Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Endorsed Items

Our Top 10 products in use EVERY day while boondocking or gate guarding.


All ads other than Amazon have been removed. Thank you for using my Amazon links like the one above for your online shopping.



A Tired Subject - Generators Again

I am so tired of messin’ with generators I didn’t even want to write about it – yet again!

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to do that.   Generators are boondocking lifeblood out here in the oil fields.  Even though the Company maintains our 12kw Perkins diesel at a high level, all mechanical things will eventually fail.  This one has let me down on more than one occasion and it will do so again. Remember, when you are talking about basic survival, two is one, one is none.  I have to have a reliable back up generator.

Almost there- The Generac NP66 slides back in place.

You will recall the trouble with the on board Generac NP66 generator started with a starter motor failure coming back up out of Terlingua in August.  I decided to partially rebuild it while it was out of the Old Girl and accessible.  Getting the generator out of the front snout of the RV wasn’t so bad.  Rebuilding it was a snap though costly at around $400.  Getting it back in however was a ring tailed tooter let me tell ya.

It took 14 hours spread over 3 days to accomplish the re-install.  I was bruised and battered and the front cap of the Old Girl had to be modified slightly with the aid of a sawz-all.  In the end, everything fit back into place and I didn’t have any left over screws or bolts.  Being out in plain view, layin’ on my back in the caliche on an old cardboard box just feet from the road, I got multiple offers of help.  Along about that third day I guess folks were feeling sorry for me.  Hell, I was starting to feel sorry for myself.  I told them all thanks but no thanks.  At that point it was really not a question of manpower but more of finesse.  Well, finesse and a big prybar.  If I had that part to do over again, I wouldn’t touch it without having a hydraulic transmission jack available.

I was snugging up the bolts that secure the generator in place and had a disquieting thought.  ‘What if it doesn’t run after all this work?’   Wouldn’t that be something!  Worse yet, that thought occurred at the end of a long day and I had to sleep on it until the next day.  It probably didn’t take 30 minutes to reconnect all the wires and feed lines on the generator.   The only thing that remains is the muffler and exhaust pipe.  I stuck my head in the door of the RV and told Miss Kathy to ‘cross her fingers, I was going to fire that bad boy up.’   I had to crank it quite a bit to get propane to the carb but it acted like it wanted to run.  Eventually it started and ran — a little rough and uneven but that was expected.  I will save adjusting the carb and throttle linkage for another day.  Then I guess we get to see if it will actually generate electricity.

 

MEP 002A control box

The other generator I have been messin’ with is a military surplus MEP 002A diesel generator. Except I didn’t buy it direct surplus.  Items like generators scare me when I cannot view them in person.  I elected to buy the MEP from a company in South Dakota that makes their living selling and servicing generators — and I paid what I felt like was an honest premium price for that peace of mind.  The guy up there told me in no uncertain words that they knew what they were doing and this generator was 100% ready to go.  He will forever be known as the Big Talker — you see where this is headed?

The generator showed up here in North Texas on the back end of a freight truck (which I paid for) and it looked great.  Clean and only 7 hours on the hour meter!  Yessirree bud!  I was a happy camper!   Let me tell you something about old equipment.  You ever bought an old car from an acquaintance?  You know it is a good car and your buddy has never had any trouble with it at all; you know that for a fact.  You get it and it is nothing but a headache–that ever happen to you?   I will tell you why– older equipment gets accustomed to being utilized in a certain fashion.  You are not going to drive that old car like your buddy did and there lies the rub.  Old generators are pretty much the same; especially low hour units.  This MEP is probably 20-25 years old and with that few hours it was exercised very little –if at all.  That is what it got used to doing.  Big Talker said it started and ran just fine.  I have no doubt that is a true statement but I bet he didn’t run it 15 minutes total.  Me?  I had other plans.  The MEP is destined to be the back up power for the Desert Homestead in Terlingua.  It has to be reliable and long lived –nothing else will suffice.   So, trust me, I ain’t pussyfootin’ around with this hunk of iron.

