Generators in a container

Zephyr7

Active member
A cutoff saw will cut through titanium at about the same speed as hardened steel, maybe even a bit faster in some cases. Titanium is not really much of a miracle material: it has similar machining properties to stainless steel. The big advantages it has are that you get about the strength of a good steel with a similar weight as aluminum, and you get MUCH better corrosion resistance than even 316 stainless steel. In terms of ultimate yield and tensile strength, a good high carbon steel with the right heat treatment will beat a typical titanium part.

As someone who works in, and designs critical facilities that tend to have VERY VERY high levels of security, I can tell you that the way security works is to make something difficult enough as to not be worth the effort of stealing it. It’s possible to break into anything given enough time and resources. I like to say that the only “real” security is the “use of deadly force authorized” sign, but most places don’t get to use that :brows:

If someone is determined to steal your genset, they’re gonna steal it. What you want to do is to make it too difficult for the average thief to try. A shipping container is HEAVY, and can’t be moved without special equipment that is pretty big and takes some time to move. A 30kw size genset is pretty heavy too, and having it inside a heavy steel box like a shipping container will make it even harder to steal simply because the box restricts movement and limits your rigging options.

I would put the genset in the shipping container and padlock the door, then call it good. No need to anchor the container to the ground since it will already weigh thousands of pounds, even without the genset in it. Gravity will anchor it for you. Want to limit the ability to slide it or tilt it? If it’s on a concrete or asphalt surface, drill some expanding masonry anchors through the floor from the inside of the container to bolt it to the surface it sits on. Don’t have that option? Pour a 6” slab under the container and bolt it to the slab. Concrete weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot. A 6” slab big enough to hold a half size shipping container will be at least about 9 x 21 feet, and will weigh 14,175 pounds. Add another 150 pounds or so if you put a sheet of remesh in it. Now you have a full assembly that weighs probably 10 tons or more, which means normal portable hoists can’t do squat.

That’s probably a reasonable level of security. Want more? Put a fence, maybe some barbed wire, to keep people away from the container. Want more? Put vibration sensors on the fence and a door switch on the container door and wire them to an alarm with horns and strobes. Need more? Get a monitoring service to call the police if the alarm goes off. Need more security? Concrete bunker time? Still more security is needed? Call me and I’ll set you up with some of my contacts with defense contractors :D

Security is like an onion, it works in layers. How many layers you need, and how much complexity you put into each layer is important, and can be expensive. There is a really cool fiber optic vibration/break sensor that I like to spec for fences. You weave the cable through the length of the fence, and if anyone bends the fence too much, or cuts the cable, the system tells the security guys where along the fence the disturbance is so that they can go check it out. It works by sending light pulses down the fiber optic cable and measuring the intensity and timing of the reflections to figure out where bends in the cable are. Very nice system, works out to miles of fence if you need it too. Not at all cheap though, it will cost more than the generator.

Anyway, my point is don’t spend more on the security stuff than the combination of replacing the generator and dealing with a power outage from a stolen generator would cost you. Put in a little more security than is needed to keep thieves from bothering with your system and that’s the best price/performance point for a security setup. Any more is wasted money.

Bill
 

Toesmack

Subscriber
I used to service gensets on mountain top radio relay stations in southern Ca. very close to the Mexico border. On the gates and the doors to the block house we welded a vertical heavy wall pipe with the large padlock way up inside as to make access very difficult except by key. This was before battery powered cutoff grinders. Even then you would need several abrasive wheels and more than one battery. Would take a torch or a gas cutoff saw to get past it. Never had a break in.

Drawing outside air for the intake was also necessary as pulling in hot intake air would cause a rapid overheat of the engine. These were usually about 150k Onan sets with John Deere diesel engines.
 

elib

Sponsor
I feel the same way. It's not making it 100% impossible to steal more than your average methamphetamine "enthusiast" won't have the time/money/tools with them to do enough damage to make my genset inoperable. They usually don't have flat bed trucks/trailers with a winch and a truck large enough to haul a whole container. I plan on wiring in some alarm sensors with a loud siren as well.

A cutoff saw will cut through titanium at about the same speed as hardened steel, maybe even a bit faster in some cases. Titanium is not really much of a miracle material: it has similar machining properties to stainless steel. The big advantages it has are that you get about the strength of a good steel with a similar weight as aluminum, and you get MUCH better corrosion resistance than even 316 stainless steel. In terms of ultimate yield and tensile strength, a good high carbon steel with the right heat treatment will beat a typical titanium part.

