What is the best portable generator

killie11 Posted By killie11, Oct 22, 2014 at 6:06 AM

  1. scooby074

    scooby074
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    Honda 2000i is a very, very good generator with a great reputation.

    Ive seen those Lowes generacs for sale in surplus stores under various names. I dont think Generac makes them.. No matter.. even if they did, Id still take the Honda.
     
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  2. TheRambler

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    Your car makes a great generator. Run car at idle with a inverter hooked on the battery abd run an ext cord to whatever you need. Good way to run lights,fridge freezer, pellet stove etc.
    Works great and much cheaper then a gen. A gen is great too, but alot of people overlook the one sitting in their driveway.
     
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  3. Z33

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    The down side of this is you are EXTREMELY limited on the amount of power you can produce with your cars alternator with out significantly reducing its life, the life of the inverter and your battery.

    The average alternator is good for 80 amps( at idle) at around 13 volts? So about 1000 watts is the most you can expect out of your car for a prolonged time.
     
  4. frankan9

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    Sep 12, 2012
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    Just curious as to what inverter you would use . Is it something that you would permanently install in the vehicle? or connect with alligator clamps?
     
  5. TheRambler

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    I use a 1000 w inverter connected with clamps. Any inverter used in this manner would be connected with clamps directly to the battery. With a 1kw inverter i can run all the lights i need and the pellet stove continuously, or the stove and my freezer, or a coffee maker by itself etc. you cant run everything all together due to the limitations.

    However, this diesnt cause any excessive wear on the alternator or battery you are just using the wasted power of thr alternator anyway. Been doing this for yeas and years. I am an elec eng who works with batteries and chargers every day for a living.

    With this method you pick and choose what you need to run. I typically in an extended power outage will do sonethibg like this. Run coffee maker, then run pellet stove and freezer/fridge for 4-5 hours(all u need to run it to keep it cold for a day or so), unplug freezer and keep stove running and add on lights etc. I run about 800w max typically, but average is 600ish. Stove draws about 300-400, led lights about 6w a piece, fridge/freezer 450ish. Coffee is 800 by itself

    I do keep the inverter in my vehicle normally just plugged into the cig lighter but u can only pull 200w or so this way so when needed i just clamp it onto my battery for house use.

    I can run my vehicle idle this way for about 2-3 days before needing to refuel.
     
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  6. TheRambler

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    My main point here is this is more than enough power for anyone if u are reasonable and smart with your choices. Not perfect by any means, but it is a very good budget means for people who cant afford a generator. You can get a 800w or 1000w inverter for around $50, a gen will be at a minimum for a cheap one 300+ more realisticaly 800+
     
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  7. Z33

    Z33
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    700 watt running 900 watt peak for 129.00 and regularly goes on sale for 89.00 with a coupon and it will provide almost as much power with half (or less) the fuel

    http://www.harborfreight.com/900-peak700-running-watts-2-hp-63cc-2-cycle-gas-recreational-generator-60338.html
     
  8. TheRambler

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    I had that gen for a while to use on jobsites, only lasted a little over a year with use of it about once a week for 5-6 hours. So don't expect magic out of it, but it is also a decent budget item if your power requirements are low.

    However the 5 hour at 50% load is only going to give you 350-400watts, so basically enough to run a pellet stove only if you are wanting to get the best fuel economy. At full load you will be looking at about 2-3 hours per fill up. For hahas lets say 1 gallons/ 3 hours vs a car 1 gallon/3-6 hours depending on the car. The big difference with the car is your going to be able to get full potential out of your inverter without any additional fuel consumption, and you can run it over night without having to worry about needing to get up and refill it to keep the heat going in the house. the average car can idle for 2-4 days on a full tank of gas. I have a chevy silverado 1500 and it will idle for about 85 hours on a full tank. Found that out during sandy
     
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  9. velvetfoot

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    Then you'll have to chain your running car down to the ground to prevent it from being stolen like a generator. :) Just kidding.
     
