Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s 30-10 At-Home Pistol Training Program–Guaranteed to put you in the top 10% of all shooters in the next 30 days.  Learn more now by going >HERE<

As a quick note, between what we raised over Memorial Day Weekend and what we added to it, we were able to donate $1,500 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Brother’s In Arms Foundation for Marine Special Operations personnel.  Thank you for making this possible.

Last week’s post, Why You Can’t Depend Upon Natural Gas To  Heat Or Cook With discussed possible vulnerabilities with regards to the delivery of natural gas to your home during an emergency.  Today’s post picks up where we left off. . . all about generators.

The thing that you’ll notice as you review the list of generators provided below is that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.  It depends on your budget, what you plan to power, and what fuel and how much fuel you will be storing.

To get an idea of what size generator you will need (Amps X Volts = Watts)  Click Here for Yamaha’s comprehensive chart and work sheet.  The worksheet lists tools and appliance wattage requirements to help you to determine what size generator (including both running and starting needs) will meet your needs.

When calculating the size of a generator, bigger isn’t always best.  If for instance you only plan to power a refrigerator and lights, but purchase a 10,000 Watt generator,  it’ll unnecessarily guzzle your fuel storage faster than a Gatling gun flies through bullets!  And keep in mind that staggering appliance use will allow you to run a smaller generator which will reduce fuel usage.

Solar generators are covered in this week’s post as well, so for those living in a climate zone that receives plenty of sunlight, a solar generator might be the route to go.  Go Here to get an idea of what size solar generator you’ll need to power those must-haves.  Click here for a solar generator calculator that equates your location into expected annual sunlight to see if a solar generator will work for you.

(David’s note:  What you’ll find out is that solar DOES work but it’s one of the most expensive and complicated options available.  The reality among solar consultants is that 80-90% of people who come to them to “go solar” end up with a petroleum based generator for a significant portion of their power needs, if not all.)

 Generators: Pros and Cons & a Price Comparison of Popular Models  

The following are the Pros & Cons of the different styles of generators, and in honor of Fathers Day, I’ve spent the last couple of days hunting down some of the best deals out there. I tried to keep cost comparisons of generators close to 4,000 Watts when possible, as this size will run the essentials while still making fuel storage manageable.

Before jumping in to generators, it’s important to to discuss gas and diesel fuel storage, how to reduce the sound of a generator, and how to protect a generator from a nuclear or solar EMP.

Fuel Storage & Extending The Life Of Fuel  

A top quality gas stabilizer like PRI-G can extend the life of gasoline (some claim up to 2 years) when  it’s stored properly.  Because gas deteriorates in heat,  burying it in the ground (if you’re legally able to, which you’re probably not) in a 55-gallon steel drum that has been treated with rust inhibitor or coated with roofing tar will help to protect the drum from corrosion.  Store the drum in a shaded area and below the frost line if possible.

Diesel has a much longer shelf life (some claim up to 10 years when a quality stabilizer like PRI-D is added) but will also benefit from being stored in-ground if you are legally able to.

When storing gasoline or diesel, top off the barrel(s) to reduce condensation.

Also keep in mind that, when storing gasoline, your fire insurance policy may have a clause in it reducing your coverage if you store more than a certain amount on your property…especially in subdivisions or inside of city limits.  Your city may also have code restrictions based on the Uniform Fire Code, International Fire Code, or other code dictating how much fuel you can store in your home and storing more than that could make you liable for loss of property or loss of life that results if you have a fire.  Lest you think this is a big government move, keep in mind that a gallon of vaporized gasoline is equivalent to 13 sticks of dynamite.  This is not legal or insurance advice, so consult your attorney and/or insurance agent to verify.

Soundproofing a Generator

Having a generator is one thing, keeping it is another.  In a protracted crisis, there will be looters.  The trick is going into stealth mode as much as possible to avoid drawing the bad guys to your door.  A Backwoods Home Anthology  has  great article titled  How to construct a soundproof generator shed, written by H. Skip Thompson.  It’s an easy to follow step-by-step DIY to build a sound proof wooden shelter that incorporates rigid foam panels.

