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Old 03-25-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Hi! We own a food truck business and are going to convert a bus a diner/kitchen. All cooking is done with propane. Our refrigeration, lighting, and air conditioning is electric. We need about 8,500 watts. I was wondering if it would be more economical and quieter to run our electrical system off of a larger alternator and an AC/DC converter as opposed to a generator. We need to factor in noise for our customers but lowered cost makes everyone happy .

Anyone have any ideas how this is done or any ideas? Thank you!

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Old 03-25-2013, 02:16 PM   #2
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Just not going to happen.

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


There is no way to produce that much power off of an idling engine?
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:50 PM   #4
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecloran View Post
There is no way to produce that much power off of an idling engine?
Nope...
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:00 PM   #5
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


No reasonable or economical way.

You would be better off talking to the generator mfgs to see what they have available. Something similar to a large RV generator or possibly some type that of generator that could be trailer mounted.

Talking to the MFG is particularly important if you want to keep a warranty in place.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Thanks for your input. Thought id give it a shot
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


If it's a diesel, search for Truck APU (Auxiliary Power Unit). They provide AC power as well as HVAC. They are used on 18 wheeler so the driver can live in the cab without idling the engine.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


A 10kW "silent" diesel generator solves your problem. This is what they're made for. There is no commercially available solution for obtaining this much electric power from the vehicle's engine, and a custom solution would cost more than a 10kW silent diesel generator. If you really wanted to do it, I would use a hydraulic PTO to drive a remotely mounted generator head, with an electronic engine idle speed controller for rough load control and a mechanical speed governor tied to the displacement lever of a variable displacement motor driving the generator head. I put a lot of thought into this because I wanted to do it on my truck... but I realized how damn complicated it is and just bought a generator instead!
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:25 PM   #9
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Thanks for both your post i will look in to both solutions. I dont want to make things too complicated. Time is a factor also. I think i might just go the generator route. I just didnt want to idle the bus for heat when its cold. But maybe just put a heater in and run the generator for both. Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #10
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


Thanks for both your post i will look in to both solutions. I dont want to make things too complicated. Time is a factor also. I think i might just go the generator route. I just didnt want to idle the bus for heat when its cold. But maybe just put a heater in and run the generator for both. Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


I assume you have propane for cooking, so use propane radiant heaters. Way more fuel efficient than using a generator to run electric heaters.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:16 AM   #12
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


The main problem with using a vehicle engine for an AC generator is that the output frequency (HZ) of every aC generator is completely dependent on the RPM of the shaft.

Any equipment that uses AC induction motors (like refrigeration compressors) needs to have pretty close to 60HZ. There is no reasonable way to regulate frequency (RPM) of an engine that's designed to move the vehicle.

This is why every vehicle that has 60HZ power also has either an inverter or a separate engine-generator.

While inverters exist that can produce 8500 watts, you'd need a ton (or pretty close to an actual ton) of batteries to power it if it's expected to run for any length of time. 8500 watts at 12 volts is 708 amps. I don't think they make automotive alternators that big. .......

As noted, some sort of an RV generator would likely be the best way to go. 10,000 watts is fairly common, plus they're quiet.

Rob
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:24 AM   #13
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Alternative Generator Methods for Food Truck?


If you have diesel bus all by the means use the diesel generator as one of the guys mention a quiet RV grade generator for this puropse however there is one nice gotcha.,

When you tap the fuel lines from the main tank please keep it seperated from the main engine fuel line and the dip tubes for generator fuel line is shorter than the main engine for good reason if the generator some reason why " ran out of fuel " but the main engine still can run to fuel station to get more diesel fuel.

Otherwise other option is put a seperated tank for diesel generator.
( this is more safer methold so you don't have to worry about main tank at all )

Otherwise if you going use pretty large propane tank then use the propane generator for this purpose however try to get one in liquid draw verison for good reason why it will not affect the appalinces too much at all when the propane generator is running.

That something ya have to think how much GLP ( LPG ) you want to use in the bus ( I think 40 gallons should be plenty for one day purpose unless someone else chime in on this part )

Merci,
Marc

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