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HELP Is it practical to run a generator on Propane.?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    20 Is it practical to run a generator on Propane.?

    This will be converting a Honda EG2800i - an inverter generator.

    It will cost in the neighborhood of $250 to acquire a 'snorkel' kit with hose and quick disconnects.

    Then more for a 20 or 30 gallon tank.

    Gasoline has been running around 2.40 to 2.60, of late.

    I've found propane at a Tractor Supply for 2.89 per gallon, on a refill.

    A local gas station has 30 pound tanks to swap for 2.39 per gallon.

    Would such a conversion make sense.?

    One concern is light loads during the warm seasons from May to October.

    Specs:

    Engine -- Honda GC190LA
    Displacement -- 186cc

    Fuel Tank -- 2.1 gal.

    Tank Run Time
    -- 5.1 hrs @ rated load,,
    -- 12.1 hrs @ 1/4 load

    AC Output
    -- 120v 2800w max (23.3A),,
    -- 2500w rated (20.8A)
    MGTOW
    Resist Or Submit.
    It is too late, for words...

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Sam’s club had thirty gallon tanks last weekend for $19.95
    People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance but that is common amongst those who have never accomplished anything in their lives and who have always played it safe not willing to risk failure.

  3. #3
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    You will get less than rated output. No carb to gum up and fuel stores better.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet"

  4. #4
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    I screwed with the math on this years ago. My figures always came out with over double the cost to run over gas. And that was already having a 500 gallon propane tank.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knighttemplar View Post
    You will get less than rated output. No carb to gum up and fuel stores better.
    Propane and gas get almost identical power outputs. Natural gas looses 10-15 percent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    PA
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    I converted my Honda EU2000 with a tri fuel kit, very worth while. Propane is easier to store than ethanol gasoline.
    "The entire human race are neither my brothers nor kin. There is nothing noble about non-discrimination - concepts such as love, trust and brotherhood lose all meaning when discrimination is removed."

  7. #7
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    I don't know enough about the economic aspect to comment, but propane will not require treatment to stay fresh if there are long periods between usage. Propane is a cleaner fuel than gasoline leaving almost no ash in the lubricating oil so the generator should last longer. Operation on propane usually results in slightly lower power output, though.
    If you decide to do this conversion, please keep us updated.

    Propane and gas get almost identical power outputs. Natural gas looses 10-15 percent.
    I stand corrected.

  8. #8
    Propane will last years, where gasoline will go bad in 6 months to a year,

    one can keep gasoline in a 55 gallon drum sealed up with PRI-G, for a few years, (most locations, it is against the fire rules).

    I have had my generators on propane, for many years, now, it starts very easily, hot or cold,

    I do not have to keep a lot of gasoline on hand, In the past, I had a lot of gasoline go bad, before I went to propane, i have had it for close to 20 years now, and the tank (propain) is just as good as the day I set the tank up,

    I thought it was a good Idea, and my generators will still run on gasoline, as well,

    bulk propane here is about $1.25 here last fill up,

  9. #9
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    Oct 2018
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    Pensacola, Florida.
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    522
    yes

    energy stores this way the best for a standby generator.

  10. #10
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    May 2001
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    Illinois
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    Stabilized straight gas, no methanol, stores much better than the polluted stuff. That's all I use in small engines now. Costs more, but much easier on the engine. When I use it, it looks just like it did when I pumped it. Not so with the methanol. Orange gas bad.
    "Freedom is not something to be secured in any one moment of time. We must struggle to preserve it every day. And freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."
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  11. #11
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    Like many said there is less engery per-gallon of propane than per-gallon of gasoline so you will use twice as much on propane.
    If your running a whole house generator thats like 20Kw and want propane powered you will be better off right from the start with a 1000 pound tank.
    Now some of the diesel options you can hook it up to a 550 gallon skid tank and some of the diesel genertiors it will run for some time before it runs out, say a whole month.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    Like many said there is less engery per-gallon of propane than per-gallon of gasoline so you will use twice as much on propane.
    If your running a whole house generator thats like 20Kw and want propane powered you will be better off right from the start with a 1000 pound tank.
    Now some of the diesel options you can hook it up to a 550 gallon skid tank and some of the diesel genertiors it will run for some time before it runs out, say a whole month.

