Automatic start and stop of Honda EU3000?

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Automatic start and stop of Honda EU3000?

Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:41 pm

:D
Does anyone know if there is a way to rig a Honda EU3000 so it starts and stops as needed?

I'm thinking of putting a small chest freezer in my bus, and if I add extra insulation it may need to run only a few minutes each hour.

18-wheeler rerigeration units turn on and off as needed. Could it be done with an EU3000? The manual choke might be difficult.

:D
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Postby ygmir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:15 pm

the short answer is yes.

the details, though, could be complicated and perhaps, expensive.....

it'd not be an "off the shelf" thing.....
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:17 pm

The gas to just leave it running would be cheaper.
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Postby ygmir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:18 pm

good point.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:23 pm

If I was going to do this I suppose I'd be thinking temperature-switch wired to relay that tripped the Honda ignition and the starter when the freezer temp got up to 35 or so (?) and back off when it gets down to 30 (?)... maybe put a relay inline with the starter wire that shuts off when it sees 120VAC sourced from the generator output, so the starter lets go as soon as the genny fires up.
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Postby Sham » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:08 pm

Elliot, the tricky parts would be the thermometer switch, and the starter release circuit. I think the good captain is on the right track with the 110VAC relay that releases the starter.

I picked up a very quiet generator today. It's 1850 peak volts and is about the size of a small suitcase and on wheels. It was discontinued at Costco for $80. This is not electric start, so I would not be able to rig any type of auto start. Still, $80 was an amazing price.

EDIT----yes that was a brain cramp there. It's watts, not volts. Sorry about that!!!
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Postby burnerboy33 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:31 pm

1850 peak volts!!!! wow, how much it the transformer you are going to need to step it back down to a usable 120/240? or is it for a really big Tesla coil?
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Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:46 pm

:D
I do believe you caught him at a slight typo!

Oh, an other thing.... It would be nice if the generator would start based on any electrical demand -- not just the freezer temp. That is, I can think of other brief power applications, like blender, microwave, etc.

Just brainstorming here. But you guys are good at that!
:D
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Postby Sham » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:57 pm

I corrected above. I meant watts, not volts. Sorry.
As far as a blender, please be careful with the generator. The blenders tend to burn out easy if the power is not quite enough.

http://altonindustries.com/alton/open.asp?id=1339&cataid=167
Here is a link to the generator I bought.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:11 pm

What about a battery bank and some sort of low-voltage relay that tripped the home-brewed EU-start-em-up when the supply dropped below 12 volts?

Low voltage switch instead of low temp switch. Basically the way a stand-by home generator set works.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:14 pm

Shambala wrote:...Here is a link to the generator I bought.


$80 is a super deal!
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Postby ygmir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:38 pm

I don't see it practical to self start for a blender........I'd go with the battery bank, and low voltage startup..........even just a couple of batteries, and inverter......or, a 12V blender........all that stuff is available 12V due to RV demands, IIRC.

if it was just the freezer, low would probably want to be somewhere near 1 deg. or so for the cutoff.......so it'd last a while.
But, really, they're pretty well insulated, and, if you add more insulation, it'd only need to come one once or twice a day.........manual start in the morning and evening for an hour or two, and, you'd probably be good to go...........use batteries for all the other stuff like blenders and lights........
auto start, if you must, at low voltage.........

I think OED hit it when he said the gas to run it would be much cheaper than the set up to auto start and run............and, less to go wrong........
unless, you plan to use this at home, for extended periods..........

just my 2 cents, again......
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:10 pm

ygmir wrote:I think OED hit it when he said the gas to run it would be much cheaper than the set up to auto start and run............and, less to go wrong........


I never let such logic stop me.
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Postby rodiponer » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:13 pm

Hi,
I've seen boats with this. Xantrex makes an "Automatic Generator Starter" ($130 at West Marine), but it looks like you also need their LCD control panel to program it. I bet someone has made a less expensive one that is not part of a fancy system-- maybe look around in off-grid catalogs..

