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Author Topic: Generators. Good makes, bad makes - what to look for  (Read 14843 times)
Fen Fellow
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« on: August 19, 2008, 05:02:02 PM »

Hello there,

I'd like to get a bit of an idea who's who in the world of generators. I'm not looking for stuff about features - just about build quality, really. I imagine that the "badge" manufactures (Honda or whoever) will often be using engines and alternators made by other companies and bought in. Is that so?

What are the names I should be looking for - both good and bad, please.  (By the way, I'm thinking roughly in the 2.5 kW area).

So - who should I avoid, who should I cosy up to?  JUST on quality though, please - plenty of time for features a bit later on!

Many thanks.
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northern installer
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 05:06:14 PM »

In my experience of site plant,generators,pumps etc,the genuine honda engine wins hands down!they start first pull every time,as long as they have oil and clean fuel. Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 06:15:34 PM »

Kubota diesel. (Warning - Impartiality failure!)

 Grin
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 06:16:31 PM »

Lister CS for longevity! Grin
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 06:24:42 PM »

Honda really ok for petrol engines (have a mixer;waterpump, compactor with a honda )

Diesel engines  - sure Kubota  and lister ; Yanmar...

The problem are the actual generator heads  Huh  I killed 3 so far  Shocked Grin


I guess i  did run them too much to their limit  and should  next time get a bigger unit and just run it at half load

Billi
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camillitech
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2008, 06:25:54 PM »

There's only one for years and years of service and that's Lister, Lister, Lister, N I is quite right for small petrol engined pumps, gennies, mixers or compacters and that's Honda. Honda make their own engines and the Chinese copy them, they don't make them under liscense and they're cr4p, beware of Irishmen in white Transit palming these off as 'Budget Honda' and I appologise to all the millions of truly wonderful Irish people who do not sell mickey mouse gennies out of the back of Transit vans but we've had a plague of them here in the last couple of years and I have one of these brand new pieces of 5h1te sat in my workshop awaiting repair. Having lived off grid since 1985 I've been through more gennies than you can shake a stick at and so have my neighbours and the only Lister that I've ever seen die was a 30 year old SR1 that melted in a fire Shocked

Good luck, Paul

Here's 'Harry' my 1974 12kw 1000, 6 years ago and still as good as new.



and here's my mates 1979 ST2 7kw 800 2 years ago and still as good as new

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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW 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,
guydewdney
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2008, 06:34:36 PM »

all of these:-



image stolen from ebay... - the labels change, but the product is the same as mine. Bits fall off it regularly, and it gets used irregularly Wink So far - rubber mount, decompression lever, battery, battery leads, oil pressure switch (failed open, so stopped) fuel cap not water tight, so fills with rain. noisy.

does make leccy though.
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2008, 06:49:32 PM »

Guy

i  went trough two of them already  banghead bike  , and now i think for about 1100 pounds (for two) i better of with more of those Cool

billi



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Fen Fellow
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2008, 07:06:33 PM »




I guess i  did run them too much to their limit  and should  next time get a bigger unit and just run it at half load

Billi


Is that a pretty good rule of thumb then? (Not to run them at full load, I mean).

Thanks.
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camillitech
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2008, 08:52:43 PM »


Whilst it's bad practice to run a diesel generator flat out for long periods it's also not good to run them on light loads for long periods either as the bores will glaze causing loss of compression and high oil consumption. Half load is good continuosly with high loads for say 25% 0f the time Huh ( I've just pulled that figure out of a hat Roll Eyes) I work on a 22 year old ferry that has it's generators stripped every 2 years and to stop bore glazing extra heaters were added a few years ago just to load them up Roll Eyes sounds a bit bonkers having heaters going in the summer just to make the genny work harder but it has stopped the bore glazing.
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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW 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,
northern installer
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2008, 09:16:01 PM »

I would certainly agree with Paul and others about the longevity of listers,especially on permanent installations;and with his advice to run half load minimum,I would add to that never open circuit if it can be avoided;we commonly put 1kw tungsten halogens permanently connected on any phase of a geni that is likely to be open circuited:general operating advice:keep it working hard,keep it cool,and make it grunt now and then(same applies to generator or wife) Grin
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Fen Fellow
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2008, 01:29:40 AM »


Whilst it's bad practice to run a diesel generator flat out for long periods it's also not good to run them on light loads for long periods either as the bores will glaze causing loss of compression and high oil consumption. Half load is good continuosly with high loads for say 25% 0f the time Huh ( I've just pulled that figure out of a hat Roll Eyes)

Is that applicable to petrol generators as well, would you say. If not - then what sort of load would be sensible for petrol machines.