Protecting a Generator From EMP

There are differing opinions on the affects of EMP and how to protect sensitive electronics.    The mainland of the U.S. has not experienced an EMP, so we do not have the gift of hindsight with which to learn from. Extensive research led me to Futurescience, LLC, Residential Standby Generators for EMP and Severe Solar Storms, written by Jerry Emanuelson

Here’s a excerpt from this in-depth article:

Most manual-start portable generators are in pretty good shape, even for nuclear EMP, as long as no external wires are connected to them.  This means don’t plug in extension cords or other items into a portable generator until you actually need them.  Leaving an unused portable generator with an extension cord plugged into it is just like connecting an EMP antenna to the interior.  If you have a portable generator with obvious electronic “features,” be sure that you keep spare parts for the electronics, and keep the spare electronic parts in shielded containers.

For whole-house generators:   At a minimum, you should have a voltage transient suppressor at the input (electric power grid side) of your transfer switch.  If you don’t have the time or money to search for and purchase a suppressor that is fast enough for EMP, at least have the electrician install a lightning protector on the input to your transfer switch.

Converting an Existing Generator to dual-Fuel or Tri-Fuel

If you already have a generator and are interested in converting it into a Tri-Fuel generator, conversion kits may be something to look in to.  They aren’t cheap, however–typically around $300.  But I stumbled on a DIY post about converting a gasoline-run generator to accept propane and Natural Gas.  The photo’s and DIY instructions are helpful, and the post offers a link on where to go to buy affordable conversion kits.  Go Here to read the post titled Tri-Fuel Generator Conversion.

(David’s note:  Both Ox and I have tri-fuel generators from USCarb.com.  The instructions are a little lacking, but the product is rock solid.  I would buy the whole generator from them rather than doing a DIY or buying a conversion kit.)

Gasoline-Run Generators 

Gasoline-Run Generators are extremely popular for their relatively low cost and their familiarity.  The downside for Preppers is the relatively short shelf life of gasoline–refer above to Fuel Storage & Extending The Life Of Fuel

The following lists 5 best rated gasoline-run 3,500 to 4,000 Watt Generators starting with the most expensive to the least expensive:

1. Honda EG4000C – 3500 Watt Portable Generator                       

Electric Generators Direct  $1,699.95 — Free Shipping    

2. Yamaha EF4000DE 4,000 Watt 251cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator With Electric Start (CARB Compliant)  

Amazon $ 1,150-(Sale-$1,150.00 savings–Low Stock, Possible Back Order) plus $81.00  Shipping 

(David’s note:  For more in-depth information on Yamaha generators, check out the “Generators” section of this article:  http://survivethecomingcollapse.com/512/how-to-power-appliances-after-a-disaster/ I use/recommend the Yamaha generators over the Hondas because of their durability. Everything from the cylinder casings to the brake on the starter are beefed up on the Yamaha.)                                                       

3. Briggs & Stratton 3500 Watt Portable Generator

Sears (Sears Marketplace–Sale Price)  $438.84 –Free Shipping  

4. Champion 4000 Watt Portable Generator with RV Outlet

Overstock (Sale Price) $338.99 –Free Shipping 

5. Sportsman Series 4000 WATT Gas Generator

eBay $369.00–Free Shipping

(Ox’s note:  You might also want to go the route of buying 2x Yamaha 2000is inverter/generators.  They’re made to run separately or be connected together for 4000 watt output.  It is a little more expensive, but the portability, flexibility, and multiple points of failure may be worth it to you.)

Diesel Generators

Diesel Generators are a bigger investment but they have the reputation of outperforming the competition with regards to continual usage and diesel generators consume less fuel than their counterparts. The other added benefit that draws Preppers to a diesel model generators is diesel fuel will store up to 10 years with a a quality stabilizer like PRI-D. 

The downside of most diesel generators is they tend to run noisy unless your budget can handle a top of the line diesel generator like a Cummins, which for a 6,000 Watt diesel retails for around $7,468.00. Refer above to Soundproofing a Generator

The following are 5 of the best rated mid-size diesel generators.

