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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well we lost power at 10:30 am on Sunday and waited until the next morning to fire up the generator. My setup is a Firman T07571 tri-fuel gen with a 30 amp plug and interlock device on my panel. My fuel was natural gas. I have GenTent to cover the generator in the event of rain. I have one portable AC in the master bedroom. This is the first use of my setup and I have to say that I was very pleased with the results with the exception of not enough AC. As LaSwamp said the heat and humidity was a killer. The AC plan needs some work.

Notes on my setup.

The panel feed with the interlock works well and has all the advantage that everyone talks about. The biggest difficulty is managing power consumption among a family that is used to running anything and everything at the same time. I had to place signs on high demand appliances stating to ask me for permission to use it (toaster, Microwave, coffee machine, etc.) so that I could shut down appliances to offset the added demand. With extension cords you can easily control what is plugged in. Don’t get me wrong, I would never go back to extension cords but the need for power management doesn’t go away with the panel feed.
So, after a day in the brutal heat with one room cool the wife and kids said later dad and left for a hotel in Mobile, Alabama. I stayed with the 3 cats. That made power management much easier. No surprise “I forgot that I needed to ask you before I use the microwave”.
So, running on NG lowered my gen’s wattage output to 5500 running watts. The first day I tried to just use the AC only at night for sleeping but quickly gave in and kept it running 24/7. One reason is that it took a long time to cool down the room if I let the room heat up all day long. So that meant that I was using ~ 1100 watts on one pole constantly. I was lucky to have the fridge and wine cooler (critical appliance) on the second pole which only added up to about 500 running watts. I tried to run additional appliances off of the second pole as much as I could. Fans in the kitchen, selected overhead lights that were on the second pole and left ones on the first pole off. I was trying to keep the usage at 50% or less since they had said that power restoration could take weeks! I was lucky and I feel guilty in my good fortune to have power back after 8 days. I feel so for all those that still don’t have power. So, one lesson learned is that I added a column to my power consumption worksheet that identifies what pole each appliance/plug is hooked up to so I can manage power at the pole level. Is this going overboard? I don’t know but since this was my first use of this genset and not knowing how long the power would be out I was doing everything I could to not stress the unit. Kept hearing about generator failures at different government and private facilities. Which by the way I had a self-made digital TV antenna that gave me access to the news on our local channels even though cable was out.
Moving on to oil changes. My first oil change was after 25 hours which was the break in period. The oil was definitely darker but not real dark. The second oil change came at 100 additional hours per maintenance schedule. I was surprised at how dark the oil was. That raised my concern so I decided to increase the interval level to every 50 hours. Well I was just getting ready to change the oil again at 50 additional hours when the power came back on.
Continuing on oil, I noticed around the second day that there was an oil stain on my bricks right under the air filter and confirmed that there was oil in the bottom of the air filter cabinet. I could prevent oil from dripping by wiping the inside of the air filter cabinet daily. Need to investigate this.
GenTent use: Because of the forecast of rain nearly every day (even though where I was, we didn't get any significant rain after the storm) I put the GeTent on nightly and occasionally during the day if it became cloudy. The first night it did rain and the tent worked as advertised but it was not a storm more like a summer shower. I do have concerns that the tent does prevent some heat dissipation from the generator and in the heat we were experiencing I was nervous so I tried to limit its use. I even used a patio umbrella to shade the generator from the blistering heat of the sun. I also made a point of giving the generator a 30 minute break twice a day.

In summary, I am thrilled that the natural gas option worked as well as it did. Also knowing that I can kick in additional wattage by switching to gasoline as a fuel (when the family is home and cable/internet is up) to 7500 watts. Never got to test this but no reason it won’t work.
 

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I’m a Journeyman Lineman down here working , ring without power sucks. We are working hard to get it done thankfully you had a generator. It sure has been hot this week !
 

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Well we lost power at 10:30 am on Sunday and waited until the next morning to fire up the generator. My setup is a Firman T07571 tri-fuel gen with a 30 amp plug and interlock device on my panel. My fuel was natural gas. I have GenTent to cover the generator in the event of rain. I have one portable AC in the master bedroom. This is the first use of my setup and I have to say that I was very pleased with the results with the exception of not enough AC. As LaSwamp said the heat and humidity was a killer. The AC plan needs some work.

