Generators for field day

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB1AWM, Jun 5, 2021.

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  1. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My FBO is cautious having been selling some to racers and cautioned. Your not driving your vehicle to the pump there. No point in risking the wrath of the state.
  2. AG5CK

    AG5CK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some 2 stroke equipment (maybe 4 stroke too) has a catalytic converter and the lead in the 100ll may be a problem.
    K6WI likes this.
  3. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    They would go after you for not paying them. If DOT finds red diesel in your tank, they don't fine the station that sold it to you for failing to collect the tax. They fine you for evading the road tax. A fuel retailer does not have a legal duty to ensure the purchaser uses the fuel legally, and though a retailer of on-road fuel is required to collect it, a retailer of off-road fuel is not.
  4. N9DG

    N9DG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Despite it's name, there's nothing low lead about 100LL. It has more than enough lead to build up inside the engines that run it. Those are some of the reasons why there are efforts underway to replace it in aviation.

    The rule of thumb that held true when I was paying attention to it in my aviation days was that 100LL runs about 1.5x the price per gallon of 87 auto gas. Haven't been around general aviation planes in years, so I don't know for sure if that is still a true rule of thumb or not.

    I have never worried about 10% ethanol in any of my small engines. The only place it seems to truly matter is the chainsaws, mostly because of the plastics in the fuel system, otherwise it would be fine there too. The low compression ratio engines on mowers and generators etc gain nothing from high octane fuel.

    For my generator I simply unplug the load that it is on prior to shutdown, and turn the fuel valve off at the fuel tank and let it run the carburettor dry. I also put some fuel stabilizer in the tank and slosh it around. Been doing that over 20 years, and have never had problem with gunked up carburettors.
    N2EY and K8XG like this.
  5. K8XG

    K8XG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Those are two key points that are golden:
    1) Run Float Bowl dry to prevent varnish and needle/seat stickage [I have had to get others engines running knocking the bowl to free the needle]
    2) Use stabilizer , as that counteracts the ethanol as well as other additives

    While I prefer to use the Green Lucas Oil "gas" treatments, the other popular brand even mentions the ethanol issue:
    Sta-Bil 360 Protection Ethanol Treatment & Stabilizer, 8 oz., 22288 - All Products&utm_term=4585375807245420&utm_content=All Products

    NL7W, KX4O and NG1H like this.
  6. N8ZL

    N8ZL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep, 2 of them. One generator and one alternator. I used a briggs 4 cycle on one and a maytag model 72 on the other. I never used them at a field day but they were kinda kool to use at the campground to run icecream makers, etc
    N5PAR and WN1MB like this.
  7. K6WI

    K6WI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    For me, 100ll works just fine. I mostly run it in my chainsaws. Not for the octane, but for the lack of ethanol. I could drive 40 miles round trip and pay over $8.00 a gallon for ethanol free 93 octane, or I can drive 8 miles round trip and get 100ll for About $5.00 a gallon.
  8. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recall seeing mention of new diesel cycle small aircraft engines that could run on jet-a fuel. This was to avoid the lead issue as well as remove the problem of having to stock different fuels for small and large aircraft. As jet-a fuel has greater energy density it means aircraft that were refitted with this diesel engine would get more power and/or range.

    So, that's one path considered to replace avgas. From my little experience on this it seems people are happy enough to use mogas for recreational flying.

    The local Marion airport sells mogas for $3.80 and avgas for $4.55, which by my calculation is a 20% premium. I'm sure that varies.

    This is about generators so....

    I remember having to work on Mom's generator, dealing with some "gunk" and then a leaky fuel shut off valve. Mom's generator became my brother's generator after Dad died and she moved. I don't know what kind of fuel they used but I avoid ethanol because of horror stories of ethanol sucking water out of the air and it collecting in fuel tanks. I'm not totally opposed to ethanol in fuel, I purposefully run a tank or two when the seasons change as I know the temperature shift tends to put water in the tank and ethanol tends to get it out. Too much ethanol in the fuel for too long, especially in below freezing temperatures, and there can be ice in the tank. The fuel gets cold enough that a water droplet freezes and it "grows" as more water freezes to it. In warm temperatures the ethanol can evaporate and the water comes out of solution, then it can sink to the bottom and stall the engine.

    I know water in fuel issues are rare but there's more. I remember doing the math with my brothers on mileage, fuel, and fuel prices and the ethanol price difference wasn't making up for the higher burn rate. Ethanol blended fuel has a lower energy per gallon than the all petroleum fuel. The difference is small that most people would only notice with careful observation. The price savings are also small from buying ethanol fuel.

    So, there's a hygroscopic issue with ethanol, a lower bang/buck ratio, and the politics of ethanol blended fuels that bother me. Any one is enough to not buy it for anything. This discussion did lead me to look what the manufacturers of my small engines think of ethanol blended fuel and checking with four manufacturers I find them saying 10% ethanol is fine but 15% is not. Because many fuel pumps don't specify how much ethanol is in the fuel I avoid it when I can.

    Troy-bilt, Honda, Stihl, and Briggs & Stratton all said to avoid 15% ethanol. I got a retailer recommending not to use 15% ethanol in A-iPower generators, I don't know if this is from the manufacturer or the people that sell the stuff. I don't own anything from Generac but I happened to see in my search that they recommend avoiding ethanol too.

    A short comment on chainsaws since that was mentioned... I like batteries for things that small. A gas burning chainsaw may be a requirement for many but when cleaning up after the derecho I had my 20 volt Dewalt recip saw, one brother had an electric chainsaw, and two brothers had gas burners. We were all doing great. Batteries needed to be swapped often but they were quiet, instant start/stop, plenty of power, and quite reliable.

    One last thing... Wear proper gear everyone. Power tools are no joke.
  9. K6WI

    K6WI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    FYI on safety gear... Did you know that chainsaw chaps will not stop an electric chainsaw from cutting you?
  10. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know emergency rooms were busy with chainsaw injuries after the derecho. I suspect many people learned that lesson.

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