Coleman genset results if you care

Hi,
Today I tested out my newly installed Koleman Powermate Industrial 5000 genset and newly installed Transfer Switch (and found good advice on the groups here too).
Turns out to be a great match for emergency power. I was impressed to find that my 1 HP submerged well pump pulls exatctly 750W according to the watt-meters <g>.
At any rate, based on my P3 Kill-a-watt: -- Frequency is 60.3Hz constant. If it changes with motor starts, the meter doesn't show it. The grid usually measures between 59.9 and 60.0 Hz.
-- Output voltage a little high at no-load (just the P3 plugged in); 129V each leg. -- Under normal loads, about 1000 watts, the voltage is 128 V +/- a tenth. A little high, but fine for emergency power. -- Sort of maxing it, power off, water pressure dropped to run pump, both furnaces turned up, and living room/kitches lites on, computer room lites on and computer running, started everything as I turned it all on as near simultaneous as my fingers would allow. Using a memory meter, the voltage dropped to 111.1 for about half a second, then recovered and hung at 120.1 when the furnaces and pump were all going at once. -- The only "surprises" were the amount and length of starting current times when the furnace fans kicked on - the draw lasted over a second, maybe 1 1/2; didn't measure accurately.
In the end: -- Guess it's pretty much OK for emergency power. Voltage's a little high but is within grid specs, so I might toss an indandescent or two during an outage. -- Other than during starting currents, the genset never lugged down audibly and did a very good job of holding its own. -- Probably -could- run the whole house, for the ckts that are powered anyway, all at once but then if the fans, pump, fridge, feezer managed to kick on all at once I'd likely be out resetting a breaker or two. -- I thought about adjusting the voltage downard a few volts, but, well, it's not out of spec, so ... motors will like it at least, so don't think I will. -- Well pump is the biggest hog: Went down and listened to it start a couple of time on genset and grid power; couldn't tell any difference, but then it's also a sumbergible so the sounds are pretty soft anyway, but you can hear the pump work if it's quiet.
I think I'm pretty happy with it. Anyone see any problems in the numbers & comments I made?
Thanks again for the great posts - you know who you are and I appreciate it.
Pop
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if you wanted to....
how can you adjust the volatge without also lowering the frequency?
if you slow the engine to lower the voltage it will also lower the frequency,,, is there a seperate adj,, if so how does that work?
Mark
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: if you wanted to.... : : how can you adjust the volatge without also lowering the frequency? : : if you slow the engine to lower the voltage it will also lower the : frequency,,, is there a seperate adj,, if so how does that work? : : Mark : I don't know specifically how yet, but the voltage isn't freq/rpm dependent. To a degree, of course! Frequency of course is rpm dependent. There's some sort of voltage regulator on it that the manual doesn't explain and only says it's factory-set, like the rpm, and not to touch it (yeah, right!). I probably won't adjsut anything right now, but I do think I'll figure out how to tweak the voltage regulator or whatever they call it; it was called something different in th emanual.
I'll post back when I do figure it out if anyone's interested. It might be afew days though; I'm moving on to the final touches now; hide the cable, caulk the hole, put insulation back, clean up my mess, etc.; all the stuff my wife says I never do!
Pop
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I don't know cheap generator control systems that well, but the notion of regulating voltage without changing RPMs is fairly simple: adjust the the field coil voltage/current.
The basic idea behind a basic generator is to use a speed regulator to keep the RPMs nailed to 3600, and fiddle with field coil current to keep the voltage right.
When the load goes up, the motor tries to slow down _and_ voltage drop, so the RPM governor kicks in to keep it at 3600 rpm, _and_ the field coil regulator adjusts field coils to keep the voltage right.
The former regulator is often just an ordinary mechanical governor you see on lawnmowers/lawn tractors etc.
Given the mechanical systems etc., regulation tends to be poor at extremely low loads. So, when testing voltages off a generator, you should be driving at least 5-10% of the load rating in order to get a reliable number.
