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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 7kw portable generator now that does a mediocre job of keeping us in the game when the power goes out, but I have heard that pto generators are something to consider.

What are the pros/cons of these things? I guess the biggest con I can think of is letting the tractor run for hours on end at pto speed....and I mean for 10-14 hours at a time. We tend to lose power for a looongg time when it happens.

I'm trying to figure out how efficient they are...it seems to me like running the diesel tractor at pto speed for hours on end can't be any more efficient than running a portable gasoline generator for the same time period.
 

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I have toyed with the idea of getting one. Some will say that you are racking up unnecessary hours on your tractor, and will also question what you do in a blizzard, if you need to move snow.

I do agree somewhat, if I did buy a stand alone, it would be diesel. I do not stock much gas, and what is here, will run out in 30 days. Stocking diesel, especially in the winter, is no problem.

Although, if it were Honda Powered, I would reconsider.
 

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I have been searching for a long time for a nice PTO Generator set up. 10K would be perfect for me.

IMHO, running a tractor at PTO speed for hours on end is not big deal. Our large Ag tractors do it all the time running irragator pumps.

If it s a blizzard and I need to move snow, the house would go unpowered for an hour, no biggie to me.

What makes it real exciting to me is the e-pto feature. I can run the tractor at 1800 rpm's and maintain 540 rpm's on the pto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have been searching for a long time for a nice PTO Generator set up. 10K would be perfect for me.

IMHO, running a tractor at PTO speed for hours on end is not big deal. Our large Ag tractors do it all the time running irragator pumps.

If it s a blizzard and I need to move snow, the house would go unpowered for an hour, no biggie to me.

What makes it real exciting to me is the e-pto feature. I can run the tractor at 1800 rpm's and maintain 540 rpm's on the pto.
School me on the "e-pto"......I'm not familiar
 

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Its an economy PTO setting. I have to pull a lever in the rear of the tractor to enguage it. Once I do, it will allow me to run 540 rpms on the pto at 1800 rpms. My hp is decreased to around 35 at the pto, but its a fuel saving feature.

In short, I have 2 choices on the PTO grearing. 540 at 2400 rpms (full power) or 540 at 1800 rpms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Its an economy PTO setting. I have to pull a lever in the rear of the tractor to enguage it. Once I do, it will allow me to run 540 rpms on the pto at 1800 rpms. My hp is decreased to around 35 at the pto, but its a fuel saving feature.

In short, I have 2 choices on the PTO grearing. 540 at 2400 rpms (full power) or 540 at 1800 rpms.
Apparently that is only on the 'big boy' tractors....I haven't heard of that on my 2520.
 

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I have been searching for a long time for a nice PTO Generator set up. 10K would be perfect for me.

IMHO, running a tractor at PTO speed for hours on end is not big deal. Our large Ag tractors do it all the time running irragator pumps.

If it s a blizzard and I need to move snow, the house would go unpowered for an hour, no biggie to me.

What makes it real exciting to me is the e-pto feature. I can run the tractor at 1800 rpm's and maintain 540 rpm's on the pto.
John Deere used to have on on their site, gone now. Wallenstein used to make one, not sure if they still do, since it is not on their site.

Excellent point on the PTO. I forgot how many hours a Feeding tractor spends on a dairy each day running the PTO. Not hard work, compared to deep tillage, guess as long as the PTO is started before the mixer is filled up.

I too would like to find one. 10K would be perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Or a good reason to add a second tractor to the fleet!! :)
I like the way you are thinking....but I had better put more hours on this 2520 first.
 

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Here are some thoughts:

-You need about 2 HP for every KW generated, so a 10KW unit needs 20 HP for full power output.
-Your tractor is running outside and can be a target for others depending on where you live, plus it's out in the weather-usually heavy rain, ice or snow.
-They can be cumbersome to hook up and connected to the house, so it is probably something you would need to do-often during these times I am at work since I work for a major utility company. I would not trust the wife to do it.
-You still need a proper transfer switch setup that can be costly to do correctly-I know many back-feed through dryer/welder outlets but it is not safe to do.
-A lot of them do not come with voltage or frequency meters, both of which are needed to set up the RPM on the tractor. If you don't get this correct-you can damage electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here are some thoughts:

-You need about 2 HP for every KW generated, so a 10KW unit needs 20 HP for full power output.
-Your tractor is running outside and can be a target for others depending on where you live, plus it's out in the weather-usually heavy rain, ice or snow.
-They can be cumbersome to hook up and connected to the house, so it is probably something you would need to do-often during these times I am at work since I work for a major utility company. I would not trust the wife to do it.
-You still need a proper transfer switch setup that can be costly to do correctly-I know many back-feed through dryer/welder outlets but it is not safe to do.
-A lot of them do not come with voltage or frequency meters, both of which are needed to set up the RPM on the tractor. If you don't get this correct-you can damage electronics.
those are the answers I was looking for, thanks!

