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Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?


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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:39:48 PM
Spridle Spridle is offline
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Default Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

My first post here so I apologize if I break any etiquette rules! I also apologize up front for a habit of rambling posts.

My brother has a 6.5NH onan in pretty rough shape that he's offering me for free if I want to drive the 400 miles to get it. He has never had it running and burned out the control board while attempting to start it. I think he said the output wires touched briefly and the board went poof. I do have some pictures and the control board but they are not handy at the moment.

Now I know you are all a bunch of junkies that would probably bring it back to life if nothing was left but a sparkplug but I'm just not sure it makes sense for me to do so, even though I am all for the challenge itself.

I need a backup gen for the house. Hurricane Sandy was the final wake up call. My current needs are minimal as everything runs on NAT, it's city water and it's a tiny house. 10KW would be enough to run everything without a thought, 2KW would just cover the basics.

What I do need is clean AC output as I have lots of sensitive electronics in charge of my boiler and my lights. I need it to be reasonably quiet as the houses are only separated by a driveway and obviously it would be better to have it run on NAT.

Would the 6.5NH fit that bill? How loud is it? Do you think I'd still see around 4KW if I converted it (with your help) to NAT?

I had been looking at the 10KW Generac but I have seen enough horror stories that I don't think I'm willing to risk it. Kohler is nice but you are talking 14KW which is a bit more noise, way more power than I need and more than I can invest at this at this time. Alternatively I'm looking at a used 2,000 or 3,000 watt Honda EU to just cover the basics. It's possible the 3,000 watt Honda converted to NAT would still cover the basics.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read and I welcome any input. I know these sorts of questions are ultimately up to me but I'm hoping for some good feedback on what kind of beast that unit is.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:26:07 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

I'm a fan of both, and have several of each.
With that said, stating our conditions I would by a honda eu3000i.
You can quiet down the onans quite a bit, but the honda is quiet,and that means a lot with close neighbors.

The honda is,an inverter so,by nature cleaner power. It will,sit at 59.999hz all day long, great for sensitive electronics.

In addition , the honda will sip fuel.

If you are natural gas, I think a 10k,is,way overkill and you will,use quite a bit of fuel.

if your brother wants the onan out of there, then tell,him to,put it on craigslist, or put it up here, someone here I'm sure will make an offer.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:40:05 PM
Spridle Spridle is offline
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

10K is definitely overkill. I charted it out in a spread sheet and I can get away with 5KW and still cover everything we need. But if I were to by the Generac their 10K unit is what would make the most sense and would allow for a complete transfer without having to worry about load shedding.

Actually the gen is closer to you than me. My brother is down in Clarksburg, WV. We are from Pittsburgh.

Noise is a concern from me but it may be a moot point as my very basic minded neighbor bought a 9,000w Champion that's louder than the space shuttle for the next storm

I too am leaning towards a Honda unit but free and 6.5KW is worth at least a little bit of research.

---------- Post added at 10:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:36 PM ----------

http://ebay.com/itm/Cummins-Onan-5KW-natural-gas-GenSet-Generator-w-transfer-switch-LTEU-30L-CHEAP-/251191639770

Too bad this wasn't a bit closer. Lots less work to make this do what I need it to do.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:44:33 PM
Ben Cowan Ben Cowan is offline
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

Go get it. Plenty of help here if you need it. Keep us up to date with your progress. I've got two 6.5's and a 4.0 cck. Be careful of these green beasts, they can be contaigous. Just got back from a trip up in your part of the world. Went to Pottsville, man that local beer, ( Note for Billy) was good and very reasonably priced. Youngling lager for 14 per case. too bad all I had room for in my checked luggage was a single case. Luck, Ben
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:08:16 AM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

That one ebay sure looks nice.

Here's something for you.