1.Northstar GeneratorModel# 165930, 6120 Watts

Northern Tool + Equipment $3799.99  (Save $200)

2. Super Quiet 4,000 WATT Diesel Generator— consumption 0.2 gallons per hour

Central Maine Diesel $1599.00 (Sale price reduced by $217) 

3. Pulsar Products 7,000 WATT Diesel Powered Portable Generator

Overstock $1,390.99–Free Shipping 

4. 4,000 WATT Portable Diesel Generator-consumption 5 hours per gallon of gas

Central Maine Diesel $1298.00  (Sale price reduced by $159)

5. All Power America Portable Diesel Generator-6500 Surge Watts, 5000 Watts, Model APG3201

Northern Tool + Equipment $1,199 (Guaranteed lowest price) 

Propane Generators 

Propane generators take some of the guesswork out of providing power during an emergency because propane will store indefinitely.  Tank size can vary from typical 20-gallon portable tanks to 100- gallon portable tanks, and if you’re able, a residential 300 to 500 gallon tank can be installed  by a propane company–usually for a small deposit and minimum propane delivery requirements in exchange for the use of their tank. 

The following are some of the best rated 4,000 Watt propane generators.

1. Cummins Onan QG 3600 Propane RV Generator

Norwall Power Systems  $3,292.00  ($504.00 Savings)

 2. Generac LP3250–3250 Watt Portable LP Generator

Electric Generators Direct  $548.10  ($60.90 savings)–Free Shipping

3. Champion Power Equipment No. 76530 LP/Propane Portable Generator, 3500-Watt

Amazon $435.47 ($163.53 savings)–Free Shipping 

4. Sportsman GEN400LP 4,000 Watt 6.5 HP OVH Propane Powered Portable Generator

Amazon $339.00 ($110.99 savings)–Free Shipping 

5. Sportsman 4,000-Watt Clean Burning LPG Portable Propane Generator

Home Depot $339.00 ($30 savings)–Free Shipping

Dual Hybrid Generators 

Before moving on to Tri-Fuel generators, you may want to have a look at Dual Hybrid Generators, which run off of gasoline or propane.  They are easier on the budget and have the advantage of two fuel choices.   

1. Sportsman GEN7500 Watt 13 HP 389cc OVH 4-Stroke Gas/Propane Powered Portable Generators

Amazon $670.83 ($722.16 Savings)–Plus Shipping

2. DuroMax XP4400EH 7 HP Dual Fuel Propane/Gas Powered Portable Electric Start Generator, 4400-Watt

Amazon $648.52 ($51.47 savings)–Free Shipping

3. DuroStar DS4400EHF Hybrid Portable Duel Fuel Propane/Gas Camping RV Generator, 4400 Watts

Amazon $599.99 ($200.00 savings)–Free Shipping

4. Powerland 4400W Dual Fuel (Gasoline and LPG) Generator 7.5hp

Powerland $549.99  ($250.00 Savings) 

5. Pulsar Products 4,500-WWatt Dual-Fuel Portable Generator (Gasoline/Propane)

E Bay $528.99–Free Shipping

Tri-Fuel Generators 

Tri-fuel generators accept three fuel choices; gasoline, natural gas and propane, thus they increase the odds of replenishing fuel during a short-term emergency, and will allow you to store a combination of fuels to get through a longer-term crisis.  But expect to pay more for the benefits of a Tri-Fuel Generator.

1. Winco Power Systems Home Power 6,000 Watt Tri Fuel Portable Generator (LP,  Gas, or Natural Gas)

Wayfair $2,332.00  (savings $42.18)–Free Shipping 

2.Yamaha EF4000DEC Hybrid Tri-Fuel * Natural Gas, Low Pressure Propane, and Gasoline with engine meter

US Carburetion, Inc.  $2,027.21–Free Shipping 

3. Subaru RDTF4500 Commercial Tri Fuel Generator–4,500 Starting Watts, 3,600 Running Watts (Gas,  Natural Gas and Propane)

Smart Generators, Llc  $1,499.99 ($1,000.00 Savings)–Plus Shipping

4. Honda STF7200 Commercial Tri Fuel Generator – 7,200 Starting Watts, 6,100 Running Watts

Smart Generators, LLc $2,499.99 ($300.00 Savings)–Plus Shipping 

5. Honda TF3750 Tri Fuel RV Generator- 3,750 Starting Watts 3,000 Running Watts

Smart Generators, LLc  $1,399.99 ($1,000 savings)–Plus Shipping

Solar Generators

Solar generators have a low failure rate, they are quiet which keeps them under the radar of a potential looter and they don’t require anything but sunlight–all win-win! But, they do have limitations that includes a higher price point per Watts and they are typically designed to run only one or two small appliances or tools at a time. Those who prefer the quiet and operational dependability of a solar generator may opt for multiple solar generators or a second generator that runs from an alternate fuel source to up the ante of alternate power generation. 