Looks like I will be sticking with a portable generator for now....but I'd like to bump up to a 10k-15k one.
 

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Backup generators can fool you. The easiest part is buying the generator. The hardest part is hooking it up.

If you can't do what you want all at once, I'd 1st focus on getting conduit from outside to inside by your breaker panel. You want to put the pad at least 20' from the house, I'd go with a 4' x 8' one, 6" deep. Check with the locals on how to put in a pad that won't move with the frost heaves. Run a 2" conduit for power, a 1" conduit for control, and a 3/4" conduit for what you don't know you need now. To start with, I'd go with the mechanical interlock metal piece that mounts on your breaker box. It lets you have either the commercial mains or a generator/breaker on at once (but not both). That's the cheapest way to get the power from the generator safely into the house. You might have to turn off a few breakers when going to generator, but it's safe. Outside, bring the conduit up 1' inside the pad and build a wood frame about 4' up in the air with a male contacts in a water tight housing for the pigtail from the generator. Searching for "breaker panel generator interlock" will show some pictures of these breaker interlock assemblies.

Once you have the pad, conduit and plug-in point done, you can pull some appropriately sized wire and hook up a generator. You can position your PTO generator near the pad, or put a portable generator on the pad.

Down the road, you can look at putting an automatic transfer switch inside the house. An ASCO 200 amp transfer switch (part # A300-200-1R-1P) will run you about $1,480. An electrician can connect it up between your meter base and your panel box. You can still use whatever generator you're using. Just like before, you turn of the breakers to get your load so that it matches your generator. Then you fire the generator up and the transfer switch will transfer the house panel to the generator. When the power comes back, it will re-transfer to the commercial mains. Look at the sheet on the xfer switch, and try to position your conduit so when you install the xfer switch things are positioned correctly. Code may require you put a disconnect panel inside by your breaker box. All you are missing now is more power!

Then, as a third step someday you buy the whole hose generator and install it on the pad. A 25 KW generator will run about $11,700. The transfer switch has wires you can run in one of those extra conduits that can turn the generator on and off. Some of the Generac generators are cheaper.

So if you take this generator thing in steps, you can get where you want to go. And then some day when you're a bit older you can just sit back when the power goes out, count to ten, and laugh :laugh:. And today, while you're a young pup, you can have fun driving the tractor, connecting stuff up, and getting it going. What a deal!

Pete
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Backup generators can fool you. The easiest part is buying the generator. The hardest part is hooking it up.

If you can't do what you want all at once, I'd 1st focus on getting conduit from outside to inside by your breaker panel. You want to put the pad at least 20' from the house, I'd go with a 4' x 8' one, 6" deep. Check with the locals on how to put in a pad that won't move with the frost heaves. Run a 2" conduit for power, a 1" conduit for control, and a 3/4" conduit for what you don't know you need now. To start with, I'd go with the mechanical interlock metal piece that mounts on your breaker box. It lets you have either the commercial mains or a generator/breaker on at once (but not both). That's the cheapest way to get the power from the generator safely into the house. You might have to turn off a few breakers when going to generator, but it's safe. Outside, bring the conduit up 1' inside the pad and build a wood frame about 4' up in the air with a male contacts in a water tight housing for the pigtail from the generator. Searching for "breaker panel generator interlock" will show some pictures of these breaker interlock assemblies.

Once you have the pad, conduit and plug-in point done, you can pull some appropriately sized wire and hook up a generator. You can position your PTO generator near the pad, or put a portable generator on the pad.

Down the road, you can look at putting an automatic transfer switch inside the house. An ASCO 200 amp transfer switch (part # A300-200-1R-1P) will run you about $1,480. An electrician can connect it up between your meter base and your panel box. You can still use whatever generator you're using. Just like before, you turn of the breakers to get your load so that it matches your generator. Then you fire the generator up and the transfer switch will transfer the house panel to the generator. When the power comes back, it will re-transfer to the commercial mains. Look at the sheet on the xfer switch, and try to position your conduit so when you install the xfer switch things are positioned correctly. Code may require you put a disconnect panel inside by your breaker box. All you are missing now is more power!