I just recently sold a generator, part of one anyways, the buyer
Used uship.com

I am not affiliated in anyway with them, but what this service appears to be is a bid based delivery. The reason I bring this up, is maybe you should check to see what it would cost to have it shipped, may be worth it to check into.
  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:08:48 AM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

You might want to check to see first if the NH is 120 volt only. If you have 240 volt needs then it might not fill your needs. In my opinion..... Starting with an unknown generator, with a burned out control board, Fuel to drive the miles to pick it up, it just might turn out to be one real expensive generator.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:25:57 AM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

I looked it over when I was down there for a funeral last year. It's 240V. I have no specific 240V loads beyond the oven but it would make it easier to tie into the panel than the 120V Honda. I don't need to run a sump pump either as I'm installing city water driven backup pumps. The clean power requirement is because my boiler has more electronics than the space shuttle and my lighting is a Lutron automation system with digital dimmers. They do not like the contractor grade rental gen sets at all!

I almost brought it home last year but I hadn't done any research on it at all so I didn't want to get home with a 300# grease covered chunk of green metal and then have to figure out what to do with it.

That ebay unit is absolutely ideal in terms of specifications but even more of a risk. At least with my brothers gen set I can go through some basic diagnostics on it before putting any $$ into it.

Based on the feedback here I'd say if I make it down there and he's still got it then I'll drag it home and see what can be done. But for the moment I'm not going to make a special trip for it. He's had it sitting for at least three years now in his shed so I doubt it's going anywhere anytime soon.

I have been looking around on and off for an Onan for five or six years now and never run across anything locally that fits the bill.

---------- Post added at 09:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:53 AM ----------





I've got a photo of the back of the board with some traces burned off too. In the rush to get back home I was so focused on getting the serial number that I forgot to take any shots of the generator itself.
  #8  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:02:25 AM
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Smile Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

Whether you revive the Onan or get something else depends on how much learning and work you want to do. Control boards are available from Flight Systems for about $130.00. You will have to come up with some way to mount the unit and feed it fuel; what that entails depends on what the unit was intended for and what fuel it's designed to run on.
You will wind up spending several hundred dollars to get this unit to where it will provide reliable backup service, and you'll have to run and maintain it on a regular basis to keep it that way.
In my opinion, whether to revive this unit or purchase something new (or newer) depends on how much of a "hobby" you want this generator to be, and how important your standby power needs are. I have two 2-cylinder-opposed units on trailers that I consider "hobby" units (although I run them regularly), and a 20ES that powers my house (much newer than the others; I maintain it so that it will be there when I need it).
The choice is yours. Money-wise, you will probably come out about the same if you go get the unit and spend the money to resurrect it, as compared to just buying something already running that fits your needs. If you don't want to make a hobby out of Onan generators (like some of us have), get something that fits your needs that's already in good service, and enjoy the power when others don't have it.
Dave Edmonds
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:14:47 AM
Spridle Spridle is offline
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

Thanks Dave,

I think it's a little of both. I'd kind of like a project like this as it's been awhile since I've had something to wrench on. I'm reasonably fluent in engines and electronics.

As for the cost comparison I don't know how that will play out. That Kohler installed even with me doing a lot of the work is still probably 6G and the little 2K Honda new is about $1300.

What I don't see anyone saying is go for the Generac. I suspect there isn't much love for those units.

How old are these 6.5NHs anyway? Mid 70s?
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:39:34 AM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

[QUOTE=Spridle;847558].

What I don't see anyone saying is go for the Generac. I suspect there isn't much love for those units.

The only ones who love gereraps are the technicians that make a living fixing them. They are always busy. nothing like job security.

How old are these 6.5NHs anyway? Mid 70s?
The one in your photo above is from May 1975
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:03:59 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

Well I was born in '69 so at least I can say I'm older than the generator
  #12  
Old 12-07-2012, 12:38:09 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

I don't think that most of us are saying "Don't go for it" I'm not.... I think there is more "ADVICE" on the whole picture. That said, I think the NH would be a good backup. Your cleanest power from a small generator will come from an inverter style generator. I think your most worries for your furnace, ect would be if the generator surged from say a dirty carburetor or it not being fully "shook down" before putting it online to your house.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:47:26 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

By not going for it I was referring to the Generac. As for the Advice being given I think it's all been helpful and direct to my situation. Frankly that's not something I'm used to. Usually when I post a question like this I get a whole lot of answers that have nothing to do with the original question.

as for the power coming from the Onan I really haven't see much talk about how clean it is compared to say a modern Chinese construction gen. Seems to me that's probably a thread onto itself. Sinewave versus modified sign, regulation, frequency etc. Not sure if there are any good write ups on that stuff around but I'd be interested to read them. I would assume the Onan is full sinewave but being 1975 I'm not sure how good the regulation would be, especially as you say during an engine surge or load induced surge.

