Sunday, April 6, 2014

Generator laundry day

Nothing like waking up to fresh snow -in April. Sigh . . .

It was a good day to set up the generator for a test run. The generator fired right up and put a charge in the batteries. Normally I'd wait for a sunny day to do laundry, but might as well put that excess generator power to good use. Using a generator near its capacity is more efficient.

Then there was the darn washing machine. The “no water” alarm kept going off. That made no sense to me as there was plenty of water right up to the washing machine. I did some probing around and discovered flow restrictors in the water inlets. The flow restrictors had picked up a tiny bit of grit and plugged.

Why would there be flow restrictors on a washing machine in the first place? The machine needs a certain amount of water to function. All the flow restrictors did was to slow down the filling process. It used the same amount of water. Perhaps there was some sort of Federal law requiring flow restrictors?

I've got mixed feelings about having a generator in the first place, but northern NH has a lot of cloudy days. Right now I'm using up the left over gasoline from the sailboat outboard. Gasoline doesn't keep very long. It's tempting to convert the motor to run on propane. It would run cleaner, propane keeps a long time, and it's more economical.

Of course, ideally, I'd live within my solar budget. At least I've got the generator option.



  1. Converting an internal combustion engine is difficult. For electrical generation, it's also unnecessary. I'd suggest if you're going to go tinkering take a page from the big boys and use an external combustion, a.k.a. steam, engine to power your electrical generator. Then you can use any fuel your heart desires to make the steam: gasoline, propane, methane, biodiesel, wood, coal, solar thermal, radioactive material... okay, maybe you should stay away from the last one.

    1. Steam would be fun, fuel cheap, but engine expensive

  2. You could always get a diesel generator and burn veggie.

  3. Or get one of those Chinese Diesel engines and hook it up to your generator.

    Wade in NW Florida

  4. Here's one for $700. Ten horse. Less hp, cheaper.

  5. Always good to have an option. You need a diesel generator so you can use veggie oil to run it, like was suggested above.

  6. Propane engines run cleaner, but the energy released by propane is substantially less than gasoline, or diesel. The result is fuel economy around half; twice as many gallons of fuel.

    After a half dozen hurricane, and other weather events during my lifetime, I've found a diesel generator is best for lack of maintenance, fuel efficiency and dependability.

    Gasoline is my second choice, although the fuel consumption is enough to cause more than a strain on the wallet.

  7. I went a little nuts and used more power than the generator was putting out. Did not do the math. Duh!

    Ran low in the middle of the night, but a sunny morning had me in the green by 10am.