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Author Topic: best gens  (Read 3907 times)
ruthi
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« on: September 21, 2009, 06:31:23 PM »

okay, I know I am probably opening up a keg of worms here, but, what is the best, generator? We need a 10k, and a quite one. The one we have now is a powertech. The first one we started out with was powertech, and worked good for many yrs. But, the one we have now, has been a pain since the beginning. Maybe it was a lemon, dont know. We run one 24/7 when we are on the road working. We service it regularly. Just wanted to get some opinions, as we are considering just going ahead and getting a new one. Huh
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 06:56:50 PM »

Asking for a "best generator" recommendation is a little like asking for a recommendation for the "best car". It very much depends on your specific needs.   Your comments about needing a 10K unit to run 24/7 is a very good start. But let's see if we can flush this out with a little bit more info...

Can you give us any idea on the number of generator run hours you expect to rack up annually?

What can you tell us about the previous two PowerTech units? You sounded pleased with the first one, what happened to that one?   For the second one that had problems, was it purchased new or used?   What types of problems?

Can we assume that you are asking us to limit our discussion to brand new diesel powered units?
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 07:02:02 PM »

Ruthi, I would stop at a RSC rental center and let those guys look at the unit they have some sharp guys on generators and have locations about anywhere in the USA 

good luck
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ruthi
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 07:06:47 PM »

First one, we wore out pretty much. Second one we bought from Power tech, used, but not many hrs on it, was used as a demonstraor of some sort. Yes, we will be looking for new. We are on the road the biggest part of the time.We try to get one week a month off. Other than that, we have off a couple of months at the end of the yr. So, as you can see, it is used a lot. So, it will get a lot of hrs on it, but, as I said we do take care of them. We were thinking of going with a quiet onan. Does that help. I know that no one can tell us what we should get, just thought some of you might have some experience, and, or, insight.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 07:08:53 PM »

What does RSC stand for? Is that the way I would look them up? We are in Williamsburg va tonight, Richmond tomorrow.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 07:12:02 PM »

Found them, there is one in Richmond. Will give them a call first thing in the morning. Thanks
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 07:34:38 PM »

I have never owned a diesel generator, so I am going strictly off of discussions held on this board (and others) for the last 5 - 10 years.   I don't know of too many folks that would step away from owning Powertech units in favor of the Onan Quiet Diesel units.

The Onan diesels do have a better reputation than their gasoline units.

I'd do a little research on this board using the company name "Wrico".  Dick Wright's company is frequently referenced for quality generator work.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 07:46:10 PM by WEC4104 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 07:43:42 PM »

Wec4104, most Powertech products are good but for whatever the reason the 10kw unit has a lot of problems.
I would buy a 10kw Onan over the 10kw Powertech and I don't like Onan


good luck
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ruthi
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 08:00:18 PM »

Are onan gens belt driven? Also, a correction, it is the injector pump that powertech said was going out on ours. They said we have to buy another one 1000.00 plus. Dont understand why it cant just be fixed.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2009, 08:11:33 PM »

Ruthi, Onan is not belt driven they don't give much trouble it is just when they do parts are expensive but one good thing they have service centers all across the USA at Cummins and RV dealers that may work best for you. 


good luck
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2009, 08:59:51 PM »

I was noticing that. That would be a plus for us. Power tech service is a lot harder to come by.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2009, 10:49:19 PM »

Up and beyond the Onans and Kohlers that have their own servicing network, Powertech, or Wrico or any other gens are basically a small Diesel engine coupled to a generator of some sort.  I have a 10kw Powertech, albeit an older version-which I believe to be one of the good ones they built since I haven't had any problems with it. Course, I only have about 1200 hours on it (which is like 48,000miles).  My truck conversion, I'm going with the Wrico 13kw with heavy duty alternator.  Dick Wright offers a compact alternator, but favors the heavy duty with more copper windings.  Unless you go with an Onan (a very big and expensive mistake-their "quiet Diesels" are not that quiet) or Kohler, you're going to be pretty much on your own to get servicing done on your independently made generator.  Just make sure all components used are universal type-easily obtainable at most any truck or auto parts store.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2009, 05:16:57 AM »

Ruthi,
   Is your Powertech the new style with a circuit board to control the start sequence (you simply push and release the start switch and the circuit board intiates the preheat and fuel pump them activates the starter)? or do you have the "Simple" style (you hold the switch in the stop position to preheat then hold in the start position to activate the starter)? We have the "simple" style and the only problem we have had is a loose wire on the start switch. I have worked on a friends new style and he has had several electrical problems.  Jack
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2009, 05:33:59 AM »

Jack, they also have a bearing problem in the generator head .
The folks I know that have the 10kw Powertech carry a spare bearing with them at all times and I have helped change a few one at 153 hrs.   

good luck
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2009, 05:50:26 AM »

Ruthi,

We are doing lots of traveling now and the life of the gen set(powertech) has been in my mind. How many hours do you have on your present one? How often do you change the oil?

