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Old 07-06-2023, 02:45 PM   #1
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Mobilized Generator

Anyone ever see a Skoolie powering a house? I was looking at running a PTO driven generator off my Eaton Trans. Plug into my house. I don't see anyone having pulled it off yet? I've had 4 day long outages. Stinks. Why buy/maintain a diesel generator when you already have one? Thing has 60 gallons of running fuel on any given day. Apocalypse now.

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Old 07-06-2023, 02:54 PM   #2
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Good question to ask this forum, but no, that's crazy talk.

-a $400 Harbor Freight generator will run a furnace on an extension cord, with power left over for lights.
-not good for the bus to idle if not under load
-modifying the drive train to enable a PTO plus some form of power generation will be a kludge at very best, and cost a small fortune in labor, materials, and components (including whatever power cord will be needed and interlock at the house)
-and will exceed the cost of a generator by multiples.
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Old 07-06-2023, 03:03 PM   #3
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i've looked into it a couple of times.

for me, the roadblock is the disconect / lockout required for the utility side of the power grid. i havent seen an economical way to hook up safely.
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Old 07-06-2023, 04:20 PM   #4
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Good question to ask this forum, but no, that's crazy talk.

-a $400 Harbor Freight generator will run a furnace on an extension cord, with power left over for lights.
-not good for the bus to idle if not under load
-modifying the drive train to enable a PTO plus some form of power generation will be a kludge at very best, and cost a small fortune in labor, materials, and components (including whatever power cord will be needed and interlock at the house)
-and will exceed the cost of a generator by multiples.
Thanks, but Iím a different environment than your imagining. No city water so the 220 well, 220 oven, 220 welder, 220 HVAC, 220 water heater, wood boiler system etc. I have two 120 gens and it just doesnít do it. Especially in hard mid winter. You ever drill holes in a duck pond to get toilet tank water you know what I mean.

High PTO speed idle is fine on a healthy diesel. Every semi at a truck stop is running 400-600 HP to run only the A/C and alternator for sleep periods. They still get 1 million miles on the engine despite idle periods.

Cost is the big.

The undercarriage has ideal space and I do welding fabricating most weeks. Iíve sized it, itíll fit fine according to whatís out there.
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Old 07-06-2023, 04:22 PM   #5
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I wouldn't put the load on my cummins as idle hours are much more expensive. I do have a diesel generator for my bus that will be used to power the house in the event of a hurricane/ power outage. Just flip the interlock and plug the generator. 100 gallons of fuel on a 3cylinder kubota should last a long time.


Also, my bus is going to sit by my house 10 months out the year, I have left room to run 8 commercial panels on my roof. Im going to run a hybrid inverter with grid assist. 3200 watts is overkill for what i need to run offgrid, but its an easy way to plop some panels and have my bus system offset my A/C loads the rest of the year.
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Old 07-06-2023, 04:28 PM   #6
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i've looked into it a couple of times.

for me, the roadblock is the disconect / lockout required for the utility side of the power grid. i havent seen an economical way to hook up safely.
What if you ran a dead man’s cord to a welding outlet in your garage? Not saying that’s a “great idea”, just a what if? How much would that save in expensive hardwares? Would it be practical in price (theoretically) if you made it work that way?
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Old 07-07-2023, 12:30 AM   #7
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What if you ran a dead manís cord to a welding outlet in your garage? Not saying thatís a ďgreat ideaĒ, just a what if? How much would that save in expensive hardwares? Would it be practical in price (theoretically) if you made it work that way?
If you, for any reason, send power up the line you would, at the very least, piss off some Edison boys. You need a transfer switch.
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Old 07-07-2023, 03:26 AM   #8
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i had envisioned being able to plug in with my 50a cord and power my bus at home, or if power goes out, have the bus power my home.
however, that 50a cord is not a 2 way setup.
if my gen is on, the 50a cord goes dead thanks to a transfer switch. i'd have to wire a 50a outlet on the bus and hook another cord.

cool idea but it gets real complex real fast
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Old 07-07-2023, 11:17 AM   #9
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If you, for any reason, send power up the line you would, at the very least, piss off some Edison boys. You need a transfer switch.
I was told by a lineman they cross and ground all upstream and downstream lines while they work on repairs. If your the poor sucker who didn't trip a main breaker, and feed the line, get ready for a party back at the generator. Hopefully just a circuit trip.
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Old 07-07-2023, 11:49 AM   #10
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In refineries we'd have MCCs, motor control centers, and in shut downs or outages we'd do the same. Heavy cables with large bronze clamps. Ground to A, A to B and B to C.
Nowadays I contract for a large high-end grocery store chain. They have a 600kW mobile generator for shut downs and outages. I always try to find the Edison crew to let them know before we power it up so they can inspect it if they want. 600kW can light up grounding clamps and it's just a professional courtesy. A little Honda s2000 is just going to trip its breaker.
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Old 07-07-2023, 02:02 PM   #11
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What if you ran a dead man’s cord to a welding outlet in your garage? Not saying that’s a “great idea”, just a what if? How much would that save in expensive hardwares? Would it be practical in price (theoretically) if you made it work that way?
I hope I'm not offending you too much by saying this is going from crazy talk to deathwish.

