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I am about to buy a camp that is over 7 miles from the nearest power pole and am investigating what type of generator to install. The camp is new and doesn't have any hardwired power at this time. The two sources that I am considering is Honda Gasoline (6000w) or a Kohler Propane generator. I know the costs are hard to compare as the gasoline is easy to install, cheaper on fuel when you include gallons per hour but the engine life of a Kohler is nearly 10x that of a gasoline generator.

I wanted to see what others are using. What has worked, what they would have done differently.

Thanks for the information.

Jim
 

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Tik,
You might want to consider a military 10K generator on its own trailer. Some of these generators have minimal time on them and are a great sourse of portable power for camps way back in the woods. I have a 10K at our log cabin and another one at our main home, both are gas driven. I installed the Electric converter boxes in both our places for ease of use, you might want to consider that also.
None of this is cheap today, get ready to open your wallet.
Both of our 10K generators are capable of bringing our entire properties back on line for emergencies, Air Con, freezers and all.
Good luck with powering your new camp!
Pine Creek/Dave
 

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Get whichever produces the least amount of noise. I know the few times I have used a generator after about an hour I was ready to pull my hair out due to the sound of that thing running. Some might be able to tune it out but the longer it was on the more I wanted to scream
 

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One extra advantage of the propane set up over the gasoline one, is that unlike gasoline, propane doesn't so "sour" after sitting for a period of time.

If you're leaving it there, better go the extra "mile" and make sure it can't easily grow feets and run away?

For normal lighting, some appliances and power tool usage, at least a 4500-5KW would be the better choice. A 3000 would do for lights and some tool usage, but not much.

If you go to the trouble/expense of having a large propane tank installed for the gen/set, might's well figure on using propane for some heat, refridgeration and cooking, too?

The propane folks can install an external "quick connect" to hook the gen/set fuel line into, if you haul it back and forth? It takes a special key to turn the "quick connect" propane tap on and off.
 

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I'm not a pro at this but that was my thought. If you're going to use a propane generator would it make sense to just convert the camp to propane? We travel to Canada and that's all they use. Propane for lights, stove and refrigerator.
 

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I had a gas gererator and since have got electric installed. If I was to do it all over again, I would go with a propane generator instead of the gas!
 

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Consider augmenting your generator with a small solar cell with a couple deep cycle batteries. We installed a cheap setup (less than $250) last year and now we hardly ever use the generator at camp. The solar cell and batteries supply enough power for all the lights in the camp as well as a radio and small window fan. If you only plan to be there once a month or so for 2 or 3 days, this system works very well with no generator noise. It's always nice arriving at camp with the batteries fully charged and waiting for me. Of course the generator is necessary for extended stays at the cabin especially during the fall and winter when there's less sun to charge the batteries.
 

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I would have to lean towards the Propane suggestions simply for the reliabillity factor. If the camp has fairly easy access where you can roll in a couple 100lb tanks of propane to run a fridge & a cook stove. I personally would go that route. At my camp, we use propane for the cook stove only. It's a big commercial cook stove so it's not shy about using propane. We go through about 1 or 2 - 100lb tanks/year & it gets used quite frequently. Not sure if you're using wood as a primary heat source, but a propane heater would be a good heat supplement, although likely expensive to use propane a soul source of heat.

I personally am not a fan of the propane lights. One because i'm just not comfortable with them from a safety factor, I'm sure they're safe, or they wouldn't be produced, but it's a bit out of my comfort zone. The other reason i'm not too keen about them is they dont produce good light. They're a bit dim in my opinion & this could be just because the camp which uses them that i'm familiar with didn't have them well spaced or just needed more in general to light the room up better. My experience is limited with these.
An alternate to proane lights is something that Ridgeway hunter mentioned. 2 deep cycle batteries & a small solar panel. I however would not install incandecent lights. I'd go for a 12 volt system powering LED lights. LED technology has come a long way in a very short time & their prices are continually dropping. You could light up your cabin easily & not worry about draining 2 deep cycle batteries over a weeks stay with LED lights that draw only a few mili-amps per fixture. My co-worker has installed this into his place & had good success. He runs it off one deep cycle, the cabin is an A - Frame with general living space downstairs and a bunk room up.
Another bonus to LED lightling is the simple Install. You can wire the entire place with cheap speaker wire that's easily hidden & you can use a standard switch or buy an LED specific switch panel.
Only downside is that every few years you'll likely have to swap out the deep cycles. But it's a lot cheaper than spending several K on a loud generator (if you go that route, I agree with the Honda, You'll thank yourself later after having peace and quite. My Brother in law has a honda & from 20' away you wouldn't know it's running).
 

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I would do the led lighting to with the solar panel and the deep cell battery.And propane fridge an stove. the heat that the propane lights put off will heat your place up in the summer when your there.Best of luck.
 

