Please Share Your Wisdom On Portable Generators

Please Share Your Wisdom On Portable Generators

This is a discussion on Please Share Your Wisdom On Portable Generators within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Very much NOT an area of expertise here on my end. All constructive comments & life experiences welcome. Price would be secondary to reliability. I'm ...

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  1. #1
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    Question Please Share Your Wisdom On Portable Generators

    Very much NOT an area of expertise here on my end.

    All constructive comments & life experiences welcome.

    Price would be secondary to reliability. I'm not really wanting provide power to the entire neighborhood.
    Something to keep the refrigerator running, some lighting, the Internet.
    Our heat, range, oven, hot water heater are all natural gas.

    Ideally I would love to be able to run it indoors (in my basement) but, (of course) exhaust it to the outdoors.

    Best brand names? Any other suggestions. Manufacturers or units that you have had problems with .
    Generators that you own that have been running for many years now.

    Gasoline or Kerosene?

    Post anything helpful.

    THANKS! Much appreciated in advance.


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    Associated with my business I have three:

    112 KW Taylor brand cummins diesel auto-start

    25 KW Winpower PTO driven. Just about any tractor will carry it and run it.

    6.5 KW Honda electric start, gasoline, EU series will run sensitive electrical stuff w/o harm. Honda makes outstanding/reliable small engines. Start it once a month, run the gas out of the carb each time. Extremely quiet. Sips gas. I think great for homeowner use as you described
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    "6.5 KW Honda electric start, gasoline, EU series will run sensitive electrical stuff w/o harm. Honda makes outstanding/reliable small engines. Start it once a month, run the gas out of the carb each time. Extremely quiet. Sips gas. I think great for homeowner use as you described."

    That is more along the line of want I'm wanting.

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    The salesman started the floor model inside the Honda store briefly, he and I stood near it and had a normal conversation (and I have hearing loss).

    Honda will likely have parts/service for them forever, other brands maybe/maybe not.

    If you can vent it adequately from your basement, no one will know you have it.......you'll be "stealth", and that can be important.

    BTW stock adequate supply of filter, plugs, oil, etc.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    I had a 3000w Honda that I used for construction projects in remote locations. It never let me down, and I'm sorry I sold it with the business. I should really buy another. I had it set up in the back of my pickup that had a utility cap on it. I'd leave the side panel doors open to ventilate the back of the truck, I never had a problem. It was quiet and had plenty of power to run a couple of saws, battery chargers even a Hilti 805 all at once. At times, I'd hook it up to lights and a mini fridge on bigger projects.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Interesting related but, obscure factoid.

    Did you know that if the entire U.S. power grid goes out due to an Electro Magnetic Pulse/multiple pulses or a coronal mass ejection from good old Mr. Sun that it will take about a decade (or more) to get it the entire grid back up again from a dead start?

    For those of you that got your public school education in San Francisco...a "decade" is equal to 10 years.
    10 years is almost always one more than 9.

    Some areas with Hydroelectric power generation will get up and running quicker than that.
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    Some areas with Hydroelectric power generation will get up and running quicker than that
    Not if the the generator and the transformers get fried. They take years to build.



    Tidbit of wisdom...

    Get a bigger generator than you think you need. Its better to have more power and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.
    Gee...where have I heard that before?
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Tidbit of wisdom...

    Get a bigger generator than you think you need. Its better to have more power and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.
    Gee...where have I heard that before?
    I agree, but one thing to consider is fuel consumption rate. I wouldn't want to feed a 5000w generator in a prolonged situation to run some basic household items. Before you know it, you'll be out of fuel and back to square one.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Our motor home with an Onan 4K genset has a large gas tank for supply. Unfortunately, they usually only output 115AC. For my 240VAC submersible well pump, I can use a Pincor 3K set hooked into a dryer outlet. As a caution, I use only one generator on a circuit after disconnecting the main from the grid. What you have on hand, at the start of a disaster, may be all you'll get for quite some time. I have two propane tanks, so keep full means just that. For wood backup, I keep a chain saw well supplied. There's nothing worse than having to reload ammo when you're cold in the dark.
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    All I know about a generator is that I need one!
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    Many times in the past we have had outages after big wind, longest was 5 days, like you our heat,hot water, and stove all gas. 1500 watts takes care of all the electronics, freezer, fridge, and lights in our house.. tested it with an Amp Clamp multi-meter...have a Mitsubishi gas gen, that can run a 20 amp load, run it twice a year to change out the fuel. Gasoline standards have been reduced, dont plan on storing gas unless it is in a sealed drum, to much allowed water now, and corn. Have a drum of AV gas stashed, but its more for the wheels than the gen-set. We would just run 4 hours a day for electric...more ifs its winter, my 2000 Watt set runs through 4.5 gal gas in 5 hours...we back feed 3 house circuit with hot male plug (Heat/lights/wall sockets)...This gen set was a big up grade from original long time standby which was only a 5 amp light plant, (600 watt) rigged to run the gas furnace (110 to 24vac) and the lights, we'd rotated the fridge and freezer to keep them cool , but 5 gals lasted a long time... good luck
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    buy one with metal end housings. the plastic one that you see will woarp under heat from running or bearings and sease the rotor. the cheap ones are plastic.
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    Just a few thoughts & observations to consider -

    Don't plan on running any generator indoors - in a garage, perhaps, but not in a closed-in basement. Fuels (any flavor) and exhaust = bad risks indoors.

    If you have natural gas, consider that as a pretty reliable fuel source for your generator. Safer than keeping tanks of gasoline around, plus you won't get carburetors gummed up from gasoline deposits.

    If liquid fuel is the way you want to go, kerosene and Diesel are safer to store than gasoline, but typically these are larger units that are heavy and require electric start.

    Honda clearly has the small, portable gen market taken care of. For higher outputs, say 5 kW or more, Onan, Koehler and Lincoln (the welder people) are pretty much the industry standards.

    I think Yamaha has small, portable generators that run on gasoline, LP gas and natural gas, but I have no feedback on reliability.

    Last tip: make sure you're set up to use your generator! Either a full-blown transfer switch at your service entry (pricey, but the simplest to use), or enough extension cords of the right gauge wire to cover the length. And run your generator periodically! My friend back east hadn't run his in a year, then the power went out during a hurricane this summer. Carb was gummed up and the starter battery was dead. He now has a once-a-month functional check scheduled.
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    I would suggest an engine driven by propane. Why; LP stores for longer periods of time without deterioration; sudden power failure and the gas pumps will not work (LP will transfer without pumps and there are lots of prefilled tanks around); natural gas is great but, in an infrastucture failure I am not sure what happens to NG delivery system. Just one man's opinions.
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    I have a 4000 watt Generac generator that we bought right 'after' the three hurricanes in Oct '04. For part-time outages it has served us well, but it runs in the backyard and we have to use extension cords to run the frig/freezer for short periods to keep foods fresh. We have camping equipment for cooking and lighting.
    If I were to do it again, I would get this... Propane/Natural Gas 10,000 Watt Generator ... and wire it directly to the breaker box.

    There are those that could be set on a slab for permanent use outside the home and have a 500lb tank ready for use. http://www.generatorsales.com/propane-generators.asp You'd never know that there was a power outage.
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