Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

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pioneerMan
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Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

How come it works fine with the 20 pound tank:

gen1.jpeg

But when I hook it up to a line coming off the 1,000 gallon tank it has problems starting up.

gen2.jpeg

Please advise. Thank you.
sbrownian
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sbrownian »

Wrong application of the pair of regulators.
The 20 lb tank one is designed for 140 psi propane. At around 70°F, that is what the vaporization pressure of propane is.

The large 'house' line you are hooking it up to, probably has a pressure of only 1 to 1.5 pounds (or lower,) after going through the regulator on the side of that big tank.

Examine the regulator on the big tank. See if you can find a model # or even an indication of what the output pressure is.

A quick Duck search comes up with a website that you should study, if you're going to be messing with gas lines and regulators.

https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Gas_Pressures.php

I would be VERY cautious with gas line modifications.

Bear in mind, if you screw with it, things leak and subsequently go "bang," your insurance company will probably tell you to take a hike if you try to file a claim.

Structural gas piping modifications are best left to CERTIFIED individuals.
pioneerMan
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

The weird thing is, we have another Sportsman brand propane generator that works with this hose:

gen3.jpeg

Notice it only has the small, single regulator instead of the two that the Champion brand requires. Should I just take the larger regulator off the hose for the Champion? Maybe that will get it working.
sbrownian
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Had 1200 Ahr FLA Locomotive batts
Just replaced with
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MUCH more efficient!!
Location: Central Washington State

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sbrownian »

You need to find out EXACTLY what you have in the way of the regulators on hand. Get a model # off of them and flex your Google-Fu.. (Or Duck-Duck-Fu as the case may be..)

Download and read the application notes for the ones you have.

You need to LEARN about what you're messing with before you hook one of these up incorrectly and it comes unglued right before your very eyes..
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

Whoever fills your "big" tank on site most likely has what is needed to check your pressures especially if they sell and set tanks too. The owner of the propane company came all the way out and checked and dialed each regulator in exactly and didn't charge a penny. I was surprised at the service but I suppose a big bang wouldn't be good for business.

But in the end it wasn't due to pressure regulation but an installation problem with the Rinnai HW heater. The unit was doing what it should do when the condensation holding tank was air locked and wouldn't drain. As Mr. Sbrownian said, make absolutely sure that you know what you are doing. You probably don't have the test fittings and devices anyway.
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by raysun »

Rinnai HW heater...

I had nothing but problems with propane HW heaters, so I switched to propane CW heaters, and not a single problem since.
JRHill
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

raysun wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:31 am Rinnai HW heater...

I had nothing but problems with propane HW heaters, so I switched to propane CW heaters, and not a single problem since.
Picky picky picky. OK, you got me again. Just know that I've been insulted by better people than you! :wink:
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by raysun »

JRHill wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:58 am
raysun wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:31 am Rinnai HW heater...

I had nothing but problems with propane HW heaters, so I switched to propane CW heaters, and not a single problem since.
Picky picky picky. OK, you got me again. Just know that I've been insulted by better people than you! :wink:
😂😂😂😂

No you haven't.

😂😂😂😂
pioneerMan
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

I found another customer who detailed how to make the generator work from a line instead of a small tank. I'm posting this here in case it might be helpful to others. Apparently, the key to making this work is removing the smaller of the two regulator devices, which doesn't make any sense to me. Anyone know why?

modify.jpg
JRHill
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

pioneerMan wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:39 pm I found another customer who detailed how to make the generator work from a line instead of a small tank. I'm posting this here in case it might be helpful to others. Apparently, the key to making this work is removing the smaller of the two regulator devices, which doesn't make any sense to me. Anyone know why?

modify.jpg
All I can say at this point is that there is a reason that a propane grill or BBQ can run with a single regulator but a house system has separate high and low pressure regulators. Part of it is what Mr. Sbrownian already spoke to but there are probably other considerations.

This forum focuses on the OB stuff and of course dives off into things that might influence OB equipment. But what you are asking seems rather specific to propane. Have you tried Homesteading Today? And as I asked - have you asked your propane supplier for help?

BTW, "another customer?"
sbrownian
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My RE system: GS8048 FM80 FNDC Mate3
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Had 1200 Ahr FLA Locomotive batts
Just replaced with
2 x 300 Ah ReLion Lithium packs
MUCH more efficient!!
Location: Central Washington State

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sbrownian »

pioneerMan wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:39 pm I found another customer who detailed how to make the generator work from a line instead of a small tank. I'm posting this here in case it might be helpful to others. Apparently, the key to making this work is removing the smaller of the two regulator devices, which doesn't make any sense to me. Anyone know why?


modify.jpg
One more time...

The smaller regulator reduces the HIGH PRESSURE 140 psi raw propane pressure down to only a pound or two, and feeds that to the regulator that drops it down to whatever the carburetor is designed for, but most likely in the 11 to 14 INCHES of WATER COLUMN PRESSURE range. That SECOND STAGE regulator also references what the ATMOSPHERIC pressure is, whereas the the small one only has a spring / diaphragm counter balance system in it.


I will repeat an earlier post, but that's it folks. #-o


-------
You need to find out EXACTLY what you have in the way of the regulators on hand. Get a model # off of them and flex your Google-Fu.. (Or Duck-Duck-Fu as the case may be..)

Download and read the application notes for the ones you have.

