Anyone out there use a PTO generator
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    swehlaje's Avatar
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    Anyone out there use a PTO generator

    As we're in the midst of a ice storm here in MI, I can't help but to wonder about the pros and cons of a PTO generator when the power goes out. If you use one, I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with one.


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    KD7CAO's Avatar
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    I have done quite a bit of research on this and ultimately decided it is far more cost effective to go with a stand alone generator. In fact I could get a self starting gen set and run my whole house.

    The benefit of a PTO generator is if you need a small amount of power for tools on a fence line, but you will burn far more fuel on the tractor than if you go standalone.

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    If you have a primary use for a PTO driven generator for some other purpose then you might as well put it to occasional use if you need emergency power for you house I guess. But I wouldn't buy one for that purpose. I have no desire to leave my tractor sitting outside running all night in the rain/snow/sleet unattended while I try to sleep and you can run up a lot of engine hours for something that can be handled by a $400 portable gas generator. Plus, if something happens to that generator and it locks up it can do a number on anything around it when it comes flying off it's mount.

    I've got a Genrac 5500 watt portable unit I use. I can run pretty much everything in the house except the A/C on it. I can buy 2 or 3 of those for the cost of a PTO driven unit.
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Another thought is you may need the tractor for various cleanup duties, instead of being chained to the generator providing power. Add me to the stand alone or whole house generator camp.
    5304, BigJim55, jdmich and 4 others like this.
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    I'll take a different tack:

    I think PTO generators have their place but it's not continuous power generation for a whole house. I have a 2.4kW 120V Yamaha inverter generator that I converted to run off propane. It works tirelessly to run lights and such when the power is off and I wouldn't want to use a PTO generator for this. However, what the Yama won't do is run the 240V well pump! To me, this seems a great use for a PTO generator. I can hitch it up once or twice a day, take it over to the power inlet, and run it for 15-20 minutes to pump up water, do the dishes, flush the toilets, and generally wash up. Then it goes back into the shed to wait for tomorrow. The PTO generators look like less money and, much more importantly, don't have another engine that I have to do bi-monthly testing on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    I'll take a different tack:

    I think PTO generators have their place but it's not continuous power generation for a whole house. I have a 2.4kW 120V Yamaha inverter generator that I converted to run off propane. It works tirelessly to run lights and such when the power is off and I wouldn't want to use a PTO generator for this. However, what the Yama won't do is run the 240V well pump! To me, this seems a great use for a PTO generator.
    Yes, but that's only because your generator is only 2.4KW. A slightly larger generator could also run on propane and would have 120/240V output and it too would tirelessly run lights, etc. AND your well pump. And... you wouldn't be running back and forth in ______ weather attaching and detaching the 240V PTO generator. An inexpensive single attachment could provide whole-house power without extension cords and would be easier to shield from the elements.

    That would leave your tractor free for other emergency related duties during the outage.

    The merits of a PTO generator have been discussed many times and with few exceptions they come up with too many disadvantages. Having the tractor sit beside the house running wide open (re: 540 RPM PTO needed for generator) in a monsoon/flooding rain or crippling ice/snow storm just doesn't seem like the best use of the equipment.
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    I have a Pulan Pro 6,600 that I picked up for under $800. I hate to let that thing sit outside when I have to use it.

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    I have a Pulan Pro 6,600 that I picked up for under $800. I hate to let that thing sit outside when I have to use it.
    I made a small fold-up shield that covers the electrical connections on my Honda generator if the weather is nasty.

    I see you can also get weather shields like this:

    Click image for larger version.

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    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Yes, but that's only because your generator is only 2.4KW.
    Its 2.4kW because it's correctly sized for my application. 99% of the time, I want less than 500W output from the genny. The only exception to that is starting the compressor for the refrigerator, which takes the full output of the generator plus the hard start kit. So the smaller inverter generator remains fuel efficient when I'm down at 500W yet can surge to get the fridge started. The whole time, it's using very little fuel. A larger generator would be heavier, louder, waste more fuel, cost more, and be more likely to walk off because I couldn't pick it up and hide it when I don't need it. There's nothing but downsides to trying to run full-time off a larger generator.

    And... you wouldn't be running back and forth in ______ weather attaching and detaching the 240V PTO generator.
    I've lived through multiple long weather-caused power outages. None of them maintained that bad weather past the first 12 hours. I don't consider working after the ice storm, after the blizzard, or after the tornado to be "bad weather" anymore. Who cares if there's snow on the ground.

    An inexpensive single attachment could provide whole-house power without extension cords and would be easier to shield from the elements.
    There's no reason you can't attach a small generator to a proper inlet port and transfer switch. It's how I've got mine set up and I've connected as small as a 500W suitcase genny to it this way.

    That would leave your tractor free for other emergency related duties during the outage.
    I can spare my tractor for 15 minutes a day to pump water no matter what's going on.

    The merits of a PTO generator have been discussed many times and with few exceptions they come up with too many disadvantages.
    No, it's been discussed multiple times and depending on the PTO genny as your sole source of electric power has too many disadvantages. Group-think is then preventing you from realizing there's some edge cases that make sense.

    Having the tractor sit beside the house running wide open (re: 540 RPM PTO needed for generator) in a monsoon/flooding rain or crippling ice/snow storm just doesn't seem like the best use of the equipment.
    I can run the tractor at PTO speed for 15 minutes a day without the world ending. It runs at PTO speed with a MUCH larger load on it for many times more than 15 minutes every time I mow.
    BigJim55 likes this.

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