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Rob Boudrie
06-03-2012, 06:58 PM
Seeking advice on a plasma rifle in the 50W range. Ooops, I meant portable generator in the 8000W range.

The application is to power a few critical circuits (not the entire house) via transfer switch, with important criteria being:


Decent running time on a tank of gas
Electric w/pull start backup.
Low oil cutoff
Oil can be changed without tiping the think upside down
An actual oil filter on the unit
General durability
Price - hopefully $1500 or less



Surprisingly enough, Lowes prices seem pretty competitive with Amazon et. al.

I've looked at the Generac XP8000E, which seems to be OK - although it appears the battery needs to be charged from an AC trickle charger, not by running the generator.

Any suggestions, comments, recommendations or generator vendors on NES? All things being equal, I'd much rather fork the cash over to an NESer than Lowes.

06LemansC6
06-03-2012, 07:10 PM
I've looked at the Generac XP8000E, which seems to be OK - although it appears the battery needs to be charged from an AC trickle charger, not by running the generator.

this is the one I use. It works well. It's true that it will not charge the battery from the running generator (unless you plug the charger into the generator outlet). Anyhow I've had good luck with it. I've used it for multiple days to power the well pump, furnace, two refrigerators, and some lights, and TV.

appraiser
06-03-2012, 07:13 PM
why do you want that much capacity and that much of a fuel burner.

I have 2 Honda EU2000i inverters tethered together, I can run one or both, 120 volts only though, they are whisper quiet and sip gasoline. I can run all my essentials and then some on them, at night I run one that keeps the basic lighting on, the fridge, and heat. I burn less than 3 .5 gallons of fuel a day, and when you are weeks at a time without power, that is a huge plus.

My outlay for them was 1800 bucks, and another 300 for the transfer switch.

When I need to run my well I switch over to a 5KW generator for as long as it takes to do laundry, shower, etc, then go back on the inverters.

I can leave the house for 10 hours and the inverter will still be humming when I get home, and it is so quiet I am assured nobody is going to scoop it from the back yard because the sounds of all the generators running at 3600 rpm loaded or not drown out what little noise mine make.

dlarge
06-03-2012, 07:16 PM
Probably one of those times when establishing a relationship with a professional trumps the bottom line ($$$)...

scatter
06-03-2012, 07:26 PM
Seeking advice on a plasma rifle in the 50W range.

Just what you see, pal.

Hey, I may go home early today. [smile]

Generac is good stuff, based on my research, although I don't have one. For what it's worth, I have been told that the Lowe's/HD gens use a cylinder sleeve with a service life of about 1500 hours. That may not be the right number, but whatever it is, it's less than "indefinite, assuming reasonable maintenance." That said, I have a Lowe's 5kW, 240V special and a Honda EU2000i. The Lowe's special has served me well through a couple of hurricanes and miscellaneous power outages, and it's still going strong. The Honda is just a jewel. Neither has an external oil filter. Both have a low oil cutoff. I noticed you didn't specify noise level as one of your critieria, which is something that's important to me. The Lowe's special sounds like a jackhammer outside your window. The Honda sounds like, well, a Honda. Decibels in the range of your microwave running. And two of them can be hooked up in parallel to give 4kW. Not an answer to your question, but hopefully some useful info.

Chet0729
06-03-2012, 07:43 PM
I have that exact Generac you asked about. It is a great machine. I never understood the battery not charging from the machine running but it also is not a big concern. It starts real easy even with the pull. This is way to big if you just want to power a couple circuits. Before I had the Generac I used a small 2500W craftsman and it ran the furnace, refrigerator and a few lights and small items during the power outage in October. to take full advantage of the larger generators you need to wire them into your electrical panel. The nice thing about the 8000 is it can supply 220. Most of the smaller ones cant.

NHAtHeart
06-03-2012, 07:50 PM
There are about 500 threads about this but I would say a Military MEP-002A diesel, rated at 5KW but will produce closer to 7.5KW-10Kw.

MassMark
06-03-2012, 08:01 PM
Not sure why you need 8000w and it's none of my business I guess. Your options, including Honda will be more attainable in that range. If this helps you any, I ran a giant old 1750 farm house on 5k (5500kpeak) and this included full power to: Oil burner, well pump, ex large capacity Viking refrigerator, giant chest freezer, (like 2 bodies giant),two overhead lights, two outlets. We ran our direct TV, landline cordless, fans, etc off the two outlets...I went a couple weeks without power and lived very comfortably. We had an old 110v dryer from a camper we dragged out of the garage and used that for laundry if we didn't have time to hang it and of course, our washer was 110v. The generator never missed a beat....

Sig Sauer Shooter
06-03-2012, 08:12 PM
Onan makes a great generator, they last a very long time too.....

bluebanana
06-03-2012, 08:15 PM
Go for Honda. This is my third generator, expensive to buy but once the pain is over you don't look back.

RHJJ
06-03-2012, 08:21 PM
I've looked at the Generac XP8000E, which seems to be OK - although it appears the battery needs to be charged from an AC trickle charger, not by running the generator.

This is the generator I have. It is great and can run every thing I need and more. I forgot to charge the battery, 1 pull it started.

*chris*
06-03-2012, 08:25 PM
I have a Troy-bilt 5500 watt generator that I bought at Lowes 8 years ago or so. My home is all natural gas and we have two furnances. A 240v generator is pretty much a necessity in my book. It has a 10hp motor and will run for 12 hours or more on 5 gallons of gas.

If you are considering larger, I would buy a genset that runs off of Natural Gas or Propane.

Chris

Chris
06-03-2012, 08:41 PM
I don't see the need for an electric start as most quality generators these days are very easy to pull. (can't speak to the Lowes models) Unless you have a handicap or elderly situation, I recommend you give some a try before you decide it is a must have.

an oil filter isn't really needed. Run the gen for 5 hours when you get it, and then let the oil cool and change it. After that, use a good synthetic and change it at least annually. (why synthetic? Because they tend to flush dirt back to the pan and many have good anti-rust properties. I use a motorcycle grade oil in my generator because it is explicitly made for long storage needs. ) There are a lot of engines that live just fine without any pressure oil system (what is needed for a filter to work) and can last just as long. The real key is to change it often at first to clean out the wear parts and then be sure not to let old oil sit. You have a good point about changing the oil. Most have a good drain, but they are usually very close to the ground. I have to lift mine up onto stands to effectively get a pan under it. Not easy, but not too hard with some planning.

A low oil sensor is a MUST HAVE.

Stepping from 120 to 240 adds a premium that is only really needed if you have something (like a well) that needs it.

The larger Honda inverter models will not only power all you want, but do so very very efficiently. Yamaha generators used to be a close second, but lately they don't seem to be holding their quality. Noise is an issue. The non-inverter styles are LOUD.

Be sure to plan to install a proper Transfer Switch as well. There are kits that include everything from the generator to the electrical box with the exception of the in-house wire between the outdoor socket and the transfer switch.

Be sure to run any fuel in the generator with a marine stabilizer added. (Blue Sta-Bil) This will help to eliminate the Ethanol problem that is killing small engines left and right. Or, you can buy 5 gallon cans of Ethanol free fuel (at like $65 a can) but that stuff will last 2 years in a sealed container/tank, and indefinitely in the unopened original container. I have one for emergency and I use quart size for the small two stoke engines like chain saw and string trimmer.

As with most things, you will get what you pay for.

bigtig50
06-03-2012, 08:41 PM
I have had a Honda 2000 watt generator for 20 years. I am an electrician so it is nice and small and quiet which is perfect for what I do. I also run my heat and fridge/micro on it when needed. I want a bigger unit, but the Honda just runs and runs. If you want to run any electronics I would definitely recommend an inverter generator. My opinion is , buy cheap, get cheap. Low oil cutoff is a must and pretty standard, but I would also want auto idle control so it idles lower under less load, saving gas.

mannydog
06-03-2012, 08:46 PM
I bought a tri-fuel 8,750 Honda from Central Maine Diesel after being without power for 5 days last year after a storm. Price is up a little since I bought, now around $1600. Nice well designed machine, I've only run it on propane so far but it runs on gas and natural gas, too and portable if you need to let somebody borrow it. A top-notch electrician (an NES'er) wired me a transfer box for it.

LittleCalm
06-03-2012, 08:59 PM
+1 for tri-fuel.

In generators, you get what you pay for. Generac is ok, but if you search the internet you'll see a lot of folks have had a lot of problems with them. For the price point, they deliver good value it seems but they can be hit or miss (glad to see that folks here have positive things to say about them). If you want better, go with a brand like Kohler if it's a whole home gen or a Honda if a portable. If you want a Honda motor but want to save some money, Northstar (sold through Northern Tool) makes some more value-oriented models (which I read to mean Honda motor and chinese electrical). I went with Winco. They use Honda motors but make them tri-fuel. I have two 120 gal propane tanks connected together, which is a minimum of 4 days if I go wide open throttle (which I won't). If the propane truck can't get through to my house, I can use gasoline. I used to have gasoline only gens but IMO they are a PITA if you could go without power for more than a day or so. First, you'll need to fill the tank at least twice a day and in a blinding snow or rain storm this is a PITA, especially for a wife or others who are at home. Second, you need to go out before the storm and get a ton of gasoline (a 25 gal gas caddy comes in handy for this - I can store up to about 70 gallons between a caddy, a bunch of cans and some motorcycles). Third, if power outage is widespread, you won't find any gas stations nearby that have power in order to run their pumps. Fourth, as with all gasoline power equipment, you need to pay attention to draining the carb after running the unit. And since the unit should be run every other month or so, this gets to be a pain. So after having gasoline gens for years, I switched to tri-fuel and never looked back. The only upside to gasoline is whatever you don't use you can dump in your car. Another option is a whole home gen that runs on propane or natural gas. Problem with that route is that the units are big, provide a lot more power than the average home needs, and require a large fuel tank (if propane) or plumbed to local natural gas if your town has it. When I priced everything out, the whole home units are way more pricey than the portables. No matter which you choose, you will, however, spend considerable money on the transfer panel and circuit connection (in labor mostly). Talk to your electrician in advance before you buy. Most portables come with a max of 30A, 50A and in some instances (Winco) 60A. Cost of the plug and cable gets expensive the greater the amperage. Also, make sure you talk to your electrician before getting the transfer box and switch. They need to be rated for the max power of the generator. All in all, connecting to the house is worth its weight in gold, but prepared to spend some coin to get to the holy grail of storm preparedness. Finally, don't forget to check local fire, gas and building set back codes for where you can place the genset. And of course, keep them a good distance away from any inhabited dwelling. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

Rob Boudrie
06-03-2012, 09:06 PM
Thanks for all the info - I'm certainly rethinking the size and I may have guessed a bit high on what I need. The suggestion about synthetic oil was great.

scatter
06-03-2012, 09:10 PM
Didn't mention that I got the Honda modded for propane. It's a very easy mod. Works great on both.

Billsail
06-03-2012, 09:39 PM
I solved most of my oil change problems with this: http://www.drainzit.com/compatibility

dcmdon
06-03-2012, 10:18 PM
I'm going to have to go against what some people said and suggest you dare to go cheap and small if you intend to run it on gasoline.

first, go find a generator sizing tool on google and report back with what you find.

The biggies are high draw items:

Range: gas or electric
Hot water heater gas or electric
city water or pump
Do you want to run AC off the generator?
HVAC system, whats it got. My old house had 7 circulator pumps. My new house just has a furnace. Huge difference in electric draw
Dryer gas or electric.

My new place is a very extreme example. The range, dryer, hot water, and furnaces all run on gas. Plus I've got city water. The only heavy electric load is central air, and the refrigerator. My electrical needs are minimal.

Harbor freight just came out with a 220v 4000/3000 watt generator. Its on my short list at $300. It will sip fuel and will run either one of my central ACs or my refrigerator, but not both.

Its a trade off. Go big and you burn more gas. Go small and you have fewer conveniences.

An 8000 watt generator uses about 75% as much fuel making 2000 watts as it does making 8000 watts. So even if its loafing with just lighting and a refrigerator, it will be sucking down substantially more than a generator that is sized more closely to your max.

Other things to consider - How much AC do you really need. For example. I have a 2 ton unit for the 2nd floor and a 3 ton unit for the first floor. If I run just the upstairs unit on even the hottest day, the 2nd floor is at whatever temp is set on the t-stat, and the down stairs settles in at about 75, but with no humidity. Is that ideal? No. But its good enough so I don't want to size a generator to run both AC condensers concurrently.

Remember, the more gas it burns, the more trips you will make to the gas station.

Ok, so back to my theory. When was the last time you ever heard of someone wearing out their portable generator? It never happens. Generators die because of lack of use. They die because of corrosion. They don't wear out. I have a contractor friend who has had a Harbor freight 6000 watt generator for over ten years. It gets used weekly on job sites and its still going strong. Its louder than a honda, but it provides great service for him.

Now one other thing. Almost everything other than a honda or a yamaha is made in china. Most likely they are all made at the same factory in china. So why would I want to pay more for a Chinese generac than a Chinese harbor freight, when they are probably made to similar specs in the same factory.

Durring Irene, I helped 3 friends wire their new 5000 to 7000 watt generators into their homes in a way that didn't require a NEMA 10/30 plug (since they were sold out) and also wouldn't backfeed and kill a lineman. (wire into panel with a 30a 2pole breaker, then pull the main breaker out of the panel)

I wired in a Generac, a Craftsman, and another brand that a friend got at Costco. They were all essentially the same generator. They all were made in china, and they all used a chinese knockoff of a 4000 cc honda engine thats been used in stationary applications for about 30 years. It was startling how identical they were.

So in the end, don't buy more watts than you need, unless you are going to be plumbing it into some large propane tanks, and if you are buying a portable gasoline generator, dare to spend less on a Harbor freight model. Another benefit of the harbor freight pricing. You can actually get 2 for the price of one Generac. You could have a 3000 watt model for extended outages, or when you need to sip fuel. You could have 8000 watt generator ($599) for when you wanted to have all the amenities.

With all that said, if you want to spend the big bucks, the inverter type hondas are AMAZING. Quiet, fuel efficient. Just incredible. A regular generator has to run at 3600 rpm even if there is little load on it, in order for it to provide 60 hz of AC. An inverter generator can throttle down to very low speeds since its a DC generator and the inverter converts it to AC. Cool stuff.

Don

One other thing. Computers don't like the square wave generator power. A better way to deal with them is to buy an inverter for less than $100. You can run it off your car battery (with the car idling) for when you need to charge batteries. Also, most of the generators mentioned in this thread also have a 12v output that nobody ever uses. If you plug an inverter into it, you can get nice clean power for your computers.

Another_David
06-03-2012, 10:25 PM
I agree with Don. I don't have a generator for my house but have used a bunch for work: some cheap HD ver. and some nice Honda units. The Honda Inverter units are far more fuel efficient but really expensive when you compare output ratings. So I would take a hard look to see what is really necessary and go for quality over output quantity. If you have natural gas in the house I would also splurge for the gas converter adapter and only use gasoline as a backup.

mike93lx
06-03-2012, 10:31 PM
My 8kw Rigid has a honda engine that sips fuel and has an electric start that i can control from a panel that I can run into the house. I have yet to need to run it, but i've run the house on it a couple times to test. It was about $1700 at Home Depot with 24 month 0% financing.

Chris
06-03-2012, 10:42 PM
I would avoid Natural Gas if you can.

Generators use an ungodly amount of natural gas. The average home generator on Natural Gas could easily run up a bill in the thousands in just a week if run constantly. Also, if the problem is wide spread, the possibility of the gas system having outages is quite high.

jarhead66
06-03-2012, 11:03 PM
[grin]

I would, and did go with a 10 circuit transfer switch instead of an 8. The 10 circuit gives a lot more options when you have a well, and oil heat and oil hot water on separate burners. By judicious use of the 10 circuits an electrician told me I should be fine with a 5000 watt.

PaulD
06-03-2012, 11:07 PM
Thanks for all the info - I'm certainly rethinking the size and I may have guessed a bit high on what I need. The suggestion about synthetic oil was great.

What type of heat do you have? FHA requires a lot of surge capacity due to the blower. For this reason, I didn't get an inverter type because the watt/$ just wasn't reasonable.

I have a Husky 5000/6250 surge and it has a Subaru engine. I've been happy with it. The engine in particular is very nice.

xjma99
06-03-2012, 11:31 PM
Honda/Yamaha generators are the cream of the crop, but overkill for most as you're paying for the top notch quality and a quiet running generator. They're great for camping (err, whatever you call parking an RV in a field 20' from other people and hanging out) and/or if you live close to others and noise would be an issue. If you don't use it all the time, it's kinda overkill.

We had a generac 1800 or 2000 little portable at work that worked almost as well as a honda (probably wouldn't have lasted quite as long, but did what it was needed for) and was nice and quiet and it was about 1/3 of the price of a honda. thing found legs sometime around irene, surprise surprise. generacs aren't bad, they fit the bill. I have a coleman 5000 that is loud and doesn't idle down, just one speed, but it gets us through when the power goes out. I have a small house and a shitload of extension cords so I just run them to the appliances that need power, it works for me. I have an old saw power cord setup that I use, just disconnect well pump from house power and connect the leads to the pump and plug in for water. water treatments system works on water pressure alone too, which is key.