MEP + DTB

After checking all the fluids and sending Miss K out to purchase 2 Wal Mart batteries, I fired the MEP up and proceeded to plug the Old Girl right in.  About an hour in to the run, problems started to emerge.  Regulators didn’t regulate.  Solenoid switches didn’t switch.  Gauges quit working, gauges  indicated additional problems.  The test run was a failure.  I emailed Big Talker straight away and voiced my disappointment and frustration.  He promised me he would make it ‘100% right’ .   Well, 6 weeks of parts trading and hit or miss diagnostics followed.  It seems like everyday I was taking something apart on a machine that I had no knowledge of.  The good news is I have intimate knowledge (in a manly way) of how everything gee haws on this beast now.  Bad news is I still have some problems.

I left it 2 weeks ago with Big Talker that he owed me one more part to pretty much complete the process.  Prior to that, his emails had become less and less responsive. I can’t blame the guy, I was tired of the whole damned mess too.  The difference is he took my money and promised to deliver goods.  He has not made good on that promise just yet.  I emailed him on Monday and told him I had not heard from him in 2 weeks, the last part had not been received and my intention was to call the deal done and just walk away.  Almost immediately, he emailed back and said the last part was in the mail to me.  Whatever he does at this point is not going to put him back in my good graces.

When/if that last part arrives and when/if I deem the MEP 100% serviceable I have a little MEP endeavor planned which ought to make for some interesting blog reading.  For the gearheads out there here are some specs on the MEP.

The unit weighs in at 1050lbs wet and is mounted to an aluminum sled.  It has all sorts of rings and attachment points that oughta make it easy to move around.  At 1050lbs it is not gonna ‘walk off’  easily.  Somebody is going to have to work pretty hard to steal this baby.

Everything military is conservatively rated. The Mep 002A ia rated at 5kw output.  BUT it has a 19hp 2cyl Onan diesel that usually powers a 10kw unit in the commercial world.  I would guess the true output rating is closer to 7-8kw @ 100% power.

The generator head is a 120/240 4 pole unit and it is huge.  Because it is so large (rotating mass), the surge rating is 300% or 15kw for power hungry startups of various electrical equipment.

Fuel consumption is .4 gal per hour at 80% power.  Fuel is supplied via an onboard 6.5 gallon tank (day tank)  and dual 24v fuel pumps. (see below)

A third 24v fuel pump is hooked to a fuel level float switch in the onboard day tank.   When this fuel pump is attached to an external fuel source, it will fill the day tank automatically whenever the day tank reaches half full.  My Bro has saved me 2 50 gallon steel drums to serve as auxiliary fuel tanks.

The 24v DC charging system was a pain to learn at first but will tie in nicely with the 24v solar system I have planned for Terlingua.  The MEP, when running, will charge the solar battery bank as well.

The unit has shutters on the airbox which remain closed until the engine temp reaches 140 degrees.  This keeps the warm air circulating around the engine until operating temps are reached.  Cold weather operation is of little concern down here but it is pretty cool to watch those shutters open up.

The electronics on the MEP are 30 year old technology and rudimentary by today’s standards.  I did some exhaustive research on the common failure points on these units and found engine and gen head failures were almost non-existent.  The most common failures were electrical/electronic and the fuel pumps.   I found a guy up east that was parting out a MEP 002A because he could not get it to run and purchased a complete control box and fuel pump(s) assembly.  Remember, two is one; one is none.

End Note: Rocket by Danny Barnes from the cd of the same name.  This cd definitely grows on ya.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
A Tired Subject - Generators Again, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...






4 comments to A Tired Subject – Generators Again

  • Joel

    I admire your tenacity, Andy.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andrew

      Not so much tenacious as who is gonna do it if I don’t?

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Joel

    That’s not what I meant. I meant your tenacious commitment to reliance on such technology. I live in an 83 year old house, and I’d move out in a heartbeat if I had to put up with what you do. Such is my addiction to civilization.

    You da man!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andrew

      Ahhh! Generators are just a fact of life in the oil fields. There is not an electric meter anywhere on this 1100 acres. Everything is diesel gensets and natural gas engines they feed directly off the wells.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>