I shouldn't have to point out that YOU may not be the dead one; it might be the lineman working in the cold trying to fix a downed wire that is electrocuted by your power.

If you want to avoid the heavy expense of electrical interlocks just run new wiring to new receptacles and plug/unplug as needed.
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Old 07-08-2023, 10:15 AM   #12
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I hope I'm not offending you too much by saying this is going from crazy talk to deathwish.

I shouldn't have to point out that YOU may not be the dead one; it might be the lineman working in the cold trying to fix a downed wire that is electrocuted by your power.

If you want to avoid the heavy expense of electrical interlocks just run new wiring to new receptacles and plug/unplug as needed.
No offense at all ma’am, it’s a mothers job to worry. All ready moving past this, a contractors generator makes way more sense despite storage and fuel, and if the contractor generator burns up it’s not a 20K pound fireball. Cheers!
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Old 07-08-2023, 09:05 PM   #13
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I can second the Harbor Freight generators. We bought an HF generator and it is fantastic!! It can power my whole house in addition to the RV. The thing I love is that it can be removed for portable use. My old motorhome with the heavy Onan generator built in could not do that.
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Old 07-12-2023, 06:20 PM   #14
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i've looked into it a couple of times.

for me, the roadblock is the disconect / lockout required for the utility side of the power grid. i havent seen an economical way to hook up safely.
We put a Cutler Hammer transfer switch on our house. Right now it's just a bit over $300 dollars at Home Depot. We use a 7500 watt Briggs & Stratton generator. Powers the entire house, but we have gas stove, water heater and furnance. It took an electrician less than an hour to install and make me a 20 foot extension cord. The switch on-off-on completely isolates the incoming land line power. You have to you have to put the transfer switch in the off, then start your generator, then put the switch in the generator on side. It works great and we have used it several times over the years. It was less than a $1000.00 when it was installed 10 years ago.
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Old 07-12-2023, 07:06 PM   #15
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We put a Cutler Hammer transfer switch on our house. Right now it's just a bit over $300 dollars at Home Depot. We use a 7500 watt Briggs & Stratton generator. Powers the entire house, but we have gas stove, water heater and furnance. It took an electrician less than an hour to install and make me a 20 foot extension cord. The switch on-off-on completely isolates the incoming land line power. You have to you have to put the transfer switch in the off, then start your generator, then put the switch in the generator on side. It works great and we have used it several times over the years. It was less than a $1000.00 when it was installed 10 years ago.
Great tip!
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Old 07-13-2023, 08:29 AM   #16
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i've looked into it a couple of times.

for me, the roadblock is the disconect / lockout required for the utility side of the power grid. i havent seen an economical way to hook up safely.
Lookup generator interlock on amazon.

For 30 bucks you can get a simple slide piece that bolts to your main panel and will only allow the main breaker to be on, or the sub panel breaker to be on. It doesn't isolate the neutrals or grounds, and probably wouldn't pass a home inspection. But for emergency use, it would be better then nothing.

As for the OP. There are several companies that make PTO powered chassis mounted generators. None are cheap. Most require an electronically controlled engine in order to minimize droop, as most of your mechanical engines use a min/max style governor and those wouldn't function desirably for power generation.

I think you could find a standby generator cheaper then what you'd find a chassis mounted pto powered unit.

Before I built my own mounted unit on my bus, I was checking out used light towers, which seemed pretty economical way of buying a 20kw genset.
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Old 07-13-2023, 09:24 AM   #17
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Anyone ever see a Skoolie powering a house? I was looking at running a PTO driven generator off my Eaton Trans. Plug into my house. I don't see anyone having pulled it off yet? I've had 4 day long outages. Stinks. Why buy/maintain a diesel generator when you already have one? Thing has 60 gallons of running fuel on any given day. Apocalypse now.
Not a bad idea! I considered this. The Allison transmission lends itself to driving PTO powered accessories. A 540 RPM output drives a lot of stuff. The generator mounting might be a challenge, though not impossible
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Old 07-13-2023, 09:36 AM   #18
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Make sure it's an engine driven pto in that allison, and not a converter driven unit.

Converter driven won't maintain rpm accurately enough for ac power generation.

So unless it's creating dc and then making ac with an inverter, turbine driven pto's won't work.
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