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recycling an old generator

 
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My generator is done, feels like its lost compression, Im assuming previous owner washed the cylinder walls and no seal.

Anyway the actual generator dosent have any issues, hate to toss it, not worth buying another engine as I can just buy a whole new generator. Any suggestions on what I can do with it on my homestead?

Has there been a perpetual source of power yet that runs off of air?

Here is the entire unit https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Cummins-Onan-P6500-Portable-Generator/p942.html

Thanks
 
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Jason,

I don't actually know what to do with the generator part, but way to go thinking of what could be done with it rather than just chucking it out.  Maybe it could be repurposed as another generator for a different type of system such as a wind or hydro system.  I suppose you could sell it on ebay or mark it as a donation or work out some deal with someone here on Permies.  We do have a marketplace here; maybe that is an option.

I like the way you are thinking on this,

Eric
 
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It might be worth checking the valves to make sure they're closing. Even if it's the piston/rings, it may still be worth fixing. Pistons seem to be much cheaper these days.
 
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I'm with Jordan. That's a good quality unit. It may be worth fixing.
 
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Hi Jason;
Great thinking...   I thought that way myself!
This prompted me over the years to end up with three old gensets ... I was sure I would find a way to utilize them...
After 25 years I finally found the way that work's for me...
After tripping over them all these years I hauled them in to the scrap dealer!
Got a whopping $22 for all three...
Not very permie like ...but I did recycle them instead of tossing them out at the landfill.
 
Jason Walter
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Jordan Holland wrote:It might be worth checking the valves to make sure they're closing. Even if it's the piston/rings, it may still be worth fixing. Pistons seem to be much cheaper these days.



I actually got around to looking at it this a.m and although I do not have the lash to properly reset it I did fiddle with it and got the compression to jump from 65 to nearly 100 with the 3rd pull.

More than enough for it to run.

Something else is going on and I just need to keep looking. Thanks
 
Jason Walter
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I'm with Jordan. That's a good quality unit. It may be worth fixing.



Not really. Onan/china set.

I have an older onan at home that would prob be worth spending more time on should it quit running
 
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onans are old but highly rebuildable and were built to last 1000's of hours. not like the cheap harbor freight stuff that has flooded the world.. is it two cylinder air cooled or water cooled engine. do you know which engine it has cck, p220, etc? I have a few welders that have Onan 2 cyl engines one has no compression, its probably got water in exhaust from the top and froze up the lifters or valves. one day I'll take it apart and put the welder back in service.
 
Jason Walter
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Id like to also hear more about running it off the pto of my tractor if I get in another pinch if anyonw here has the experience
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Ah, got it. The old Onan engines had a great reputation. But it seems that with most things manufactured these days, it's a race to the bottom ...
 
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While jason might be on the path to fixing that engine, I'll continue with the scenario...

This is a nice, compact portable unit.  It could be paired with another motor.  A found motor might not fit in the portable cage, but could still power it.  You'd lost the compact package, but there's a world of used motors out there.  Motor makers seem to have special use motors for generators ... whatever, that generator is rated for "emergency use" so I wouldn't worry about shortening the life of a former riding mower's engine.

One motor is that in a tractor ... I'm surprised how expensive the tractor PTO generators are.  It would take some gearing up from the typical 540 PTO RPM to the ~3000 RPM range, but that's within the range of belts and pulleys to do.

I'm doubtful that the generator and associated electronics would work in a wind or water situation.  The gas motor creates a constant RPM, the other sources are variable and seem to require very different electrical approaches.  Would love to hear from an authority on that.
 
thomas rubino
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Most pto tractors  idling, will use more fuel and not be available for other tractor work.
Sounds like your motor might live again. If not, then I would search for a replacement motor.
 
Jordan Holland
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If it's a chinese engine, parts may definitely be had cheaply. They're really cheap on ebay or amazon last I checked.

The problem with another power source is that the motor and generator head must be tuned to work together when it's not an inverter generator. The engine must be properly governed so that the rpm's stay exact. The head must also have a power source to excite the coils in the armature so the voltage can be regulated like on an automobile alternator.
 
Jordan Holland
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Jason Walter wrote:
I actually got around to looking at it this a.m and although I do not have the lash to properly reset it I did fiddle with it and got the compression to jump from 65 to nearly 100 with the 3rd pull.

More than enough for it to run.

Something else is going on and I just need to keep looking. Thanks



Maybe a stuck ring. Some Seafoam appears to be in order...
 
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Can you easily connect the generator to your tractor PTO ?
 
John F Dean
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To explain, I am thinking of a wood platform on a 3pt hitch, pulleys, and belt.
 
Eric Hanson
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Jason, I have a couple of thoughts on the PTO generator.

First, let me tell you that I think you are doing a great thing by trying to breathe life back into your old generator and not just trashing it.  Further, I too was once interested in putting a generator on the back of my tractor and power it with the PTO.  I had two main reasons I did not go that route.  

First, when I was looking I found that PTO generators were typically running at least $1000 as opposed to the roughly $500 or so I paid for a Generac 5500 which I bought after an emergency.  Basically, to utilize the PTO I would have almost double the price, ironic since a PTO generator has no engine.

Second, I was discussing this on a different site and someone made a really good point--commonly when I would need the generator I would also need the tractor.  The example given was needing power during a snow storm when I would also need the tractor to clear the driveway.  

