Portable generator?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JimInMO, May 26, 2019.

  1. JimInMO

    JimInMO Tele-Meister

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    With what seems like increasingly unstable weather and more frequent power outages here my interest in one of these is being stoked. Like most consumer products the marketing hype is extensive so looking for experienced input. In the winter it would be used for powering a gas central heat unit, a few lights and charging units for electronic devices. In the summer would like to keep a small freezer, medium size refrigerator, some fans and lights going. Dual powered, gas/propane look interesting. Totally happy being limited to acoustic guitar during these outages.
     
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  2. KG7IL

    KG7IL TDPRI Member

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    Sure... A generator is nice.
    • 1. Amperage/Wattage: You will have some homework. But rough guess charts are availalbe.
    • 2. Transfer Switch or Circuit cutover. GenTran makes affordable units that can allow you to switch over selected circuits and control the demand on a generator
      https://www.amazon.com/Gentran-Transfer-Switch/s?k=Gentran+Transfer+Switch&tag=tdpri-20
    • 3. Safety and Fuel: Obviously the generator should be in a safe place when its running, not under a window or vent. Propane most likely will be safer since you will not be refueling when the generator is hot, but out of gas on a rainly, cold night. Most inverters provide smooth true sign wave power these days.. and a practice amp consumes near nothing...
     
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  3. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    We use Honda "Inverter" 2kva or more, petrol powered. They are more expensive than most but very reliable.
    Yamaha also have a good rep.
    Cheap ones like Champion etc. deliver a inconsistent supply, can blow electronics like tv's. & dont last.
    Make sure its a "Inverter" generator.
     
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  4. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, the Honda inverter ones are the way to go. Impossibly quiet and endlessly reliable.
     
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  5. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I've thought about it, but we have underground cables here. I can only remember one power failure in eleven years that lasted more than an hour. And I keep several blue ice packs in the freezer, so I can move some of them to the fridge if there is a power failure. If it ever starts happening more frequently, I would get a generator.
     
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  6. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Two words.

    Hon da.
     
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  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I would chime in with Honda as well, but check the required start up loads for your Refridge/freezer. A monster requirement from your list of needs. Do you have a well pump?
     
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  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd get a natural gas generator, pour a pad, run the whole house have it done right... I'd also find a used one. You can find them with low duty hours but that exceed the requirements that the seller has... buy it, have it gone over, get it installed and just enjoy knowing you are set. Build a roof over it and have it exhausted properly...

    Hopefully, you are on a big lot and can locate it away from the house and away from the neighbors...

    my solution is not the honda style solution... they are quiet and expensive.. i'm thinking more like ingersoll-rand and BIG and run the whole friggin house and not miss a beat.
     
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Do an accurate wattage review of your basic requirements. Also, If you have a well you will need 220v capability. Sump pumps and any sewage-line pumps for something like a basement bath may need a lot more than you are expecting.

    If it's a typical fridge, a couple lights, and a television then you might only need a small unit -- I have both a 1960s Craftsman with Briggs engine I got at a garage sale for $25 and a small Honda that when built they crushed one of the cables under the housing and shorted it out so I got that one for free after repairs. The fuel tank on that one seems to leak too (so just saying 'honda' does not protect you alone).

    If you are going for a big whole house type they get quite spendy. We've been looking at the Tesla whole house battery because it's possible to add solar or wind power easily later. I do not own any Tesla vehicles.

    .
     
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  10. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Holic

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    I have a 2kw Coleman for my backup, and a (rare) 500W Honda for back up back up. both are oldies. in the last 10 years I have lost power on several occasions, usually for only a couple hours, but lost it for 2 days after a big wind storm. my gen ran the furnace (nat gas), refrigerator, TV and a couple lights. all on extension cord, I do not tie into the house power system. when I installed my furnace I put the power on a wall type receptacle so all I need to do is unplug it from the wall and plug into the extension cord. the 500 won't run ther heat & reefer together, but can do one at a time... good enough in an emergency emergency. I tested all these things in non-emergency situations, because Alaska in the winter isn't the time to find out the generator fries the boiler control.... anyway, that is my fix and it has proven to work. they have other duties, so I run my gens a bit regularly, keep fresh gas & oil in them, and have at least 5G fresh fuel in cans.

    and ya, what they say above. a modern inverter type is best because the power is cleaner and better controlled. anything digital likes that, and some things run weird (or not at all) on poor power.

    and P.S. those Hondas can be paralleled to increase wattage if needed.... just buy more gen sets
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  11. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    we are of like mind.

    I actually have gone to a natural gas generation unit for the power at my office... it runs everything all the time cheaper than using PGE... we are using PGE as our backup after our house batteries die...

    I'm going to go to solar when I can.. have to re-engineer the roof to do it adequately... I'm going to do the same for my present house, just haven't gotten to it yet... the house battery stuff is the way to go (if you can spend a little)
     
  12. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    I love PG&E. I have a lot of gear because of them.
     
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  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    it is good that someone loves them! They are becoming public enema #1 for starting the fires... We caught them cheating us on our bill at work and they had to return 600K... of course they want to do it in 'credits'

    oh well... glad you got some gear!
     
