Getting ready for new generator....questions (of course!).

Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
First post here so "Howdy!". :) Located in south Alabama After years of "we need to get a generator"...we're finally getting a generator. We will be getting a Champion 7850/6250 dual-fuel generator in a couple of weeks...on order, slow boat. Anyhow, I've got some questions/thoughts that I'd appreciate some feedback on...so I'll know I'm on the right track.

Calculating a 20% running overhead and including a 1200w surge for a side-by-side refrigerator the generator will be running and handling surges at roughly 50% load.

The generator will be used for emergency power outages and *maybe* for remote building projects. Living where we do we are not immune to hurricanes and can have power outages for a few hours to a couple of days. The "days" long outages are not very frequent, thank goodness, but...you never know. The longest we've been out is five days back after Opal came through. So, the generator won't be ran that often for extended times but when I want it to work, I want it to work. ;)

I've already figured out (from reading here on the forum) to swap out the Torch plug for a NGK. Weird thing about that is that the specs state it comes with a Torch but the recommendation is for the NGK. Seems Champion would have already swapped them out. Anyhow...on to the questions.

Oil? Recommended is 10W30. I was thinking of Mobil 1 10W30 Synthetic. I run it in my '03 Jeep and have just switched from the extended mileage version to the high-mileage version at 107,400 miles. I do want an oil that will give the generator it's best protection when it's used. It seems to make sense to use what I normally keep on hand and that looks like that will now be Mobil 1 10W30 Synthetic High Mileage. Should I look for a different oil? I'm game for stocking some specifically for the generator if it will serve the generator better.

I've tossed it back and forth between going with an interlock and receptacle or going with a Reliance 6-circuit transfer switch. I think either one is safe but it seems like a lot of wear-and-tear on breakers in the main breaker box in turning them on and off each time you or and shut-off the generator. I'm pretty much sold on the transfer switch. Any thoughts on going this route, installation suggestions or whatever is appreciated.

I sent our propane company a query on getting a connection for the generator installed. Just emailed them today so it'll be next week before I hear from them. We have a 500 gallon tank that we use. I believe I will need to replace the regulator on the tank in order to run the generator. Then, on the house-side of where I tee off for the generator line the old, lower pressure regulator can be installed to serve the house. That sound about right?

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to shelter it during rainy conditions. I'm thinking of a very small lean-to shed with a short wall. Just something to keep direct rain off of it when it's running...maybe go with three full walls to block rain from the prevailing direction that our storms come from. Still tossing ideas around.

Anyhow, any info you feel like sharing about this project I'd appreciate!

Thanks,
Ed
 
Messages
13,102
Location
North Carolina
My genset usually is needed in freezing weather and it's recoil start . So I use amsoil hdd 5w30. If I was running an air-cooled unit in hot summer weather, I'd use 15w40.

My weather cover is a bit redneck, but I use a plastic top folding table.
IMG_20210213_082637500.jpg
 
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Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Thank for the reply, Spasm3. I like your shed solution...did you have to get a permit for it? That definitely gives me ideas.

I have seen several recommendations for 15W-40. Most of our outages are from tornadoes and hurricanes, with the occasional thunderstorm causing problems, or even a substation blowing. Most of the weather-related outages are in warm/hot weather so the heavier oil makes sense.
 
Messages
506
Location
Hedgesville, WV
I think you will be fine with a 500 gal tank. My propane company told me i would need a min 250 gal tank for a 6kw generator. Something about surface area of the liquid needed to provide sufficient gas. The transfer switch is definitely easier but you loose the versatility of being able to get power to another ckt if you really needed too. You are locked into the 6 you pick. Its not real likely but say you lost power in a major heat wave. You could choose to get a small window unit in one common room and shut down something else not so critical. If its not one of your transfer switch options you cant do this. Besides if you need to shut off breakers 2x a year they will still last 15 or 20 years without a problem. Also when you are deciding on what ckts you need, keep in mind that you need to keep them somewhat phase balanced. The 240v output of you genset is divided into half its output on 1 120v side and half on the other. Make sure you are never drawing more than half the gen output from either phase.
 
Messages
145
Location
Alabama, USA
I have recently researched generators and am leaning towards the Westinghouse iGen2500 for my needs. I plan to run a synthetic 5W-40. I'm also looking at the Reliance 6-circuit transfer switch. My neighbor uses a plastic table for sun / rain protection. You're on the right track, I'd say.
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
It will be interesting to see what the propane company says about needing (or not needing a higher pressure. It would be great to simply install a tee and set up a connection for the generator. I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

If I change my mind about a circuit I can rewire to the one I want to use. I've looked over my circuits and have six that will pretty much take care of us. I'm sure there'll be something that comes up, but this is in a semi-survival situation where priorities will need to be made. We have two side-by-side refrigerators whose circuits are on opposite buses. Then I'll be tweaking for the lights, fans, etc.,. Now if I throw a 5k btu a/c in there that might cause a bit of an issue. But we will be running the generator probably 4-5 hours and then off for 4-5 hours. The big thing is keeping the food frozen...and keeping somewhat cool if in the summer. Wintertime we have some propane heaters to run rather than the central unit. Thanks for the feedback, I need all I can get.

