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Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky in Olympia, WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky of WA.

Darrell is a Master Electrician license holder here in WA State and has been in the electrical field for over 25 years. He is extremely passionate about the electrical field and serving the local community. Educating people through this blog is just one of the ways he enjoys reaching out and sharing his knowledge. Electrical Safety in the home and making sure each home Mister Sparky enters is safer then when they got there is truly a belief and standard by which he leads Mister Sparky. Born in Tacoma, WA and raised in Olympia He loves the Greater Puget Sound Area and all it offers. Beyond electrical and Mister Sparky Darrell is also a husband of 28 years to his wonderful wife Yolanda and dad of 2 children Brett & Kaitlyn. When there is a spare minute you may find him watching and following his favorite sports teams The Seattle Mariners & The Seattle Seahawks or quite possibly on a quiet river fishing for trout and enjoying this great state. If you have a question or topic you would like to have Darrell write about please feel to reach out to him or contact him anytime at darrell@mistersparkyofwa.com

 

 

 

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Generator Review | Kohler Generator

 

Generator Review | Kohler Generator Kohler Generator

I have been installing Kohler Generators for the past 2 years and prior to that I was installing and or wiring Generac, Generac Guardian, Coleman, Siemens, Honeywell, and Eaton brand generators for aproximately the past 5 years. Below is my review of the latest 14 & 20KW Kohler generators and the transfer switches that match these generators. These are all standby generators with automatic transfer switches.

The Positive: (These are the things I would personally look for in a generator!)

1.   The 14KW & 20KW are both now newly designed with a 100% corrosion-proof enclosure. You don’t have to worry about your investment rusting away in the rain or corroding away next to the salt water.  

2.   Quiet Operation – Kohler is in my opinion one of the quietest generators on the market. I’ve heard heat pumps and or Air Conditioners louder than these generators. I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to how quiet these generators are. Most homeowners don’t focus enough on this until its installed and too late. I have no problem installing this generator right next to another house as it is that quiet!

3.    What I also like is the industry leading 5 year warranty on these models. Most all other manufacturers only do a 3 year warranty. Kohler introduced the world’s first engine-driven automatic generator in 1920 and their engines are some of the most reliable if not the most reliable on the market today. I have zero trouble with these models and they start effortlessly when the power goes out. They can also run and power multiple central air conditioners without dropping power to other appliances. Even better is the response time to have you in power when the power goes out – less than 30 seconds!!

4.   This generator when used with the proper transfer switch is capable of doing its weekly exercise in low speed for most of its self test which makes it even quieter and saves you money! Again, this is a big deal and most homeowners don’t even know about this feature as compared to a lot of other generators that don’t offer this money saving feature!

5.   Finally I like the fact I can plug my laptop in to the digital controller and see any and all fault codes, exercise cycles, run time, etc…to help maintenance this generator or if the need ever arises to troubleshoot what could be wrong to get you back on-line as quick as possible.

 

The Negative: (My own personal experiences installing and wiring these generators.)

1.      I will sometimes find loose connections in the transfer switches that will cause us some extra pain in getting them started initially. However, once I make sure all the cables are connected and all fuses are tight we have no problems. Just about every transfer switch has something we need to re-tighten or re-connect though.

2.      We have had to replace 1 digital controller that came bad from the factory. It would not start up at all and wouldn’t even recognize the battery was hooked up to the generator. We had a new one installed in less than 24 hrs and have had no problems with the generator at all.

Other than the 2 items listed above we truly have had zero problems with these generators. Usually if they are going to give you any problems it will be during the initial start up to the first exercise a week later. Typically once we get them through start up they run flawlessly from that point on. Most installs go very smooth with these generators and they start up very smoothly.  In my opinion this is easily the best generator on the market and an investment you can make knowing it will give you the value you want and deserve. My no doubt about it top rated generator in the marketplace today!

Comments

yes review is helpful to me to identify generator.
Posted @ Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:12 AM by code enforcement
I have been researching my options on standby generators. Kohler seems to be the best choice. The only thing that you should mention is the fact that you must hire a Kohler start up tech before 1st start or you void the 5 Year warranty immediately. I understand Kohler's reason for doing this but it is an extra step in the process as well as an extra expense.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 9:40 AM by Edward Carroll
Edward, Thank you for mentioning that. It is an extra step and expense however, the start up on these systems is soooo important and getting it right and doing all the required checks is crucial to a successful longterm generator system for your home. Remember, the most important day in the life of your system is the day it's installed! I appreciate your added comments Edward definitely worth noting.
Posted @ Thursday, July 05, 2012 11:36 AM by Darrell Boyd
Hi Darrell 
 
