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 06-05-2003, 13:57 Post: 56717
botics

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 PTO Driven Generators

Most homes have a 150 amp panel which means bus a and b can handle 300 amps total. I called a company called Winco, located at www.wincogen.com and asked a bunch of questions here is what I learned:

1. Yout tractor's mid pto HP is the most important consideration as it dictates which generator you can buy. You can put any generator on your pto but it will only generate the wattage your mid pto HP is rated for. Example: a Grand L4630 has a mid pto HP rating of 39.5. A generator I am looking at may need 50 hp to deliver 104 amps so if my tractor is under the rating I wont benefit; get a smaller generator with less amps. If the generator is more powerful that what I need, I am still capped at a certain amp rating.

2. This is a cheaper route than a stand alone generator for your home.

3. There is no oil to add or check and no gas. I called Kubota and they said a quality tractor is meant to idle at pto for long periods of time- which being in Miami I could see going through another Hurricane Andrew with no power for two weeks.

4. Spoke to my electrician today and it is very easy to hook up a generator to a transfer switch or a breaker; have a qualified master electrician do this for you.

5. Shop around on the price- many models to choose from.

Hope this helps.






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 06-05-2003, 15:53 Post: 56723
AC5ZO

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When you are figuring the needed capacity for a generator, the load capacity of the panel is not a good indication. 150 amps at 220 VAC for example is over 30 KW. It is highly improbable that you would need 30 KW for a typical household. You really need to figure the real usage and that takes some homework by adding up the power for each essential service.

In my experience a generator for a home that is 12KW or so would handle most households. Most can get by with less but some will need more. My backup generator is 7KW with 9KW peaks. By being careful, I have provided backup power for my house with a 2 KW generator.

You should not add the amperes from the two phases. When supplying power to your breaker panel, it is generally best to connect the 220 V line and balance the loads the best you can to minimize the current flow through the neutral conductor. For a 12 KW generator, that will amount to about 55 amps delivered at 220 VAC. You should only add amperes if you plan to supply all of the power with 110 VAC. This is not a particularly good idea, because the wiring in the alternator has to be sized for twice the current of the 220 volt generator for the same overall power.

But, let me back up for a second. If you needed 30KW for whatever reason, you will probably need a tractor of more than 50 HP to the PTO to produce that. You mentioned the Mid PTO, but most generators that I am familiar with operate on the rear PTO with a 540 RPM shaft. They use a gearbox or belt drive to increase shaft speed to reach an alternator speed of 3600 RPMs.

I tend to not want to use my tractor for power generation. The most likely time that I may need backup power is during some sort of storm. We don't have much snow where I live, but we do have flash flooding. Anyway, I think that I might not want to tie up my tractor for power when I may need to build a quick diversion dam or in other parts of the world, remove snow from my property.

My personal favorites are the Generac or other automatic units that connect to propane. If you lose power they kick on and switch over to supply power. When the power comes back on they shut off. I don't have one of these, but will in the near future. Since the power is interupted for a bit, sensitive electronics should be connected to APC or equivalent brands of UPS power supplies.

There is another thread on this subject that you may want to read.






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 06-05-2003, 17:08 Post: 56728
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The mid pto is my fault; I meant rear.

The service coming in is usually rated at 150 amps which is common.

A 30 amp generator will require 50 hp at rear pto

I see your point on the generator part- but why spend $10,000 and not less for a generator you can move around. I guess we could go back and forth as you do make sense but being in south florida it may be a better shot for me.






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 06-05-2003, 17:29 Post: 56731
AC5ZO

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I agree that the service coming into your property can range from 100 to 200 amps or more. Most people do not size their backup generators to provide the full power that they might pull from the AC Line.

30 amps is only a ~7 KW generator. It only takes a motor of about 14 HP to drive this and even with the efficiency losses in a gear speed increaser it would take less than 30 HP. My 7KW/9KW peak generator has a Honda 18 HP gas motor and will deliver 30+ amps of 220.

I have not priced the Generac. If it is $10K then I am going to find something else. My current generator runs on gasoline and the maintenance issues that you mentioned originally do apply.

I was simply trying to put the whole picture in perspective for you. You might want your tractor with a FEL to move debris during one of the hurricanes that frequents your state. I have relatives in Tampa and around Tallahassee. They have different needs even being in the same state.

