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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2010
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    Forfar, Ontario, Canada
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    1947 Massey Harris 30, 1960 Massey Ferguson 35 (Perkins), 1995 TAFE 351DI, 1980 Bolens G174, 2005 Kubota B7510

    Default What's best for standby power?

    My Honda EM5000 wouldn't start the water pump during a recent wind storm, though it was showing 250 volts on the meter. The dealer said the windings are toast and it's not worth fixing. So this raises the question: what should I get as a replacement?

    Situation:

    Large, double house in Leeds County, Ontario. Small generator panel. 120 v stair climber, two furnaces, two fridges, propane furnace and oil furnace, electric water heater. 5 KW is a bit light for the job.

    107 acres, tractors: 37 hp diesel, 35 hp diesel, 21 hp diesel, 17 hp diesel, 30 hp gas

    Fuel sources: 250 gallon furnace oil kept full, three 250 lb. propane tanks and one 100 lb. tank. Some gasoline in cans.

    We're on site every night except in very rare situations.

    Since the infrastructure improvements following the Ice Storm of 1999, power outages have been very rare. I recall two significant outages since 1999, so if past practice is any indicator, the generator will receive very little use.

    Question:

    PTO vs propane vs portable gas: what's your advice?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    2,202
    Location
    West Cascades Washington State
    Tractor
    PT 422

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    I have portable gas because of initial cost, carries the load i need, and it's portable, so that works for me. We have outages pretty much every year with the last one being 12 days, four of them no access to or from our area.

    Depends on your tolerance to being out of power. Propane would have the least engine maintenance, gas portable probably the least expensive, PTO is interesting but i'd not want to run my, to me, expensive tractor motor like that. I've thought of putting multi fuel carb on my portable gas gen to be able to run propane then gasoline if i ran out of propane. I'd think your biggest worry would be keeping the house from freezing in the winter so putting in supplemental heat might be best for you.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2012
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    1,044
    Location
    Southeast Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 4720, JD X748SE, JD 997, Farmall "B"

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    In your case, I would go the PTO route. I say this because you have multiple tractors, so tying one up during an outage shouldn't be a problem. I think the main advantage with a PTO unit is that you won't have another motor to maintain. It can sit quietly in the corner of a building for years with no maintenance. Looks like you have 2 (maybe 3 if you count the gasser)tractors that could handle a 15KW unit. 10KW might be enough for you.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2013
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    636
    Location
    Thornville, Ohio
    Tractor
    No longer Searching. Mahindra 3016 Shuttle

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    The question becomes, which fuel type will you have the most of on hand for running the generator during a winter storm? Will you be able to start the diesels in very cold weather?

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    6,288
    Location
    NC
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L3830

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    I would probably go for something with a surge of 12000 with a run of 9500 - 10000 watts. Making electricity is a very expensive proposition. I would try to power the well pump, heating sources and refrigeration along with some lights. I would not worry about TV or computers. I can find something to occupy me while the power is off.

    I have a Gas 12000 watt run that has been used one time for one hour in the last 3 - 4 years. Maintenance to insure it will start plus the cost of the unit when new are all factors to consider. For example I just replaced the battery and changed the oil and filter. Cost over one hundred dollars.

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    Jan 2010
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    2,787
    Location
    Northern, IL
    Tractor
    Branson 2400H

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    Quote Originally Posted by arlen4720 View Post
    In your case, I would go the PTO route. I say this because you have multiple tractors, so tying one up during an outage shouldn't be a problem. I think the main advantage with a PTO unit is that you won't have another motor to maintain. It can sit quietly in the corner of a building for years with no maintenance. Looks like you have 2 (maybe 3 if you count the gasser)tractors that could handle a 15KW unit. 10KW might be enough for you.
    I agree with the PTO route. Had one for years on our dairy farm and we always had at least one tractor available to run it when the power went out. Only difference was we were on-site 24/7 so keeping the tractor full of fuel was not an issue. Being off site this could be a concern.
    Artificial Intelligence will never overcome natural stupidity.

