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VINE VOICEon August 29, 2013
For anyone interested, I just finished installing a Kohler 20kW 20RESA residential generator, matched with a Kohler RXT-JFNC-200ASE whole house automatic switch. I chose the Kohler unit because it has a composite noise dampening enclosure, 5 year warranty, Kohler onCue remote online monitoring (it emails and texts me), and basically is worry free except for annual maintenance.

I dug my trenches, and poured a 6" thick 3'x5' pad over 2" of gravel, about 3' from my house with the exhaust (left side) angled away from the house. It took 4 guys to help set the 530lb unit in place. Thankfully Kohler makes this easy, since there are two holes in the front and back to insert poles (I used spud bars) to make carrying it like a litter possible. It's heavy though. I bolted my unit to the concrete pad to prevent movement from vibration, and a little more security.

The Kohler RXT-jfnc-200ASE ATS switch is a whole house switch mounted externally. I used a local Kohler Authorized electrician for the electrical hookup. They ran the service line from the the electric meter straight to the ATS switch. Then from the ATS switch into the house. The generator of course hooked into the ATS to provide power, but also needed Belden 9402 for the control circuit. An additional 15A 115v circuit was run from the generator to the inside panel.. this was for the battery trickle charger and the carburetor heater. The last run was the low voltage shielded twisted pair Ethernet that went from the generator to my Ethernet switch inside. As mentioned, I picked up a carburetor heater, since I live in Ohio and it gets below 0F... and an Optima Sealed AGM group 51 starter battery. I bought the generator this summer when they offered free software, so I already had my activation key from Kohler.

I had a 250,000 BTU gas meter that Columbia Gas upsized to a 450,000 BTU meter and a local plumber ran a 1" gas line underground to a bracket mounted to the side of the pad. A regulator and shutoffs were placed at the meter and before and after the regulator. Kohler include 1' of flexible gas pipe that was installed on the outside of the generator before connecting into the gas run, this supposedly prevents vibration of the running unit from causing an issue with the gas line.

Initially my display screen wasn't working correctly, so I had a local Kohler dealer (Buckeye Power) stop by and they fixed the issued by upgrading the firmware from 4.7 to 4.9 I knew when they were done when the unit emailed me after the update.. The Kohler onCue software allows me to take a look at the generator diagnostics, battery charge, and even remotely execute a online or offline test exercise.

Great project and it's really unobtrusive... looks like a deck box more than a generator. Sounds like a car idling when running.. I'll add some landscaping around it to help muffle it when running...

UPDATE: 1 yr later...

Still a satisfied owner. Kohler now sells an annual maintenance kit which Amazon carries that makes it easy for homeowners - and costs less as a kit than buying the parts separately. Even if you dont replace the air filter every year, getting the kit the first time gives you the spare when its needed. I'll probably have the 800lb gorilla, buckeye power systems, com in and check the unit every other year -- but I'm proficient with small engine maintenance and with the onCue software, should be able to handle and oil change without too much duress.

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on November 27, 2013
Had the generator (20RESAL) installed for 6 months now with load shedding module. Never has run correctly (and was installed, 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.

Finally, after five attempts, the Kohler rep dismantled the carburator. The gasket was cut badly and was interfering with part of the throttle. Quality control was lacking.
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on September 18, 2013
Ordered Kohler 20RESAL-SE from Home Depot. It was shipped from Kohler, WI. and delivered by Estes Trucking to my home by the Estes truck driver using a lift gate and pallet jack. Arrived in perfect condition. The Home Depot generator installer did NOT handle Kohler generators, however, so I had to find my own. Other local Kohler generator installers seemed not seriously interested in my business since I had bought the generator from Home Depot instead of thru them. However, I found a local licensed electrician and licensed plumber that sold and installed Generac generators who provided what I considered competitive bids. Neither, however, employed an in-house Kohler certified technician for the start-up. I was, however, able to obtain one from Loftin Equipment (Houston, TX) who took care of the start-up and warranty activation - but at a price, $536.25.

