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Nutt51
02-29-2012, 12:28
Have been think about getting a good emergency generator in case of loss of power due to natural or man made disaster.
I have a freezer and two refrigerators and running a few lights or small appliances would be all I would need. Not looking for
a large home unit to run the whole house.
I have never owned any kind of generator, so I am looking for some recommendations by some of you more knowledgeable
folks out there who could give me some advice on different models and quality brands that I can research and make a decision on. Many thanks for the help.

daystrom
02-29-2012, 12:40
It may not be the best generator but for the price and reliablity a Champion sold at Tractor Supply can't be beat. Just check out the reviews.

I have this one which is a 4000 watt 120/240 volt unit:

http://www.tractorsupply.com/champion-power-equipment-trade-3500w-4000w-portable-generator-4434023

We mostly use it for dry camping. It is quiet enough that it isn't going to rattle your neighbors head off like most contractor grade gen sets do. Starts on the first pull every time and Champion based out of California has excellent support. The model I have has a 120v / 30 amp RV plug which makes it perfect for us and our travel trailer. Runs our air-conditioner and microwave at the same time with no problems.

For a bit more you can get a 6000 watt:

http://www.tractorsupply.com/champion-power-equipment-trade-5000w-6000w-portable-generator-with-wheel-kit-1026211


Remember watts=amps x volts so if you have a 2 refrigerators and freezer pulling 10 amps each you would need at least 3600 watts to run it. More watts is always better!

The quiet gens like Honda and Yamaha make are inverter based and are able to idle with little to no load. As soon as they sense a load they ramp their RPM's up to max and are just as noisy as the Champions. The Champions referenced above are running 100% no matter what the load. You will pay alot more for an inverter style too.

kirgi08
02-29-2012, 12:52
Gennies are a "get" what you pay for Item.'08.

CorkyE
02-29-2012, 13:06
I bought a 6000w Champion from Costco for $599 - thought it was a good deal so I jumped on it. It's a rock steady unit so far...

Big Bird
02-29-2012, 14:45
Newer fridges and freezers have delicate electronic circuits and you have t make sure your generator is producing clean juice--inverter technology is best.

The small 2KW Honda Suitcase generators are safe to use with computers and other sensitive electronics. They run about $1k

daystrom
02-29-2012, 15:03
Inverter is probably the best as far as clean juice goes but you are not going to be able to run big appliances with one. You'd have to buy multiple gen sets and run them in parallel. Think $$$$.

DoctaGlockta
02-29-2012, 15:26
I have a 6.5KW tri-fuel unit which I can plug into my panel and a smaller/quieter Yamaha 2KW unit as well. I went Yamaha over Honda for a variety of reasons but the Honda is a quality unit too.

I'd love to have a 10KW diesel or Natural Gas unit but that will have to wait for the next house.

cowboy1964
02-29-2012, 15:43
Tri-fuel is a great idea. I'd love a little Yamaha, would be more than sufficient for my needs, but man the price.

kckndrgn
02-29-2012, 15:49
As it has been said, gennies are a get what you pay for. That being said I got a "clearance" deal on a "briggs & stratton" generator at Lowes. 5500 running/8500 start, paid just under 400 for it.

Went to http://www.propane-generators.com/ and got a kit to convert my gas only generator to a tri-fuel. It was easy to install, and works great.

Devans0
03-01-2012, 01:40
A few years ago I splurged on a Honda 2000i. It was the first and only prep item that I bought. Along came a 500 year flood and I learned what prepping was about. Quiet doesn't announce that you are the only guy with power. Clean power meant hooking up with internet and computer when no one else could, which also meant the ability to get accurate real-time news. Saved my family's home and my mother's home.
I don't know if a cheaper generator would have worked as well, but I do know that when I needed it and nothing else was available for a few weeks, it paid for itself a hundred times over. My advise is to spend what you need to to get decent quality.

Jake514
03-01-2012, 17:31
I have a Honda EU2000i and it is quiet and good.

squirreld
03-01-2012, 20:40
I have a 6.5KW tri-fuel unit which I can plug into my panel and a smaller/quieter Yamaha 2KW unit as well.

Ditto.
I think the Yamaha YG2800I would work for you.
I have 2 frigs and a freezer and it will run them barely.
If its just the frigs/freezers and some lights, your golden.
Gonna half to make sure the frigs/freezers are off when you run your other small stuff.

YOU essentially turn into the electricity flow cop when you get a smaller gen.


