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Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Newburydave, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Newburydave

    Newburydave New Member

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    I was just researching this on the net (WIKI and a few tech sites) here's one of the clearest http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Tech-Doctor/Universal/Tech1-Universal.pdf

    The bottom line is that anything that uses electronic timing circuits (like computers or computer controls) will bet fouled up if you run it on anything but Pure Sine Wave (PSW) power. I kinda did computer troubleshooting and electronical stuff some years ago and it has to do with the zero crossing points of PSW. Modified Sine Wave (MSW) power is actually a square wave and the power "dwells at zero" for a measurable time and that messes with the computer's head. This happens because the core of every computer processor chip is a digital clock, the processor uses the clock cycle to count. That's how it computes.

    That's why computer UPCs always put out PSW power. If your stove is microprocessor controlled (like my Harman P38) then you need a PSW power inverter (like the SF512 or SF502) or you run the risk of scrambling your computer control and then you have a hunk of steel or cast iron, not a stove.

    See your manufacturers recommendations. I for one don't want to find out my power supply is cooking my stoves controller cause I know it'll happen in the middle of the next big power out blizzard. ;)

    RE: Cleaning up generator power. Inexpensive generators define "dirty power". I don't understand all there is about UPCs but I do know that the common ones just pass the line power through as is. The battery and their PSW inverter doesn't kick in until the line power goes out. Here is the WIKI article on UPSs technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninterruptible_power_supply.

    The Online / Double Conversion seems to be one that will clean up power, but they may be more expensive and there is a limit to how much they can clean up really dirty power.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I moved this to its own new thread rather than have a 2008 zombie thread resurrected.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    And as a response, I have been running from four to six servers at a time as well as all of the house appliances and computers for up to seven days straight off of generators many times and haven't lost a one of them in the last ten years.

    Your mains power isn't as clean as you want to believe it is either.
    nate379 and sinnian like this.
  4. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

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    I have never heard of a problem with a generator causing a problem from bad power but i would bet someone somewhere has. I have one of the honda eu200i inverter generators and it is rock steady on its output at varying rpm loads unlike a standard generator. Its strange because it is a solid 124 volts which is a little on the high side. I personally like the tripplite brand of surge protection since the clamping load on some of their better stuff is 150v and they also condition the power as well. It sounds like your shopping for a generator so your choices are easy if your looking for an inverter style. Honda or Yamaha is your only real choice. The chinese knockoffs are junk as well as the champion and honeywell brands.
  5. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    How do you know they are junk?
  6. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

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    They don't live up to their rated power. We had a few of the champions on the job site and there would constantly shut off when power was needed. It we would start a hammer drill and have a couple batteries charging it would shut off. We complained and the boss got us a Honda also rated for 2000 watts and we had no problems. I can't speak for their lines of regular generators because I've never used them but their inverter style ones do not put out their rating. I was actually impressed with it so I got one for at home. I'll be using it this weekend on our Cub Scout camping trip. I bought mine used for 600 bucks and its been worth every penny. Heck when I core drilled my walls for my pellet stove pipe it powered a big Hilti with no complaints. For the few hundred bucks extra its worth it for reliable power
  7. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Good to know....
  8. RKS130

    RKS130 Minister of Fire

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    I know absolutely nothing about any of the technical aspects of this. BUT . . . a few years ago when we had a prolonged power outage here in New York I ran my computer off power backfed into the house from my circa 1996 Craftsman gas generator. No problems, no issues. This was over the course of about 6 days that we were without power.

    What exactly is the issue?
  9. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Has anyone looking into running a power conditioner from music equipment? I'm a musician on the side (guitarist) and a lot of guys run a PC in their effects racks. Stuff like the furman PL-C are reasonably priced ($150 ish used all over CL and such), are rack-moutable, etc. I'm not sure if they can actually turn modified into pure, but it sounds like they do something similar.

    anyone have any insight to this?
  10. dwizum

    dwizum New Member

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    Let me preface this by saying that I've never even owned a pellet stove (see: my recent newbie thread) but I've spent years designing embedded electronics for home automation, and have put a fair amount of effort into designing failsafes for those systems, i.e. running them from UPSs or generators. These systems typically use the same sorts of building blocks as a pellet stove (a control board with a microcontroller, a bunch of AC induction motors, etc.)

    Getting a good wave is much more important for the motors in your stove than the microcontroller. The micro is running on low voltage DC, there's a rectifier and voltage regulator or two (at least) between the AC supply voltage and the microcontroller - the shape of the input wave has little to do with what the microcontroller chip itself actually sees. Your AC supply would have to be very, very dirty (or your control board very very poorly designed) before a UPS or generator fried the microcontroller or caused it to not operate. The clock used to time the processor is pretty much an isolated subcomponent of the controller's design and there is no correlation between the timing of that circuit and the waveform of the incoming AC supply.