Attention to detail is necessary when committing to a solar generator, such as keeping batteries fully charged in preparation for when a solar generator is needed.

The following is a list of several popular solar generators.     

1. Earthtech Products Ultimate 1800 Watt Generator Kit With 5 Solar Panels and 4-100 amp Deep Cycle Batteries for Homes, Cabins and Remote Locations

Earthtech $3,189.00 ($400 Savings)–Plus Shipping

2. AP1800S2 1800-Watt 120VAC Portable Power System with 80-Watt Solar Panel

Home Depot  $1,595.00–Free Shipping 

3. Solar ePower Cube 1500 Watt Plus

Greenpower Global Technology, Inc.  $1,199.90  ($200.00 Savings)–Plus $50.00 Shipping 

4. Portable 5000 Watt Solar Generator & 100 Watt Solar Panel (Battery Included)

EBay –Be Prepared Solar LLC –$995.00–Plus $29.99 Standard Shipping 

5. Wagen EL2546 Solar e Cube 1500 Watts

Amazon $854.10 (Save $444.90)–Free Shipping

Make-Your-Own Gasifier Generators, Bio-Fuel 

If you’re mechanically minded, you may have already looked into building your own wood gasifier.  If not, check out Watch Me Build My Own High Efficiency Wood Gasifier by JFEDOCK.  

Pinterest has an interesting page titled Bio-Fuels Generators Gasifiers.  I think you’ll be amazed over the inventiveness of some of these DIY’s: how to make bio diesel; turning animal byproducts into bio diesel; how to compress wood gas into propane tanks;  how a wood stove runs a generator, and in related boards (Left side), Woodgas, Gassifier, candles,lamps & fuels. 

Steam power is also an option.  Ox actually has a brand spanking new 20HP steam engine that he’s interested in selling.  This is the ULTIMATE emp-proof option that will let you keep producing heat, pneumatic power, and electricity as long as you have fuel to burn.  Comment below if you’re interested.  (After a couple of requests for info, here’s the basics:

Here’s the specs on the steam engine:  http://www.mikebrownsolutions.com/20hpse.htm <This page is 3 years old.  The specs are correct, but they aren’t currently available at any price.

It would be $7,000 + Freight from Western Montana.  It’s still new, creighted, unopened, and ready to go…most importantly, it’s made in America and you could have it in your hands in days rather than having to wait several months.)

Have you already set up for generator back-up, or are you shopping?  Have any advice that would help others on the board find the best pricing on generators and conversion kits, and which generator choice is the best?  Please share by posting below!

And, if you haven’t checked out Former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s at-home 30-10 pistol training, please do so now by clicking >HERE<!

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva






    41 replies to "Which Is The Best Generator For You?"

    • Silas Knight

      This was really helpful for picking the right generator. You have a lot of great little tips that I had never thought about before, like about how to store fuel. We have been looking to buy a generator for a while now, just in case, so I appreciate the tips!

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    • Joe K

      I recommend sunelec.com as the lowest cost supplier out there. I bought a Honda 2000 generator from them, and plan to get my solar supplies from them. Visited their office/warehouse a couple years ago. Customer service can be spotty.

    • D Bro

      Thanks, this got me thinking. I have a Wheelhorse generator and noise is a problem. I think I have seen a metal room you can construct for a hot water tank. Take that concept, light gauge steel or wood, add the absorbing rigid foam and some exhaust pipe. My generator has a handle so I might make the box 4′ or 5′ tall. I am going to stick the generator in a small metal shed (safely) next month and see how quiet it gets without the absorbing foam. Maybe even add in some EMP protection.

    • Joseph-Lee Morehouse

      Thank you for all this great information and the comment are helpful as will .
      I have 2 old generators one of my group repaired and he also working on a poor man lawn mower engine generator with a I think he said a single wire convertor for charging battery’s. I not sure if it going to work But he a clever man will see.
      I am hoping for 2 of the solar generators as part of our back up system to keep small refrigerators going for insulin , we have diabetics in our group.Thank you again give me something to think about .

    • Chriszgirl

      David & Ox,

      What are your thoughts on hydrogen generators?