I am an Ophthalmologist and live and work in Pakistan. The country is facing acute power shortage with almost 8-10 hours of power break down per day. I have 2 generators. 1 Kubota 6 KVA (Diesel) and Honda 6.5KVA(Natural Gas). With NO end in sight for the shortfall in electricity supply I have to upgrade both for my office and home by investing in 2 generators. I have the choice of Gas (the gas pressure drops significantly during winters)and Diesel. Kohler 14, 15, 18 RES are available but I dont know how they would perform in over 40C heat, any comments? Also what is the minimum gas pressure they work on. ALSO how do you measure Gas pressure on mains supply? Do you know of any pump which could suck gas to increase supply. The alternative is Kubota 4 cyl 16KVA Generator. Do you have any experience of the later. I would be grateful for your comments.
Posted @ Sunday, July 08, 2012 6:51 AM by Mustafa Iqbal
Mustafa,  
 
Generator Ratings 
 
 
 
RATINGS:  
 
Standby ratings apply to installations served by a reliable utility source.All single-phase units are rated at 1.0 power factor. The standby rating is applicable to variable loads with an average load factor of 80% for the duration of the power outage. No overload capacity is specified at this rating. Ratings are in accordance with ISO--3046/1, BS5514, AS2789, and DIN 6271.  
 
 
 
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR DERATING:  
 
ALTITUDE:Derate 4% per 305m (1000 ft.) elevation above 153m (500 ft.).  
 
TEMPERATURE: Derate 2% per 5.5 C (10 F) temperature increase above 16 C (60 F). 
 
Availability is subject to change without notice. The generator set manufacturer reserves the right to change the design or specifications without notice and without any obligation or liability whatsoever. 
 
Contact your local Kohler Co. generator distributor for availability. 
 
* Check the appliance manufacturer’s specifications for actual power requirements. Consult a Kohler Power Systems professional to calculate your exact residential power system requirements. 
 
________________________________________ 
 
 
 
So, if we use 40C, we're at +24C over 16C. 
 
 
 
24C divided by 5.5C = 4.36 
 
 
 
4.36 X 2% =8.72% derate. 
 
 
 
To be on the conservative side, the natural gas Standby Rating should be used as the reference regardless of fuel type, because generators built for both natural gas and LP are optimized for natural gas (most commonly used). 
 
 
 
With a 8.72% derate: 
 
 
 
14RESA would be rated at 10.95 kW, 45.64 amps. 
 
20RESA would be 16.43 kW and 68.46 amps.  
 
 
 
 
 
The derate information is specific to individual Kohler models per each unit's spec sheet, so it should be quite accurate for each model. 
 
 
 
I hope that helps and good luck.  
 
Darrell R Boyd
Posted @ Monday, July 23, 2012 2:56 PM by Darrell Boyd
How do you go about finding a Kohler start up tech in order to qualify the 5 year warranty? I am already hiring a certified electrician to do the install by code.
Posted @ Friday, August 24, 2012 4:16 PM by Rick Hughes
Dear Boyd! 
 
We live in the mountains in Norway and normally have a good power supply.The problem is that when the winter storms kick in we have repeated outages and this time is when we need the electricity the most. 
WE have 400 Volt 5o Hz, so the question is: Does Kohler sell 400 Volt 50Hz units? We only need Max 8 kW. 
 
 
Posted @ Saturday, September 08, 2012 7:39 AM by Henrik B. Jansen
Great site. My husband is a master electrician (27 years experience) Would we still have to hire a Kohler electrician at initial install and start? 
 
Thanks 
Kathy
Posted @ Saturday, November 03, 2012 3:51 PM by kathy
Hi Kathy! Automatic generator installations require an experienced electrician as you have an engine, electricity, and natural or propane gas all sitting next to your home so you need this done right the first time. With that said I'm sure your husband could install and wire the generator with his experience. I'm definitely not a fan of just anyone wiring these systems as they need lot's of electrical experience to understand all the code requirements and nuances of wiring automatic generators. What he wont be familiar with is the start up and testing of the Kohler generator as its not something most electricians ever do and that's why Kohler wants someone who is trained to do the start up. Get it right the first time and at start up and these generators will take great care of you down the road! I would have your husband do everything and then for warranty reasons get a certified Kohler dealer to do the start up on it. Typically this ranges from $300 - $500 so well worth the extra step and cost! Good luck with your installation, you will absolutely love your Kohler Generator!
Posted @ Saturday, November 03, 2012 5:57 PM by Darrell Boyd
I live in NJ & we have been losing power for extended periods of time over the past 2+ years. I came across your blog while researching stationary generators.  
 