As someone who works in, and designs critical facilities that tend to have VERY VERY high levels of security, I can tell you that the way security works is to make something difficult enough as to not be worth the effort of stealing it. It’s possible to break into anything given enough time and resources. I like to say that the only “real” security is the “use of deadly force authorized” sign, but most places don’t get to use that :brows:

If someone is determined to steal your genset, they’re gonna steal it. What you want to do is to make it too difficult for the average thief to try. A shipping container is HEAVY, and can’t be moved without special equipment that is pretty big and takes some time to move. A 30kw size genset is pretty heavy too, and having it inside a heavy steel box like a shipping container will make it even harder to steal simply because the box restricts movement and limits your rigging options.

I would put the genset in the shipping container and padlock the door, then call it good. No need to anchor the container to the ground since it will already weigh thousands of pounds, even without the genset in it. Gravity will anchor it for you. Want to limit the ability to slide it or tilt it? If it’s on a concrete or asphalt surface, drill some expanding masonry anchors through the floor from the inside of the container to bolt it to the surface it sits on. Don’t have that option? Pour a 6” slab under the container and bolt it to the slab. Concrete weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot. A 6” slab big enough to hold a half size shipping container will be at least about 9 x 21 feet, and will weigh 14,175 pounds. Add another 150 pounds or so if you put a sheet of remesh in it. Now you have a full assembly that weighs probably 10 tons or more, which means normal portable hoists can’t do squat.

That’s probably a reasonable level of security. Want more? Put a fence, maybe some barbed wire, to keep people away from the container. Want more? Put vibration sensors on the fence and a door switch on the container door and wire them to an alarm with horns and strobes. Need more? Get a monitoring service to call the police if the alarm goes off. Need more security? Concrete bunker time? Still more security is needed? Call me and I’ll set you up with some of my contacts with defense contractors :D

Security is like an onion, it works in layers. How many layers you need, and how much complexity you put into each layer is important, and can be expensive. There is a really cool fiber optic vibration/break sensor that I like to spec for fences. You weave the cable through the length of the fence, and if anyone bends the fence too much, or cuts the cable, the system tells the security guys where along the fence the disturbance is so that they can go check it out. It works by sending light pulses down the fiber optic cable and measuring the intensity and timing of the reflections to figure out where bends in the cable are. Very nice system, works out to miles of fence if you need it too. Not at all cheap though, it will cost more than the generator.

Anyway, my point is don’t spend more on the security stuff than the combination of replacing the generator and dealing with a power outage from a stolen generator would cost you. Put in a little more security than is needed to keep thieves from bothering with your system and that’s the best price/performance point for a security setup. Any more is wasted money.

Bill
 

elib

Sponsor
Good info. Most of the containers I'm looking at have a box with a small opening on the bottom to reach up in with the lock/key. Barely enough room to move your hand or a dremel with a diamond bit. There are other less secured generators in a few mile radius so I'm hoping they will go after them before mine but I do have problems with break-ins to the main building.

As far as intake you just mean piping in cool outside air rather than using "inside" hot air. Did you need to use additional fans? I guess as someone told me when I was a kid an IC engine is a giant air pump so a 133hp engine should have enough power to pump some air in thru a duct eh?

I used to service gensets on mountain top radio relay stations in southern Ca. very close to the Mexico border. On the gates and the doors to the block house we welded a vertical heavy wall pipe with the large padlock way up inside as to make access very difficult except by key. This was before battery powered cutoff grinders. Even then you would need several abrasive wheels and more than one battery. Would take a torch or a gas cutoff saw to get past it. Never had a break in.

Drawing outside air for the intake was also necessary as pulling in hot intake air would cause a rapid overheat of the engine. These were usually about 150k Onan sets with John Deere diesel engines.
 

elib

Sponsor
I've been considering enclosed trailers as well but they get pricey for one with enough capacity for a 100kva diesel with fuel. Also the walls are not very secure. Good way to make them portable and less recognizable. The whole point of this exercise is max security.

That is why I bought a new 7x14 enclosed trailer and stuck it in it.
 

Zephyr7

Active member
The usual way to get airflow through a generator enclosure is to duct the radiator to an “out” louver so that the hot radiator air is blown out of the enclosure by the engine fan. On the opposite end of the enclosure, you put an intake louver. The engine fan provides all the required cooling air for the entire genset this way, with no additional fans required. The rule of thumb is to size the intake louver 50% bigger in area than the “out” louver. What you’re really trying to do is minimize pressure drop.

You can use spring louvers that operate by air pressure, but motor operated louvers tend to be more reliable, and a lot less likely to get stuck. Just remember that you want those motor operates setup for “spring open, power close”, so that they open when power fails, when interlock them with the genset run relay so that they don’t get repowered by the generator while the generator is running.