Notes on my setup.

The panel feed with the interlock works well and has all the advantage that everyone talks about. The biggest difficulty is managing power consumption among a family that is used to running anything and everything at the same time. I had to place signs on high demand appliances stating to ask me for permission to use it (toaster, Microwave, coffee machine, etc.) so that I could shut down appliances to offset the added demand. With extension cords you can easily control what is plugged in. Don’t get me wrong, I would never go back to extension cords but the need for power management doesn’t go away with the panel feed.
So, after a day in the brutal heat with one room cool the wife and kids said later dad and left for a hotel in Mobile, Alabama. I stayed with the 3 cats. That made power management much easier. No surprise “I forgot that I needed to ask you before I use the microwave”.
So, running on NG lowered my gen’s wattage output to 5500 running watts. The first day I tried to just use the AC only at night for sleeping but quickly gave in and kept it running 24/7. One reason is that it took a long time to cool down the room if I let the room heat up all day long. So that meant that I was using ~ 1100 watts on one pole constantly. I was lucky to have the fridge and wine cooler (critical appliance) on the second pole which only added up to about 500 running watts. I tried to run additional appliances off of the second pole as much as I could. Fans in the kitchen, selected overhead lights that were on the second pole and left ones on the first pole off. I was trying to keep the usage at 50% or less since they had said that power restoration could take weeks! I was lucky and I feel guilty in my good fortune to have power back after 8 days. I feel so for all those that still don’t have power. So, one lesson learned is that I added a column to my power consumption worksheet that identifies what pole each appliance/plug is hooked up to so I can manage power at the pole level. Is this going overboard? I don’t know but since this was my first use of this genset and not knowing how long the power would be out I was doing everything I could to not stress the unit. Kept hearing about generator failures at different government and private facilities. Which by the way I had a self-made digital TV antenna that gave me access to the news on our local channels even though cable was out.
Moving on to oil changes. My first oil change was after 25 hours which was the break in period. The oil was definitely darker but not real dark. The second oil change came at 100 additional hours per maintenance schedule. I was surprised at how dark the oil was. That raised my concern so I decided to increase the interval level to every 50 hours. Well I was just getting ready to change the oil again at 50 additional hours when the power came back on.
Continuing on oil, I noticed around the second day that there was an oil stain on my bricks right under the air filter and confirmed that there was oil in the bottom of the air filter cabinet. I could prevent oil from dripping by wiping the inside of the air filter cabinet daily. Need to investigate this.
GenTent use: Because of the forecast of rain nearly every day (even though where I was, we didn't get any significant rain after the storm) I put the GeTent on nightly and occasionally during the day if it became cloudy. The first night it did rain and the tent worked as advertised but it was not a storm more like a summer shower. I do have concerns that the tent does prevent some heat dissipation from the generator and in the heat we were experiencing I was nervous so I tried to limit its use. I even used a patio umbrella to shade the generator from the blistering heat of the sun. I also made a point of giving the generator a 30 minute break twice a day.

In summary, I am thrilled that the natural gas option worked as well as it did. Also knowing that I can kick in additional wattage by switching to gasoline as a fuel (when the family is home and cable/internet is up) to 7500 watts. Never got to test this but no reason it won’t work.
glad you are ok!
try these things for your plan.
use good large dehumidifiers or portable room aircon units that have a dehumidify setting.
less water in the air the cooler it feels, as well as you can breath better.
i use meters built in to the system at the breaker panel to watch the power load.
pm if you need details with parts list.
you can lock out breakers with lock out tag out...
and they make lock out tag out for extension cords as well!

on the BIG power loss when on alt fuel.
the NG jetting must be wrong on the gen set...
for that reason we use tri fuel kits and load blocks so we can get the mix right.
we do not see the power loss on our setups here.
pm if you need one on one help with this.

are you running oil magnets??
if not you need them asap.
that black trash is a bad thing.
the oil should be clear when on LP or NG fuels up to 200 hours.
did you break in the generator on gasoline?
and standard dyno oil?
and did you add in the zddp additive?
 

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My experience was similar to yours. This was the first time I ran my inverters during a multi-day outage. I noticed I am also getting oil in the air box. Not much, but a little. It's coming from the vent hose attached to the valve cover. It does that on my Firman as well. It's my understanding that a bit of oil blowing into the airbox is not unusual given that small engines like ours use splash oil circulation. Unless it gets really excessive, I don't believe it's cause for concern.

