Author Topic: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.  (Read 31855 times)

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ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #54 on: January 21, 2013, 11:55:40 AM »
Not really related to Mikes problem - but it was 27 below (F) here this morning.  Started our cogen set last night at 9:00 PM and left it run all night.  It was 68 degrees (F) in the shop this morning with everything powered up - heat exchanger and ceiling fans running.  We're working in the shop today in shirt sleeves and it's up to 6 below (F) now, which is supposed to be our high temp for the day.

Only 24 gallons of diesel fuel from 9:00 last night to 6:00 this morning.  I don't consider that too bad to heat 10,000 sq ft, plus power it, overnight so it was nice and warm in there this morning.  No farting around firing an outdoor wood-fired boiler either.  I sure don't miss that thing.  The cogen puts out about 250,000 BTU and the harder we work the generator the more heat we can get from it.  So when it's cold we turn on everything we can find and leave it on just to work the generator harder and get more heat from it    ;D

FIRST... cook with gas (until you can make your own), same gas or fire for hot water (once a day).
Forget air conditioning and use fans. (very light on battery bank).

Sorry, but you can't even get LP gas to come out of the tank at the temperatures we get here in the winter time.  Lighting charcoal fires under LP tanks to try to get enough tank pressure to run anything gets really old really fast.

And we don't forget air conditioning - we got it because it's really nice in the summer.  Fans are only good to circulate hot air in the summer time, and cold air in the winter time, from one place to another - and they're a total waste of otherwise perfectly good power unless they're blowing thru a heat exchanger.
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Frank S

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #55 on: January 21, 2013, 12:47:37 PM »
Chris do you realize that is about 30% better fuel efficiency than a Herman NelsonBT400-NEX-D  http://herman-nelson.com/product.aspx?prod=1&gclid=CPCwjeWY-rQCFXDLtAodPHgAAg  and you get electricity to boot. That's great!
I live so far outside of the box, when I die they will stretch my carcass over the coffin

tanner0441

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #56 on: January 21, 2013, 12:58:58 PM »
Chris have you looked at liquid withdrawal from your LPG tank with a water or electrically heated vapouriser, I did some wiring on a place that used atmosphere generators for metal treatment and they had to use butane which freezes at 0 to +1 C so no chance of vapour withdrawal.

Brian

ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #57 on: January 21, 2013, 01:17:12 PM »
Chris do you realize that is about 30% better fuel efficiency than a Herman NelsonBT400-NEX-D  http://herman-nelson.com/product.aspx?prod=1&gclid=CPCwjeWY-rQCFXDLtAodPHgAAg  and you get electricity to boot. That's great!

Yep.  That's what made the Cummins B-series legendary, man.  We can get marginally more heat from it if we load the generator harder.  But then fuel consumption goes up too.  Otherwise it burns slightly less than 3 gal/hr with normal loads of 10 kW or less on the generator running the cooling system at 160F.  If we work it harder and get it up 180F then it burns about 3.5 gallons/hr.

It's just a little 3.9L 4BT.  Amazingly, the larger 5.9L 6BT (like used in my Dodge pickup) gets about the same fuel economy (22 mpg @ 60 mph road speed) running a 7,500 lb Dodge pickup down the road.  I was going to put in a 6BT but had no need for a 80 kW generator to keep it loaded so it would put out decent heat.  We have no problems keeping the little 3.9L at 160 degrees with 10-15 kW load on it.  If we bump the load up to 20-25 kW, then we can get it up 180.  At full load it'll get up to 190F and then we can get around 350,000 BTU out of it.
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ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2013, 01:26:57 PM »
Chris have you looked at liquid withdrawal from your LPG tank with a water or electrically heated vapouriser, I did some wiring on a place that used atmosphere generators for metal treatment and they had to use butane which freezes at 0 to +1 C so no chance of vapour withdrawal.

LPG is a hassle I don't even want to deal with.  The stuff has to be stored in a capsule and it contains no real BTU energy/gallon in the first place.  Plus I can't buy the stuff at any decent price.  I can buy #2 diesel fuel by the contract tanker load and get it for 30% less money than what you pay for it at the pump.  And it stores easy, throw a little Power Service in it and it flows at 50 below**, and it's got some real BTU's in it.

**When you talk temperatures we don't go by C.  zero C was based on something totally useless like when water freezes, or something like that.

Water never un-freezes here in the winter so the "F" scale was developed.  zero F is based on how fast a stream of pi$$ freezes before it hits the ground, which is a lot more useful in our climate    :o
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MaryAlana

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2013, 02:03:37 PM »
I have given up on LP/NG generators, don't want the hassle of LP not moving at -15 like it was this morning and the NG company wants a $70 a month standby generator meter fee plus they would triple my gas price. Pass. I will save up for an electric start diesel gen.

