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Author Topic: Living with a genny..  (Read 16965 times)
billi
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2015, 09:49:39 PM »

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Wow thanks guys!
Plenty to read and digest. I think a genny would feature in our futue anyway so it doesn't seem like too much of a wasted purchase.
Going to crazy on batt banks, etc early on does seem extravagant.
Would love to integrate solar pv in the future and i would like to fit solar thermal early on

hard to say ,  cause one does not know your consumption and your peak loads , .... running a generator 24 hours a day for 3 month  and more can cost you a lot on fuel and generator as well ,

a 17 kwh  battery costs about 1300 , plus a 500 for a  direct charging genny , plus 500 for a 4000w, 8000watt peak 48v 230v pure sine wave inverter with solar charge controller  ..... sure thats  enough money  but then you have a  great genset , that has to run only a few hours per day, or very little in summer depending on your pv


billi

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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2015, 10:09:59 PM »

Would love to integrate solar pv in the future and i would like to fit solar thermal early on
Solar thermal was a 10-15 year payback for us assuming nothing broke in that time.  Better to buy more pv and an immersun IMO

Fair point, i may have access to thermal panels, but would need all the ancilliary install items and plumbing, so maybve not such a good deal as it first appears.
The PV (and immersun) would be more generally useful
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camillitech
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2015, 07:22:18 AM »

When I first moved 'off grid' in the dim and distant past we were totally reliant on a genny yet only ran it twice a week for around 4 hours each day. This being for my wife to watch Eastenders, The Bill, do the washing and hoovering. Lighting was by Tilley, fridge gas, Rayburn wood and we listened to radio 4. It does not have to be expensive 'living with a genni', solar panels are cheap now so throw a couple of panels, batteries, LED,s and 12v laptop/phone chargers in the mix and you're laughing, most routers seem to be 12v anyway. Just size your genny for the washing machine and for eight hours a week a cheap Chinese generator would do the job. You could always recycle it in your forge when it inevitably dies.

Oh, and yes, forget the solar thermal if you have the roof space for PV. I'm actually going to install 60 Navitron tubes on my new house but it's purely because I've limited space on the shed roof that houses my thermal store.

Good luck, Paul

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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SMA SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 9kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
biff
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2015, 09:03:22 AM »

 There are that many different kinds of gennies,
                                                That it is difficult to make up your mind. The silent running genny is a lot heavier than the open design,it also uses a bit of its power to force the cold air through its cooling ducts. It is also very difficult to work at should you need to replace some little item like an AVR or a starter. Thankfully they are not required all that often. The open design is noisy. You just cannot get used to the noise. They just batter the ears of you and I am deaf already so I pity anyone with good hearing, Still, If you have no near neighbours, you could go for the cheaper open design and like Paul says,use it for the washing machine and vacuum cleaner etc or charging the batteries to power the led lights.
    Do not buy the pull start diesel version or you will put your shoulder out. I will post a pic later of the type that I had for years. They retail around 450.00 or cheaper. I run them for about 25 hours and then checked the head bolts and changed the oil.There used to be 20 different dealers selling this same generator with different stickers and different prices.
 One of the big advantages that the small open genny has, is that it is more mobile than the others and you can wheel it to some place on the site to work drill and grinders or saws with it, without the big long lead. I will have a pic hopefully before 3pm ish.
                                                                                             Biff
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2015, 12:00:30 PM »

GB
I wouldn't disagree with any of the advice on offer but it appears you are going to have a grid connection and living with a Jenny is just a very temporary stop gap.
When we moved into our off-grid property we were quoted an initial "budget" price of 28,000 for connection. I have no doubt the final cost would have been well over 30,000. So staying off-grid (our preference anyway) was not a difficult decision. However renewable you want to be your grid connection cost makes it worth while.
We inherited a 6kW generator originating in the PRC with a 2.5kW inverter charger and 6 rather tired 120ah HGV batteries. The generator was less than six months old and had already been "repaired" once. I took one look and a brief listen and ordered a proper generator. Sure enough the far eastern thing died (no compression) within a week and we had to resort to using borrowed portable jennies - first a 2.5kW petrol and then a 4kW diesel - for a couple of months April-June pending delivery of planned generator, inverters and batteries. As a temporary measure this was fine but it was neither cheap, convenient or fun whilst also trying to get other necessary work done. Below is an estimated breakdown of what it cost us to live that way - I'm sure you can do it for less, depends on your situation.
Petro/diesel used - 25-35 litres a week for the following base consumption
Heating and cooking all solid fuel and bottled gas.
1 old fridge/freezer
1 water 750w water transfer pump approx 2x30 mins per day
Minimum (mostly low energy bulb) lighting
1 Heating circ pump (heating is required here sporadically well into May)  2 hours/day over that period.
1 washing machine 2-3 times per week
1 Desktop PC  and router 1 hour per day
1 LED TV 2-3 hours per day
Various HI-FI units (mostly small) 3-4 hours per day
Some hand/bench tools - short durations every day
The generators were run mostly simply to recharge the batteries with timing to suit big users. We did run them occasionally for longer periods for tools. So very little idling time although I admit to sometimes getting fed up with switching them on and off and there was some wastage.
If we had had to buy a decent generator the cost (including fuel at rocketing prices at the time) would have been approaching 1,000. Note that all the required wiring etc was already in place and so there was no associated cost in this respect.
Worth noting that the two generators we borrowed had been little used and I believe have not been used since - the owners are grid connected. Nice to have one, just in case, but is it really a sensible purchase? If you can't borrow I think it would be worth asking around the various hire companies for a long term deal - at least you would have some back-up for breakdown and would not be left with a dust gatherer in the corner of the shed. If you do buy and expect to get some reliable long term work out of it I suggest you consider the pedigree quite carefully especially since it will have clocked up a significant mileage in the initial period.
If you intend to install renewables it is worth planning this in now. There seems little point in bunging in an off-grid PV set up to help out for a few months if you intend to have a grid-tie set-up in the long term.
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2015, 12:50:17 PM »

Thankyou for your insights.

