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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. SteveB

    SteveB Member

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    +1

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  2. MacP

    MacP Member

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    Perhaps this might be my best option as well.
  3. Jm15

    Jm15 New Member

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    I did it for the hot water more than the heat. I can live with a cold house, but freezing cold showers is just too much. By the way, I have the same generator you have. I used it last year for the October snow storm. I didn't have it hooked into the panel at that t time, but the four outlets made it easy to keep the essentials plugged in. It did the job.
  4. MacP

    MacP Member

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    That's reassuring. Thanks! I just had my transfer switch installed this past summer. Thanks to everyone for clarifying this topic.
  5. Mike D

    Mike D Feeling the Heat

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    North Haven, CT
    I ran mine from my generator with the stove plugged into a surge protector and it ran fine, no issues. I was lucky to get power back today and the stove is running now with no side effects. Be warm.
  6. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    UGH.... OK guys lets look at this by what you want to plug in.

    You always here "never plug in sensitive electronics to generators or stepped sign wave power supplies". Is this really a bad thing to do?

    Grab a computer or a cell phone charger. Look at the back and check out the voltage of these things. guess what? they are DC. This means that that have a huge range (90 - 150V or in some cased 240V) that they can convert to DC. Same with the Hertz 50-60.

    Now generators produce a sine wave. That is what they do. Most generators need to run at 3600 RPM to get 60 hertz Again this is what they do..... Those really expensive inverter (true sine wave) generators that burn through 1 gallon of gas in 6 hours and have a nice eco mode, because they have an inverter that converts whatever the generator produced to DC then back to "clean" AC, they can run at various speeds(Eco mode), when the power requirements allow.

    So we know all generators produce a sine wave. The question is what happens to the frequence and voltage to each type of generator.

    If you have something plugged into a standard (inexpensive) generator that just runs allong, a fan or motor or computer, then the generator runs and the throttle keeps the morot running at 3600 RPM. Now add a significant load to the system (well pump kicks on) and you may see s slight motor stumble and the throttle will kick up to allow the system to keep the voltage correct and the 3600 rpm. How quickly the system adjusts to spikes is what causes issues. it is about what YOU plug in and turn on and off that creates 65% of the problems.

    Can anyone guess where the other problems come from? If you are plugged in durring start up or durring shut down (Running out of gas) the throttle can not compensate and the motor stumbles and now we fall out of the voltage and hertz range. Now we really have issues. For those 10 seconds as the motor stops that is where we create the dammage.

    So run the generator (DO NOT OVERLOAD IT), your (sensitive electronics) convert to DC anyway and your surge suppresor will keep the spikes out. JUST Do NOT let it run out of gas and unplug it on start up.
    P38X2, sinnian, MofoG23 and 4 others like this.
  7. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    Awesome post Trickyrick.

    I learned first hand on this one winter.... I have a standard generator. I didn't realize but it ran out of gas... I blew the fuse in my pellet stove. In talking with an electrician, his explanation was that when the amount of voltage being output decreased with the generator running out of power, the stove attempted to pull down more amps, blowing the fuse.

    Typically I run, the pellet stove, freezer/refrigerator (I switch the power between them), plasma TV, Fios box, Computer, a couple of florescent lights -- off of this generator. with surge protectors on the lines. I'll also use my microwave for cooking, but when I do that - I'll unplug the freezer/refrigerator - a compressors kicking in while microwaving would be bad.

    The generator I have is nothing fancy at all. A very generic one.
    SteveB likes this.
  8. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    This is 100% correct, Current is inverse to voltage, in other words as the voltage drops the amperage rises. This is why correctly sizing conductors is important, Voltage drop is a killer!



    TrickyRick,
    I am an Electrician, and that was very well said...
  9. PA_Clinker

    PA_Clinker Member

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  10. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

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    Electricity is abstract to many people because you cannot see it. Voltage is pressure and amperage is flow which does the work. Its like trying to wash mud off your car with a pressure washer and then with a garden hose. The higher the pressure the less water it takes. If you go to the garden hose it takes a lot more water to do the same amount of work. If the voltage drops the amperage will climb and amperage is what creates the majority of the heat. If you let your car battery go till it will not start the car before you replace it, it will take a huge toll on the starter and many starters do not live a long time after the battery is replaced and some think that the new battery killed the starter. I can go further into this but voltage plays a huge role in how the amperage will react. That is dc and ac is similar but you ad frequency in the mix with ac which stays stable if you overload a regular household circuit but with a generator that is not an inverter type as the load increases and the rpm decreases everything goes south. The more stable the rpms of the generator the better the power will be. When you see a generator with a 7500 watt nominal and 10kw peak and throw even a starting load on that challenges that peak the generator will struggle with it until the load drops.

    If you look at normal household voltage on a scope it goes from 120v+ to 120v- in a nice sweeping motion 60 times a second. It doesn't take much of a generator blip to make things weird. At the start of a load the voltage might dip and then if the load drops fast the voltage could jump momentarily until the engine settles back down. While this is happening the frequency goes weird. The cheaper the generator the more impact this can have.

