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Generator for Pellet Stove

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MainePellethead, Jan 7, 2008.

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  1. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Hi everyone....just curious on the "size" etc of a generator that will actually run a pellet stove in times of power outages. We very rarely have one in my area but just in case. I am having a Quadra Fire Castille installed Wednesday. The dealer said the battery back ups on these are so very expensive it would probably be cheaper to get a small generator from Honda etc. But a small one is 800 bucks! lol....Just wanted some input from Rod or others that could direct me in a good choice.

    Thanks!

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  2. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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  3. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    I didnt shop....I looked lol But one of the dealers locally was saying some of the cheaper models of generators will not work on some pellet stoves for some reason. But was telling me that Hondas will work on all. Just curious. Used alot of generators but just not on pellet stoves....so didnt really know any info on it.

    lol actually there on sale for less than what you paid lol....thanks for the info.
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    If it has enough power then I don't see why
    any brand wouldn't work for a pellet stove.
    Mine works great with my stove.

    Nope it's still not less. I paid 313.00 shipped. NT now wants 340.00+ shipped to me
    279 plus 63 and some change for shipping.. ;-)

    Good luck shopping for one. The reviews at NT are right on. Can't say a bad thing about mine.
  5. blanc12

    blanc12 Member

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  6. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Thanks!

    Its funny....I had another stove shop maybe 2 months ago on the other side of town said he had someone come in that said his stove wouldnt run off a Honda generator...lol......and they wonder why some consumers get confused....nothings ever easy and to the point I guess. I'm not even sure I will buy one right away....in the 14 years we have been in this house we probably lost power maybe 4 times and not for very long at all....

    thanks again...
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A small 1KW generator will easily handle an average pellet stove. Honda is a good choice. It costs a lot more, but worth it. Their super quiet units are better built than the average unit, offering cleaner power for the electronics and much quieter. Subaru also makes some nice units.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The small hondas you were likely being shown were the EUi series of inverter generators. They are almost entirely red plastic box that can be carried like a lunchbox in 1000 and 2000 watt sizes. The larger ones are not easily carried and double the price. If you were at a dealership then I feel pretty confident that you were being quoted on a Honda Eu1000i which is sufficient for your pellet stove, quiet, and has a good track record. These small hondas do not need to run at 3600 rpm to produce 60HZ power so they idle down which makes them much quieter and efficient. They are very nice and suitable, really ideal, for campgrounds. I would suggest the 2000 watt model if you choose to go with the honda since the additional cost is very small and the extra power will allow you to run your fridge with minimal additional fuel cost.

    For home backup power I need 220 volts to backfeed my panel (the legal way). The proper Honda is extremely expensive. So I chose the 3500/4000 watt Champion Power Equipment brand generator from the local schucks for 299$. This is the yellow one that weighs 112 lbs so I can lift it into my pickup if needed. This thing is very quiet relative to the typical portable generator from HD. I was preparing to pull wire just last night to mount the outside male plug. The cheap generators are disposable. I can buy 6 of them for the price of the equivalent Honda and the track record from the RV crowd for these champions has shown 500+ of hours of life without trouble. In other words, look out Honda.

    This is the right time to decide on whether you want to just power the stove or you want to keep more items powered up.
  9. deadeye316

    deadeye316 New Member

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    I have been looking into this and it seems the only place to buy a small one is online. Lowes, homedepot even walmart only carry $400 dollar ones
  10. deadeye316

    deadeye316 New Member

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  11. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

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    anybody have any idea how long the xpower 400watt powerpack would run an average pellet stove?
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I would look at a UPS setup, and then maybe an car attached inverter for plugging that into after a couple hours.
    A UPS setup will turn on instantly when the power goes out, and since most power interruptions are short this may do the job. Another nice thing about a UPS is that it conditions the power.

    Also, a short break in power will usually reset your pellet stove (turn it off). If you are not home to do some switcheroo, then you are out of luck. The UPS instantly changes over and then instantly changes back. Length of service will depend on pellet stove and on storage rating, but I think from 30 minutes to 4 hours is doable. For longer periods you could have one of those car inverters and plug the ups into it (use your car battery or a spare).
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What type of power does the Champion put out, true sine wave? I have a 5KW Coleman and can't run some electronics nor anything on the UPS. Suspect it's due to the square sine wave and poorer voltage regulation.
  14. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    if a pellet stove is controlled by a digital setup (instead of analog) then a pure sine wave power source should be used, squared or "modified sine wave' power tends to mess with digital equipment of some types.
  15. wilbilt

    wilbilt New Member

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    I bought one of those on Saturday due to a storm-produced outage. I used it to power my refrigerator, freezer and well pump with excellent results. The ol' pellet stove was happily running from a car battery, so I saw no reason to interrupt that.

    My initial impression of the Champion generator is very positive (and I hate imported crap). I have read that the engines are licensed "clones" of Honda engines. From what I can see, they nailed it. For the price, I don't think it can be beat.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I thought Champion was Chinese. Guess I must have misread that.
  17. wilbilt

    wilbilt New Member

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    The Champoin is Chinese.
    I generally avoid Chinese imports at all costs, but did not have any other choices at the time.

    The 6.5HP engine looks like an identical, slightly smaller twin to the 11HP Honda GX340 sitting next to it in my shed. The fit and finish on the entire unit are much better than I had expected.