Or do you have a nerd handy? A nerd could make this in an afternoon with about $50 in parts (Arduino, relay, wires...).

If you want this to be driven by a thermostat, check out Carel digital thermometers. I had one of these on a DC fridge and was very happy with how it could switch a DC or AC load directly and had a programmable on and off temperature for running the compressor (or generator, in your case).

Oh, or check out this thing, a key fob remote starter for your EU3000:
http://tinyurl.com/9mfhv
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Postby Dustdevil » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:26 am

I think you may be surprised just how much the genny will run to keep the freezer cold. This year we brought a modern small deep freeze to keep some food cold and to pre cool our tequila and mix for our margarita machines. The freezer was out of the sun and has a high effeciancy rating. During the daylight hours the freezer was running at least 25% of the time. During the night the compressor would only be on around 5-10% of the time. It really worked well in the heat and power was not a problem as our camp has a really nice grid.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:14 am

LeChatNoir wrote:What about a battery bank and some sort of low-voltage relay that tripped the home-brewed EU-start-em-up when the supply dropped below 12 volts?

Low voltage switch instead of low temp switch. Basically the way a stand-by home generator set works.


A far superior idea! It would involve batteries and a big charger and an inverter, although that's really the way to go anyway.

One of the basic problems I see with auto-start based on electrical demand is in the absence of power supply, there isn't any electrical demand to trigger on when you turn something on.

The times I've done BM with electric-only refrigerators, I just kept the power on all the time. The Honda EU already runs at idle and automatically throttles up as load requires.

My Land Yacht started out with a Honda EU as it's only electric power; you had to start it just to run the blender (OK so it was worth it...) but ended up being supplanted with batteries and inverter as well. That was way better.
Eventually dual alternators replaced the genny completely, and for electric power while your rig is underway you might even wanna do that too.
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Postby EspressoDude » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:42 am

watch out if you go the inverter route. Refrigerator motors (or any motor) will suck up 10 - 15 times nameplate rated amps during starting. this will kill many inverters.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:17 pm

:D
Much good info! That Hayes remote has a servo for the choke. There is a similar unit called Sun.

I shall take a closer look at that marine equipment.

On the other hand, what if I encase the chest freezer in 12 extra inches of styrofoam on all sides? Might not need to run the generator more than a short period a couple of times a day? It's not like a few cubic feet of extra insulation would be much of a nuicance in my 40 foot bus!

So much to plan, and to build, and the Man burns in only 274 days! :lol:
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Postby Dustdevil » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:47 pm

[quote="Elliot"]:D

On the other hand, what if I encase the chest freezer in 12 extra inches of styrofoam on all sides? Might not need to run the generator more than a short period a couple of times a day? It's not like a few cubic feet of extra insulation would be much of a nuicance in my 40 foot bus!

The condensor needs to be exposed to the open air so totally enclosing the unit will not work. Leave an open section for the unit to "breathe".

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Postby rodiponer » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:14 pm

In addition to mega-insulation, add a lot of thermal mass by filling empty space in the freezer with water bottles.

If you want to totally nerd out, instead of water use a eutectic solution whose freezing temperature is tuned to the temperature you want to keep your freezer. Salt water is easy, just Google it to find the right concentration for your temperature. The science is that the phase transition from solid to liquid will absorb a lot more heat than just raising the temperature a couple degrees on a solid.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:43 pm

:D
Dustdevil: Yes, vital. Thanks for the reminder.

Rodiponer: I wonder if you just described the science of an old-fashioned "roll-it-around-on-the-ground" ice cream maker?!

And yes, thermal mass good.
:D
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Postby Weebdog » Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:30 am

Depending on how large of a freezer you need, check with a RV/motorhome salvage yard and see about getting a propane powered refig/freezer. That would eliminate the need for running a generator everyday all together. Just need a 12 volt battery which you have on your bus for the thermocoupler and controls. These units use very little propane.
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Postby ygmir » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:03 am

the propane way is good......that's what I do.
the little fridge in my trailer, or camper, keeps stuff frozen all week in the little freezer, and, cool in the fridge.......
and,
older ones don't need any electricity......mine don't. And, as stated, use very little propane.

the downside is their recovery is fairly slow.....meaning, if you open and close it a lot, it won't keep up.
I freeze everything possible before leaving, and, load frozen stuff into the main compartment, too, along with cream and things.
it works a treat.