    What he didn’t stipulate was is this for a house or a RV/TT/TH/motor home. I agree on the diesel after doing months of research on genies for both the house and the new toy hauler.
    People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance but that is common amongst those who have never accomplished anything in their lives and who have always played it safe not willing to risk failure.

  13. #13
    The old farmers rule of thumb is 3 4 5. 3 gallons of diesel, 4 gallons of gasoline, or 5 gallons of propane to do the same job.
    Propane is a viable fuel substitute for gasoline, engines need to be optimized for propane with higher compression ratios.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    654
    The propane will leave your oil so clean that when you change it it will still look like new. Even so, change it after the first 5 hours. The absence of combustion contamination in the oil will let the generator last for a long time.

    The inverter generator changes engine speed in response to load. So fuel consumption will be lower than a converted standard generator that runs full speed continuously.

    Shadow
    "18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness… 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…" Romans 1:18-32

  15. #15
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    Is it practical to run a generator on Propane.?

    Yes, especially considering that you can fall back on gasoline.

    Once converted, I would be sure the tank & carb bowl were run dry and turned off.


    We have LP & diesel gensets in fleet, 25-50 KW

    Pros & cons to both.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

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  16. #16
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    Sure it's practical but how much propane can you store? At least it doesn't go bad over time like the gas does. And as has been mentioned with propane your not going to get the rated output on the Genset as less BTU's in propane vs gasoline.
    What is the lake of fire? What is it's purpose? Is the lake of fire eternal hell? Is there any hope of escape for those cast into this lake?
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  17. #17
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    This is my genset:



    It runs on natural gas and propane. Propane is far better than gasoline. The engine runs cleaner (when you change the oil, it still looks "new" for example), and propane stores forever. I had a 500 gallon propane tank in my back yard.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam2 View Post
    This will be converting a Honda EG2800i - an inverter generator.

    It will cost in the neighborhood of $250 to acquire a 'snorkel' kit with hose and quick disconnects.

    Then more for a 20 or 30 gallon tank.

    Gasoline has been running around 2.40 to 2.60, of late.

    I've found propane at a Tractor Supply for 2.89 per gallon, on a refill.

    A local gas station has 30 pound tanks to swap for 2.39 per gallon.

    Would such a conversion make sense.?

    One concern is light loads during the warm seasons from May to October.

    Specs:

    Engine -- Honda GC190LA
    Displacement -- 186cc

    Fuel Tank -- 2.1 gal.

    Tank Run Time
    -- 5.1 hrs @ rated load,,
    -- 12.1 hrs @ 1/4 load

    AC Output
    -- 120v 2800w max (23.3A),,
    -- 2500w rated (20.8A)
    TRACTOR SUPPLY will fill your tanks full, 20 lbs in a 20 lb tank, 30 lbs in a 30 lb tank.
    BUY your gas in the summer and it will cost less.
    MOST places that swap tanks around florida ONLY FILL them 3/4 full, 15 lbs in a 20 lb tank for $18 - $23.00.....THATS.... $5.35 to $7.00 PER GAL
    TRACTOR SUPPLY IS $2.59/GAL(APRIL 2019)
    2.59 X 4.5 GAL = $11.66 TO FILL A 20 lb tank with 20 lbs of gas

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    This is my genset:



    It runs on natural gas and propane. Propane is far better than gasoline. The engine runs cleaner (when you change the oil, it still looks "new" for example), and propane stores forever. I had a 500 gallon propane tank in my back yard.
    Dennis, is that a Generac? DH and I at times discuss getting a Generac. We don't have natural gas out in the country where we are, but propane is a very viable option. At our age (65ish), keeping the AC going in the summer during extended power outages would be a blessing. Keeping several freezers full of beef going would be invaluable.

    DD lives down near Huntsville in a development with a lot of retired folks. When the power goes out down there (and it happens frequently), you can hear the chorus of Generacs running. They have NG down there.

  20. #20
    when there is a natural disaster, good luck finding gasoline. You might have to wait days get a few gallons rationed. while the propane station lies full and no line.

  21. #21
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    I'm surprised that no one mentioned ACCESS to gasoline during an extended power outage. Sure you can store, if it's treated correctly, 10, 20, 30 gallons of gas. What happens when that runs out. The local gas stations don't have power either, so how do THEY pump gas to fill up your tanks?

