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Old 06-08-2017, 05:28 AM   #1
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Propane Powered Generator Altitude Question

If you use a propane powered generator, and your travels are in a variety of altitudes, what options are possible for easy setup in lower altitudes and higher altitudes?
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:00 AM   #2
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Genconnect sent me a jet for over 4000 feet. It's very easy to switch out with Allen wrench. Takes about five minutes on my Honda 2000.
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Old 06-08-2017, 12:09 PM   #3
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If you use a propane powered generator, and your travels are in a variety of altitudes, what options are possible for easy setup in lower altitudes and higher altitudes?
Here is what Genconnex told me when I ordered my conversion kit. They actually included 2 extra orifices, 5-8000 feet and 8-11000 feet. As stated by prior post, piece of cake to change out on the fly.

I have also included a note to send you the free orifice kit for high altitude. It should be changed out if youíre above 5-6k or you may not get enough power output from the generator to run youíre a/c. Generator power (all versions) is reduced by about 2% per 1000ft above sea level but is even worse if you donít change to the correct fuel orifice. Effectively, that number can double because itís not only thinner air but not properly balanced with the fuel. Your 2000Watt peak power could be as low as 1300-1400Watts at 7-8k.
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Old 06-08-2017, 04:24 PM   #4
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Thanks Y'all

Thanks for the replies.
I like the propane option.
I'm glad to hear that altitude adjustments are quick and easy.
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Old 06-08-2017, 04:37 PM   #5
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Propane Powered Generator Altitude Question

At a given altitude, do you loose any power output using propane vs gas? I know for any given fuel you'll loose power as you move up in elevation, so that's not the question... just curious at say sea level if you put 2 hondas side by side, one with gas and one with propane, will the horse power output be the same for both units? Or do you take a hit when using propane?

Considering moving from gas to propane on my 2000i.....
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:29 PM   #6
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I have not encountered any problem with, or made any adjustments to, the LP fueled generator in my Airstream Interstate at any altitudes between sea level (the Florida coast) and 8,200 feet (South Fork, Colorado). It never occurred to me there might be one.
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:36 PM   #7
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Hi

If you convert a generator to LP or natural gas from gasoline, you loose a bit of power. In most cases it is < 10%. Any compression engine will loose about 20% going from sea level to 12,000 feet. You will loose more if you do not adjust the fuel mix. The missing element in all this on an inverter generator is - how much is the engine oversized in the first place?

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Old 06-11-2017, 09:49 AM   #8
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Lightbulb Be cautious

Most folks don't notice much difference going to higher elevations without adjusting the carburetor because the motor effectively runs richer. They're using more fuel than necessary but motors generally produce more power with richer mixtures, up to a certain point. (it has to do with the fact that oxidizing a carbon atom to CO produces almost as much energy as to CO2. )
The *BIG DANGER* is adjusting it for the higher altitude then forgetting to re-adjust it for lower altitude, making the motor run too lean, risking overheating, detonation, and all the other symptoms of a too-lean mixture.
EFI to accommodate different altitude would be great, as would a turbo-supercharger to compensate for altitude. (WW2 aircraft used turbos to keep the manifold pressure at sea level despite altitude.)
However, I don't know of any such critter so the next best would be turbo-diesel. Diesel doesn't care about mixtures and turbo-charging goes with diesel like apple pie and ice cream on the Forth of July!
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:02 AM   #9
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Hi

A 2KW turbo diesel inverter generator would be an interesting beast to see

Bob
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
At a given altitude, do you loose any power output using propane vs gas? I know for any given fuel you'll loose power as you move up in elevation, so that's not the question... just curious at say sea level if you put 2 hondas side by side, one with gas and one with propane, will the horse power output be the same for both units? Or do you take a hit when using propane?

Considering moving from gas to propane on my 2000i.....

Wondering if you ever converted? I did, with my Honda eu2000i. It runs great where I live at 6400 feet, and also last week at 8200 feet, in both locations with the high altitude (5,000-8,000 feet) orifice installed that they provide. However, with my Easy Start, I cannot run the AC. I have tried turning off the breaker to the converter/charger, and manually taking the generator out of eco mode...doing that will let the compressor start, but it shuts down after a few minutes. I was wondering if I put the low-altitude orifice back in, which would essentially be a richer fuel mix, if that would help bump power. Even though one of the comments above is in conflict with what genconnex told me (see my comment above.) Genconnex says not switching to the high altitude orifice will cause further power decrease. The person posting after said that it would result in an increase in power due to a richer fuel mix. Hmmm. Who is right?


Confusing.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:31 PM   #11
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I did convert to propane... and I am happy I did - far more convenient and no more gas being hauled around. However, I could not keep the AC running at 6,000 feet with the Honda 2000i with either the high altitude or regular orifice.

In the end, I had lithium and a Victron Multi-Plus hybrid inverter installed - so I can tell the inverter to "help" the genset out with batt power after shore power yields 'X' amps from the generator. I can dynamically set the value of 'X' via a Victron administrative interface mounted in my trailer.

So I am now able to use the genset for "most" of the power needed to run the AC (12 amps is what I typically set on my Victron before PowerAssist kicks in) and the rest of the AC power comes from the lithium battery bank via the PowerAssist function on the victron Multi-Plus / lithium bank.

