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 07-03-2007, 11:59 Post: 143396
YanmarKE4Fan



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

Hi y'all:

I've been reading every PTO generator post with interest. I know we need backup power. At our new place here in East Texas, we've had 4 outages in our first 6 weeks !

I'm looking at various options, one of them using our newly acquired Yanmar KE-4/160 - 16 eng hp, 13 PTO to run the Northern 7200 Watt generator. If I may ask a few questions:

-Anyone using a small tractor with this Northern small PTO generator, (or similar) ? Happy ? Any downsides ?

-I looked at Tractor supply to find a suitable driveline shaft w/ protective cover. Don't seem to have it. I suppose ordering the Northern matching driveline is a must ?

-Fuel consumption estimates if anyone can offer them ?

I was also considering as an alternative to this using one of the new, popular air cooled diesel gensets the enclosed 'silent diesel' type. I wanted to hear one run first. They seem to all be single cylinder - "Yanmar" type units (actually made in China) that put out about 5.0 KW (some claim up to 6.5 KW) continuous. They're supposed to sip fuel and handle surge loads better than a gas generator.

Like this: www.silent-diesel.com, or www.Easterntools.com click on 'silent 6 kw diesel'.

I would run either the PTO on the tractor or the 'silent diesel' unit under a cover, or in a shed for weather considerations.

Love to hear any insights, pro or con on these ideas. Thanks in advance,

David B.






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 07-03-2007, 13:09 Post: 143399
candoarms



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

YammarKE4Fan,

From my own experiences, any generator short of 15kW isn't worth the money. Just too few devices can be operated at one time.

Before you purchase a backup generator for your home, please check the surge wattage chart shown below. If you exceed the surge wattage at any time, you'll find yourself in a real nasty situation......possibly burning out your refrigerator motor, television, furnace blower moter, computer, etc.

As you begin to add the numbers up, you'll soon realize that a 7500 Watt generator is just too small, and a real waste of money.

Joel







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 07-03-2007, 13:11 Post: 143400
candoarms



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

Here's the Surge wattage chart for most home appliances.






Link:   Surge Chart 

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 07-03-2007, 13:23 Post: 143402
yooperpete



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

In my situation, when the power goes out, generally a bad storm has gone through which isn't that often. So, I'm either using the tractor/loader to push snow or pick-up tree limbs, etc. I also hate to put wasted hours on my tractor.

I opted for a Coleman Powermate with 6500 Watts surge and 5000 W. continous. That is enough to run certain appliances but not everything at once. They rate that as using about 5 gallons of gas for 11 hours at 1/2 load and about 7-8 hours at full load. I have about $750.00 invested with wheel kit. I also like to use it as a portable unit for different properties. I try to keep about 10 gallons of fresh gas on hand at all times more if the weather man predicts ice storms or severe weather.

I also like having a self contained unit. Hate the hassle of having to hook up a PTO set since I'd need to unhook something else as well.

If my power were to go out often and for long durations, I'd go with a self contained diesel unit in the 13 kW or larger range.






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 07-03-2007, 13:59 Post: 143407
candoarms



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

Yooperpete,

I agree with you 100%.

Since I have a farm with my own water well, I have to subtract the startup wattage of my well pump. I also have a forced air propane furnace, which uses a large electric blower motor. This startup wattage also has to be subtracted from the get-go.

The freezer and refrigerator should be left plugged in at all times, if possible. And then there's the microwave, television, and a minimum number of light bulbs.

With these few devices, I've already exceeded the 7500 Watt surge limit, by quite a bit.

Not included in the wattage chart are the things that I need most. For example, my soft-plug heaters in my vehicles.....especially my tractor.....the Knipco heater....the heated water bowl for my chickens......and the infrared heater that hangs in the chicken coop.

True.....not everyone has to worry about all of these things, but I'm willing to bet that everyone has something they use outside that is not listed in the average wattage chart.

Not having the tractor available for snow removal or for hauling away broken branches and trees during a power outage, is a real disadvantage.

Like you, I much prefer a stand-alone power unit powered by a diesel engine, as I have a 500 gallon fuel tank which I keep on the place just for my tractor and the generator. And you're right again when you stated that it is necessary to keep fresh fuel in the tank. I run #1 Diesel in my both my tractor and generator during the winter, as I have far fewer problems with the fuel gelling up on me.

Joel






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 07-03-2007, 14:21 Post: 143409
Murf

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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

The size of the generator is really sort of moot.

It is the power driving the generator that in most cases limits what you get out of it.

As a rule of thumb you need, as a BARE MINIMUM, you need at least 2 PTO horsepower (hp) for each kilowatt (Kw) of generator output. Based on that, about the best you could hope for is about 6500 watts from 13 PTO horsepower.

Best of luck.






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 07-05-2007, 14:18 Post: 143449
YanmarKE4Fan



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

Murf:

I guess that's the crux of it: Will a small 16 hp Yanmar 3 cylinder 800cc diesel (13 pto HP) allow a 7200 watt PTO gen to operate properly ?

Or would I be better off as Joel said to just get a small consumer type gas gen of the same / similar output ?