Generators are a "Get what you pay for" item.

coastal4974
03-01-2012, 21:18
Iím holding out for a propane generator and a buried tank. I donít trust gas especially with ethanol.

BierGut
03-02-2012, 08:30
Honda.

In the Northeast last year we had a couple of 500 year water events (Hurricane/Tropical Storm) damn near back to back and many in the region got a first hand look at the difference between the $500 generators and the $2500 generators. Whether or not I am justifying my purchase of the expensive Honda or not, three friend's cheap units crapped out when asked for a constant workload over the course of 5 to 10 days. Our Honda 5500/7500 peak unit purred along for a week and barely broke a sweat. A buddy's 15 year old Honda stored for 6 years in a race trailer with old treated fuel was pulled out and started on first pull... It eventually ended up at another buddy's house that ... you guessed it ... had one of the "better Home Depot" units crap out after 3 days and he was staring at losing thousands in meat.

Why mess around with cheap crap made for the yuppies to talk about over there latest month's wine selection on a Friday night? I know at least one of my neighbors will need to rely on at least some of my power so I just don't see taking a chance on "thinking" I'm prepared with a unit that some internet site recommends with a "high" review.

I didn't even touch on the clean power aspect versus those family center units... someone above touched on that, but with the type of electronics we all have in our homes it's just another reason to wait, save and purchase a real machine.

MHO -- YMMV

Kieller
03-02-2012, 12:08
A few months ago I purchased my first genny. I got the Honda EU2000i after a lot of research. I love the ability to hook up electronics or other sensitive equipment to it and not worry due to the built in inverter.

I had used a 1000i several times in the past and loved how quiet it was and the 2000i has essentially the same decibel rating. I paid $900 shipped from Mayberrys.

If you want quality and something that will last, buy a Honda. Simple as that.

wjv
03-02-2012, 13:15
In the hand luggable sizes, Yamaha 2000 or Honda 2000 are great.

You can always go read all of the generator threads over on RV.net as us RV'rs are very dependent on our gennys.

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings/forum/39.cfm

Carry16
03-02-2012, 15:45
I always hesitate to recommend my generator because everyone thinks I'm nuts for paying so mcuh for a portable 6500 watt genset. The Honda EU6500is I bought roughly 6 years ago has been thru two ice storms, one of which cost us our power for almost 2 weeks. This generator kept two freezers and two refrigerators running, plus the blower/electronics on a propane furnace, and a light or two. I would say I ran it for maybe 3-5 hours a day, although this was in 5 or 6 short runs. Most of the time the generator was idling. If you want peace of mind get a Honda or similar quality unit - you will never regret it.

wjv
03-02-2012, 16:32
The quiet gens like Honda and Yamaha make are inverter based and are able to idle with little to no load. As soon as they sense a load they ramp their RPM's up to max and are just as noisy as the Champions.

I have a 1500W Champion and a 2000W Yamaha. Going FULL blast the Yamaha is still half as loud as the Champion. Better muffler and better sound insulation on the body.

Teddy57
03-02-2012, 18:11
Yes you get what you pay for...the tractor supply, hardware store brands are junk, pure and simple. The only way I'd consider one is if they were powered by a Honda. I had a EB6500 at camp and currently have a EU3000Is and I can tell you first hand that they are the best. Cannot speak for Yamaha, but a friend has had a lot of reliability problems with his 4500.

Crazy KD
03-02-2012, 18:45
Northern Tool generators use Honda power along with a couple of other ones. The other consideration is you might have 2 fridges and 1 freezer, but you do not have to run them all at the same time. Another words you can buy a quality small generator that can power one at a time and simply run each for a couple of hours per day.

Bolster
03-02-2012, 19:02
I got the Honda EU2000i after a lot of research.....

I arrived at the same conclusion, purchased a Honda EU2000i also. Would love to purchase a second and run them in parallel, or purchase a second small fridge. A single is not enough to run my large fridge.

Because I live in Calistupidfornia, my choice was CARB compliant or drive to Arizona and pick it up at a friend's. So I drove to Arizona. Fixed you, Edmund Brown...suck on my exhaust, ya hairless hippie.

Bought mine from Mayberry's which has good prices and good service.

http://www.mayberrys.com/honda/generator/models/eu2000i.htm

squirreld
03-02-2012, 20:05
Yes you get what you pay for...the tractor supply, hardware store brands are junk, pure and simple.