Rob Boudrie
06-03-2012, 11:41 PM
What type of heat do you have? FHA requires a lot of surge capacity due to the blower.
Gas forced hot air, furnace on 15A circuit.

Chris
06-04-2012, 12:52 AM
I run a 250 foot well (240 circuit), boiler, circulator pumps, two hydroair blowers, two refrigerators, and a deep freezer all on a 4800 Watt Yamaha. During testing, I set it up so that the well, boiler, pumps, blowers, and one refrigerator all kicked on at the same time and it handled the load just fine. For the week or so after the Halloween storm last year, we lost no food, kids had a warm bath every night, and the house was comfortable. In real situations, I activate each circuit in sequence so that few things power up at the same time. But it is nice to know I could.

We ran it in the morning while getting ready for work/school, again when we got home for as long as it took for the refrigerators and freezer to shut off, and then again just before bed for the kid's bath. Roughly 6 hours a day. More on the weekend where we were home and the first few days when the kids had no school and my office was without power, say 10 hours or so those days. Used about 12-13 gallons of fuel for the week.

Oh yea, and we did a couple of loads of laundry too. (hung to dry)

One difference in the better brands is that the rating is for continuous load. The surge load for a short period is higher, that is why my 'small' generator could handle the load starting everything at once. The cheaper brands many times advertise their surge load. Be sure to look into this when comparing.

Don't get too large. A friend who works in the solar/wind field cautioned me that generators that are run with only a very light load tend to vary the voltage more ( talking non-inverter style here) than when under at least 50%. Its actually a bad thing to run a light load.

From our testing and practical experience, running one out of every 4 hours would likely be the most required use in the dead of winter if we needed to keep the house going at a minimum level. That time could be cut back too if the freezer could be transferred to a cooler outside or otherwise reduce the time needed to run refrigeration. Pumping water, making hot water, and keeping the house warm takes a lot less time. The refrigerators and freezer, while very efficient running continuously, take a long time to actually vary the temperature.

We use propane for cooking, so our stove top was always available.

natf
06-04-2012, 01:43 AM
Thanks for all the info - I'm certainly rethinking the size and I may have guessed a bit high on what I need. The suggestion about synthetic oil was great.

The little Honda inverters are great. I bought an eu2000i a few years ago with the intention of using it for both camping and as part of a semi redundant backup power system. Long term I was planning on buying a larger "screamer" generator for the heavy duty home power needs (electric stove, clothes dryer, etc). So far I have only used the Honda eu2000i and I don't think I'll be buying another generator at all. The Honda runs the furnace (oil forced hot water), fridge, freezer, entertainment and lighting just fine. It runs about 12 hours on a gallon of gas and is so quiet I can barely tell it's running outside while I'm inside.

You might be able to run your FHA on an eu3000i. You'll need to carefully measure loads, including startup draw and size your generator according to that, but I'd suggest going as small as you can. A big box store screamer is loud and burns a ton of gas. During the Halloween storm I didn't even go through my two gas cans during the five and a half days without power. A screamer can go through six gallons in a day. It can be hard to find gas during a major outage. We had one local station out of gas and another closed because their registers weren't on backup power.

-Nat

appraiser
06-04-2012, 05:42 AM
The little Honda inverters are great.
You might be able to run your FHA on an eu3000i.

I started off with 1 EU2000i and added a EG5000 generator to run my well and additional 120v circuits that were above and beyond what I needed to be comfortable.

I did find that when the fridge or oil burner started up while the other was running, and the TV,computers,router, modem and a couple of hundred watts of incandescent lighting were on, it taxed the inverters 2000W surge capacity. It never cut out, but my stereo amp would shut off when it happened.

When Honda was blowing the EU2000i Companion series out last fall for short money I bought one so I could tether them in parallel the way honda designed them to and get a constant 26 amps with additional surge capacity to 30 amps

I found the price to do this was similar if not cheaper to buying the larger EU3000is inverter, I had more capacity, the ability to just run one at night when we were asleep and didn't need more than 1600 watts, and though it takes 1 extra step to connect the 2 together, the 2 smaller ones are more portable, easier to store, and can be started by anyone on the first pull.

The EU2000i's weigh less than 50 pounds each and are the size of a couple of 30 packs of beer. A EU3000is weighs 136 pounds, and would be hard for my wife to move around, where she can easily move the smaller ones.

perry1386
06-04-2012, 08:53 AM
Idk your location, but Toreku Tractor in Ayer is owned by a family I've known my whole life, they'd be able to get you anything you need and help you figure out what you need, They are a vendor for Harvard SC.

Rider
06-04-2012, 09:24 AM
I'm holding out for the new Yamaha EF2000is-Z Zombie Apocalypse limited edition. It comes in a custom blood-spatter paint job, has a sticker that says "Zombies" on it, costs twice what the normal model sells for, and is limited to all the units they can sell.

I think the main difference between this and the normal model is that this one can be used as a blunt instrument to defend yourself from zombies.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

radioman
06-04-2012, 09:41 AM
I'm a big generator guy. I have three of them. I will say Honda is the very best!! Also WAY over priced! I do own a Honda and can comment on they're high quality. If you want a good lower cost choice I recommend the North Star line from Northern Tool. They have Honda engines on them and the generator head is made in the US by their vender. They're also assembled and fabricated in the US. So if US made is important to you this could be an option. The only difference I can see in the two units is the sound level. The North Star is a lot louder but the power output is great. I run all my sensitive electronics on it all the time no problem. I live in central MA where we loose power once a month like clock work. Good weather and bad we loose it all the time and my Honda and North Star take care of it no problem. My NS is a larger unit that I use when I need to run higher draw things like my well pump or the stove.

I know some people think Generac is US made but that's not quite true. Their big units are and I mean BIG. 30,000kw+ though I'm not sure on the cut off level of when they start to be made in China. ALL the smaller portable units are made in China. If you look closely at their 3000 to 8000kw units you'll see that their just the common China made units re-branded with their name on it.

Skysoldier
06-04-2012, 09:44 AM
Why would you want a plasma rifle that is only 50 watts?

Chet0729
06-04-2012, 09:55 AM
One other note is the smaller units don't do well with large resistive loads like coffee makers, water heaters etc. They work fine with refrigerators and other motor type loads.
I stayed away from the hard piped Natural gas stuff because I wanted portability in case one of my kids lost power and I still had it.
I run my generators once a month and always turn off the gas and let them run out of gas. This will keep the carb healthy for many years. I have always done this with all my gas equipment and it all runs and starts fine.

PaulD
06-04-2012, 10:04 AM
Gas forced hot air, furnace on 15A circuit.

Same here. I had tried an older Briggs 4KW generator and that was not enough to get the blower started unless all other circuits were shut off. The blower would just click. The 5KW one I have now does the trick. So hopefully that helps you in sizing.

If you decide to go for an inverter type, Subaru makes them also.

Chet0729
06-04-2012, 11:07 AM
Same here. I had tried an older Briggs 4KW generator and that was not enough to get the blower started unless all other circuits were shut off. The blower would just click. The 5KW one I have now does the trick. So hopefully that helps you in sizing.

If you decide to go for an inverter type, Subaru makes them also.

The Generators home depot sells have the Subaru engines. I have a friend who has one and it runs great. I think it is a 5Kw

PaulD
06-04-2012, 11:12 AM
The Generators home depot sells have the Subaru engines. I have a friend who has one and it runs great. I think it is a 5Kw

That's the exact one I have and the engine is excellent.

calsdad
06-04-2012, 11:17 AM
If noise is something you are worried about then the Hondas should be at the top of your list.

I currently have an EU2000i - and it's been working good for the last couple of years. When it's running at it's low setting - it's hard to know that it's there unless you're standing right next to it.

A month or so I was at the dealer getting some parts for my weedwhacker - and somebody was checking out the Honda generators. He was interested in the EU6500si (the big one on wheels) - and the salesman started the thing up IN THE SHOWROOM - which was already relatively quiet. I was probably about 18 feet away from the thing - and it was quiet enough that you could have had a conversation right next to it without even speaking up.

It would have been louder if it was running harder from having a load on it - but I was impressed how quiet it was.

scatter
06-04-2012, 12:12 PM
Why would you want a plasma rifle that is only 50 watts?

Plinking, obviously.

calsdad
06-04-2012, 01:20 PM
I don't see the need for an electric start as most quality generators these days are very easy to pull. (can't speak to the Lowes models) Unless you have a handicap or elderly situation, I recommend you give some a try before you decide it is a must have.

an oil filter isn't really needed. Run the gen for 5 hours when you get it, and then let the oil cool and change it. After that, use a good synthetic and change it at least annually. (why synthetic? Because they tend to flush dirt back to the pan and many have good anti-rust properties. I use a motorcycle grade oil in my generator because it is explicitly made for long storage needs. ) There are a lot of engines that live just fine without any pressure oil system (what is needed for a filter to work) and can last just as long. The real key is to change it often at first to clean out the wear parts and then be sure not to let old oil sit. You have a good point about changing the oil. Most have a good drain, but they are usually very close to the ground. I have to lift mine up onto stands to effectively get a pan under it. Not easy, but not too hard with some planning.

A low oil sensor is a MUST HAVE.

Stepping from 120 to 240 adds a premium that is only really needed if you have something (like a well) that needs it.

The larger Honda inverter models will not only power all you want, but do so very very efficiently. Yamaha generators used to be a close second, but lately they don't seem to be holding their quality. Noise is an issue. The non-inverter styles are LOUD.

Be sure to plan to install a proper Transfer Switch as well. There are kits that include everything from the generator to the electrical box with the exception of the in-house wire between the outdoor socket and the transfer switch.

Be sure to run any fuel in the generator with a marine stabilizer added. (Blue Sta-Bil) This will help to eliminate the Ethanol problem that is killing small engines left and right. Or, you can buy 5 gallon cans of Ethanol free fuel (at like $65 a can) but that stuff will last 2 years in a sealed container/tank, and indefinitely in the unopened original container. I have one for emergency and I use quart size for the small two stoke engines like chain saw and string trimmer.

As with most things, you will get what you pay for.

Where are you finding the ethanol free fuel? I spent some time looking around for that a year or two ago and didn't come up with anything.

calsdad
06-04-2012, 01:30 PM
Never mind - answering my own question:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/outdoor-tools/can-boutique-fuel-save-small-engines-from-the-wear-and-tear-of-e10


Looks like a market has popped up to supply non-govt.-screwed-up fuel.

You can also still buy untainted fuel at some marine and aviation locations - but I am not sure if they will sell to the random customer off the street.

http://pure-gas.org

http://fuel-testers.com/find_ethanol_free_gasoline.html

No locations listed in MA - but three locations listed in NH. I might have to gather up all my 5 gallon cans and take a trip to "stock up".

RATTLESNAKE
06-04-2012, 03:35 PM
Generac 7500 running/ 8500 start up cost me 900 dollars. Haven't had to use it yet but I did alot of research before this big purchase and I kept coming back to this one all I need to do know is get an interlock kit and I will be happy!

mikem317
06-04-2012, 04:18 PM
Get a Honda-powered one (e.g. something with the Honda GX390 which seems to be installed a bunch of 'em). It should fit all those requirements.

dcmdon
06-04-2012, 10:22 PM
Same here. I had tried an older Briggs 4KW generator and that was not enough to get the blower started unless all other circuits were shut off. The blower would just click. The 5KW one I have now does the trick. So hopefully that helps you in sizing.

If you decide to go for an inverter type, Subaru makes them also.

Then your other generator was defective.

15A x 120V = 1800 Watts. Also, breakers trip relatively quickly, so if the startup load was much over 15A, the breaker would pop.

Bottom line is that a 15A single pole circuit can only draw 1800 Watts. So something's not right. So the other circuits must have made up quite a load. Just an FYI.

Also, just to put some numbers up re the honda inverter generators. The 3000 watt Honda is $2800. The 3200 watt Harbor Freight generator is $280 with coupon.

If you are going to use it for emergencies, the harbor freight is the obvious choice.

If you are going to use it while camping/fishing/tailgating, etc. The honda might be worth it if you have the cash. They are REALLY quiet.

My wife did a half ironman last year. At the event, every tent, every registration booth, every food concession had at least 1 Honda inverter generator. They literally had dozens of them. You could hold a conversation 10 ft away from one. They were hardly noticeable, almost like an idling car. Wow. But for most of us, not necessary.

Remember, that for emergency use, the honda won't be any more reliable than the HF. Most generator problems are caused by sitting with old gas in them. Which will affect each equally.

One thing re gas. 100 LL aviation gas is designed to last years in storage. The only down side is that at low loads the lead can deposit in the combustion chamber and crap up the spark plug.

My dad just got a used honda and we were discussing this stuff. He races vintage cars and mentioned that there is now an unleaded cam2, which is also designed to be stored for years. But at like $8/gal, I think I'll pass.

Finally, if you are looking for ethanol free gas, you might check with some local general aviation airports. I know that a few in VT/NH had it for use by homebuilt pilots.

edin508
06-04-2012, 10:36 PM
I have this without the electric start and it has treated me well.
It has run 3-4 campers for a week in November a few times now. It has all the basic stuff you need without all the frills and runs like a champ.
RIDGID Ridgid 6800 Watt Yamaha 357cc Electric Start, Idle Down Portable Generator http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=203183985
*snip*
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

RIDGID Power Tools offers reliable, clean power with the RIDGID Portable Generator Line. This 6800 Watt Electric-Start Generator with Idle-Down is engineered to handle your toughest power needs on the jobsite or at home. The Idle-Down function automatically idles the engine when power is not required, helping prevent wear and tear on the engine and alternator, increasing overall runtime, and reducing noise. With a heavy-duty 359cc OHV Commercial-Grade Yamaha Engine, this Generator delivers 6800 Running Watts (8500 Surge/Starting Watts) and features a large 8 gallon fuel tank for up to 11 hours of runtime at 50% load. Featuring the Armour Alternator with AVR, this generator produces 6800 Watts of Clean Power- so you can power everything from a laptop to a table saw. This generator features a one-of-a-kind removable control panel that allows you to move and mount essential controls and outlets anywhere you need them- all while the GenSmart monitoring system displays essential functions including Wattage, Voltage, Hertz, Hours of use and even reminds you when its time for maintenance. The heavy-duty Zero-Gravity hand-truck frame design and never-flat tires keeps the unit protected while making it easy to transport even in the toughest conditions. The outlet panel features (4) 20 Amp (GFCI Protected) standard outlets and (1) 240V 30 Amp Twist Lock outlet to meet all your power needs. Backed by a 3 year commercial warranty, you can trust RIDGID to work as hard as you do.

6800 Running Watts (8500 Surge/Starting Watts)
359cc OHV Yamaha Commercial-Grade Engine with Electric Starting
Clean Power, Ideal for sensitive electronics - less than 6% THD
IDLE-DOWN for improved efficiency and quieter operation
Removable Control Panel for convenient placement of essential controls and outlets
(4) 120V 20 Amp (GFCI Protected), and (1) 240V 30 Amp Twist Lock Outlet
GenSmart Display for monitoring essential functions including Wattage
8 gallon fuel tank for up to 11 hour runtime at 50% load
Zero Gravity Hand-Truck Frame design
3 year warranty
MFG Brand Name : RIDGID
MFG Model # : RD906812
MFG Part # : RD906812

xjma99
06-04-2012, 10:58 PM
Never mind - answering my own question:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/outdoor-tools/can-boutique-fuel-save-small-engines-from-the-wear-and-tear-of-e10


Looks like a market has popped up to supply non-govt.-screwed-up fuel.

You can also still buy untainted fuel at some marine and aviation locations - but I am not sure if they will sell to the random customer off the street.

http://pure-gas.org

http://fuel-testers.com/find_ethanol_free_gasoline.html

No locations listed in MA - but three locations listed in NH. I might have to gather up all my 5 gallon cans and take a trip to "stock up".

You can get tru fuel, real gas pre-mixed with 2stroke for your chainsaw and weedwhacker, etc. at wally world. supposed to be available at home depot but haven't seen it there yet. they say they offer cans of straight unmixed gas but I haven't seen them yet either.

For larger stuff like my generator, lawn tractor, atv and outboards I just run good fuel treatment in pump gas as it's too much hassle shuffling jerry cans down from freedom, nh every time you need gas to keep and not F your equipment up.

appraiser
06-04-2012, 11:03 PM
One thing re gas. 100 LL aviation gas is designed to last years in storage. The only down side is that at low loads the lead can deposit in the combustion chamber and crap up the spark plug.

.

THe big problem with 100LL is it is effn expensive, some FBO's are over 7 bucks a gallon right now.

I have 30 gallons of fuel in cans here, 6 containers, 5 gallons each. Every month I pour 5 gallons from my generator supply into my 37 gallon truck tank and refill it with fresh fuel. That way no fuel is more than 6 months old.

