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talk me out of buying the ef2800i

Post in 'The Gear' started by briansol, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I'm generator shopping.

    I'm a pellet burner. I'm looking for some back up that is both portable and reliable and cost-effective.
    I don't need to power my whole house. my stove, my fridge, and a few things is all I need. maybe i'll get a panel someday and put the oil pig on it, but for now, i'll likely just run an extension cord trough a cracked window or something and only use it while i'm in the room. my electric panel is in the front of my house right by my front steps (I have underground power that comes up and in right there) which makes it not an ideal spot to leave a generator in the first place. putting in a sub panel and outdoor hook up is next years project. for this year, it's getting the unit.

    I had a cheapo HF unit and my stove didn't like it. then I let my brother in law borrow it and it came back non functional. story of my life with lending things.....

    anyway, i'm getting some tax return money in and I think its about time to get a decent unit.

    I debated the Honda, the yamaha and even the champion invertor units.

    after going through all the details, I think i'm going to end up with the tri-carb version of the yammy 2800 from these folks:
    http://www.yamaha-propane-natural-gas-generators.com/ef2800i.htm

    I HATE the idea of having to store gas. I am bad with rotating. LP propane is pretty easy to get around here and my wholesale club does refills for $15. and nearly every gas station has a re-fil exchange case out front too. Plus I have 2 already that I rotate in for my grill.
    ng is not really an option. its not at the street, and buying it just for the genset is kinda dumb IMO.

    I understand there's some freezing issues involved with the lp if you draw too fast from it, especially in the cold in smaller containers. I'm looking into that (and possibly getting a 500 or 75 lb tank to rectify it or some sort of tri-manifold to hook 3 20lb tanks up to limit each draw speed.)
    my understanding is that 1 20lb tank = 5 gal of gas. at $3 prices a gallon, its even. gas hasn't been below 3.50 in a long time, so its cheaper to use as well.

    $1500 is about the most I want to spend. this one is 1650 but has a few extra features that i'm willing to spend a 150 more for.

    I demand an invertor (don't want regular big boys).

    I think 2500 watts is enough for me. Do you? I don't need to have everything in an outage.. ac, tvs... none of it matters... I just don't want to lose my food in the summer (have a chest freezer with a lot of meat/hunting/fishing catches/etc) or freeze to death in the winter. any other use of lights, laptop/etc are all bonuses. i'm usually out helping the neighbors/parents/etc in these events anyway and just want to come home to a warm house after i've been out all day in the wet.

    noise is a big issue. I would like it that no one knows I have it/on.
    the quieter the better.

    This ef2800i unit seems to be a good match.

    I think the 1600 watts of the Honda is too little. and after tri-carbing it, it's at the same price point. the larger Honda is out of my price range. the champion unit still scares me a bit. its half the price, but it doesn't have the warranty or prestige. or the service area. there's a few bike stores that are yam dealers near by should I need to bring it in somewhere.


    what do you think?

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  2. 1 gallon of gas = 1.36 gallons of propane = 1.25 ccf of natural gas.

    This page breaks down the costs. If propane keeps your carb problem free it seems like a no brainer.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I got the EF2400iSHC-H from these folks. It works great. I tried a dry run for a few hours and all went well. Went for the slightly smaller unit to save fuel and for quieter running. It runs refer, freezer, tv and some lights easily enough. I wouldn't worry about the propane freezing too much unless you are in a very cold area. The fuel draw is pretty slow.
    briansol likes this.
  4. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I was looking at that unit as well. It seems that for $100 less, it's not really worth it to downgrade so many watts and half the tank size.

    it also is high current model design which I think operates differently. i'm not sure of the exact differences. i'm trying to remember back to my car audio days of running the HC amps because they were able to draw more power per volt or something like that. I don't know what implications that has. heck, it might be better!


    i'm not too worried about it freezing either. I figure if it comes down to it, i'll throw the tank in a bath of water that is heated by a little electric "5th burner" or something to keep it a little warmer. (without blow it up :p ) (more research in this ave down the road should it prove an issue). I envision needed it more in the summer as that is most of the time when we lose power around here form storms. but that once in 10 years ice storm is due too.... so it very well may be cold.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The tank size is the propane tank. I don't expect to run on gas that often, though it runs a long time on a filling. This model is quieter and uses less fuel than the ef2800i. That's my reasoning behind getting this unit. We can be without power (including the gas stations) for an extended period of time. I want to be able to maintain food stores for weeks if necessary. In a big earthquake this is definitely a possibility. If these are not issues for you and you want a bit more oomph, then go for the ef2800i.