Anyway, your blog highly recommends Kohler (vs. Generac). I am wondering if you still recommend Kohler over Generac, or any other brand. We probably will need a 14K or 17K generator. Any guidance is really appreciated. Thanks, 
 
Daphne 
 
Posted @ Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:52 PM by Daphne E.
The Kohler generators are generally twice the price of the comparable Generac. Is there that much difference in the quality?
Posted @ Monday, November 19, 2012 9:55 PM by John Eldridge
I'm planning to purchase a 17 kW Kohler Generator in the near future but need help with the installation of the unit and transfer switch. Can you recommend someone in the Vancouver, WA area?
Posted @ Sunday, December 02, 2012 9:39 AM by Mark Hallenbeck
In response to Edward Carroll's comment about voiding the 5 year warranty if a Kohler Tech doesn't do install - that is inaccurate. 
If a non-certified Kohler Installer performs installation of the generator, the warranty date starts from the time the unit shipped from the factory instead of the day start-up was performed. 
Customers can have whoever they are comfortable with perform installation and start-up, it's just recommended to have a Kohler Certified Rep perform install. 
Posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:06 AM by Vickie
Hi, 
 
I just had a Kohler 14 kW generator installed by a licensed electrician. It seems to be working fine, except the battery will not hold a charge. Thought it might be a bad battery, so I had it recharged and tried again. A day later, same problem. Any idea what might be wrong? 
 
Thanks for your help!
Posted @ Saturday, December 22, 2012 11:53 AM by Doug
Make sure the electrician ran a 120 volt circuit to te generator. There is no alternator to charge the battery and the controller needs constant power.
Posted @ Saturday, December 29, 2012 6:21 AM by Jim
Thanks for your help Jim--I'll definitely ask the electrician about that.
Posted @ Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:53 PM by Doug
I had a 14RES Kohler generator and a Kohler RRT transfer switch installed in February 2011 by a certified Kohler sales and service company. It was serviced a year later by the same installer for annual maintenance. Yesterday, the emergency coil in the transfer switch melted during the weekly exercise cycle. The same installer has not been able to explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Do you have any idea how this could happen? How can it be prevented? 
 
Thank you.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:37 PM by Smoser
Are there any problems associated with the Kohler generators in sub zero temperatures, about minus 30 degrees F?
Posted @ Wednesday, January 16, 2013 4:49 PM by Bob Granica
where is unit ser. # on a 20 kw kohler gen.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 3:56 PM by alex
I just had a 20RESA installed, and the genorator is "hunting" the pressure at the regulator is 8.5 water colum. Where should I look to corect this?
Posted @ Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:56 PM by BobDee
Have a 20 RESA why wold the unit start in auto when thers no power loss and keep running? we just installed it
Posted @ Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:37 PM by ED
What is the typical maintenance cost per year to service a kohler 17kw generator? Is there any part of the service that I could perform to keep the cost down? Currently the company that installed/services the unit comes out twice a year and charges me $460 ($500 if you include tax) a visit. My wife tells me the service technician is at the house for 20 minutes max. $1000/year for service sounds high to me.
Posted @ Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:34 PM by Brian
If you use natural gas rather than liquid propane, keep in mind that if there is a really bad storm that knocks out the power and causes lots of trees to go down, the gas company may decide to shut off the gas for fear of ruptured gas lines. It happened in our town during a freak snow and ice storm at the end of October. So even though one of my neighbors had a natural gas generator he still had no power.
Posted @ Sunday, March 24, 2013 6:47 AM by kohler generators
Hi, I recently purchased a 14k resa kohler generator, i wanted to know where can i find a pipe that attatches from the back of the generator to the natural gas line? Is that something that should of come with the generator? 
thanks 
yohan
Posted @ Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:41 AM by yohan
Hi Darrell, 
 
I have a Kohler 14RESAL generator. It has been in service about two weeks. On Saturday morning the generator came on at about 3:00 am and ran for several hours. There was no power outage and the transfer switch did not switch over. When I hit the stop button, the motor stops and then a few seconds later the run button lights back up and restarts the generator.  
 
I had to disconnect the battery from the generator in order to prevent it from running constantly. I also tried tuning power off to the generator from the transfer switch by throwing the breaker that feeds the battery charger. I left the unit disconnected from all power for several hours thinking it would reset itself. I reconnected the power and experienced the same result. I don't see any message on the LCD screen indicating a problem.  
 
The unit worked fine the first few weeks, it would come on at the exercise time and would only start up if I killed the main breaker.  
 
