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Old 09-16-2020, 03:01 PM   #1
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Propane Generators

This is a general question on using propane in generators. Who knows more about generators than RVers, right? Can anyone tell me the cons of using an exclusively propane generator? My new one is Duel Fuel, but considering all the clogged carbs Iíve had in the past, Iím going to use only propane on my new one. What is the downside other than dragging propane tanks along with them?
Anything to watch out for? Thanks in advance
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:15 PM   #2
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My old Beaver had a propane genny.
It uses a bit more fuel than gas but burns way cleaner than gas. I had a 43 gallon tank on the Beaver and never ran out dry camping.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:27 PM   #3
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Propane is only 10% less BTU then gasoline

BASIC FACTORS
It requires 2 horsepower to produce 1000 watts of energy per hour
Under load, each horsepower consumes 10,000 BTU per hour
Propane contains 92,000 BTU per gallon
Propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gallon

RUN TIME
How long would a 5000 Watt Generator with a 10 HP engine at 50% load run on a 20# propane cylinder?
10hp at 50% load would be using 5 horse power to generate 2500 watts of energy.
5hp x 10,000 btu would consume 50,000 btu per hour.
Using a 20# cylinder that produces 441,600 total btu, the engine consuming 50,000 btu per hour would run for about 8.8 hours.

Only issue would be if 2 LP Regulators were needed (common set up)
1 to supply enough flow to RV appliance demands
1 to supply generator flow demands
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:30 PM   #4
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1 - Less power capability
2 - Fuel density - compare runtime of a 20 lb propane bottle vs a 5 gallon gas can. At the same load the gas can will run the generator at least twice as long.

So for a dual-fuel; continuously run it on gas, then shift it to propane for intermittent use.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:38 PM   #5
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1 gallon of propane = 91,600 BTU
1 gallon of reg gasoline = 114,100 BTU
22,500 BTU difference OR roughly 1 pound of propane
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:16 PM   #6
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No gasoline

Thanks for the replies. I know about the power differential, but I also know about bad gas, and clogged carbs. Iím using this new genny with only propane, unless something happens to prevent it. Gas is nasty, smelly, dangerous and doesnít last. This gen runs super smooth right out of the box on propane. Any gas gen engine sputters for minutes or longer, and surges unpredictably, most of the time.

So far the only negative seems to be lugging propane bottles around with it. That wonít be a problem as this one is not for my RV, but for home backup.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:22 PM   #7
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Some of us know how to drain the gas out of the carb bowl....
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:29 PM   #8
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I assume the OP is referring to a dual fuel portable generator, not a chassis mount.

A little less power, but often larger tank capacity than the built in Gas tank
Cleaner burning
LP ages well versus gas
No ethanol side effects
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:33 PM   #9
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Propane is also the only known fuel that gains BTUs if it's warmed up. So throwing a heating blanket over the tank is a method to get more out of the gas. So that's cool.

I also had a 5500 watt propane generator with it's own tank and used it a lot over 12 years. Did have a few problems...

1) Bearing ball broke and seized it up. Yikes, $632 repair.
2) Control board open circuited because of corrosion on a terminal. Fixed myself.
3) Had to burnish the slip rings a couple times during regular maintenance.
4) Voltage regulator failed. Installed new, and the new one failed a year later. Doh!
5) Had a tech remove the carb to check for fracking. Nothing found. Clean as a whistle.

Might not relate, but my blog article has some info on the things that I had to do to my propane generator. I liked it a lot: Genset...
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
Propane is also the only known fuel that gains BTUs if it's warmed up. So throwing a heating blanket over the tank is a method to get more out of the gas. So that's cool.

I also had a 5500 watt propane generator with it's own tank and used it a lot over 12 years. Did have a few problems...

1) Bearing ball broke and seized it up. Yikes, $632 repair.
2) Control board open circuited because of corrosion on a terminal. Fixed myself.
3) Had to burnish the slip rings a couple times during regular maintenance.
4) Voltage regulator failed. Installed new, and the new one failed a year later. Doh!
5) Had a tech remove the carb to check for fracking. Nothing found. Clean as a whistle.

Might not relate, but my blog article has some info on the things that I had to do to my propane generator. I liked it a lot: Genset...
Just curious.......transparency

IS your blog a 'click bait' site?

I try to avoid those types of links
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:09 PM   #11
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The generator in my Safari is propane and the only two drawbacks are - slightly less efficient, especially in cold temps, and I can't refill at any gas station in any town. The positive over gas is just what you are talking about, just start it up and it runs. Doesn't matter if it sat a week, or 6 months. I have read that there can be a problem with the odorizer gooping up the regulator but I really doubt it's nearly as common as bad gas plugging a carb, and I stopped having that problem on my lawn mower, chainsaw, trimmer, etc, when I started using gas stabilizer before storage.

I still start and run my unit monthly, but other than oil changes, I have't done anything to it and it starts every time. I find that even the oil doesn't get as dirty between changes.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob caldwell View Post
Some of us know how to drain the gas out of the carb bowl....
Yes, draining the carb is the ticket.

I have a gas stand-by genset that I haven't needed for more than 5 times in 15 years or so. I swap out the gas in the tank every Spring with new gas and stabilizer. Run the unit for maybe a half hour or so under load, then drain the carb and put it back into my shop.

It starts up and purrs away every Spring. Ready for whenever I need it.

Propane would be fine also, but I like the all-in-one set-up.

Happy Glamping.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:56 PM   #13
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Just curious.......transparency

IS your blog a 'click bait' site?

I try to avoid those types of links
No ads at all. No links either except those that I find interesting or that are germane to the subject of the article.

Wait a sec...Old-Biscuit...you've seen me post hundreds of times about my blog over the last 14 or so years, and you've never visited? Come on dude, HA!
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:59 PM   #14
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No ads at all. No links either except those that I find interesting or that are germane to the subject of the article.

Wait a sec...Old-Biscuit...you've seen me post hundreds of times about my blog over the last 14 or so years, and you've never visited? Come on dude, HA!
I rarely click on any links posted...unless I have asked for specific info and link is provided.

Sorry but blogs are not my cup of tea
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