Thanks

John
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2009, 05:58:10 AM »

I worked on entertainers for a while and when they ran the genny 24/7, they would change the oil and filter once a week.  At 168 hours probably a little stretched the they had very few problems.

Do you have a Kubota engine?  A tractor dealer might be able to help with engine problems.
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2009, 06:13:47 AM »

Ruthi; We have an Onan 10 kw quiet diesel and we have had a lot of problems.We spent over a grand and Onan finally figured out they had a big problem with their control board. I had about 400 hrs. it when the problem started and at on point I really wanted to take it out.We do not use it a lot but it as been running fine with just over 600 total hrs.
  Don
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2009, 08:18:04 AM »

As mentioned with the Powertech electronic compared to mechanical controls, Powertech only offers electronic controls. Wrico, on the other hand, offers the option of either.  I am going with the same type of mechanical controls I have with my Powertech with my new Wrico.  Powertech was having bearing problems when they switched to a cheap Chinese made generator head.  I believe those problems have been rectified.
Personally- with all the help and involvement that Dick Wright provides the bus community, I would only buy a generator from Wrico International (you can buy cheaper, but with no support).  Dick has been providing buses with generators for many years and his expertise is second to none.  My goal with my next installation is to have a generator that is just about silent running from outside, so I can run it anytime I want without anyone knowing.  If you've ever experienced a big 150kw recording studio generator running-when walking buy you have to look at the gauges to make sure it is running-you know what I mean.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2009, 09:39:11 AM »

Jack, they also have a bearing problem in the generator head .
The folks I know that have the 10kw Powertech carry a spare bearing with them at all times and I have helped change a few one at 153 hrs.   
good luck

Thanks for the information. I did not know that.  I will look up the number and pick up a spare bearing.  Is this the bearing in the end plate?   Jack
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2009, 10:14:17 AM »

I spent 3.5 hours replacing my Powertech 20KW end plate bearing, this past weekend.   For those that don't know.   Powertech uses Marathon for the genset heads on many of there units.   The bearing that was in the genset head, was made in Korea..    I opted to cross reference it to a Made in the USA  SKF sealed roller bearing.    Part number 6207 2RSLEM   I paid $18.44 for it.    The job took about 1 hours longer than if I had to do it again..   FYI for folks..   My Powertech unit (built in 8 month of 2003) has 12,744 hours on it and doesn't us any oil.   I have not had any issues with it, other than a water pump that went out.   
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2009, 10:21:23 AM »

What are the indications that the bearing is going out?  What kind of catastrophic failure are you in for if you don't catch it soon enough?

Len
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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2009, 10:23:01 AM »

Jack, before picking up a spare bearing call powertec and make sure You get the bearing for Your particular gen head.  At the 4700 hour mark I just replaced the end bearing and I am sorry I did because the bearing was in fine condition and in no danger of failing!  I was led to believe that the older units like Mine do not have the problems of some of the newer units.  The crankshaft end of the gen head is supported by the rear main bearing of the kubota.  My unit is a four cylinder engine.  As to the comments about the short life of the kubota engine nothing in the world could be father from the truth.  I have a small b5200 tractor that I use to mow the lawn here on My farm that was used by a factory for 20 years before I got it and I have used it for 10 years.  It is faultless period.  Be careful when pulling the exciter armature off to replace the bearing and I made sure I bought an quality American bearing not a Chinese piece of junk!  Regards, John
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2009, 01:36:54 PM »

Tom, thanks for the info on Wrico. Does anyone else have one of these gens? Just trying to get some more feedback on them as far as their use. We are thinking maybe a 13k? We are going to install 3 cruise aires, and we are told that they take a lot of power when they kick in. We will have all exectric, including cooktop, and full size 220 dryer. Tom, we are with you for wanting to make it as quite as possible. How do you intend to install yours to make it that way? Any ideas are appreciated. Now is the time to figure it all out. Starting from scratch to do a conversion, is more difficult than expected. Mostly the decision making part, as far as floor plan to maximize space. We have two other guys who travel and work with us, so, it is more difficult to plan. By the way, our powertech has a cat engine on it. We found a place to look at it tomorrow morn. but they said they dont have much as far as parts. Wish us luck Undecided    Thanks for the help
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2009, 01:45:55 PM »

John, sorry, just saw your post. Dont really know , but prob around 13,000. We change the oil at least 1 time a month.
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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2009, 03:01:31 PM »

Ruthi,

So if you averaged 13000 divided by 12 hrs a day on average this would be 1083 days . so about 3 years..

