On Thu, 01 Dec 2005 17:30:51 GMT, Ecnerwal wrote:
Couple of possibilities, some much more suited to a "backup" than an "off-grid" setup (burning KWhs).
The simple one. Your portable propane torch, direct it, lit, into the air intake, warming the intake air marginally.
Makes sense. Is warming of the generator itself (crankcase etc, not only the incoming air) necessary?
A common, quick, safe approach. Oversize the starting battery and cables, be sure that all battery & cable connections are clean and tight so that the starter is getting full power
I did that already, I use 1 gauge gattery cables with proper lugs, etc.
, use synthetic oil (at least during the winter) and you should be fine for most days. Most days you should not even need the torch.
Sounds good. I will experiment this winter.
The slightly more benign (no open flames) version of the above eats more battery, using a heating element in the intake manifold. My backhoe supposedly has this, but it appears to be broken, and I have not fixed it yet. Factory ether injection was also an option on the backhoe (but there are no glow plugs on it). I think the smart money would use separate batteries for cranking and heating, though the backhoe is not set up that way.
The consumptive one - slap one of those engine block or oil pan heaters on an appropriate part of the thing. Waste electricity keeping it warm - when the power goes out, it will be warm, you can start it, if you don't wait too long. Insulating the enclosure helps, but it's still power wasting...
Since you are on-grid a quality (smart) battery maintainer, or a dumb charger hooked to a timer switch will help keep the battery up to snuff.
I have a smart trickle charger (with built in timet to wake up and recharge). I already hooked it all up.
Variations on "airplane tales form the arctic" - drain the oil, keep it in the house. Have a camp stove or barbecue to heat the oil before pouring it in the generator just prior to starting it. Place oil lamps or other simple heaters under the engine, inside insulated enclosure. A hassle, and/or a fire risk. One of those propane catalytic heaters might lower the fire risk (no open flame), but it's yet another fuel to keep around.
A small gasoline generator would be another option (again, two fuels) - easier to start in the cold, provides heat and power to help get the diesel up and running - or set up a gasoline engine as a "pony" motor to actually serve as the starter for the diesel (a common older setup on tractors).
I have a small gas generator, a 40 year old Sears generator that I bought for $3, but I need to fix it.
Dropping the enclosure into the ground (ie, the generator is in the "basement" of a power shack, or its own "root cellar" or "storm cellar") helps to moderate the temperature a great deal if the basement reaches below frost line, and the walls/roof are well insulated. This can also make it a lot quieter, and/or less obvious (you still need air in, and air/exhaust out).
What do you think about a propane torch like this?