Generator project

dlsmith

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
About 17 years ago, we were having a lot of power outages in my area, most likely due to a strained power grid in the area. The last 30 years has seen a huge increase in the population in my area, several hundred acres of farm land turned into housing projects. So, after being out of power for a couple of hours to over a day on several occasions, I started building a 10KW generator set powered by a Yanmar 3TNA72 22 hp diesel. The engine came out of a JD compact tractor that had the intake air hose come off and ingested some dust. It was replaced under warranty and I bought it from the dealer for a couple hundred bucks. It only had around 30 hours on it, so I tore it down, deglazed the cylinders (there were only a few minor scratched in them), put in new rings, bearings and gaskets.
I built a frame out of 2" X 2" 11 ga. tube, mounted the engine and radiator and got it running. It ran great, now problems with it at all. I bought a 10KW generator from then Northern Hydraulics, and mounted it behind the engine. I had a stub shaft machined that attached to the flywheel and used a Lovejoy coupling to connect them. I made sure they were as close to perfectly aligned as possible and made a couple of test runs that went fine. Then I ran it up to wide open, 3600 rpm, the governed engine speed and the required speed for the generator, and BANG! The lovejoy coupling disintegrated, sheared all the drive lugs off both pieces. Never did figure out what happened, but when the coupling went, it bent the shaft on the generator. Got disgusted and rolled it to the back of the shop and kind of lost interest in it. Shortly thereafter, the utility company upgraded the power grid in the area. the only time we lose power now is when some idiot knocks down a power pole or if a storm takes it out.
Having recently retired and working through some of my many neglected projects, I pulled it out and decided to finally get it finished up so I could use it if needed.
I pulled the generator off and dial indicated the shaft for runout. It had .045" of wobble. I wasn't sure if it could be straightened, so I pulled the rotor out of it and 3D printed some stands to support the bearings so I could indicate where the shaft was bent. I figured out how the get it into my shop press and gradually use increasing amounts of force to straighten it. About four hours and 14 trips to and from the press to check the runout, I finally got it down to .001" and figured that was good enough. Put it back together and it looked good, should do the job.
I decided a Lovejoy coupling wasn't going to be trusted again, so I started looking for another drive coupling that would be more robust and not fly apart at 3600 rpm. I found one on McMaster-Carr that used a rubber "tire" clamped between two drive plates that is rated for 80 ft lbs at 4000 rpm. Looked a lot more capable than the Lovejoy. Once I got it, and looked it over, I was sure it would work quite well. I built a stinger for the bucket on the Kubota to set the generator back in the frame and got the engine and generator shafts lined up within about .020" (the coupling allows up to .125" misalignment), I installed the coupling.
With fingers crossed, I started it up and gradually brought the rpm up to wide open. It was very smooth, no vibration at all. I made a half dozen runs, a couple with loads on the generator, and everything was good.
So for the last few weeks I have been finishing it up, new aluminum fuel tank, stainless steel exhaust, relocated intake and air fllter, repositioned radiator mount and some electrical changes. I also decided to put an axle and tires under it, and a removable ball hitch, so it can be towed. I bought a new 2,000" axle with springs and tires at a local surplus yard. Had to cut it down 11" to narrow the spring centers to 22" to fit the cage. I also bought a generator control box that will control the throttle and allow it to run at idle for a period of time before it goes to wide open. I put on a TinyTach yesterday as so far I only had an old Stewart-Warner mechanical tach to check the rpms, It shows right at 3600 rpm, just exactly what I needed.
I got some fittings today for the braided stainless fuel lines I'm going to install. I'll work on that this weekend.
I have a friend that might be able to make louvered panels to enclose it, if he can get his press finished. If not, I have to see what I can come up with to enclose it. And I'm going to put a lift point on the top also, in case it is needed.
After I get it all finished up, I'll take it all apart and get the frame and panels blasted and powder coated, might even have it done in Kubota orange or dark gray.
If I need it, I can trip the main breaker in the house(yes, I have an interlock installed) and plug it in an 230 volt outlet in the shop and it will easily power anything I have. With the wheels and hitch, if someone else needs it, it's ready to go.
IMG_20200606_131523447 (Custom).jpg
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IMG_20200612_183113382_HDR (Custom).jpg
IMG_20200612_183138450_HDR (Custom).jpg
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JohnDB

Member

Equipment
M4500DT
Jun 9, 2018
217
14
18
NZ
Must have been a very satisfying project. For the benefit of ignoramus' like me, which box is the generator control box, and did the switches etc on the non-drive end of the generator come as part of the generator package (if that isn't the control box).

