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Old 09-30-2022, 08:00 AM   #1
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Burning Natural Gas in a Gasoline and/or Propane Generator

This is not specific to RVing, rather more universal in nature.

Has anyone tried running their generator, gasoline or propane, off natural gas?

A month ago, I bought THIS GENERATOR which is designed to operate off both gasoline and propane. I would like to run it off natural gas.

I converted my propane grill to natural gas by changing the orifices, one for each burner. The hole in the natural gas orifice is much larger than for propane. I wonder if converting my new generator to run on natural gas is this simple....change the orifice. I contacted the manufacture, but they say "NO" due to uncompliance.

There are numerous kits available to run gasoline generators off propane, but none to run off natural gas. I found make-shift conversions on You-Tube videos, but nothing marketed specifically so.

If you have natural gas at home and want a clean continuous power source to run the generator on your motorhome or stand-alone generator for emergency purposes, it makes sense to set yourself up to utilize it.

Your thoughts?
Your experience?
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:15 AM   #2
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Burning Natural Gas in a Gasoline and/or Propane Generator

I think you are on the right track. I believe reading natural gas has less btu content than LP (propane). Larger orifice should compensate.

See lots of permanent mount standby generators running on natural gas, so should be doable.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:18 AM   #3
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You will likely also need to change the spring in the pressure regulator or otherwise adjust the pressure.
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Old 09-30-2022, 09:16 AM   #4
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Probably start out by checking the specs on the generac home standby units. As far as pressure regulator specs and carb specs. You may want to go over to smokestack.com and see if there is any info there. Sure sounds like a good idea!
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Old 10-02-2022, 06:59 PM   #5
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i took this from an old post online

On a dual-fuel unit, you would likely need to adjust the metering on the secondary regulator, assuming the natural gas was supplied at sufficient pressure.

As an example, a 20KW generator fully-loaded on propane will consume 122 cubic feet of gas an hour. That same generator fueled on natural gas will consume 245 cubic feet of gas an hour. Itís twice the amount of fuel in cubic feet an hour on natural gas than on propane. Plus there is a 15 percent reduction in the power output of the generator on natural gas vs propane.

If you are ta;king an onan RV genny, a spcisl kit would be needed, it is not a simple as a big orface or jet,, pressure is way different.
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Old 10-03-2022, 11:38 PM   #6
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sibe, I agree with you.

I was comparing natural gas to propane. There are a number of measuring methods....confusing to say the least. Here are just a few.

WC - NG is 7, PP is 10 to 11, a 50% difference
BTU - NG is half that of PP, a 100% difference

I ended up buying THIS ALTITUDE ORIFICE KIT for THE DUAL FUEL PROPANE/GASOLINE GENERATOR I want to convert to natural gas. It seems like some experimentation will be necessary. I may even attempt to drill larger, the least likely orifice candidate and adjust THE REGULATOR. Early indication is that I will need between 50% and 100% more natural gas flowing to the carburetor, compared to propane.

Talking to generator companies, nobody want to help. I am left to figure this out on my own along with input from other people like on this forum. I was hoping somone here has the magic formula.
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Old 10-04-2022, 11:59 PM   #7
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There are residential emergency generators that run on Natural Gas. MFR issue is that specific model has to be designed, tested, approved for that fuel. Find a local GENERAC DEALER, or search online ebay? Here is ONE example. web page has drop-down to select FUEL TYPE with NG Option. https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect...tor/p2193.html
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Old 10-05-2022, 07:10 AM   #8
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Here is ONE example. web page has drop-down to select FUEL TYPE with NG Option. https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect...tor/p2193.html
I looked through the website you provided. Thank you for that link.

For the Kohler 12KW model, it states that running off natural gas has a 13% loss in power output (12,000w versus 10,400w). I wonder if that considers a change of orifice, or "as is" out of the box.

Maybe the "ask a question" feature can give me the answer. Here is my question to them.