I decided to go with a second, dedicated gas meter since my existing gas meter would have required an upgrade and it was about 160' from the meter to where I wanted to install the generator. The second meter was installed within about 5' of the generator. It was also the higher output (2 lbs./psi regulator) meter. I had a 1" galvanized gas line run between the generator and the new meter. I used the 1" Maxitrol 325-5AL regulator (Grainger number: 5JC45) to reduce the gas pressure to 7-11" max W.C. (According to the natural gas technician at W.W. Grainger, neither the 1/2" nor 3/4" valves could provide the specified natural gas volume to run the Kohler 20RESAL at full load.) I obtained a prefab GENPAD brand concrete pad, leveled and set the generator on it myself before getting the electrician or plumber out to do any of their work. The generator is very heavy (500+ lbs.). However, I used two 6' 1" black iron pipes I bought at home depot that I put thru the holes on the generator's base. Then, using car jacks I was able to lift the generator off the pallet and roll a 4 wheel dolly under the unit. Then, using 3 sheets of OSB plywood, was able to roll the generator from the driveway around to the other side of the house. Then, again using the car jacks and the 1" pipes, lift the generator, roll out the dolly, and lower it on to the concrete pad. A little brute force was needed to line up the holes to bolt it to the concrete pad. Only two skinny people were needed to handle the set using this technique. Otherwise, you'll need 4 strong men.

While I have a 3600+ sq. ft. of living area home with 3 central A/C systems (10 tons total), most of the rest of the house runs off natural gas rather than electricity. However, we do have 2 electric ovens and an electric dryer plus two refrigerators and a chest freezer. However, initial amperage load readings indicated we would be ok to wire load shedding for only the two larger A/C systems (one 5 ton and one 2 1/2 ton). I did have a problem finding the specified Belton 9402 cable for the control wires. Instead, I used two runs of another Belton cable that uses 20 AWG conductors with 7 strands. Each of these cables had a single shield. I also ran a Cat5 (Ethernet) cable thru the conduit with the control cables so that I will be able to add the OnCue option. The two HVAC systems that were connected to the Load Shed Kit (included in the 20RESAL-SE package) using common 20 AWG wire that was not shielded. The "yellow" wire from each A/C system's thermostat were cut and one wire from the Load Shed Kit's HVAC contacts to the cut ends from the A/C's thermostat. (The HVAC contact is a N/C contact and will open the thermostat's "yellow" wire if either or both of the A/C systems need to be "shed" if/when the home's load might ever exceed the capacity of the generator. The 120V A/C wires for the built-in battery charger were run in the second conduit between the generator and ATS.

During the start-up, we turned on all 3 A/C systems, the dryer and one oven without exceeding the capacity of the Kohler 20RESAL. I was very pleased with the entire operation other than having to find my own electrician and plumber. The cost of the start-up technician was a little more than I expected. I could have saved some money and some aggravation of shopping for qualified contractors had I gone with a similar sized Generac, but I think I have a better system that will add value when I sell the house someday and provide backup for electricity for many years.
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on November 6, 2016
This generator, is well engineered for what I wanted, it is easy to wire up., the instructions are concise. And it gives me peace of mind. If I'm not home, and there is a power cut. My family won't have to go outside to start it up. It starts up on no power and shut down on power returning from the grid
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on September 15, 2014
I purchased 2 of the 20RESAL units that were installed in May 2014. They both have the same hunting issues. We added the tubes on the demand regulators to try to solve issues and it did not help. Software was upgraded. Still have the hunting issues. When we take cover off of end where battery is located, generator runs good put cover on and it hunts. Contacted Kohler, they gave phone number for tech 400 miles away, they said we were out of their area. Contacted local service techs listed on Kohler website and when they ask what model the unit is they say that it is a retail model and they do not know anything about them and could not help. Before purchasing unit I contacted Kohler and asked what the difference between RESA and RESAL, they said only difference is the controller, other than that units are identical. When purchasing a new unit you should not be faced with all of these problems. A unit should be running correctly out of the box. Kohler should not be passing these problems on to the consumer. When you purchase a new car you expect to drive it off the lot and go, not take it directly to a garage to make it run correctly. I am very disappointed in the tech service available for Kohler generators and am warning future owners to make sure there is a service tech nearby willing to help resolve issues with unit you intend to purchase. We are still trying to get someone willing to help us and it has been nearly 5 months since units have been installed. Very disappointed in Kohler's service. I am located 80 miles south of Chicago IL.
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on October 24, 2014
Be careful with this purchase. A few things I found out after it was delivered out of the US (so no way to return it):

1) double the price you pay for the generator for installation and have it up and running (a search afterwards showed that this is readily available knowledge, but I didn't know because it wasn't written here)... maybe even more than double depending on where you put it and the size of your house.

