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I'm looking into upgrading my current portable generator to something larger for back-up for my home. I'm currently looking at the Westinghouse WPro 12000 which has good reviews, a decent warranty and is within my budget. It has what Westinghouse calls "Smart Idle" which is their version of idle control but unfortunately it cannot be turned off. My concern is how this will affect things like my well pump, furnace motors and fridge compressors. I'm not sure what the long term effect would be on these electric motors if there is a delay in the generator ramping up to speed when the motors call for it? Does anyone with more experience dealing with electric motors then I have any information or experience regarding idle controls and long term affects on electric motors?


Any information would be appreciated.


Thanks to all.
 

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sure is a hungry gen!!
but it is a large v twin!!
I would do a pricy thing...
run 2 of the eu7000is unit in parallel....

do you need all that power??
do a site survey for the power required...
you might find you do not need as much as you think..
also it might identify a bad appliance or low efficiency item!!

not all well pumps are created equal!! lol!!
there are some that require soooo much less power to run!!

also there are logic load share panels that use priority to turn off an item so a large item like a well pump can run for the 5 to 10 min
then resume the other loads!!

some items like large radio transmitters need the high power all the time...
but if you are a home... then some things can be turned off during the high current demand!.

have you changed your home all over to led lights??
when was the last time you cleaned the refrigerator and freezer coils??

have a meter system installed on your service panel to help with watching loads!!
message me if you need help on that!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do I need all that power, no, do I want all that power yes! lol

I've been using a now 28 year old generator rated about half that of the Westinghouse along with a lock-out on my electrical panel so I have the ability to pick and choose which circuits get priority and which ones are secondary. We lose power here more often then I care to think about and I've gotten to the point where I want the luxury of being able run most if not all circuits which include electric water heater, and central AC unit. I have been using LED bulbs for years now, would not go any other route I also installed two Murata Power Solutions ACM20-4-AC1-R-F-C digital panel meters to monitor current, voltage and Hz. The infrastructure is in place so changing panels to shed loads is not an option nor is purchasing new appliances or well pumps to replace ones that may not be that efficient. But I think we are getting off topic, my question and concern was whether or not the auto idle feature had any negative affects on electric motors over time.
 

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well you could do the large gen small gen thing..
or go the route I did and use honda inverter gens..
I use the eu2200i units (4 of them)
and then depending on what I am doing parallel the units to get up to 6400 watts... at 125 vac.
but you have 220 pump.. I assume...

back to your question on loading. it will depend on the gens reaction time for throttle up..
104 volts is the max low most things will stand for...
the current demand jumps up at the lower voltage... so more heating on the motors...
and if the motors have brushes yea it will eat the slip rings brushes and armature over time!!
and if the gen is brush type it will eat on the gen as well!!

I would put the well pump on manual only when on gen to stop this!!
then you can reduce the load on your panel, and run the pump till your bladder tank is full.
oh yea you might think on a larger bladder tank!! or add a second bladder tank with check valves on both tanks inlets!!

it will increase the run time but double the capacity till it needs to run again!
and you can ball valve the tanks as well to select output one or two or both!!

the short of it they say you want the gen at high speed for hard load cut in!
but if you are lower current cut in lets say 15 amps or less the switch to the auto speed control.

I prefer the honda eu7000is gens as they have a servo throttle system that is ultra fast response for loads
and will do the any throttle position thing to save fuel.
 

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I must be lost here. I am thinking what about electronic devices that hide in the background while the electric motors are not running.
There are the microwaves, computers, clocks, TVs, and radios, along with furnace control boards that are at idle, you name it.
Surely you would not turn off each off the small power consuming items just to idle down the generator!
I use a 16 KW Generac that runs 3600 rpm continuously and I rarely notice a large difference in my NG bill for emergency services.
The switch gear only changes service when the voltage is ramped up to 240 vac.
Why would you take a chance burning up a device trying to save fuel running a generator at idle?
Now @ IowaGold, How do you sync four generators to match frequency?
I have often wondered if that was possible without being a electrical genius which most are not!
Please explain!
 

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I'll add a couple things, but first a question: Is this an inverter-type generator? In other words, is the output voltage and frequency independent of engine speed?

Back to the original question - The problem with motors is the initial current demand, called inrush.
If line voltage is too low then necessary starting voltage isn't sufficient and motors can stall. In this situation I guess it would depend upon how fast the generator can recover. Also, if this generator is not an inverter type then the frequency is going to be low, which will rise as the generator speed increases.
I don't think there's any way to know for sure if this is going to be a problem other than by testing, see what happens. You would also want to consider long-term detrimental effects, if any.