    • Janet

      Survival Diva & David
      Basic Question: What happens to the excess output (watts) from the generator when electrical appliances are not drawing all the power? Example – Refrigerators & Freezer turn on & off; Lights & TVs are turned on & off. Are appliances & electronic at risk?

      • Survival Diva


        The research I’ve done on this points to it not being a problem. . . it won’t take out your appliances.

      • PrepperDaddy


        The higher quality gens have a Smart Throttle feature that will throttle the engine down to the lowest speed needed to support the load. My Honda EU2000i has this feature. It is a great way to conserve fuel. I ‘think’ that the gen may need to be an inverter type generator to support Smart Throttle – anybody out there know for sure? I know my big 8500k Honda is not an inverter model and I don’t think it will throttle down. It does however list fuel consumption rates at various loads – I may be in over my head technically.

      • bobzell

        If the power is not going to a load it is not produced. The frequency of the output power (60 Hz) is a function of motor speed. The motor speed must be constant to keep the frequency constant. The amount of power produced by the generator at a constant frequency is controlled by the strength of the magnetic energy in the rotating field coils. A regulator circuit will vary the magnetic field according to the demand placed on the generator by the load.
        Some generators will throttle back to low speed to conserve fuel when there is no load. When a load is applied they will spin up quickly and produce 60 Hz power again. At the lower speed some power is produced but not a 60Hz.
        There are some small generators that power a inverter that produces the 60Hz power at any motor speed. The generator used in this type of unit does not produce household power the load is connected to the output of the inverter that does provide the power. The largest one of these I have seen working was 2.2KW. And it seemed a bit pricy.

    • PrepperDaddy

      2 gens; 2K Honda Trifuel and 8500K Honda Trifuel. Both units purchased from CDM already converted to Trifuel. I use the 2k to keep the food cold, vacuum the floors, watch a movie, etc. The big boy is only used once a week to power the well pump, hot water heater, do the laundry. I use only propane as it is the ‘best’ fuel to store. Note about Honda propane conversation – Honda will void the warranty. I had my conversion done by CDM and they provide a 2 year warranty. I think Yamaha will still support and warrant a conversion.

    • Ron Boyce

      How about alcohol? Seems to me that could be a viable fuel we could make if we needed to. Any body heard of one, or tried to run it on alcohol?

    • Art

      Would be interested in Ox 20 HP steam engine? Wood fire for boiler? Life in Forest provides ample wood. Thanks.

    • Marty

      I had need to use my generator for 13 days during a large wildfire in 2012. I learned a few things. I have 2 generators, a Honda 2000 and a Generac 6500. I never even thought to use the Honda at night to conserve on fuel. I used the Generac 24 hours a day and went thru 25 gallons of fuel. Being a volunteer fire fighter, I was gone 18 hrs a day and getting only about 4 hrs of sleep. It was terribly hot and I only needed a fan in order to sleep. Had I switched over to the Honda at night I could have saved a lot on fuel. What I did do was to turn off the two freezers and the fridge every night, and my wife would turn them back on at 10 AM every morning. The food stayed frozen in the freezers and cold in the fridge, and we never lost any food. Saved a lot on fuel. Marty

      • Survival Diva

        First, thank you for all you do! It’s good to know that the food lasted overnight without power.

    • Bill Mottinger

      In addition to solar, another “free fuel” source is wind. My neighbor has a wind generator, which has transparent blades and rudder vane, making it almost invisible, at least not noticeable against the background trees. Wind is not at constant as solar, but in many areas it is probably as viable as solar, due to frequent cloud cover. How about some info on wind generators??

      • Survival Diva


        There will be a post about wind generators within the next few weeks. This latest post was beginning to resemble a book and I thought it might be time to break it into something manageable : )

    • Wayne

      I have extensive experience with generators as I have been around them my whole life. The generators that you buy at Home Depot and stores like that are Chinese junk. They start the first season and they have to be worked on constantly after that. You can’t get parts for them and there is no dealer system to support them. If you want to have serious power and reliability you need to spend a lot of money ONE TIME and it will last you forever. I have a permanently installed Yanmar 22 KW generator with a automatic transfer switch so that it starts up 20 seconds after the power goes out. $15,000 for the gen , $2000 for the switch plus installation. Have had this system for 11 years and have only done oil changes and the unit still still looks brand new. You get what you pay for. Unit only burns 1/2 gal per hour running a 5400 sq ft house that has two of every thing, (AC, HWH, Fridges ETC. Try running this load on a gas generator and the fuel usage would be 2-3 time more. Looking to put in a 10KW solar system that uses storage batteries as the grid tie systems don’t work if the grid is down. I think I need another job! :-)

      • Chriszgirl

        Wayne, is that gas or diesel?