    Meanwhile, the motors in your stove are fed pretty much straight off the AC supply, and induction motors are a classic example of a piece of equipment that does a really bad job of running on poorly shaped AC. If you've got a UPS or generator that puts out a square wave or a poorly shaped sine wave, and you try to run your pellet stove on it, it would be probable that one or more of the motors (blowers, feed auger) in the stove wouldn't function, but I would not expect the control board to have any problems.
  11. newtonh

    newtonh New Member

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    So what is needed to correct the problem? I hope to use my generator to run my stove in an outage.
  12. midfielder

    midfielder Feeling the Heat

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    Cool - could you post a link to that thread for us noobs? My stove is fine on dirty power - it's my tv cable box that objects. TV's fine, cable modem's fine, router's ok, etc., just the bloody cable box, lol. Gotta watch TV when the power's out!
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Tons of threads on generators. Just search on "generator".
  14. midfielder

    midfielder Feeling the Heat

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    Sure - seen a lot of them. I want the Zombie thread...
  15. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    Do surge supressors do anything to "condition" the power?
  16. Bioburner

    Bioburner Minister of Fire

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    Most surge suppressors don't really do that much and often go south after a good hit or two and leave you with nothing at all.
  17. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    dwizum is right on about computers being relatively safe from bad power because the computer's power supply converts to 12V and 5V DC before components use it. That said, electronics with a cheaper power supply might not be able to convert really uneven, square-wave or modified-sine-wave AC power cleanly and it will either misbehave or not work at all. I'm not sure I would trust the electronics in a pellet stove to have the quality PSU that a server does. But it's definitely motors, compressors, and pumps that you have to really concern yourself with. They pretty much rely on good, clean power. As I just recommended in a parallel thread on this forum, your best bet is to put a battery bank between your generator and your sensitive equipment. Use the generator with a decent battery charger, such as the Iota DLS-27-40, and then run a pure sine-wave inverter off of your batteries. Or alternatively, if you have a DC load, just run the load directly off of the batteries (or down-convert to the appropriate voltage). That removes the alternator and engine running irregularities on the generator as a source of bad power. The added benefit of batteries is that you can size your bank large enough to run for a time without the generator running, such as overnight.
  18. dwizum

    dwizum New Member

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    Just to add to the great advice Thomas gave, I'd emphasize the word "probable" near the end of my post. SOME motors do poorly on poor power, others are fine. If you already have a generator or UPS, give it a try. Start and stop the stove several times and make sure all components work as normal (motors are actually turning, at the correct speed, with no odd noises). If it works, great. Use it. If it doesn't work, look for another model, with preference for models with good wave shape (advertized often as true sine wave, and/or just look for reviews online). Or if you've got the cash, put that battery system in place - just, I'd suggest buying a commercial system off the shelf unless you really know what you're up to, as big batteries store a LOT of energy and it can be easy to let the smoke out. :D
  19. DirtyDave

    DirtyDave Feeling the Heat

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    I use the cheep champion brand generators.. the 4,000 watt 3500 continuos generators. they allways work well even when 2 freezers and a fridge and the lights, coffee pot , 6 ceiling fans, get pushed to that system. I use 1 in the shop truck, one at the house thats perminent wired in. I do use ups on the 4 computers, but they suck after a couple mins( ups geek junk stuff) and do not power the whitfield,( It uses too much for the ups) but I hope that it condition the power somewhat when on generator. My experiance with inverter power has been terrible..
  20. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Those champion generators get great reviews wherever you look....by all counts a great generator
  21. Parcero2012

    Parcero2012 New Member

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    I have been using my subaru generator with my Breckwell P23 stove and a CYBERPOWER Intelligent LCD Series GreenPower UPS backup with no issues for the past 4 years...
  22. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Chalk me up as a happy Champion inverter generator user. It is rated at 2000 watts peak and 1700 continuous. When i got mine i tested it out with a 1500w heater and a 300 w halogen drop light. Ran like a champ for the hour i was testing it out for. I love the fact that the thing sips gas.

    Also the company i used to work for had a 5000w champion generator, they couldn't kill the thing even only changing the oil about once a year.
  23. SteveB

    SteveB Member

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    I also have a Champion generator that I use on my camper sometimes when I don't have shore power. It is the 3500W model (30 amps) with the RV plug-in socket. I've run my 15000 btu air conditioner and the microwave oven at the same time already which probably put me pretty close to the 30 amp full load capacity of the generator. You could tell it was loaded hard from the sound but it kept on cranking out the juice. Its one of the easiest starting small gas engines I've ever had too. Hard to beat for the price.

    Edit: my brother-in-law also has one for his camper and hes happy with his too.
  24. DneprDave

    DneprDave Feeling the Heat

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    Why would a generator have a dirty sine wave? AC generators make a classic sinewave, it's how they work. I can understand how an DC to AC inverter could make squarewaves rather than sine wave and require more sophisticated electronics to make something that approximates a sine wave, but a mechanical AC generator? Nah!

    Dave
  25. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Because engines don't run perfectly smoothly. A clean sine wave would require a constant RPM with no vibrations or hiccups. The best way to produce a clean sine wave is with batteries and a pure sine wave inverter or with a generator which incorporates a large flywheel.

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