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Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

RF Dude wrote:

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude

INsulate the enclosure Work to make the enclosure more airtight, Perhaps some ducting with a blow-openable vent shutter. If the thing doesn't actually need to be auto start and can await you going out to set some stuff up, a propane fueled water heater in the coolant loop that you go out and manually fire up prior to cranking. Insulate the battery box and put in a tiny heater there.
--Dale

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

I dont understand your thoughts, do you need to keep your car warm to? I dont. Run synthetic oil if you are, water cooled warm up fast.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

You might, if it were a diesel, and the temps dropped near zero. Just drop the cranking speed a bit and the temp at injection gets iffy for lighting the fire. Fuel jelling in the lines is definitely a problem with diesel cars around 0 deg F.
Having the head(s) warmed above ambient makes ignition of high-comp diesel much more likely, too.
Your suggestion might work, _if_ incoming air can be adequately pre-heated and the fuel will flow in the lines.
J

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

"RF Dude" wrote in message

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude

Every diesel I have ever worked on or around was a pain in the ass to start if it was cold. Every water cooled engine had a "coffee maker". Every air cooled one had a dip stick heater to keep the oil warm.
You might consider that if you were to disconnect the 1500 watt heater, on a really cold night with no power you could be in for a long haul getting the beastie started. Especially with NG. NG does not vaporize well at cold temps. Once warmed up they seem to run fine.
Insulate the enclosure and the coffee maker would cycle to keep the engine at temp. No insulation and it will run most of the time.
Lastly check with the engine manufacture and see if you could lower the temp.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 05:38:05 GMT, Dale Farmer wrote:


RF Dude wrote:
Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude
INsulate the enclosure Work to make the enclosure more airtight, Perhaps some ducting with a blow-openable vent shutter. If the thing doesn't actually need to be auto start and can await you going out to set some stuff up, a propane fueled water heater in the coolant loop that you go out and manually fire up prior to cranking. Insulate the battery box and put in a tiny heater there.
--Dale
A farmer friend of mine has a sure-fire way of starting his big White

Field Boss if a surprise snow storm catches him without the block heater plugged in and he has to blow the lane to let the milk truck in. He just pulls the air intake, fires up his BernzoMatic soldering torch, and lays it in the intake for about 3 minutes. Then it's just hit the starter, and go.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

On Sun, 27 Nov 2005 22:02:56 -0500, "RF Dude" wrote:

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.

Mod on Scenario 1.. If immediate start is not necessary..
Make a removable R-10 insulated cover for diesel genny & fuel tank.. A couple of 1/2" layers of foil backed polystyrene or polyurethane should do nicely. Foil faces should point towards both interior and exterior. Using "Nashua" aluminium duck tape, seal up modular panels and attach
appropriate velcro strips in order to secure panels to genny. Cover exterior with tarp and then secure tarp. Keep unit insulated, dry, and covered when not in operation.
Purchase small gas genny(2 to 3 kW, ~300$), decent 110v to 12Vdc bat charger(~$30), keep in garage/elevated temp until needed.
Upon onset of extended power outage. Fire up small gas genny and charge for diesel starting battery and power coffee maker while R10 insulating cover is still attached.
After a couple of hours of gas genny run time, the diesel genny & bat should be up to a reasonable temp. Start diesel, remove R10 cover, shut down gas genny. Take gas unit back inside.
You shouldn't need much more than quart of gasoline for each cold start of diesel unit .
If shutting down diesel for night, put R10 insulating cover back on. It should still be warm enough the next morning for a restart without too many problems.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

wrote in message

You might, if it were a diesel, and the temps dropped near zero. Just drop the cranking speed a bit and the temp at injection gets iffy for lighting the fire. Fuel jelling in the lines is definitely a problem with diesel cars around 0 deg F.
Having the head(s) warmed above ambient makes ignition of high-comp diesel much more likely, too.
Your suggestion might work, _if_ incoming air can be adequately pre-heated and the fuel will flow in the lines.
This is exactly how the NATO 2kW field generator works:

http://www.deweyelectronics.com/generators_spec.html It can start down to -25F. The unit has a 400 watt air intake preheater. This is used for a 30 second preheat, so it can easily be powered off of batteries. With respect to fuel, the advice I have received is that if the fuel is purchased in the middle of the winter, it will by default be winter blend, and will never gel (assuming a temperate climate winter, I don't have an answer for subarctic.)