Rob Boudrie
06-04-2012, 11:23 PM
Keep it coming. So far, I've learned that I overestimated the size of my needs, and there are two colors of Sta-bil. Cool stuff.

terraformer
06-04-2012, 11:30 PM
Keep it coming. So far, I've learned that I overestimated the size of my needs, and there are two colors of Sta-bil. Cool stuff.

Have you learned that you should get a 240v generator and hook it up via a xfer switch to power your whole house? Next time you are around I will show you what I have.

mikem317
06-04-2012, 11:38 PM
That's what I have to do next. The whole transfer switch and exterior inlet box.

RadiCS
06-04-2012, 11:41 PM
Any one have experience with Briggs and Stratton generators? I like their engines and never had any problems with them.

terraformer
06-05-2012, 12:13 AM
Any one have experience with Briggs and Stratton generators? I like their engines and never had any problems with them.

Mine works fine.

Rider
06-05-2012, 06:38 AM
I didn't see it mentioned, but if you are interested in going the Honda route, the Yamaha EF2000is is very similar, can be daisy-chained, and is also very quiet. It's a little less money than the Honda(at least it was last year) but is specc'ed very much the same. And it is Made in Japan, so you know it's good quality that will last a long time.

I realize that you are looking for a home backup, but I went with the portable figuring that it would actually get used for camping, travel, and other things, rather than take up space 99% of the time. Now it will only take up space 98% of the time. ;p

eisenhow
06-05-2012, 07:10 AM
Same here. I had tried an older Briggs 4KW generator and that was not enough to get the blower started unless all other circuits were shut off. The blower would just click. The 5KW one I have now does the trick. So hopefully that helps you in sizing.

If you decide to go for an inverter type, Subaru makes them also.


Then your other generator was defective.

15A x 120V = 1800 Watts. Also, breakers trip relatively quickly, so if the startup load was much over 15A, the breaker would pop.

Bottom line is that a 15A single pole circuit can only draw 1800 Watts. So something's not right. So the other circuits must have made up quite a load. Just an FYI.


Not necessarily, if the 4kW generator was a 120/240V type it is really two 2kW generators. If anything else was running on the same side as the furnace it could cause what PaulD describes. It brings up the topic that if all you have is 120V loads and you buy a 120/240V generator you have to balance your circuits. Your startup 120V loads can't be larger than 1/2 your capacity.

n1oty
06-05-2012, 07:53 AM
Then your other generator was defective.

15A x 120V = 1800 Watts. Also, breakers trip relatively quickly, so if the startup load was much over 15A, the breaker would pop.

Bottom line is that a 15A single pole circuit can only draw 1800 Watts. So something's not right. So the other circuits must have made up quite a load. Just an FYI.

Also, just to put some numbers up re the honda inverter generators. The 3000 watt Honda is $2800. The 3200 watt Harbor Freight generator is $280 with coupon.

If you are going to use it for emergencies, the harbor freight is the obvious choice.

If you are going to use it while camping/fishing/tailgating, etc. The honda might be worth it if you have the cash. They are REALLY quiet.

My wife did a half ironman last year. At the event, every tent, every registration booth, every food concession had at least 1 Honda inverter generator. They literally had dozens of them. You could hold a conversation 10 ft away from one. They were hardly noticeable, almost like an idling car. Wow. But for most of us, not necessary.

Remember, that for emergency use, the honda won't be any more reliable than the HF. Most generator problems are caused by sitting with old gas in them. Which will affect each equally.

One thing re gas. 100 LL aviation gas is designed to last years in storage. The only down side is that at low loads the lead can deposit in the combustion chamber and crap up the spark plug.

My dad just got a used honda and we were discussing this stuff. He races vintage cars and mentioned that there is now an unleaded cam2, which is also designed to be stored for years. But at like $8/gal, I think I'll pass.

Finally, if you are looking for ethanol free gas, you might check with some local general aviation airports. I know that a few in VT/NH had it for use by homebuilt pilots.


You are completely off the mark. Per the NEC, motor circuits like this are subject to the so-called 125 percent rule. I'd surmise that the actual motor load is normally 12 amps or less. However, large electric motors in this application will typically draw three to four times as much amperage for a split second before hitting a minimum rotational speed and settling down to normal amp draw. It is during startup that his 4K unit would not start that particular blower. That sounds about right to me when considering a "standby" generator versus a prime mover generator. These standby generators frequently struggle with surge loads of this nature.

n1oty
06-05-2012, 08:08 AM
There are about 500 threads about this but I would say a Military MEP-002A diesel, rated at 5KW but will produce closer to 7.5KW-10Kw.



Yes. This is what I have. The MEP-002A is rated at a minimum of 5kW above 8000 feet altitude and above 120 degrees F for days at a time. At our temperatures and near sea level it will put out 9kW for very long periods of time. Being a legitimate "prime mover", it can be safely run for 100 to 200 hours without being shut down. Unlike most of the civilian standby generators, it puts out pure sine AC. It is electrically clean for powering comm centers. There is no electrical hash due to the filtering and grounding. It uses diesel as well as various flavors of jet fuel (which suggests that kerosene oil mixes can be used in a pinch). It can generate 120 volt single phase, 120/240 single phase and 120/208 three phase via selector switch. I got a rebuilt unit from Army storage for $800 and shipping cost me $369 via truck freight. It uses just over half a gallon of diesel per hour under rated load.

Roy Rogers
06-05-2012, 08:59 AM
At amateur radio field day a couple years ago a club on the Cape ran a generator they'd converted to propane. Anyone have experience doing such a conversion? There are do-it-yourself kits and instructions on the Web for converting your generator to propane, natural gas, or supposedly allowing you to run with either as well as with gasoline. Does this really work, and how hard is it to do a conversion?

scatter
06-05-2012, 09:47 AM
At amateur radio field day a couple years ago a club on the Cape ran a generator they'd converted to propane. Anyone have experience doing such a conversion? There are do-it-yourself kits and instructions on the Web for converting your generator to propane, natural gas, or supposedly allowing you to run with either as well as with gasoline. Does this really work, and how hard is it to do a conversion?

Yes it works. I converted my Honda EU2000i to run on gas or propane. It's basically a matter of drilling into the carb at the right spot and attaching a nipple, then obtaining all the right hoses, fittings, and a regulator to supply it. Works like a charm. I found a "how-to" on line and contacted the author with some questions. I wound up shipping my carb to him and he did the tap for free. I can try and dig up the link or his email if you're interested.

dcmdon
06-05-2012, 12:14 PM
THe big problem with 100LL is it is effn expensive, some FBO's are over 7 bucks a gallon right now.

I have 30 gallons of fuel in cans here, 6 containers, 5 gallons each. Every month I pour 5 gallons from my generator supply into my 37 gallon truck tank and refill it with fresh fuel. That way no fuel is more than 6 months old.

I agree, thats why its less than ideal. But it will store for YEARS with no problems. That might be worth something to someone who doesn't want to go through the ritual that you go through.
In the big scheme of things, 50 gallons will cost $375 and should get you through most emergencies. I was out after Irene and went through about 5 gal/day running the refrigerator, lighting, and my boiler to make hot water (through an indirect hw heater).

With 40 gal of HW stored, we got to shower every day and only ran the generator enough to keep the refrigerator cold.

One other thing. A friend has a generac 10,000 watt built in propane generator. Because he has a 1000 gal in ground propane tank, he left the thing running through the entire 5 day outage. He lived like nothing had changed. He was a very happy guy until they came to top off his tank for the year. He estimates he burned almost 200 gallons. So his 5 days of comfort cost him about $650 in fuel.

Your own economics determine if that is worthwhile for you. But its certainly a factor.

appraiser
06-05-2012, 04:00 PM
I was out after Irene and went through about 5 gal/day running the refrigerator, lighting, and my boiler to make hot water (through an indirect hw heater).



That is why I am a big fan of the Honda EU2000i inverter. In the dead of winter I can keep the essentials running on 2 gallons a day.

I have had a few outages where gasoline was not available inside of a 10 mile radius of my house. Knowing I had enough fuel in cans and unused vehicles to keep me powered for a month or longer isn't a bad feeling

dcmdon
06-05-2012, 04:20 PM
I agree.

Its almost like its worth having 2 generators. A 2KW Honda inverter to run lighting and basics, that you can keep going all day. Then a big, cheap, loud, 8KVA harbor freight/generac/craftsman (whatever, they're all chinese and probably made in the same factory) to run a few hours a day for hot water, refrigeration, etc.

Now if only there was a way to tie them both in together without having to manually control everything.

11_fingers
06-05-2012, 07:52 PM
I thought I knew what I wanted for back up power, but now I am back at square one researching again. thanks for all the good info:thumbup:

dcmdon
06-05-2012, 10:31 PM
Glockaholic - can you run a refrigerator with that 2kva honda? Being able to run a fridge for 2 gal/day is a home run.

mikem317
06-06-2012, 12:46 AM
Glockaholic - can you run a refrigerator with that 2kva honda? Being able to run a fridge for 2 gal/day is a home run.

I've run two refrigerators on my Honda EU2000i (me and neighbor when I was in a multi-family rental).

The EU2000i is a keeper. Even after buying a larger Honda for my house, I'm probably keeping my EU2000i because it just rocks.

EDIT: I think I had to fill it up once every 16 hours, so almost a full day, can't remember exactly.

n1oty
06-06-2012, 08:26 AM
Anyone that is interested in these standby service inverter generators can find a nice lab report and side-by-side comparisons of four different generators, including the Honda, in the June issue of QST. This is the magazine of the American Radio Relay League. I believe anyone can sign up for a 90 guest subscription at no cost on their web site, www.arrl.org.

calsdad
06-06-2012, 08:59 AM
Have you learned that you should get a 240v generator and hook it up via a xfer switch to power your whole house? Next time you are around I will show you what I have.

Another piece of good advice.

Right now I am basically stuck with running a "ghetto rigged" setup every time my power goes out. I use a Honda EU2000i - which only supplies 120v. So essentially I only power one leg of the main breaker box. To supply power to the whole house - I pull the plug on my 240V compressor and put in a jumper plug so both sides of the breaker panel are being fed 120v

Before anybody freaks out - yes, I make absolutely sure I'm disconnected from the main feed.

APC makes a very nice disconnect panel - eventually, when it works it's way up the project list, I'm going to install one of those. And get a 240v generator

The point of all this is: you need to be aware that if you going to go with a 120v only generator - you will have to do something to send power to your whole house - if you want to do that.

Personally I don't like the standard disconnect switches that essentially only let you power certain circuits. I would rather have power to the whole house - and monitor what we turn on so as to not overload the generator. It's convenience in that you can power pretty much anything - you just have to watch yourself.

calsdad
06-06-2012, 09:05 AM
Glockaholic - can you run a refrigerator with that 2kva honda? Being able to run a fridge for 2 gal/day is a home run.

My Honda EU2000i will easily power the fridge, the circulator pump on the forced hot water heat - and some lights. Plus a TV set with AV setup. You just have to be careful because the fridge kick on will typically cause a dip before the gen speeds up to catch the load.

We can even run the microwave and or the hair dryer - as long as pretty much everything else is off and not drawing a load. That keeps the wife happy.

Someday - when I've got the $$, I would like to upgrade to the EU6500i - I'm pretty sure that would essentially power the whole house with no issues.

- - - Updated - - -


Anyone that is interested in these standby service inverter generators can find a nice lab report and side-by-side comparisons of four different generators, including the Honda, in the June issue of QST. This is the magazine of the American Radio Relay League. I believe anyone can sign up for a 90 guest subscription at no cost on their web site, www.arrl.org.

Do you know what the name of the review is? I'm looking on the site and can't seem to find it.

JimB
06-06-2012, 09:07 AM
I would avoid Natural Gas if you can.

Generators use an ungodly amount of natural gas. The average home generator on Natural Gas could easily run up a bill in the thousands in just a week if run constantly. Also, if the problem is wide spread, the possibility of the gas system having outages is quite high.

someone here in NES and in another thread re:generators said" they

have a 10KW generac generator and used approx $80 in d 4 days.

a neighbor ran a gas unit and used about the same amount.

the gas gen cones on automatically, you don;t even have to be home.

also natural gas has decreased dramatically in cost recently. i have

natural gas at home.

appraiser
06-06-2012, 09:12 AM
Glockaholic - can you run a refrigerator with that 2kva honda? Being able to run a fridge for 2 gal/day is a home run.

I can run my fridge and the forced hot water heating system easily on 2 gallons a day. They only come on sporadically and when they are not running the inverter goes into a low rpm mode to conserve gas. When there is demand it spins back up.

That is why we can top off the tank in the morning, go to work, and it will still be running when we get home.

dcmdon
06-06-2012, 09:28 AM
Originally Posted by terraformer
Have you learned that you should get a 240v generator and hook it up via a xfer switch to power your whole house? Next time you are around I will show you what I have.
--------------------------------------

This is one of the reasons I am so intrigued by the $300 3000/4000 watt harbor freight generator. This is a new product. Prior to them coming out with it, everything under 5000 watts that they offered was 120v.

This generator has two "hots" out of phase by 180deg. Just like 240v street power. So for $300 you can have a small/medium sized generator that you CAN tie into the house.

It is possible to feed your panel safely without a transfer switch. For years people simply popped the main breaker to protect any electrical workers. Then after removing the cover panel, popped a 2 pole breaker into the panel that was connected to the generator. This is perfectly safe.

Now there is a very clever kit out that does essentially the same thing, but makes it "idiotproof" :
http://www.interlockkit.com/?gclid=CJmBvILOubACFYeo4AodI1H_8A

A friend of mine who is an electrician has installed a couple of these and says they work great. Also, at $149, they are much less money than a transfer switch. Finally, they take up much less room than a transfer switch.

Hope this is useful to you.

drgrant
06-06-2012, 09:31 AM
If noise is something you are worried about then the Hondas should be at the top of your list.

I currently have an EU2000i - and it's been working good for the last couple of years. When it's running at it's low setting - it's hard to know that it's there unless you're standing right next to it.

A month or so I was at the dealer getting some parts for my weedwhacker - and somebody was checking out the Honda generators. He was interested in the EU6500si (the big one on wheels) - and the salesman started the thing up IN THE SHOWROOM - which was already relatively quiet. I was probably about 18 feet away from the thing - and it was quiet enough that you could have had a conversation right next to it without even speaking up.

It would have been louder if it was running harder from having a load on it - but I was impressed how quiet it was.

Having messed with a Honda 6500i in person, they are amazing. Even at high load it doesn't get that much louder... and the whole unit isn't much bigger than a dorm fridge.

-Mike

Chris
06-06-2012, 05:05 PM
Originally Posted by terraformer
Have you learned that you should get a 240v generator and hook it up via a xfer switch to power your whole house? Next time you are around I will show you what I have.
--------------------------------------

This is one of the reasons I am so intrigued by the $300 3000/4000 watt harbor freight generator. This is a new product. Prior to them coming out with it, everything under 5000 watts that they offered was 120v.

This generator has two "hots" out of phase by 180deg. Just like 240v street power. So for $300 you can have a small/medium sized generator that you CAN tie into the house.

It is possible to feed your panel safely without a transfer switch. For years people simply popped the main breaker to protect any electrical workers. Then after removing the cover panel, popped a 2 pole breaker into the panel that was connected to the generator. This is perfectly safe.

Now there is a very clever kit out that does essentially the same thing, but makes it "idiotproof" :
http://www.interlockkit.com/?gclid=CJmBvILOubACFYeo4AodI1H_8A

A friend of mine who is an electrician has installed a couple of these and says they work great. Also, at $149, they are much less money than a transfer switch. Finally, they take up much less room than a transfer switch.

Hope this is useful to you.

Pros: cheap, everything can be powered, easy

Cons: easy to overload, no simple control over device startup, no way to know when power comes back on.

You need to be sure what is on with this as every circuit is live. A transfer switch usually allows you to only power the circuits designated.

If too many things are drawing you can easily have the breakers trip as soon as you activate the circuit.

Not saying good or bad, just something to think about.


Sent from the bottom of my bowl of Cheerios.

pdm
06-06-2012, 05:14 PM
Having messed with a Honda 6500i in person, they are amazing. Even at high load it doesn't get that much louder... and the whole unit isn't much bigger than a dorm fridge.

-Mike

That's why I went with one. Of course, I have a well for water, a sump that needs to be running (we never seem to lose power without 40 days and nights of rain...) and electric hot water. It will also recharge the battery that's used to start it if you use the pull cord. Found that one out the hard way.

Friday
06-06-2012, 06:12 PM
Some of the higher-end generac systems I've investigated have a remote-controlled smart panel that lets you switch off less critical loads as needed when others kick in. I think there is some flexibility to that as well, where you can set which circuits receive power. It looked pretty slick, but since I'm an unemployed bum, I stopped shopping until I can spend again..

dcmdon
06-07-2012, 01:16 PM
Pros: cheap, everything can be powered, easy

Cons: easy to overload, no simple control over device startup, no way to know when power comes back on.