    We have never lost propane to our cooktop no matter how cold it is outside. The genny pulls less fuel out than a 10K btu burner so I don't think cold will be an issue for us.
  6. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    What size tank do you have on your cooktop? my understanding is that the larger tanks fair better in colder weather due to LP vs air space. you're also on the water it sounds like. What is COLD to you? I've seen -10 F many a winter here, although usually the teens is as cold is it gets most winter nights.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    100 gallon tank, though I am thinking of switching the stove top tank to the genny and putting a 25 gallon tank on the cook top. Very cold for us is 10 degrees.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I just compared the specs and gotta say, I would skip that 2800i and get the smaller 2400i. They both have the same size engine and being inverter models I would expect fuel consumption to be equal for a given load. Yes, the 2800i holds more gasoline at 2.6 vs. 1.6 for the 2400 but that is not very important for most applications and especially not when you are also feeding it with propane.

    Actually, per the specs, the 2800 runs for over 15 hours and the 2400 at 8.5 on one gas tank at a certain percentage load. It would then follow that the 2800 may actually be more fuel efficient. I would have to do the math with a RPN calculator to find out.

    Open frame generators suck. They are loud, much louder. The 2800 is a screamer at 68 db vs. 60 for the 2400. The db scale is not linear. As I understand it, every 3 db is a doubling of the sound level. 68 is too loud.

    Notice that the 2400 is actually 10% heavier. That is no doubt due to superior sound insulation.

    I would pay more for the 2400 than the 2800. Note that both are rated to start up and run an AC unit on an RV which may not be important to you but is really important to me.

    Good job on choosing inverter gensets. Better power, fuel economy, and much quieter than the contractor sets.
    briansol likes this.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    BG, how managable is it to lift and move the 2400 around when gassed up? Portable means different things to different people and the 2.6 gallons of gas weighs another 15 #s. Bale of hay at 100-120 I can manage but they have nice handles.
  10. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    i'm not worried about the weight... .i'm in my early 30s and am pretty built. :)

    the noise factor is something I didn't consider fully. I was going by 'under 70 is pretty quiet' comparing to other 5500ish generators that are loud at run in the 70s and 80s. but I guess not. That is a good point and i'm glad you brought it up.

    Does anyone know if 2 2400i can be linked together with 1 cable, should I down the road want to double up if it wasn't enough? I can't find that information anywhere.
  11. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Well, it looks like the EF2400iSHC-H is the model i'm going to go with after all. Thanks for swaying me in that direction. Hoping to have this on order in the next few weeks.
  12. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Yep that is a sweet unit and is probably the perfect fit for what you want in a generator.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I can move the 2400 around the garage pretty easily, but I use my hand truck for greater distance moving. Just got it running on propane. It takes a little tweaking to get the smoothest running but I think I've got it dialed in well now.
  14. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    curious to know what the real life mpg or how ever you want to calculate it is .
    Don't wish to be devils advocate here but they are rating the fuel consumption at 1/4 throttle.

    I don't doubt its efficient but , Running on an eco throttle can damage some things,

    My Honda 2000 will run 14 hrs on 1 gal gas on eco with a light load OR 4hrs at max output on 1 gal

    Just be careful running the econ throttle it can take out certain things that need a large start up amperage ,such as devices such as ac & refrigeration & microwave ovens. They can't ramp up quick enough for the amperage needed

    WE ran generators here for a week non stop last year , NOT FUN ,hottest days of the year $$$$$

    Neighbor toasted 2 refrigerators & $350+ in gas

    Me I spent $180 fuel no damage ran 12,000 btu ac ,! fridge 1 chest freezer(small) & a dorm fridge & lights
    I have 2 of the Hondas paired
    also the tri fuel aspect of these are nice but output is 20%reduced with propane & also reduced for nat. gas ,how much i'm not sure maybe 20% also

    don't mean to be harsh but to really review one of these devices you need to REALLY USE IT
    If this happens again may just load up freezer of food on trailer and move in with relatives:confused:
  15. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Brian, just found this. I have the Yamaha EF2400ishc. Bought mine July 2011 at a dealer in Mass. Its QUIET, and a cool unit.

    Did you ever buy it ?
  16. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    no, I never jumped the gun on any thing. I chickened out :( I still think I want one. but i'm having a real hard time justifying it.

    I might just buy a cord of wood and rip out the pellet liner if it gets really bad and use the fire place.

    we don't loose power often... but when we do... lol
  17. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Same here. Ive used mine for maybe 5 hours, but it probably has 20 as a loner last year. LOL I also have a bigger Honda 3500. My brother has a EU2000. Ive used both, and the Yamaha was chosen for its ability to start a 8000 BTU A/C at idle, where the Honda had to be at full throttle.

