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Onan 20ES questions


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  #1  
Old 08-04-2007, 08:50 AM
europachris europachris is offline
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Question Onan 20ES questions

I ran across a model 20ES at one of our facilities at work, sitting on a skid, shrink wrapped, with the end bell of the generator end sitting on top of the rest of the generator end. I wasn't able to get any data plate information or really dig into it, but obviously it was taken apart due to some sort of issue.

Overall, the set looks mint, and was obviously kept inside or in an enclosure. Don't know if it was setup for LP or natural gas (likely natural) but that's not an issue.

I think it even had the original manual and other bits with it as there was a manila envelope with some documents sitting on top.

Just curious if anyone has any thoughts regarding this set? I might be able to score it since it's not operational, and put some work into it to make it run, depending on what's wrong with it. There isn't a lot of discussion or information that I've found regarding this model, aside from that it has a 2.3L Ford industrial engine.....

Thanks!

chris
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2007, 09:08 AM
pcbye pcbye is offline
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Default Re: 20ES questions

Greetings:

Any Onan GenSet has value. Very High Quality Units.

The 20 ES has parts redily available, although they could be spendy if they are Onan. The ford engine is pretty bullet proof and parts available and any auto parts store.

If properly serviced and / or repaired, they will litterally last forever.

If you can get the complete model number and serial number off of the plates, we can give you more info than you want. Pictures are also worth a thousand words or more.

If the unit is free or close to it. GET IT.

We wait to hear from you.

Regards;

Peter
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  #3  
Old 08-04-2007, 09:57 AM
Billy J Shafer's Avatar
Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: 20ES questions

Very good unit if taken care of. Have many in my part of Texas. Nice units.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:59 AM
ASavage ASavage is offline
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Default Re: 20ES questions

You've probably already found my Onan 20.0 ES thread, and if so you know that there is a "normal" and "mobile" ES. I've put a couple of the ES manuals online here. I don't have any real running experience with mine yet, still working out little bugs.

More info on my ES project -- with more details than anyone really wants to read -- are here.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2007, 11:15 AM
europachris europachris is offline
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Default Re: 20ES questions

Thanks for the quick replies so far! WOW!

I sent out an email to our corporate office where this is located to someone there who might know what the status is of the unit. If anything, I might just need to pay the freight to get it to me. First I need to determine what the unit is, exactly, and what voltage, etc. the gen. end is setup for. It appeared to be a 12 wire end from what I could see.

Chris
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2007, 01:01 PM
Gunny Gunny is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

20 ES is one of the best gensets Onan ever made. If you can get it reasonable, get it. Easy to convert to LP from NG or the other way around.
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:42 PM
pcbye pcbye is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Greetings:

One thing to think about is what you will use it for.

If the ES is set up for Gasiuos Fuel, ie. LP / Propane or Natural Gas, your fuel consumption -vs- output should be considered.

From the Onan tables I have, I calculated the fuel cost based on the fuel consumption for a wide range of Onan Sets -- 1.0AJ - 45.0EM. There is very little varience in consumption between the sets per KW. Smaller, being a little less efficient, larger getting better with a couple of bad ones in between.


A 20ES is not in my tables, but I extrapolated that an ES20 will consume ~150 cu/ft hr, or ~4 gals per hour full load.

Your milage may vary. You have to extrapolate what your fuel consumption will be at less than full load, I would say it is Not A Linear Reduction. There is some floor. You still consume fuel not making any electricity.

My current LP Pre Buy Contract is $1.90 per gallon in bulk - 1500 Gals.

In general, it appears to be about 0.20 Gals LP / Kw of elec power output. At my LP price, that is about $0.40 per Kw in Fuel per hour full load. A 20kw will suck about $7.50 worth of LP per hour, full load -- ouch.

A genset will require about 2X + Natural Gas, but it is cheaper.

Think about it.

Regards;

Peter
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:00 PM
europachris europachris is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcbye View Post
Greetings:

One thing to think about is what you will use it for.