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

In article , "RF Dude" wrote:

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude

Answer1: As any diesel engine operator knows, it isn't the temp of the cooling system or the base oil, that stops a diesel from firing up at low temps. It is the temp of the AIR going in the Intake Manifold. Rip out that "coffee Maker" and attach the Old Ladies 1000 Watt Hair Dryer to the Intake Manifold and give it a few seconds to blow HOT Air down the intake pipe, then roll over the engine, an POP your running on the second compression cycle. WHy do you think Long Haul Truckers carry Hair Dryers in their rigs? It is not to dry their hair at truckstops....Just what do you think the purpose of a GLOWPLUG is?
Answer2: See answer1: I have seen Listers started, in -20F weather, in unheated enclosers, in less than 30 Seconds, using answer1. Hot air is your friend......to bad you can't fly Rush Limbaugh down when you need to start up...... (joke).....
Answer3: Never had a Propane or NG powered engine so can't say...
See Answer1 for a good way to keep standby operating costs to a very minimum. The Hair Dryer only runs for a max of 90 Seconds at 1Kw and the engine will be running with very little sweat. Use a good Multiviscosity OIl like Delo 400 15W40 or if your really cold (below -50F) 5W40 and forget about all the other BS. Mix you fuel 50/50 with Diesel #1/Diesel#2 and your good to below -40F. In alaska we call that WinterMix diesel.
Bruce in alaska -- add a <2> before @

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

Bruce in Alaska wrote:

In article , "RF Dude" wrote:
Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude

Answer1: As any diesel engine operator knows, it isn't the temp of the cooling system or the base oil, that stops a diesel from firing up at low temps. It is the temp of the AIR going in the Intake Manifold. Rip out that "coffee Maker" and attach the Old Ladies 1000 Watt Hair Dryer to the Intake Manifold and give it a few seconds to blow HOT Air down the intake pipe, then roll over the engine, an POP your running on the second compression cycle. WHy do you think Long Haul Truckers carry Hair Dryers in their rigs? It is not to dry their hair at truckstops....Just what do you think the purpose of a GLOWPLUG is?
Answer2: See answer1: I have seen Listers started, in -20F weather, in unheated enclosers, in less than 30 Seconds, using answer1. Hot air is your friend......to bad you can't fly Rush Limbaugh down when you need to start up...... (joke).....
Answer3: Never had a Propane or NG powered engine so can't say...
See Answer1 for a good way to keep standby operating costs to a very minimum. The Hair Dryer only runs for a max of 90 Seconds at 1Kw and the engine will be running with very little sweat. Use a good Multiviscosity OIl like Delo 400 15W40 or if your really cold (below -50F) 5W40 and forget about all the other BS. Mix you fuel 50/50 with Diesel #1/Diesel#2 and your good to below -40F. In alaska we call that WinterMix diesel.
Bruce in alaska -- add a <2> before @

And a pan of hot coals from the stove, placed under the oil pan for a few minutes will do wonders for the cranking speed if you have the wrong oil or a weak battery. Toss and old blanket over the entire engine or at least the frount end of a tractor/truck if it is out in the wind. Keep the blanket away from the coals, and beware of oil dripping off the engine into the pan of coals.:) Works even when you do not have the 1000 watts for the hair dryer. _________ Andre' B.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

"SQLit" wrote in message

"RF Dude" wrote in message Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude
Every diesel I have ever worked on or around was a pain in the ass to start if it was cold. Every water cooled engine had a "coffee maker". Every air cooled one had a dip stick heater to keep the oil warm.
You might consider that if you were to disconnect the 1500 watt heater, on a really cold night with no power you could be in for a long haul getting the beastie started. Especially with NG. NG does not vaporize well at cold temps. Once warmed up they seem to run fine.