I changed the oil at the 20 hour end of the break-in period for my Wen. The oil was dark but didn't look bad. I changed it with Chevron Delo 5w40. When I changed the oil again after about 70 hours of run time, the Delo was really dark. Given how long and under the conditions the Wen ran, I wasn't surprised. My guess is I could probably go 100 hours easily. The Wen seemed to run really well on the Delo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FYI - NG consumption according to my utility company. I added the gasoline column for comparison of what it would have cost if I used gasoline.

DateNG used CCF$HighTempLowTempGasoline $ if used.
2021-08-30 00:00:00 UT
10.6​
8.34​
80​
67​
22​
2021-08-31 00:00:00 UT
14.867​
11.7​
86​
77​
44​
2021-09-01 00:00:00 UT
16.52​
13​
93​
76​
44​
2021-09-02 00:00:00 UT
12.88​
10.13​
87​
77​
44​
2021-09-03 00:00:00 UT
16.88​
13.28​
91​
77​
44​
2021-09-04 00:00:00 UT
17.1​
13.45​
93​
76​
44​
2021-09-05 00:00:00 UT
18.2​
14.32​
92​
75​
44​
2021-09-06 00:00:00 UT
6.86​
5.4​
87​
76​
15​
Sum
$89.62​
$301.00​


Here is an hourly break down on my highest use day (Wife and kids were back but cable/internet still down). 7pm is when i was letting it rest before the night shift started.

Rectangle Font Parallel Plot Slope
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m a Journeyman Lineman down here working , ring without power sucks. We are working hard to get it done thankfully you had a generator. It sure has been hot this week !
JustinSL, thank you for coming down here to help get the power back up. I know everyone in my neighborhood appreciates you.
 

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Wow my previous house with natural gas did not have that kind of detailed break down. Yeah, big difference in cost between NG and gasoline. Little better between NG and LPG.

The oil accumulation in the air box is totally normal. It’s a byproduct of ventilating the crankcase. Early hour use might see a bit for accumulation as some piston blow by is likely until the engine breaks in fully.

Look into wattage meters, reliance has a simple analog meter box that will give valuable insight on your electrical loads.
 

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cool on the ng readout!
smart meters help plan for supply for the gas guys!
and yes NG rocks as long as the supply is active.
we use it here as part of the tri fuel plan.
and it is the first choice on fuel in the plan.
nice to be able to just jack in, prime, and start!
 

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JustinSL, thank you for coming down here to help get the power back up. I know everyone in my neighborhood appreciates you.
No problem , it’s what we do. People down south are way more friendly than the people up around New England. Hopefully in the next two weeks everything will be back to normal. Getting a thank you goes a long way. All of us appreciate it.
 

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No problem , it’s what we do. People down south are way more friendly than the people up around New England. Hopefully in the next two weeks everything will be back to normal. Getting a thank you goes a long way. All of us appreciate it.
cool on the BIG grid update....
lots of small grid will be months in the remote areas for total restoration..
and who knows if it will hit again this year.
 

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I’ve worked in a lot of places and Louisiana has the most out dated , worn out , and rotted systems I’ve worked on in my 14 years out here. Detroit is pretty bad as well. Entergy should’ve updated their system at least 10 years ago. Love the food down here though. I hate it for the people but I enjoy storm work and helping people out. Sounds bad but it helps me and my family out because we get so much overtime. It’s not been all fun and games though we have worked hard and it extremely hot here. Much more than Wv.
 

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lol on the good eats!
yup they do know how to cook down there!

and yes on the old grid...
they had some of that here in Iowa back 20 years....
they up graded BIG towers and poles and it helped.
a lot of that survived the dechero 08/10/2020.

they are learning more each storm...

buried utilities are ok till trees grow in to the utility lines...
bad wind or floods uproot the trees and you are grid back down.
somewhere i have pix of buried power and gas lines in tree roots from an F4 back a few years.
 