A genset will require about 2X + Natural Gas, but it is cheaper.

Think about it.

Regards;

Peter
Thanks Peter! I have natural gas available, and the set would be a backup unit for the house, so I'm much more interested in reliability and convenience rather than cost.

Currently I have a small diesel gen set I built, about 4kW, using a ChangFa R185 diesel engine. Works great, and will run the house needs except AC and the well pump. Don't care much about the AC, but the well pump could be a show stopper over a long outage.

The Onan would be WAY overkill, but if the price is right, I could do it. I could power up my house as well as several of the neighbors!

chris
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2007, 04:04 PM
pcbye pcbye is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Greetings:

If you go NG, it is a lot more resonable to run. Depending how good your gas is, a derating may be in order for the set, but 15Kw is very doable even with crappy gas.

I haven't looked at my utility bill lately so don't know what NG goes for these days, nor what the BTU / Therm rating is.

Regards;

Peter
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2007, 04:59 PM
VaughnSimon VaughnSimon is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Quote:
I haven't looked at my utility bill lately so don't know what NG goes for these days, nor what the BTU / Therm rating is.
A therm is always 100,000 BTUs. Last time I looked, I was paying $1.39 per therm for my natural gas, and my 4CCK will burn about .7 therm/hr with a 3 KW load. At that rate, my little CCK will cost me roughly $1/hr to run, and will be delivering power at a fuel cost of about 35 cents per kw/hr. For comparison, a gallon of gasoline has 125,000 BTU and a gallon of LP gas has 95,475 BTU.

Although the efficiency of your generator may vary a bit depending on the type of fuel, comparing cost/BTU is a very useful way to make fuel choices for your generator.

Vaughn
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:19 AM
ASavage ASavage is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcbye View Post
A 20ES is not in my tables, but I extrapolated that an ES20 will consume ~150 cu/ft hr, or ~4 gals per hour full load.
That's the same number I came up with for mine: 4 GPH @ max -- though max is not where it will be operating much of the time, but the extra capacity is needed to start heavy loads (ie A/C). Dad is now willing to go dual-fuel for mine/his. I'm pushing for LP-only myself.

Last edited by ASavage; 08-05-2007 at 02:20 AM. Reason: Forgot a colon.
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  #12  
Old 08-09-2007, 10:10 AM
europachris europachris is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Latest word is that the set has a smoked generator end, but I'm awaiting further confirmation of exactly what the issue is. They decided that it would cost too much to rebuild the end so they purchased a new generator instead.

On that same note, if the end is bad and beyond hope, anyone have leads on a replacement end? I think it's a 12-wire end. I'd prefer a single phase 120/240 head if possible - but how would that impact the controls on the set.

I'll post back here when I get the rest of the story on the diagnosis.....

Chris
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2007, 10:34 AM
pcbye pcbye is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Greetings:

Dis you ever post the exact model / spec and serial number of the unit.

We could tell what end is on it and what could possibly go wrong with it.

Generally, you don't blow the whole guts unless it was struck my lightning or connected to the grid or some other interesting acts of god or errors in judgement.

If it isn't visably cooked -- like small explosion -- it may not be too bad to repair. Magneciter or YD end parts are available -- some can be expensive, but usually worth it oin the long run. You just need the right documents to debug it and fix.

The average "Joe", or even a qualified Electrician may pass on it after the first look inside -- it's pretty foreign looking. They are pretty simple and easy to repair if the windings are all intact. Not much else to go wrong -- Brushes, Diodes, Resistors, VR Boards, etc.

Most parts are generally $15.00 - $100.00, A whole VR board around $300.00. A whole Magneciter less that $1k -- $500 for an aftermarket electronic replacement.

Don't loose hope till it's toast.

Regards;

Peter
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:40 AM
europachris europachris is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcbye View Post
Greetings:

Dis you ever post the exact model / spec and serial number of the unit.


Peter
Thanks, Peter. No, I still don't have the exact model/serial number of the set, but I'm sure I can get it. Indeed, that would be very helpful.