I would agree with this.

kirgi08
03-02-2012, 20:51
The thing most folks are missing,is in a genny required situation one should focus on maintaining ones cold/frozen food stores.Luxury items that require a high end genny are really just comfort things.

A cheaper genny will run lights and basic items,a high end one will run your tvs and computers without damaging them.I prefer the KISS approach,just what one needs.The ability ta save food and have lighting interests me far more than being able ta play x-box on my plasma.

Fridge/freezer and simple lighting will be viable on most set ups.'08.

Carry16
03-02-2012, 22:32
I agree 100% Kirgi. The only thing I would add, is IMHO the ideal setup is a small and a large generator. The Honda 2000 watt unit sips gas and can run most freezers or refrigerators. They are superbly handy for things like taking a power saw out on your property to do some construction. At the same time, I like my eu6500 because it can sip gasoline too, not as small a drink as the eu2000, but much less than a typical 5kw gas unit. This is because they run at infinately variable speeds and still put out clean 120/240 volt 60 hz ac. I have a 440' deep water well and I need that 6500 to run the 3hp pump - otherwise I would probably have a 3000 or a pair of 2000 watt units.

kirgi08
03-03-2012, 00:01
We've got a 16kw diesel genny that will meet the above.My ? is why.A person/family starting out,makes no sense ta me.'08. :dunno:

Big Bird
03-03-2012, 07:54
I agree 100% Kirgi. The only thing I would add, is IMHO the ideal setup is a small and a large generator. The Honda 2000 watt unit sips gas and can run most freezers or refrigerators. They are superbly handy for things like taking a power saw out on your property to do some construction. At the same time, I like my eu6500 because it can sip gasoline too, not as small a drink as the eu2000, but much less than a typical 5kw gas unit. This is because they run at infinately variable speeds and still put out clean 120/240 volt 60 hz ac. I have a 440' deep water well and I need that 6500 to run the 3hp pump - otherwise I would probably have a 3000 or a pair of 2000 watt units.

Redundancy in terms of power generation and water filtration are some of the most basic S&P preps you can do. In my house I have a 6K Generac hard wired natural gas powered generator that turns on automatically and will run everything but the AC. And because its fueled by natural gas I don't have to worry about gasoline. I also have the Honda 2kw suitcase genny as a backup and I use it for my 'puter and sensitive electronics. Of course that machine uses gasoline but its VERY fuel efficient. It makes up for its cost by its size, reliability, fuel efficiency and very quiet operation.

Like water filtration you need a primary system and a backup system in case something happens to your primary. My Berkey filter is my primary. My Katadyn pump is my secondary, But in reality I'll probably rely on chemicals (chlorine) as much as a mechanical filter

daystrom
03-03-2012, 08:00
Has there been any documented proof the lower end gen sets damage electronics?

I have a 'cheap' Champion 4000 watt generator which incidentally is powered by a Honda designed engine. It has protection circuity for overload and spikes as well as keeping the power at 60 hz. I've run my camper for a week using this gen set with no issues. The air conditioner is all electronic and the refrigerator is all electronic. My flat screen TV and satellite receiver also have sensitive electronics and none have been damaged. Computers either have a power supply that filters out noise or a power brick that converts 120V ac to 12V DC and lower. If you are really concerned about damage, plug your sensitive devices into a UPS.

I always hear claims that the 'cheap' generators damage electronics but have never been able to find anyone who has had it happen.

I'd love to get myself a Honda or Yamaha but for what I use my Champion for, it seems to do a fine job and I saved myself $2000 for the same wattage from a premium brand to buy more guns and ammo!

Those inverter types are really nice and quiet. They have great sound insulation and just purr when running. The open frame models are noisier - not so much from the exhaust but by mechanical engine noise like the valve train.

Remember wattage is your friend. If you plan on running more than one refrigerator or freezer at the same time, you need wattage. A 2000 watt model which is probably 1800 nominal puts out 15 amps. A fridge is probably around 8-12 depending on how new it is. Not much reserve for anything else while the compressor is running.

Food for thought!

squirreld
03-03-2012, 13:43
Daystrom,
google around for username longgun1 on glocktalk.
He can give several documented examples from experience.

daystrom
03-03-2012, 19:03
I will see what I can find.

Edit: If anyone can site specific threads, I'd appreciate it...just too much info to go through!

