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Who is using a regular generator with pell stove & how r u doing it.

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Mackdog, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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    We bought a generator yesterday. It's a powermate 5000 watts 6250 surge watts. I read it takes a lot less watts to use a pellet stove then space heaters. We have a Harmon p68. It's was quite pricey and we don't want to ruin. It seems like there is a lot of different opinions about the whole regular and inverter generators. Is anyone using a regular generator with their stove. Are you just using a surge protector or do you use a line conditioner. Does it not work at all or have people fried their control boards from trying it. I guess I just can't understand why it wouldn't work and seeing some people that say it won't and other say it will. Ay help would be appreciated. We have space heaters but 2814 square feet and they take so much power they are on low and we are a bit cold. We have kids and an elderly parent here.

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  2. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    You will probably get 2000 different answers to this. I lost power Monday night and all day Tuesday. My generator has a plug that feeds my panel box and goes to the entire home except my geothermal HVAC. The genny is a 8k running 10k starting watts Rigid with a Subaru motor. I ran my Big E in the garage all day with no issues and no weird noises. I say if you need heat, in an emergency, run it.

    Disclaimer: I am not an electrician nor a pellet stove mechanic. I also DID NOT stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I was WARM. :)
    jim3854 likes this.
  3. DirtyDave

    DirtyDave Feeling the Heat

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    I use a cheep battery ups as a conditioner hooked on the surge side to stove.. our 4000/3500 genny is wired thru a line/gen box to fuse panel. I have not had a problem personaly using this setup since 1999
  4. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    I would also like to hear some elaboration on this topic.

    So far, I've heard enough bad things about these types of generators to only use mine on simple equipment; fans, lamps, coffee pots, etc.... basically expendable items.
  5. MacP

    MacP Member

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    I'm still trying to figure this out as well....
  6. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    I powered my entire house with mine except my geothermal HVAC unit (genny can't handle the startup) with no issues. This includes stove, well pump, hotwater heater, microwave, coffee maker, lights, tv's, etc. Maybe if you leave it on it 24x7x365 there might be problems.

    AND PLEASE everyone remember DO NOT run your generators indoors, in garages, etc. YOU WILL DIE!

  7. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Try calling the manufacturerof the generator and asking technical support.
  8. Murphy118

    Murphy118 Member

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    Seems that if you run your power from the genny through a conditioner, like a tripplite UPS, it will make condition the power from the genny so that all electronics will be happy happy, no??

    John
  9. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    As I stated in another thread, the basic gist of it (At least for APC BackUPS units) is that as long as there is constant power to the APC UPS and it is in an online state, it will provide pure sine wave power to whatever is plugged into it. APC recommendation is that the generator be sized 3-5 times of the entire load expected to be on the generator. So if all you want to do is run your pellet stove alone, figure out what 3-5 times the load is and size the generator accordingly. Also their disclaimer is that the BackUPS system is designed for computer type loads only. If the UPS switches back to battery, it is NOT providing pure sine but step-approximated power (specifically the APC BackUPS units). They have SmartUPS which do provide pure sine wave power whether on battery or not.
  10. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Unless otherwise specified, most UPS's 'pass through' street power without touching it. it's basically in pure bypass at 120v. thus, a genererator acting as street power will also not be modified. Assume that unless the manual says otherwise that this is the case.

    I ran my stove on a regular genny for about 1 min last year before i shut it off due to the god-aweful noises it was making and whining. I wouldn't even consider a modified sine wave device to power anything at my house that I care about/don't want to buy again in a few hours.... that doesn't have it's own ac/dc convertor (ie, a power-pack on a plug, or a psu as in a computer). those devices will convert the power and can be run off modified sine without issue. light bulbs? whoe cares? a $3000 stove? not a chance.

    your results may vary.
  11. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    See my above post - directly from APC - their units (at least theBackUPS and SmartUPS) provide pure sine wave power to any device attached as long as the unit is in an online state. Doesn't matter whether the power is coming from the main, a generator, or a bunch of squirrels on a wheel. As long as the UPS is online, it's providing pure sine. The caveat is that what ever is powering the UPS is doing so with enough power so as the UPS doesn't keep switching back and forth between battery and AC.

  12. Cleetussnow

    Cleetussnow Member

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    I am running my enviro 55 from my generac 5500. I have it on a high end surge device, with a$250,000 equipment damage guarantee on it. The device is an enercell.

    When I refeul, i make sure all the surge protectors are off, so there is no load on the genny when I restart. Also, I make sure the stove is done with its cycle before I shut it off. It is stone cold when I shut off and start up.