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  10. briansol

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    junk.

    if anyone wants mine, you can come pick it up. it's a worthless brick in my shed. won't power my stove. is louder than a straight piped Harley, and the power that comes out of it is ALL over the place. i wouldn't plug it into anything worth more than $8.
     
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  11. briansol

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    I've been eyeing this as well as the http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-EF2400iSHC-Portable-Generator/dp/B00AYUWDZG because of it's higher startup surge capability. Will ensure that things turn on.

    but i also don't want to run gas. I'll never keep it stored. My car takes 93, not 87, so rotating fuel is a PITA for me. And when the grid goes down, fuel lines are crazy, if even available at all. so, I want gas, not gasoline. propane. It's cheap ($13 to fill a grill tank at the cost club right now) and i can rotate stock with my grill, which i can also use for cooking in an outage. and those exhange places are at every gas station and hardware store in down these days. Plus, they never go bad. I can just stock a pile of them behind my shed. The conversion kit is available as well http://www.amazon.com/Impco-Generator-Conversion-Ef3000Ise-Ef2400Is/dp/B00GA9VXLU/ref=sr_1_4?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1413986265&sr=1-4&keywords=yamaha generator propane for an extra 250.

    honda has similar choices, but the 2000 is really 1600. much like this 2400 is really 2000. and since i want 2000, this is the way i'm swinging.
     
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  12. Bioburner

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    Here in MN you probably will get a ticket too.
     
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  13. yrock87

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    I'm curious as to the wear and tear on your car engine. Cars are not ment to idel forever. We would go through rear main seals all the time from constant idling while in convoys overseas, and up here many cars have bad rear main seals for the same reason. Here it is cars being idled to stay warm in - 20+ temps. Overseas it was the old "hurry up and wait" that forced us to idle for + hours a day.
    This is a pretty good idea for short term emergency use, or occasional camping. But i would not want to buy a car real had been used like this extensively
     
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  14. moey

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    Any ideas why a rear main would go? Although it may be a case of the car has 10000 miles on it but has been running the equivalent of a car on a highway that has 300k miles. Its hard on the alternator unless its designed for it the windings are not meant to be under that type of load constantly.
     
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  15. TheRambler

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    I agree completely, and like you said this is really just for short term emergency use. Same as a generator. Most generators, especially portable ones, are only rated for a couple hundred hours of use for its lifetime anyway. Idling your car for days upon days year round or even just for a few months will definitely cause issues over time. But lets be realistic here too, most people are only going to see an extended power outage of 1-3 days at most a few times a year. There is always an exception if your really remote, or a bad storm or something. So lets say if you do use your vehicle in this manner 3 times a year for a total of 5-10 days your not going to significantly impact the longevity of any of your vehicle components by doing this. Most people idle their cars in traffic throughout the year FAR more than this amount and you dont see seals going on every car in major urban areas every year. So i would say yes its possible, but its not very probable unless your doing it on a routine basis. Idling your personal car in this manner your talking at most a few hundred hours a year and that is really pushing the limits of what the average person will experience a year, a more realistic number would probably be 100 hours or less a year for most people. Where as a convoy your talking a hundred hours a month easy, if not a few hundred a month.

    Its all about weighing the pros and cons and cost vs reward. Cost of an inverter 50-100 bucks , and you already have the car and most people have a few extension cords and a power strip already. Verses a generator for say 500-1000. Plus if you dont maintain that generator it may not work when you need it. More generators go bad by people leaving fuel in the tank and carb for months or years at a time between uses. Your car is being used frequently in most cases, so you wont really have that issue to worry about.

    Don't want anyone to think i am anti generator or anything. I think generators are awesome, its just most people overlook the one sitting in their driveway. Using a vehicle in this manner, or at least having the capability to use your vehicle in this manner is a great preparedness step. You can do so many things with a $50 800w inverter, an extension cord and a power strip. If you have something that needs 240v that you need to run too, like a well pump, then it makes alot more sense to buy a generator.

