Coleman generator @ Sam's Club -- opinions?

I noticed that Sam's Club is selling a Coleman "5000 Maxa ER Plus" generator (10HP Tecumseh engine) for $500. I assume that it's 5000 watts, but I don't have a note of that, and this model does not appear on their Web site. Does this seem like a good buy? We are looking for something to keep our refrigerator, freezer, furnace fan and control circuitry running, as well as provide basic lighting (most of our lights are compact fluorescent, so the load should be low).
Perce
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Does it have reglated voltage, I dought it, A techumpseh of lawnmower grade may last 350 hours, pressure oiled or Honda 2-3000 hrs , you get what you pay for, 500 is cheap, cheap quality for jobsites
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No, I doubt that it's regulated. I wouldn't use it on the computers or TV/stereo gear: I'd consider a small Honda (with an inverter) for those.
Perce
On 11/27/04 01:17 pm m Ransley tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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I run my computers and two way radios on the Coleman without any trouble. There is a 2000 volt/amp UPS between the genset and the computers that smooths the rough spots out (like when the well pump kicks in) Steve
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In actuality, a switching power supply, like in a computer or in many electronic devices, can take a very wide range of input voltages and frequencies. So, those items probably will run with no problems. And as Steve mentioned, a UPS will guarantee continuous power when the genset hiccups from sudden load changes.
Steven Fleckenstein wrote:

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says...

smooths
I know of a gent that is running a web server out of his home. His basement is full of computer equipment! He has a Coleman 10K home standby generator to run a couple of lights, heat, and the computer servers when the power is down. It is a non-regulated unit. He has no problems, although he does have several UPS units to keep thing going untill the generator picks up the load. Greg
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It is a cheap low end generator. If you plan on puting few hours on it, it may last for many years. It will probably run all you ask about, but sometimes generators can be hard on electronics, so be aware! Greg
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I have an older Coleman 5000 watt generator. It claims the max output is 6250 watts. 10 HP Briggs engine. I purchased it from Home Depot just before hurricane Floyd came up the coast around 1999.
At the time I read on the internet that they were cheap machines that quickly wore out. In real life I run it monthly for 15 - 20 minutes to make sure all is working and perform annual maintenance including mobil 1 synthetic oil change. It averages 2 to 3 real uses per year running 4 to 6 hours per event. I have had no problems with this unit. It does what I ask it to. It runs the well pump, some lighting, the computers, tv, radio, freezer, fridge, and oil furnace but NOT all at once. If you run the heat you don't run the well pump, etc. Load balancing is the key.
The one significant issue is the noise is creates. It is not quiet even with an extra optional "quiet" muffler. I put it behind a shed out in the backyard as far away from the house as possible. Otherwise the drone gets to you over the long run.
Decide if it is worth twice to three times the money for a quieter unit but if all you want to do is keep the food cold, the house warm, be able to flush the toilet once and awhile and stay in contact with the world the Coleman will probably do the job. If I had power problems on a more regular basis I would consider a better unit. Steve N2UBP
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This from personal experience: They have an oil sensor. If the oil runs low, the machine won't run.
This from my father's experience: If it won't start, don't let the neighbor spray ether in the spark plug hole. It will sieze the piston, and then throw a piston rod.
I agree, they are quite noisy. Better than nothing. Chain it to something, folks like generators and might steal them.
A good idea is to run the generator an hour or so in the morning, plug in only the fridge for an hour. Then an hour, and plug in the freezer. Refrigeration equipment has a high startup current. Try them on the generator while you still have power.
From memory, a galon of gasoline provides about 2000 watts of power for one hour.
--

Christopher A. Young
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