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Forum topic by MRod posted 06-03-2009 07:54 PM 2961 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MRod

74 posts in 2783 days


06-03-2009 07:54 PM

Hi,

I am sure one of you fine and upstanding individuals could lend me your experience in powering 120/240v tools in an off-grid workshop.

Question 1 – My first thought is a used Generator with 120/240v hookups, but the pricing I am seeing is in the $1,500 range, is this type of generator at that price range overkill?

Question 2 – How much power, with occasional 3-5 hour stints in the shop, do I really need?

Not running production work with tools constantly running, although at my highest output I will run a 220 5HP Powermatic Tablesaw or Jet 220v 3hp Lathe at times. You know turn on cut some, turn off.

Question 3 – what other options do I have under $500 to power a shop for the tools specifically?

Thank you very much!
MRod

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!


33 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15006 posts in 2396 days


#1 posted 06-03-2009 10:02 PM

You are probably going to need a 15kw generator to reliable start that 5 hp motor. You would get away with a 7.5 kw for the 3 hp. I think I’d be looking for a small table saw first.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15712 posts in 2938 days


#2 posted 06-03-2009 10:06 PM

Lots of hamsters running around in lots of little wheels?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5527 posts in 2305 days


#3 posted 06-03-2009 10:18 PM

DaveR so it was a one horse power router just like the small one I have:DAlistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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SCOTSMAN

5527 posts in 2305 days


#4 posted 06-03-2009 10:49 PM

wouldn’t it look half starved and awful thin ? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View MRod's profile

MRod

74 posts in 2783 days


#5 posted 06-03-2009 11:01 PM

Hardy Har Har,....to all um serious people. Please do not reflect our wonderful lj buddies comments to reflect this question is closed.

I am still looking for good advice – THANKS TopamaxSurvivor.

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!

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SCOTSMAN

5527 posts in 2305 days


#6 posted 06-03-2009 11:17 PM

No I didn’t to be honest I wasn’t sure but it seemed a little odd Now I see how it was done I still question the thinking behind it but that’s just my ignorance re these very wonderful peoples and there attitude towards things modern sorry I didn’t mean to offend you.regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2542 posts in 2462 days


#7 posted 06-03-2009 11:31 PM

Well MRod
Topomax is right to start that 5HP tablesaw you will need a serious generator – not just a 6KW Black Max from Sams Club or something. Running it would be fine but the starting draw would be a problem.
Not clear though is your site off the grid or is there just not power to your shop? Since Henderson is in the burbs of Denver….

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View Jen's profile

Jen

28 posts in 2005 days


#8 posted 06-03-2009 11:31 PM

DaveR, I liked your idea. If I had a horse, I would totally do that!

MRod, are you completely off grid? I’m very interested in being off grid for sooooo many reasons, so I’m really curious about that. Also, wouldn’t using a solar panel work? I don’t know much about them, but it seems you should be able to power some stuff with one (or two!).

Jen

-- Jen - Imlay City, MI ~~ People laugh at me because I am different, I laugh at them because they are all the same.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15006 posts in 2396 days


#9 posted 06-03-2009 11:42 PM

On the solar panel gig, a 4’ square panel for $200+/- wil put out about 50 watts. Big bucks and a lot of room do get any reall power out of them.

Probably cost more to keep the horse than buy and run a generator.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MRod's profile

MRod

74 posts in 2783 days


#10 posted 06-04-2009 12:01 AM

Okay so Solar is out.

I am looking to build a workshop in 2 40’l x 8’w x 8’h ISO Storage Containers.

These containers will be on land far enough from Power that I am in need of power for the shop off-grid.

FYI – here is my twine website on everything you ever wanted to know on converting shipping containers for residential use.
http://www.twine.com/twine/12vf9z1zn-dx/isbu-shipping-container-homes

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!

View FlWoodRat's profile

FlWoodRat

732 posts in 2629 days


#11 posted 06-04-2009 12:09 AM

Have you considered the cost of fuel for the generator? I have a 15 kW gasoline powered unit that burns about 2 gallons an hour. It does put out 220V 50 amps,, so it will run any tool you have.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2542 posts in 2462 days


#12 posted 06-04-2009 12:26 AM

So you’ll need a bit of a beast – I would lean towards Diesel, and look to the government surplus auctions as they would often have things like this that they use for powering up tools, compressors and floodlights for road crews working at night etc.
Like Wood Rat mentions a couple gallons an hour will get expensive.
2 gallons/hour using it 2 hours a day, 30 days is 120 gallons/month. So at 3 bucks a gallon you’ll have a 360 fuel bill + the equipment and maintenance.
A gas/diesel generator of these sizes is head and shoulders the least efficient highest polluting way to get power and it is really noisy, and cost is ~2500. But it will definitely do the trick.

There are somewhat better models but the price climbs that run an Propane from Guardian that are designed to run whole house units which are nicely enclosed and a lot quieter.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2464 days


#13 posted 06-04-2009 12:29 AM

I’m thinking if you’re off the grid, you might as well sell all those power tools and get yourself a real nice tool box full of good hand tools. You’re not building commercially, so who cares how long it takes. Lot of satisfaction in building a nice piece of furniture with only hand tools.

View LesB's profile

LesB

1078 posts in 2163 days


#14 posted 06-04-2009 12:32 AM

That 5 hp saw is the killer. It takes a lot of start up power to get it running. (Could you reduce it to 3hp?) I would suggest at least a 15k generator; which means it will have a continuous out put of about 12.5k but the surge (start up of the tool) will be 15k. I would also recommend you try to get a diesel powered one for durability and fuel economy.
If you won’t use it very often you should consider a propane powered generator. The reason being you won’t have to be concerned about your fuel going bad or getting water in it. Both diesel and the gasoline with E-10 (alcohol) in it will absorb water from the air and become contaminated. They also break down in 4 to 12 months depending on conditions. A fuel conditioner will delay the break down of the fuel but only about 6 months.

Additional benefits the generator could be used to power you home during a power outage (if you keep it portable) and set up your house system to plug it in….that is a whole new topic but if you do that do it right or you could electrocute a utility lineman trying to repair service.

The other choice is solar power with a bank of storage batteries and a power inverter. The maintenance will be less but the cost will be more than a generator. It will take a large number of large storage batteries to power you 220 equipment for any length of time. There are some tax benefits to installing solar power so you might check them out to see if they fit your situation.

You did not say what the distance is that you would have to run power lines if that was the option. You could bury the lines but the wire would be expensive. I put in 400 feet of buried wire to my barn about 12 years ago and the whole sale price of the wire then was $500. (Probably 4x that now) That did not include electrical boxes and renting a trencher.
Good luck.

-- Les B, Oregon

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15006 posts in 2396 days


#15 posted 06-04-2009 01:13 AM

Tim’s idea of handtools is probably the best if you are concerned about the cost. You can buy a couple nice saws crosscut and rip, plus a few good planes for what you’ll have in the 15kw generator and fuel.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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