    Branson 2400H MMM & FEL

    JD 112

    BX1850 gone but not forgotten

  7. #7
    Super Member
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    Feb 2008
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    9,918
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    Quote Originally Posted by arlen4720 View Post
    In your case, I would go the PTO route. I say this because you have multiple tractors, so tying one up during an outage shouldn't be a problem. I think the main advantage with a PTO unit is that you won't have another motor to maintain. It can sit quietly in the corner of a building for years with no maintenance. Looks like you have 2 (maybe 3 if you count the gasser)tractors that could handle a 15KW unit. 10KW might be enough for you.

    I agree with Arlen on a pto genset in your case.

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Location
    Forfar, Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    1947 Massey Harris 30, 1960 Massey Ferguson 35 (Perkins), 1995 TAFE 351DI, 1980 Bolens G174, 2005 Kubota B7510

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolftree View Post
    The question becomes, which fuel type will you have the most of on hand for running the generator during a winter storm? Will you be able to start the diesels in very cold weather?
    That's why a small pto unit appeals. The 17 hp Bolens is a garage queen, spending most of the winter snug beside the box stove in the shop. The question is what it could run with its 3 speed pto, and how to get a proper revolution setting without a tach.

    Trouble is that the TAFE, the most likely generator tractor, is almost always hitched to a heavy pto appliance, either the snowblower or the bush hog. It's not easy to unhitch, and I'd be unlikely to take the snowblower out of service unless I knew it would be a long outage. The Massey Ferguson's winch is similarly hard to remove. It also produces evil-smelling exhaust. The kubota or the Bolens are easy to unhitch. Maybe I should size a pto gennie to the 21 hp Kubota. It could run the generator without removing the belly mower. Then the Bolens could run it in a pinch.

    Are 7.5 KW 3 pt hitch gennies any good?
    Last edited by Rod in Forfar; 11-06-2013 at 11:24 AM.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2012
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    Southeast Minnesota
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    JD 4720, JD X748SE, JD 997, Farmall "B"

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    To tell you the truth, I've never seen a pto unit smaller than 10 kW. You can us a volt meter to get the right output. The volts per hertz ratio is pretty constant, so if you adjust for proper voltage, your frequency will be close enough, many volt meters have frequency on it also. Electronics with their switching power supplies are not very picky anyway.

  10. #10
    Super Member newbury's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    5,652
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    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
    Tractor
    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

    Default Re: What's best for standby power?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod in Forfar View Post
    That's why a small pto unit appeals. <snip> Maybe I should size a pto gennie to the 21 hp kubota. It could run the generator without removing the belly mower. Then the Bolens could run it in a pinch.

    Are 7.5 KW 3 pt hitch gennies any good?
    Your "21HP" Kubota is what? 17HP at the PTO?

    If you are buying NEW I'd suggest a 10KW (Winco is a good brand) and make plans to hook a larger tractor to it if really needed.

    From my readings the generators usually require 2HP PTO/KW but moderately undersized PTO HP will just produce fewer KW.

    I lucked out a few years back and picked up a virtually new Winco 12KW w/ PTO shaft for $600. So far I've only had to run it to test it.

    BUT if you are buying NEW your looking at about $1.5K.
    My rides - '95 Kubota M4700 w/ PEC, LA1001 FEL :'07 B7610, LA352 FEL, Bush Hog SBX 48 box blade, '09 Woods BH70-X w/ 16" bucket and thumb, 3pt pallet forks, Dale Phillips PHD, Jinma 8" chipper, 2 Piranha's, Winco 12KW PTO generator, Howse plow, 5' KK tiller, 5' Big Bee cutter, with a 2002 7.3L Ford F350 CC DRW 4x4 and '07 18' Hudson HSE Deluxe trailer - 5 Ton to haul it all

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