Then, as a third step someday you buy the whole hose generator and install it on the pad. A 25 KW generator will run about $11,700. The transfer switch has wires you can run in one of those extra conduits that can turn the generator on and off. Some of the Generac generators are cheaper.

So if you take this generator thing in steps, you can get where you want to go. And then some day when you're a bit older you can just sit back when the power goes out, count to ten, and laugh :laugh:. And today, while you're a young pup, you can have fun driving the tractor, connecting stuff up, and getting it going. What a deal!

Pete
So, what I'm hearing is that for the price of a good steak dinner I can get you to come to 'ol Virginia and hook up all this electrical stuff for me! :laugh:
I read the thread about your garage setup...very nice!

I've got a manual transfer switch setup now, run to a portable generator that I drag out when we lose power. It does ok, but we have to be careful what we try and run (ie, the microwave and stove together are a no no). I'd prefer to have enough power to continue my lavish lifestyle through power failures.
:lol:

The wife and I have already decided at our next house will have a true whole house backup generator. We have seen how handy even this small portable unit has been. Heck, we had a tornado a few years ago that came right by our house and knocked out the power for 3-4 days. That little coleman generator worked it's ass off and didn't complain a bit.

For once, I did something before it became an issue......several weeks before that tornado, I had poured a pad next to the house for the generator...I even concreted an eye bolt into the pad. It just seemed like a good idea at the time...and daggone if it didn't work out perfectly!
 

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I should have mentioned in my previous post that I went with a Generac 15 kw automatic unit, now they sell it as a 17kw. It is still running now and has close to 170 hours on it now in 5 or so years. I bought from Norwall Power Systems with free shipping and installed it myself.
 

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Tackleberry, who'd a thunk a steak dinner in VA cost $5,000, but sure!

If you're building a new house, the incremental cost of a whole house generator is small. And if you want, you can plan out your utility area for it and just get all the conduit in place for very little extra money. What kills you is all the cost to retrofit an existing house. Your eye bolt pad sounds like it's just the ticket.

Another factor in new construction is trading off cost of appliances vs. generator capacity. My bother in Maine has all propane appliances and no air conditioning, so he can get by with as small as 5KW and is looking at putting in 10 KW now. He ran the house off a generator for years before the power company ran lines, but had to sell the generator 'cause he needed the $$s. Now he's going back and doing a generator and automatic xfer switch. He also has a wood burning stove in the middle of the house, which does most of the heating in the winter. The propane furnace is a back-up.

My house is all electric, so I have 45KW. I had the generator from the old house. I did the retro fit and it was cheaper to buy more generator than to change out appliances. The heat pumps have resistive electric backup for heat. I have a breaker panel before the transfer switch that has 2 of the 3 units heat strips on it. The 3rd unit has it's 10KW resistive electric on the generator. The two zones where the heat strips are not on the generator have the kitchen (I can turn on the oven or there is also a gas log fireplace thing) and my office area (which also has it's own oven). My tractor garage is before the xfer switch, but I ran a 15 amp circuit for lights and one 20 amp circuit for an outlet from a panel on the generator so I'd have some lights and power out there when the rest of the world was dark.

So playing with appliances, a panel before the transfer switch for loads you don't need to have on the generator, and having the luxury of new construction makes whole house generation very doable.

Oh, and remember that once you get any whole house system installed, you won't need it for 4 or 5 years because that's the way the universe works :laugh:.

Pete
 

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Where are my manners !!?? I apologize for the gross violation of forum netiquette of not posting pictures :nunu:.

Here's a picture of my basement set up. From left to right, you can see the panel before the xfer switch that has the resistive electric, tractor garage, and block heater for the generator on it. Then you see the 400A disconnect that cost too much and is required by code since I'm more than 2' from the meter base.

Then you see a really small box right next to the 400A disconnect that's protection for a light and outlet that are outside about 16' from the house. Right next to that, up and to the right, is a small white switch that can be flipped to turn off the ability of the xfer switch to turn on the generator. That lets me power down the house and keep the generator from running. Of course if I do that, I would also use the generator disconnect for the AC, speaking of which:

The next box is the 200 amp generator disconnect, also required by code. Finally, on the right we have the 400 amp transfer switch for the whole house (less the panel on the far left).

And I've toss in a gratuitous action shot of pulling in some wires during construction.

Pete
 

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That's s impressive Pete.


I only have two boxes, one 200 amp for the house and a 100 amp for the garage. The shop has it's own 200 amp service.
 
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