    We'll see how it holds up.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Well yes, the champions are made in China but unlike most chinese clone generators the champions are made from a sole source for the CPE company rather than the typical chinese generator which is made in bulk from low bid and then you apply your company logo with a sticker. CPE has a very decent website with actual good support and service.

    I haven't put mine on a scope of course but the waveform is not the likely reason that your Coleman couldn't run the electronics. After all, the powerhead is a rotating magnet, should be a very decent sine wave not unlike what the utility uses to produce power. The Coleman will suffer from poor voltage regulation and high electrical noise levels resulting in dirty power. The fancy schmancy honda inverter generators make a modified sine wave also since the inverter creates the waveform from the varying alternator input of the genset.

    There is another forum out there called RV.net about RVs and the RV crowd is very particular about generators. They have a thread that has exceeded 500 pages in length about these Champion 3500/4000 watt peak generators. The reviews are nearly all excellent with some users reporting more than 700 hours of dependable service, also very good customer service when needed. The voltage regultaors are adjustable and replaceable. I believe someone even posted a scope shot. The RV guys run AC units as well as computer systems, entertainment systems, microwaves, and refrigerators which all contain circuit boards these days. Have you ever tried to read a 500 page thread? Seriously, it'll take days but if you are even slightly interested I believe you'll gain great value from the thread. The Champion will be much quieter than a coleman and very easy on fuel. Offers 15 amps of 220 power or the full 30 amps of 110 power out of a single outlet. This is uncommon. Usually each "phase" of 110 power in a 220 generator can only provide half of the generator's rated ouput. IE:your 5000 watt coleman can only send 2500 watts from any single 110 plug. Well the RV guys need a lot of 110 volt power through a single plug in so the 30 amp plug is valuable.

    I have a big Coleman for welding but it has lost its voltage regulation ability. It is loud as heck and sucks fuel. Anybody want an 11HP Tecumseh engine run on synthetic oil all its life?
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Here's the Champion's waveform from the RV.net site. Poster name: professor95

    If you look at the second photo you will see a normal sine wave as measured on an oscilloscope. Note it is a well formed sinusoidal wave form of equal amplitude and time on each side of the center line. This is what you could expect from your “shore power”.

    Virtually all direct drive alternators will have a somewhat altered wave form due to the lack of enough hysteresis to flatten the waveform peak. This is to be expected.

    Take a look below at the output from my 3,500 watt Champion.

    Did you notice the sharper peak on the waveform? Actually, for a direct drive genset this waveform looks doggone good. There is a very low level of distortion on the wave. CPE advertises less than 4% THD. My genset easily meets that claim.

    Many direct drive gensets will have “noise” or distortion on the wave form. There are several causes, the most common being eddy currents that naturally occur between the spinning rotor coil and the stator coil. Some gensets do a better job of filtering this distortion than others. Usually, higher levels of distortion cause no harm unless you have some very sensitive electronics on board.

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  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Woops, too big. Here's the normal utility wave form.

    Attached Files:

  21. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Sine waves??? Oh gosh, you guys are killing me! Too complicated. So now I've got to worry about whether or not my genny will hurt my stove? :eek:hh:

    Is there some relatively simple way to "clean up" the power to insure that doesn't happen?
  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The 4% THD means that at least this one generator is very clean. No cleanup necessary. They have some devices called power conditioners that will correct under and over voltage conditions, level spikes, and such but I've never used one. Many times a UPS can clean up the power from utility or generator power.

    I suppose you could put your generator of choice on a scope and then get the Englander guys to give you the thumbs up.
  23. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    we bought a generator just before christmas at the local Walmart for 149.95 unbelievably. 1200 watts 2 stroke but real quiet rated at 65 db and a decently modest fuel consumption-bad part though is that it wouldn't power the pellet stove and the display on the stove indicated an inverted plug-though I tried it both ways. The generator would power the microwave and tv ok.
    We have a battery charger-inverter-deep cycle battery set-up so we are still safe-its new and we can get 6.5 hours before the low voltage warning on the inverter-running one deep cycle battery.The generator was made in China unfortunately,hence the cost but could pass for any local product-especially the being quiet part.
  24. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    That was one of the reasons I started the post...was curious on what would be the minimum size to keep a pellet stove running? Although I didnt quite mention it like that but perhaps thats why I had heard some people here locally complain that theirs wouldnt operate their pellet stove...maybe not big enough...
  25. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    I think my fans need 3 amps to run so 3 amps x 120 volts = 360 watts. Thats assuming you don't use the ignitor to start which as you can imagine,as a heating element,takes a lot of juice.Thats pretty basic and I'm assuming the power to run the controls-digital board is hardly a factor. Must add that when I used the generator to run the microwave,it ran pretty funky with the digital display flickering a lot though it still did the job.I did get the pellet stove to partially run when I quickly switched from the wall current to the generator current but the fans wouldn't run though the stove fed pellets and the ignitor was lit. If it was life or death,in an emergency,I probably could have bypassed to get them to run...it would have to be pretty desperate though. One thought though, I suppose, my generator has a dc outlet for 12 volts and many do - an inverter rated for enough wattage could be used without the storage battery and hopefully would give a clean enough source to power a pellet stove.Just another angle.
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