You need to be sure what is on with this as every circuit is live. A transfer switch usually allows you to only power the circuits designated.

If too many things are drawing you can easily have the breakers trip as soon as you activate the circuit.

Not saying good or bad, just something to think about.


Sent from the bottom of my bowl of Cheerios.

Most of this is not true Chris. Like I said, in a pinch I've powered houses by pulling the main breaker then snapping in a 2 pole breaker and connecting to the generator.

The solution to load management is that you simply turn off the breakers to the circuits you don't want "lit up".
You would have to do this if you used a transfer switch anyway. You wouldn't have to do this if you used a load center. The problem with a load center like the ones that come with some Generac generators is that you are locked into your decision on what to power.

With a standard transfer switch or this lockout, you manage your load with the actual breakers.

Regarding not knowing when the power comes back on, you have a good point. But remember, this would also be a problem with a manual transfer switch. If you have a digital meter, you can tell when the power is back on when the digits appear in the meter.

But there is a better solution. Its a simple power alarm called the PowerBack. It beeps when commercial power is restored:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=powerback&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=1595&bih=965&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1907617447894802564&sa=X&ei=ktPQT8vFO6mH6QGfjN17&ved=0CIcBEPICMAA

Its cheap, at $50 and does NOT require you to tie it into the panel. Just wrap the sensor wire around one of the hot legs and it will sense when voltage is present without contact.

Don

kman
07-18-2012, 10:48 AM
Has anyone ever performed a gasoline to tri-fuel conversion using a kit like one of these? (http://www.propane-generators.com/)

dcmdon
07-18-2012, 01:01 PM
Has anyone ever performed a gasoline to tri-fuel conversion using a kit like one of these? (http://www.propane-generators.com/)

If you do it, please report back. I'm interested in one of these. It would be nice to run off city gas if its available during a power outage. Although I'm not willing to count on it.

Don

Chet0729
07-18-2012, 01:09 PM
If you are worried about knowing when the power comes back on, getting the generator connected etc, just spend the money and get an automatic transfer switch. They are the best solution but they are not cheap. Some have a test cycle built in so you can exercise the generator once a week or once a month.

I just turn off my main and turn on the 220 breaker my generator is connected to. Then turn on the breakers one at a time to bring the load up gradually.

kman
07-18-2012, 01:21 PM
If you do it, please report back. I'm interested in one of these. It would be nice to run off city gas if its available during a power outage. Although I'm not willing to count on it.

Don


I have a 10hp Briggs&Stratton generator so I was thinking of the type C kit for $187. I am just mildly afraid it could blow up though.

dcmdon
07-18-2012, 01:46 PM
If you are worried about knowing when the power comes back on, getting the generator connected etc, just spend the money and get an automatic transfer switch.

This is not a good reason to get an auto transfer switch. A simple street power alarm for $50 will do the trick if you prefer the economy and simplicity of a manual Xfer switch.
I agree that its a good idea for a permanently installed generator. But for tying a portable into the house a main breaker lockout or a manual Xfer switch with the power alarm is all you need.

Don

Power alarm:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=powerback&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=1595&bih=965&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1907617447894802564&sa=X&ei=ktPQT8vFO6mH6QGfjN17&ved=0CIcBEPICMAA

derek
07-18-2012, 01:56 PM
Having messed with a Honda 6500i in person, they are amazing. Even at high load it doesn't get that much louder... and the whole unit isn't much bigger than a dorm fridge.

-Mike

I am going to get the 6500i with a propane conversion kit on it.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Honda-EU6500iSA-Tri-fuel.asp?page=EU6500iSA_Tri_Fuel

xjma99
07-18-2012, 03:28 PM
Holy crap, the triple-fuel capability (with no adjustments or anything) is amazing!! For people who live where there is town gas, you'd never have to worry about a thing!!

Another_David
07-18-2012, 04:14 PM
This is no reason to get an auto transfer switch.

Auto switch might come in handy if you're not home, it's raining and your fridge is full of meat. Else you might come home to a basement full or water and rotten food. Just saying.

RKG
07-18-2012, 04:36 PM
I would avoid Natural Gas if you can.

Generators use an ungodly amount of natural gas. The average home generator on Natural Gas could easily run up a bill in the thousands in just a week if run constantly. Also, if the problem is wide spread, the possibility of the gas system having outages is quite high.

Our experience with vapor fueled gensets is quite different, and the advantages of not having to deal with fuel management (gasoline goes bad in three months) and clean burning (at a 50-hour oil change on a vapor fueled 13 hp twin, the oil still looks brand new) far outweigh any fuel premium for a device that is run only occasionally.

dcmdon
07-18-2012, 04:42 PM
Auto switch might come in handy if you're not home, it's raining and your fridge is full of meat. Else you might come home to a basement full or water and rotten food. Just saying.

I agree completely. I was disagreeing with the comment that knowing when line power came on was a good reason for an auto transfer switch. It is not.

The scenario you used, is a great reason to get one. Its all about balancing convenience, reliability, and cost. A manual switch is cheaper and more reliable, but requires your intervention.

Another_David
07-18-2012, 04:46 PM
I agree completely. I was disagreeing with the comment that knowing when line power came on was a good reason for an auto transfer switch. It is not.

The scenario you used, is a great reason to get one. Its all about balancing convenience, reliability, and cost. A manual switch is cheaper and more reliable, but requires your intervention.

Ah, fair enough. I agree. I think I misread your post as *there* is no reason... My bad.

dcmdon
07-18-2012, 05:09 PM
Our experience with vapor fueled gensets is quite different, and the advantages of not having to deal with fuel management (gasoline goes bad in three months) and clean burning (at a 50-hour oil change on a vapor fueled 13 hp twin, the oil still looks brand new) far outweigh any fuel premium for a device that is run only occasionally.

I think with a pad a paper and access to google, you could come up with a decent idea of what a generator cost per hour to run on NG.

Start with the cost per therm, and convert that to cost per BTU.

Then convert fuel burn of gasoline - figure half load - into BTU/hr. I don't have the time to do it now, but the conversion is pretty straight forward.

One other thing. You can't go by 5 year anecdotal evidence when figuring NG cost. My local utility now charges $0.36/therm. In July 2008, they charged $1.53/therm. This is a direct result of the glut of natural gas that hydrofracking has caused.

. . ok, the suspense is killing me.

I'll do the math now.

1 Therm = 100,000 btu
1 Gallon of gas contains 114,000 btu (Holy crap. One therm of NG has about 90% the energy of a gallon of gasoline and cost 36 cents!!)

The 7000 watt Coleman powermate advertises 10 hours on a 8 gal tank at 50% load. So thats .8 gal/hr
.8 gal/hr x 114,000 BTU = 91,200 BTU/hr

If we assume the same thermodynamic efficiency with NG vs Gasoline that would translate into

.912 Therms at $0.36/therm = $0.33 per hour to run a 7000 watt generator at half throttle on NG.

Even if we assume that NG is less thermodynamically efficient because a NG flame is cooler than a gasoline flame, and round up to $0.50/hr,

thats only $12/day

Wow. If anyone wants to take my logic or my math to task feel free. I'm looking for the truth, not trying to make a point.

Don



Ah, fair enough. I agree. I think I misread your post as *there* is no reason... My bad.

Good point. I just edited my post to make it more clear.

06LemansC6
07-18-2012, 10:01 PM
Auto switch might come in handy if you're not home, it's raining and your fridge is full of meat. Else you might come home to a basement full or water and rotten food. Just saying.

How long are you gone for that the fridge wont stay cold enough to keep your meat from spoiling? Them puppies are pretty well insulated. If you depend on a sump pump you have a valid argument. For me it isn't worth it. We've already been through the once in a lifetime flood events and the basement remained bone dry. I think I'm safe.

Chet0729
07-19-2012, 12:48 AM
This is not a good reason to get an auto transfer switch. A simple street power alarm for $50 will do the trick if you prefer the economy and simplicity of a manual Xfer switch.
I agree that its a good idea for a permanently installed generator. But for tying a portable into the house a main breaker lockout or a manual Xfer switch with the power alarm is all you need.

Don

Power alarm:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=powerback&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=1595&bih=965&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1907617447894802564&sa=X&ei=ktPQT8vFO6mH6QGfjN17&ved=0CIcBEPICMAA

You missed my point. It wasn't just about knowing when the power comes on it was about the whole management aspect of it. With an auto transfer the generator will start, transfer, run after the power comes back on for a short time then transfer back all unattended. This is great for people who lose power a lot and are not home.
The auto transfer switches are expensive but it is the ultimate if you have a whole house generator

pdm
07-19-2012, 02:18 AM
I am going to get the 6500i with a propane conversion kit on it.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Honda-EU6500iSA-Tri-fuel.asp?page=EU6500iSA_Tri_Fuel

Mine's only gasoline, but that generator rocks out. I ran off it for a couple of days last fall during the October storm. Worked from home and had no issues with the power output and my computers. Getting the conversion might be a solid idea, but we don't have NG available on my street, so far as I know.

derek
07-19-2012, 08:40 AM
Mine's only gasoline, but that generator rocks out. I ran off it for a couple of days last fall during the October storm. Worked from home and had no issues with the power output and my computers. Getting the conversion might be a solid idea, but we don't have NG available on my street, so far as I know.

Propane, get a couple of 100lb tanks and forget about it.

JimB
07-19-2012, 08:49 AM
Some of the higher-end generac systems I've investigated have a remote-controlled smart panel that lets you switch off less critical loads as needed when others kick in. I think there is some flexibility to that as well, where you can set which circuits receive power. It looked pretty slick, but since I'm an unemployed bum, I stopped shopping until I can spend again..


Generacs smart switch powers the whole panel, if you overload the

generator the breaker at the generator will pop. So in effiect the

whole house has power, unlike other transfer swithes that are wired

to specific breakers. 100 AMP smart switch is around $300-350.

RKG
07-19-2012, 09:14 AM
Propane, get a couple of 100lb tanks and forget about it.

You actually have to do a bit more than simply calculate the size of the propane tanks based on the quantity of gas you think you'll need before a re-fill can be achieved.

Propane in a tank is a liquid, with a small amount vaporized into a pressurized gas at the top of the tank. (This is why a propane tank or bottle cannot be over-filled.) In general, the level of vapor pressure in the system is not primarily a function of how full the tank is, but rather the temperature of the tank (and, thus, ambient air where it is located), but when the liquid level gets below a certain point, operating vapor pressure will fall (and pretty quickly). Internal combustion engines running on propane require a minimum vapor pressure to keep running, and the gating consideration will be the coldest day of the winter. As a result, for a decent sized genset (8-20 kW), while you could run the thing for a couple of days on 50-gallon tank, our experience is that you need a minimum of two 100-gallon tanks Siamezed to sustain a minimum winter vapor pressure.

There can be similar issues when running a vapor fueled genset on street gas. Most sets are designed to run on a minimum of 11-14 column inches of water pressure (27.7 column inches water equals about one PSIg). In many towns, the gas pressure at residential connections may be much less (we've found 5-6 col.-in. not uncommon). Short of installing a gas line pressurizer (very expensive and not feasible in a residence), in those places you have to convert to propane.

One final caveat about vapor fueling a genset. People think running street gas you can keep the genset running "forever," and even with a properly sized propane install you can keep it running continuously for the duration of most outage events. Those statements may be true as a matter of fuel supply, but you have to remember that the set should be shut down every 50-100 hours of continuous running for an oil and filter change.

All of the foregoing notwithstanding, anyone with experience in this field will agree that vapor fueling is the way to go if at all feasible in any situation.

pdm
07-19-2012, 09:47 AM
Propane, get a couple of 100lb tanks and forget about it.

Getting propane in is my next big project for the house. It's going to have to wait, unfortunately.

Another_David
07-19-2012, 10:56 AM
Propane in a tank is a liquid, with a small amount vaporized into a pressurized gas at the top of the tank. (This is why a propane tank or bottle cannot be over-filled.)

You mean, propane tanks SHOULD NOT be over filled because they certainly CAN be over filled to create an unsafe condition--particularly the larger tanks which don't have the OPD valve. Tanks are typically filled to about 80% actual capacity and that's considered 100% full.

Billsail
07-19-2012, 03:31 PM
You actually have to do a bit more than simply calculate the size of the propane tanks based on the quantity of gas you think you'll need before a re-fill can be achieved.

Propane in a tank is a liquid, with a small amount vaporized into a pressurized gas at the top of the tank. (This is why a propane tank or bottle cannot be over-filled.) In general, the level of vapor pressure in the system is not primarily a function of how full the tank is, but rather the temperature of the tank (and, thus, ambient air where it is located), but when the liquid level gets below a certain point, operating vapor pressure will fall (and pretty quickly). Internal combustion engines running on propane require a minimum vapor pressure to keep running, and the gating consideration will be the coldest day of the winter. As a result, for a decent sized genset (8-20 kW), while you could run the thing for a couple of days on 50-gallon tank, our experience is that you need a minimum of two 100-gallon tanks Siamezed to sustain a minimum winter vapor pressure.

There can be similar issues when running a vapor fueled genset on street gas. Most sets are designed to run on a minimum of 11-14 column inches of water pressure (27.7 column inches water equals about one PSIg). In many towns, the gas pressure at residential connections may be much less (we've found 5-6 col.-in. not uncommon). Short of installing a gas line pressurizer (very expensive and not feasible in a residence), in those places you have to convert to propane.

One final caveat about vapor fueling a genset. People think running street gas you can keep the genset running "forever," and even with a properly sized propane install you can keep it running continuously for the duration of most outage events. Those statements may be true as a matter of fuel supply, but you have to remember that the set should be shut down every 50-100 hours of continuous running for an oil and filter change.

All of the foregoing notwithstanding, anyone with experience in this field will agree that vapor fueling is the way to go if at all feasible in any situation.


This is good info. I was able to pipe in to NG. If you have natural gas at your house, that is the way you should go.

RKG
07-19-2012, 03:44 PM
You mean, propane tanks SHOULD NOT be over filled because they certainly CAN be over filled to create an unsafe condition--particularly the larger tanks which don't have the OPD valve. Tanks are typically filled to about 80% actual capacity and that's considered 100% full.

Quite correct; that is exactly what I meant.

Consumer-sized bottles have OPDs that pretty much prevent over-filling (either accidental or intentional), but large tanks do not. On the other hand, large tanks are usually filled by people who know what they are doing, and many now have liquid level gauges to make that process more precise.

GomerPile
07-19-2012, 04:25 PM
Building an off grid house and been doing a bit of math on this topic.

+ An EU2000i generator running on LP uses .101G @ 50%, .206G @ 75%, and .297 @ 100%.
+ A 500 gallon LP tank owned by you costs about $1800 installed.

Running 6 hours per day @ 50% load: 6.76 days of run time on a 4.1 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @ 100% load: 2.3 days of run time on a 4.1 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @ 50% load: 825 days of run time on a 500 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @100% load: 280 days of run time on a 500 gallon tank

chuckster
07-19-2012, 08:39 PM
Building an off grid house and been doing a bit of math on this topic.

+ An EU2000i generator running on LP uses .101G @ 50%, .206G @ 75%, and .297 @ 100%.
+ A 500 gallon LP tank owned by you costs about $1800 installed.

Running 6 hours per day @ 50% load: 6.76 days of run time on a 4.1 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @ 100% load: 2.3 days of run time on a 4.1 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @ 50% load: 825 days of run time on a 500 gallon tank
Running 6 hours per day @100% load: 280 days of run time on a 500 gallon tank

Could you share where you got that data. I have a 500 gallon propane tank & a new 6500 watt generac generator. If I convert to propane for the generator I was wondering what the fuel consumption would be. The propane tank is used for cooking, heat and hot water.

GomerPile
07-19-2012, 09:17 PM
http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp


Could you share where you got that data. I have a 500 gallon propane tank & a new 6500 watt generac generator. If I convert to propane for the generator I was wondering what the fuel consumption would be. The propane tank is used for cooking, heat and hot water.

chuckster
07-19-2012, 09:22 PM
http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp

Thanks Gomer.

dcmdon
07-19-2012, 11:01 PM
This is good info. I was able to pipe in to NG. If you have natural gas at your house, that is the way you should go.

Does anyone have any reali insight into how often grid provided natural gas goes "off line" ?

For most of us, the most likely use of a generator is after a weather emergency: hurricane, ice storm, snow storm, etc.
Does "city gas" typically stay "up" in situations like this?

Its funny. While I'm fairly knowledgable on generators in general, I've just moved to Arlington and have city gas for the first time. My other residence in CT has 400 gal of LP gas that I also use for heat, hot water, cooking.

For what its worth, my neighborhood got wacked yesterday by what they're calling a microburst. I have lived through every hurricane the northeast has gotten hit by since Bell in the 70s and this wind was worse than any of them. We lost 100 trees within a half mile radius of my house. . . and I didn't lose power. Ha.

