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  1. #1
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    Default Generator or no generator

    Thank to all for the posts and info on, and about federal Q sirens. I have another question that I would like as much input on as you all will give. We are looking over, and reviewing our specs for our engine, the purpose of this engine is a front line ALS rescue pumper. It will be the first out truck for all calls, from medical to MVA to structure fires. As you can imagine this truck has to have alot of storage and will be carrying alot of equipment. So the question I pose is instead of spec'ing a 5kw diesl generator what about the 2 honda small 1kw portable generator with the lite head. The only use for the generator on the engine now is to power 2 500 watt portable lights, or the recip saw. I am thinking with the portable generators you have no more extension cords coming of the truck you can get light right where you need it and not limited to the length of cord and you can run the recip right of it and once again you wont have to deal with the 50 foot cords we have now shoved into cans with holes in the middle of the lid. We still have generators our ladder has a 3.5kw honda, our rescue has a 15kw onan pto driven generator with dual 100 foot cord reels, more small lights and several light stands. Its assingment is lighting and air supply on fires and MVA it carries our full complement of extrication equipment. What are your all thoughts and how do your departments run things. Please don't hold back all the info is welcome! We have several guys looking into different ideas and we are on the same page as no large generator on this engine just the 2 honda 1kw portable units. What are thoughts on inverters?


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    If you have high capacity electrical power on all the other trucks, no sense in wasting the space on it in this truck. I think your plan is fine.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
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    If your ladder and rescue are coming with generators, then your plan may work fine. I personally have never been a big fan of the Honda generator/lights (bulky, cumbersome, noisy), but in this case, they might fit your needs well.

    As for me, give me a rig-mounted generator any day.
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  4. #4
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    I would go with a hydraulic generator and, frankly, would add more scene lights. If you're running first due for most calls, you'll need and appreciate more lighting until the heavy rescue arrives. I would go with at least one 500w light on each side, plus front and rear. You might be surprised how much you use them.

    When factoring our generator needs, assume that every electrical thing you will need to run off the generator is running at the same time (don't forget about startup power needs for items too) and then make sure your generator can power all that stuff and pad it some too. It will be rare that you'll need everything going at once, but you want the ability to do so if needed.

  5. #5
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    I agree with ChiefSquirrel (now that sounded funny!). You will have this machine for many years to come. Its mission may change or you may find that you are on your own at some point. Plan for the worse but hope for the best kind of attitude. If you can afford the hydraulic, thats the way to go. You can stick it in the dunnage area and forget about it. If you need it, you got it.

  6. #6
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    If you are building a RESCUE pumper you simply can not due without power. IF you are running a gas rescue tool now how about an electric tool in 5-10 years? our new pumper has 10kw hot shift PTO hydraulic genset. and plenty of 110 lights. and a cord reel mounted to the truck. the Honda gens are nice for a light but not cut out for rescue work. I understand your other trucks have gen sets on board, but what happens when 1 truck is out on a call a second comes in and 1 truck is down for maintenance?

  7. #7
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Four Whelen Pioneer-Plus dual-head LED floods with an appropriately sized alternator will give you lots of lights on all sides of the vehicle without the need for the generator. That doesn't solve the non-battery-powered Sawz-All issue, but does give A LOT of light.

    Just spring the money for the on-board generator. You only have a chance to purchase the rig once, do it right the first time.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llieutard View Post
    Thank to all for the posts and info on, and about federal Q sirens. I have another question that I would like as much input on as you all will give. We are looking over, and reviewing our specs for our engine, the purpose of this engine is a front line ALS rescue pumper. It will be the first out truck for all calls, from medical to MVA to structure fires. As you can imagine this truck has to have alot of storage and will be carrying alot of equipment. So the question I pose is instead of spec'ing a 5kw diesl generator what about the 2 honda small 1kw portable generator with the lite head. The only use for the generator on the engine now is to power 2 500 watt portable lights, or the recip saw. I am thinking with the portable generators you have no more extension cords coming of the truck you can get light right where you need it and not limited to the length of cord and you can run the recip right of it and once again you wont have to deal with the 50 foot cords we have now shoved into cans with holes in the middle of the lid. We still have generators our ladder has a 3.5kw honda, our rescue has a 15kw onan pto driven generator with dual 100 foot cord reels, more small lights and several light stands. Its assingment is lighting and air supply on fires and MVA it carries our full complement of extrication equipment. What are your all thoughts and how do your departments run things. Please don't hold back all the info is welcome! We have several guys looking into different ideas and we are on the same page as no large generator on this engine just the 2 honda 1kw portable units. What are thoughts on inverters?
    RUN AWAY from Inverters. Look into a hyd generator,they can be mounted in small spaces. A 10kw will do nicely unless you want a BIG lighttower. T.C.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber wischief's Avatar
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    What about an underhood generator such as the Raven? I have no experience with these and have only seen them in magazines. Anyone using them and how do they work?

