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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2012-12-05          185617


I have a portable generator I run outside my garage when we get power outages. The garage has a large overhang just under 4 feet so it presents a good starting point for sheltering me and the generator from the elements.

So when we get a storm like Sandy, I put together some sort of temporary shelter to keep it dry without pushing carbon monoxide back into the house.

In the last storm I took my 4 x 8 foot utility trailer with 18 inch side walls and placed it 3 feet from my garage door. Trying to make sure I get plenty of ventilation and no back pressure against the door. My garage side is shielded from the wind.

I then got two large step ladders and placed them opposite the long side of the trailer. For the roof I separated a 20 foot ladder into two 10 foot sections and spanned the gap from the trailer walls to the step ladders with the 10 foot ladder sections, clamping the ladders to the top of each step ladder.

Then in each step ladder I ran two 4 foot 2x4's in the bottom of the step ladders and then laid a 50 pound sand bag in each one.

I then took a 12 by 16 tarp rolled one end in a 2x4x8 and laid it in the trailer with a 50 pound bag to secure it. Then stretched the tarp over the step ladders forming a "Salt box" type shelter I could stand under, open fully on each end of the tunnel.

I guess I should have taken a picture would have been easier. Anyway this set up withstood the direct wind of Sandy which devastated the area I live in.

When the weather was good I ran the generator out of this shelter 20 feet from the garage.

I have read where some say any type of tent is a bad idea as far as Carbon monoxide is concerned. I have 3 carbon monoxide detectors.

Any ideas on easier solutions for generator protection during inclement weather?

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2012-12-05          185622


Not temporary but I stick built a 10x12 shed and stuck the generator in one corner with a black iron exhaust sticking out through the roof. A cross-flow ventilation system was constructed to provide cooling. It turns on when the generator is running. On one side wall is an air intake vent and on the rear wall is a power exhaust fan that turns on when the generator is running to draw air across the unit.

My picture #24 shows the setup but I'm having problems linking to it just now.

http://tractorpoint.com/ctb/memberPhotos/kwschumm24.jpg ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2012-12-06          185627


A pop-up deer blind works, held in place with tent stakes. Position it that the door is down wind and leave it open to let fumes out. Position the generator that the gas tank is easily accessible from that doorway. ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2012-12-06          185629


Quote:
Originally Posted by yooperpete | view 185627
A pop-up deer blind works......


Nice thought and it is deer season here in NJ :) ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2012-12-07          185634


My shelter is in the shed where I store it.
The generator is on a three point hitch platform that I hook it up to the 4310. The power cord reaches the generator right where it sits in the shed that leads to the cut off switch in the basement via an under ground conduit. The shed is quite a ways from the house, we've never smelled any diesel fumes in the house while it is running.
I open some windows in the shed for ventelation, that works fine for us.

Frank.
....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2012-12-09          185647


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 185622
Not temporary but I stick built a 10x12 shed and stuck the generator in one corner with a black iron exhaust st...


Beautiful shed, love to have one like that. Did you make your own plans or used someones? How much did materials cost?

If I were to do this I would have large doors on both ends so it could just vent naturally like Hardwood. Shed would be 185 feet from transfer switch, would that cause a voltage drop?


http://tractorpoint.com/ctb/memberPhotos/kwschumm24.jpg ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2012-12-09          185648


Dennis;

Just some quick figuring in my head.
My generator is approximately 180ft. from the transfer switch. Being this is my first experience witha good sized generator I don't have anything to compare it to.
We have six breakers in the transfer switch to handle the basics, water, heat, freezer, fridge, a few lights, and a few outlets for a coffee pot or fry pan.
The next size bigger box had twelve breakers and was quie a bit more money. The generator would have handled the bigger box, it is 47,000 watts, yes 47,000, not 4,700, but we saw no need for twelve functions for a few days at the most.

Frank. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2012-12-09          185649


Dennis, thanks for the compliment on our shed.

It's difficult to say exactly what the material costs were for the shed. I built it shortly after the house was built and some costs were part of the house construction (slab, siding and shingles for example). Also, the electrician ran the cables for the generator at that time. My guess would be somewhere around $7k total.

This shed is about 100 feet from the transfer switch in the basement. The electrician for the house sized and ran the power lines. Voltage drop is a bit of a problem for the low voltage starting circuit, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and I need to rework it with relays but it's not a big effort to walk out to the shed to start it there. At 185 feet you could account for voltage drop by increasing cable size. There are standard formulas for that and are probably online calculators for sizing cable that accounts for drop.

After the shed was built it started to settle a little and this picture was taken as I was building the retaining wall to keep the shed from sliding down the hill.
....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2012-12-10          185657


This idea depends upon whether or not you have access to the materials. But my wood chipper came in a sturdy steel crate which can be moved with a fork lift or carryall. I think it's something like 48W x 42L x 42H. I'm planning on putting a 3/4" floor in it, enclose the sides and top (probably with T-1 siding), double door in the front. Top will have a slight pitch to let rain run off, open back will be about 3-4" away from the house for intake/exhaust.

It's only in my head right now, because I still have one generator to sell. Had been relying on two gasoline type, but got tired of wasting money on gasoline going stale in storage. I always keep plenty of diesel around for the car and the tractor, so the goal is to get a diesel generator as well. Generator first, shelter second.

//greg// ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2012-12-10          185659


Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisCTB | view 185647
Shed would be 185 feet from transfer switch, would that cause a voltage drop?
Yes and no. Yes, if your wire is undersized. No if you want to spend a lot of money. What causes voltage and amperage drop is resistance, and the smaller the wire gauge - the more resistance per foot. That's actually the principle behind the old glass fuses with the hair filament inside. The bigger the load, the hotter the wire became - until it simply ignited. Instant open fuse. But because it was enclosed in glass, it used up all the oxygen - and no fire ensues. Overloaded extension cords - not so much.

Find out what the surge rating is (in watts) of your generator, then stick it in the calculator below. If you don't have sensitive electronics on the generator, you can get by with 10% loss. But with electronics, don't input less than 3%. If your power company is like mine, I typically measure 117 volts on the 115v circuits. I say this, because your generator may be putting out more than the stated voltage as well. So you should actually measure the output voltage and use that number in the calculator. I assume you don't power any 230v stuff with the generator (?)

//greg// ....


Link:   Wire size calculator

 
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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2012-12-11          185678


We run a deep 1HP well at 230 volts ....

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Best Portable Generator Temporary Shelter

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2012-12-11          185680


That'll save you money on copper then. Assuming a 6500 watt (surge) generator, 8/3 UF w/ground will deliver 230 volts with 3% loss. And if you haven't purchased electrical cable before, it's cheaper by the spool than by the running foot.

//greg// ....


Link:   8/3 UF w/ground

 
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