    It is pretty much a guess as to how a pellet stove will react to one generator in comparison to another. I know many have nice battery back ups that will polish the power signal for the stove which helps with a short outage. I know a few others that purchased a nice 12v inverter and run the inverter off a battery that is charged by a charger connected to the generator which also buys refueling time without shutting down the stove while fueling the generator.

    I tried using my battery jump pack with built in inverter to run the stove and plugged the charger into the other side of the outlet and connected the charger leads to the jump pack main leads to charge it so I would have a perpetual pellet burning machine.... but it didn't pan out. I was gonna be rich rich rich..... so much for that.
  11. pell it

    pell it Feeling the Heat

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    Thought I would throw these out as a visual reference. First is 120VAC from a wall outlet showing a standard sine wave. Second is from a "modified sine wave" inverter. When I get some time tomorrow, I will fire the genny, put a load on it, and put the o-scope on it.

    Attached Files:

  12. Woody1911a1

    Woody1911a1 Feeling the Heat

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    awesome , thank you :)
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    X2 Very nice of you to post it!
  14. pell it

    pell it Feeling the Heat

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    Couldn't wait till tomorrow!! Generator is a TSC Champion 3500watt run 4000 watt surge "import special"!!

    *** I HAVE NOT run my stove with this generator yet *** (though I did test my three back-up motors on it and all worked fine. not sure how the triacs on the control board would react!!)

    First shot is running with NO LOAD and second shot is WITH A LOAD. The load I used was a benchtop size drill press. (it was handy and already plugged in to the power strip I used)
    I will try and "borrow" a 120/120 isolation transformer from work tomorrow and see if it helps clean up the noise on the waveform.

    Attached Files:

  15. Woody1911a1

    Woody1911a1 Feeling the Heat

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    nice , my gennie's the same . heading to amazom to get the new probes i need for my old tek 453 so i can join the conversation :)
  16. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Pellit, are you an electrician??
  17. LMPS

    LMPS Feeling the Heat

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    I have been running my Mt. Vernon off my DeWalt 6000 genny for the five years I have had the stove every time the power goes out. When I do this I have run the stove 24/7 off the genny and have had no issue. I do have the stove on surge protector.
  18. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Awesome! Interested in what a UPS does to the dirty genny's sine?
  19. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    I don't have all the answers. There is some good information here, but there is also a lot of superstition.
    Any pure sine device should be safe with any electronics that is designed to operate on mains power. Generator startup and shutdown can cause problems with poorly designed power supplies (there are lots of them out there). Low generator output at startup and shutdown will cause higher current in switching power supplies, but properly designed power supplies have undervoltage lockout. Transients caused by startup and shutdown of heavy machinery will cause more problems on a generator than on mains only because the generator doesn't have the capacity (low impedance) that the mains do.
    Modified sine is ugly, but ugly isn't necessarily bad. It makes ugly noises in magnetic circuits like transformers and motors, increases vibration and may increase power dissipation to some extent. That doesn't mean that it is going to chew up your electronics and spit it out. The main objection to modified sine is that it causes interference with audio equipment. I wouldn't want to live with modified sine all the time.
    I guess the point I want to make is take this all with a grain of salt.
  20. glockshooter

    glockshooter Member

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  21. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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    Those of you using regular generators with your stoves, are you using a UPS and a surge protector or are most of you using just the surge protectors?
    Thanks again for all the great info.If the power goes out in cold weather, I will definitely be trying the stove with the generator.
  22. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Quick question on surge suppressors and generators. I have never seen anyone ground there generator..I thought surge syppresors worked by grounding the surge, is this correct? And if so what happens when the gemny is not grounded. I also thought surge suppresors only suppress large spikes...300 volts plus. Sorry if this is all misinformation...any clarity would be appreciated.
  23. charger1966

    charger1966 Member

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    I use a Champion 3000w generator with 1 12 gauge 50' long electric cord running from a carport to my living room and plug the Envirofire EF-2 into it directly. I have ran this combo for two years when the power goes out for one thing or another with NO issues at all.
  24. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I'm looking at the big genny's(8K) to power most of the house. No way do I want to spend 4K for a Honda, So its the low tech way for me. Probably going the Generac XG8000E and an APC UPS for the stove(only). Might get one for the PC, But for the most part everything else should be fine if you follow what the electrical guru's are saying. Don't have the tellies on and run out of fuel. Or have them powered when you first fire the genny's. I plan on firing the genny with a few lights one and then once its stable fire my other items. Keep an eye on the fuel/runtime and makes sure not to run it out of fuel. But if i do the UPS should protect the stove.

    Hopefully I didn't miss something?
  25. UncleAnthony

    UncleAnthony Member

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    the setup i plan on using (once generator arrives this week)

    etq model tg32p12 generator (clean sine power, thd<5%, not modified sine wave)
    plugged to a surge protector. then plugged to a cyberpower 1000pfclcd pure sine wave ups
    with automatic voltage regulation.

    The thought is this : the gene is supposed to be clean power, not modifed sine wave.
    then surge protected into the ups. the ups is pure sine wave output, which the auto voltage regulation
    should clean up any incoming droops or spikes.

    I have yet to run this. any comments would be great !
    stay warm !

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