Coyote33
07-19-2012, 11:44 PM
So people don't have to retype their setup (again):

generators! (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/50760-generators!?highlight=generator)

n1oty
07-19-2012, 11:48 PM
Natural gas infrastructure is generally better than the electrical grid because it is not as exposed. Quake prone areas may not be so good for gas, but that is not much of a problem around here.

dcmdon
07-20-2012, 05:46 PM
I understand that w respect to quakes. But that's not much of a risk around here. A bigger risk is winter storms, noreasters, and hurricanes But if you are in an urban area, how likely is it for gas to go off durring prolonged power outages?

Another_David
07-20-2012, 06:27 PM
I understand that w respect to quakes. But that's not much of a risk around here. A bigger risk is winter storms, noreasters, and hurricanes But if you are in an urban area, how likely is it for gas to go off durring prolonged power outages?

FWIW, I've had gas (er, you know) for fifteen years and it's never been off. I'm sure there are others that can attest to longer times. Biggest risk is probably the home owner digging in the front yard and rupturing the pipe.

edin508
07-20-2012, 08:30 PM
Over 40 years in this house and the gas has only been shut off once due to a leak down the street.

dcmdon
07-23-2012, 07:52 AM
Thats great info.

I've got 400 gal of propane at my place in CT and city gas in MA. Wondering if its worth backing up the city gas with a 100 lb container of propane.
Based on your answer and other stuff I've found on the web, which seems to indicate that city gas doesn't typically go down durring hurricanes/wind storms/ice storms - I may not prepare for that contingency in MA.

kman
07-23-2012, 03:08 PM
If you do it, please report back. I'm interested in one of these. It would be nice to run off city gas if its available during a power outage. Although I'm not willing to count on it.

Don

I ordered it and it's coming in tomorrow. I watched some of the videos on youtube on how to install it and it looks simple. I should know pretty soon how it works.

kman
07-25-2012, 01:22 PM
i got it installed easy enough last night, in about an hour. I thought I could just use the hose\regulator off of my smoker but it needs a male connector for IN side to it and the size is funky too. After a little bit of investigation on their website, I saw the hose/regulator (http://www.propane-generators.com/natural-propane-swap.htm) they sell for $49 has a specific flow rate as well for this application as well. I ordered their approved hose today so wait another week to see if it works. Sorry for the delay.

smokey-seven
07-26-2012, 08:49 AM
I have intimate familiarity with natural gas systems. In short, you can count on natural gas in this area with more confidence than any other generator fuel supply. Even gasoline and propane needs to be resupplied. If you have a prolonged electrical outage, the gas stations cannot pump gas to refill your portable tanks. Refilling gasoline in a hot generator is hazardous. Severe weather like the blizzard of 78 also stops the propane delivery. NG is the way to go, propane is second if there is no NG service.

N gas is most commonly interrupted by leakage and the required shutting down of a main. I can think of about 4 times small areas of my city have had an interruption of service and that was for a relatively short time of digging and repair.

Rob Boudrie
07-26-2012, 09:02 AM
N gas is most commonly interrupted by leakage and the required shutting down of a main. I can think of about 4 times small areas of my city have had an interruption of service and that was for a relatively short time of digging and repair.

And, since those leakages are generally not caused by storms, there is little chance of a correlated outage or NG and gasoline.

It's like safes - a 12 gauge safe will stop 90+% or residential burgulars, and gasoline will handle most outages as you can usually drive a few miles to find a station with power. Both systems can be increased in reliability by moving to a more expensive option, but you spend more and more dollars to cover a smaller and smaller percentage of the scenarios.

NG is not practical for me (not going to be in this house many years, outlet for portable generator already present) so I'm going with gasoilne. Since I need clean power, like toys, and my wife told me to "just buy the good one", it looks like an EU6500i.

dcmdon
07-26-2012, 09:25 AM
Smokey - thanks for your input. Thats exactly what I was looking for.


And, since those leakages are generally not caused by storms, there is little chance of a correlated outage or NG and gasoline.



I was thinking exactly the same thing. I've done a little research and found that most NG pumping stations run on generators powered by . . . NG, and as such don't rely on the grid for power. And since they are literally connected to the gas system, they can run indefinitely.

Based on this, I'm leaning more towards the cheap Harbor Freight generator with a Propane/NG conversion. Propane for CT, where' I've got 400 gal behind my barn and NG for MA, where I'm hooked up to the city grid.

Fuel efficiency isn't a big deal in either case so no Honda Inverter for me. Although I'd love to get one. For some electronics, the HF has a 12 v output that can be used to run a small inverter. I've also got an old APC ups that actually converts the 120 to 12v dc, then recreates true sine wave 120v AC. Not terribly efficient, but clean.

Its interesting how differing requirements leads to different conclusions.

One other thought. When we got hit by Irene last year, we were out for 5 days. One of the things I ended up doing is recharging laptops, ipads and phones on the inverter that had clamped to the battery of my idling car. Its not the most efficient generator, but it got stuff charged.

If you don't have a lot of cash, a cheap $30 inverter connected to your car can get you 120v ac for the essentials.

Don

eisenhow
07-26-2012, 09:38 AM
Will your ups run and or charge from dirty generator power? Mine won't, finding one that will is onmy to do list.

F2blica
07-26-2012, 09:47 AM
Has anyone ever performed a gasoline to tri-fuel conversion using a kit like one of these? (http://www.propane-generators.com/)

I did three of them on Briggs engines, one for me, my dad and my sister. I purchased the C kits from the company you posted the link to, which doesn't modify the carb in any way. When I did the initial install I ran my generator on gasoline, then propane and finally Natural Gas. The engine ran great on all three fuels. When I finished the install I removed my carb and cleaned it of any trace of gasoline and put it away about 2years ago. Last month we lost power, I rolled it out and hooked it up to the quick disconnect I installed , turned on the gas valve, hit the prime valve on the regulator and in one pull she started without a hitch. I like the option of being able to run it on three different fuels. The biggest advantage for me is not having to worry about gasoline going bad in a carb. With the ethanol in the gas we have now it doesn't take long for it go to bad and wreak havoc on the carb. After I did my conversion and being satisfied with the results I converted my Dad's and Sister's generators. In over 30 years I can't think of one time that we lost our natural gas service. BTW from what I read while researching the conversion, a typical 8hp B&S engine would burn 5 gals of gas in an 8 hour period. The same engine running on propane would use up a 20lb bottle in the same time frame. Around here gasoline is approx $3.59/gal x 5 gals = $28.72 a 20 lb propane refill is approx $16.00 ~$18.00 I believe natural gas is even cheaper than propane.

GomerPile
07-26-2012, 10:28 AM
Agreed, I recently had a can of gas that was about 5 months old and my lawn mower ran very poorly on it....and I store all my gas with stabil in it. If you cant keep gas for more than 5 months or so, then its not a solution for power in a long term emergency. In an off grid home/cabin its ok provided you use it up regularly. I'm told that there are places to get gas without ethanol in it....maybe thats an option.

Propane never goes bad and a 500 gallon tank can provide years of power if you ration it. I'm putting in a large propane tank at my new place, just trying to decide how large to make it.




The biggest advantage for me is not having to worry about gasoline going bad in a carb. With the ethanol in the gas we have now it doesn't take long for it go to bad and wreak havoc on the carb.

dcmdon
07-26-2012, 01:31 PM
Will your ups run and or charge from dirty generator power? Mine won't, finding one that will is onmy to do list.

Yes it will.

If you google the term "double conversion" with UPS or line conditioner, you will find what you are looking for. They're called double conversion because they first convert the dirty 120 VAC power to 12 VDC, then they convert it back to 120 VAC with a built in inverter.

Don

Kevin_NH
07-28-2012, 01:28 PM
Will your ups run and or charge from dirty generator power? Mine won't, finding one that will is on my to do list.

Yes it will.
If you google the term "double conversion" with UPS or line conditioner, you will find what you are looking for. They're called double conversion because they first convert the dirty 120 VAC power to 12 VDC, then they convert it back to 120 VAC with a built in inverter.

Quite a few UPS, including double-conversion models, will not take the line power from a generator if it's too far off-spec, and few non-industrial-grade UPSes are warrantied to run from a generator or inverter; one exception is Eaton.

dcmdon
07-28-2012, 09:26 PM
I don't know if its that the generator I used put out good power, or my UPS was very tolerant, but I didn't have any problem after Irene.

Even still, thank you for the input. Its definitely something to check if I purchase the HF. Now that we're in MA, I don't have the support system we had in CT. This included access to lots of tools that I didn't need to own if I used them rarely. That's put a generator purchase near the top of my list.

kman
07-30-2012, 06:22 PM
I did three of them on Briggs engines, one for me, my dad and my sister. I purchased the C kits from the company you posted the link to, which doesn't modify the carb in any way. When I did the initial install I ran my generator on gasoline, then propane and finally Natural Gas. The engine ran great on all three fuels. When I finished the install I removed my carb and cleaned it of any trace of gasoline and put it away about 2years ago. Last month we lost power, I rolled it out and hooked it up to the quick disconnect I installed , turned on the gas valve, hit the prime valve on the regulator and in one pull she started without a hitch. I like the option of being able to run it on three different fuels. The biggest advantage for me is not having to worry about gasoline going bad in a carb. With the ethanol in the gas we have now it doesn't take long for it go to bad and wreak havoc on the carb. After I did my conversion and being satisfied with the results I converted my Dad's and Sister's generators. In over 30 years I can't think of one time that we lost our natural gas service. BTW from what I read while researching the conversion, a typical 8hp B&S engine would burn 5 gals of gas in an 8 hour period. The same engine running on propane would use up a 20lb bottle in the same time frame. Around here gasoline is approx $3.59/gal x 5 gals = $28.72 a 20 lb propane refill is approx $16.00 ~$18.00 I believe natural gas is even cheaper than propane.

Thanks. I got this one working now too once I got the proper hose from them. Cost 250 in the end with hose and shipping. The installation guide was a little goofy because the hardware they sent me didn't exactly match the pictures or guidance in it. Also, I had an issue with carb mixer piece they send you. Since it adds onto your existing carb, my air filter cover wouldn't fit back on because it was hitting the generator's frame. I had to modify it a bit with a saw to make it fit back on. Nothing major. I give it 2 thumbs up in the end.

Underwhere
10-01-2012, 01:09 AM
Bumping this thread.

I just bought a Powermate PM0497000 8750 Surge and 7000 running watts.
I bought it for the Honda engine (13-HP OHV Honda GX390 4-Cycle Engine)
An 8 gallon tank runs the thing roughly 11 hours on 50% load.

Opinions?

I figured I could go with other brands that offer more options but I keep reading stories about other brands failing.
I always hear Honda is best.

n1oty
10-01-2012, 08:34 AM
Bumping this thread.

I just bought a Powermate PM0497000 8750 Surge and 7000 running watts.
I bought it for the Honda engine (13-HP OHV Honda GX390 4-Cycle Engine)
An 8 gallon tank runs the thing roughly 11 hours on 50% load.

Opinions?

I figured I could go with other brands that offer more options but I keep reading stories about other brands failing.
I always hear Honda is best.


Love the Honda gas engines. They are reliable. Understand, though, that only the engine is manufactured by Honda on this generator.

appraiser
10-01-2012, 08:49 AM
Bumping this thread.

I just bought a Powermate PM0497000 8750 Surge and 7000 running watts.
I bought it for the Honda engine (13-HP OHV Honda GX390 4-Cycle Engine)
An 8 gallon tank runs the thing roughly 11 hours on 50% load.

Opinions?

I figured I could go with other brands that offer more options but I keep reading stories about other brands failing.
I always hear Honda is best.

Honda makes a top notch product, no question about it.

what is your goal?

SHTF electricity?

18 gallons a day at 4 bucks a gallon is 72 bucks a day, try being off the grid in an ice storm situation for a week and ask yourself where you are going to get that much fuel (short of siphoning) when there is no gas for 15 miles in any direction.

I am in Southern NH and been in that situation twice in the last 4 years, which is why my fuel strategy has me using 4 gallons a day. That is heat, lights, fridge, electronics, and my well pump.

Six 5 gallon gas cans can keep me up and running for a week, keeps you running for a day.

Underwhere
10-01-2012, 10:27 AM
Glockaholic what is your strategy? I can always cancel my order before it ships

natf
10-01-2012, 03:24 PM
I suspect he's running a pair of Honda EU2000i. I don't have a well pump and run my house on a single EU2000i. I use less than 3 gallons of fuel a day running 24/7 with oil fired baseboard heat (w/power vent), fridge, chest freezer, lights and a TV. Voltage sags slightly when the burner kicks on but that's it. A pair of EU2000i might be able to run his well pump as needed plus the rest.

dcmdon
10-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Glockaholic what is your strategy? I can always cancel my order before it ships

How much was it? If its a lot less than an EU2000 then maybe you just stockpile av gas, which never goes bad.

Its really about money vs fuel efficiency. I don't put any value on the fact that a honda generator may run 5000 hours between overhauls since even the cheapest
of these generators will never actually get worn out. They will fail because someone didn't properly prepare them for storage after they were used.

Prior to Irene last year, I went to my local power equipment company to buy some extra blades for my chainsaws. The guy had a dozen generators in the shop waiting for him to rebuild the carburetor.
People had tried to test their generators with the storm approaching and discovered they wouldn't start because the carbs were all crudded up. Or the older generators, the alcohol in the fuel they stored it with had crapped up the rubber and plastic fittings in the fuel system.

Fun stuff.

Executive
10-01-2012, 04:19 PM
I love a good NES generator thread!

Chris

RKG
10-01-2012, 05:00 PM
Honda makes a top notch product, no question about it.

what is your goal?

SHTF electricity?

18 gallons a day at 4 bucks a gallon is 72 bucks a day, try being off the grid in an ice storm situation for a week and ask yourself where you are going to get that much fuel (short of siphoning) when there is no gas for 15 miles in any direction.

I am in Southern NH and been in that situation twice in the last 4 years, which is why my fuel strategy has me using 4 gallons a day. That is heat, lights, fridge, electronics, and my well pump.

Six 5 gallon gas cans can keep me up and running for a week, keeps you running for a day.

The only problem with six 5-gallon gas cans is that you have to find some way to keep that fuel turned over -- it will go bad in a month or two -- and then stick to it. Fuel management is the bane of liquid-fueled genset installations.

economist
10-01-2012, 05:26 PM
Bumping this thread.

I just bought a Powermate PM0497000 8750 Surge and 7000 running watts.
I bought it for the Honda engine (13-HP OHV Honda GX390 4-Cycle Engine)
An 8 gallon tank runs the thing roughly 11 hours on 50% load.

Opinions?

I figured I could go with other brands that offer more options but I keep reading stories about other brands failing.
I always hear Honda is best.

Great engine, but I don't know anything about the generating components in this one.


The only problem with six 5-gallon gas cans is that you have to find some way to keep that fuel turned over -- it will go bad in a month or two -- and then stick to it. Fuel management is the bane of liquid-fueled genset installations.

I have a Honda EU6500i and 25 gallons of fuel on hand -- about 2 days, give or take, depending on load. After that, it could turn to siphoning from the cars, but at some point if the world melts the lights are going out, so a reasonable middle ground -- the 95% solution -- seems good enough. As for fuel, every quarter I pour any gas on hand into the cars, refill, and add stabilizer.

dcmdon
10-01-2012, 05:33 PM
The only problem with six 5-gallon gas cans is that you have to find some way to keep that fuel turned over -- it will go bad in a month or two -- and then stick to it. Fuel management is the bane of liquid-fueled genset installations.

My dad has something similar to this for his race car. It holds 20 gal.

http://justgastanks.com/product_info.php?products_id=1836&osCsid=100f2d56c11d2a429b6a528e2b4cb147

Like I said above. AvGas, in particular 100LL is good for 20+ years and no alcohol.

Underwhere
10-01-2012, 11:09 PM
I suspect he's running a pair of Honda EU2000i. I don't have a well pump and run my house on a single EU2000i. I use less than 3 gallons of fuel a day running 24/7 with oil fired baseboard heat (w/power vent), fridge, chest freezer, lights and a TV. Voltage sags slightly when the burner kicks on but that's it. A pair of EU2000i might be able to run his well pump as needed plus the rest.

I called a place to look into that. Sounded very appealing but the guy on the phone said that most likely my well pump was 220 and that a pair of EU2000's "might" be able to handle that but it was iffy.

He said he himself has access to discounted pricing with both Honda and Yamaha and he uses a Yamaha 6000 watt or 6500 I forget.

I considered for a moment cancelling my order and going with 2 EU2000's but if it won't run my pump then I'm sort of screwed.


How much was it? If its a lot less than an EU2000 then maybe you just stockpile av gas, which never goes bad.


It was 1160 delivered.
Where can you get AV gas? How much is it compared to standard gas?

mikem317
10-01-2012, 11:11 PM
Keep the Honda EU2000is. And get a third generator that will cycle the pump. Might be a royal PITA but just power on the big genny when the pump needs to cycle.

dcmdon
10-01-2012, 11:25 PM
You can get a loud thirsty but reliable 6000 watt generator from harbor freight for less than $600

appraiser
10-01-2012, 11:28 PM
Glockaholic what is your strategy? I can always cancel my order before it ships

I started out with one EU2000i and a 5KW honda generator

the Inverter feeds one side of the transfer panel and runs 4 circuits, Fridge outlet, Forced Hot Water boiler, family room lights and electronics, master bedroom.

