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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    10

    Need Generator Advice to power our mobile cafe this summer!

    So, we are finally hoping our mobile cafe in Chicago this summer, but we are having trouble making a decision on a generator. We are torn between a diesel and gasoline, we know the diesel supposedly saves a bit more on fuel costs, but is it worth it? since they usually cost more and can be expensive to repair!?!

    We have been looking and researching for a while, and we think we need 7.5kw or more due to wattage needed for the espresso machine, ice maker, and grinders. Any one have experience with this? The rising fuel costs aren't helping either!

    Anyone have advice on specific models and the cost on running all day? HELP!

    Any advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    203
    Can you find a diesel that is quiet enough, and can you direct the exhaust well enough to not have to smell it? What about noise? Honda makes some extremely quiet generators, and some can be run in parallel to boost power.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,301
    I wouldn't bother going with diesel as they are heavy in comparison, noisier and more costly upfront.

    Also wouldn't bother with Honda as they are overpriced for what you're getting. You can run them parallel, but it's costly to buy/maintain 2 smaller gensets to get comparable power to one larger one. I strongly recommend Generac or Kohler as they are built for long term use and offer alot of bang for the buck. Don't read into the hype that Honda makes the best small engines. That's like people believing Mazzer makes the best grinders. We run a 13KW propane fired Generac Guardian that has been awesome and we have ALOT of onboard equipment to power. May not be the quietest available, but it's not annoying either. Much quieter than smaller portable generators I've been around. You can also go the RV generator route which are usually a bit smaller and better insulated for quieter operation, but you pay dearly for it.

    Add up your total wattage needed and add 15% to that because alot of electrical items require more power to actually get started. It's better to have more power than you need. For example, the 13KW we use is rated at 1.55 gallons per hour at half load of propane usage and 2.18 gph at full load, but based on my math we are getting around a 1.3gph average. In comparison there is a new Kohler 14KW genset I have researched that has a smaller engine (750cc vs the 992cc in our Guardian) but the fuel efficiency of the Kohler is only 5-8% better because the smaller engine is being pushed harder to obtain a similar output.

    Propane is cleaner burning than other fuel sources and there is NO gumming of fuel systems, fouled spark/glow plugs, etc. like you can have with gasoline/diesel. Propane is more efficient as well. Right now we pay $2.65 per gallon of propane and get around 16 hrs. out of a 100 lb. tank (23 gallons when 80% full). Basically it costs us around $3.25~ per hour to run it.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    10
    What about AC Delco power units? Have you considered one?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    238
    Do you have a list of your equipment and required draw?

    What type of ice maker did you decide to go with? Why did you decide to have a ice maker on board instead of buying ice?

    For the generator do you plan on towing, mounting outside, or mounting inside? The size constraints of your setup will dictate your generator type.
    I would rather pay a little more for the generator and fuel and have it quiet. Believe me, making a loud generator quiet is $$$ and very time consuming.
    One advantage for diesel or unleaded is if it is the same type of fuel as the truck you can connect it to refill from the trucks gasoline tank.

    In that price point I would check out some of the Honda or Pramac generators. Most of the Pramac ones use Honda engines.
    Pramac S7200 CARB Work Generators at PowerComplete.com

    Keep in mind 74db is LOUD and you will need a box
    For running costs figure out how long the generator will run on 50/100% load and multiple by the number of hours you will be working.
    Example: 9.2 hours on 50% load with 8 gallon tank
    8/9.2 = .87 gallons per hour at 50% load. .87 x number of hours operating (are you going to need to run the generator to setup and break down for lighting?) 10 hours = 8.7 hours per day
    8.7 hours per day x $4.60 (or whatever you want to budget for gas) = $40.02 a day in gas

    This is just an example to give you a ball park figures. One of my friends (non coffee lunch wagon) runs propane to heat food and uses two parallel Honda generators for everything else. He told me they don't even go through 3/4 gallons a day. They only run 3-5 hours though

 

 

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