propane generator, factory or kit?

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Rich Jordan
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propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Rich Jordan » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:39 pm

We're looking to get a propane generator in the 2400-3400 watt range; thats our sweet spot since it will run a portable A/C and some lights and a fan, or the fridge and freezer and lights and a fan. It will also not be too heavy. I'm not stuck on propane only but it will have to be a real emergency before I willingly put gasoline in it and start having to deal with all the hassles that produces. We can't have a natural gas unit (HOA).

We lean towards an inverter unit both for efficiency and to keep the electronics happy if we run them on generator power but I know you can get a lot better price on a non-inverter model of the same rating.

Champion makes dual fuel models in that range (Costco often carries a 2800/3100 watt unit). But there's opportunity to pick up a Yamaha 2400 gas unit at a discounted price (not a great bargain but a good one).

Is there any real disadvantage (other than the cost of buying the kit) to getting a premium generator like the Yamaha (or a honda) and putting a propane conversion kit vs a factory propane setup on a good but less expensive brand like Champion? The kits I've seen claim they don't void warranty.

Thanks

Old Grafton
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Old Grafton » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:30 pm

I converted my Coleman 5K to propane and have never put gas in it again. went so far as to remove the gas tank and all the carburetor does now is act as a governor. No choke required; hook up a tank of propane, press the purge button on the regulator for 5 seconds, switch it on, give it a yank and it's running.
I'm not old--It's too early to be this late.

Rich Jordan
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Rich Jordan » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:16 pm

I'm hopeful then that I can save the increased cost of a real/factory dual fuel or propane only inverter generator over gas only. Did you use the propane snorkel type kits (which can also allow use of LNG)? Of course they get close to making up the cost difference, depending on the generator model...

Thanks for responding! Sorry it took me so long to get back.

Old Grafton
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Old Grafton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:20 pm

Here's the brand of conversion kit I used, took me a while to find the documentation :oops:

https://centuryfuelproducts.com/generat ... rsion-kits

Very happy with the ease of install and how well it (still) works
I'm not old--It's too early to be this late.

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g-man
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by g-man » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:23 pm

How long will it run on a propane tank vs on a tank of gasoline? This is a very, very tempting adapter setup for my Honda EU3000is, since it'll run on gas, NG, or propane. Lots easier to stock a couple of propane tanks vice treating and rotating gasoline.
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Old Grafton
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Old Grafton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:19 pm

This website:

https://preparednessadvice.com/fuels/pr ... st-choice/

provides answers to your questions, although I disagree on complexity for conversion and engine life.
I'm not old--It's too early to be this late.

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g-man
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by g-man » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:13 pm

Looking there, a pair of 3k Hondas would run for a LONG time on a 1k gallon propane tank, and would run individual split-unit ACs without any issue (6k parallel couldn't handle a whole-house HVAC unit). Guess that's another argument for the split-unit ACs in a place after the Army. And since I already have one of the Hondas, that's helpful. SWMBO has not been especially hot on the idea of the split AC units, but the idea that we'd still have cool air when the power goes out (without having to invest in a BIG generator) is probably enough to move her into my camp on that.
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Rich Jordan
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Rich Jordan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:32 pm

You can also get by much cheaper (though less efficiently) with a portable A/C unit. Preferably a 2-hose model but we should be able to run our one hose unit on a 2200W or bigger generator and keep one room cool. A 2000 watt unit _might_ just do it. Thats good enough for any short-midterm outage for us.

I've read that people managed to run the little 5000 BTU window units on the Harbor Freight 900W 2-stroke units. Not all of them will start but some do and will run fine on that little unit.

Of course I'd rather have a split system, but thats $$$$...

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g-man
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by g-man » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:13 am

The idea is, if we’re updating or building a house anyway, there’s not THAT much difference, and in the long run, the split units have lots of benefits over the larger central unit. Also, a good argument for a big propane tank vs NG hookups for the house.
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Rich Jordan
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Re: propane generator, factory or kit?

Post by Rich Jordan » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Cabelas has multiple Champion units on sale for 20% off through July 4th. Our minimum requirement is 2400 running watts to run the portable A/C, or the fridge and freezer (switching between as needed).

Champion has a 'newer' "Digital Hybrid" 3500/4000W unit that is an inverter in an open frame; considerably cheaper than the fully clad inverters (but not as quiet); I'm checking to see if there's a propane conversion kit for it. Otherwise there's the 2800/3100 gas model (plus propane conversion), or they have the dual fuel 3100/3500 at a substantial bump in price and weight.

Champion makes a 2800/3100 dual fuel but thats not at Cabelas so I can't stack discounts (Active Junky 10% right now, and my 20% off gift cards). At Costco it is $850.

And just worked out that even on the reduced propane output, the 3150/3500 dual fuel or 3500/4000 (digital hybrid) should be able to run the portable A/C and the fridge concurrently, and still keep a few lights and fans going. We could disable the fridge and run the chest freezer periodically and be pretty nicely set up.

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