  10. #10
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    Personally I think you could do without the generator on the piece, because it sounds like you have an abundance of pieces with onboard generators. Maybe I'm just a minimalist, but it seems somewhat excessive to have generators on everything.

    Now the Honda Tele-Lite portable generators with lights are awesome. They are very quiet for a gas run device and provide a lot of light. They are also extremely portable and allow you to easily and quickly place lights where ever you need them without cords and other junk. I'd get at least 1 whether or not you get the onboard generator.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wischief View Post
    What about an underhood generator such as the Raven? I have no experience with these and have only seen them in magazines. Anyone using them and how do they work?
    We've had three on my department. Truthfully, they've all been problems. One was an Auragen, another a brand I don't recall. The newest is a Raven on an IH 7600 chassis, and it's been out of service most of the past year. I can't tell if its because of our mechanic and his abilities, or because of Raven.

    I'll be getting a hand-me-down squad as part of a reorganization, and before it beomes my station's rig, it will be going for a minor refurb to have its underhood generator yanked. We can never get the drive belt tight enough, it squeaks and squeals, etc.

    I'd go PTO, hydraulic whatever or else get whomever's underhood genset you're putting on the thing to give you one hell of a warranty...
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    We've had three on my department. Truthfully, they've all been problems. One was an Auragen, another a brand I don't recall. The newest is a Raven on an IH 7600 chassis, and it's been out of service most of the past year. I can't tell if its because of our mechanic and his abilities, or because of Raven.

    I'll be getting a hand-me-down squad as part of a reorganization, and before it beomes my station's rig, it will be going for a minor refurb to have its underhood generator yanked. We can never get the drive belt tight enough, it squeaks and squeals, etc.

    I'd go PTO, hydraulic whatever or else get whomever's underhood genset you're putting on the thing to give you one hell of a warranty...
    A Ravens engineer explained to me that because of the way their system creates a 60 hZ sine wave at varying prime mover speeds, there are certain inductive loads that it does not handle well. That would take in many smoke ejectors or PPV fans. He cited some that they had tried that wouldn't run. After the last Harrisburg show, he stopped by our station and tried his demo unit on our SuperVac fans. I wasn't present, I was out driving an engine from the show to Iowa that day. The member who was there and assisted the Ravens engineer said that the fans all ran well. I did get a report from the engineer detailing his findings.

    I like the simplicity of the system; no hydraulics, less space taken up, less noise, etc. But by the time you install one on an existing piece you will spend approximately the same money that you would on a hydraulic unit.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    A Ravens engineer explained to me that because of the way their system creates a 60 hZ sine wave at varying prime mover speeds, there are certain inductive loads that it does not handle well. That would take in many smoke ejectors or PPV fans. He cited some that they had tried that wouldn't run. After the last Harrisburg show, he stopped by our station and tried his demo unit on our SuperVac fans. I wasn't present, I was out driving an engine from the show to Iowa that day. The member who was there and assisted the Ravens engineer said that the fans all ran well. I did get a report from the engineer detailing his findings.

    I like the simplicity of the system; no hydraulics, less space taken up, less noise, etc. But by the time you install one on an existing piece you will spend approximately the same money that you would on a hydraulic unit.
    Our electric PPV has ran fine off the system when it worked.

    Just prior to delivery it was essentially eating it's drive belts during the UL testing, and the builder fully disclosed the issue. They let it do so for the purpose of completing the UL (the belt lasted long enough for completion), and Raven flew in a tech to our selling dealer to fix whatever was causing the misalignment of the belt that would cause it to destroy itself.

    It worked fine for a period after, then had substantial repairs done by our mechanic, again supposedly due to belt alignment issues. He has also rewired the functionality of the system after another failure because of what Raven supposedly said had to be done, which has severly limited the usefulness. (We were once able to switch on lights from both in the cab and the pump panel, now we are unable. Glad we paid for that feature.)

