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Portable generators

Post in 'The Gear' started by I4Favre, Dec 20, 2007.

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  1. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    SouthCentral PA
    Since the ice storms in the midwest, what kind of generators are you using and the running watts. Thinking about getting one, either 3500 or 5000 watt, just not sure. We got hit with ice in south central PA. Had the insert running just no power for the blower. Not nearly as bad as OK and MO. Hope things pan out well for all.

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Size of generator just depends on how much you want to run. Add it all up, add a little for surge/startup and find a generator that suits you.

    When I saw that storm tearing up through Oklahoma, I borrowed a 2KW Honda generator from work for a couple of days. WOW - that thing was crazy quiet! It was actually 1600W running / 2000W surge. But really, as long as I could keep the refrigerator running, blower on the insert, a small circulating fan, we pretty much carried on like nothing had happened. Luckily we only lost power for about 10 hours, so not too bad.

    If you're only looking to run the essentials, you can probably get by with a pretty small generator. Bare bones for me is running the blower on the insert to the tune of about 100W - which I have done off a battery and inverter for 8 hours at a time. Then candles/ oil lamps for light, and cooking on the insert. If you start wanting to run a microwave, TV, etc it can get into a little more power.
  3. nshif

    nshif New Member

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    Loc:
    Pioneer, Ca (near Lake Tahoe)
    7.5 KW Generac. Runs pretty much everything I need ( a few lights, TV, computer, fridge and freezer, micro) a few other things depending on what I turn off. We have alot of power outages here in the mountains, some lasting for days, And over 3 years its never let me down
  4. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    Probably just a few things, insert blower, fridge, have to keep that venison frozen. A few CFL lights and the TV. Have to keep the kids entertained at some point if we cannot go outside, and maybe the deep freeze. I would love to have enough to run the well pump but money becomes an issue and I don't know how to power it without a transfer switch of some kind.
  5. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Orient Point, NY
    8000 watt Generac commercial, with gasoline for about 3 days, and then a propane tank buried in the ground that will last for another week or so. Runs the well, heat, air handlers, fridge, lights, etc, no a/c.

    -- Mike
  6. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
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    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    I have a 7.5kw, 10kw peak that runs everything (chest freezer, microwave, furnace, well, refrig) in the house except for the A/C. The other night we lost power for an hour or so, tested out the insert blower with a battery and a 400w inverter, worked perfectly.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    Is it true it might not be 'til New Year before all the power is back?

    I have a tip from personal experience: Don't buy a generator from a private person over the web unless you trust him.
    I did (a Cambell-Hausfeld 5kW unit). It arrived in pieces because of packing (it's hard to pack something like that for UPS, of all outfits, to ship. Naturally Campbell and Hausfeld is out of the generator business. The generator head was an Italian unit for which I could find no parts (had broken a support casting.) After I cobbed it back together it wouldn't run (seized). Likely was run previously sans oil. After a new connecting rod (no replaceable bearing in the relatively good single cylinder B&S;Vanguard) and buffing the crankshaft, I got it working again. At some point I also got a Generac 7.5 kW unit as above from Home Depot. Needless to say, I've hardly used either, knock on wood. I did use the C&H;at the end of the road to power an electric drill for planting tulip bulbs and also the Shop Vac to vacuum up gravel (it actually did work), so it's not a total waste.
  8. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    NW Iowa
    Troybilt continuous 5550 watts with surge of 8550. when we first used it it ran two fridges all the ceiling fans and various lights and microwave. Only things I cut off was the A/C and hot water heater. I would not run a dryer ether.

    When we used it the first time we were the only people in our neighborhood that had lights on :coolsmile:
  9. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    845
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    Franklin MA
    honda 2500

    [​IMG]

    bought this from a lady at work for 300.00- the thing is brand new. i keep waiting for a power outage
  10. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    In my experience you want to keep the size of the generator as small as possible to satisfy your needs. Keeping it fueled for three days (the longest I have ever been without electricity) is the worst part. A large generator takes a large amount of fuel.

    I used a 2500W generator to for years. By switching between appliances (Frig, Freezer, well pump, TV for the kids?!?, etc.) as required we could keep all the necessary infrastructure going.

    Now I have a large propane fired generator with a large propane tank (was in the house when I bought it). Great system (runs more than half the house) but if it runs out of propane I'm screwed and it goes thru it fast.
  11. reaperman

    reaperman Member

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    Home depot put these units on sale a while ago for $399.

    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...03 90401 503283&marketID=401&locStoreNum=8125

    Looks like the price is still the same. It comes with good reviews and the same unit (different color) at Northern Tool is $749. I picked one up for myself. I havent really had a chance to seriously test it out. The Robin engine is a good power plant. It starts up with first pull, itn't too loud, and comes with a 12 gauge/25' entension cord with 4-outlet box on one end, the other plugs into the generator. I wasnt aware it came with the extension cord, its not mentioned in the ad. But its a nice plus. Especially with the price of copper/extension cords these days. For that kind of $$ you cant hardly be without.