When I need my well or to power the other circuits on the transfer panel I go over to the generator, but usually not for more than an hour a day tops.

I did get a deal on a second Honda EU2000i so I tether them together now so when the boiler and fridge cycle together there is still plenty of juice. The single one tends to get pushed to the limits when 2 motors are starting up.

When I go to bed at night I only run one of the inverters and it handles the load just fine.

I can run on less than 4 gallons a day easily. I rotate the fuel out at the rate of 5 gallons a month into the car and refill with fresh fuel so nothing is ever more than 6 months old.


I find the 2 EU2000i's are more portable than a single 3500 watt inverter, I get more capacity from the 2 smaller units when tethered, even brand new 2 EU2000i's ( 1 regular, 1 "companion" model that is set up to tether) are cheaper than a 3.5Kw unit.

They are whisper quiet..so the bad guys will steal the generators that are screaming at 3600 rpm and announcing to the world their location.

greeniron
10-01-2012, 11:31 PM
There are about 500 threads about this but I would say a Military MEP-002A diesel, rated at 5KW but will produce closer to 7.5KW-10Kw.

Got one of these and I love it. It is loud but works great. Look into Goverment auctions for surplus equipment they can be had for cheap. And some of them come mounted on a trailer as well.

Underwhere
10-01-2012, 11:37 PM
I started out with one EU2000i and a 5KW honda generator

the Inverter feeds one side of the transfer panel and runs 4 circuits, Fridge outlet, Forced Hot Water boiler, family room lights and electronics, master bedroom.

When I need my well or to power the other circuits on the transfer panel I go over to the generator, but usually not for more than an hour a day tops.

I did get a deal on a second Honda EU2000i so I tether them together now so when the boiler and fridge cycle together there is still plenty of juice. The single one tends to get pushed to the limits when 2 motors are starting up.

When I go to bed at night I only run one of the inverters and it handles the load just fine.

I can run on less than 4 gallons a day easily. I rotate the fuel out at the rate of 5 gallons a month into the car and refill with fresh fuel so nothing is ever more than 6 months old.


I find the 2 EU2000i's are more portable than a single 3500 watt inverter, I get more capacity from the 2 smaller units when tethered, even brand new 2 EU2000i's ( 1 regular, 1 "companion" model that is set up to tether) are cheaper than a 3.5Kw unit.

They are whisper quiet..so the bad guys will steal the generators that are screaming at 3600 rpm and announcing to the world their location.

Interesting. Good plan.
To me it sounds more like a goal than a practical option for me right now. While I agree everything you said makes sense...financially I can't buy 3 generators at once.

I think the Powermate will have to do for now...and I'll pick up EU2000's as I can find them sometime down the road when i have a spare dollar to my name.

appraiser
10-01-2012, 11:41 PM
I called a place to look into that. Sounded very appealing but the guy on the phone said that most likely my well pump was 220 and that a pair of EU2000's "might" be able to handle that but it was iffy.

He said he himself has access to discounted pricing with both Honda and Yamaha and he uses a Yamaha 6000 watt or 6500 I forget.

I considered for a moment cancelling my order and going with 2 EU2000's but if it won't run my pump then I'm sort of screwed.



It was 1160 delivered.
Where can you get AV gas? How much is it compared to standard gas?

I can get EU2000i's for 925, I think the Companion models are closer to 995 but I forget.

If you have a well and need 220 any cheap contractor screamer generator will do the job, I got a deal on 2 new Honda generators, one for here, one for Mom's house so I bought them. If I was on a budget any Home Depot special would have sufficed to run the well pump.

The EU2000's will only do 120v, 13.3 amps each with some extra capacity that will kick in for 30 seconds to start a motor.

AV gas... super expensive, about 7 bucks a gallon... just rotate 5 gallons of regular unleaded a month into a car and replace with fresh fuel, move it to the back of the line.

dcmdon
10-01-2012, 11:52 PM
Barnes in Westfield has 100LL for $5.65. Others aren't much more.

So you pay a $1.70/gal extra and you never have to touch anything for years. It seems like a no-brainer to me. But to each his own.

If you are interested, go to 100LL.com for pricing near you.

Glock - if the EU2000s are tethered, do they put out 220? So you can tie them into both legs of your panel?

appraiser
10-01-2012, 11:55 PM
nope 120 only, the benefit is an extra 1600 watts

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/neggytive/2011-11-15_14-58-00_278.jpg

dcmdon
10-02-2012, 12:09 AM
So you have to make sure that everything you want to run off the generator is on the same leg? or do you power them some other way?

economist
10-02-2012, 12:21 AM
Barnes in Westfield has 100LL for $5.65. Others aren't much more.

So you pay a $1.70/gal extra and you never have to touch anything for years. It seems like a no-brainer to me. But to each his own.

If you are interested, go to 100LL.com for pricing near you.

Glock - if the EU2000s are tethered, do they put out 220? So you can tie them into both legs of your panel?

I don't know anything about this 100LL fuel. Having fuel with practically indefinite shelf life sounds great, but I wonder how it would affect my generator.

My generator manual says:


Use regular unleaded gasoline with a pump octane rating of 86 or higher. You may use regular unleaded gasoline containing no more than 10% Ethanol (E10) or 5% Methanol by volume. In addition, Methanol must contain cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors.

But it looks like (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avgas#100LL) this 100LL stuff does contain lead:


The most commonly used aviation fuel is 100LL, i.e., "low lead". It is dyed blue and contains a relatively small amount of tetraethyl lead—though the amount is greater than what was contained in many automotive grades of leaded fuel before such fuel was phased out. As of Jan 2010, 100LL has a TEL content of 1.2 to 2 grams TEL[9] per US gallon (0.3–0.5 g/l) and is the most commonly available and used aviation gasoline. One gram of TEL contains 600 milligrams of lead.

So what's the thinking on using this stuff (or some other variety of aviation fuel) in a generator designed for unleaded gas?

appraiser
10-02-2012, 12:41 AM
since there is not a catalytic converter in the EU2000i, 100ll should run in it.

btw there is a 20 hour initial valve adjust and 100 hrs after that, takes an hour to do.

there are also aftermarket propane conversions for them

appraiser
10-02-2012, 12:50 AM
So you have to make sure that everything you want to run off the generator is on the same leg? or do you power them some other way?

except for the well pump, 99% of what I need to stay in the house is on 4 circuits that the inverters run on the right side of the panel

when I need my well pump, outdoor lights, garage door openers and a couple of other things I run the generator. The generator runs the 4 on the right, 4 on the left, and 2 ganged together on the bottom for the 220v well pump. A short adapter cord connects the inverter output plug to the right leg of the L14-30 / 10-4 generator cable.
I am set up to have power back on in 5 minutes, and to have heat,lights, tv internet and not loosing the contents of my fridge for a week without having to go looking for fuel or siphoning out of the motorcycles or trucks

as I have said many times before, anyone can power their whole house with the right equipment, it is keeping that equipment fueled for extended runs is the problem

GomerPile
10-02-2012, 07:32 AM
Thought this would fit well in this thread. The survival podcast did a show on fuel storage: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/harris-on-fuel-storage.

Summary:
This guy is using 15 gallon hdpe water containers and PRI-G preservative to store gas for over a year. The 15 gallon drums are super heavy duty and can be sealed airtight with a special wrench. They are stackable and easy to move by one person compared to a 55g drum.

n1oty
10-02-2012, 08:41 AM
Got one of these and I love it. It is loud but works great. Look into Goverment auctions for surplus equipment they can be had for cheap. And some of them come mounted on a trailer as well.

Me too. I got one early in 2011 along with an M101A2 surplus trailer. Not as nice as the M116 series generator trailers, but it works well. My MEP-002A was completely rebuilt to new standards at the ASLAC facility in 2009, then went into strategic storage for a little over a year before being surplused. I have ALL of the paperwork from the rebuild.

I like the fact that it is:
A. A diesel.
B. Will readily take other fuel (jet fuels, kero, wmo, etc.)
C. Can run from an off-generator fuel source.
D. Easily puts out way more than 5 kW.
E. Redundant fuel pumps.

I noted just over a week ago that a retired cop on Cape Cod immolated himself last week while trying to refill his gas lawn mower while it was still hot. I wonder how many people in this thread take such concerns into consideration with gas powered generators. Probably not many. With my military genny, I simply hook up my coil of fuel hose, attach one end onto the auxiliary pick up and put the other end of the hose into my fuel source (fuel can, drum, my diesel truck's fuel tank). If I need the genny at my mother's house, I simply pick up heating oil out of her house tank!!

BTW, I load tested my genny earlier this year. I placed a 6 kW load on it for an hour with multiple fan heaters and it was loafing. Love the military gen sets.

dcmdon
10-02-2012, 08:59 AM
In the suburbs and rural parts of the Northeast, diesel has another benefit. Every home has a couple hundred gallons of fuel right in the basement in the form of home heating oil. Other than higher sulfur content, which is not a problem for these primitive diesels, its the same fuel.

I thought about it, but those big military gensets are just too intimidating for most people.
Although if you have themotivation, they're clearly on a whole higher level.

I believe they are also 1800 rpm engines.

Dija
10-02-2012, 09:27 AM
Is there some reason you guys don't use fuel stabilizers to increase the shelf life of your regular unleaded gas?

n1oty
10-02-2012, 09:30 AM
In the suburbs and rural parts of the Northeast, diesel has another benefit. Every home has a couple hundred gallons of fuel right in the basement in the form of home heating oil. Other than higher sulfur content, which is not a problem for these primitive diesels, its the same fuel.

I thought about it, but those big military gensets are just too intimidating for most people.
Although if you have themotivation, they're clearly on a whole higher level.

I believe they are also 1800 rpm engines.


Yes. 1800 RPM and approximately 1/2 gallon fuel consumption under full load. They will also generate single-phase and three-phase power, in case the need arises, say at a commercial venue with 120/208 three-phase requirements.

natf
10-02-2012, 11:03 AM
Is there some reason you guys don't use fuel stabilizers to increase the shelf life of your regular unleaded gas?
Ethanol fuels also have a water absorption problem. If you use fuel stabilizer designed for ethanol fuel you will still have problems due to condensation unless you mitigate that as well.

GomerPile
10-02-2012, 11:09 AM
Using sealed 15 gallon drums solves this issue. When full there is no oxygen in the drum due to vapor pressure. With the caps on tight, no outside (moist) air gets inside and nothing can evaporate.

He says the drums swell and shrink with the seasons...proving that nothing is getting in or out. I have not tried it, but the idea sounds solid.


Ethanol fuels also have a water absorption problem. If you use fuel stabilizer designed for ethanol fuel you will still have problems due to condensation unless you mitigate that as well.

economist
10-02-2012, 12:29 PM
In the suburbs and rural parts of the Northeast, diesel has another benefit. Every home has a couple hundred gallons of fuel right in the basement in the form of home heating oil. Other than higher sulfur content, which is not a problem for these primitive diesels, its the same fuel.

I thought about it, but those big military gensets are just too intimidating for most people.
Although if you have themotivation, they're clearly on a whole higher level.

I believe they are also 1800 rpm engines.

Big negative: noise. I ****ing hate noise. It cost a ton, but my Honda EU6500i purrs like a cat and it's worth every penny just for that.

- - - Updated - - -


Ethanol fuels also have a water absorption problem. If you use fuel stabilizer designed for ethanol fuel you will still have problems due to condensation unless you mitigate that as well.

Bingo. Shelf life seems to be 2-3 months tops regardless.

dcmdon
10-02-2012, 01:32 PM
For years I ran my airplane on auto fuel. My engine was a low compression naturally aspirated Lycoming O-360 and had no need for the high octane 100LL so I used auto fuel under certain conditions. It saved me money, and at very low sustained manifold pressures I used when cruising up high, the unleaded ran cleaner than the 100LL.

But auto fuel has a problem with high vapor pressure, which could lead to vapor lock in an airplane. So to mitigate this, I would keep one tank filled with 100LL and one tank filled with auto fuel. I used the 100LL for take off, climb, descent and landing and for all pattern work. I used the auto fuel for startup taxiing and cruise. It worked fantastically for years. My plugs were clean. The oil was clean and I saved a bunch on fuel. (Back then, auto fuel averaged $1.50/gal and av gas about $2.75/gal)

Then one day about 5 years ago after a wet and snowy december and January, I got ready to go up for the first time in 2 months and the engine ran TERRIBLY. (I normally put about 10 hours per month on the plane.) It belched black smoke and coughed like it was miserably rich. I discussed this with the local AI and we both agreed that the carb should come off to check for problems with the floats. I brought the plane up to his shop and pulled the carb. It was fine. He smelled the carb and said "Hmm. you still running auto fuel?"

He was a homebuilt guy also so he was open to the benefits of auto fuel. I told him yes. He shook his head and explained to me that in October they had started using alcohol rather than MTBE for a winter oxyginator and that it was causing all kinds of problems. I told him that this would be easy to confirm since I had 100LL in the other tank. We switched the fuel selector then pumped the fuel lines out with the electric pump and reinstalled the carb.

When I tried to restart, if caught within 2 blades and idled perfectly. After that I did a lot of research and learned that auto fuel with alcohol could "sour" within as little as 2 months. No more auto fuel for me. Ironically, fuel with MTBE was still available in MA for a couple of years after CT switched 12 months of "gasohol".

Don

- - - Updated - - -


Big negative: noise. I ****ing hate noise. It cost a ton, but my Honda EU6500i purrs like a cat and it's worth every penny just for that.

- - - Updated - - -


Economist - At one of the triathlons my wife did last year, the group putting it on had dozens of EU2000s and 3000s at all the check points, comfort sttions, rest areas, etc. I was astonished at how quiet they are.

It really is amazing. You can have a normal conversation while sitting 5 feet from one. Almost like a car at idle.

PaulD
10-13-2014, 11:46 AM
This weekend, I realized I probably ought to start my generator and make sure it's ready to go for winter. It had probably been sitting for 9mo at least (I know, I know).

I had my wife start it just to give her a refresher and it started on the first pull. Japanese small engines FTW.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/37/37f67429-75dc-43c1-a7cc-488a37792683_400.jpg

Whenever I put fuel in it, I always add stabilizer and whenever I shut it down, I close the valve and let it run itself out. So, while I know other people have had problems with modern gasoline, I can't say it's caused me any major problems. The only exception is that I had to replace a fuel line on my lawnmower with Tygon because regular black fuel line rotted away.

Chet0729
10-13-2014, 11:48 AM
This weekend, I realized I probably ought to start my generator and make sure it's ready to go for winter. It had probably been sitting for 9mo at least (I know, I know).

I had my wife start it just to give her a refresher and it started on the first pull. Japanese small engines FTW.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/37/37f67429-75dc-43c1-a7cc-488a37792683_400.jpg

Whenever I put fuel in it, I always add stabilizer and whenever I shut it down, I close the valve and let it run itself out. So, while I know other people have had problems with modern gasoline, I can't say it's caused me any major problems. The only exception is that I had to replace a fuel line on my lawnmower with Tygon because regular black fuel line rotted away.
Running the carburetor dry is the key. Been doing it for 40 years and all my equipment starts usually on the 1st or second pull

PaulD
10-13-2014, 11:54 AM
Running the carburetor dry is the key. Been doing it for 40 years and all my equipment starts usually on the 1st or second pull

When I put my mower to bed for the winter, I run the carb dry as well, but it never starts up as easily as this did. The engine is a B&S commercial and it's clear that it's just not as good as the Subaru.

Chet0729
10-13-2014, 12:09 PM
When I put my mower to bed for the winter, I run the carb dry as well, but it never starts up as easily as this did. The engine is a B&S commercial and it's clear that it's just not as good as the Subaru.

I have a Honda clone on my Pressure Washer and it starts and runs amazing. My wife's Subaru usually starts on the first try as well [smile]

economist
10-13-2014, 03:09 PM
I recently had a problem with my Honda EU2000i. I usually start it up and run it every month or two and then drain the carb (you can't easily run the carb dry because the on/off switch is also the fuel cutoff). It always starts easily. I run it for 30 minutes or so each time but I don't usually put a load on it. I always use fuel stabilizer.

So, most recently I was cleaning the garage and decided to use the generator to power my shop vac. It started up fine as usual but would die under load. The shop vac is 12 amps -- not a problem at all, even at initial startup. The generator motor just seemed to be not getting enough fuel.

I solved the problem by taking the carb off, disassembling it, and cleaning out everything with carb cleaner.

In short, what I learned was (a) just because the engine starts and runs does not mean all will be well under load, and (b) even draining the carb each time was not enough to keep things running. However, it was easy enough to fix the problem. I'll be sure to keep some carb cleaner on hand from now on.