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Glad to hear everything worked out. I'm in South Florida and have a similar setup as you aside from the natural gas (jealous). I recently installed a 9,000 BTU 20 SEER mini split into one room (my office) and it will be my backup A/C post-hurricane since my central A/C is a 5-ton. I went with a 120v unit although I sort of regret not getting a 240v unit since now I have to pay attention to balancing the load. I have a meter next to my electrical panel that I can monitor the load on both legs of the generator feed. The mini split is on a sub panel so I'm not sure what phase it's on, I do have room in the sub panel to move it to the other phase if needed. I have two refrigerators on one phase and plan on having the mini split and everything else on the opposite phase.

Back to the mini split, on low it pulls about 1.6 amps:
Measuring instrument Gas Temperature Tool Electric blue


On full blast in TURBO mode it was pulling 9.5 amps and it would turn the room into an icebox at that output!
Temperature Measuring instrument Gas Font Electric blue


Definitely a good option to consider!
 

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@ kairus00

cool
easy to map out the power on a house.
take your time.
we pull the breaker panel cover and use 2 of the clamp meters
one on L1 the other on L2
turn every thing on and look at the numbers on both meters.
if they are close you are good to go.
then start switching off breakers with every thing on
every other breaker switches from L1 to L2 on the left and same in reverse on the right.
pm if you need help on this.
 

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Rene, I have a friend who has the exact model Firman you have. He picked it up right before the storm, so it's brand new. He said the electric start went out on it almost immediately. Have you had any issues with yours? I told him to contact Firman about it. They want him to run several tests before they send him any replacement parts. Have you had any issues with yours?
 

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cool on the BIG grid update....
lots of small grid will be months in the remote areas for total restoration..
and who knows if it will hit again this year.
A lot of my friend are in all electric neighborhoods on New Orleans West Bank, no natural gas. They are totally dependent on the grid. Some places were charging $6 a gallon for gasoline. A lot of people have gasoline powered generators from previous hurricanes. One buddy told me a guy had a 50 gallon drum of gasoline on the side of the road. $10 a gallon!
 

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A lot of my friend are in all electric neighborhoods on New Orleans West Bank, no natural gas. They are totally dependent on the grid. Some places were charging $6 a gallon for gasoline. A lot of people have gasoline powered generators from previous hurricanes. One buddy told me a guy had a 50 gallon drum of gasoline on the side of the road. $10 a gallon!
yea got to watch the price gouging during an event...
with covid still here there are federal rules as well as state rules on over pricing....
and now days every one has a camera!
they will find you later for sure....
it is a sellers market during an event...
but we always try to do the right thing and sell at market price.

after all the dust settles on the current events more folks are pushing for better grid plans for towns and states!
and now is the time to write our folks in public office to seed them with questions and solutions that would make your area a better place!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Rene, I have a friend who has the exact model Firman you have. He picked it up right before the storm, so it's brand new. He said the electric start went out on it almost immediately. Have you had any issues with yours? I told him to contact Firman about it. They want him to run several tests before they send him any replacement parts. Have you had any issues with yours?
No, I have not had any problems with the electric start.I do make sure I bleed the 25 feet of NG hose I hook up to the gen before trying to fire it up. I was starting it twice a day for 7 days and it never failed. I have seen videos of people just cranking away with the electric start without it starting. Have no idea as to whether that is what your friend experienced.
 

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No, I have not had any problems with the electric start.I do make sure I bleed the 25 feet of NG hose I hook up to the gen before trying to fire it up. I was starting it twice a day for 7 days and it never failed. I have seen videos of people just cranking away with the electric start without it starting. Have no idea as to whether that is what your friend experienced.
As far as I know, he used gasoline in his. I haven't had a chance to examine the generator yet but he told me that Firman suggested it could be a bad solenoid. They want him to do some tests before they will send him parts. He was able to start the generator with the pull start but he, understandably, wants to be able to use the electric start. I believe the generator, otherwise, worked well.

He has a Generac that's about 15 years old. It runs fine but the voltage fluctuates quite a bit. The engine is not surging, so it's not that. He brought it to a shop about 6 months ago but was told they could not figure out what was causing it. I was thinking bad AVR, but apparently that's not what's causing the issue. My guess is there is something in the electronics that has failed or is failing.
 

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simi conductors or a hot spot in the winding.
over time those show up as power sag when the rpm is rock solid.

kinda surprised it is not driving the gov nutz.
if it is super bad the gov will surge speed to compensate for low voltage.
but then again it maybe HZ based only gov.
 
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