Pool Heater Gasoline Engine

Pool Heater Homemade
Above: The Genny DeeCee model 100-12.

energy than our solar and wind energy systems could provide. Since we are using it as a back-up power source, we have only put 306 hours on it during the last eighteen months.

We placed the Genny DeeCee outside of the battery room, and wired it to the Ananda power panel with #6 copper cable. The Genny DeeCee comes complete with a great control box, which we mounted on an outside wall next to the Genny DeeCee. This control box houses an ammeter (0 to 150 amperes on the model we tested), a rheostat to control the current output of the alternator, and a nifty multipurpose engine instrument called a "Maintenance Meter." The control box also has a zero to six hour mechanical timer/switch which can shut the Genny DeeCee off if you're not around to do the job. The Maintenance Meter has an LCD display which indicates engine RPM, time until next engine service (in hours), and total hours on the engine.

Feather River Solar Electric makes a variety of sizes of Genny DeeCees and has many custom options. We are using model number 100-12 with the optional larger 3.4 gal (12.9 liter) fuel tank. It has a Honda 6.5 hp engine (model GX200) which displaces 196 cubic centimeters. This small and efficient engine has overhead valves, automatic low oil shut-off, electronic ignition, and a manual pull starter. The Genny DeeCee is 24 inches (70 cm) wide by 24 inches (70 cm) high by 20 inches (50.8 cm) deep.

The alternator used on this particular Genny DeeCee is a 100 ampere model. The alternator is coupled to the engine by a high quality Vee belt. The cast iron pulley on the engine is six inches (15.2 cm) in diameter. Feather River designed and built a unique belt tensioning system which insures high-efficiency power transfer between the engine and the alternator. This belt tensioning system is spring-loaded and dynamic— there is very little belt wear and no belt adjustments are necessary.

Those of you who are long time Home Power readers will know that I've published homebrew articles on similar generators I have built myself. All in all, I've probably gotten 15,000 hours of use out of similar generator setups. Many years ago, I also built these units for sale to my neighbors. In comparison, the Genny DeeCee is far more advanced than anything I ever built. The welded steel cradle housing the unit is vibration isolated. The belt tensioning system is also a quality feature—it's far better than anything I've ever done or even seen done.

Using the Genny DeeCee

Fill up the gas tank, check the engine oil, pull the starter, and allow the engine to warm up. Gradually increase engine rpm and load the Genny DeeCee using the rheostat. When you get the current output you are looking for, just let the unit run until your battery is fully recharged. Genny DeeCee is very easy to operate.

I've been keeping my eye on gas consumption and energy replaced in the battery, using a Cruising E-Meter to measure ampere-hours of recharge. To compare the Genny DeeCee with our big 6.5 kW Honda 117 VAC generator, I have been using a variety of battery chargers. Here, we have three Todd 75 amp models, a Trace SW2512 with battery charger, and a Statpower ProSine 2500 inverter with charger. I find that the Genny DeeCee puts almost two times the number of ampere-hours back into the battery for each gallon of gas burned. Efficiency is Genny DeeCee's strong suit!

Since the Genny DeeCee is only current controlled, the user is advised to keep an eye on battery voltage and reduce the charge rate as the battery becomes fully recharged. The plus side of this type of current-only control system is that the Genny DeeCee is very effective for equalizing lead-acid batteries and also for recharging the higher voltage NiCd and NiFe batteries.

Maintenance is simple—just change the engine's oil every 100 hours. I haven't had to do anything else.

Options

Call Feather River Solar Electric for info on their many other Genny DeeCee models. They also make 24 VDC units with current outputs as high as 110 amperes. Other options currently include an LPG (propane) conversion for $345.00. Because this is a factory conversion to propane only, there is little to no power loss, and the genny is easy to start. Electric starters are available for $175.00 extra, though you'll only get 85 amps of output, since the electric start model uses a 5.5 hp engine. If it's not going to live in a generator shed, a belt/pulley guard is a good option for $88.50. Remote exhaust adapters are available for $14.70, and an optional larger 3.4 gal (12.9 liter) fuel tank costs $100.00. Lastly, the noise enclosure (which I wish our unit had), also acts as a generator shed. It includes a 3.0 gallon (11.4 liter) fuel tank, and goes for $535.00.

Who needs the Genny DeeCee?

Anyone who has an RE system who can use a back-up generator needs the Genny DeeCee. With a price tag of $1485.00 (for the model that we tested), the Genny DeeCee is the most cost-effective way to recharge your batteries using gasoline or propane as a fuel source. For this purpose, it's the most efficient engine generator I have ever used.

Access

Author: Richard Perez, Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520 • 530-475-3179 Fax: 530-475-0836 • [email protected] Web: www.homepower.com

Genny DeeCee's manufacturer: Feather River Solar Electric, 4291 Nelson Street, Taylorsville, CA 95983 530-284-7849 • Web: www.psln.com/frenergy

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