Used, older, low tech fridges can be had fairly cheap from old rv's , trailers, and, campers.
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:14 am

:D
Yup, I am aware of the benefits of propane RV refrigerators. And I actually have a Dometic three way fridge that came with a camping trailer I got for free. The fridge is fairly new - a recent replacement in that older trailer. But I have "a thing about" propane. I think I would rather run the EU3000 24/7 (mounted on the cargo trailer) than have propane in my bus.

Maybe I will change my mind. This fridge is quite new, so it may be faily safe from catching fire. It may even be a recall replacement. (Some Dometic refrigerators were recalled because they caught fire so often).

It's not that I'm nuts about it. I'm enjoying the heat from a propane furnace in my mobile-home this very morning. (Then again, mobile-homes are well known fire traps! :shock:

Thanks for the reminder about propare refrigerators. They ARE famous for working pretty darn well on very little propane.

I better have some breakfast and get my brain started.
:D
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Postby ygmir » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:25 am

are you worried about fire, or, asphyxiation regarding propane and combustion?
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:51 am

:D
Fire. From what I have read, an awful lot of these things have caught fire over the years, and burned down the Winnebago.

The propane gas itself is heavier than air, so a small leak is not a great hazard -- it would easily find its way out of my bus. And I feel capable of fabricating plenty good venting. I just don't like the idea of my beloved Millicent The Bus going up in flames. My stash of ice cream might be in there, for heavens sake! :lol:
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Postby ygmir » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:09 am

I think most of the fires are related to no/poor maintenance, like not cleaning the flu once a year, or, stuff getting down the flue, like leaves and such.....
that little pilot itself shouldn't be a big problem, unless something flammable is right on it......
and, as long as there are no gas leaks........I'd think it a pretty small issue......seemingly no worse than a gasoline leak in a generator, or, the co problem, from exhaust.

not that I'm trying to convince you to do something you're not comfortable with. Just discussing the risks as I know them, to also further my understanding........
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:11 am

ygmir wrote:are you worried about fire, or, asphyxiation regarding propane and combustion?


No one should come to Burning Man if these things scare you.
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costco 1850w 64db generator & switch for refridge

Postby stack » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:17 am

I bought a genny from costco before this year's burn with similar thoughts of cheap power. If its the same one I got, (green one listed at 64db), I gotta tell you that its *a lot* louder than you think its gonna be; more like a lawn mower. I measured around 90db with my iphone....hopefully its not the same one I bought and your luck will be better (I posted about it here: viewtopic.php?t=29450&highlight=).

In regards to the fridge, I recently read something where you can use a thermometer switch used for kegs to control the on/off function of a freezer to use it like a fridge. Might work for one part of your project. Here's some links:

http://www.leeners.com/beer-equipment-kegging.html
http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html

here's a pic of the one I got: [img]http://www.bosstoolsupply.com/productimages/westernrugged/24523.jpg[/img]

good luck!
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Re: costco 1850w 64db generator & switch for refridge

Postby Sham » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:43 am

stack wrote:I bought a genny from costco before this year's burn with similar thoughts of cheap power. If its the same one I got, (green one listed at 64db), I gotta tell you that its *a lot* louder than you think its gonna be; more like a lawn mower. I measured around 90db with my iphone....hopefully its not the same one I bought and your luck will be better

That is the same one I bought. I found this brand new at Costco--out of the box, at the end of the row. $80 discontinued, with a normal sell price of $129. It has a list price of $499 on your posted site and they are selling it for $329. There was never gas or oil in the one I bought, so I know it was never used. Runs perfect.
I was able to have a normal conversation right next to it, but I know it's not as quiet as a Honda generator.
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