The boiler is well protected with a NEMA encased power conditioner that I had lying around from the work I do. But that doesn't mean I want to push my luck.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:56:39 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

I,d take my chances TEN-FOLD with an old Onan over some Chinese piece of junk. As to a Generac, I also have an 8kw Diesel Generac fully contained with a 20 gallon day tank that I resurrected. It is a real nice, simple set with clean power. I trust it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:57:17 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

The Generac is not likely to be a long term solution, check the reviews online. Any 1800 rpm Onan is a better bet. That said the 6.5 NH is an expensive beast to fix I am into mine for several hundred and it still doesent work. If you can find a working one locally you probably wont pay more than what it costs you to drive to pick up the other one. A 12 or 15Kw JC is a pretty durable unit but a bit thirsty. Cheers Dan
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:06:28 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

If it were me, and I had the cash, I'd get both.
Th eu2000i new will run about 900

The onan.. Free from your bro, and then about 200 in fuel, and lets just say for arguments sake, 500 in parts.

The honda will put out 59.9999 hz all day long and not flucuate. It is super fuel efficient, and will idle when low watts are being used. If it were me, i'd buy two 2000's and you can parallel them for 4000 peak watts, 3200 rated. This is inverter so you electronics will love it.

Then, you can pickup onan at will, and sit back, crack a few cold ones and give her the love she needs. I will say the onans I have a 6.0k diesel and 4.0 propane, the diesel has a regulator and the voltage is pretty steady, and the hz is always between 62 and 59.2, the 4k cck's governor is ok, the hz will hold good between 62.5 and 59 and the volts will go from 127 to 117.

When a heady load comes in, the older cck will hesitate ever so slightly before governor corrects that.

The diesel just laughs at the load, though you can hear the engine dig in more, but it is rock steady, and the honda, you can hear the engine rev, but the volts and hz do not move.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:38:04 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

I just built my Onan 6.5 NH 3CR/12014D platform. I bought the genset for $400 (on the high side), not hearing it run only cranking it over. It had already been converted (has spec J controls) so the questionable control board wasn't an issue. See this thread
(http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112761)

It took me a few hours to get it running and then I started to build the platform to hold the set and necessary items.

I have around $250 in parts and steel for the cart and power distribution (alot of parts were free, I'm an electrician) so your cost could be higher.

With help from the people here I have this gen set dialed in. I ran the house for a couple hours and I was so pleased!! I to was concerned about the quality of the sine wave, I don’t have a scope unfortunately. I ran my LED tv, computer, audio sys, pellet stove and I wouldn’t think twice about doing it again. I found its best to keep some constant load like lighting when turning on/off loads. It keeps the spikes down on mine any way. When I run something large water heater, dryer I did turn off circs to electronics.

Basically a great gen set and a fun project, my two cents worth.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:40:24 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

At the tail end of Sandy I rented a 1750 Subaru Inverter gen. Don't know anything about it but it could not hold a steady speed to save its life and the voltage was visibly fluctuating as it surged.

Shortly after Sandy I saw a 3000is on CL for $1300. Probably the lowest I'll ever see and probably should have jumped on it.

Yes I agree with two 2000s in parallel and an extended run time tank to feed both.

Sadly even if cost were no limit there does not seem to be a unit out there that perfectly suits me other than the 8KW or 10KW Generac. But as we've established that's just not going to happen.

Sandy was unique but the gas shortage was real. So while the Honda is a great interim long term I'll still be looking to buy or convert something to NAT so I don't have to chase down gas in the middle of a severe weather event.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:44:00 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

yes you should have pulled the trigger, $1300 was a steal.

I converted one of my 2000i to gas/propane took about an hour and about $100 in parts including the garretson regulator.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:47:04 PM
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Default Re: Onan 6.5NH - will it cover my needs?

Nice - how much wattage do you think you lost with the conversion?
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