I have natural gas piped to my house. I am considering getting an outdoor LP tank as a backup fuel source. Do any of your models run off both propane and natural gas without modification? I am thinking about a generator that will run off either fuel type pending if the flow of natural gas is compromised. I could close the natural gas valve and open the LP valve easily enough. If a change in orifice is also needed, I can handle that. I hope to hear from you.
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Old 10-05-2022, 08:15 AM   #9
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Maybe the "ask a question" feature can give me the answer. Here is my question to them.

I have natural gas piped to my house. I am considering getting an outdoor LP tank as a backup fuel source. Do any of your models run off both propane and natural gas without modification? I am thinking about a generator that will run off either fuel type pending if the flow of natural gas is compromised. I could close the natural gas valve and open the LP valve easily enough. If a change in orifice is also needed, I can handle that. I hope to hear from you.
I got my answer.

Answer: This model as well as most of air-cooled standby generators do run on dual fuel. Meaning both Liquid Propane and Natural Gas. Changing over from one or the other is relatively simple as you need only to turn a knob under the lid of the unit. You can't change the fuel sources on the fly though, the generator is just prepared to do either at any one time.

This reply agrees with the many You-Tube videos out there made by homeowners. Natural gas versus propane, just hook-up either type.

So I should just hook up MY DUAL FUEL GENERATOR to natural gas, start it up, and see what happens, most especially under load. I did buy THIS HIGH ALTITUDE KIT. I could experiment with the 4 different larger orifices to attempt a higher wattage output when running on natural gas.

After I replace my existing 10 gauge 220V wire in 3/4" conduit currently out to my garage, with 6 gauge wire (and 220V 50 amp breaker), I can hook up the generator to my house through that circuit, and do some tangible testing under real house-wired conditions. Then I will be set for the unexpected.

And "yes", all tests done with the main 200 amp house panel breaker in the "off" position.
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Old 10-31-2022, 11:19 PM   #10
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I got my answer.


And "yes", all tests done with the main 200 amp house panel breaker in the "off" position.
Hi Ron ,

Are you aware that the "Neutral" feeder also needs to be disconnected as well as the 220v main breaker to properly isolate the Genny from the grid ?

Without disconnecting the "Neutral" it is possible for the Genny to back feed the electrical grid when the Genny is running . This could pose a danger to any Linemen working in your area .

Now , here's the rub . When switching from the Genny back to the grid , it's imperative to switch the "Neutral" feeder back on BEFORE energizing the 220 v main breaker .

I personally have experienced the results of the 220v live wires still being energized when a tree fell and took down the line from the transformer to our house and pulled the neutral off of the transformer .

I had light bulbs blow , destroyed all my GFI outlets , melted the power cords to our CPU and damaged the control motherboards in our MH frig and furnace because the MH was plugged in.

Be safe out there,
Bill
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:44 AM   #11
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Are you aware that the "Neutral" feeder also needs to be disconnected as well as the 220v main breaker to properly isolate the Genny from the grid?
Hmmm....... I did not know the neutral feed would be of concern. Thanks for the warning. It seems best to pull the meter to make sure all 3 connections are disconnected from the power grid.

So the process would be to flip off the main 200 amp breaker, then pull the meter, then do all the generator stuff. Reverting back to line power, follow this process in reverse order. Right?
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Old 11-01-2022, 03:06 PM   #12
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Hmmm....... I did not know the neutral feed would be of concern. Thanks for the warning. It seems best to pull the meter to make sure all 3 connections are disconnected from the power grid.

So the process would be to flip off the main 200 amp breaker, then pull the meter, then do all the generator stuff. Reverting back to line power, follow this process in reverse order. Right?

Yes . Your method as described will work .
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Old 11-01-2022, 03:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bill Gail View Post
Yes . Your method as described will work .
Pulling the meter leaves the neutral connected. I know of no transfer switch, commercial or home, that disconnects the neutral (and I have worked with a few). Can you cite a code reference that requires it?
EDIT: FWIW here's PGE's take on it. Read #7.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...6wKSqU9cFJDVEv
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Old 11-01-2022, 03:47 PM   #14
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There are quite a few tri-fuel generators on the market. Firman, Champion, DuroMax, and others seem to have them. Perhaps you can find a parts list for one similar to your Wen & adapt the appropriate parts.
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