    I'm not entirely sure if the bulk of the problem lies with Raven or our mechanic, but I'm on the verge of finding out. My gut says Raven is doing the right thing trying to help our cause, but our mechanic is making them the scapegoat for either getting in over his abilities or just not wanting to deal with the issue. I have two great cordreels and five fabulous floodlights on a pumper that sure look pretty, but haven't received power for close to a year now. I know we have a new "control" box from Raven that our mechanic installed, so they're throwing parts at the problem.

    Perhaps I'll call Raven this week and see what their side of the story is. I'll bet they're doing the best they can.

    Their PTO application kind of intrigues me. The simplicity of installing on a PTO, but no hydraulics needed to be able to operate at various engine rpms. And no belt to cause problems.
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  14. #14
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wischief View Post
    What about an underhood generator such as the Raven? I have no experience with these and have only seen them in magazines. Anyone using them and how do they work?
    Raven makes a FINE unit,their headquarters is about 45 minutes from me. Currently I think the biggest unit they are PRODUCING is a 7KW. GREAT folks to work with. Certainly if you have room under the hood a very valid consideration if your power needs(projected total)won't run over 7KW. AND ask Raven about whar rhey have,they are constantly developing new stuff and may well be producing bigger units. T.C.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    We've had three on my department. Truthfully, they've all been problems. One was an Auragen, another a brand I don't recall. The newest is a Raven on an IH 7600 chassis, and it's been out of service most of the past year. I can't tell if its because of our mechanic and his abilities, or because of Raven.

    I'll be getting a hand-me-down squad as part of a reorganization, and before it beomes my station's rig, it will be going for a minor refurb to have its underhood generator yanked. We can never get the drive belt tight enough, it squeaks and squeals, etc.

    I'd go PTO, hydraulic whatever or else get whomever's underhood genset you're putting on the thing to give you one hell of a warranty...
    I DOUBT like hell it's because of Raven. I KNOW these folks and they are VERY proud(and supportive)of their product. I would contact them DIRECTLY with any concerns you have. T.C.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Raven makes a FINE unit,their headquarters is about 45 minutes from me. Currently I think the biggest unit they are PRODUCING is a 7KW. GREAT folks to work with. Certainly if you have room under the hood a very valid consideration if your power needs(projected total)won't run over 7KW. AND ask Raven about whar rhey have,they are constantly developing new stuff and may well be producing bigger units. T.C.
    All the Raven principles are neighbors of mine and friends. The two engineers that hold all the patents, are on our nearest mutual aid department.
    That said they do have a 15 kw unit in the works at this time. They've installed a couple of demo models so far and I believe it's in production.

    Joel : if you are still having issues, give Chris or Duncan a call. They are more than willing to help solve problems.

  17. #17
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    15KW unit was NOT in PRODUCTION as of NEFCA Show in June. Yes, they had a few units built but were not happy with something about the 15kw unit,I forget just what. Low call for that unit had it on hold at that time,things MAY have changed since. As usual they were busy getting brackets built and trying to keep up with demand. As I said earlier I would have ZERO qualms installing the Raven on a unit,outside of I like 10K plus on our front line units. And THAT is a problem we are JUST getting started on. If we get the utility truck,I'm thinking it will most likely have a Raven put on it. T.C.

  18. #18
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    I have always believed that all heavy rigs (engines trucks rescues) should have some sort of electrical power source, so I would have to say go with the generator. Having the ability to supply your own power when its needed is priceless, and should not be over looked.
    However i would go hydraulic before diesel, you can get more in a smaller package saving space, i would suggest at least one cord real, i recommend 200' of 10-3 wire. As far as your cans with holes cut in them for extension cords, i would recommend using rope bags instead, easier to stuff in a compartment.
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  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I DOUBT like hell it's because of Raven. I KNOW these folks and they are VERY proud(and supportive)of their product. I would contact them DIRECTLY with any concerns you have. T.C.
    Thanks guys. I'm going to call directly and circumvent some ineffective folks in the dpeartment to get this crap taken care of once and for all...
    Last edited by npfd801; 10-02-2010 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Killed two birds...
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  20. #20
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefSquirrel View Post
    I would go with a hydraulic generator
    Agreed... they are awesome.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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