        • Wayne

          Chiszgirl, The engine in mine is a 4 cylinder ,turbo charged diesel engine. I have been through hurricanes with it and the power being out for almost a week at a time and its fantastic. My neighbors thought I was nuts for spending this much money and afterwards all my neighbors on my street except one has a built in generator now. By the way if you can’t get diesel in your town you can always go to the next town and get fuel in cans to keep it going but good luck on getting a propane truck to come fuel your tank after a crisis. I store about 600 gal of diesel on site and still adding. Hope this helps

    • Mark Torrence

      I live in NW Oregon on the coast. Consequently we have power outages often in the winter. Several years ago I purchased a Onan 6000w propane powered generator. I also have 4 soon to be 6 100 gallons tanks. I have used this setup several times now and it works very well. I am able to move and transport the 100 gallon tanks by myself for re-fuel and they will run the generator for a total of 7 days continuously or 14 days just running during the day. I have run every power tool I have with it except my welder and air compressor without difficulty. Plan is to get a second 6000w generator and wire in series to run when a heavy load such as these items is needed only. Works well for me. I also have a nice year round creek next to my house and will eventually put in a small hydro generator for long term continuous use.

    • bobzell

      Great advice. You have put a lot of thought in this subject. Thanks!
      Here are my two cents.
      1. No matter why you need a gen set or what type you select remember you will be the one maintaining and repairing it. Even if you go solar remember if it can break it will break. And always at the worst possible moment. The very fact that you are having to produce your own electricity means that the service man won’t be arriving in the near term. It is much easer to obtain a service manual for a generator when you buy it than after you buy it. Make it part of the deal. No service data = no sale. Many dealers want to keep detailed service books to themselves thus denying you critical service information when you need it most. Even if you are not qualified to repair your generator someone else in your circle of friends might be able to fix it if they have the right information and a small supply of parts.
      2. Whatever you buy you should get it out of the box and use it. Hook up the things you want to operate and turn them on. Believe it or not I know more than one person who has a generator they bought five or more years ago and have never had it out of the box it came in. In addition they have no idea how they are going to get the power from the generator to the items in there house they want to run! This state of affairs is almost as bad a buying a pistol and never practicing with it. I think they truly believe that “things will just work out”. Another thing to plan for is routine maintenance.
      3. Another thing to plan for is routine maintenance. You will need Oil, spark plugs, air filters and so on. You will also need a place to store your used oil, and expended filters.
      4. Run the generator on a regular basis. It is a pain in the rear but just do it. When you start it put it under a load, I use a 1500 watt portable heater. If the thing will not start and make power you need to know now, not when you really need it. Remember things break. Cars, guns, televisions whatever. Stuff happens.
      5. In the event you end up without electricity due to circumstances beyond your control be it EMP or whatever. Put things in perspective now by reading Paul Johnsons The Birth of the Modern: World Society, 1815-1830. Even if you read just the first few chapters you will be impressed by what the world looked like and what was being accomplished long before the first kilowatt of electricity was ever produced by man. In truth I am a sucker for indoor plumbing and electricity. But our experience with electricity is a pimple on the face of human history.

    • Tex

      I have a 3500W gas generator that I can run and an 1800w solar generator for times where stealth will be needed. I only plan on running bare necessities with either. Also, both can be used for our travel trailer to provide enough electricity to get by with. I have twice the panels required for the solar system in case I need to replace or add to the system. Here in Texas, we get a lot of sun so the solar panels made sense to me

    • brian

      Steam engine specs and price?

    • Soylent Green

      I remember reading that it was better to buy a diesel Lincoln welder like they use in the oilfield and pipeline business rather than a just a ‘generator’. Because the welders are made to run 24/7 where the generators were usually on made for intermittent power outages. And you can weld with them too!

      • Survival Diva

        Soylent Green,
        I’ve always thought that being set up to weld when the S hits the fan would be great for bartering. Looked this up, and so far, eBay was where I found several with a quick search. It appears they’re in the $5,000 mid-range.

