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Old 10-30-2019, 11:42 PM
oldbrownhat oldbrownhat is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 146
When I built my new house a few years ago I put in a modest battery backup system, which kept me running through a couple of outages, but a couple of years ago I decided to add a genset and have ended up with a rebuilt c.1960 6kW Onan MDJE; originally a marine diesel which the rebuilder fitted with a rad and fan. It's gravity-fed from a 100L (20 g) tank. Built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Nothing automatic about it but it always starts. It is in the covered basement entrance so I built a sound-reducing box for it and have a small ceramic heat lamp and fan inside to keep it slightly warm (50F) in the winter to make starting easier. It's pretty quiet -about 38 dBA up in the house - you can barely hear it. Power seems to be pretty clean, too. I don't have an oscilloscope to check it but the voltage is very steady. The computers and surveillance system are on a circuit fed from a small Tripplite UPS/filter unit.

I made the mistake (IMHO) of not putting all the 120 VAC circuits on the battery panel , so there are a few circuits that the battery/genset don't supply, but all the critical stuff, like the well pump, HW boiler for baseboards and washing, most of the kitchen outlets and lights and security camera system, are covered. The batteries (4 Trojan L16 435 AH) will run the house on reduced circuits for several hours, then I can recharge/run the house with the genny.

I'm in the Pacific Northwest (southern coastal BC) so we don't have a lot of outages (or brutally cold temps.) but we were out for 80 hours a couple of winters ago due to an ice storm and I was VERY glad I was able to function. If we get "the big one", who knows? My areas is described as possibly sustaining "moderate" damage, whatever that means. As long as I can get diesel I should be OK if the house is. I have 2 diesel jerry cans for my tractor & small excavator in addition to the tank but am thinking of getting a couple more. I add Stanadyne to the fuel tank and refill the jerry cans from it, then refill the tank.
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