-15 this morning, tossed a cup of hot water in the air and it flash froze. Crawled back in bed til noon where I was toasty warm!

ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #60 on: January 21, 2013, 03:37:47 PM »
I will save up for an electric start diesel gen.

Good luck getting that started in the winter too.  We got a 12V circulation pump that circulates the warm coolant from the shop thru the cogen engine to get it warm enough to start in cold weather.  It had been shut down since Friday.  When I went to start it at 8:00 last night it would've even turn.  I ran the circulation pump off the 12V battery for one hour.  But the coolant temp coming back from the engine was at -10 for the first 20 minutes.  I got it up to about 25 degrees F coming back from the engine after an hour and that took enough drag off the cylinder walls so it would roll over and start with a shot of ether sprayed in it.

-15 this morning, tossed a cup of hot water in the air and it flash froze.

For pete's sake - you're wasting a perfectly good cup of Human Anti-Freeze on that experiment?   ;D
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« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 03:46:59 PM by ChrisOlson »

Frank S

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #61 on: January 21, 2013, 04:02:35 PM »
Chris do you realize that is about 30% better fuel efficiency than a Herman NelsonBT400-NEX-D  http://herman-nelson.com/product.aspx?prod=1&gclid=CPCwjeWY-rQCFXDLtAodPHgAAg  and you get electricity to boot. That's great!

Yep.  That's what made the Cummins B-series legendary, man.  We can get marginally more heat from it if we load the generator harder.  But then fuel consumption goes up too.  Otherwise it burns slightly less than 3 gal/hr with normal loads of 10 kW or less on the generator running the cooling system at 160F.  If we work it harder and get it up 180F then it burns about 3.5 gallons/hr.

It's just a little 3.9L 4BT.  Amazingly, the larger 5.9L 6BT (like used in my Dodge pickup) gets about the same fuel economy (22 mpg @ 60 mph road speed) running a 7,500 lb Dodge pickup down the road.  I was going to put in a 6BT but had no need for a 80 kW generator to keep it loaded so it would put out decent heat.  We have no problems keeping the little 3.9L at 160 degrees with 10-15 kW load on it.  If we bump the load up to 20-25 kW, then we can get it up 180.  At full load it'll get up to 190F and then we can get around 350,000 BTU out of it.
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Chris in 89 I bought one of the first generation Dodge Cummins  for its first 200,000 miles it was never unhooked from the trailer  I built for it. It had only 2 issues #1 was the radiator that Dodge used was too small so when the truck was 2 months old  I pulled it  and stretched the tanks enough to put a 4 core in it to replace the factory 2 core. Then when it was 6 months old I pulled the little cav pump and carried it to a buddy who worked for Cummins and told him it was for marine application so he set it up for 300 HP -5% then said drive that boat of yours by sometime and I'll make sure the valves are adjusted correctly. At 220,000 miles I dropped the panand rolled a set of bearings in as insurance It really didn't need them but I already had the pan off.
At 400K it got totaled by a 17 year old punk I bought it back from the ins and parted it out sold the parts for nearly what the truck cost new.
 the 2nd issue? it only had a single cab.
  I have a bud who put one of those 4BTs in his Suburban , He's been running it for 8 years He also has the 5.9 ISB in a B61 Mack, loves it
I live so far outside of the box, when I die they will stretch my carcass over the coffin

Frank S

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #62 on: January 21, 2013, 04:08:04 PM »
Chris does that 4bt cogen come as an inverter generator as well? or set up for 230/400 50HZ?
 I don't mind 277/480 as I have ZERO split phase use for 120v
I live so far outside of the box, when I die they will stretch my carcass over the coffin

Frank S

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #63 on: January 21, 2013, 04:11:32 PM »
 But I do need 230 or 240v
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tanner0441

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #64 on: January 21, 2013, 05:09:04 PM »
Chris.

I grew up degs. F and when I worked in AC all the sums were done in F even the BTU is calculated in F...... Then the UK decided to go decimal. So me and everyone in my age group had to unlearn and re model our thinking.  I have however managed to still cut, shape, bend and drill holes in inches. I can visualise thous. I can turn metal to thous, surface grind to .001 of a thou so I don't need convincing, and I won't buy a ruller or tape that doesn't have inches on it.