    I looked at it this way. I can keep my house warm, a room cool for sleeping, run the furnace for hot showers, and the microwave and fridge, not at the same time, but keep life very close to normal life. And I can do a LOT on less than 5 gallons PER DAY !!! Most people buy the huge 5000-8000 watt generators that eat a gallon+ per hour, and run you out of gas and Cash if your out for several days. Look at the gasoline lines last two years for all the storms. With my truck and a few cans, Id be set for a week.

    If you ever want a demo, let me know. Once you actually can try out one of these, you can hear the quality in their silence, and see their limitations.
  18. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Oh, and I found this guy before I bought mine. he really put it through its paces. But the hands on was what really sold me after trying the same things with the Honda.

    http://2manytoyz.com/yamaha2400.html
  19. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    2800 peak/2000 is more than enough for me.

    I want it for 2 purposes...

    1, in winter, to run the stove.
    2, in summer, to run my chest freezer so I don't loose my meat

    anything else is a nice to have.

    I have a ton of camping equipment and always have stuff to cook outside with. I have a stove that can take a 20lb propane tank, or the little Coleman ones, so the idea is to keep 4 or 5 20lb'ers behind the shed and i'll use them for grilling on the main grill or the camp stove, and running the genny. less pollution too. and gas doesn't keep, propane will in the tanks. And the wholesale club refills them for $14.99 too.

    gas was hard to come by here during the snowpocolypse. i know i won't be good about storing it and rotating it. my car takes 93 to boot, so i can't even use the 87 in the car to rotate it. that's why i want to go the propane route.

    if its 20% less power, 1600 watts is still more than enough. stove will start up on its own, and the freezer will start up on its own as well, and this unit is rated for the high draw starts.

    I'm also considering getting a few deep cell batteries to charge in the day with the genny and use at night so its quiet and don't have to worry about theft.
    but those inverters with any wattage to them and sine wave are $$$$$.
  20. cygnus

    cygnus Feeling the Heat

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    I got the black & decker 800 watt inverter at HD for $80. Ran it off a backup battery I have for my V8 Lincoln. That kept the stove blower going for about ~6 hours a clip.
  21. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

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    If you're really thinking about a transfer switch and being able to run some house circuits off this generator, you may have a couple of issues. First, the twist lock is 125V 30A - yes you can run a couple of outlets off that, but it's not going to allow you to run anything that takes 220V (eg a well pump). All of the tfr switches I have seen are made for 220V connection which provides a lot more flexibility.

    Being a 125V/30A, you may have code issues if you try to wire it into a panel with more than 2 or 3 15A circuits. Inspectors may or may not like that. Yes, I believe it's technically possible to run 125V in to a tfr switch, but it's going to a lot of trouble for a very small return in terms of how much you can keep going in an outage.

    In my case, I have a B&S 10000/8000 watt gas unit (start/run) that can run a 220V 30A feed into my house. Off his I can run the well pump (mandatory), a few lights, insert blower, propane water heater and a couple of smaller outlets (computers etc). I prefer to run my computers through a quality UPS to give them clean power than to force my generator decision to an inverter because 1 thing thinks it needs a sine wave.

    Even if you are able to run the computer, it's more than likely that the infrastructure around you will be dead in the event of a large outage, so it makes me wonder what use the computer is going to be when all of the cell/dsl/telco resources are pooched (as recent large storms have shown).

    my 2 cents - you said you wanted to be talked out of it... ;) ;)
  22. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    yup, i'm finding that out the hard way... I actually started a thread about that 120v topic--
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/small-invertor-gen-and-subpanel.109909/


    I don't have a well (city water) so that's a non-issue.

    But I do have a boiler/furnace for hot water, and that's really what I would like to run via the panel... and maybe save a few 100 feet of extention cords everywhere for the fridge and chest freezers.

    I really don't want a super duper 8000 watt loud monster. too loud, too much gas... really want to use propane if possible.
  23. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Even when we had all the incredible power outages last 2 Octobers, there was still cell service until their batteries died. And they also brought in portable generators to get those up and running. So there was a HUGE demand for charging statins for portable devices. I know plenty of people without power for a week, but still had Cable TV and such. People were using their I pads and such to keep in tough with the world.
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    On that - does a UPS actually clean the power? I was always under the assumption that a UPS runs power straight through, and switches to battery when the power goes out. I.e., the power going out would be as dirty as the power going in when using the grid - or a generator.
  25. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

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    It depends on the UPS. Find one that does some conditioning and it's all good. I've run my desktop and laptops on generator power many times through and APC UPS nd never even had a hiccup, let alone fried anything.

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