MEP 831A Thoughts/Opinions

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Alright guys... I've been thru the Buyers sticky on the 831A.... and it was heavy on great info, part numbers, and availability of said parts.

BUT:.... What is your opinion on the unit?

I'm looking for a unit to pair with a transfer switch to backfeed my house during outages.

We live in the country so were on well-water also. AC isn't an issue as I live in Wisconsin. (not needed 11 months of the year).

Not looking to graduate to a 802/803 series as its size/lack of portability is a hindrance for me at least. I would put this unit on casters and store it in a detached pole building until needed and bring it up to the house/transfer switch location.

Are you happy with your unit? Would you do it again? DO you think its capable of powering a well pump, a refrigerator, and a High-Eff house heater.

Stove, water heater, oven, dryer etc are all natural gas so no power draw for those items... but they are also not really needed during a 1 or 2 day power outage either.

Your personal thoughts on the 831A from actual use/ownership or experience? Dependable/overbuilt/reliable? Switch out the governor control card and call it good?

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West greenwich/RI
Hello, my personal opinion, with limited experience.... Dependable, Reliable, Overbuilt... No, No and No.
Single cylinder, 3100-3600ish. rpm, inverter style with a poorly designed controller board... that will probably have a life expectancy in the 1500 hour range.
Better than a gas generator, but sort of the low end of military diesels.
Fine for short runs with low power demands, but probably not the best choice for long power outages or long term reliability.
What size well pump do you have, a 1/2 or 3/4 hp? If so, an 831A should run it.
I understand what you are saying about portability etc. but for the same money you could get a nice 002A or for a little more you could have an 802A


Mono, Ontario
With load management my 831a runs the pump and water heater at my camp. It is quite reliable with Kurt's controller but with the original controller it is a PITA.


I don't have a MEP-831a nor have I ever owned one, however I was very interested in purchasing one to run down at my shop & barn's service entrance where I have a 240V 3/4 HP well & electric water heater, septic pump, lots of lighting & electric tools.

I did quite a bit of research reading threads on here and there were some design issues with the MEP-831a that concerned me:

1. They are inverter based and if the inverter fails its going to end up being a co$tly repair. At the time I was looking I noticed some on eBay advertised with bad inverters.
2. They seemed a bit finicky with maintaining operational settings...magnets, gaps, etc. The good news is...there are now aftermarket controllers (Kloppk's) that make the -831a more reliable but at additional cost.
3. The OEM 24V battery is much more expensive than generators using 2 traditional 12V batteries.
4. Its a single cylinder diesel (3000-3600 RPM) and running it under a full house load during an extended power outage is going to work a single cylinder engine fairly hard...engine lifespan factor of high RPM single cylinder vs 1800 RPM multi-cylinder.

Anyway, at the time I was looking a few years ago I ended up passing on an MEP-831a for my barn/shop generator and opted to purchase another MEP-002 for that service entrance. Up at my house I have similar electrical loads as yours because of propane water heater, propane heat, propane cook top but electric washer/dryer as well as a 2000 watt espresso machine and a home theater among other things. The MEP-002a handles my house loads nicely. I do turn off electric oven and the outdoor hot tub breaker for normal load management but could run either in a pinch with alternate load management. The MEP-002a's run great & one can obtain ~7 kW at lower altitudes versus the 5 kW @ 5,000 ft/4.5 kW @ 8.000 ft Mil Spec rating. MEP-002a's are quite reliable & robust but being older (last yr of mfg was 1991) they can and do fail, as with any generator, typically due to an electrical component failure.

As for portability, yes a 334 lb -831a will be more portable, however with a 930 lb -002a being a skid based generator you could easily install HD casters on skid or mount it on a small Harbor Freight-like trailer or even chain up to it and drag it in place if necessary. Considering price, you could in all likelihood get a trailer mounted -002a for what you would pay for a -831a.

I would rate "necessary reliability & load potential" over "convenience of portability" as it relates to typical "house backup" needs. Could you run OK, given your house load description with a MEP-831a? Maybe. Could you run OK with a MEP-002a? Yes. Could you run OK with with a MEP-802a Yes.

Good luck and happy genset hunting!
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Well-known member
Burgkunstadt, Germany
Ray70 said it all for me.

I might even settle for a MEP-016A or a MEP-016D, (Diesel motor upgrade, Yanmar engine). Not quite as small, but close.
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Light in the Dark

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Shipping a trailered genset will be prohibitively expensive. The prices all comes down to where its coming from, but assume as low as $300 to over a grand, depending on who you use.


Wilson County, Texas
If you're looking for something to power your place with a well, I'd go with the MEP 802A. I have both & find the MEP 802A to be easier to work on, quieter, & it uses almost the same fuel rate. If size is a huge deal, the MEP 831A will give you power but not what you need even for a small house. If you had to have a smaller unit, I would consider 2 separate interlocks for the MEP 831A unit... one for the well itself that you can start when you want water & one for the rest of the stuff in the house. The rest of my thoughts have already been covered.


Active member
Side note, at least on the civilian side of things, I've noticed a lot of inverter generators don't like high surge loads, they just can't respond fast enough for the peak current and the electronics trip, where a non-inverter generator might still handle it because of the additional rotating mass, especially on these military way overbuilt generators.
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