Brian

ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #65 on: January 21, 2013, 05:39:40 PM »
Chris does that 4bt cogen come as an inverter generator as well? or set up for 230/400 50HZ?
 I don't mind 277/480 as I have ZERO split phase use for 120v

Yep.  The only difference is the generator head and it runs at 1500 rpm instead of 1800 so it's de-rated to 35 kW.  But you ain't going to get US 240 split phase @ 60 Hz from it with the generator only running at 1500.
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ChrisOlson

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #66 on: January 21, 2013, 05:49:05 PM »
  I have a bud who put one of those 4BTs in his Suburban , He's been running it for 8 years He also has the 5.9 ISB in a B61 Mack, loves it

The ISB (Interact System B-series) is the electronic version of the 6BT with 24-valve head and either a Bosch VP44 with Bosch pencil nozzles, or common rail system with unit injectors (depending on the year of manufacture).

The off-road version of the ISB is the QSB (Quantum System B-series).  They are most commonly found in marine applications up to 480hp.

The largest engine Cummins currently builds in the Quantum series is the QSK95
http://cumminscommentary.com/2011/11/02/cummins-unveils-the-world%E2%80%99s-most-powerful-high-speed-diesel/
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« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 05:57:01 PM by ChrisOlson »

mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #67 on: January 22, 2013, 06:05:46 PM »
coincidentally, i drive a 97cummins 12v dodge dually extracab.

chris, what do you think of reclaiming heat from the exhaust pipe? i was thinking about plumbing an exhaust  pipe through a gas water heater flu to help dampen some noise and get a little hot water for the shop.  not that i need it all that much. 

MaryAlana

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #68 on: January 23, 2013, 04:43:12 PM »
I can setup a similar system if needed, or just put the generator in a shed and put a kerosene heater in there to warm things up.

I will save up for an electric start diesel gen.

Good luck getting that started in the winter too.  We got a 12V circulation pump that circulates the warm coolant from the shop thru the cogen engine to get it warm enough to start in cold weather.  It had been shut down since Friday.  When I went to start it at 8:00 last night it would've even turn.  I ran the circulation pump off the 12V battery for one hour.  But the coolant temp coming back from the engine was at -10 for the first 20 minutes.  I got it up to about 25 degrees F coming back from the engine after an hour and that took enough drag off the cylinder walls so it would roll over and start with a shot of ether sprayed in it.

-15 this morning, tossed a cup of hot water in the air and it flash froze.

For pete's sake - you're wasting a perfectly good cup of Human Anti-Freeze on that experiment?   ;D
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mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2013, 06:44:03 AM »
well, we closed on the property after 3 months of BS.  im not typically a whiner but the bank really screwed me at the last minute and im quite sore about it, because its messing up everything else and will ripple our pond for years to come. i literally had 60% down and they just kept raising the down payment amount by thousands per day, just a few days before closing until i had to fold.  we had a contract with terms, but because it had an inspection clause they were able to wiggle out of those terms after inspection.  that they waited 3 months to do! (closing was stalled for 3 months so seller could complete a divorce.) there just wasnt enough time to start the finance process over and the property wouldnt qualify for any of it regardless, so with second chance buyers lined up it was sh*t or get off the pot. 

  we were about to go past our last contract extension and lose the deal so i had to scramble to sell a business and pay all cash upfront.  it sounds good, but that was the money that was going to fix our current cash flow crunch and buy the big ticket items like generator, batteries, couple storage containers, etc.  now its really, really hand to mouth with the business income and its proceeds suddenly gone.  yeah i own the deed, but that wont help if i end up losing it in a foreclosure of my current home.  our second child was just born jun26th, so that makes it tough to be out scrambling up extra work.  oh well, just venting.  the kids are healthy and ill figure it all out.  atleast we got our SHTF compound secured.

mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #70 on: November 10, 2013, 10:13:21 AM »
picked up the generator this week, 1970s ONAN 15kw with onan 4cylinder diesel.  liquid cool, 120/208 3phase generator head with 53amp output at 1800 rpm.  has 540 hours and runs well.  its liquid cooled with a rotary injection pump and very exposed fuel system all on one side. will be extremely easy to convert to grease power.  i paid $1650 and am quite pleased.  if the generator head quits, ill repurpose the motor for a tractor.

the unit is big for a house, but smallish for a production shop.  it can run any single load i own, so well get by with this machine for now.  when i build the power shed i will plan it for another machine of equal size right next to it if the need arises, and this can become the dedicated house unit.  i like the redunancy of two smaller size gensets vs one big one.  im not up a creek if one needs service, im not idling a huge machine for a small 3 phase load, and im spreading the wear across two machines which should double their life expectancy.  sounds good to me.


