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Thread: generators

  1. #1
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    Default generators

    has anyone had any better luck with one type/style of generator over another? not looking for any product bashing, but what has been the strengths and weaknesses of systems you have used?

    thanks


  2. #2
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    You didn't specify what type of generator system you were looking for, so I'll touch on them all.

    If you're going with a gas portable, Honda is the only way to go. They are three times more expensive than any of the others, and they are worth every penny of it. The other brands will run, but some will be very fussy about fuel, choke, temp, and I don't believe any will last as long as a Honda.

    I'd stay away from inverter systems, they create huge loads on you 12V systems and can shut a truck down if left unattended.

    I've just recently started getting experiance with Amps and Harrison hydraulic generators. They are basicly good units, but you loose the ability to take them off the rig. This may not be a big deal, but it was up here in Maine during "the" ice storm. Also, you need to run the big engine even if all you need is a little power, obviously a small generator is more fuel efficient in that situation (like if you're powering the station during a power outage).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Like 304, we run Honda for our gas engined generators (one on our 2nd oldest truck, another moved from a truck to our sub-station).

    Onan Diesel was the next step. One is on our main attack piece, had another on our recently retired ladder.

    Since those two makes we've moved to Harrison & AMPS.

    All around any of those four are worlds better than when I first joined and we ran pull-start Homelites (still got one on our oldest piece) and an inverter on our Rescue that liked to act quirky. And except for that last Homelite, all the trucks now have remote starters in the cab and several 500/750w lights left on. Pulling into a scene, voila, visibility.

    Now the main generator in the station...hehehe...old early 60s vintage GM Diesel/Allis Chalmers 35kw Generator bought surplus from AT&T and built to withstand a nuclear war. If cockroaches can figure out how to get diesel, that thing will still probably be around with them after we're all gone just chugging away. Our treasurer back then worked for AT&T as a manager and somehow only a single bid for $1 was ever entered on the generator...

  4. #4
    FIGJAM lutan1's Avatar
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    We recently purchased a Honda, after years of running Kubota's.

    The Honda has given us nothing but problems!

    It's rated to 8KVA and came from the factory with 4KVA rated outlets.

    We had a long range fuel tank fitted at the factory, which leaks from the filler cap when it's full and running. (Vibrations causes the fuel to splash around...)

    We had a problem with air locks in the fuel line and had to re route the fuel line from the tank to the carby. (The distributor and Honda refused to acknowledge there was a problem with it! We used to have a member sit with the generator on scene and they would have to squeeze the fuel line whilst it was running to try and get the fuel through and the air out as it started to stall from lack of fuel...)

    We've had it overheat and shut down part way through a crime scene investigation...

    Before we purchsed it, we specced to the distributor exactly where the generator was to mounted in the vehicle, along with locker dimensions, etc, and the sort of work and durations it would be doing, and yet they say it's our problem....

    We'll stick with the Kubota's, thanks.

    A lot quiter when running and had very few mechanical problems, excluding wear and tear issues.
    Luke

  5. #5
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Changing technology

    The pride of the fleet is our Spartan/Quality 1500 Rescue Pumper built in 1995 and delivered with a 30K (that's right, 30,000 Watts) AMPS PTO generator. This one has a lot going for it: Size - it is smaller than the 12K Onan on our Tower Ladder, It is always "on", if the Detroit is running, the generator is putting out 30K, Quiet - No need to "Rev up" the Motor, and no second motor to add to the noise level on scene, Reliability - we have had one problem in 7 years and it was fixed promptly and properly by the AMPS Factory rep. Only drawback is that the 400 HP Detroit has to be running (idling) to get power from it. Others include our 1992 Spartan/Marion Heavy Rescue with a 20K Harrison Hydra-Gen which performs flawlessly, but is noisy, as the main engine must be at 1500 RPM to get the proper output. Our 1985 Spartan/Grumman engine has a 7.5K Onan that was delivered new with our 1969 Ward pumper. It does a very good job but parts are hard to get. What would we do next time? It'll be an AMPS, Thats for sure. And it'll be at least 25K no matter what it will go on as you can never have too much electricity. Stay Safe....
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    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    lutan, I've got no experiance with the Kubota, but from what I've seen they make good light tractors and earth moving equipment. I wonder if you get the same Honda's we get up this side of the world? What do you guys run for electricity? We're 120/240VAC at 60Hz. Sounds like you have a real problem with your service people there, too bad.