2) even though you get it online pay for a Kohler authorized service person to come out and "commission" it. this means they stand there while it's turned on for the first time and do the warranty registration. I did the warranty registration myself. When a non-authorized person (including the purchaser) registers the unit, the warranty start date goes back to the day it left the factory. My unit was in an Amazon warehouse for almost a year. This shaves an entire year off my warranty and there's nothing they will do for you. My local rep. said that it would have only cost $100 for him to come out to commission it but it was too late because I had called in the registration myself. Kohler HQ validated this. I just lose a year off my warranty.

3) it is a "known issue" that the engine needs to be tuned so that it idles better. My local rep wanted $200 to come out and do this. Remember that these costs are after I spent $5000 on top of the price of the generator to have it installed and hooked up.

4) they made this bundle with the least flexible controller so any adjustments like exercise interval and length has to be done by a technician even if you buy the interactive OnCue software. Kohler unapologetically tells you this after the fact.

All that being said, it's nice to have lights, AC and not worry about your fridge when the power goes out. Where I live, it's very very often.
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on May 30, 2015
There is no better 3600 rpm home generator. Starts a 5 ton heat pump with ease. You MUST get Kohler authorized installation or inspection/commissioning to retain much of your 5 year warranty. Besides, you should do that anyway. This is not a simple install and I am an electrical engineer.
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on May 25, 2014
Problem's resolved with the Kohler issue. We have had 2 power failures since my last review, and I have to say, it performed perfectly. Power was out 8 hours on one and 10 mins. on the other. Can't complain at all, except do not deal with EC Power of Portland to install it. Find someone else.
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on November 23, 2014
I am a "Mastered retired Electrical" contractor, 63 Y/O I guess I just saved my friend a boat load of $$, On and existing 200 Amp Service I just installed a Kohler 20 KW, with carb heater, 200 a ATS,and a 8 ckt Load Shed panel Existing, EL, meter & MCB on opposite side of house, gen set 15 feet from gas meter, ats 135' (cable length) feet from gen set , I also did the 1 1/4" nat gas line x 17' long,, The entire job took 40 hours total labor, no cahre for the labor, by myself, including everything. I like to think I did a "class A " job, all items run plumb and level and perpendicular and all secured well, Load shed panel I installed semi flush, material shopping, scopping the job, he had the pad poured.
I must say that the 20 KW is a nice little unit, but the seperate Load shed panel, really makes the system work slick! Gas stove and WH, but we do have 3 AC units and two out buildings, large garages, Frig and freezers, I did have a question for Kohler during installation however they never returned my calls 3 calls
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on January 7, 2017
Multiple issues with ordering this expensive item: Ship date promised at the time of order, immediately moved by more than 3 weeks, which is very misleading. The installation instructions for the OnQue online management system has errors in it. It requires you to enter a password when setting up, that you retrieve from the controller panel on the generator. However, the instructions tell you to hold down the “exercise” button until the Password resets, in order to generate the 4 digit code. However, this now prevents the generator from communicating with the Kohler servers unless you download a firmware to you computer, and then carry your computer out to the generator, after you have to buy a mini USB cord, in order to get the OnQue to recognize your actual generator. UNBELIEVABLY BAD EXPERIENCE!

Took several hours and VERY poor knowledge of the instructions and issues from Kohler Generator Customer Support, specifically Debbie.

The hinge to open the cover of the generator has one of the support arms that pops out of its hole, causing the lid to tilt and not function unless you manually put the pin back into the hole..... crazy that is would be this flimsy for an item that is this expensive.

Lastly, their authorized dealer is 80 miles away in Oklahoma and the large lake we live on does not have a single authorized service rep in the area, compared to their competitor that has many.

I would return it except for the size and weight make it hard to return.
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