    Attached Files:

  12. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    Loc:
    SouthCentral PA
    Reaperman, just picked one of those up @ H.D. and put it together. Seemed like a good deal so I got it. Figure with a Subaru engine it should run a long time. Mine had the twist lock extension cord also. They tried to get me to buy a 8 or 9000W for a grand, no thanks, for $399 you can't beat it. Just have to wait to try it out.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Northern Virginia
    DeVilbiss 4250/5000 portable picked up this year for $146 at a bankruptcy auction. (Had seven gallons of fresh $2.99 gas in it at the time.)

    Unknown Tecumseh iron block powered 4800 watt unit that is probably as old as I am that still runs like a champ and powered the essentials for 7 days two years ago. $45 at another bankruptcy auction.

    If people keep going broke we will have plenty of electricity around here.
  14. 88gmc1

    88gmc1 New Member

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    I bought a used Onan 4000 about 1995, I paid $600.00 for it and thought that was a little high but there was not much to choose from like there is now, it sat in the garage unused till the ice storm of 1998 we were without power for 11 days, -28C at times. being on well, even water was an issue, this old generator ran like a champ, I put Amsoil synthetic oil in it and it was loaned out so many times during the storm it ran 24/7 I was surprised it held up. We had wires running all over the house to power various items. I now have "Generlink" to connect the power to the house I think it is the best way to go. It allows you to plug right into your meter and control all the circuts from your main panel. So with the old Onan and my ol' PaPa bear stove we were able to stay in the house and ride out the storm. I still have the Onan (with the Generlink) sold the PaPa Bear and Have a Regency. Ready for the next storm, I may buy an electric start generator and save pullin' my shoulder out!!!!.I would love to be able to afford to rig my house to live off grid and say screw the hydro etc. :mad:
  15. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    Loc:
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    88gmc1 I have seen those generlink hookups but don't know where to get them or how much they cost. They do look like they eay to go of you know someone who can install them.
  16. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Having endured extended power outages due to hurricanes, I feel having a generator is worth it's weight in gold when you need it. Last year I purchased a 4000W (peak) Champion generator that supports 220/110 V output. I don't intend to power any 220 appliances but it makes it easy for me to backfeed my house by simply plugging it into my garage 220 outlet I installed for a welder. Naturally I'll have to judiciously manage what circuit breakers I leave on so that only my minimum need outlets are energized. I also can simply run extension cords into the house with the 4-way outlet box on the end and power some essentials to get by any power outage.

    I bough this Champion unit after reading the extensive research, analysis and recommendations done by RV enthusiasts at this forum: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/15131645.cfm

    It turned out to be the most recommended, most reliable, etc and a really good deal. I added a wheel kit last month and now it is a breeze to move it around the garage or wheel it outside to run it every couple of months.

    We don't have a lot of extended power outages here so I went the economy route with this small generator. If I lived somewhere with a little bit higher chance of reoccuring (or longer term) outgaes I'd get one more powerful.

    My fuel plan is to siphon gas out of our 2 vehicles, although I haven't figured that part out yet. I tried awhile back and couldn't get a hose deep enough into the tank. Anybody succesfully siphon gas out of a modern (2000 car, 2003 truck) vehicle lately and have a technique to share?
  17. 88gmc1

    88gmc1 New Member

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    www.generlink.com
    will get you to the web site, and as far as hooking it up it is a simple as ( I watched the guy do it)pulling your meter off connecting a ground wire, plugging the Generlink in where your meter was and then plug your meter into the Generlink...
    they come with a surge protector as well, protects your whole house, and if you move you can take it with you real easy like. But if you have a transfer panel you are gonna leave it hooked up. it took him no more than 15 min. Oh ya, he did it live! wires Hot. not my way of doin' stuff but what the heck it wasn't me!
  18. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    88gmc1. Checked out the site, thanks. I'm almost afraid to call to find out how much $$$ they are. Probably not cheap. Install would be zero, friend is an electrician. Also does anyone know if you can buy a meter to use on your generator to measure the load on it while it is running? Either in watts or percent load.
  19. 88gmc1

    88gmc1 New Member

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    400.00-600.00
  20. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    Thanks 88gmc1. Thats not really anymore than a decent transfer switch and install.
  21. 88gmc1

    88gmc1 New Member

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    you must be getting a real deal, around these parts an electrical contractor would charge $1,400.00 - $2,000.00 for a compelte transfer panel system, depending on the size of the generator and how many circuts are hooked up
  22. I4Favre

    I4Favre Member

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    It helps to know an electrician or two.
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