    Plus, storing that amount of gas is extremely dangerous. It's way safer to store propane, and it never needs treatment or goes bad.

    And in a SHTF situation, where power is out for weeks, if you have a propane generator, just about every house has a 20 lb. tank attached to it's grill, so there are plenty of tanks to be had.

    Lastly, a power management system needs to be implemented in long duration outages. Running a 4KW or 5 KW generator non-stop, just to keep a few lights on is totally nuts. I run off of batteries and an inverter to power up low watt usage items, and only fire up the generator to recharge batteries and cool down the fridges. With this system, I can get 3 days off of one 20 lb. propane tank.
    ...Rubbin' is Racin'......

  22. #22
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    Mar 2011
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    Propane is the only way to go. Stores forever, runs clean in your engine and used tanks are easy to come buy. You can easily store 1000 gallons if you have the room. That will get you by while others wait for the FEMA handout.

    I have used it for years and yet to find a power problem or being too expensive to run. Remember to top your tank off when the prices are low. Like I said stores for years and you can link multiple tanks together if you are rural.
    "They wanted to be left alone to face challenges head-on, and to prosper from their own hard work and ingenuity...harsh country tends to produce strong people."-John Erickson

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TxGal View Post
    Dennis, is that a Generac? DH and I at times discuss getting a Generac. We don't have natural gas out in the country where we are, but propane is a very viable option. At our age (65ish), keeping the AC going in the summer during extended power outages would be a blessing. Keeping several freezers full of beef going would be invaluable.

    DD lives down near Huntsville in a development with a lot of retired folks. When the power goes out down there (and it happens frequently), you can hear the chorus of Generacs running. They have NG down there.

    No, it's an Elliott Magnetek 22kVa (90 amp), 3-phase capable (I only had it set up for single phase of course), 4-pole brushless, self-exciting alternator, liquid cooled unit rated for "prime power". It is equipped with a hospital-grade muffler. You cannot hear this unit running from over 50 feet away. It uses a 2.1L Ford industrial engine. Cost in 1999 was $13,000. It is capable of remote start as well. It was connected through a 200 amp service panel with a whole-house transfer switch. Because I lived in the tundra, it also had an engine block heater. It weighs 1400 lbs.

    I researched for 6 months before buying. This was back before generators were a "thing." Each unit was built to order.









  24. #24
    1 major thing to watch for. many of the cheap conversion kits are not safe, the kits MUST have a no fuel shut off. most of the kits are simple, just a plate to put between the manifold and the carb. with a hose for the propane. , you hAVE to have a selinoid shut off in the line or will have a bad fire,

    the problem is. if the gen stops for any reason, like a eletrical short in the motor, the propane will continue to flow. almost all of the ones sold on amazon are of this unsafe design

    spend a little more and get a safe one

  25. #25
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    Gas, propane, or diesel are all good choices. Each has their pluses and minuses. I have gas and I am happy with that choice. I do have stored gas with Pri-g.
    The neighbors just switched out their diesel for a propane unit.
    One aspect is always cost. In this case you already have a good gas unit.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racing22 View Post
    I'm surprised that no one mentioned ACCESS to gasoline during an extended power outage....

    ...and in a SHTF situation, where power is out for weeks, if you have a propane generator, just about every house has a 20 lb. tank attached to it's grill, so there are plenty of tanks to be had.
    And how many of those tanks are empty already? Unless you're talking 'Life After People', that gas was gone in the first week.
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  27. #27
    a larger 1800 rpm gen set on propane with a motor that can spin it at that and give the longer term power is viable.

    Those lil bitty short term gen sets, I'd just use gas myself. both will work however.

    A lister engine and lower rpm gen head is a very low cost way to keep batter banks topped off, then invert your power off the battery bank. Maybe with some solar / wind as additional options and if for emergency use, even a simple trickle charge set off the regular electric co op .

    My homestead runs a variation on that. redundancy, and options, more than cost savings is the goal. That and using the batteries and inverter it works like a uninteruptable power supply where power surges / brownouts don't damage stuff since it all is on my own control. The homestead gets it's power from that over direct public power even though I do run a trickle charge off them and have the public for various high demand want's instead of cranking up the generator other than to exercise it regularly.