You’d be amazed how many times I’ve seen generator rooms setup without that interlock so that the generator restores power to the building and then the louvers in the generator room all close on generator power, while the generator is running. :bonk:

Bill
 

pegasuspinto

Active member
It's also important to know a tight enclosure with a powerful well sealed generator fan CAN and WILL pin a container door shut, and slam it with plenty of force to break bones. Someone inside might be trapped and someone outside may not be able to get in to shut the generator off.
 

elib

Sponsor
Got it! Yes always want things to fail open. I came from computer network design/implementation where we used similar logic when designing things. Always assume worst case is what you will be operating under every day and design based on that.

Anyone have a good source/manufacturer of spring open/motor closed vents?

The usual way to get airflow through a generator enclosure is to duct the radiator to an “out” louver so that the hot radiator air is blown out of the enclosure by the engine fan. On the opposite end of the enclosure, you put an intake louver. The engine fan provides all the required cooling air for the entire genset this way, with no additional fans required. The rule of thumb is to size the intake louver 50% bigger in area than the “out” louver. What you’re really trying to do is minimize pressure drop.

You can use spring louvers that operate by air pressure, but motor operated louvers tend to be more reliable, and a lot less likely to get stuck. Just remember that you want those motor operates setup for “spring open, power close”, so that they open when power fails, when interlock them with the genset run relay so that they don’t get repowered by the generator while the generator is running.

You’d be amazed how many times I’ve seen generator rooms setup without that interlock so that the generator restores power to the building and then the louvers in the generator room all close on generator power, while the generator is running. :bonk:

Bill
 

elib

Sponsor
Wow good to know. Need to make sure there is an emergency shutoff inside the container, warnings around and maybe a way to "lock" the doors open. Also some interior lights that are always on when the genset is running would be a good idea also.

It's also important to know a tight enclosure with a powerful well sealed generator fan CAN and WILL pin a container door shut, and slam it with plenty of force to break bones. Someone inside might be trapped and someone outside may not be able to get in to shut the generator off.
 

elib

Sponsor
Luckily while it will take some time someone will respond who is authorized for deadly force if needed. The sheriff will respond to my alarm calls. This is part of my strategy of basically slowing down a thief for long enough for them to worry that the sheriff may show up at any moment.

I have a vision in my head of a sign you put above a red stain on the wall. "This was all that was left by the last a-hole who tried to steal my stuff" and something about protected by claymore.

As someone who works in, and designs critical facilities that tend to have VERY VERY high levels of security, I can tell you that the way security works is to make something difficult enough as to not be worth the effort of stealing it. It’s possible to break into anything given enough time and resources. I like to say that the only “real” security is the “use of deadly force authorized” sign, but most places don’t get to use that :brows:

If someone is determined to steal your genset, they’re gonna steal it. What you want to do is to make it too difficult for the average thief to try. A shipping container is HEAVY, and can’t be moved without special equipment that is pretty big and takes some time to move. A 30kw size genset is pretty heavy too, and having it inside a heavy steel box like a shipping container will make it even harder to steal simply because the box restricts movement and limits your rigging options.
 

len k

Subscriber
Thieves WANT to be in and out QUICKLY. They don't want to hang around and be caught. Just the illusion of needing to take a lot of time to steal something is enough to send them looking for an easier victim. This is a quote from a police chief, I did a paper on security systems..

My 7NHM is on a cement block table with a large diameter car tow chain going into ground , you can't see it but chain goes around FAT tree 10ft away. Originally I only covered chain so snow blower wouldn't catch it. But buried chain turns out to be very effective supplemental deterrence in winter when ground is frozen.

When I was 16 I sold our old sharp looking clapboard doghouse at dad's car lot on a major street. I chained it to our large steel sign pole. To hold chain to doghouse I put 2 pieces of ~ 3/4 " thick aluminum plate inside doghouse opening and bolted them together with 2 bolts (wider than opening) . The 1/2 inch bolts were ~ 8 inch long, nuts had nylon self lockers ( LOT of drag torque). It took me 5 - 10 minutes and a LOT of work to install/remove the 2 nuts. Doghouse was never stolen, if it wasn't chained it would have been gone. We had a few cars stolen there.
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Zephyr7

Active member
Anyone have a good source/manufacturer of spring open/motor closed vents?
The big louvers I usually use are custom made for my projects. There are louver manufacturers out there who stock the extruded parts and will assemble them into whatever dimensions you need.

For motorized spring actuators, belimo is the common manufacturer, like Kleenex for tissues. Honeywell makes nicer ones though, in my opinion.

Bill
 

YellowLister

Subscriber
A guy I use to fix stuff for had a few tractors broken into, stole the cbs and auto steer stuff, monitors and anything that could be got quick.. out on jobs that were close to a main road, he was a farmer and got the scarecrow idea.. and made one to sit in the tractors and parked them in well lighted areas , no one ever broke into another one, he never left them there for more than one night tho
 
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