With regasrd to grid-tie RE, because we'll be living under temporary agricultural permission for at least 3, maybe more, years, i'm not sure how realistic/worth while grid-tying is?
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2015, 01:23:20 PM »

Is it worth getting a smaller genny that can't supply maximum demand but having a battery bank that can, so you can keep the bank topped up (automatically?) with the genny but it's not expected to keep up with kettles, and high demand applicances?
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camillitech
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2015, 02:18:16 PM »

Is it worth getting a smaller genny that can't supply maximum demand but having a battery bank that can, so you can keep the bank topped up (automatically?) with the genny but it's not expected to keep up with kettles, and high demand applicances?

That's pretty much what that inverter genny that Billi linked to does and if it's only for three months then you can just keep throwing the worn out ones back to the supplier under guarantee. It really depends on what sacrifices (if any) you are prepared to make. Can you manage without a toaster? why not use a gas kettle, we need a fridge cos we're in the middle of nowhere but most folk pass a shop daily. Do you watch TV, me I'd happily throw it in the sea. If you're commuting daily you can probably plug phones and laptops into the car. I lived for four years quite happily on 'genni only' and used a gallon of diesel a week (half a liter an hour in the old Lister). Of course there were no laptops or mobile phones then and I was content with the old Pye Sailor radio and a couple of PP9's every month. If it's only for three months in the summer just look upon it as a great camping adventure  Grin
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SMA SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 9kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
biff
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2015, 02:46:36 PM »

Hi gb,
             You will have to wait a little longer for the pics, The pic posting program was wiped and we have to re install it again.
                                                              Biff
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2015, 03:02:27 PM »

Hmmm - agricultural permission. Not particularly familiar with such things but it sounds as if even the grid connection is not necessarily such an obvious go and do. Probably very different circumstances but I know of a couple of sites locally that were "developed" under such permissions and are now unoccupied but with a new grid connection which has added nothing to the value.


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Off grid AC coupled, 6kW Proven, 2.8kW PV, SMA SI/SB/WB Inverters, 4x576ah Rolls batteries @ 24v, 25kW Biomass Boiler, Wood Stoves, Spring/Well water. Sorry planet - I did try.
biff
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2015, 04:43:19 PM »

I have been off-grid at least 10years+ here,
                                Thing have improved so much that our generator has become redundant,unless I decide to power up some heavy duty motor or tools and I am not sure of the quality,In that case,a couple of switched plugs and a turn of the key,give me 4kw on tap. If we had the mains power into the house, I would still have a generator tucked away ready to rumble when needed. The mains power here can go down without warning and I would rather have my own geni than harp on about a fridge full of food getting lost.
     The other thing is the ability to move the geni around your site, to power saws and grinders, etc.
  It all boils down to each individual.s needs and frankly one will not know or understand how much power will be required or for how long it will be required until they live the life and the need arises.
  I always had a geni about me. Usually locked/chained into the back of my works van so maybe that is why I still have to have a geni nearby. My original geni many years ago,was a little honda 2kw or less. It was light and easy to move around and it was very reliable but I would not buy the bigger Hondas or the diesel twins.(no thanks)
                                                                   Biff
 
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2015, 10:00:22 AM »

so should i be looking at 3-4kw genny? I guess if charging batteries it will always be working at peak efficiency regardless of actual household demand?
Or should i look for smaller (and therefore cheaper), it;ll just riun longer to keep batts charged, as long as the rate of charge is higher than rate of discharge over a period of time.
So a kettle would be a short term, high draw on the bank but the genny would run for longer charging back up and not have to deal with the peak demand

what size batt bank should i be looking at building? i know about sizing for demand, just wanted some indication what people have got (or had with this kind of set up)?

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billi
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2015, 05:51:23 PM »

.... hmm , as i asked above , we need to know your average daily  kwh consumption  and your peak loads  , you certainly cn undesize a geny , if its for battery charging ,

i just estimated this one earlier
Quote
a 17 kwh  battery costs about 1300
cause it will live 10 years  if you only cycle her  daily to about 50 per cent or  take approx 7-8 kwh  out .....  , this battery you should not discharge harder than 3-4 kw over a longer period

a 2 kw pv attached to this battery would supply about 5-6 kwh a day in mid uk  in summer and schould not cost more than 1000 gbp  and would easy replace  500 gbp  fuel  over four month

billi
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2015, 11:06:40 PM »

Thanks billi, I think at last check we were using 10+ kWh a day (maybe as much as 15)
So there might be some behaviour modification needed.
We have a gas hob now, but it stays with the house and I have an induction hob (with electric oven) coming back to me instead.
We're all led/low energy bills here but new place will be smaller. There'll be no gas, so will have a wood burner for heat/hot water.
So some usage  will decrease and some will increase
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knighty
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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2015, 02:24:17 AM »

if it's only for 3 months.... could you go without a generator at all ? as Pete (I think it was Pete) said, treat it as a camping trip ?

charge your phones/laptops in the car when you're driving

cook with gas / boil kettle on gas oven


I guess it depends on if you plan to work on the house when you're there... you could get a small inverter generator for power tools etc.. ?

really seams a shame to buy a battery bank for just 3 months use...



also, you said 'land' not house etc... it there anything there ?  what are you going to live in ?
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