now that ive solidified the generator part of the plan, its time for me to brush up on battery storage and inverters.  i had my hands on a stack of scrap GNB absolyte IIP that still had voltage but peter demar advised me that the cells were beyond salvation.  my work puts me in contact with lots of scrap yard owners and trades/service techs.. ive been putting the word out for a year now that im looking to buy commercial grade AGM/VRLA batteries.  these things are HARD to come by and im extremely good at sniffing out obscure items.  ive got about 2 more years time to find my stack, but eventually will have to by them.  same thing for an invertor.  decision im trying to make now is about AC..  ive got a 2009 natural gas forced hot air/ac system by payne with 2 ton coil.  i dont know if inverter technology is there yet to run a single phase 240v cooling system.  the R value on the cordwood home im building will be very high and the layout of my land is ideal for minimal solar heating/maximum winter sun, so im confident i could run the AC direct off generator for one or two cycles per day just to remove the humidity, and the house will stay cool.  12" walls and living on a slab with shade everywhere but to the south should give me lots of thermal flywheel to resist inside temp fluctuation.  i might even prefer to run the refrigerant pump right off the genset by Vbelt.  probably have to cross that bridge when we come to it, ive got time.

thoughts?

Frank S

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #71 on: November 10, 2013, 06:19:31 PM »
Mike inverter technology is far enough to have 3ph output even. It all depends on how much you want to invest
 for a strictly solar to inverter no battery bank needed you could go with solaredge
http://www.solaredge.us/groups/inverter/three-phase-solar-inverter 
 Need a battery backed or run system then how about Tripp-lite
 http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/product-series.cfm?txtSeriesID=746
 Now thr problems with both of these are Ideal the tripp-lite units can run off of a bank but it will be around 190 to 240v DC I believe and no provisions for solar because this is a data center UPS system the good thing is  they can be set up for Hot swap of the banks
 The solaredge units are light weight for their output so I would have to wonder about their actual use ratings However with a 600v dc input the transformers would be lighter than say what would be in a Schneider Electric XW-6048
http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/solar-inverters-off-grid/Xantrex-XW6048-120-240-60-3-phase-Inverter-Charger
 which is one of the Cadillacs of off grid inverters  with a full 6000w output and 120/240 split phase capability
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mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #72 on: November 15, 2013, 07:11:39 AM »
i actually just missed a brand new never unboxed XW-6048 for $2500 but i didnt wanna jump on something i wasnt sure of yet.

it looks like thats the unit for me, and i know ill have to pay for it.  what other similar machines compete with that model?  my planned setup will be the onan  i just got (15kw diesel 120/208 3ph) running directly for the big 3 phase loads, and charging a bank of VRLA AGMs @48vdc that ive yet to acquire.  the dumpload is several large chromolox heaters into water tank, vegetable oil tank, shop jetwash and maybe a hot tub down the road.

the site is as good as any in the area for a windmill which financially, would probably go up before a solar array, but the solar conditions are excellent as well.  i abutt a massive cleared pasture to my south/southwest, with unobstructed sunshine (and wind) from rise till set.  lets say that ill eventually be dumping volts from wind and solar into the battery bank, running the house and shops 110v needs off the inverter. 


what gear and batteries would you guys buy with my money?

mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2014, 12:46:59 PM »
i scored 4 parabolic trough collectors last week on CL for $300.  King SunSeeker 1000's in excellent shape.  2 x 8 reflectors and a 1" copper pipe down the center, about which the collector rotates for a sun tracker if i decide to put in that effort. 


i think its more likely ill have to be careful not to make steam in the TN summer sun rather than be trying to track it for a few extra btu. 

i drew up a house that the wife and i agree on.  post and beam, 45x45 slab with a 44x44 house. 1200SF first floor and about 770 upstairs.  im pretty close to ordering a pallet of new pex tubing and manifolds for the radiant slab.  trying to decide now whether to run taco 007 circulator pumps (120vac) off the invertor or find DC pumps and run them direct just to reduce the power loads through the inverter.  i really dont know enough to be sure if thats wise or not. 

thoughts on making some loads DC to reduce inverter loads?

MaryAlana

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #74 on: January 18, 2014, 03:23:30 PM »
I know some on here are using DC pumps to circulate hot water, maybe in the heating section?

mike_belben

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Re: starting from scratch in tennessee, offgrid machine shop.
« Reply #75 on: February 07, 2014, 07:15:08 PM »
well, the DC pump idea is probably out.  i just got a ~400 gallon stainless tank with 4 heat exchangers inside from a custom install that came out of some richies house.  the whole thing is cased in a tin housing with 4" of pour foam insulation between the two.  it was definitely expensive.   in the package i also bought 7 AC cartridge circulators (taco and grundfos) as well as a pump controller.  so the generator, wood boiler, big storage tank, circulation and solar hotwater are set in stone. 

also go seven 4x8 tempered/frosted glass panels from a solar setup he dismantled.  theyre probably for a greenhouse on the south side, but who knows.