    Not sure this is the right way, but it is the best way I know how. No guarantee it will work for everyone, but I have been going for 3 days like this and everything works fine so far. Controls work and remote works etc.
  13. tractorman100

    tractorman100 Member

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    Ran my 10 year old Onan 6000 watt generator for 2 days this week. Not at night, though. Too noisy. Powered my Mt Vernon, new refrigerator, freezer,
    Fios box, TV control boxes and 2 flat screens with no issues. I do have the electronics and the stove plugged into tripplite surge protectors. No worries!
    Have the generator back fed thru the pole barn back to the main house. Keeps the fumes, noise and gas away from the house.
  14. tsmith

    tsmith Minister of Fire

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    I have a 5000 watt connected to my panel box, it is running both my Quad AE and Harman Accentra without any problems. I do have a Tripp Lite surge protector on both stoves.
  15. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    "Stepped approximation to a sinewave" is what you get with APC backup or dirty in - dirty out. There are some generators that provide a pure sine wave and they will state PURE SINE WAVE in the specs. (my stove manual states specifically to use a pure sine wave signal to prevent damage) - I bought a ETQ gen and it has served me well. I'm not trying to advertise for ETQ, I can only speak on what I have.
    briansol likes this.
  16. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Which stove do you have and what generator model?
  17. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    I have a Generac XP8000E, this unit uses what Generac calls True PowerTM technology that provides clean, smooth operation of sensitive electronics, tools and appliances. Speaking with Generac they state that the power coming from my Generator compares to the utility company's power. All I know is my unit powers most of my house without skipping a beat, and that includes my pellet stove running perfect! I connect to a whole house transfer switch and then shut off a few breakers (hot tub) to not overload.
    briansol likes this.
  18. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Here's hoping you switched off the main breaker in the house so no lineman on a pole somewhere doesn't get fried trying to get your power back.
    PoolGuyinCT and briansol like this.
  19. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    So are we talking spikes being the bane of delicate electronics? Does under-voltage cause damage?

    Edit- just noticed the other thread where it shows the clipped looking waveform.
    briansol likes this.
  20. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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    I appreciate all the feedback. Some of this stuff is way over my head but it still helps. We are still undecided as whether to try or not. I don't not want to fry our stove but you can get pretty desperate when you are cold and miserable with no power. I also was really naive about how much these generators suck gas. It took us and few hours to figure out how to not blow thru the tank in 4 hours. So those of you who mention a tripplite surge protector, where did you get it and is there a certain one that you all are getting? I am also really interested to know about those of you using an inverter in your car to run the stove. Someone at BestBuy was telling my husband about this. The inverter is around $100. I can't fathom how this would work but again, when you are desperate for heat if it won't ruin the stove then I'd try it. After spending $669 on the generator and cords that we needed, we don't want to spend $500 on the battery backup at this time, if ever. Now a special surge protector or conditioner or car inverter for $100 or less I can handle. As I type I am happy to say our power came back on this afternoon. I still want to solve all this before we ever lose power again. Thank you! I hope all without power get it back soon.
  21. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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    Can I ask where you got your battery ups? Can you use this device if you aren't running the generator thru the house?
  22. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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  23. MacP

    MacP Member

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    Briggs and Stratton states the following... "This unit has a total harmonic distortion of 3% to 6%. The unit can run electronics. Some consumers add a line conditioner to have the unit run cleaner still. That is up to each consumer and the products that will be run on the generator."

    Submitted a question to CyberPower. Would my CP1350PFCLCD clean the power from a non-sine wave generator? Answer: "No, it likely won't even accept that as incoming power."

    My conclusion is.... If I lose power and the stove MUST be fired up..... I will plug an extension from my power conditioner behind my TV to my CyberPower. My stove is currently plugged into the CyberPower.

    If I didn't have a power conditioner and needed heat, I'd do what I need to do. Fire up the stove or run the oil burner.

    I'm not about to spend more money for a pure sine generator.
    ducker likes this.
  24. Jm15

    Jm15 New Member

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    My buddy works for a utility company and I asked him about this. He said the generator would be fine running electronics as long as it had started running and continues running the whole time. He said you get into trouble when the generator starts running out and as it comes to shut down it produces less amps (it doesn't just shut off instantly). Certain electronics needs these amps to run and can fry as they lose the amps. He explained why, but I can't explain it as well as he did. Basically he said if you just filled up the generator and it is running, put on the tv. Just make sure you shut it off before you turn off the generator.

    I'm not telling you what to do, but if I needed heat I would run the stove or at least try it. For full disclosure, I have my generator hooked into my panel and I would run my oil furnace if I needed heat. I wouldn't turn on my stove because I wouldn't need too.
    mnkywrnch, ducker and SteveB like this.
  25. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Generators produce sine waves...the issue can be voltage and hertz fluctuation that can damage items. The higher quality the generator the better they are at minimizing the fluctuation. Try running your generator through the UPS and see if it clicks on...you can also see the hertz and voltage the generator is producing.
    When converting DC to AC this is when the terms pure,modified,step are important....UPS and inverters can be any one of these with pure sine waves being the best. Some motors and power supplies will not tolerate modified or step sine waves very well.

    This is my understanding of how this works.
    MacP likes this.

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