    I can honestly say that out of a dozen or so generators, two hydraulic rescue pumps, the odd pressure washer, and a half dozen PPV fans I've worked with, I've never had a problem with a Honda that was not due to bad (old) gas. I've worked with several generators that had non-Honda electronics, but the good old OHV one-lung engine for power, all ran like a top right up until they suck the last vapors out of the tank.

    Our new tower has an AMPS and the rescue pumper a Harrison, Sauls had trouble mating the AMPS with the Amkus system we spec'd so they switched to a Harrison, no problems with either rig. That said, there have been rumors running around of difficulties with the newest generations of AMPS, anyone run into this?

  7. #7
    Forum Member wellsfr's Avatar
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    For smaller engines we always spec honda. They start like a dream. Our pump on our rescue is a Hale with a Briggs V twin either 12 or 18 horse I dont remember off hand, but it has proved to be very reliable and easy to start. The only draw back is it is loud, sounds like a harley in the bed of the truck. Remember to go large, a good coffee maker is between 1000 to 2500 watts.
    Last edited by wellsfr; 09-07-2002 at 07:38 PM.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber Tanker61's Avatar
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    Cool Generators

    Diesel...Diesel...Diesel
    Fed from the truck's fuel tank
    Never have to worry about bad gas
    Service the unit on a regular basis
    and you shouldn't ever have to give
    it a second thought.
    We use Onans/Kubotas with much luck.
    He who says he has finished learning, needs to begin again.

    Go Houston Texans!

  9. #9
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    We used Onan's w/Briggs and they were pretty good in their day but they won't measure up to modern stuff. The Onan/diesels were horrible, loud and broke down often. We went to the portable Hondas and have never had a problem. Our new trucks are coming with the pto generators. They are silent and you don't have to carry different fuel to feed them.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Originally posted by drkblram 304, I was going to school in maine when that bad icestorm hit in '98. they were so hurting for power generatoring capacity, CMP wanted us to take the training ship STATE OF MAINE to machias to power the city. Problem was we could only export power in 3-phase, and they didn't have the equipment to convert it.
    I was at sea in the SSV Corwith Cramer, came home the week after the storm, what a mess.

    Detroit gen-sets, you mean a "SCREAMER?" (you have to scream to be heard over the engine) The Cramer had a hand cranked little aircooled thing, English if I remeber, ran like a top but it was also a screamer. Can't recall the name, and a Northern Lights (John Deer powered) for main power 40KW., good quite rig.

  11. #11
    Forum Member HF&R_H28's Avatar
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    Stay away from Tecumseh. We have hat carburator problems with several Tecumsehs.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    We replaced a 2-53 with a Lister, not much difference in sound level, but better fuel consumption. Fire trucks just don't sound right with a 4stroke engine, the old Detriots rock. I don't find them too loud since they rarely run at full throttle, but a gen-set running at 1800RPM, that's a screamer.

    Northern Lights makes a generator that runs at 1250RPM and uses a John Deer 6Cyl powerplant, very quite due to the lower RPM's, also longer life since the engine is designed to run 1800. The trade off is that you have to use a relatively huge engine to get the required HP at that RPM, so it would not be good on a truck, but would make an excellent house generator, especially if sound levels could be an issue.

  13. #13
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    Default thanks

    thanks for the info, fellas. i had heard some disturbing things about some of the generator companies and wandered if there was any basis. i guess it all comes down to who installs them and if they match your needs. hopefully, the industry will set some standards for these devices and start demanding that they be met. probably something we as buyers should do,huh?

    thanks again

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