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Old 07-09-2010, 12:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The generator varies its speed, depending on load.

I think that if the battery charger is simply set to max, and the generator is fired up anytime after the car has driven just a bit, the charger will pull as many amps as it is allowed to.

That should make the generator run pretty much full out, which I would imagine would be peak efficiency for the unit.



Here's a photo of the generator. It is sort of half taken apart, the sheet metal and cowl removed for access to parts for testing and troubleshooting. I also have the official mechanics repair guide for it borrowed from the friend I got the generator from.

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Last edited by bennelson; 07-09-2010 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: added photo
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I took the generator over to the Community Supported Energy Group in Jefferson County, Wisconsin yesterday.

They guys gave me a hand troubleshooting it.

First, we tested my regulator (which should be 11 inches of water column) using, get this, a clear tube filled with water!

Running the hose from the regulator to the water tube, the gas did indeed push the water a little past 11 inches. Unfortunately, we found out later that it has the pressure, but not the VOLUME of LP to run the generator.

Switching to a different regulator they had kicking around, we WERE able to get the generator running, but the propane tank had to be hand-dialed down, and manually tweaked while we ran it.

The genny ran a 100 watt lightbulb successfully for about 30 seconds or so.

We also found that the throttle was a little corroded. Some wiggling and WD-40 loosened it up.

After RE-reading the manual, it appears that the generator requires TWO regulators - one provided by the user, which is on the tank, and one that comes with the generator. We also theorized that the one that was supposed to come with the generator is some sort of "on-demand" regulator which can vary the flow of LP to the engine.

Also, the generator would have included a gas shut-off solenoid (which I don't have). We tested the "Fuel Prime" switch and a bare wire that we thought would run to the solenoid. It was the correct wire, and tested positive for voltage when the switch was flipped. If the solenoid was installed, it would work properly.

So, it doesn't look like there's much more I can do until I get the proper regulator that's designed for the generator. I'm hoping my RV mechanic friend who gave me the generator has the regulator kicking around somewhere. If not, the manufacturer is only about 20 miles from where I live. I would imagine that I should still be able to get parts directly from them.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Especially if you Electro-Metro over to them!
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Longranger

Ben, I don't know if you've seen this, but I thought you might be interested.

Rav Long Ranger
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Cute, too bad it isn't at least part parallel, but the rearview webcam is a good upgrade if you can't see back there.

I sill like this long ranger better


I sure would love to know how that trailer does on its own mpg wise powering the wagon motor.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I am familiar with the long-ranger. It's a great idea.

For those of you wondering.... the propane generator I have has a 212cc engine displacement. That sounded like a good size to me. I always hear about how efficient the 250cc motorcycles are. Of course, they are also a LOT lighter than my car.

However, the RAV4 electric is heavier than Electro-Metro.
In the photos of the Long-Ranger trailer, it also shows that it has a liquid cooling radiator system.

My generator is simply air-cooled. (Less weight without the radiator!)

I think I should be able to mount the genset right onto the back of the car. That would eliminate the need for trailer tires (more rolling resistance!)

The car's suspension is already modified for additional weight - I would just need some solid connection points for the generator and some sort of quick-release mechanism for removal.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Your correct that a propane setup for a small engine requires 2 regs. One reduces tank pressure to an intermediate of 1 or 2 bar. The other decides how much gas to send to the mixer (carb) depending on intake manifold vacuum (ie demand). Some demand regs will work at tank pressure. Others not.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Any luck or progress on this one xD?
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Not lately, still waiting for my friend to dig up a part....

I'm still planning to at least try hybridization and see how it works!
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:03 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
The generator is a variable speed AC unit. It makes AC, not DC, by default, so I may as well use that.

...
I believe that as far as generators go, this one is fairly compact and efficient. It has a ring of permanent magnets on the OUTSIDE (rotor) and an electromagnet stator on the inside. Sort of like an inside out permanent magnet motor, but with no brushes or commutator. The computer control manages the speed of the generator (it's variable speed) and adjusts the speed depending on the load.
So it must have slip rings. It is an AC alternator, so it's not possible to directly generate DC from the unit.

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