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Old 02-28-2011, 04:07 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Re: Garden Office Skoolie

You might want to add noise as a consideration, since your rig would be parked on a residential street. There is nothing worse than a high capacity contractor style generator droning for 10 hours daily...heck, even a nice quiet dedicated RV type generator 10 hours daily could get old pretty quick too.

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Old 02-28-2011, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Garden Office Skoolie

Originally Posted by DoktaFrostyNoogs
... meaning 8000w+ is the size generator I'm looking at, and just to be safe I may bump it up to a 10kw genny.
I don't think you need that big of a genset. We live full-time in a Class C (30 amp) and our generators (POS Onan) is a 2.5K or 2.8K generator. You will not be running everything at the same time.
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Garden Office Skoolie

I agree with Lorna, I don't think you need anywhere near that big. I don't know about your electronics, but the electronic stuff you listed I don't think would draw anywhere near 2500w. At the risk of drawing Lorna's ire , I recommend an Onan quiet diesel. I'm on my second one, and they are the ONLY gen sets I have had that will start every time (at least down to -20) I have an 8000w that will run a full size microwave, AC or 1500w heater, engine block heater (1500w) 60a battery charger,toaster oven nd whatever other draws I have all at once. It is so quiet that the only way I can tell it's running is when the microwave light comes on, outside it's hard to tell more than 10 feet away. I don't run computers directly from it so I can't address the problem she has had. I regularly run 4 to 5 desktop computers using it as power, but I go through a charger/battery'inverter setup. Even without power I can run about an hour. Air intake/exhaust is out the bottom as well as oil and fuel filter access. In your situation I would cut a hole in the floor to set it over and build a box around it that is sealed from the inside space and run the exhaust out the top. You just need an access door to get at the dipstick and fills.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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Re: Garden Office Skoolie

For the installation and amount of runtime you are talking about, I would definitely seek to :
1. get an 1800 RPM generator, not a 3600 RPM one
2. get a liquid-cooled engine over an air-cooled engine, and
3. have at least 2 CO detectors on board, so you don't take an endless nap while working with your computer.

I would be sure that the exhaust was ducted away. The RV stores have "Gen-turis," or something like that, a removable vertical stack that goes from the standard under-floor exhaust pipe and puts the exhaust above the roof. You might want to have a permanent stack from an "indoor" generator go up through the roof.

For fuel, I would be torn between diesel and propane. Propane does not spoil in long-term storage, but you will be burning enough fuel so that diesel spoilage would probably not be a problem. If you go with propane, you will need tanks with enough surface area on top of the liquid so it can boil into vapor as fast as you draw the vapor off. One barbecue-diameter tank probably would cause a medium-sized genny to sputter, but drawing from 3 or 4 tanks at once through a manifold works OK. I am responsible for a couple dozen home-sized generators, and when there is no horizontal "submarine" tank at a site, at least two 100 water-gallon tanks or five 100-pound tanks plumbed in parallel are standard.

Diesel is easier to come by and to handle, but is smelly, and can absorb water. The choice for me would likely be a toss-up based on what the bus ran on. For a gasser, I would probably install a propane genny, but with a diesel engine it is probably easier to plumb a diesel genny into the fuel system.

We have standardized on the 12 kW Onan quiet diesel auxiliary generators mentioned earlier to be mounted in the trucks at work. We have had no issues, except a dead genny start battery on one truck. By standardizing, we can do a "forklift repair" if need be, with the truck having twin gennys being a donor to the other truck with only one, or any future trucks we build. But I think these units are above your budget.

You probably have enough information to make a decision, you just have to find a unit at the right price with the most number of features that you want. A well-loved, substantially built used unit might serve you better than a brand-new throwaway model. You will find that you will want to make a sound-deadening compartment, and have it intake and exhaust cooling air through grilles to the outside. If you position the grilles and/or ducts to work with the machine's airflow, and prevent re-cycling the heated air, it will be happier.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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