By the way - thanks as always for the tips. Most useful. Those Listers look like la bees knees - if only I could make some sort of sense of their product codes!  They're definitely on the solid end of my potential usage but one of the 5 / 6 kVA might do nicely - I just can't find a site with a price because of the product code thing. Anyway, we'll see. Presumably an  air cooled one would go for eight or ten hours at a go alright, would it - assuming I was doing as Paul says and operating it mainly at half output??

The Hondas do have the advantage of being nice and quiet. What is general thinking about other makes using Honda engines? Stephill, Pramac and SDMO are some that I've noticed so far. Or would you stick to the actual proper Hondas?  (I appreciate that there are fakes but, assuming I can avoid those, presumably some of these others have decent engines but skimp on other components??)

That's it for now - thanks again.
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camillitech
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2008, 07:16:47 AM »

Morning FF,

a small petrol genny will last longer the lighter the load, quite simply put no matter how well you treat it it would not last long enough to glaze the bores. They are two different machines for two different jobs and their rolls are not easily reversed. The small petrol genny is lightly built ( and this goes for allot of the modern diesel ones also ) it's designed to be quiet, easy to move around and it's primary function is emergency or site use. The Lister is designed to run CONTINUOUSLY for weeks on end to provide dependable power, it needs to be in its own well ventilated shed with concrete base and thick walls or like mine it needs to be 200m away from the house built into the hillside. I do know a person ( I know allot of people off grid ) who ran Hondas for years to supply his caravan with electricity, quite simply they lasted a couple of years then he threw it away and bought another. There is nothing wrong with this as that's their design life, they have no proper valve guides, oil pump or valve adjustment, they are just very well made disposable engines and I swear by them for my mixers, diving compressor, and portable genny ( I would not buy anything else ) Yesterday I ran my back up Lister for a few hours ( I do so every month to keep it alive and make sure the valves don't stick )



'Twinny' my 1978 ST2 came here in 1996 after serving 18 years hard labour on a large estate on the mainland. It had run for 12 hours EVERY day for 18 years and I ran 5 or 6 hours a day for a further 8 Shocked IT has never had the cylinder heads removed Cool I know this for a fact having bought it from the guy who installed and serviced it from new.

As far as model numbers go personally I would stick with the 1500rpm SR or ST models steer clear of any that run at 3000rpm as they are usually Petters in disguise and about as much use as a  wackoteapot If you plan to run your appliances directly from the altenator as opposed to through a battery/inverter set up then go for a twin or triple cylinder machine as the slow revving singles produce 'spikey' electricity. I've never found this a problem on computers, HI FIs, or TVs but it can affect certain washing machines.

As far as the altenator goes the Honda one is the best, same goes for the Lister set up you want a Lister by 'Lister Power Plant' and not a Lister engine with someone elses altenator stuck on the end.

Hope I've not wittered on too much but I came to these conclusions after many years of experience, mine and other peoples.
I've had Petters, Suzuki's, Hondas, Lombardinis, Ruggerinis, Kubotas, and Listers and quite honestly nothing comes close Grin

Good luck, Paul

I've just noticed the rocker covers are off in that piccy so it must have been taken during a service.

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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW 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,
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2008, 07:32:28 PM »

By the way donot forget about the Germans .... Grin

I just  ordered a battrey charging unit  witha good engine (Hatz diesel)  second hand from the army ( havent been to the german army 22 years ago even they liked to force me.... Cool )

Any how will see how it performs its only 3 kw diesel engine and 2 kw charging my 24 volt battery bank  (so about 70 A at 28 volt)


I just like diesel  garden , but sure hondaengines are fine ...


Billi




 



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longstroke
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2008, 11:55:54 PM »

I'd heard that Hatz had a reputation for being noisy and not lasting, but that is compared to what?
Obviously not a Lister CS.
If you were in a position to have a big old lister but didn't want the 6hp you could simply run it slower ala Ken B.

Whilst there can be an issued with single cylinder causing spikey electric a solution (or at least part) is just to increase the weight of the alternator. The ST chinese made alternators are massively heavy, like the original startomatic type alternators and they have an enormous pully wheel as well
to help keep the output stable.

As Camilltech allready mentioned running a diesel at low load will cause all sorts of problems, also the efficiency will suffer. Looking at a test report for a set of 3 740kW gennys peak efficiency is between 75 and 100% - the koreans only test in 25% steps, appart from the 10% overload test!

A slightly amusing incident - I drove a 50 year old ex-military crane (24 ton in weight, 90hp AEC engine) about a mile, which had spent 30 odd years in a scrapyard moving a few metres, but idling all day as being a scrapyard they jumpstarted everything in the morning off one set of good batteries. Anyway, got to the small hill on our lane and down to 1st low and it started smoking. It got so bad I could hardly see the tarmac and my old man following thought it was on fire!
It never smoked much after that, even on the same hill.
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