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First generator #5442869 05/31/20 01:50 AM
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daves87rs Offline OP
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Hi everyone !

I need to grab a generator for my home. For the last few years, I’ve borrowed one if we need it. I fear it is going to be a summer with a lot of storms and outages...

With a tight budget due to the current situation, I am looking more for a basic one. Pretty much to keep the appliances going, maybe a fan. (Mostly the Fridge)

I see the Harbor Freight ones, and also ones from retailers that look like it in different colors. Looking for suggestions , as there are quite a few out there......


2020 Chevrolet Trax LS
2019 Chevrolet Equinox LS
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt LS
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier (project)

Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442884 05/31/20 04:27 AM
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madRiver Offline
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If I were doing it again harbor freight would likely be my choice. I have a Rigid with Yahama engine that does 6800W nominal and 8000W peak which great but the $900 spent.....Wife wanted her hair dryer to work so added another 2000W over what I needed smile really!

Why "downgrade"? What led me to generator is being on well water and living is impossible without water in modern life. Ice storms for leading to 1 week outages of power twice. over. Then I said I work from home so I need for backup on internet.

Reality, power company trimmed tree lines and outages have been rare since day I bought it. Used maybe 1/2-1 day outages maybe 4 times. I purchased a $100 UPS to backup internet(router and modem) no action by me for 6hrs. Hauling generator out and not knowing if power coming back on in 15 mins or hours was maddening beyond the sound/drone of it.

If times are tight hold off till you need it.

Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442891 05/31/20 05:08 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Let me tell you the correct way so you don't make the same mistakes and possible safety situations many others have.

You need to figure the maximum sustained load you need ( W=V*A method for total watts at voltage)

Account for surge ( motor starters, compressors, deep induction loads etc)

Then you need to know the maximum time you may need the Pgen per usage ( 8 hrs, 16,24, continuous etc.)

Get about 25% above your max calculation ( average single dwelling house will run fully loaded on an industrial 15kw unit easily)- you know you would hardly ever run everything at once but when sizing you always size to the max.

Then check thePgen to make sure

You have a duty cycle capable of running the times you need

The unit has true AC sine current ( not DC or rippled DC)

The unit has a SF greater that 1

The unit is built industrially ( engine, bearings, alternator) and is properly grounded

Get a proper contact switch you can plug the unit into and a day tank big enough ( splurge and mount it on a pad)

You will be happy and safe with those results

Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442897 05/31/20 05:41 AM
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dave123 Offline
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I do like how my Westinghouse IGen 2200 runs and performs. Is it a Honda no but awfully close for the money.

Re: First generator [Re: madRiver] #5442924 05/31/20 07:10 AM
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MolaKule Offline
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Originally Posted by madRiver
...Rigid with Yahama engine that does 6800W nominal and 8000W peak which great but the $900 spent...


I would say that for a modern home, 6800W nominal and 8000W peak is the minimum.

We survived on a similar generator during a Kansas ice storm that lasted for 8-1/2 days.


"So many shows out there dumb-down the country. It's so admirable to be part of a show that wants people to think." (David Krumholtz 'Charlie Epps' of NUMB3RS)
Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442937 05/31/20 07:29 AM
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vwmaniaman Offline
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We have propane cooking and water heating and heat. Small 2200 watts runs our electric essentials. LED lighting is easy too. We had no power or phones for 2 weeks in 2009 from a big ice storm. Our childen all liked our gas water heater. Oh and the cooking too.


Don't waste your time on a slipshod repair.
Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442945 05/31/20 07:41 AM
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henni Offline
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The key is to setup home with DC motors and compressors. We run 5 heatpumps with a combined capacity exceeding 40,000 BTU in cooling, swimming pool pump, three(3) refrigerators, deep well pump = All are DC inverter systems able to start at below 100 watts, no surge and slowly ramp up to demand.

On top of that, water heater can be switched from 4,500 watts at 240v to 1,125 watts at 120v with a 3-way switch, again reducing demand.

During hurricanes, outages, normal daily use for a 24 hour period is 2,400 watts with peak at 2,900 watts, using a honda 7000 series inverter which runs entire house and all systems remain connected. We don't run oven or multiple induction stove burners but otherwise everything remains as if power came from utility.

Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442955 05/31/20 07:59 AM
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eljefino Offline
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If you want basic, skip the inverter style. They don't do motor start-ups as well as a 3600 rpm classic machine.

2500 watts is more than enough to start your fridge, after that, you can plug in other conveniences, even a 5k btu window AC. That's around 200 cc/ 6 hp. And you'll save gas over something larger.

Speaking of, the propane capable carbs are under $40, I highly recommend, due to fuel flexibility in a crisis. You can add on to the basic honda style or get one integrated so you'll have warranty support.


Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5442970 05/31/20 08:21 AM
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Alfred_B Offline
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For the price, nothing beats the Harbor Freight generators which are surprisingly good quality and quiet

Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5443014 05/31/20 09:02 AM
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edwardh1 Offline
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does a generator have to be an inverter type to use safely with modern refrigerators that have the displays etc?


These products are all new every year?? They are a revolution!!! Razor blades, mens shirts, TVs, wiper blades, gutter guards, hearing aids... according to the ads. But also all new last year
Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5443036 05/31/20 09:18 AM
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NO2 Offline
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You are much safer with an inverter generator with any motorized device. Electronics are somewhat more tolerant of somewhat dirty power and minor voltage fluctuations. Losing your compressor or blower fan can get very expensive. Also consider a dual fuel (gasoline/propane) generator for safe storage. You can keep a few cylinders of propane around and cycle them through your grill.

Last edited by NO2; 05/31/20 09:21 AM.
Re: First generator [Re: edwardh1] #5443038 05/31/20 09:24 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by edwardh1
does a generator have to be an inverter type to use safely with modern refrigerators that have the displays etc?


No and don't let people whose only knowledge comes from a brochure or forum tell you differently.

Most of that's a sales pitch but there is also some truth in it. In layman's English........

The inverter Pgens make high freq current- convert to DC then pulse it back to AC (invert)- gives high quality clean current but at the sacrifice of electromotive force and overall ampacity.

Since both require a ICE engine, RPM isn't always constant so there are fluctuations in the alternator- that's true

However, the IV duty get around this by a lower rating so their power factor is constant. They don't do demand loading very well.

The conventional generator accommodates for most sags by simply overproducing then cleaning it downward and adjusting voltage.

The "camping" model doesn't have all this capability built in usually but any industrial model will.

That's why you need to read and understand those specifications and have a good idea of what your load profile and requirements will probably be before you just throw a jenny in the circuit.

Re: First generator [Re: NO2] #5443051 05/31/20 09:39 AM
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UncleDave Offline
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Originally Posted by NO2
You are much safer with an inverter generator with any motorized device.


Disagree with that.
Eljefino calls out " motor start up" I would say compressor based devices specifically, fridge, freezer, and AC units.
The inrush surge often overwhelms the inverter gensets ability to ramp.
Something like a fan is no problem.

For the OP - the most overlooked part of genset maintenance is valve lash adjustment.
Your manual will tell you what the inspection interval is.
Don't ignore this especially the first few cycles when its breaking in.


UD

Last edited by UncleDave; 05/31/20 09:44 AM.

Uncle Dave
Cat 3126/2 MB3500/Titan/RX400H/17 Ridgeline
700HP V10/ 725HP BBC/ Raptor 700/ KFX450/ YZ250/Onan 8K/ Cat3011C
Re: First generator [Re: edwardh1] #5443087 05/31/20 10:44 AM
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Cujet Offline
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Originally Posted by edwardh1
does a generator have to be an inverter type to use safely with modern refrigerators that have the displays etc?


Not at all. Electronics have built in power supplies that change 50 to 60HZ, 100-240V into 5VDC or so, to run the circuitry. They can run off of nearly any kind of power.

Furthermore, the best inverter generator available, Honda, still has a measured distortion of 1% at all times. The lower quality ones typically see 4-6% distortion. It is absolute NOT TRUE that computers and electronics need inverter generators.

Any high quality, single cylinder generator will produce 5% or lower distortion. That's perfectly acceptable for motors.

Induction motors can be sensitive to power quality. That's why square wave inverters (cheap inverters that convert 12V to 115V) are not good for powering motors.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: First generator [Re: daves87rs] #5443089 05/31/20 10:48 AM
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Cujet Offline
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FYI, I prefer Champion over HF. While they may look the same, they are not.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
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