Chris
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:08 AM
torro torro is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

I am considering an Onan 20es purchase but would like to get some tech spec information and if possible a location where I can download the manual(s).

At this time what I would like to know is what the sound rating is for the unit?

Links to downloadable documentation would be greatly appreciated.
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:58 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is online now
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

You really should start your own message thread and not revive one from 8 years ago. I doubt you will find specific published noise levels for the 20ES published, most generators of this period were sold with multiple exhaust muffler options generally rated as commercial, residential, and hospital / critical. I think there was a certain standard sound prressure level that had to be met for residential and critical, but I don't recall it at the moment. As to manuals it may depend on exactly when the one your considering was built as to which control box it has, etc.

Service manual for the generator end (all but the last revision) is linked here www.cumminsonan.com/www/pdf/manuals/900-0335.pdf

hope this help some
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:43 PM
torro torro is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Thank you for the feedback, I may start another thread to get a current conversation going.

I gather from the thread and others I have read that the 20es is a pretty robust and reliable piece of equipment.

I am trying to see if it will meet my needs for my home, I have 90 amps 240v right off the bat for my heat, hot water and well and not sure how much more I can load this up with generator on the 120 side.

The good thing but also the hardest for me to determine is the duty cycle since no appliance or system will run 100% of the time, I dont want to go much higher than 20kw but obviously dont want to under size it either.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2013, 03:30 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is online now
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

The first question you need to answer is how much manual load management are you willing to do, I assume you have electric heat of some type along with a well pump and electric water heater / heaters to get to 90 amps at 240VAC. The issue is these are all cyclic loads although in the case of a winter storm the heat may have a fairly high duty cycle level, the simple addition of a manual cut off switch, timer , or even use of the breaker to turn off the water heater when other loads are needed will go a long way towards increasing your available power from a generator in an outage. Simply turn on the water heater during periods of otherwise low power consumption and turn it off when cooking, doing laundry, etc. A typical water heater will keep water hot for several hours if none is being used. Similar actions may be possible with your well pump if you have water storage tank and don't provide water directly from the well pump. Having said all this a typical medium/large all electric house with a well can live life as nearly normal on a 25-30KW generator, this means observing a couple of rules like don't do laundry and cook at the same time, if cooking with all burners and ovens, turn off the electric heat while doing so, etc. At 20KW load management becomes a little more of an issue in an all electric house, however a comfortable life with more aggressive load management is possible with even less. At my house with gas for heat and cooking, I am comfortable with a 5KW generator, this does mean turning everything off except a few lights to run the electric water heater a couple of times per day though, and in case of emergency can get by with a 2-3KW.

Ike
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2013, 04:19 PM
torro torro is offline
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Understood, thats what we do now, ideally however limiting cutting devices in and out would be great but I guess there is going to be a bit of a balancing act.

I can continue to look for a 30kw or pursue the 20kw we found and see if we can get to a reasonable price point and not worry about going over budget (amps).

I guess this would be as good a time as any to ask what is a reasonable price for the 20es with someplace in the neighborhood of 450 hours on it?

What I know about it so far is that it is natural gas, looks very clean from the pics, has been dormant for at least a year (not run at all) and the seller can not demonstrate operation because they never had the gas lines installed at their house.

I am very familiar with engines so ensuring its not seized, has no leaks, broken parts/hoses, all engine parts are there is no problem but other than that I would be taking a guess/chance.

I was thinking of making an offer if we were interested based on parts or scrap metal value and get it home and see what is what.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2013, 04:24 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is online now
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Default Re: Onan 20ES questions

Reasonable depends on a lot of factors, there is another forum member on the east coast now looking for a similar unit, he wants one that is turn key ready to run with fresh belts, hoses, etc, in a weather housing. I think the best price he has found so far is in the $6,000 ballpark. The truth is if your willing to compromise a bit, buy running, but needing new belts, paint, etc. You may find one for under #$2,500, maybe a LOT under.
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