Perhaps you're thinking of propane. It doesn't vaporize easily when its 0F or below. But 'natural gas' (mostly methane) is a vapor at much lower temperatures and wouldn't be a problem.
daestrom

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

"RF Dude" wrote:

Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F.

Can you turn this heater down? You don't want to keep the generator _hot_ all the time, just warm enough to start when it's cold.
My air-cooled 8.2KW NG generator's never failed to start or run it's weekly exercise cycle in a Boston suburb, if that helps. I use Mobil-1 synthetic 5W30, FWIW...

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

Thanks for all the reply's. Lets recap for the diesels:
1) Turn down or shut off completely the 1500W kettle. Perhap control it with an external thermo that turns it on at say 32F/0C or even a few degrees colder. Experiment a bit to find the temperature that will still reliably start the genny. Increase the engine warm up time before applying a load. 2) Use synthetic oil, or a 150W oil pan heater to allow the machine to turn quickly when the starter engages. 3) Use the engine glow plug. But I haven't found an engine controller yet that will automate this process for unattended operation. Say use the glow plug under control of a pre-heat timer. The controller would engage this pre-heat only under 40F for instance. I have seen engine controllers that have a glow plug button, but an operator must be present to engage this (presumably after a no-start condition). 4) Sounds like I'll have to monitor the battery very well. Trying to run a glow plug for 3o seconds AND crank the engine would require a healthy battery. 5) An insulated engine enclosure with louvres that seal when engine doesn't run is the best approach, but will add cost.
Would putting 120V trace tape heating on the intake manifold along with some insulation assist in a hot first gulp of air?
A bus driver told me they used to use Either to start them in the dead of winter. But the engines weren't too crazy about it.
Gasoline engines start at very cold temperatures, so I can't imagine why a NG engine wouldn't do the same. Looking at the Kohler 40 kW machine, the V-6 is the same engine as in a GM Astro van. So one would think that only the coldest prarie days need the coffee maker, just like a car.

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

nospam.clare.nce@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 05:38:05 GMT, Dale Farmer <dale@cybercom.net wrote:

RF Dude wrote:
Scenario 1: Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor enclosure. In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F. Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.
Scenario 2: Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus. Love to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room temperature kept them warm. I don't have such a room in my house. If mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when required?
Scenario 3: Natural Gas (vapor) engine. Does this engine need to be kept warm like the diesel? I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?
So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?
RF Dude
INsulate the enclosure Work to make the enclosure more airtight, Perhaps some ducting with a blow-openable vent shutter. If the thing doesn't actually need to be auto start and can await you going out to set some stuff up, a propane fueled water heater in the coolant loop that you go out and manually fire up prior to cranking. Insulate the battery box and put in a tiny heater there.
--Dale
A farmer friend of mine has a sure-fire way of starting his big White Field Boss if a surprise snow storm catches him without the block heater plugged in and he has to blow the lane to let the milk truck in. He just pulls the air intake, fires up his BernzoMatic soldering torch, and lays it in the intake for about 3 minutes. Then it's just hit the starter, and go.

A friend has a US navy surplus diesel genny with a small gasoline tank, fuel pump and a spray nozzle into the air intake. Turn on the pump, which also cranks a small magneto to provide sparks for the igniter, and suddenly you have a fire in the air intake. Wait a minute, then crank the engine. This was referred to as the arctic weather add on kit in the manual.
--Dale

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

I have to hand you the award... this is the best suggestion yet... if not a funny one!

A friend has a US navy surplus diesel genny with a small gasoline tank, fuel pump and a spray nozzle into the air intake. Turn on the pump, which also cranks a small magneto to provide sparks for the igniter, and suddenly you have a fire in the air intake. Wait a minute, then crank the engine. This was referred to as the arctic weather add on kit in the manual.
--Dale


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