I don't have all the requirements of the other gentlemen who listed all the 'must haves'. We live in the south of Texas - no ice storms to worry about - outages should be shortlived a day or two, at most, more like hours.

Ergo, I'll just run ceiling fans instead of AC, and go stripped down until.

It's a bit on the expensive side, to me, to go 'whole hog'. Just powering essential circuts will do fine.

With that in mind I have 3 main options, it seems:

1) Yanmar tractor pushing the PTO 7200 watts, as discussed.
Does it have enough HP to make the Gen run well ?

2) Get a unit like www.Silent-Diesel.com offers, a small, quiet air cooled 6500 w diesel unit to run through a transfer switch / load center.

3) Standby Propane generator - Like the Briggs & Stratton 7 KW automatice with 10 circuts.

Not as fuel efficient as either the Tractor PTO or the small air cooled diesel, I know.

But hooked to a 250 gallon tank, and an automatic transfer switch, it does offer a 'seamless' backup that won't require anything difficult of my wife if I'm not here when the power fails.

So, gotta make some sense of this before spending $$$ - thanks for any more thoughts you have on this,

David B.
Nacogdoches, TX






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 07-05-2007, 15:25 Post: 143450
Murf

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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

David, not to go throwing a bucket of water on perfectly good logic, but here goes......

Have you looked into a larger stationary genset, such as those used as permanent back-up systems for things like telephone company switch gear stations, businesses, water / sewage pumping stations or the military?

You can often find big old used units for not much money, mostly because they are not portable. Generally speaking you can't wear these things out.

We put one in at out farm, an old military surplus unit, skid-mounted and powered by an old Lister diesel engine. It cost us about $3,000 to buy, including sending an employee in a 5 ton crane truck 500 miles to get it, and having it rewired from from the strange 3 phase it was designed for to 220v 2 phase output.

Just another idea to ponder.

Best of luck.






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 07-05-2007, 16:18 Post: 143451
AnnBrush



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

Here's my experience:
Bought a 11kw regular / 12.5kw surge PTO unit to run our residence, thats 50A on each of 2 110V hot lines. My tractor is rated 25hp at the PTO. Make sure the main outlet for the generator is rated at full capacity, numerous generators allow only reduced amperage at several separate outlets on the generator panel and as such won't do for a residential back-up power plant. You want all the available juice to come from ONE outlet on the generator. Mounted the generator on a $60 3-point hitch carry-all which is now dedicated to the generator. Installed a 50A breaker in the main panel which is back-fed from the generator via a 100A bus drop cable and 60A power inlet mounted outside the house. Installed a mechanical lockout plate on the panel so utility and generator breaker cannot both be energized at the same time. Bought a panel meter and rewired it it so that it monitors voltage and frequency on each of the 2 110v lines independently (it has 2 110v regular plug-in cords on it, the regular idiot voltage meter on the generator was HOPELESS!) Rewired the internal panel on the generator isolating the ground/frame from the neutral to meet grounding requirements for the residence (floating neutral), if the generator is run for portable loads elsewhere I have a "dummy plug" with neutral and ground bonded to temporarily restore that connection (grounded neutral).

Tested the whole shebang and can run almost all appliances in the house on a regular but somewhat "managed" basis. Total outlay about $1600.00 of which $1100 was the generator (Northern Tool). I think the power meter / panel meter is an absolute must. Initially I use it plugged into the generator 110v outlets to set the throttle speed and then move it into the house and set it up somewhere prominent to monitor how loaded the generator is while different things in the house are turned off and on, if it looks like the throttle speed needs adjustment I take it back out with me. I also moved breakers in my main panel to better balance the regular loads as they were quite lopsided - that made a big difference.

Now the best part - since the "grid" knows I have backup power we have not had a power failure last more than 5 minutes. So no matter what system you have it does not matter because as soon as you have backup power you wont need it any longer - Murphy's Law.






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 07-05-2007, 17:53 Post: 143454
candoarms



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 Northern 7200 watt PTO Generator with less than 20 HP

David,

I can't speak for you here, but if I were spend even on dollar on this project, and more than five minutes of my time making the electrical connections on a backup generator, THEN BY GOD IT'S GONNA RUN MY AIR CONDITIONER WHEN I NEED IT.

OK.....It's not my money I'm spending, and it's much easier for me to spend your money, than it is for you. This has always been the case with every item I've purchased. Somebody is always trying to tell me how much better off I would have been by spending another 3 grand on the project. Such is life.

That said, I would seriously consider looking for a used power plant at a farm retirement auction, before I'd spend a penny on ANY small generator.

At a recent auction here, a man who ran an egg producing business sold his 100kW gen set for only $600.00 It was powered by an old 4-cylinder diesel, and it worked perfectly. The man who bought it got himself a real bargain.

You could easily have the same setup installed and operational for about the same price you'd pay for a tinker toy generator set. As the author above stated, I'd look for a stand alone generator at an auction, or retirement sale.

I don't think you can beat the stuff that's available on the used market, especially when you consider the amount of use these things actually get. Even an old generator set might have fewer than 500 hours on it, total.

Keep an eye on proxibid.com These generators come up for sale there quite frequently.

Good luck.

Joel






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