    $47, 800w 1600w peak
    http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI-880-Inverter-output/dp/B001TE0IMG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413988383&sr=8-1&keywords=800w+inverter
     
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  16. LuvMyPellets

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    I have the Honda and it is a fantastic unit with two exceptions. I do not run it except during power outages so it can be a groan to start after sitting for long periods. It has no drain for the gas. You have to suck it out or run it dry. Well if it is full your going to be running it forever. I have resorted to putting stabil in it. A friend has the Yamaha and it is really nice also. Both of them have super clean power which you will not get from the cheap ones.
     
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  17. richkorn

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    Agree, the Honda is a great little Inverter Gen. I keep a small amount of fuel with stabil in the tank. There is a carb drain line to at least drain the gas sitting in the carb after use; otherwise you'd have to pull the line going to the carb, siphon it , or tip it upside down to drain gas from tank. I don't do that though, just start it once a month or so and it starts by 3rd pull.
     
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  18. mchasal

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    The use of a car is interesting. I already have a standard generator, but it's big and loud. I've been considering getting a small inverter generator specifically to keep the heat on overnight. Using a car + inverter instead is an interesting approach for this use case. A car at idle is basically silent from within the house. I do wonder if there are any issues with keeping up with the power draw at idle? Not sure if you're really getting good output from the alternator at that rpm, and could you be slowly draining the battery resulting in a possible no-start situation? If so, I suppose there are some simple ways to prevent that. You could raise the rpms a bit with anything from a zip tie to a brick, or just make sure you go for a drive or something for 15 minutes before shutting the car down.
     
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  19. Bioburner

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    A lot of the newer cars will automatically increase engine rpm to manage electrical needs.
     
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  20. sigepsb

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    I own two Honda 2000i's (one companion and one regular) and a Yamaha EF2400is. Both are great generators. Quiet and efficient on fuel. I would recommend either depending on what your needs are. Not so sure about the Generac.

    The advantage to the EF2400is is that it can generally start a 13.5KW RV air conditioning unit, while the Honda 2000 generally will not. Unless you RV I wouldn't think that would be too much of an advantage. The advantage to the Honda 2000 is that it is lighter and much easier to carry. You can also turn off the eco-idle on the Honda manually to ramp up the RPM's for items with large start-up loads. The Yamaha always starts 1st or 2nd pull, even when it's been sitting for a while. Sometimes if the Honda's have been off for a while it can take 3 or 4 pulls. Not a big deal either way. I would probably say go with the Honda 2000 and get two if you need more power. Easier to transport two, than one large generator. I run them hooked together for 4000 Watts total. The Yamaha 2000's are also nice, but the parallel connection is not as integrated as the Honda setup.

    I only have one bad experience to report and it was with one of the Honda's. When I first got them I put gas in them and fired them up. One surged very badly, right from the get-go. I went to the Honda dealer and BEFORE he even LOOKED at the generator, he told me it was from bad gas and that it would NOT be covered under warranty. Well, it was new gas, and I had just put the same gas in both Honda's and my Yamaha. Both the other Honda and Yamaha ran just fine on it. They said they had to drain the tank and bowl on the carb and that it would be $100, which I paid reluctantly. I think its way more likely it had some crap in there from manufacturing, given the circumstances and I wasn't too happy about it. I called corporate Honda and they didn't really care.
     
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  21. killie11

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    Thanks for the replies I appreciate all the advice. I found a
    Hyundai HY2000si
    I was wondering if it was any good. reviews seem good.
     
  22. lagger

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    been considering a whole house gen for a while 7.5 to 9k would be more than enough .. gotta wonder.. most gens have a 12v dc out..., now I am aware that gens produce less than the sine wave that is required for electronics to work properly or at all.. so why not use an inverter running off a large gen 12v dc output and run the stove off that leg ?
     
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  23. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    I find it hard to believe that a permanently installed standby generator wouldn't be able to power a pellet boiler.
     
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  24. Happy Hour

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    I have a 6K generac that sports a Honda engine (13HP iirc) that runs my entire house. Obviosly you need to be smart about what you run and don't run (Oven, Dryer) Two summers back we were the only ones in our neighborhood that had AC during a 24hr power-outage :)
     
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