Wonderful to read about you project, thanks!
 

dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
I don't have the generator control unit yet, it's coming from California next week. The gray box above the output end of the generator has a voltmeter, water temp and oil pressure gauge. Inside is all the wiring to connect and power a low oil pressure light, a high water temp light and a glow plug indicator light. I installed a small electronic delay relay board that powers activates a standard 30 amp relay to power the glow plugs for five seconds when the key switch is first turned on.
I'm going to have to transfer everything to a larger box to house the generator control module. That will then power a servo to pull the throttle open and bring the engine up to speed. I am also going to put in a fuel level gauge, since the tank has a sender, an hour meter and the TinyTach digital tachometer.
IMG_20200528_184700604 (Custom).jpg


Picture of the drive coupling.
IMG_20200528_184149187 (Custom).jpg
 
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PHPaul

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Equipment
B2650, Pronovost snow blower, Landpride rotary mower, Howard tiller, box blade
Apr 2, 2015
624
63
28
Downeast Maine
www.eastovershoe.com
Nice!

When I worked at the cannery, we used those "tire" couplers on our big pumps. 80-ish HP electric motors that went 0 to Rated RPM - WHAM! when the pump kicked on. Very few problems with them, and they were disconnected and reconnected all the time as we frequently had to pull the pumps to unclog them after some dummy threw their plastic apron in the floor drain.
 
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dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
Thanks for the positive comment!

I had never seen a coupler like this one, and was a little hesitant when I ordered it, but after seeing how it works, I'm sure it will do the job.
 

BigG

Well-known member

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l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
Sep 14, 2018
1,432
315
83
West Central,FL
Very nice build. I know you said that this has taken place over several years but I was wondering the cost of such a project.

I now live in Fl and with all the storms the electric supply can be a problem. I have told several people to buy a welder/generator for power. I bought a 10,000 watt Hobart welder myself. This has sparked an interest in my youngest son to learn how to weld. But I get the question pretty often of a house sized fixed generator, a portable gen. or a PTO powered gen.

I think the fixed auto start units are way over priced. Nice to have but $$. And the stories of them needing repairs are very scary. Often the parts are not in stock and end up being days away.

People argue the PTO gen puts to many hours on your tractor but to me that is what a tractor is to be used for, work of what ever kind.

The portable ones scare the hell out of me. The last time the power was out I was in a neighborhood with several of the portable gens setting inside the garage with the door pulled down and they were running. After several attempts to warn people of the danger of running an engine inside of the garage I gave up. But they all were in fear of someone stealing the generators. And this was in a nice neighborhood.

If I was to do it over again I think I would go for the PTO gen. Just so I did not have to worry about the engine starting and running after sitting for months.
 

cliffboyer

Member

Equipment
L3301 w/LA525 loader, G5200 mower w/RC48 deck, Kawasaki 610 Mule, DR mower
Nov 30, 2017
158
13
18
Southern IL
Great project! You do nice work.

Would like to build a genset like this someday.

Not sure if they still use them, but I have an older Mercedes that uses rubber couplings on the drive shaft instead of u-joints. This is my plan to couple things together.
 

dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
I have the factory manual for the engine, and different variations were run from 3200 rpm to 3600 rpm, the latter being the spec when used on a genset. The one in my JD430 turns 3425 rpm according to the JD manual, so I can't imagine another 175 rpm is a problem.
When I got the TinyTach hooked up to it the other day, it indicated right dead on 3600 rpm and judging by the fact that the original paint is undisturbed on the governor set screws, I can't see that it would have been tampered with, so I'm not concerned about it.
 

dlsmith

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
Very nice build. I know you said that this has taken place over several years but I was wondering the cost of such a project.
It all depends on being able to find and engine at a decent price. Like I said, I managed to pick up the Yanmar from a friend for $200. Way back when I bought the generator, it was $499 from Northern Hydraulic. Now, the same unit is $1299. The drive coupling was ~$280 for all the pieces from McMaster-Carr. Even with the axle and all the other parts, I'm probably into it for about $2500 so far.