Now, once "engineering for minimum manufacturing cost" kicks in, they _may_ be able to do away with the field regulation if the generator is consistent enough.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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ok,
I know about the mechnical speed gov,,,
but I have not had the opportunity to see a field current regulator on a small generator... I thought most of them have some kind of integral field winding that works without slip rings so I don't see how it can easily be regulated...
Mark
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... The former regulator is often just an ordinary mechanical governor you see on lawnmowers/lawn tractors etc. ... : Given the mechanical systems etc., regulation tends to be poor : at extremely low loads. So, when testing voltages off a generator, : you should be driving at least 5-10% of the load rating in order : to get a reliable number.
===> Ewwww, you're kidding; really? Hey, I've got enough to do without going around figuring out how stuff works right now! ;-} .
Seriously, everything you said makes sense and is as I'd have imagined it. But, you've got me real curious now about the speed regulation. When you say "just an ordinary mechanical ... " do you mean the old centrifugal type? I'm too sick to go look at it today, but I don't recall seeing anything resembling that. There is however a fairly complex (to me at least) mechanical linkage system I've always been curious about, and I make sure I keep it meticulously cleaned and free of any buildup so nothing will get sticky.
As for small load, this Coleman seems to stay on target fine but the voltage of course is highest at that point and of course it drops with added loads, and you're also right, it's 120V even at a moderate load and there seems to be a "flat spot" in the response curve where it held 120V pretty well before and after the moderate load. I call a "moderate" load 50% to 60% or so.
Aside: Just for grins, I went in a few minutes ago and checked my UPS log. Even with all my testing, I'm still outstripping the grid supplier (NIMO) by a w i d e margin! In the last two months there have been switches to battery for overvoltage 7 times, undervoltage 6 times, and outages 8 times. The day I did the testing there were of course outages, and I was surprised to see overvoltages, but then it turns out I had the upper voltage trigger limit set to 125V, so that accounted for those, probably also the ones on the grid; I don't get mearurements, just alarm triggers. No undervoltages either, so I couned that a plus, although very brief problems aren't counted. I've no idea how many cycles they consider "brief" but it's shorter than the computer PS hold-over time, so the system never notices them. I -think- I recall that this PSU can miss up to 5 cycles without problems; but don't quote me. So, the UPS must react in, what, something less than 5/16 Second dropout? Head's too cloudy to do the math at the moment; that's probably wrong.
Anyway, thanks,
Pop
...
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The old centrifugal things are obsolete. You don't see the spinning ball things anymore. Four stroke engines tend to have something inside the crankcase that twists a shaft that goes thru the crankcase wall, and waves a lever back and forth. The lever is coupled with springs and pushrods to the throttle.
There are diagrams on Tecumseh governors on the web if you google for them. I know, because I had to diddle the governor on my wood chipper (overspeed). Kohlers are like that too (fortunately didn't have to diddle the governor on that when I pulled the engine from the tractor to replace a head gasket...).
Two stroke (ie: lawnboy lawnmowers) tend to have external governors. On my lawnboy, it's a spring-loaded windvane linked to the throttle adjacent to the cooling vanes on the flywheel. Motor speeds up, blows more air, windvane moves out and throttles the carburator back. Motor slows down, windvane moves in and throttles the carburator up.
All engines that are supposed to run at fixed speeds have governors to keep them at the fixed speed over varying load. Engines where you are continually adjusting speed with a trigger (ie: weed wackers, chain saws) don't need governors - because your trigger finger acts as the governor when needed.
It's just with generators the speed regulation requirement is tighter.
I'm sure that some modern gensets have more sophisticated (perhaps even electronic) speed controls.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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It sounds normal and calibrated, does it have AVR
3600 rpm is 120v 60 hz, all are set a bit high and reach 120v 60hz under load, adjust it for your use if need be.
Hz is speed-rpm dependant. Your Kill a watt doesnt like big gen surges mine blanked out on a startup, I thought it fried but it came back.
If it doesnt have an hour meter a 35$ type that has a wire you wrap around the sparkplug wire is good, They display rpm and hours. 3600 keeps you at 120v 60 hz.