Secondly, as toolLover suggests, there are always-running household loads that need stable 60hz and voltage. Who knows if there will be enough constant load to keep this generator out of the idle mode? And, if the generator is not inverter-type, who knows what will happen if the idle mode does enable?

These things are what I'd want to parse before purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just want to clarify that I'm not looking to idle down the generator at all, I was merely stating that this particular generator has an Auto Idle feature that cannot be turned off and that is where my concern is.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE: I decided to contact Westinghouse again regarding their "Smart Idle" feature, after 35 minutes and several transfers I finally spoke to someone who could explained how the Westinghouse "Smart Idle" feature works. According to Michael from Westinghouse some generators that have idle down features lower engine RPM's in order to reduce fuel consumption as a consequence the voltage and Hz are also reduced. According to Micheal even though the engine RPM's are lowered the unit still produces 120/240 volts @ 60Hz. The engine will only ramp up to maintain voltage and Hz which is dependent on the load. If that makes any sense, my apologies if I did not explain it clearly.
 

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The idle down features are usually active when load is zero or close to zero. As long as something is connected to the generator and consuming power the generator should be at full speed (~3600rpm) if you were to take all load off the of the generator then it will idle down. This is based on different generators with that option but it’s usually an option, which can and should be bypassed with a switch on the control panel.

With that being said Auto idle is useful on construction sites where loads are intermittent but not for home backup. The frequency output of a alternator style generator (not inverter) is 100% percent dependent on engine speed. A two pole alternator at 3600rpm is 60hz. 60hz isn’t optional, it needs to be at or close in order to power sensitive electronics which our homes are full of. Voltage can vary between 115-125/230-250 and have little effect on functionality.

My suggestion, is to keep some type of load on the generator at all times.

Are you sure there is no way to turn auto idle off?!
 

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hey TL ref "Now @ IowaGold, How do you sync four generators to match frequency?
https://hondagenerator.groups.io
In theory the basic principle to parallel multiple and varied sources at zero crossing is applicable to small or large.
In practice there are electrical and mechanical considerations, such as which device or devices shall lead, which shall lag, cross current compensation ... and several more issues to be solved that are above my pay grade.

Maybe you're right. Maybe four is too many <grin> and sure is fun to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For whatever reason Westinghouse chose not to provide the option of turning this feature off. My guess is that it has to do with supporting their claims of 16 hours run time @ 25% load and 11 hours @ 50% load.
 

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Homedepots website for the westing house Wgen12000.

“ Smart Idle automatically lowers idle speed with no load to enhance fuel efficiency and extend run times “

You’ll rarely have no load. Easy enough to keep a couple lights on.

I must say this smells of EPA/ CARB emission compliance.
 

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lol thinking of simpsons!! eeeeepaaaa!!
yea that could be just it!!
epa!!
hummm are there any parts blow ups on the large Westinghouse gen yet?

there might be an low speed idle screw!!
set the low idle up a bit!!
that helps the recovery from in rush!!
all it takes is a couple of hundred rpm..
so if idle is 2500 take it to 2700rpm and let the servo take it from there!

the servos on the Hondas are spring loaded..
so setting them up does not hurt the servo!!
 

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I think modifying the generator or governor is something of a heavy-handed solution. Not to mention being more permanent.

If this truly is an issue, I'd do as was mentioned, and connect a small load that's big enough to take it out of idle. A 25W light bulb may be enough, it depends on how sensitive the generator is. Maybe you need 75w, etc, to make it speed up. But it's cheap, easy, doesn't impact warranty, and is minimal wasted fuel for a generator this big (keeping it running probably uses quite a bit more than the extra to run a needless 75W).

But I doubt this would really be an ongoing issue. For home backup, you'll almost always have *some* small loads running (it's not a construction site running just a circular saw). Your cable boxes, router, a light somewhere, small loads from the devices that are "off".

I'll bet it will stay out of idle mode, once connected to the house loads. If you want to speed it up before connecting house loads (a good idea, IMO), plug in a light or something to the generator to bring it out of idle, then start turning on breakers one at a time. Then turn the light off, and let it run.

My generator had a switch for idle. I brought it up to speed before connecting house loads. An incandescent light doesn't care about getting 40Hz for a second or two, but other things might.
 

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I would still like to see one of the Westinghouse gens with a meter and loads on it before purchase...

yup I agree a pre load would be cool.. maybe 240 volt??? or one on each leg...

a hard generator cut in with an ats without load shed or load delays all at once is back to the big in rush issues...
I guess this is why I have manual on my system...
and the load center is on the main level easy to get to and watch the gen and box current.

I have everything balanced for L1 and L2.
that way it is an even load.
 
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