I think the fixed auto start units are way over priced. Nice to have but $$. And the stories of them needing repairs are very scary. Often the parts are not in stock and end up being days away.
I agree they are over priced, but it just depends on whether you want to set back and wait a few seconds for it to fire up and transfer over or drag the generator out, fire it up, throw the transfer switch and plug it in.

People argue the PTO gen puts to many hours on your tractor but to me that is what a tractor is to be used for, work of what ever kind.
I had considered a PTO unit before I decided to finish this unit up. I think a 10KW unit can be had for $1500-$2000. I wouldn't be concerned either about putting hours on the tractor, these thing will run a LONG time if properly cared for.

The portable ones scare the hell out of me. The last time the power was out I was in a neighborhood with several of the portable gens setting inside the garage with the door pulled down and they were running. After several attempts to warn people of the danger of running an engine inside of the garage I gave up. But they all were in fear of someone stealing the generators. And this was in a nice neighborhood.
People are stupid about running generators inside houses or garages attache to the house. A couple of people died from CO poisoning locally a couple of years ago, had the generator in the attached garage with the connecting door cracked open to run an extension cord inside. Sigh.

If I was to do it over again I think I would go for the PTO gen. Just so I did not have to worry about the engine starting and running after sitting for months.
Good point.
 

dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
Great project! You do nice work.
You can't see some of my welds in the pictures.
It's not the welder itself because I have a really nice Miller 211 Autoset, it's the guy holding the gun. If I welded more than once every few weeks, I would be better at it.
 

SidecarFlip

Banned

Equipment
M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
7,198
507
83
USA
About 17 years ago, we were having a lot of power outages in my area, most likely due to a strained power grid in the area. The last 30 years has seen a huge increase in the population in my area, several hundred acres of farm land turned into housing projects. So, after being out of power for a couple of hours to over a day on several occasions, I started building a 10KW generator set powered by a Yanmar 3TNA72 22 hp diesel. The engine came out of a JD compact tractor that had the intake air hose come off and ingested some dust. It was replaced under warranty and I bought it from the dealer for a couple hundred bucks. It only had around 30 hours on it, so I tore it down, deglazed the cylinders (there were only a few minor scratched in them), put in new rings, bearings and gaskets.
I built a frame out of 2" X 2" 11 ga. tube, mounted the engine and radiator and got it running. It ran great, now problems with it at all. I bought a 10KW generator from then Northern Hydraulics, and mounted it behind the engine. I had a stub shaft machined that attached to the flywheel and used a Lovejoy coupling to connect them. I made sure they were as close to perfectly aligned as possible and made a couple of test runs that went fine. Then I ran it up to wide open, 3600 rpm, the governed engine speed and the required speed for the generator, and BANG! The lovejoy coupling disintegrated, sheared all the drive lugs off both pieces. Never did figure out what happened, but when the coupling went, it bent the shaft on the generator. Got disgusted and rolled it to the back of the shop and kind of lost interest in it. Shortly thereafter, the utility company upgraded the power grid in the area. the only time we lose power now is when some idiot knocks down a power pole or if a storm takes it out.
Having recently retired and working through some of my many neglected projects, I pulled it out and decided to finally get it finished up so I could use it if needed.
I pulled the generator off and dial indicated the shaft for runout. It had .045" of wobble. I wasn't sure if it could be straightened, so I pulled the rotor out of it and 3D printed some stands to support the bearings so I could indicate where the shaft was bent. I figured out how the get it into my shop press and gradually use increasing amounts of force to straighten it. About four hours and 14 trips to and from the press to check the runout, I finally got it down to .001" and figured that was good enough. Put it back together and it looked good, should do the job.
I decided a Lovejoy coupling wasn't going to be trusted again, so I started looking for another drive coupling that would be more robust and not fly apart at 3600 rpm. I found one on McMaster-Carr that used a rubber "tire" clamped between two drive plates that is rated for 80 ft lbs at 4000 rpm. Looked a lot more capable than the Lovejoy. Once I got it, and looked it over, I was sure it would work quite well. I built a stinger for the bucket on the Kubota to set the generator back in the frame and got the engine and generator shafts lined up within about .020" (the coupling allows up to .125" misalignment), I installed the coupling.
With fingers crossed, I started it up and gradually brought the rpm up to wide open. It was very smooth, no vibration at all. I made a half dozen runs, a couple with loads on the generator, and everything was good.
So for the last few weeks I have been finishing it up, new aluminum fuel tank, stainless steel exhaust, relocated intake and air fllter, repositioned radiator mount and some electrical changes. I also decided to put an axle and tires under it, and a removable ball hitch, so it can be towed. I bought a new 2,000" axle with springs and tires at a local surplus yard. Had to cut it down 11" to narrow the spring centers to 22" to fit the cage. I also bought a generator control box that will control the throttle and allow it to run at idle for a period of time before it goes to wide open. I put on a TinyTach yesterday as so far I only had an old Stewart-Warner mechanical tach to check the rpms, It shows right at 3600 rpm, just exactly what I needed.
I got some fittings today for the braided stainless fuel lines I'm going to install. I'll work on that this weekend.
I have a friend that might be able to make louvered panels to enclose it, if he can get his press finished. If not, I have to see what I can come up with to enclose it. And I'm going to put a lift point on the top also, in case it is needed.
After I get it all finished up, I'll take it all apart and get the frame and panels blasted and powder coated, might even have it done in Kubota orange or dark gray.
If I need it, I can trip the main breaker in the house(yes, I have an interlock installed) and plug it in an 230 volt outlet in the shop and it will easily power anything I have. With the wheels and hitch, if someone else needs it, it's ready to go. View attachment 44395 View attachment 44396 View attachment 44397 View attachment 44398 View attachment 44399
That is excellent. Back when I worked and made big jack I bought a factory diesel powered genset from Generac. It has a JD diesel and sits next to the shop and sips from my 500 gallon diesel farm tank. I think it's 30 KW, don't remember exactly, but it runs everything, shop and house plus the big barn. It's 100% automated with a vacuum transfer switch and it runs itself every weekend for 15 minutes and has an onboard battery charger too.