Speaking of flipping the breakers, I'm glad you mentioned them lasting a long time. We had an old cotton warehouse we used in our tire business. It had lights strung all over it. We used to use the breakers for light switches several times a day, 5-6 days a week, and all year long. And you're right, those breakers lasted at least from around 1975 until at least 2010. I might revisit the idea of an interlock. I'm glad you mentioned the duty cycle of the breakers. My most recent experience was with my best friend's house. He flipped the main on it to do some wiring and the main "locked" in the sense that you couldn't turn it back on...the lever would wiggle but something had it where you couldn't turn it back on. He had to get an electrician to come out and install a new main breaker.<groan> But, you're right, in most instances breakers last for years being turned off and on. And once you turned them all off at the beginning of generator use only the ones you use will be turned on and off through the power outage or whatever.
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
I have recently researched generators and am leaning towards the Westinghouse iGen2500 for my needs. I plan to run a synthetic 5W-40. I'm also looking at the Reliance 6-circuit transfer switch. My neighbor uses a plastic table for sun / rain protection. You're on the right track, I'd say.
I'm just curious, what will you be powering with your generator? Are you in the north or south part of the state?
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Just looking at the NGK recommended spark plug, BPR6ES. I'm seeing in the specs on different websites that this plug comes gapped at between .035 and .036. The Champion specs call for a gap of .028 to .031. I'm thinking I need to regap this the Champion specs...correct? The .004 or .005 needed to get to the Champion spec'd gaps is within the recommended .008 gap adjustment range of the plug as stated on NGK's website.

Also, what about torquing the plug down? Hand tight and then a grunt or 1/4-turn with a ratchet? Need to put a torque wrench on it?
 
Messages
4,624
Location
Ca.
One thing you'll need to do when depending on a genny for long term events is carefully monitor the valve lash adjustments.

The manual should tell you when to check, and if you've been running under load - do it. Especially early on.

You'll find the exhaust valve will pound up in the seat fairly quickly and first then slow down.

The expensive Yamaha and hondas typically have long inspection times, some of the cheap stuff - 50 hours.
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Thanks Uncle Dave. I have (lightly) read about adjusting the valves but it is something that I've never done but that I'm willing to learn how to do. Thanks for re-enforcing that maintenance!
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Oil... Well, I think I have decided to go with Mobil 1 10W30 High Mileage. It appears to have some good ratings that small engines like. Plus, I just started running it in my '03 Jeep Wrangler so I'll have stock on hand that can do double duty.
 
Messages
4,624
Location
Ca.
Thanks Uncle Dave. I have (lightly) read about adjusting the valves but it is something that I've never done but that I'm willing to learn how to do. Thanks for re-enforcing that maintenance!

Its not usually hard on an open frame deal, a little tougher on a genset covered plastic.

Couple of feeler gauges, socket, and a wrench.

It's that you have to let the thing cool down and if you are in the middle of the blackout the decision gets made to keep running until its over.

10-30 motor oil is fine.

On propane remember you can only fill any tank to about 80%, the engine will run cleaner and you can typically get about a 35-50% longer OCI.
 

4WD

Messages
16,815
Location
Texas
Oil... Well, I think I have decided to go with Mobil 1 10W30 High Mileage. It appears to have some good ratings that small engines like. Plus, I just started running it in my '03 Jeep Wrangler so I'll have stock on hand that can do double duty.
Sounds good … I have several gens that all have either 10w30 or 5w40 synthetic …
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Its not usually hard on an open frame deal, a little tougher on a genset covered plastic.

Couple of feeler gauges, socket, and a wrench.

It's that you have to let the thing cool down and if you are in the middle of the blackout the decision gets made to keep running until its over.

10-30 motor oil is fine.

On propane remember you can only fill any tank to about 80%, the engine will run cleaner and you can typically get about a 35-50% longer OCI.
Thanks again, Uncle Dave. I'll have to look into getting some feeler gauges. I understand the propane filling limits. In the winter they will fill them up to 85-90%, at least around here. Except for a short while about 40 years ago I've had propane heat and a large tank. Currently the 500-gallon tank for the last 30 years. The only thing I use it for now is for the water-heater and for emergency heat...we installed a geothermal system back in 2001...best move we ever made!
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
What’s with the switch to HM oil? Starting to leak or seep or something???
Just the mileage. No rhyme or reason, I guess. Been running the M1 extended mileage for several years now (started with the standard synthetic M1). Maybe I need to go back to the extended mileage? I usually change the oil around 5k-6k, anyhow, due to not trusting the filters to go the 15K. I could just change the filter and top the oil back off but I like the idea of changing it all out. As for using it in the generator, it seems I've read a couple of places where the HM is good in generators and if I was going to be using in in the jeep it would be on hand. But, I'm no oil guy so I'll take any info and consider it! (y)
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
Sounds good … I have several gens that all have either 10w30 or 5w40 synthetic …
In the Mobil 1 line would you go with the regular synthetic, extended mileage, or high mileage? Or, does it make that much difference. I just want the generator to start out using something good, not $10 a quart stuff but something that will give it a long life. Thanks.
 

Intheswamp

Thread starter
Messages
62
Location
South Alabama
As ya'll can see, I'm dying of thirst of knowledge regarding generators and oil. :confused:

In regards to the initial break-in, dino oil or just use whatever it is that I'm going to regularly run in the generator?
 

4WD

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16,815
Location
Texas
In the Mobil 1 line would you go with the regular synthetic, extended mileage, or high mileage? Or, does it make that much difference. I just want the generator to start out using something good, not $10 a quart stuff but something that will give it a long life. Thanks.
Mobil 1 10w30 High Mileage is a slightly thicker 10w30 that should be shear stable …
My 5w40 is Delvac 1 that I got on sale … it’s normally a bit expensive …
 
Messages
1,009
Location
Pennsylvania
If I change my mind about a circuit I can rewire to the one I want to use. I've looked over my circuits and have six that will pretty much take care of us.
Hopefully you are aware that larger manual transfer switches are available. I feed ten circuits with a 3500 watt generator. I run two refrigerators, a chest freezer and the dishwasher on heated dry cycle with under 2900 watts. You didn't mention if you were heating water, running a well pump or trying to run a bit of A/C..
 
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