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: It sounds normal and calibrated, does it have AVR ===> Yes, thanks; I could NOT remember the letters AVR! : : 3600 rpm is 120v 60 hz, all are set a bit high and reach 120v 60hz : under load, adjust it for your use if need be. ===> makes sense: Right now I don't have any way of measuring the rpm but I figure reading the freq off the kill-a-watt should suffice. If/when I adjust it, I'll just match it to the grid number plus a tad, and I've recorded where it's at now for posterity. : : Hz is speed-rpm dependant. Your Kill a watt doesnt like big gen surges : mine blanked out on a startup, I thought it fried but it came back. ===> Here's something I noticed on mine: Be sure to have something connected to it when you're using it. Without anything plugged in, the display jumped around a bit too much, but with a 60W trouble light, they settled down and were much more easily read. I only tested with everything else shut off, but the pump and fans alone didn't cause any readings problems with freq. I'm not positive, but there might be some sort of damping in the P3 - I recall the P3 didn't seem to instantly follow the watt-meters during the pull downs. Not much of a delay, but there was something noticeable to the eye. : : If it doesnt have an hour meter a 35$ type that has a wire you wrap : around the sparkplug wire is good, They display rpm and hours. 3600 : keeps you at 120v 60 hz. : Thanks! I have two old hour-meters out in the garage I'd forgotten all about! They only have about 300 hrs on them; practically new! And they're 120Vac at that; I can plug one right into the genset outlet! They're even on rubber mounts! I figure the freq I can see with the P3 so no need to measure at the plug.
I kind of dread the day I have to play tune-up on the engine though: I have NEVER been able to get ANY engine to go from idle to speed as quickly and cleanly as this thing does! I was also surprised, by the way, that the P3 alone was enough to bring the genset online to full speed - genset must trigger on a pretty low current. Hmmm, I'll bet the hourmeter will do that, too; sort of defeats the -power-need sensing mechanism-, doesn't it? $35 eh? Guess I'll go look around; I could also use that anyway for the lawn tractors and such.
Thanks,
Pop
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Pop wrote:

I got one too. Well satisfied so far, but the sucker is LOUD!
Know of a better muffler?
PS The one I have has a B&S engine since it was special-built for Home Depot.
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I don't know of a better muffler but you will be disappointed in how little difference even totally eliminating the exhaust noise will make. Air cooled engines generally radiate an awful lot of noise directly from the engine. Just adapt another muffler after the one you have or pipe the exhaust some distance away to check whether it will be worthwhile. Don Young

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: Pop wrote: : > Hi, : > : > Today I tested out my newly installed Koleman Powermate : > Industrial 5000 genset and newly installed Transfer Switch (and : > found good advice on the groups here too). : : I got one too. Well satisfied so far, but the sucker is LOUD! : : Know of a better muffler? : : PS : The one I have has a B&S engine since it was special-built for Home Depot. : : Hmm, I suppose everything's relative, but I don't think this one is that loud. I can clearly hear the engine internals over the exhaust, and it never bothered during the ice storm of '98 for a full 5 days, but remember, we only use this for emergency power so we might have a different opinion if you're off-grid. From inside the house it's not loud at all. We do hear sort of a muffled sound, but nothing irritating.
This one has a square muffler, probably 8 to 10 inches square, about three inches deep, much larger than usual for that size engine. I still see them on the Coleman newer gensets in the store. If that doesn't describe yours, let me know and I'll see if I can find a part number for it; I'm pretty sure it's in the manual. If it's not there I'll at least put a pic up and look on the muffler for a readable number; it's still in pretty clean condition. Let me know.
Regards,
Pop
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Pop wrote:

That describes mine, too. I think it's that size/shape to conform with California law on spark-arresting. Like many other California laws, I suspect significant functionality was sacrificed to combat a non-existing problem (I mean, what's the downside of California forest fires?).
I was hoping the device would be no louder than, say, an idling automobile. As it is, it sounds like five very angry lawnmowers. On the plus side, I have the satisfaction of knowing I'm not responsible for fires 1000 miles to the west.
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You can put on a quiter tractor muffler but you cut power and load the motor hard if you use near rated power. Only do it is your load is conservative 25-50% rated continous load
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