I'm not arguing but I still have to wonder what would cause damage. I've never seen an electronic board running on straight 120V AC. The power supply in any modern day appliance, computer, TV, etc. converts AC to DC. Unless the appliance has a really bad power supply, it shouldn't care how dirty the power is, it's turning it into pure DC anyhow. If anything is damaged it would be the power supply running too hot from a bad sine wave. Take a look on a power brick at the input requirements. Everyone in my house is listed 120-240 volts AC 50-60 hz. They simply don't care what the input is. I'm not saying refrigerators or microwaves are like that, but if the boards run on DC I'd have to think they are.

Like I said, if I could afford a 4000 watt inverter style generator, I'd have one!

kirgi08
03-03-2012, 19:30
Just look for LG1s posts,he's the expert around here.'08.

daystrom
03-03-2012, 19:50
I did find this post over on rv.net:

http://www.rv.net/FORUM/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/20210423/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1

Guy says his Champion gen set let the magic smoke out of his DVD player. The post from Professor95 on page 5 provides a wealth of information on dirty power along with some images of the sine waves from a Champion and from some un-named brands. Unfortunately like most posts on the internet, the original poster never gave us closer.

So a sine wave with high total harmonic distortion can cause transformers to run at a high hz rate causing high voltage to circuits. Thankfully it seems Champions at least have low THD rates.

Back to topic now :)

SC Tiger
03-06-2012, 18:44
You can fry electronic devices with a generator if it has too much harmonic distortion. Also, any generator will produce more voltage and frequency variation since the greater the load, the lower the frequency (frequency is a product of gen head RPM) . Also, the more load you put on them the lower the voltage. Something else to consider - a generator will make more power when it is cold outside then when it is hot. It would surprise you how much more.

Some generators can run electronics with no problem while others can cause damage. For instance, at The Home Depot, the Ridgid generators can (I think) safely run electronics with no problem. However, some of the Homelite and Husky units cannot. This is also reflected in the price.

I have a Black Max 7000 watt generator and I'm quite pleased. That said if I ran anything with electronics I would need a power conditioner.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk

squirreld
03-06-2012, 19:51
Rigid or generac?
they both have similar colors.

A few specific series of the generacs are safe for electronics.

You are correct of the frequency to RPM relationship.

Frequency its the sqrt(rpm).

So the sqrt(3600) is 60 hz.

wrenrj1
03-06-2012, 20:12
I always hesitate to recommend my generator because everyone thinks I'm nuts for paying so mcuh for a portable 6500 watt genset. The Honda EU6500is I bought roughly 6 years ago has been thru two ice storms, one of which cost us our power for almost 2 weeks. This generator kept two freezers and two refrigerators running, plus the blower/electronics on a propane furnace, and a light or two. I would say I ran it for maybe 3-5 hours a day, although this was in 5 or 6 short runs. Most of the time the generator was idling. If you want peace of mind get a Honda or similar quality unit - you will never regret it.

Good choice, I agree. I have a Generac 6500kw that's
power line quality, which is < 5% harmonic distortion, an inverter is < 3% I belive. I had a breaker box installed on the outside of the house that I can run eight breakers with the generator. My plan is to run essential circuits, fridges, furnace, basement circuits.

If you plan on running sensitive electronics, spend the money and get a good generator.

SC Tiger
03-07-2012, 08:02
Rigid or generac?
they both have similar colors.

A few specific series of the generacs are safe for electronics.

You are correct of the frequency to RPM relationship.

Frequency its the sqrt(rpm).

So the sqrt(3600) is 60 hz.

Actually I think for a single-pole generator it is the RPM/60, for a dual-pole it is RPM/30, etc. I don't know how common dual-pole generators are in portable units.

The one I am talking about is Ridgid though I am not 100% sure it is compatible. Generac (if it is the one designed to be permanently wired to the house) is also probably safe. In any case I would research this before buying one.

Something else to think about when buying a generator is weight. A 7000 watt generator like I have weighs over 160 lbs without fuel. Even the smaller ones (like the little Honda) are heavy though they can typically be lifted by one man.

Something else- if it is a portable unit that is going to be used to power a house, either just use a drop cord into the house and plug the appliances directly int it, or BUY A TRANFER SWITCH AND HAVE IT INSTALLED PROPERLY! I put that in all caps because some people come up with jury-rigged ways to get power into their house (I won't mention them here b/c I don't want to give anyone any ideas). The result will be a dead line repairman if he is working on the grid your house is connected to. A transfer switch prevents this, and using a drop cord directly from the appliance to the generator (bypassing your house's wiring) will get around the situation entirely.