
173.185.117.201



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 11:44:28  
Are you getting the transfer switch.If not you will have to have a code approved connection box. To keep your insurance intact and protect yourself. Don't do the dangerous dryer plug way.



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wile E

12-15-2013 14:57:28
75.129.76.76



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Billy Shafer, 12-15-2013 12:31:57  
I would like to use the transfer switch. I hope that I would have enough brains to unplug the meter bubble while I was using the generator. I have to talk to a buddy of mine that is an electrical expert. I will likely set the generator next to the propane tank, then have an electrical line go to the house. My propane tank is 25 feet from my house.



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Billy Shafer

12-16-2013 08:21:29
173.185.114.45



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 14:57:28  
I would get the transfer switch. Do the job right. Local power company will be happy.As will the insurance company.



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El Toro

12-15-2013 13:36:40
96.244.7.206



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Billy Shafer, 12-15-2013 12:31:57  
My Kohler came with a transfer switch. Hal



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El Toro

12-15-2013 11:50:37
96.244.7.206



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 11:44:28  
Here's where I bought mine. Hal



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jm.

12-15-2013 10:36:55
162.72.101.221



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Built a new house 5 years ago and at that time installed a wired in 20KW Generac. We used two two hundred amp panels so the generator picks up all the essential services of the house. Runs or exercise itself 15 minutes each week. Have it running direct off the house 1000 gallon propane tank. So far have had two outages of any duration. Unit has 123 hrs. now with no problems. Would not be without something after having one.

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JD Seller

12-15-2013 08:38:20
208.126.196.144



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Not Billy either. LOL

I have two Onan standby generator sets. They both are set up to run on propane. Each is tied into a 1000 gallon tank that also is for the home heating. The bigger one is 40K at the home farm. It will run the entire farmstead. It was not cheap but I got tired of waking up to a cold house and cold tractors to start to run the PTO generator. The second one is a 20K setup at my current house. I am just installing it now. With the frozen ground it is just setting inside the one barn on a pallet. I have it wired into the main power supply station/distribution center.
Both of these are entirely automatic. They run every so often and charge the batteries and such. The larger one is 5-6 years old. It has performed flawlessly.

They are not cheap. The 40K one was right at $17500 by the time I got it totally installed 5 years ago or so. The 20K one is going to be right around $12,500 when all is said and done. I think that the 40K has been replaced by a 50K model now. I see them for right at the $20 price.

13Kw Cummins with a Kubota motor for $5500.

http://www.generatorjoe.net/product.asp?0=247&1=255&3=4343

I had a Generac that did not last two years. THEY ARE PURE JUNK!!!! Then the company is totally useless. I think they deliberately hire all the idiots they can find. You can not get an intelligent answer to any type of question.

I spent $7500 for 18 hours of use over two years. Only was able to recover $3000 out of the warranty/resale. This does not count the hours of fooling with the company and having to run the PTO generator because the standby would not work.
This post was edited by JD Seller at 08:53:07 12/15/13.

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wile E

12-15-2013 11:13:02
75.129.76.76



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to JD Seller, 12-15-2013 08:38:20  
Thank you for your input. The Generacs are crap........after the comments here I will stay away from them.

I have a natural gas supply (installed last summer) and I bought a 500 gallon propane tank 5 years ago. I would really like the propane gen set cause if by some far chance that natural gas service was down and out I would have my own steady supply of fuel. (with home delivery) with diesel and gasoline you cannot get home delivery. A diesel genset would be a wet dream but with the fuel used for a 15-20 KVA the cost would be real high, and having to transport 20+ gallons of off-road diesel to my home everyday would be a major PITA. And, spending $ 12,000 on a diesel gen set for the power going out a few times per year would be a pizz poor investment.

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notjustair

12-15-2013 07:56:07
174.250.160.15



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
I have a 19k diesel Onan that will run the farm. I don't keep it plugged in all winter - just when a storm is coming. It has an intake heater and can get it started down to about 10 degrees but it is sure easier with the engine warm.

