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Kohler Generators

New owner of a Kohler 14kw


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  #1  
Old 04-05-2019, 04:08:28 PM
paulgareau paulgareau is offline
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Default New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Hi everybody.

I posted recently about an Onan I was hoping to get. The seller upped his price and I didn't up my offer so that didn't pan out. Instead I found a great deal on a never-used, 2013 Kohler 14kw generator. I have a couple machines with the same engine so I'm familiar with them, which was a bonus. It will be a while before I can test it out, but a few questions for now:

1) It came with a 200A breaker and transfer switch. Neither are in an enclosure. Should I bother with trying to get a Kohler enclosure or can I just make a generic box work? (See pic).
2) Where does the 200A breaker get installed? I'm not sure if it should be on the generator, panel or grid side of the switch.
3) The engine has some oxidation on it, which doesn't necessarily concern me, but I'm wondering if the carb looks the same way. Is it typical for that to happen or do I need to open it up and check things out?
4) Any suggestions on lifting/moving the generator? It was on a pallet but slid off when I was lowering it (no damage!). There are four holes near the bottom that I could run some pipe through and lift that with straps if they're designed for something like that.

Thanks!
Paul
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2019, 04:21:22 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

These generators are our favorites to install all over the place. We just move them with a couple big guys and a hand truck. Be careful of the plastic housing, it can break. I would not worry about any corrosion from condensation. They are very robust. And lots of people give them gross neglect and they still run.

As for the transfer switch and breaker, they are pretty much worthless. You need a whole transfer switch assembly with control board and bus bars. They are not that expensive new compared to what it would take to use those pieces.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2019, 11:24:25 PM
Zephyr7 Zephyr7 is online now
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

You have the contractor and breaker only, no brain. You can assemble those into a standard NEMA enclosure, or maybe even a regular tub for an breaker panel. You don’t often see the brains seperately, but if you do, you can use it to make a full transfer switch. There is a brain board, and a control interface for the user. The transfer switch should have some limit switches on it too.

It would probably be easier to use the breaker alone to let you use a regular (cheaper) ATS as a service rated ATS. All you’d need to do is connect the breaker ahead of the ATS and put the ground/neutral bond in the same location as that breaker. That’s probably what I’d do instead of trying to basically build an entire ATS from scratch.

The little Kohler units are good units. If you keep up with the maintenance schedule it should last you a long time.

Bill
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:09:29 AM
paulgareau paulgareau is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Hi.

You both mentioned brains/control board. My understanding is that it's built into the generator and controls the ATS. There is a cable that would connect the two. Is there something else that I'd need?

Paul
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:41:45 AM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Generator controlling the ATS is a Generac thing. On Kohler the ATS has its own brain. The cheaper homeowner ATSs have a model RXT with a reduced brain but it is still a brain. Without that there is no means to operate the transfer switch.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:49:20 AM
paulgareau paulgareau is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birken Vogt View Post
Generator controlling the ATS is a Generac thing. On Kohler the ATS has its own brain. The cheaper homeowner ATSs have a model RXT with a reduced brain but it is still a brain. Without that there is no means to operate the transfer switch.
Here's what the docs say:
"Standard Features / DC2 Controller / One digital controller manages both the generator set and Model RXT transfer switch functions"
and
"Model RXT Transfer Switch 100 amp and 200 amp Model RXT automatic transfer switches are available."

Mine appears to be the 200 amp RXT.

Thanks,
Paul
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:22:17 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Your 14 kW generator produces approximately 58 amps. It probably has a factory installed 60 or 70 amp breaker to protect the generator output. The 200 amp breaker will not provide any protectiion for the generator.

As previously mentioned, your transfer switch is just the switch mechanism and does not have the voltage sensing and time delay controls needed to make a complete automatic transfer switch. If you are going to use this generator for whole house backup, you can buy a transfer switch that has the utility main breaker built in the same enclosure. That will make installation easier, look cleaner, and take up less space than having separate enclosures. These combination ATSs are called service entrance rated switches (because of the utility breaker), and are available in 100, 200, and 400 amp sizes. They are also available in NEMA 1 (indoor) or NEMA 3R (outdoor) enclosures.

Almost all automatic transfer switches provide "2 wire start" control for a generator, and almost all generators use a 2 wire start signal. (To my knowledge, Generac and Generac built/privately labeled systems are the exception for their home standby stuff.) Your generator should have two terminals on the control board for remote starting/stopping. These terminals will connect to the engine start terminals in the transfer switch, and will be active when the generator control switch is in the AUTO or REMOTE position.

Last edited by Steve Dawkins; 04-06-2019 at 12:25:15 PM. Reason: You posted while I was replying. Please disregard my post.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:27:43 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulgareau View Post
Here's what the docs say:
"Standard Features / DC2 Controller / One digital controller manages both the generator set and Model RXT transfer switch functions"
and
"Model RXT Transfer Switch 100 amp and 200 amp Model RXT automatic transfer switches are available."

Mine appears to be the 200 amp RXT.

Thanks,
Paul
You only show the transfer switch mechanism part of an RXT. The circuit board communicates with the generator controller over an RS485-like protocol. If you are missing the control board and all the stuff to mount it properly, and the cabinet, you haven't got much.

You either need to buy an RXT, or as Steve mentions you can also use any old 2 wire transfer switch.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:04:47 AM
paulgareau paulgareau is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Thanks everyone. I still think the comments on the brain being in the ATS are incorrect. My research is showing that the PCB that is typically with the ATS is an "interface board" that sits between the generator and the actual switch - the brain that controls the system is in the generator, as I posted previously. Of course that doesn't mean the generator can't be controlled with a two-wire system, but that's not the default setup for this generator.

I contacted Kohler to see if I can order the PCB and busses separately, and I've also been able to find them on ebay.

Paul
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:39:52 AM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Maybe it is a difference in terminology.

What the transfer switch has is a board that controls the movement of the switch, and reads both line and generator voltage, and puts them onto an RS485-like bus back to the gen controller, and responds to commands from the gen controller.

I don't really think you can buy the pile of parts that is missing, and make them all work, as effectively as if you were to just buy a new entire switch.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:47:13 PM
Zephyr7 Zephyr7 is online now
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Your research is incorrect, at least as far as standard configurations go. The standard transfer switch has the brain in the switch, and the “brain” does everything in terms of voltage sensing and timing, and just sends a start signal to the generator when the utility source fails.

Generac puts the brain in the generator, and their ATS is pretty much just a big contractor. They do this to save money because they are building to a price point for the residential market.

Kohler came out with something of a hybrid approach where most of the brain is in the generator, but the ATS has a control board in it that talks to the generator. This is the difference between the RXT and RDT transfer switches they sell.

I doubt they’ll sell all of the boards seperately since I think they’d look at that as a liability for them. You’re probably going to need to buy a new, or used, ATS that is complete.

Bill
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:50:26 PM
paulgareau paulgareau is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyr7 View Post
Kohler came out with something of a hybrid approach where most of the brain is in the generator, but the ATS has a control board in it that talks to the generator.
Bill
That's what I said, Bill.
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Old 04-08-2019, 01:05:44 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: New owner of a Kohler 14kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulgareau View Post
Of course that doesn't mean the generator can't be controlled with a two-wire system, but that's not the default setup for this generator.
The "default setup" is whatever you need it to be. They all come with 2 wire start, or they can respond to information over the bus. You make it whatever the application calls for.
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