Does anyone agree that is about he life of the average gen set?

Ruthi I dont know generators but I would think the oil needs changing about every 5000 miles, which I would say would be 50 miles per hour X 100 hours or 100 hours divided by 12 = 8 days. Is this to frequent?

John
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« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2009, 03:43:47 PM »

If you are running the generator 24/7 then I think once a week oil and filter change is about right.  I would expect 20,000 hours on a well maintained unit.  Fuel filter once a month, air filter maybe every two months.  All depending on conditions of course.
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2009, 04:26:57 PM »

Ruthi,

We have LOVED our EPS generator. http://www.enginepowersource.com/ They have a Kubota diesel engine, and are fabulous! We have a friend who has 23K hours, on theirs, and it is still running strong. Ours is a 20K, which is a bit oversized, but it is great.

Let me know if you want anymore info about them.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2009, 04:31:06 PM »

John,

Boy, thats close to twice as many hours as Ruthi,s. How much are the 20k Kubota EPS?

John
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2009, 04:48:23 PM »

Walla, John. You pay for what you get. Call them, and see what price they will give. I don't remember exactly what ours was, but I do know that it was more then 10K, but that was with the quiet box, and the remote start, and the shroud for the front of the rad.

Give them a call. They are great people to work with. Call them, and tell them what you are looking for. If I remember correctly (which I don't often Grin), we worked with Steve. They were very helpful, and they know the conversions, because they put theirs into the high end entertainers.

God bless,

John

BTW, I happen to know where you can get a 20KW open box, generator (with only 1K hours on it), with slides. PM me for more info.
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2009, 05:56:37 PM »

Len,  the noise is similar to a kitchen pot with a lid rattling.   The bearing was never replaced and it was a little rough but still intact within it's races.   I must note that from all the signs while getting "inside" the unit, it was the first time.    One bearing going 12,000 hours is pretty good in my book.   
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2009, 11:43:44 PM »

I'm going to make the gen compartment out of 1/4" steel plate for the base with 3/4" plywood for the actual cabinet with 1" foam lead insulation, completely sealing the cabinet with no openings to the outside.  Then to feed air inside the cabinet, will have a 6" inlet squirrel cage blower pulling the air through a 6" diameter air cleaner (the old air cleaner from the bus [I installed a 7" for better flow with the turbo]).  The clean air will be pushed into the cabinet at the alternator end, then a 6" hose will exhaust the air at the other end with at least a 6ft run on the hose to quiet the engine noise.  I will run double mufflers, and have the radiator remote mounted with a 2spd squirrel cage blower for high day time use, and low speed for quiet night time use. At the campsite, will have a detachable stack to push the exhaust up over the roof of the truck.  The generator compartment is behind another outside door, so I'm hoping all mentioned plus the double door will make for a quiet generator-we'll see in a few months when I get it installed.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2009, 08:54:46 AM »

Also, I just saw the comments about how often to change the oil. Our Kubota book says every 200 hours. I would assume others would be the same, or similar. We use Rotella 15W 40 for ours (we also use the same in our bus, so it is nice to keep it the same).

God bless,

John
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2009, 09:13:59 AM »

Hi John,

24/7 is 168 hours a week and 200 hours would be 8.3 days.  I just figure it's easier to set up a routine to do it on the same day every week when you are running that kind of service.

I think I would also shut it down for a few minutes once a day to check the oil.  Not sure I would want to depend on a low oil sensor.

Len
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« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2009, 09:19:43 AM »

I agree with you (on this one Grin), Len. I would change it sooner rather then later. However, I just posted that because that is what our book said. We end up changing ours just about every 2 weeks, depending on how much we run it. We don't run our quite 24/7, but sometimes it gets pretty close.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2009, 09:42:05 AM »

Tom, thanks for the info on Wrico. Does anyone else have one of these gens? Just trying to get some more feedback on them as far as their use. We are thinking maybe a 13k? We are going to install 3 cruise aires, and we are told that they take a lot of power when they kick in. We will have all exectric, including cooktop, and full size 220 dryer. Tom, we are with you for wanting to make it as quite as possible. How do you intend to install yours to make it that way? Any ideas are appreciated. Now is the time to figure it all out. Starting from scratch to do a conversion, is more difficult than expected. Mostly the decision making part, as far as floor plan to maximize space. We have two other guys who travel and work with us, so, it is more difficult to plan. By the way, our powertech has a cat engine on it. We found a place to look at it tomorrow morn. but they said they dont have much as far as parts. Wish us luck Undecided    Thanks for the help

Ruthi I have a Wrico and have been very pleased with it.  If I were you I would give Dick Wright a call and explain to him what your plans are.  He is very knowledgeable and can give you some good pointers about what you will need and how to accomplish what you need.
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