I bet yours was about 1/10th of what I paid and I still had to have a qualified electrician hook it up. I'm real bad with electricity, probably would have electrocuted myself.

Power out here goes out frequently and when it goes, it stays gone for days. That can be real bad in the winter, no juice, no heat, no juice no water (well), no juice, no stove (electric). No wash machine or dryer either. I can deal with dirty duds but no shower, no way. Our HWH is electric too.

Couple winters ago, it was out for a week. Was real dark out this way except for our house. (y)
 

SidecarFlip

Banned

Equipment
M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
7,198
507
83
USA
You can't see some of my welds in the pictures.
It's not the welder itself because I have a really nice Miller 211 Autoset, it's the guy holding the gun. If I welded more than once every few weeks, I would be better at it.

A glue gun makes anyone look good....(y) welds are fine from what I can see. All in the prep anyway. You get everything fitted up and clean metal and the wire machine does the rest. I prefer to set my own OCV and amperage but thats me. I tend to spray arc mostly but that don't lend itself to lighter gauge material.
 

SidecarFlip

Banned

Equipment
M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
7,198
507
83
USA
Your comment about de-glazing the cylinders reminded me of something. One of my hunting buddies was the head service administrator for the Western Star dealership I worked at (and retired from) and his specialty was 2 stroke large bore Detroit stationary diesel gensets.

He told me the best 'tune up' for a big 2 stroke Detroit diesel engine was a handfull of Comet cleanser in the air intake. The cleanser broke the glaze on the cylinder walls and made them run better.

I said BS on that but turns out my buddy down the road that owns a big seed farm operation has a V12 Detroit genset and it was running bad so my friend gave it the 'Comet Treatment' and it straightened right up.
\
Amazing what a little 'Chloronal' will do.

Your dialogue reminded me of that.
 

34by151

Active member

Equipment
bx23s
Jan 12, 2019
151
32
28
Peachester, QLD, Australia
We have a silenced 30kw 3 phase unit built for mine spec and power by a water cooled Isuzu diesel
Its fitted with auto start and phase correction

We dont need to balance the load on each phase and can draw full power from a single phase if required.
This is handy because solar inverter/charger is single phase.

I do run the compressor , lathe and mill directly from the genset when the power is out rather than deplete the solar battery.

Im guessing it would use about 20-25 Litres per day if not for the solar/battery
In a power out it runs for about 5-10 mins at 80% load every 4-5 hours, so almost no fuel use

I'd really advise fitting an auto start to any genset and having an ATS with a start wires installed
You can get one for a few hundred bucks

This will do the mains/genset changeover automatically and start/stop the genset
ATS link

All you need is a 2 wires started fitted to the genset
 

dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
He told me the best 'tune up' for a big 2 stroke Detroit diesel engine was a handfull of Comet cleanser in the air intake. The cleanser broke the glaze on the cylinder walls and made them run better.