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Gentlemen,
Over the years I have found there is no such thing as over kill for back woods power supplies, the Propane Generator is a good way to go also, but remember you need a fairly close propane supplier. You can usually get gasoline most any place in a small town, so we stayed with the gas generator. Also when setting up your generator make sure you place it far enough away in it's own small building to eliminate the noise. The new Honda stuff is great as a low noise power supply, inside an outing building just over 20' away you can't even hear them run. Our 10K is 20 yards away in our pavilion and its a low noise situation even with the exhust door panel open.
Also I suggest a battery start Generator, not a pull start,
use fuel additive to keep the generator in perfect starting
order and run your generator at least every other month to keep it clean and in perfect starting condition. Always purchase a generator that you beleive is to big for your
actual camp sight, never under power your facility.
Pine Creek/Dave
 

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Bearklr said:
I'm not a pro at this but that was my thought. If you're going to use a propane generator would it make sense to just convert the camp to propane? We travel to Canada and that's all they use. Propane for lights, stove and refrigerator.
This is what we have at our camp. Propane lights, fridge,stove, and heating. We have a relatively new gas fridge that works like a charm and have replaced several of our old humphreys type gas lights with the new low pressure models from mid-state. They work considerably better and are adjustable. Only drawback to having everything run by propane is that in the summertime the propane lights do throw a lot of heat. We don't really use our place that much in summer anyhow so it's not much of an issue for us. Adding a solar panel with batteries might be a solution to this problem??
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you all for the information. I keep going back and forth between the Honda and a Kohler propane. Today, I'm on the Honda side. Kohler informed me that since I am installing in an off-grid situation (yea, that's why I need a generator) that they would sell and install the generator but they would not give any warranty. I asked why and they said that it would be used as primary power source so it would run for long durations and they will not warranty for that. I then asked why they didn't give an hour warranty versus a time warranty and he didn't comment. I think they should stand behind a generator that costs $3000+

The solar panel and LED's is a great idea. Anyone with a link? I will probably want to run a flat screen also so will the solar panels support that?
 

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Tikka,

I will check with my co-worker when he's back from vacation about the lights he installed in his cabin. I'll try and dig up the technical specs and such.
As for the flat screen - You can spend a ton of money on a solar panel, their prices vary widely. But if I were in your situation an inexpensive, but still likely a couple hundred dollar pannel that has a maximum output of 75-100 Watts would be sufficient for your application, that is just recharging batteries. There's more to it than just a panel of course, you'll also have a regulator that kills the panels output when the batteries are fully charged.
You will not be able to run a TV (I looked up a lower power flat panel - 37" Visio LED Razor pulls 85W to run + Speakers). The variation in output of your panel wouldn't support it continuously.
 

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I think Denny F hit the mark when he said propane does not spoil in the tank like gasoline and diesel does. Propane generators run for a long time and in tandum with solar panels for lights etc in the summer you would have a good system.
 

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Solor is a great option I have a 125 watt panel with 8 deep cell batteries .it runs 7 lights nature head fan ..I have a inverter for direct tv and runs my 32 inch LCD slim line less then a 70 watt bulb .i have a consul 7.5 propane fridge it's awesome propane lights for back up ..I have a propane stove with oven ..I have a on demand water heater from sportsmen guide works great off 12 volt pump battery under sink .pumps from a 20 gallon water container ..I have a 275 gallon water container storing water outside I pump into the 20 gallon all 12 Volts ..generator is for power tools air conditioner witch is new and will try next time at camp ..I love being off grid also outhouse is still used at times ..the propane lights give off a lot of heat ...good luck on what ever you choose ..
 

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I use a little Harbor Freight 800w generator.
It'll run the lights, TV, DVD player and charge the cell phone. Paid around $80 for it, bought another one as a spare. It uses about a gallon of gas every five to six hours, gotta tell you it works well. Figure when it blows up, I'll open the box on the spare and go buy another one.
I have a 3000w Craftsman generator we used before this one.
 

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gutlucky said:
Solor is a great option I have a 125 watt panel with 8 deep cell batteries .it runs 7 lights nature head fan ..I have a inverter for direct tv and runs my 32 inch LCD slim line less then a 70 watt bulb .i have a consul 7.5 propane fridge it's awesome propane lights for back up ..I have a propane stove with oven ..I have a on demand water heater from sportsmen guide works great off 12 volt pump battery under sink .pumps from a 20 gallon water container ..I have a 275 gallon water container storing water outside I pump into the 20 gallon all 12 Volts ..generator is for power tools air conditioner witch is new and will try next time at camp ..I love being off grid also outhouse is still used at times ..the propane lights give off a lot of heat ...good luck on what ever you choose ..
Get Lucky...
Do you have any pictures of the different set ups you have?
Thanks...
 

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Squeaks, I may have a few on my cell ..next time I go up I'll take picture and send to you .. Pm me your number I'll send you what I have on cell ..I bought cabin 3 yrs ago it had propane lights and a ols servel fridge we tossed out ..
 
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