It was a unit removed from a phone company building. After being here many years it still only has about 900 hours on it. I am not afraid of the diesel but have other things on the farm that are diesel so it isn't a big deal. I wouldn't hesitate to go with an Onan. I have had a Generac in the past. It was junk. Leaked oil like a seive and wasn't easy to get running. I was vry happy to be rid of it. Part of the problem was the service network or talking to anyone who knew what they were doing. One phone call and I have a live person from Cummins Onan on the phone.

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wile E

12-15-2013 08:03:16
75.129.76.76



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to notjustair, 12-15-2013 07:56:07  
A friend of mine has a 15kw Generac, after a month of owning it the generator head just flue apart, copper pieces all over. He shut it off in time. It took a minute or so until he realized what was happening. The gen head was replaced under warranty.

I have heard of a few bad things about the Generac brand, but they sell the most so you would expect them to have the most issues.



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 11:34:49
173.185.117.201



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 08:03:16  
They sell the most because they sell them cheap. Make up on it buy jacking up the price of parts. We have a joke in the generator field.
Buy a Generac at a Volkswagon price.
Buy the parts at a Rolls Royce price.



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massey333

12-15-2013 12:30:51
209.173.189.232



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to Billy Shafer, 12-15-2013 11:34:49  
No Billy,they have DEALERS selling them,where you have to look long and hard to find a Onan or Kohler dealer that would give a home owner the time of day.As far as price,KW to KW,I have a Nov.13 price list and Generac is the same to HIGHER then a Kohler.Liquid cooled.No I don't have any Generacs,but there are(seems like)a lot of BIG Generacs going in lately.80 to 100+KW



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Billy Shafer

12-15-2013 12:45:22
173.185.117.201



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to massey333, 12-15-2013 12:30:51  
Thanks for the update on the price. Around my part of Texas. Kohler has a better support system. I agree about Onan. The support system is not that great. They don't support the home owners. Like they should. Before Cummins bought them out. All Onan customers got the same treatment. Service orders were issued as they came in. Didn't matter who they were.

There is a Generac down the street from me. About a 1/4 mile. When it starts it drowns out the Kohler sitting next door. We have four Generacs in town.During our last power failure,only one started.

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David G

12-15-2013 07:48:16
205.215.206.18



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
I am not Mr Shafer either, but, I have a 20kW Generac that had an unfixable oil leak. They replaced the engine under warranty.

I think most of the issues are the reliability of the local service organization. I would get references on them and buy that way. It was PIA to get the dealer to service it.



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El Toro

12-15-2013 07:45:29
96.244.7.206



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
You need to dedicate one circuit for keeping the battery charged. Hal



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George Marsh

12-15-2013 07:43:25
50.121.6.110



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
Sorry, I"m not Mr. shafer,
I did find an interesting generator that runs on propane and gas. I wasn"t aware that such an animal existed. I really like my RV genny because it has a 30 amp 110v out. Been thinking of buying a genny like this one because it"s propane, electric start only $500.
George

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Billy Shafer

12-16-2013 08:17:55
173.185.114.45



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to George Marsh, 12-15-2013 07:43:25  
That set up is common on the standby units. Just now starting to see it come on portable units.



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El Toro

12-15-2013 07:43:09
96.244.7.206



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 Re: Generator ? for Billy Shafer in reply to wile E, 12-15-2013 06:59:10  
I have the Kohler 14KW generator and it's running on NG that drops it down to 12KW. It was installed in mid 2012. Sure came in handy when that storm Sandy hit the east coast in Oct 2012.

I've heard pros and cons on the Kohler and Generac. Two of my neighbors have the Generacs.

We used Onans at work and had very good service from them. We used a lot of their gasoline sets.
When the military switched everything to diesel we bought diesel Onans.

We bought our generator in AZ and the set was shipped from TX. Hire a good plumber and electrician that has wired generators. The plumber used Wardflex piping in the basement and hard piped from the house to gen. Also have it inspected. Hal

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