You need to LEARN about what you're messing with before you hook one of these up incorrectly and it comes unglued right before your very eyes..
pioneerMan
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My RE system: 12 volt system
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Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

JRHill wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:22 pm But what you are asking seems rather specific to propane. Have you tried Homesteading Today? And as I asked - have you asked your propane supplier for help? BTW, "another customer?"
Thanks for the suggestion, I just registered on Homesteading Today. My propane supplier is 1.5 hours away, and doesn't make the trip to my town very often. My reference to another customer was just someone else who also bought the same propane generator and was trying to accomplish the same thing.
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

pioneerMan wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:43 pm
JRHill wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:22 pm But what you are asking seems rather specific to propane. Have you tried Homesteading Today? And as I asked - have you asked your propane supplier for help? BTW, "another customer?"
Thanks for the suggestion, I just registered on Homesteading Today. My propane supplier is 1.5 hours away, and doesn't make the trip to my town very often. My reference to another customer was just someone else who also bought the same propane generator and was trying to accomplish the same thing.
Yup. Our propane guy is 1 1/2 hours away in one direction. Have you chatted with yours? He was pretty cool and offered some other insights from his perspective. He would make a pretty cool neighbor.
pioneerMan
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My RE system: 12 volt system
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12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

JRHill wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:06 pm Have you chatted with yours?
No, as I think I have it figured out now based on the photo I posted above in the thread. If this method doesn't work out, then I'll have to get the propane dude involved. What's baffling to me is why this plan will supposedly work WITHOUT the smaller regulator in place. But whatever....
pioneerMan
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Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

sbrownian wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:37 pm You need to find out EXACTLY what you have in the way of the regulators on hand. Get a model # off of them and flex your Google-Fu.. (Or Duck-Duck-Fu as the case may be..)
Okay, I followed the plan of the other Champion generator customer, and it did not work for me. The only difference is he was taping into a propane line in his RV, and I am tapping into a line connected to the 1,000 gallon tank. So I think my regulator right off the tank is different than the regulator in his RV.

I'm going to do as you suggested sbrownian, and get the model #. I must say, however, that the link you provided earlier about all things propane was a bit over my head.
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sodamo »

Just curious, but what did Champion tell you about your situation?
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pss »

Once again the experts on this forum are spot on. We rent a 500 gallon propane tank and the company provides maintenance and installation of all needed parts as we buy propane from them. We have multiple pressure regulators for home appliances, pool heater and furnaces. I would say to ask your company or propane supplier to come out and install the proper regulator for your generator since they will want you to burn the propane anyways. Maybe will do it for free!
pioneerMan
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Posts: 43
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My RE system: 12 volt system
26 lead acid batteries, 6V, each rated at 210 amp hours
12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by pioneerMan »

sodamo wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:01 pm Just curious, but what did Champion tell you about your situation?
I found the following note added by a Champion tech support employee below a review on Amazon's website:

Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at Jan 13, 2021   2.08.06 PM.jpg

So I was correct that the smaller regulator needs to be removed, but apparently I'm going to need the propane guy to install another regulator which will provide ½ PSI. Below was my last ditch effort last night to make this work on my own, before coming across the comment from their tech support.

gen4.jpeg
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

pss wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:26 pm Once again the experts on this forum are spot on. We rent a 500 gallon propane tank and the company provides maintenance and installation of all needed parts as we buy propane from them. We have multiple pressure regulators for home appliances, pool heater and furnaces. I would say to ask your company or propane supplier to come out and install the proper regulator for your generator since they will want you to burn the propane anyways. Maybe will do it for free!
We bought our 100g tank cash. When delivering and setting it I was told outright that there was no way in hell that they would bring their rig up our trail refill it. The risk of blowing a tire wasn't worth the few bucks profit on the fill. As for the regulators, piece parts, pipe, hoses, etc., they all came from commercial sources. The company who WILL come up to fill my tank is the one who did the testing/adjustments at no charge. I still think he wanted to get out of the office.
sbrownian
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Just replaced with
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MUCH more efficient!!
Location: Central Washington State

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sbrownian »

pioneerMan wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:51 pm
sodamo wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:01 pm Just curious, but what did Champion tell you about your situation?
I found the following note added by a Champion tech support employee below a review on Amazon's website:


Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at Jan 13, 2021 2.08.06 PM.jpg


So I was correct that the smaller regulator needs to be removed, but apparently I'm going to need the propane guy to install another regulator which will provide ½ PSI. Below was my last ditch effort last night to make this work on my own, before coming across the comment from their tech support.


gen4.jpeg
Note the 76,000 BTU per hour requirement.

That means the regulator will have to flow somewhere around 30 cubic feet of propane vapor per hour to keep the engine at full output.

See https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Gas_BTUs_Volumes.php

This is one of the places people run into trouble when messing with propane or natural gas powered engines.

They wind up with equipment that not only doesn't output the right pressure for the carburetor, but it can't provide enough FLOW either.

To say nothing of hooking up a regulator to a source providing 140 psi...

And it is designed for an input of only a pound or so...
JRHill
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Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by JRHill »

This thread should end.
sbrownian
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Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:23 am
My RE system: GS8048 FM80 FNDC Mate3
4kw solar
7kw Kubota propane gen
Had 1200 Ahr FLA Locomotive batts
Just replaced with
2 x 300 Ah ReLion Lithium packs
MUCH more efficient!!
Location: Central Washington State

Re: Propane generator runs on a small tank but not the big one

Post by sbrownian »

JRHill wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:25 pm This thread should end.
Agreed.
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