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  14. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought a gas powered Generac. 8kw startup, 6500 continuous. $800. Another $200 for the plug and wiring into my breaker box including the cutoff to prevent putting power back into the grid.

    Runs my well, furnace, fridge, TV, adequate lighting and holds 10 hours of fuel. Pouring gas near a hot engine? Easy solution for 40 bucks. A 3gpm pump that runs on 4 AA batteries with an auto shutoff that runs from any gas can to the generator tank.

    The generator has worked great. It gets used more than I’d like. Every time there’s a gale coming off Lake Michigan a tree takes out the power somewhere and it can take a few hours to a day or so before they find the culprit.

    Cheap, easy solution that essentially keeps my whole house up and running. Just roll it out of the garage, plug it in and start it.
     
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  15. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    A 200 Amp, 250 Volt Service from the Power Company, has the potential of 50,000 Watts.
    Electric water heater 4,500 watts
    Electric Clothes Dryer 5,500 watts
    Electric stove and oven 10,000 watts and up

    In All fairness, the stove and oven will only use that much juice if you turn everything on all at once.

    The Two Factors are Voltage and Amperage.
    Amperage determines the size of your Circuit Breaker and the size of your Wire.
    Generator Manufactiuers focus on Wattage.
    To make things even murkier, They often times express
    Wattage as VA, Voltage Times Amperage.
    So:
    Voltage x Amperage = Wattage.
    Hence:
    Wattage / Amperage = Voltage
    Wattage / Voltage = Amperage

    125Volts x 9.6 Amps = 1,200 Watts or, 1.2 kVA
     
  16. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    Careful with newer Honda's!!

    I bought a brand new EU2200i on Feb 12; day of recall for leaking fuel and exploding! I've yet to get it fixed! Service centers are still backed up and Honda supplying parts one at a time! Last one I tried had a wait list of over 42 units and they get 3 parts a week at best... sometimes none! So best case scenario 14 more weeks of down time for an $1100 purchase!

    Finally called my credit card and they refunded... since it was sold to me day of recall and store refuses to exchange and can't fix....been a month and no word from seller but tired of dragging it around.

    Idiot Honda! WHY would they take a proven design and change the fuel inlet valve! They also acknowledge they do sell parts but wont sell this one.....

    Great generators! I did start and use once before I learned of recall and it's easy start and super quiet not to mention light and rugged!

    You want inverter technology is powering anything sensitive... which is most things!

    BTW for the OP's load requirements I doubt any portable generator would handle it. You may want to look at battery banks and solar and they aint cheap for what you'd need.

    TEX
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  17. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    Just talked to one of the electricians that services remote community generators. No less than 15kva for what you want and diesel. He also did state solar would probably be cheaper in the long run, and you can sometimes put energy back in tha grid if your on it. Results in cheaper power bills if any, no fuel bill. Do you get government subsidies to go solar in your country?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  18. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    Trees and branches falling into the lines started most of the fires. There was a hardware failure on a transmission tower that resulted in a line coming to the ground. California and Alabama have an "inverse condemnation" written into their state's constitution. That means if a tree falls into the lines and the lines hit the ground and a fire results from those two actions, ANY of the privately owned utilities whose line it was that was involved with that fire can be sued for the costs associated with it.

    There are a LOT of power lines running through wildfire prone areas all over the state. Climate change is here and we are witnessing what happens as the planet begins to warm. Wildfires will be more frequent and more severe. It is impossible to trim and remove ALL trees that can fall into the line or drop branches into the lines. Storms will be more frequent and more severe, as well.

    California will have to amend its constitution to reduce the sole risk to electrical utilities or none of them will able to stay in business. The other option is to take them over and turn them into municipalities. Who will communities sue when fires happen then? Simply changing the ownership of the electrical utilities will not stop electrical-caused wildfires. The citizens will have to share in the cost burdens of future and certain wildfires.

    My advice... if you live in the forest, make your home more fire resistant by having a fireproof roof made of concrete or steel. Adhere to CALFire's 100' fire buffer by clearing around your house. If you can't, move. Your life may depend on it. In the end, we all have to be responsible for our own safety during wildfire season.
     
  19. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    We have two (think backup) 6500 start up & 5250 static. Both are gas as propane & diesel can be hard to come by in an extreme emergency. We have no AC but our biggest draws are the pool & dryer.
    Maria (September 19, 2017) was a big power interrupter for us. We got power back on December 1, 2027.
    A genset big enough to drive your needs in an emergency with a transfer switch is a great thing for peace of mind
     
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  20. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    In my experience, even the good quality portables are a throw away unit that I would not want to rely upon to supply power to my house panel. A dedicated diesel generator resting on a cement slab and attached to the house system is the only way to go if you want good backup power supply. There are just too many limitations with a portable unit and you always end up needing more power than you originally expected.

    Want to take a portable camping? Great, they can provide reliable comfort, but they were never designed to back-up the house system and I wouldn't bother trying.
     
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