Very handy. Here is an example where I set the Victron to only take 8 amps from shore power, and the rest from the batteries to run the air conditioner. also avoids running the generator full out pegged at 100% effort.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

If you convert a generator to LP or natural gas from gasoline, you loose a bit of power. In most cases it is < 10%. Any compression engine will loose about 20% going from sea level to 12,000 feet. You will loose more if you do not adjust the fuel mix. The missing element in all this on an inverter generator is - how much is the engine oversized in the first place?

Bob
Yes..you lose engine power/efficiency, but if the alternator is still spinning @2000rpm you've lost nada in 'letrictricle.

Our Gen1, 9yr old, obsolete, uscarb, dual fuel is orificeless.
A couple turns on the LP mixture block can compensate for altitude. 😂 The tach/hr meter helps with the adjustments, setting the mixture has become routine at every new CG.👍

Bob
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:16 PM   #13
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Hi

A 2KW turbo diesel inverter generator would be an interesting beast to see

Bob
It probably would be 'more interesting' to try to pick up such a beast to load it into the truck bed...I doubt there would be a lot of light alloys in the engine structure....
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:24 PM   #14
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Here is what Genconnex told me when I ordered my conversion kit. They actually included 2 extra orifices, 5-8000 feet and 8-11000 feet. As stated by prior post, piece of cake to change out on the fly.

I have also included a note to send you the free orifice kit for high altitude. It should be changed out if youíre above 5-6k or you may not get enough power output from the generator to run youíre a/c. Generator power (all versions) is reduced by about 2% per 1000ft above sea level but is even worse if you donít change to the correct fuel orifice. Effectively, that number can double because itís not only thinner air but not properly balanced with the fuel. Your 2000Watt peak power could be as low as 1300-1400Watts at 7-8k.
My rather crude (overkill engineering department) way to avert some of this was to go with a 3400 watt Champion Dual Fuel generator powered from the AS tanks AND a MicroAir EasyStart modification kit installed into the single A/C unit on the AS. This should give me a little bit of margin for running at altitude.

The only concern is that I don't see an obvious mixture adjustment on the Champion propane regulator. I have noted a lot of complexity around the internal carburetor and fuel plumbing area on it--I'll just have to camp out somewhere high altitude and compare it to somewhere low altitude to see how it behaves.

As good an excuse for a camping trip that I've ever heard...
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I did convert to propane... and I am happy I did - far more convenient and no more gas being hauled around. However, I could not keep the AC running at 6,000 feet with the Honda 2000i with either the high altitude or regular orifice.

In the end, I had lithium and a Victron Multi-Plus hybrid inverter installed - so I can tell the inverter to "help" the genset out with batt power after shore power yields 'X' amps from the generator.
Thanks...good confirmation that my AC issue with the Honda and the Easy Start is normal for those of us at 6000 feet. Bummer. I still love the propane generator, so much cleaner to deal with as you mentioned. I do wonder though if the gas version would have made a difference with the AC at this elevation.

Your solution is an excellent one, but I'm a little ways off from a kick-ass solar system like you have!

Also, re: my question about leaving the low altitude orifice in, at higher altitudes to see if I get more power, yielded this response from Genconnex today:

'Peak power is achieved when you get the correct fuel/air ratio

As you go up in altitude, the air is thinner. If you don't install the
proper orifice to reduce the fuel commensurate with the reduced air then
your generator will run improperly (too rich) and will not produce the peak
power it's capable of at high altitude. Leaving the low altitude orifice
in will also likely cause your spark plug and engine cylinder to get carbon
deposits on them due to it burring too rich.

On the other side, if you keep the high altitude orifice in and run it at
sea level the engine will run too lean and may cause overheating. It will
also not run properly nor will it put out peak power.

This is the same for gasoline or propane.'


So, not switching out the orifice at altitude will hurt, not help.

One last thing, in case you missed it along the way. Genconnex recommends the Champion Z9Y spark plug, with a smaller gap of .020-.022, versus the larger gap that is OEM on the generator from Honda.

We also recommend using a spark plug gap of 0.020-0.022” as propane requires a slightly higher energy for proper combustion. The original factory gap for gasoline is approx 0.028”-0.030”. Leaving the gap larger (especially on the Honda EU3000is through EU7000is) will cause noticeable sputtering at no load and ECO mode. Here is our latest recommendation for spark plugs as of 6/1/2017 for each unit: EU2000i Champion Z9Y (was NGK CR5HSB but showed recent poor performance in hot weather)

Thanks

PK
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:36 PM   #16
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Do any of the newer multi use conversions use a mixture block or are they all using a non-adjustable orifice tube? 😳
Bob
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:40 PM   #17
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I use the Genconnex concession which is not adjustable other than the ability to manually change the orifice for high / low elevation.

I like it because, its "stealth" and gets neatly bundled inside the generator shell
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I use the Genconnex concession which is not adjustable other than the ability to manually change the orifice for high / low elevation.

I like it because, its "stealth" and gets neatly bundled inside the generator shell
Definitely is a cleaner looking application...my work around when I did the UScarb conversion 11 yrs ago.
A spare $12 front cover and a 24gal ActionPacker, with a possibles bag for the LP stuff.
A little bulky, but werks ok.😏

Bob
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