I like PTO generators in general, but I think that their best use is for power generation in remote areas, like construction sites, rather than for routine backup power at home.






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 06-05-2003, 17:40 Post: 56733
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Your correect on all levels. Based on the price I will probably drop down to something smaller.






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 06-05-2003, 20:46 Post: 56742
Chief



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Question is........ is it worth putting all those hours on your tractor to run a PTO generator for say 10 days or more. Depending on how many hours a day you run the generator, the hours can add up fast. On my Dad's dairy farm, they had a 30 KW pto generator. In 20 years I cannot remember it ever being used.






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 06-06-2003, 07:01 Post: 56757
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My 6.5kw peak Honda generator runs the house just fine during outages. It will run everything OK but just not at the same time. I may have to juggle loads during outages but that seems a reasonable thing to do. The advantages are that a small generator costs less and it's also much easier to transport if I need AC out in the bush.

I installed ours as part of putting in a new service and panel. I had to change the wiring on most of the branch circuits to a new panel so I went for a generator panel that operates as a sub-panel to the main service panel. They are a bit cheaper than transfer switches since the breakers are rated for the branch circuit rather than the full utility service. I would have gone for a transfer switch if I hadn't been installing a new panel. I think that the costs of transfer switches are subsidized in some areas to encourage people install proper generator backup systems.

In my case the house was on an old 60A service and the new service is 200A. I took a few circuits such as the dryer and outbuildings on the main panel, split some existing circuits in the house and virtually all the original house ends up on the generator panel and not much is on the main panel. It is handy to have some lighting on the main panel so I can tell when the power comes back on. Our generator system doesn't automatically switch on and off.

I never thought about it much but I wonder how grounding is handled in most transfer switches and if the backup generator is assumed to have a neutral bonded to ground?






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 06-06-2003, 08:20 Post: 56768
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 PTO Driven Generators

I'm going to go at this from a slightly different angle, economy & logistics.

If you lose power for 2 weeks thats going to mean running your tractor at PTO speed for something between 240 & 360 hours, lets work with 350 for easy figuring.

First problem, if hurricane Andrew comes back through, will you still HAVE a tractor, it may be in a field of palmetto's somewhere over near Lake Wales.

Secondly, 350 hours at PTO speed means you're going to need something in the order of 400 gallons of diesel, do you have a tank this big, because if you need a generator not many service stations are going to have electricity to pump fuel, if they even have any to sell.

Third, if you consider the practical life expectancy of your tractor at 5,000 hours, and a cost of $30,000 (for illustration purposes) then the 350 hours you would put on your tractor will cost you about $2100 ($30k/5,000 = $6.00) add to that the cost of fuel (which will be WAY above what a stand alone generator would cost to run) of $400 (assuming diesel at $1.00 / gal.).

Now the cost of running your tractor for two weeks is about $2500 PLUS the cost of the generator itself.

Considering you can buy a self-contained 18hp LP-powered generator with a 10Kw output, which would give you 50 amps, for $3200 at Northern Tool it doesn't seem to make much sense to tie up your machine for two weeks.

Especially if a disaster like that happens, you wouldn't have anything else you might like to be doing with your tractor?

Best of luck.






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 06-06-2003, 09:01 Post: 56781
Billy

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 PTO Driven Generators

Or you could buy a cheap 6,000 KW for less than 500 bucks and run the essentials. Those B&S engines will churn for a long time and don't use that much gas. Maybe if I lived in hurricane country I'd look at it differently but all we get are tornadoes and ice storms.






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 06-06-2003, 09:44 Post: 56789
AC5ZO

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Tom, the best way to ground the generator is to run a ground back to the same single point ground for the electrical service. The transfer switch neutral should be connected there as well. If the panel is the primary panel, then the Neutral and Grounds will be bonded together in that panel. If the panel for the generator is not the main electrical panel, the ground and neutral are held separate and only connected together at the main panel. What I use for this is a 4 wire interconnect cord that has the ground. Some generators may not be set up for the four wire connection, but it is easy to adapt in a J box near the generator.

Doing otherwise may cause a phenominon called a ground loop. This is where there is current flowing through the ground wiring which results in a voltage potential. This is OK as long as all grounds are tied to a single point. If you have multiple grounds, currents can flow between the ground points and foul up electronics and other things.

It sounds like most of us agree that PTO generators may have a place, but not for routine backup power at your house. I have used one, but I don't own one.






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