PaulD
10-13-2014, 03:15 PM
I recently had a problem with my Honda EU2000i. I usually start it up and run it every month or two and then drain the carb (you can't easily run the carb dry because the on/off switch is also the fuel cutoff). It always starts easily. I run it for 30 minutes or so each time but I don't usually put a load on it. I always use fuel stabilizer.

So, most recently I was cleaning the garage and decided to use the generator to power my shop vac. It started up fine as usual but would die under load. The shop vac is 12 amps -- not a problem at all, even at initial startup. The generator motor just seemed to be not getting enough fuel.

I solved the problem by taking the carb off, disassembling it, and cleaning out everything with carb cleaner.

In short, what I learned was (a) just because the engine starts and runs does not mean all will be well under load, and (b) even draining the carb each time was not enough to keep things running. However, it was easy enough to fix the problem. I'll be sure to keep some carb cleaner on hand from now on.

FWIW, I did put my generator under load after starting it.

Also, a bit of an educated guess, the symptom you describe would be a lot more apparent on an inverter generator vs. a standard contractor style. The contractor style is always running the engine at full rpm where the inverter style isn't. It's still a good idea to put it under load regardless though.

Executive
10-13-2014, 05:42 PM
What we generically call a "generator" is actually a device which consists of an engine, generator, distribution, and overcurrent protection sections.
Most generator problems occur with the internal combustion engine, but other issues can come up.
Depending on the installation, problems with the usual GFCI protection of a portable generator are common, as are overcurrent protection difficulties.
There is another problem that can occur when storing a generator for extended periods of time:

It is a good idea to put a load on a generator when running the engine so that the exciter (field coil) does not lose its residual magnetism. This does happen. (And I know how to fix it.) This will be frustrating to someone who meticulously maintains the internal combustion part of their generator and neglects the actual generator section. The engine will run perfectly but there will be no voltage present. Seek help from a generator service expert as the fix is potentially dangerous.

Chris

StumpJumper
10-13-2014, 09:24 PM
What we generically call a "generator" is actually a device which consists of an engine, generator, distribution, and overcurrent protection sections.
Most generator problems occur with the internal combustion engine, but other issues can come up.
Depending on the installation, problems with the usual GFCI protection of a portable generator are common, as are overcurrent protection difficulties.
There is another problem that can occur when storing a generator for extended periods of time:

It is a good idea to put a load on a generator when running the engine so that the exciter (field coil) does not lose its residual magnetism. This does happen. (And I know how to fix it.) This will be frustrating to someone who meticulously maintains the internal combustion part of their generator and neglects the actual generator section. The engine will run perfectly but there will be no voltage present. Seek help from a generator service expert as the fix is potentially dangerous.

Chris

I've run my engine religiously but never thought to hook up a load to it

Looks like monthly generator run time will be garage vacuuming time from now on

PaulD
10-13-2014, 09:44 PM
What we generically call a "generator" is actually a device which consists of an engine, generator, distribution, and overcurrent protection sections.
Most generator problems occur with the internal combustion engine, but other issues can come up.
Depending on the installation, problems with the usual GFCI protection of a portable generator are common, as are overcurrent protection difficulties.
There is another problem that can occur when storing a generator for extended periods of time:

It is a good idea to put a load on a generator when running the engine so that the exciter (field coil) does not lose its residual magnetism. This does happen. (And I know how to fix it.) This will be frustrating to someone who meticulously maintains the internal combustion part of their generator and neglects the actual generator section. The engine will run perfectly but there will be no voltage present. Seek help from a generator service expert as the fix is potentially dangerous.

Chris

Chris,

When putting a load on it, does it matter if it's resistive or inductive? Or should I try both? When I started it this weekend, I tried both an electric heater and a circular saw.

Thanks.

Rob Boudrie
10-13-2014, 09:48 PM
As a curious bit of trivia, the Honda EU6500isa has been replaced with the EU7000isa. They upped the peak wattage, but I don't that's any actual change since the engine is identical, and is has the same 5500 sustained watts.

The big differences are a slightly larger gas tank and replacing the carb with electronic fuel injection, claiming a 20% increase in energy efficiency. I guess the value of my 6500 just went down a bit.

What I don't know is if the 7000 is also suitable for tri-fuel (gasoline/propane/natural gas) conversion.

Harkes2k
10-13-2014, 09:57 PM
Anyone have the big rigid with the yamaha engine from Home Depot?

Executive
10-13-2014, 10:05 PM
Chris,

When putting a load on it, does it matter if it's resistive or inductive? Or should I try both? When I started it this weekend, I tried both an electric heater and a circular saw.

Thanks.

I shouldn't matter what type of load as long as there is current flowing. Once the generator starts and builds up to full voltage, the rotor powers the field coils and the generator runs. There needs to be current flow to "recharge" the magnetism in the field coils so that the generator will make power at the next start up. You should always get the generator started before applying any load. Load on the generator during start up might prevent the generator from reaching full voltage if the magnetism in the rotor iron is weak.

Chris

Executive
10-13-2014, 10:13 PM
As a curious bit of trivia, the Honda EU6500isa has been replaced with the EU7000isa. They upped the peak wattage, but I don't that's any actual change since the engine is identical, and is has the same 5500 sustained watts.

The big differences are a slightly larger gas tank and replacing the carb with electronic fuel injection, claiming a 20% increase in energy efficiency. I guess the value of my 6500 just went down a bit.

What I don't know is if the 7000 is also suitable for tri-fuel (gasoline/propane/natural gas) conversion.

Generator ratings are marketing hype just like the horsepower ratings of shop-vacs. (Do you really think a shop-vac has a 6.5HP motor fed through a 16 gauge cord?) I would say that Honda underestimated the output of the EU6500 when it first came out and had few issues with overload related failures. Marketing "found" the extra 500 watts and get to introduce an "all new" model with fuel injection. (Actually, pick-up truck manufacturers do the same thing with tow ratings...)

As for the value of your EU6500, don't worry about it. If it meets your needs, continue to use it, change the oil frequently, and it will give you many years of service. If you really need the newest, I have a few boxes of .22LR I can offer as a trade... [rofl]


Chris

center442
10-13-2014, 10:15 PM
I shouldn't matter what type of load as long as there is current flowing. Once the generator starts and builds up to full voltage, the rotor powers the field coils and the generator runs. There needs to be current flow to "recharge" the magnetism in the field coils so that the generator will make power at the next start up. You should always get the generator started before applying any load. Load on the generator during start up might prevent the generator from reaching full voltage if the magnetism in the rotor iron is weak.

Chris

Good info! Does the size of the load matter? I've been told that any load will suffice, like something as simple as a drop light or a small fan. Your opinion?

PaulD
10-13-2014, 10:27 PM
Generator ratings are marketing hype just like the horsepower ratings of shop-vacs. (Do you really think a shop-vac has a 6.5HP motor fed through a 16 gauge cord?) I would say that Honda underestimated the output of the EU6500 when it first came out and had few issues with overload related failures. Marketing "found" the extra 500 watts and get to introduce an "all new" model with fuel injection. (Actually, pick-up truck manufacturers do the same thing with tow ratings...)

As for the value of your EU6500, don't worry about it. If it meets your needs, continue to use it, change the oil frequently, and it will give you many years of service. If you really need the newest, I have a few boxes of .22LR I can offer as a trade... [rofl]


Chris

Well, the shop vac is limited to what it can get out of a typical 110/15A circuit, which isn't 6.5hp or even close.

One hp == 746W (for rating an engine, I realize inefficiencies won't get you that out of the generator). It's possible they did get more hp out of the engine by going to fuel injection. Fuel injection gets you better efficiency but most engine mods that get you more efficiency also get more hp, depending on how applied.

terraformer
10-13-2014, 10:27 PM
As a curious bit of trivia, the Honda EU6500isa has been replaced with the EU7000isa. They upped the peak wattage, but I don't that's any actual change since the engine is identical, and is has the same 5500 sustained watts.

The big differences are a slightly larger gas tank and replacing the carb with electronic fuel injection, claiming a 20% increase in energy efficiency. I guess the value of my 6500 just went down a bit.

What I don't know is if the 7000 is also suitable for tri-fuel (gasoline/propane/natural gas) conversion.

It's suitable for tri fuel. FI makes multi fuel trivial to implement. Carbs are a pita for multi fuel.

Rob Boudrie
10-13-2014, 10:44 PM
It's suitable for tri fuel. FI makes multi fuel trivial to implement. Carbs are a pita for multi fuel.
Legal brain trust and gearhead.


Do you really think a shop-vac has a 6.5HP motor fed through a 16 gauge cord?
Manufacturers are less inclined to report HP since a big class action suit over mis-labeling lawn mower HP. They now use "torque as per something or other" where "something or other" is the name of a standard which says actual torque may be something like 15% less than reported. So, they not only obfuscate the power, but report it as more that it actually is, claiming the "as per" covers the difference.


I would say that Honda underestimated the output of the EU6500 when it first came out and had few issues with overload related failures. Marketing "found" the extra 500 watts and get to introduce an "all new" model with fuel injection. (Actually, pick-up truck manufacturers do the same thing with tow ratings...)

I have read this generator was downrated since the OSHA requirements change above a certain rating, and that is it sold with a higher rating in some other countries. Also, Honda didn't "find" any extra sustained wattage; only surge wattage.


As for the value of your EU6500, don't worry about it. If it meets your needs, continue to use it, change the oil frequently, and it will give you many years of service. If you really need the newest, I have a few boxes of .22LR I can offer as a trade...
I expect my 6500 will serve me nicely until I am either dead, or too feeble to plug the cord in and start it up at which time I will get a whole house gas unit. Oil change on that unit is very easy, so I do it every fall whether it needs it or not.

BostonBullit
10-13-2014, 10:46 PM
It's suitable for tri fuel. FI makes multi fuel trivial to implement. Carbs are a pita for multi fuel.

I'm going to have to look into one of these, sick of fighting with my current genset to keep it running...$4k is a tough nut but better than having no power in a house fed by a well

Rob Boudrie
10-13-2014, 10:48 PM
I'm going to have to look into one of these, sick of fighting with my current genset to keep it running...$4k is a tough nut but better than having no power in a house fed by a well

If you want to stop by my house for the computer stuff we had planned, I can give you a tour of my 6500. The 7000 is almost identical except for the fuel injection and pushbutton rather than turn key start.

$4K was a tough nut for me as well, until the wife said "stop screwing around and just buy the best".

JayMcB
10-13-2014, 11:38 PM
$4K was a tough nut for me as well, until the wife said "stop screwing around and just buy the best".

sounds like a keeper to me.

Executive
10-14-2014, 12:08 AM
Good info! Does the size of the load matter? I've been told that any load will suffice, like something as simple as a drop light or a small fan. Your opinion?

Any load will do the trick. Run it for 5 to 10 minutes just to make sure, and to get fresh fuel through the engine.

Chris

Rob Boudrie
10-14-2014, 09:35 AM
sounds like a keeper to me.
Yes, it is an excellent generator.

exojam
10-14-2014, 11:22 AM
I have been looking at mine in the garage the past week knowing it was that time to do a monthly - bimonthly run for it. This time I will actually use one of the outlets on for reasons posted above. Probably the easiest thing for me is just to plug in a drill and set it to run by itself (with no bit).

Rob Boudrie
10-14-2014, 11:29 AM
Any load will do the trick. Run it for 5 to 10 minutes just to make sure, and to get fresh fuel through the engine.

Chris

If the generator has separate outlets for each 120V leg, should there be a load on each? If the generator (like the honda 6500/7000) has an option to push all its power through a single 120V leg, should that option be used while running the load?

Noreaster78
10-14-2014, 11:35 AM
If the generator has separate outlets for each 120V leg, should there be a load on each? If the generator (like the honda 6500/7000) has an option to push all its power through a single 120V leg, should that option be used while running the load?


Excellent question, i look forward to an educated answer, but my guess is putting load on 220 would be ideal, (loading both phases).
On a side note, are you using a transfer switch OR and manual lockout and backfeeding?

Rob Boudrie
10-14-2014, 11:36 AM
On a side note, are you using a transfer switch OR and manual lockout and backfeeding?
www.interlockkit.com (http://www.interlockkit.com) - great product. Used a transfer switch in my previous house since there wasn't room for a backfeedbreaker, and the panel was in the back of a very narrow bookshelf closet making a sub-panel impractical.

PaulD
10-14-2014, 11:42 AM
Excellent question, i look forward to an educated answer, but my guess is putting load on 220 would be ideal, (loading both phases).
On a side note, are you using a transfer switch OR and manual lockout and backfeeding?

When I started mine and put a load on it, I put one device on each leg, figuring I might as well. If my rudimentary understanding of the generator is correct, it seems like a good idea.

Also, I have an interlock and it came with the panel. It also has a watt meter on each leg to show if the load is relatively balanced.

Chet0729
10-14-2014, 11:42 AM
I try to run mine full load every couple months. Unfortunately I have one of the Generacs that for some reason they thought it was a good idea to have a separate battery charger so I use the generator run time to top off the battery as well.
I shut down all my breakers and the main, start the generator, connect it the turn on the breakers one at a time. I usually let it run 1/2 an hour or so. Always disconnect load and shut off gas, run until it dies.

Executive
10-14-2014, 08:38 PM
If the generator has separate outlets for each 120V leg, should there be a load on each? If the generator (like the honda 6500/7000) has an option to push all its power through a single 120V leg, should that option be used while running the load?

Great question and my answer is: I don't know. My best educated guess is that any current flowing will leave enough residual magnetism in the iron core to let the generator start making power upon next start up. In the case of an inverter type generator like Rob's EU6500, this may be even less important. Again this is my best guess. I'm pretty well versed on most things electrical, but this is getting pretty far out on the theory fringe. Sorry I can not do better.

Chris

PaulD
10-14-2014, 09:02 PM
Great question and my answer is: I don't know. My best educated guess is that any current flowing will leave enough residual magnetism in the iron core to let the generator start making power upon next start up. In the case of an inverter type generator like Rob's EU6500, this may be even less important. Again this is my best guess. I'm pretty well versed on most things electrical, but this is getting pretty far out on the theory fringe. Sorry I can not do better.

Chris

I believe the inverter style generators actually use a DC alternator. So I don't think it applies.

For a typical generator producing AC, it seems like a good idea to get both legs going, but that's a guess. On the other hand, might as well.

https://web.stanford.edu/~hydrobay/lookat/big/pmg/fnfig-03.jpg

cbrxx
10-15-2014, 01:55 PM
Really should get mine out and start it. Haven't needed it, so it's probably been over a year since I last tested it. Usually plug a pair of those 500w halogen work lights into it for a load.

Been thinking about a tri-fuel conversion kit. Would be nice to be able to tap into the gas line in an extended outage. http://www.centuryfuelproducts.com/generators/conversion-kits.html

Chet0729
10-15-2014, 03:19 PM
I believe the inverter style generators actually use a DC alternator. So I don't think it applies.

For a typical generator producing AC, it seems like a good idea to get both legs going, but that's a guess. On the other hand, might as well.

https://web.stanford.edu/~hydrobay/lookat/big/pmg/fnfig-03.jpg
No such thing as a DC alternator. Alternators produce alternating current. They require a rectifier to convert the A/C to D/C

Executive
10-15-2014, 09:41 PM
No such thing as a DC alternator. Alternators produce alternating current. They require a rectifier to convert the A/C to D/C

Actually Invertor generators produce native DC power which is inverted to AC electronically. This allows the inverter generator to run at varying RPM based on load. A traditional AC generator must run at a steady 3600 RPM to make power.

Chris

mikelawtown
10-15-2014, 09:42 PM
Really should get mine out and start it. Haven't needed it, so it's probably been over a year since I last tested it. Usually plug a pair of those 500w halogen work lights into it for a load.

Been thinking about a tri-fuel conversion kit. Would be nice to be able to tap into the gas line in an extended outage. http://www.centuryfuelproducts.com/generators/conversion-kits.html
I always looked at the USCARB kits. But these seem inexpensive.

Friday
10-15-2014, 09:59 PM
Generators=DC current
Alternators=AC current

please stop giving me a headache.....

PaulD
10-15-2014, 10:09 PM
No such thing as a DC alternator. Alternators produce alternating current. They require a rectifier to convert the A/C to D/C

Good point (hence the name)!

beaker
10-15-2014, 10:13 PM
Posted in the other Generator thread but I relocated my new to me MEP-002A onto the concrete pad behind my house. What a chore moving it from the front to the rear - Nobody will be stealing this thing. I don't have pics but built an enclosure this last weekend. Just have to route the exhaust out of the enclosure and then dig a 6 foot trench to run the cable to the house and then to the service panel. Manual interlock.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6qAuj3GgN5A/VD8ZVUGgklI/AAAAAAAAJ1s/A8J6fj1u6OM/w800-h450-no/20141012_162213.jpg

PaulD
10-15-2014, 10:48 PM
Posted in the other Generator thread but I relocated my new to me MEP-002A onto the concrete pad behind my house. What a chore moving it from the front to the rear - Nobody will be stealing this thing. I don't have pics but built an enclosure this last weekend. Just have to route the exhaust out of the enclosure and then dig a 6 foot trench to run the cable to the house and then to the service panel. Manual interlock.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6qAuj3GgN5A/VD8ZVUGgklI/AAAAAAAAJ1s/A8J6fj1u6OM/w800-h450-no/20141012_162213.jpg

Am I correct that the unit is 5KW? Seems a lot of work for that much wattage.

beaker
10-15-2014, 11:42 PM
Yea, that is a good question :) . It is a freaking beast and they are massively under-rated. It was load tested and will produce >8kW all day and all night as long as there is fuel, using around 0.3 GPH of diesel. Runs at 1800 rpm (4 pole gen head), a lot quieter than a gasoline genny and provides clean AC power (unlike a lot of consumer generators). I can adjust frequency and voltage right on the control panel. The year before last much of my town was without power for 7-9 days in the middle of a nasty winter storm. I don't want to abandon the homestead again. And I don't want to worry about the generator not working when I really need it. These were designed to go to war and work under any reasonable conditions.

