Hi All; Been 100% off grid now since 1983. Anyone who lives off grid knows all about generators. I'm not referring to the 15000$ diesel genset but the smaller noisy generators. The under $1000 variety.
I have used many names over the years and they are all comparable although the newest inverter generators are by far the best thing to buy for a small unit.
About 5 years ago I was tired of buying gas , hauling it home in a station wagon, spilling it while pouring and worse of all, is when it runs out after dark below freezing and your in your comfy chair in your robe ! That bites!
I did a little searching and found US carburetion, they make a product called the motor snorkel. It is a tri fuel adapter, gasoline,propane or natural gas. ave price is below $200.... IT WORKS GREAT !
I now only use propane with my generator, I did just purchase a new gen set and I ran it 20 hours on gasoline to seat the rings and now I have it running on propane as well :) hooked to my large 250 gal house tank, I NEVER need to buy /pour gas anymore HOORAY !!
My motor snorkel was easy to install on the 9000 watt champion gen set that I just replaced. I completely removed the auto choke set up as I am only using propane and the choke is not needed. At that time I mounted the regulator directly on the champion. I did need to run a hard line of propane with a shut off valve to the generator shack and then a rubber line goes up to the regulator.
Apx 4 years into owning this system I started having issues... poor starting ,poor running and finally no START !! OH NO I quickly determined it was a fuel issue, Having no luck at first I called US carb, They have superb tech help! After a few conversation and checking I discovered that I had a propane leak at the motor snorkel adapter ! Dang that was $200! One more call to US carb where they informed me that their product is warranted for life! And that a new replacement piece would be mailed out that day for FREE !!! I love doing business with a reputable company! New snorkel arrived in a few days , problem fixed!
This summer that 7 year old champion gen set was getting tired... I knew that the end was near and the proper thing to do was replace it BEFORE it blows up ... (getting smarter with old age) So I did. After much searching I chose to get a Harbor Freight 3500 watt inverter generator ! Much smaller output, but I was told by some other off grid friends that it rocked! ran anything with nary a hiccup... hmmm, 3500 watt was to small before with my onan Do I dare ??
I did dare and its everything A person could want from a generator! Small, lite , super quiet ! has an auto idle feature to slow it down with a low draw! And it runs it all !
One of the reasons I bought the motor snorkel was its ability to be moved to another similar sized generator . When I called US carb to inquire if my current snorkel would swap over they said it would on the larger H.F. generators but that my new 3500 watt used a smaller carb and it would not fit my new one OH NO ! No problem they said ... you already own the kit you just need the carb piece , we will sell you that for $88 delivered ! YES
I relocated the regulator from the champion and mounted it on the generator shack, the new adapter from us carb bolted in even easier than on the champion. A few easy adjustments for the smaller engine and I'm up and running. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the MOTOR SNORKEL for any gen set ! I also recommend the H.F. invertor as well! I will do a post later strictly on the H.F. gen set, the propane conversion and (if i'm successful) how I hard wired it to be remote start and stop.
I would be grateful if you could post some pictures of your setup with the components. My generators sit for long periods between uses and gas is not the way to go. Sounds like you found just what I'm looking for.
OK, the weather let up and I snapped a few pictures for you.
Not a lot to see really , without disassembly, I can't show you the snorkel adapter piece. It mainly looks just like a carburetor gasket with a low rectangle copper tube coming off switching to a round 3/8 hose bib. The hose from the regulator just pushes on. The large regulator was bolted on the frame of my champion gen set, I simply moved it over to the generator shed and mounted it there. My champion generator still has its motor snorkel installed. If something happens with the harbor freight generator I can simply pull off the hose from it , roll over the champion push on the propane line ,plug in the house power cord and start it up ! (the beauty of pulling it out of service BEFORE it throws a rod...) Next I need to wire in the onan hard wire remote start switch. (I haven't had an onan generator in over 12 years) BUT I left the remote start switch wiring in place from the house to the generator shack...
I haven't heard of anyone else converting the H.F. inverter generator to propane , but i'm sure that I am not the first.
Propane is definitely the best way to run any generator , limited use or daily runner.
No choke needed , starts easy in cold weather, very clean burning , way cheaper than gasoline.
The Motor Snorkel is awesome. Super easy install & swaps rite over to your new generator... most of the time...
Any issue with the propane delivery would be covered by motor snorkel. As far as the H.F. gen set itself. I read several reviews about them failing around 125-150 hrs... we will see. Many others rave about it.
My offgrid friends who recommended the inverter gen set, also stressed buying the extended warranty, 1 year or 2. I bought the 2 year, for an extra $144. With it I can exchange this generator for any reason for the next two years.
Went in and wired to the starter switch today. I can now start this from the house! I located the wires for shut down as well but did not try wiring them today. So I can start it from my easy chair but I still need to walk outside to turn it off.
While out there I had off the air cleaner assembly so I went ahead and pulled the motor snorkel off for some photos.
Hi Eric; Highly recommended! Still going strong. The motor snorkel is the ticket as well. Hooked up to our large bulk propane tank , it starts below zero and runs and runs! Never add gas in the dark again!
Also being an inverter generator, even at just 3500 watts it can run anything I own! My onan 3500 could not do that!
Yes , but they strongly suggest putting a gas valve in line and shutting it off each time.
If this was a limited use genny that is what I would do.
However this genny gets run everyday, sometimes multiple times. I have a shut off in line , but I do not use it unless working on the regulator. If the motors not sucking then the regulator stays shut.
Engines that run on propane are super clean, the oil hardly gets dirty. They will get a little moisture in the oil so it's good to warm them up completely every once and a while to cook the moisture out. Other then that, propane doesn't go bad like gasoline. Its ideal fuel for storage. There is a bit less btus in a gallon of propane compared to gas so fuel consumption is a bit higher and generally generator output can be reduced a bit
I think I'm sold on the whole idea. I already plumbed a propane line from my big tank for a generator. I'll get a nice pad and shed built before I make the purchase. Now I need to rack my brain so I can come up with a way to auto start stop it off an outback inverter
Propane regulators use a spring inside , when the motor turns over and creates a suction the spring pressure is over come and the gas can flow.
There is an adjustment on the outlet of the regulator. Used to adjust the amount of gas allowed thru , larger motors need more flow. You get the motor running then close the adjustment down til the rpms drop, then open back a bit. Under a full load it may need a touch more fine adjustment. Then its good to go forever.
Yes, propane run engines stay very clean inside. Oil changes can be extended. No choke needed and they laugh at below zero temps! Start right up ! They are slightly under powered compared to gasoline but you will never notice. Spark plug gap must be reduced to .20. The Harbor freight unit is easy easy to hard wire for remote start and stop.
Not all who wander are lost... J.R.R. Tolkien
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