    • Barry

      The hardest part of generating power with a steam engine is finding a suitable boiler. Used boilers have to be inspected before use. A new 20hp boiler can be expensive.

      • bobzell

        I think the hardest part of running a steam engine would be the labor intensive nature of the job. The only time I have observed a steam engine under load was at Walt Disney World. The steam boat they use has a wonderful observation area you stand at to view the operation of the engine. The engineer that was tending the needs of the of engine was a very busy man. And he was doing nothing to tend the fire. I don’t know what fuel it used. Oil or LPG I would guess? My Grandfather told me of running a steam engine that could be self propelled
        to move from field to field. He had a job following the wheat harvest out of Oklahoma into Nebraska each fall. The engine was used to run a thrasher. He said It could never be unattended. He had to be sure somebody was with it night and day when it was stoked. I ran a natural gas fired fire tub boiler for a heating plant for about two years. Even with electronic (Honeywell) controls, I kept a close watch on the thing. Makes me wonder Boiler+electronic control+EMP=? Hmmm…

    • Loren Macnab

      When making a selection and making a purchase, you better know what pieces of equipment you already own or plan to purchase require to avoid the mistake I just made. I assumed a 4400 peak 3500w generator would power every one of my shop tools, albeit individually, because it was equipped with 20A supply circuitry. That is not the case. It is insufficient to operate my air compressor, even with no other simultaneous load. I haven’t gotten around to testing my portable table saw so it may not power it either.

      I also discovered that operating a dual fuel generator on propane doesn’t seem to generate nearly as much power, though it may merely be a need for adjustment. My 110v wire welder lays a fine bead on the low amperage setting which it didn’t do on any of the household to which I have attempted to attach. It won’t do so at all on propane.

    • Great Grey

      One more thing most engines need is oil changes and home made oil won’t do the job.
      Now a low speed steam engine can use home made lubes.
      As for solar generators most come with a solar panel that barely adequate in good weather, so I would recommend having 3 times the panel wattage to insure that you can get it fully recharged everyday.
      1 it will start charging earlier in the day
      2 max charge rate reached sooner
      3 and will charge later in the day.
      4 let you get power on cloudy day
      If what I read is right the kind of solar cells that are lest efficient in full sun are the most efficient on cloudy days.

      • Carole Huens

        Is it possible to have a dual generator using diesel and propane? All that were mentioned were gas and propane.

        • bobzell

          Not doable. The propane generator uses spark plugs for ignition and has much lower compression than a diesel. The diesel has no spark plugs and ignights the fuel with very high compression (this is called compression ignition). Putting propane in a diesel will cause it to knock very badly leading rapidly to very expensive engine damage. However much of the third world uses gasoline/kerosene pumps and generators. Kerosene is much cheaper than gasoline in many countries. It has been used for cooking for more than a century so a distribution network has been in place for a long time. The motors have two fuel tanks one for gasoline and one for kerosene. They are started and warmed up on gasoline then a three way valve is moved to turn off the gasoline tank and draw fuel from the kerosene tank. Kerosene has a lower fuel value so the engine will make less horse power. The same is true for natural gas and propane. But some power output is better than none. This is not a practical option in the US. We do not see these units for sale here because regulations keep the price of kerosene high and now bulk kerosene has to be dyed red to prevent people from mixing it with diesel rendering it worthless for kerosene lamps, cook stoves, and heaters. The dye will clog the wicks. The same is true for 100% ethanol engines. To protect our ethanol produces, and to keep the price low in the second world, ethanol that can be had for fifty cents a gallon in South America has a five dollar a gallon tax put on it when imported into the US. So ethanol engines are never offered in North America. This is more than you wanted to know I am sure. But the choices are complex even for a motor head like me. Keep reading, Dave runs a great blog.

        • Great Grey

          Yes it is possible however you can not completely eliminate the use of diesel but it will extend the run time in most cases. It will usually reduce the diesel use per hour by 70-90% but, it could be very little saved if you run it with very light loads or near full load.
          See http://www.dualfuel.org/
          Cummins and Caterpillar both have generators that use propane/natural gas. However I don’t know if there are any small enough for typical home, farm or ranch.

          • Great Grey

            That should be Cummins and Caterpillar both have diesel generators that use propane/natural gas.

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