I said BS on that but turns out my buddy down the road that owns a big seed farm operation has a V12 Detroit genset and it was running bad so my friend gave it the 'Comet Treatment' and it straightened right up.
\
Amazing what a little 'Chloronal' will do.

Your dialogue reminded me of that.
Amazingly, since you mentioned it, my father had an International 1850 single axle truck he used to pull park model mobile homes for Kropf Mfg. back in the '90s. It had a DT466 engine in it, and when it got up to around 600K miles on it, it started using oil and progressively got worse. I don't know where he got the idea, but he claimed that running a little Bon Ami cleanser through the air intake would break the glaze and let the rings reseat. I was very dubious and tried to dissuade him from doing it, but he did, and amazingly it worked, .......for a while. After five or six treatments, it didn't do much to slow down the oil consumption, so he gave it a bigger dose. To big of a dose. The Bon Ami got past the rings and into the oil and promptly chewed up every bearing and running surface in the engine. Mains, rods, wrist pin bushings, pistons, liners, cam and bearings, rocker arm bushings and shafts, turbo, oil pump, everything. We pulled it out in my shop and I couldn't believe how everything was chewed up. It had even eroded the compressor wheel on the turbo from feeding it into the turbo inlet. Luckily, the machine shop was able to turn the crank and save it, and after cleaning up the deck and align boring it, thoroughly cleaned the block and cylinder head to make sure all the grit was removed. Everything else was replaced.
When we pulled the rods and pistons, the rings were so worn that there was hardly any ring drag anymore. The rings had very little tension left.
When we got done with the overhaul, I made sure and got the solvent and filter in my parts washer replaced, I didn't want any of the grit getting into anything I washed in it.

I never let him forget about his "Tune Up In A Can" experiment.
 
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dlsmith

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
I'd really advise fitting an auto start to any genset and having an ATS with a start wires installed
You can get one for a few hundred bucks

This will do the mains/genset changeover automatically and start/stop the genset
ATS link

All you need is a 2 wires started fitted to the genset
Thanks, I'll check out one of those.
 

SidecarFlip

Banned

Equipment
M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
7,198
507
83
USA
Single phase 220 works for me just fine because we don't have 3 phase power coming in (too far from the utility feed for 3 phase. I run my entire machine shop 3 phase motors and servo controlled machines on a big GW rotary phase converter. Nice thing about 3 phase motors is they are 'stackable' so I can spool up a couple, shut off the rotary and the T3 legs on the running motors provide the excitation for the others if needed. Only time I really need the rotary is if I'm running the LeBlond servo shift engine lathe, it requires the rotary provided continuous T3 power. My diesel Generac has an on board trickle charger on the starting battery.

Solar sounds interesting but one thing about solar and that is, if the sun don't shine the juice don't flow and we have a lot of cloudy days here, The other issue with solar is panel degradation. Panels loose about 2% per year in capacity and then there is the snow cover in the winter.... and the projected panel life is 20 years, not that I'll be here in 20 anyway.
 

34by151

Active member

Equipment
bx23s
Jan 12, 2019
151
32
28
Peachester, QLD, Australia
Well I cant say snow is a concern here in OZ

As for solar I have 2 inverters (Fronius Symo 12.5Kw) with 30Kw of panels between them
These are AC coupled to the 3 inverter/chargers (selectronic sp pro 2i)
The inverter chargers connect to the grid and a single battery bank.
Batteries are 16 * lithium cells with a management unit
The inverter/charger controls the grid, solar inverters, battery and genset


I use about 25KwH a day. And the battery pack is just a bit over that in storage.
My worst solar production has been 22Kw which was in the last cyclone
I sized the system that way and could get away with 10kw of solar for 80% of the time.
On a normal day I have 24hrs of power in the batteries by 8am and remain fully charged all day.
Excess power goes to the grid but is limited to exporting 15Kw at anytime.


Even with the grid out My solar makes 3 times my consumption so no need for the battery or genset
Lots more in it but that's the basics.

I considered disconnecting from the grid but on an average day I export 150Kw/h. The upshot is they pay me to be connected.