Any Suggestions as to what the problem may be?
Posted @ Sunday, May 05, 2013 1:37 PM by Mark Douglas
Can you comment on oil consumption of the 20 Kw RESA 
I heard it can be up to a quart an hour?
Posted @ Friday, June 14, 2013 9:44 AM by Lou
My Kohler 14KW was installed in November of 2012. Last weekend, 6/1/13 noticed that the exercise cycle did not happen. Service Tech said ants invaded Control Box thru USB port under plastic cover. Local service man said Kohler will not warranty this factory defect. Cover just needs O-Ring or Gasket to protect port are. 
I spent $1,000.00 more for the Kohler Quality. 
Maybe I made a mistake!
Posted @ Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:04 PM by Tim Ascroft
I am writing in response to Edward Carrols post regarding Warranty. I have inquired on this in the past and this was the response I received from the Kohler Factory 
It is not necessary for a start up to be performed for the customer to have warranty coverage. However, failures caused by incorrect installations or applications are not covered by Kohler warranty. 
The Start Up procedure is meant to ensure the generator system has been properly installed. The Start Up Notification is to document the Start Up procedure with the factory and to register the unit for the start of warranty. If no Start Up Notification is performed then the warranty start date reverts to the day the unit was shipped from the factory. 
 
When installed by and none Kohler Authorized Installer it may only impact your warranty by 2-4 weeks. This is a good way to ensure that Kohler Customers are using a certified technician and everything is installed correctly from the start.  
Thanks
Posted @ Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:54 AM by ManPeach
I had trouble with my 20kw RESA from the start.Quite a few problem with carb issues. Finally they changed the throttle body and all seems good now.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:24 AM by William Gaivin
Please comment on oil consumption experiences with this unit. Owners manual says it must be checked every 8 hours. Seems like a lot. Any insight would be appreciated
Posted @ Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:09 PM by Bud
I should be able to do my own required maintenance without paying a service call to reset error code. Generator will not run until this is done. Thanks
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:59 PM by How do I reset the scheduled maintenance code on 20kw Kohler generator after PM is complete?
I had a Kohler 20Kw installed 11/11. Since then, we have had trouble with ants in the controller mechanisms and today had the installer here for 6 hours replacing a number of electronic parts. We have sprayed where we could inside the controller panel as well as around the outside and also put RAID soaked cotton balls inside the controller compartment once every few months. Our installer says he has never seen anything like ths before. Anyone else had this problem. Williamsburg, VA
Posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 6:37 PM by Ron Carkner
I just had an 18KW Kohler natural gas powered unit installed. It works quite well - except for an occasional popping sound from the engine - like a snowblower popping sound, or spark knock in a car. The Kohler Tech said this was due to it being set to run very lean to meet EPA requirements and was "normal". Is anyone else having similar sounds, and can it be adjusted out?
Posted @ Saturday, October 26, 2013 7:44 AM by Peter K
I had a 20kw installed about two months ago. Natural gas setup. First issue was the load shed device would not let a 3.5 ton ac unit start half of the attempts with no other loads on. We seem to have corrected this by getting a larger gas meter installed. Now the second issue I am still having from day one. The engine makes a popping sound...something like a backfire...sounds worse while running unloaded.....dealer ids going back and forth with Kohler and they cant seem to figure it out...also told they recently installed a 20kw propane unit with the same issue. 
Thanks.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:45 PM by Joe
I had a 20kW installed about 2 months ago also. Mine also makes a slight popping sound but it is not terrible. And my understanding of it is that the natural gas has a different ignition point than gasoline motors and that is how it will sound. Since my generator is about 50 feet from the house this is not a problem. 
I suspect that you may think a natural gas powered engine should be very quiet. It's difficult to say how loud the popping sound is. More of a problem the closer the generator is to the house...
Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:01 PM by Lou Dell
Had the generator (20RES) installed for 6 months now with load shedding module. Never has run correctly (and was checked and started by a Kohler rep). 
 
There's a problem with the throttle - keeps pulsing power which leads to dirty power to the home (lights pulse too, UPS' won't charge due to dirty power) and after 4 visits they still haven't got it right. This is still a problem after the gas utility installed the largest meter possible (800) which is only 3 feet from the generator. We know gas supply is not an issue. 
 
Kohler rep says the throttle problems are common. Kohler, you have let me down. Would never recommend a Kohler to anyone based on my experience. Still looking for a solution. Premium price, but does not live up to its reputation or promise.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:56 AM by Matt
Matt, Some of the 20RESA models are having some "hunting" issues. Have your Kohler dealer talk with Kohler regarding this. We have had to make sure the air flow from the intake side of the generator is good all the way through the generator plus adjust some settings to eliminate the issue. (For instance if you take the generator panel off on the end of the generator intake side the issue goes away but when you put the cover back on it starts hunting again)Kohler is aware of the issue and should be able to help your tech solve this. No one works harder than Kohler to resolve these type of issues. Your local Kohler dealer needs to talk with Kohler re the solving of the 20RESA Hunting Issue and lack of proper air flow. I hope this helps and leads you down the right path. I assure you that once this is resolved it will work and serve you well! 
 
