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Old 10-18-2006, 04:36 PM   #1
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Propane converted Generators- problems?

I am giving very serrious thought to picking up a Yamaha generator in the near future. The plan is for doing the propane conversion. The dealer I am talking to recomends against it and says the conversion can cause problems. So- for you converted generator owners out there- how are your units working? glad you did it? wish you hadnt?
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:41 PM   #2
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Got my Yamaha propane inverter generator converted from here:

http://www.yamaha-propane-natural-gas-generators.com/

All it took was to get a connector for the new style propane tanks, some pipe mud, propane and fill the oil pan and I was off, no mods required.

Two things:

Research realistically what you will be powering. Unless you got cash to burn, you really want to do it right the first time cause these pre-done cost a bit more than the straight gasoline units. Don't be swayed by folks saying propane powers worse than gas, I hooked nearly 1000watts to mine (it's the 1000 watt unit) and got 1000 watts and it sipped the propane ever so slightly too.

Second, give yourself at least 4-6 weeks before you'll need it. US Carb were nice enough, but I didn't get the impression they were very orginized.
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:43 PM   #3
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How much have you used it? any problems?
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:55 PM   #4
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I have a bit over 6 hours on it on the last trip. Can't speak for the larger units, but I was VERY pleased to not hear it like I thought I would. 6 hours isn't much, but I suspect, like my Airstream, I'd start to have some indication early...so far it's met and in some cased exceeded my expectations. The only small issue (and it's a personal one) is that in the pic on the website, you don't see the bulky regulator they put on the unit on the back side. It adds about 3-4" of depth that I hadn't counted on, but for it's size, weight and what I've seen, I'm pretty happy with it. It (the 1000) won't power most A/C units like it's 2400 series counterpart, but then again, per Dometic, the 2400 also wouldn't power my 15k BTU (without long term damage), so I'd need either a 3000 or 2 2400s, which wasn't gonna happen.

Unit starts easy, runs quiet and best of all, no gasoline vapors in transit. Just detach the hose, throw it in the back of the Suburban and you're off. Charges the batteries great, won't power the Microwave, but did power an electric chain saw flawlessly.
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:09 PM   #5
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No uWave ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Charges the batteries great, won't power the Microwave, but did power an electric chain saw flawlessly.
What? That seems very strange. 2400 watts is 20 amps. What other loads were on the system?

-Bernie
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:18 PM   #6
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twink has the 1kw unit. derate 10% for propane and he is getting 900 watts.

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Old 10-18-2006, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
The plan is for doing the propane conversion. The dealer I am talking to recomends against it and says the conversion can cause problems.
hi gen disarray....

what problems?

cheers
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:55 PM   #8
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I have a Honda eu300i that I did the US Carb propane conversion on. Other than being a pita to start sometimes it runs fine, seems to be just as quite as the gasser, and on the plus side it can sit in the garage all winter as a standby gen for power outages and the "gas" never gets old. I used it all summer to run my 13.5 a/c, will pull it just fine but will not do the micro at the same time. Course it would'nt do that when it was a gasser either.....oh yeah, exhaust fumes aren't quite as bad as the gas model...
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:04 PM   #9
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Night Terror on the Gunflint Trail

It was a quiet night on Kimball Lake last month. A loon last called at about sunset. A dinner of fresh caught rainbow trout was headed for the grill. Other combinations paired up that night were a nice crusty hearth bread, my OEM Sharp 900W convection microwave and 2000W Honda eu2000i. I was standing at the screen door when Susie hit the button for the microwave and the Honda auto-switched out of eco throttle up to regular speed. About three seconds later that supposedly quiet Honda throttled up to a full roar to meet the high current demand -- this took about 10 minutes since the convection was also in the mix. I couldn't imagine running such a microwave on a genset half that size. We'd had a barred owl doing its "Who cooks for you" call around the national forest campground all week -- until that night! After my ears stopped ringing I heard the owl in the distance once, then never again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasafari
I have a Honda eu300i that I did the US Carb propane conversion on......oh yeah, exhaust fumes aren't quite as bad as the gas model...
Uhh... just remember not to wake up dead. OTOH you could convert it to diesel so you'd keep it FAR away from your Airstream ...
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Old 10-19-2006, 06:06 AM   #10
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I've got close to 200 hours on my propane conversion, with no problems whatsoever. It ran for 3 days straight, on the 4th of July weekend, in tandem with a gasoline powered unit.

Some Honda dealers have told me that you can burn the exaust valve, running propane. Other folks who have LOTS of experience with propane engines tell me that any modern engine designed to run on unleaded gasoline will not have valve problems with propane. I am not worried about it. If it burns the valve, I'll spend the $10 for a new one and put it in, big deal. But I don't not think it will be an issue.
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Old 10-19-2006, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
twink has the 1kw unit. derate 10% for propane and he is getting 900 watts.

john
I do have the 1000.

I'm not entirely convinced that the blanket 10% derate for propane is accurate. I ran a 960 watt electric chainsaw off the 1000 without issue. If I were to follow the 10% off as indicated, the generator would have done the same with the chainsaw as it did with the microwave, sputter and come close to stopping. Instead it just kept on going.

Of course this may be a biased, but here is a clip of the info off the website:

http://www.yamaha-propane-natural-gas-generators.com/faq's.htm

Frequently Asked Question's

See also Fuel Consumption , Generator Sizing and Gas Pipe Sizing Chart

Is there any power loss when operating on alternate fuel?
No, we have never had a single unit show a loss of power on alternate fuel. Though lower gallon-to-gallon in BTU content, sometimes they perform even better than running on gasoline (see also fuel consumption). The engine regulator we install has an external fuel mixture adjuster that can be turned with your fingers and can be fine-tuned to your elevation and to the fuel supply connected. That's why we include the Engine Hour/Tachometer Meter with every generator. You can watch the engines rpm output while turning the mixture adjuster for peak performance and high efficiency. This allows full control over the fuel mixture no matter what elevation. This is a big advantage that allows the engine to be reset at anytime. Engine do not use nearly the same fuel mixture in say Florida as they would in Colorado. Unlike operating on gasoline where the carburetor is a fixed jet and it can not be adjusted only replaced. Lean on alternative fuel is cool running, clean burning and efficient.
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Old 10-19-2006, 08:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi gen disarray....

what problems?

cheers
2air'
He said that he has never seen a gasoline motor converted to propane that he thought "ran right". He sounded like a reasonable fellow, so I wanted to check here....
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:04 AM   #13
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I can not speak for the conversion but Chummy has a Onan propane gen-set with over 2400 hours on it and it runs great. Never a problem starting even in the cold winters when we use it most often. No problem with power, it does everything asked. Only thing I do different is get the valves adjusted more often, every 100 hours. I am told propane runs hotter and this extra service is needed.
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:44 AM   #14
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I had a Honda 4000 watt generator converted to run on propane in 1987 when I had my 67 Caravel. I used it a great deal and the beauty of it was it didn't carbon up and it ran for at least 12 hours on the small propane tanks. I never had any trouble with it. If I were to get another one, I would look into the Yamaha dual power from the factory generator. I have the Yamaha 4 stroke motor on my pontoon boat and it is a quality product. I like Honda, but this Yamaha motor has convienced me that they are extremely well built.
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