After those two point were clear I pretty much gave up on the PTO generator.  But if you want to do it with your tractor and your genset, then by all means go for it is that is what you do.  I just thought those two points were pertinent.



Good luck on your project in what ever approach you choose,

Eric
 
Jason Walter
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Thanks, configuring the gen to tractor ( adaptation ) is no problem for me however I have since learned ( Im still new to tractors ) that PTO speed is no where near engine speed, I would need to set up some sort of an additional gearbox or belt/pulley system which dosent seem overwhelming either but another thing to consider is that tractor engines are not governed like a small gas engine, when a load was introduced the waves of electricity would become erratic and could potentially cause more harm than good.

So long story short if this one turns out to be not worth repairing Ill be sending the gen portion to Thomas so he can kick it for the next 20 years.
 
Jason Walter
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This is my backup generator in case I still have no gen by the end of the week.

Sorry for poor picture, its dark in my garage
Back-up-generator-onan-power-express.jpg
Back up generator onan power express
Back up generator onan power express
 
Jason Walter
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This is the tag on my well
Well-pump-motor-franklin-electric.jpg
Well pump motor franklin electric
Well pump motor franklin electric
 
Jason Walter
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I do not understand and was not even sure at first if this back up gen would power my well, now it would appear that as I understand it the gen will do fine.

What I do not understand is the large outlets.

I do not understand the difference between the 2 receptacles?

Why does the AC 120/240 volt have less amperage to offer?

Im assuming to run my well that I will just want to stick with the receptacle on the right which is the only one I have used and powers the a/c in my camper. Dosent seem to love doing so but it does work. The gen that is giving me problems right now does a much better job. Sounds much happier.

Thanks
Generator-plug-panel..jpg
Generator plug panel.
Generator plug panel.
 
Jason Walter
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I stumbled across this, REALLY like the way this guy thinks and thought maybe some of you guys might enjoy as well.

 
Eric Hanson
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Jason,

The tractor idea in cool, even if impractical.  You mentioned the 240 outlet having reduced amperage.  I believe the answer to that basic question is the the equation     Volts x Amp=Watts.  Basically, if you double the voltage to 240, you need to cut the amperage by half assuming you are running at the same wattage.

Still, I like that you are trying to get some usage out of an apparently usable genset.  Good luck with that.

Eric
 
Jason Walter
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jason,

The tractor idea in cool, even if impractical.  You mentioned the 240 outlet having reduced amperage.  I believe the answer to that basic question is the the equation     Volts x Amp=Watts.  Basically, if you double the voltage to 240, you need to cut the amperage by half assuming you are running at the same wattage.

Still, I like that you are trying to get some usage out of an apparently usable genset.  Good luck with that.

Eric

That sounds like a simple easily understood explanation and thanks for that, hopefully someone will add to your comment
 
Jason Walter
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Douglas Alpenstock
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Jason, a note of caution. If I understand correctly, your well pump motor is rated for 230V. You should not run it on 120V. The motor will run hot and perform badly, and is at risk of premature burnout.

 
Jason Walter
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Jason, a note of caution. If I understand correctly, your well pump motor is rated for 230V. You should not run it on 120V. The motor will run hot and perform badly, and is at risk of premature burnout.



This is the first I am hearing this. I will have to find more information. I had a neighbor whom supposedly has 30 plus years of electrical experience advise me this past weekend on what I should be doing. Thank you for the heads up. It sounds like you have saved my well pump.
 
Eliot Mason
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Just to second Douglas, you need to use the 240V outlet there.  220v-240v motors may not even spin with just 120v applied.  And your well pump has a max amp draw lower than the 12.5a that generator is rated for, so stick with it.

The tractor PTO thing is indeed weird (as explained by Eric).  I mean, I happen to have a 45hp engine over here, shouldn't I use that?  Fewer motors to maintain, its sort of self-motive - and yet it seems to be more expensive, the gearing change from 540 to 3600 seems easy enough until you try to make 10+hp go through it, and you can use both the pto-gen and the loader at the same time.  I don't have snow to clear and most of the power-out emergencies we have are ice or high wind (or, like now, fire).  Even if I need to disconnect and go shove a tree out of the way or some such there is still a LOT of time when I might be sleeping (trying to ...) or otherwise not in the tractor seat that it could be keeping the freezer going and well delivering water.  Of course, its all hypothetical as I have no gensets at all. : (

It also helps to have two tractors!
 
Jason Walter
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Eliot Mason wrote:Just to second Douglas, you need to use the 240V outlet there.  220v-240v motors may not even spin with just 120v applied.  And your well pump has a max amp draw lower than the 12.5a that generator is rated for, so stick with it.

The tractor PTO thing is indeed weird (as explained by Eric).  I mean, I happen to have a 45hp engine over here, shouldn't I use that?  Fewer motors to maintain, its sort of self-motive - and yet it seems to be more expensive, the gearing change from 540 to 3600 seems easy enough until you try to make 10+hp go through it, and you can use both the pto-gen and the loader at the same time.  I don't have snow to clear and most of the power-out emergencies we have are ice or high wind (or, like now, fire).  Even if I need to disconnect and go shove a tree out of the way or some such there is still a LOT of time when I might be sleeping (trying to ...) or otherwise not in the tractor seat that it could be keeping the freezer going and well delivering water.  Of course, its all hypothetical as I have no gensets at all. : (

It also helps to have two tractors!


Douglas saved me alot of problems and I thank him for that.

 
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