Best Regards, 
Darrell Boyd
Posted @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:57 AM by Darrell R Boyd
Hi Darrell, 
 
Kohler rep is here now. First thought it was a software issue, but now thinks the throttle control motor is bad. Doesn't have full range of movement. We'll see. 
 
--Matt
Posted @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:23 AM by Matt
I am going to be buying a 14RESA and I am trying to decide which direction to install it. It will be on the back wall of standalone garage. During operation and testing is the noise generated equal on all sides or is it louder on the side with the exhaust? I would rather install it parallel to the garage but that will aim the exhaust side toward the house 60' away. The other choice is not as aesthetically pleasing but would point it toward the yard with the back of the unit facing the house.
Posted @ Thursday, November 28, 2013 12:25 PM by Michael
I have a Generac Guardian series generator rated at 15kw. When it comes on for its exercise period it frequently backfires. It is fueled with lp gas. 
I also notice that when it is raining out it won't start, going through 5cycles before quitting on over speed. Any idea what's causing these issues?
Posted @ Saturday, December 28, 2013 7:09 AM by Robert Barbini
Very helpful review about Kohler generator. 
when the power goes out. Instant panic sets in...until you remember that you have a backup generator for just this type of situation. You rely on that generator to run your servers, emergency equipment, or entire facility. you gotta choose the right generator to cope this situation.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:23 AM by Diesel Generator
20 k doesn't start when below 32 had glow PlUg installed and now it starts but shuts off after 2seconds
Posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 9:18 AM by Dan Regan
So, after my earlier posting about a bad throttle, we found and corrected the problem. There's a badly designed gasket that interferes with the carburetors air valve. Turns out this is a common problem, and one distributor mentioned they do preventative sizing changes to ensure the gasket does not intrude once it gets moist with use.
Posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 9:35 AM by Mat
Tips--- 
Only buy Kohler Period. 
Check Kohler Service Bulletin SB-722 (1/13a)to solve hunting problem. 
Update Software 
Check for 12VDC on RBUS line PWR and COM. Check instructions to make sure label is not marked wrong. 
Install vent tubes on the 2 reference ports on gas regulator. Less than $7, Use kit GM 87489 or 2 elbows 1/8 NPT X 3/8 hose barb and 3/8 ID clear flexible plastic tubing to vent to the outside. 
If hunting continues read bulletin. 
Kohler's warranty start date is now when purchased or installed by dealer.  
Check and add oil every 24 hours of run time. Add oil even if it might be only 1/4 of a quart. Use only 5/30 full synthetic. I like Royal Purple HPS. Change oil every 100 hours. 
Change plugs and air filter every 300 hours.  
Clean collector rings every time oil is changed. Remove exhaust end, 5 bolts to remove collector cover, clean with green scotch pad, wipe down with alcohol on clean cotton rag.  
Must have OnCue. Upgrade to the Plus when ready for $20 a year.  
Use RXT transfer SE switch. 
Set up to exercise on Full Load every week. 
If needed Load Control Kit($99) can be installed inside transfer switch. Or use Load Control Module ($475). 
Only use Belden 9402 or 9773. 
Buy RESA not RESAL. 
Over size gas and electric lines. 
Make sure enough gas supply.  
Develop a good relationship with a good dealer who will treat you right. 
Put soft starts on AC/Heat pump units. 
Posted @ Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:28 AM by John Menken
In reading your post on Kohler generators thanks. I Installed 20RESA 2 years ago, discovered the throttle gasket problem the other day, called Kohler rep and resolved it and had firmware updated to 5.0 version. Installed RXT-JFNC-0200A transfer switch. Do not have OnCue. I do have a couple questions on your recommendations please: 
 
GM 87489, what brand kit is this? 
 
Load Control Kit $99.00, what brand/part number is this? 
 
I'm mechanically very inclined but do not know what/where collector rings are, can you please describe? 
 
Thanks for any additional detail you can provide.
Posted @ Saturday, March 15, 2014 5:38 PM by Tekrat
What is the actual difference from the RESA and the RESAL? I have a 20K unit. Thanks...Your blog is great.
Posted @ Sunday, March 16, 2014 8:48 AM by Lou Dell
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