    Propane refrigeration and dryer and how water on demand are nice using propane option for me.

    Then again I have 40 + years adapting or going back to things from grandmothers old stuff like a propane / wood cook stove.

    Come the collapse I can drop back to a 1930ish pre electrification homestead, swap to hay burner powered farm equipment or even try some producer gas.

    Old farmers usually have older barns full of their familys old stuff that still workd.

    I have a old maytag wringer washing machine that I have the electric motor for, but also have a gas engine for it.

    Better than the jameson back up washer.

    Clothslines will work in a pinch over dryers .

    If you aren't setting up for the long haul, than a lot of what I do might be more expensive than just one of those lil bitty throw away generators that run at 3600 and store gas and rotate it regular.
    Dosadi

    III


    My family & clan are my country.

  28. #28
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    Dennis, is that thing still in storage or did you sell it? I might be interested in a couple of months.
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  29. #29
    Join Date
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    I still have it.

  30. #30
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    Jul 2004
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    We bought a dual fuel generator last year. During our recent almost 4 day power outage, we ran it mostly on propane with absolutely no problems, up to 17 hours straight and then change the tank an continued to run it.

    I have four RV size propane tanks (I think they are 10 gallons each) anything heavier and we would not be able to lift it. It cost $15 to fill one. Although we did fill 6 five gallon gas cans and a couple of small ones and it cost almost $100.00.

    I am completely sold on propane, just wish I had the bucks to get a "big" tank", it would last for years.

    My only concern is just how long should we run the generator at a time. My ex said 10 hours and yelled at me for running it so long. I personally checked the oil after all was said and done, it was completely fine. We had lights, tv, internet, four freezers, three refrigerators hooked up. It is so nice to be able to go out and hook it up, my personal problem is I can not move the main breaker on or off, too tight so to speak. Other than that the two breakers that I have to turn on to run the generator and plugging it in are a piece of cake.

    Judy

  31. #31
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    Wow, thanks, Dennis! That's one heck of an impressive system. Clearly, we need to do more research. :-)

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    SE Okieland
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    Propane is a better than gasoline for gen sets....

    Obtain et a 400 or 500 gallon propane tank with a wet leg to fill your smaller tanks. You will need a hose connectors and a shut off valve to the tanks. Always shut the valve off at the propane tank....

    If you are really handy you can lay piping to your gen set off the big tank, but still make a hose connection four your smaller tanks....

    Texican....


    You will save money and will not need to travel to have your tanks filled.

  33. #33
    One thing no one mentioned was the diesel option. Treated diesel stores well, is safer than gasoline and doesn't require the specialized fuel transfer protocols (and equipment) that propane does. During our Katrina evacuation the gas lines were many blocks long and a lot of stations were out of gas. We never had to wait for diesel and could always just pull up to a pump. We have a big listeroid diesel which is very economical and just sips diesel.

    Best regards
    Doc

  34. #34
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    As a person who ran a large propane generator, I have to ask, what the heck are you talking about?

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    I was negligent posting an incomplete application. Then, some time sinks interrupted an assembly of questions.

    One question related to the spark plug gap being different for propane vs. gasoline.

    This will be a mobile set up with the genset on a trailer, inside of a dog house. I had not thought of the battery + inverter option, but that is another consideration.

    I have used a 300 watt inverter, for years, and I know they are hard on starting batteries. I always kept the motor running to avoid the drain on the batteries.

    Starting out, I will use pure gas until I rationalize the operating cost of the propane vs. gas. Research is conflicting on the cost to operate.

    This Yamaha dealer has the propane snorkel kit, I am looking at:
    https://www.motorsnorkel.com/

    Their page on Propane Consumption:
    https://www.motorsnorkel.com/propane-consumption-rate

    I'm indifferent to the percentage filling of the tank.
    The important thing there, is the cost per gallon vs. the run time. That is what will influence the justification of the conversion.

    The cost per gallon should be the same, whether at 80% or 100% filled. The tank can be sized accordingly, within reason. I do not see a 100+ gallon tank as an option.

    The big cost increase will come with colder weather and running a heater.

    Thank you, all, for the insight. I hope to have some intelligent questions within the next couple of days.
    MGTOW
    Resist Or Submit.
    It is too late, for words...

    ______Resistor
    ____/VVVVVV\__

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