The typical disposable 6500 watt "peak rated" generator will likely die quickly if you run it at 6500 watts continuously and will use a lot more gasoline. This will power everything in my house except the oven without loading up (and one burner on the electric cooktop). It is designed to run 10,000 hours without significant maintenance beyond filter and fluid changes. I think it's worth it. Cost a little more than a Chinese knock-off Diesel generator that will die after an average of 100 hours and needs engine adjustments frequently. Costs a lot less than one of those beautiful Honda inverter generators but it isn't portable unless you own a forklift.


Am I correct that the unit is 5KW? Seems a lot of work for that much wattage.

terraformer
10-16-2014, 01:11 AM
Actually Invertor generators produce native DC power which is inverted to AC electronically. This allows the inverter generator to run at varying RPM based on load. A traditional AC generator must run at a steady 3600 RPM to make power.

Chris

Actually, the motor can run at any speed so long as the alternator runs at 3600 RPM... So a 2x gearing could allow the motor to run at 1800 rpm, 4x @ 900 RPM (that better be a really big long stroke diesel...), .5x gearing would be 7200 RPM etc.

terraformer
10-16-2014, 01:14 AM
Yea, that is a good question :) . It is a freaking beast and they are massively under-rated. It was load tested and will produce >8kW all day and all night as long as there is fuel, using around 0.3 GPH of diesel. Runs at 1800 rpm (4 pole gen head), a lot quieter than a gasoline genny and provides clean AC power (unlike a lot of consumer generators). I can adjust frequency and voltage right on the control panel. The year before last much of my town was without power for 7-9 days in the middle of a nasty winter storm. I don't want to abandon the homestead again. And I don't want to worry about the generator not working when I really need it. These were designed to go to war and work under any reasonable conditions.

The typical disposable 6500 watt "peak rated" generator will likely die quickly if you run it at 6500 watts continuously and will use a lot more gasoline. This will power everything in my house except the oven without loading up (and one burner on the electric cooktop). It is designed to run 10,000 hours without significant maintenance beyond filter and fluid changes. I think it's worth it. Cost a little more than a Chinese knock-off Diesel generator that will die after an average of 100 hours and needs engine adjustments frequently. Costs a lot less than one of those beautiful Honda inverter generators but it isn't portable unless you own a forklift.

I am jealous of this setup. It's a nice generator. Running on diesel allows you to use home heating oil. That's another huge plus...

40 caliber
10-16-2014, 06:43 AM
I did a ton of research. I admit the Honda and northern star (Honda) generators are awesome but they are expensive. at the time a 4KW Honda was more like $3000 to $4000. I went a different route.

I bought a simple Briggs and Stratton 5KW/8250 peak at BJs for $599 and had an electrician install the cut over switch to the entire circuit board. I can select what areas of the house I want to use and switch rooms on and off if necessary. I have rarely had to do this

I have been able to power with my generator the well/pump, 2 refrigerators, furnace, Television, internet, computers, toaster, coffee pot and the wife's hair dryer. Granted we have to "rough it" and use the barbecue or crock pot because the stove is electric but other than that it works great.

I bought it in early 2009 and have used it for multiple outages. I have never had a problem. My feeling is I can replace this 5KW generator 6 times before I paid for the 4K Honda. So far it has been a good bet as I am on the first one.

I run it for 15 minutes every other month, I leave a 3X5 card on it with the last date to remind me the last time I ran it and changed the oil. I check it every once in a while when I walk by it. . I cut the fuel shut off and let it run out every time. It starts second pull every time

n1oty
10-16-2014, 07:54 AM
Am I correct that the unit is 5KW? Seems a lot of work for that much wattage.



The military always underrates their gen sets and calculates the output at high altitude and high temperature, parameters that can reduce the efficiency of any generator. The MEP-002A pictured here is labelled by the military as 5 kW, but is actually a militarized version of the original civilian Onan Cummins 7.5 kW generator. Being a prime mover by design, it is designed to consistently achieve 120 percent of that rating for long periods, which equals a maximum output of 9 kW. These generators have true 12-lead generator heads, will put out single phase or three phase power and are phase/voltage selectable from the panel. The massive size of the flywheel and the generator components allow these generators to easily handle large surges that small civilian generators struggle with. I like them so much that I subsequently bought a MEP-003A.

NHAtHeart
10-16-2014, 07:58 AM
The military always underrates their gen sets and calculates the output at high altitude and high temperature, parameters that can reduce the efficiency of any generator. The MEP-002A pictured here is labelled by the military as 5 kW, but is actually a militarized version of the original civilian Onan Cummins 7.5 kW generator. Being a prime mover by design, it is designed to consistently achieve 120 percent of that rating for long periods, which equals a maximum output of 9 kW. These generators have true 12-lead generator heads, will put out single phase or three phase power and are phase/voltage selectable from the panel. The massive size of the flywheel and the generator components allow these generators to easily handle large surges that small civilian generators struggle with. I like them so much that I subsequently bought a MEP-003A.

You probably know this already but if one of your tanks ever rots outs these make a great replacement: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200413776_200413776

I got mine back up and running after the tank rusted through. There is no spot for the aux pump or float switch but you could manually do something there.

Also the gentleman at Green Mountain Generators commissioned a custom aluminum tank that he's selling for the $360ish range that has all the correct ports.

n1oty
10-16-2014, 08:08 AM
I appreciate the info. I haven't had any issues with either of my generators and their fuel tanks. Both of mine were depot rebuilt prior to my purchase and had solid tanks. There are also some methods discussed on steelsoldiers for cleaning and sealing fuel tanks, if needed. I would definitely want to keep the float switch because I routinely fuel up through the auxiliary fuel pump from off-board fuel tanks. It is so much easier than lugging 5 gallon cans!!

NHAtHeart
10-16-2014, 08:14 AM
I appreciate the info. I haven't had any issues with either of my generators and their fuel tanks. Both of mine were depot rebuilt prior to my purchase and had solid tanks. There are also some methods discussed on steelsoldiers for cleaning and sealing fuel tanks, if needed. I would definitely want to keep the float switch because I routinely fuel up through the auxiliary fuel pump from off-board fuel tanks. It is so much easier than lugging 5 gallon cans!!

I'll take a look for sealing the tank, now that I have it off I wouldn't mind getting it fixed up as a spare.

Friday
10-16-2014, 10:02 AM
you can also check some of the vintage motorcycle restoration sites for tips on tank sealing, too. Creem used to be a popular coating, although I believe POR is now preferred. There is probably something even better by now, I haven't followed it for a few years.

Either way, you would still need to seal the tank mechanically (no holes) before coating the insides.

Chet0729
10-16-2014, 11:02 AM
Actually Invertor generators produce native DC power which is inverted to AC electronically. This allows the inverter generator to run at varying RPM based on load. A traditional AC generator must run at a steady 3600 RPM to make power.

Chris
Yup. they are an a/c alternator that is rectified to d/c and then they use an inverter to go back to a/c. They have some advantages over a straight ac generator as RPMS become less critical. Inverter generators produce very clean power but the shape of the sign wave they produce is not exactly correct. this is why most UPS type products dont work well with them.

Executive
10-16-2014, 04:42 PM
Yup. they are an a/c alternator that is rectified to d/c and then they use an inverter to go back to a/c. They have some advantages over a straight ac generator as RPMS become less critical. Inverter generators produce very clean power but the shape of the sign wave they produce is not exactly correct. this is why most UPS type products dont work well with them.

All inverter type generators produce a "modified sine wave", which means that the waveform is comprised of small "steps". Higher quality machines produce a wave with more, smaller steps, which more closely approximate the waveform of true AC. The real advantage of this output, however, is not so much the waveform, but the frequency, which is very consistent. The 60hz produced by a conventional generator is dependent on a steady 3600 rpm. Bog the generator down with a large load and that 60hz will drop, causing issues with electronic equipment.

Chris

GomerPile
10-16-2014, 04:55 PM
Your point is 100% valid about frequency of inverter generators.

There are *a few* inverter style true sine wave output generators, the Honda EU2000i for example. Here is the output of one at 400 watts (top trace voltage, lower amperage):

http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab86/tigerwillow1/eu200i_400w_heater.jpg

There is no standard what you can advertise as "true sine wave" and other models are not nearly this good.


All inverter type generators produce a "modified sine wave", which means that the waveform is comprised of small "steps". Higher quality machines produce a wave with more, smaller steps, which more closely approximate the waveform of true AC. The real advantage of this output, however, is not so much the waveform, but the frequency, which is very consistent. The 60hz produced by a conventional generator is dependent on a steady 3600 rpm. Bog the generator down with a large load and that 60hz will drop, causing issues with electronic equipment.

Chris

terraformer
10-23-2014, 01:32 AM
...and I have been on generator since about 10:30. I will be on it until mid morning I suspect. Remember your generator is only as good as the amount of gas you have on hand...

But I had heat and was able to watch reruns of gas monkey garage. More than my neighbors could say. Oh, the other thing to consider is security. When you have lights and everyone else doesn't, it's sorta obvious you have a generator.

Rob Boudrie
10-23-2014, 01:50 AM
Oh, the other thing to consider is security. When you have lights and everyone else doesn't, it's sorta obvious you have a generator.
At least you will notice if they steal it while it's running.

dcmdon
10-23-2014, 03:08 AM
...and I have been on generator since about 10:30. I will be on it until mid morning I suspect. Remember your generator is only as good as the amount of gas you have on hand...

But I had heat and was able to watch reruns of gas monkey garage. More than my neighbors could say. Oh, the other thing to consider is security. When you have lights and everyone else doesn't, it's sorta obvious you have a generator.

Which is why i ended up with a Honda EU2000. During hurricane Irene in 2011, I was without power for 5 or 6 days. My harbor freight generator ran great,it was reliable and strong. But it devoured fuel and it was noisy. For the first couple of days it was burning 10 gal/day.

I became a slave to my generator just trying to keep it gassed.

The EU2000 runs 9 hours on 1 gallon at half load. Since its got a real fuel pump, it can pull gas from a marine outboard tank with the right fuel cap, which I have. So with the gas in it, one 2.5 gal marine tank and 2 full jerry cans, all mainteined with PRID-G, I should be good for a week or more running it for 10 hrs per day, or probably 4 days running it 24 hrs/day.

My place in MA is all natural gas powered. The only 220v load is the central air. I can run 1 furnace, my fridge, and some lighting off the Honda, which is good enough for me. I'll definitely have to manage the load with such a small generator, but its the best compromise for me. The other 2 options, a big gas guzzler proved to be less than idea because gas became scarce locally during Irene, and an expensive propane or natural gas powered installed unit is just too much money for the extra luxury it provides over the little Honda.

- - - Updated - - -


At least you will notice if they steal it while it's running.

During Irene, there were some thieves in CT who would go into the victim's garage, get their lawn mower, start it next to the generator, then take the generator. They did this during the day so it was less obvious. The guy would notice something wasn't working, go out to check his generator, and fine his lawnmower running in the driveway.

- - - Updated - - -

Comcast was using Honda EU3000s to power their local fiber to copper pole attached boxes. Several of them were stolen by "victims" of the storm.

dcmdon
10-23-2014, 03:35 AM
I am jealous of this setup. It's a nice generator. Running on diesel allows you to use home heating oil. That's another huge plus...

During Irene, my buddy, a home heating oil dealer, was using a diesel generator to run his home. We figured he had 500 days of fuel in his two trucks, just in case.


One other thing. Prior to Irene, I thought an inexpensive gas powered generator in the 5-7 kw range was the way to go. After Irene, I realized it was NOT the way to go. After a couple of days of feeding the beast, I ended up borrowing a neighbors 900 watt Kawasaki to run my fridge. It would run all day on a gallon of gas. I'd run the big generator to make hot water once a day, then run the kawasaki for the rest of the day.

After Irene, I realize that the fuel consumption of these medium sized gasoline powered units is really a problem.

So with that in mind, I bought the Honda EU2000. I think that even if I get something big and expensive at some point, I'll probably keep the little honda as my continuous run generator for extended outages.

With respect to transfer switches, my current place has the main breaker on the meter and no main on the panel. In a short outage, I'll use extension cords. In an extended outage, I'll pull the main breaker and join both hot legs so the entire house except for the central air can be fed off a 120v generator. I'll manage the load with the breakers.

economist
10-23-2014, 01:25 PM
The Honda EU2000i is always going to be useful. I don't think anyone could go wrong owning one. This is one of those situations where "both" is a good answer. Use the little EU2000i (or similar) for essentials in an extended outage where fuel is scarce. But in one of the more typical 24-48 hour situations a larger option like the Honda EU6500 is very nice.

Chet0729
10-23-2014, 02:07 PM
All inverter type generators produce a "modified sine wave", which means that the waveform is comprised of small "steps". Higher quality machines produce a wave with more, smaller steps, which more closely approximate the waveform of true AC. The real advantage of this output, however, is not so much the waveform, but the frequency, which is very consistent. The 60hz produced by a conventional generator is dependent on a steady 3600 rpm. Bog the generator down with a large load and that 60hz will drop, causing issues with electronic equipment.

Chris

Yup, this is why I run my sensitive equipment on high quality UPS power. The ones I have work fine on generator power as well as utility power.

JayMcB
10-23-2014, 03:32 PM
Yup, this is why I run my sensitive equipment on high quality UPS power. The ones I have work fine on generator power as well as utility power.

My wife looks at me like I have 2 heads when i tell her the expensive LCD screens built into our refridgerator/washer/stove should all have a UPS if they go on generator

garandman
10-31-2014, 08:14 AM
Power line down for service? Need coffee? No problem!
http://dervish.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Lab-Camp/i-Rb5LX2C/0/L/image-L.jpg

garandman
10-31-2014, 08:22 AM
During Irene, there were some thieves in CT who would go into the victim's garage, get their lawn mower, start it next to the generator, then take the generator. They did this during the day so it was less obvious. The guy would notice something wasn't working, go out to check his generator, and fine his lawnmower running in the driveway.
Citation needed, I don't find anything substantiating this. I have heard of them being stolen at RV campsites where there are a number of them running at once and no one noticed.

I bought the metal security handle for ours but I'm not sure that would deter a thief much more than the plastic handle. I suppose locking one in a steel cage is the best you can do.

Read another idea which was to bolt a steel plate to the bottom, then bolt the plate down park a car on it.

Chet0729
10-31-2014, 10:33 AM
Citation needed, I don't find anything substantiating this. I have heard of them being stolen at RV campsites where there are a number of them running at once and no one noticed.

I bought the metal security handle for ours but I'm not sure that would deter a thief much more than the plastic handle. I suppose locking one in a steel cage is the best you can do.

Read another idea which was to bolt a steel plate to the bottom, then bolt the plate down park a car on it.
i have a chain and I chain the generator to the garage door track.

xtry51
10-31-2014, 10:46 AM
Citation needed, I don't find anything substantiating this. I have heard of them being stolen at RV campsites where there are a number of them running at once and no one noticed.

I bought the metal security handle for ours but I'm not sure that would deter a thief much more than the plastic handle. I suppose locking one in a steel cage is the best you can do.

Read another idea which was to bolt a steel plate to the bottom, then bolt the plate down park a car on it.

Seriously, I can't even read your posts with those avatars [laugh] Those things are glorious.

If I buy a larger output gen it will definitely be a diesel. If you have oil heat it's a no brainer.

Tracer1951
10-31-2014, 11:15 AM
..... Oh, the other thing to consider is security. When you have lights and everyone else doesn't, it's sorta obvious you have a generator.

That's why you also own guns! LOL

terraformer
10-31-2014, 11:18 AM
That's why you also own guns! LOL

Every time my lights go out, the Benelli M4 gets an airing out... [smile]

StumpJumper
10-31-2014, 12:07 PM
For times when Its running I have a circuit alarm that goes off when the generator. It will wake me up I can see it from the couch I sleep on when power is out. Then I can decide if it just needs gas or not.

A1850
10-31-2014, 12:15 PM
I'm too lazy to scroll through all the pages right now but is anyone here a licensed and insured electrician that would be available to hook up an interlock system for me? Just north of Boston. What can I expect to pay for labor and materials? Thanks.