Generator Livin'

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I'm at day 7 in Cincinnati off the grid - which is nothing to cry about considering the carnage in Texas!
I have a 30 year old 3500 watt generator from Sears. So far, it's working fine. But I've been reading some of the threads about inverter generators (which I had never heard of) and I would like to get some opinions. I pulled the battery from my Ford Explorer and I use it at night along with this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber761
During the day I recharge the car battery using a separate 12V output on the generator that provides up to 8 amps. Funny, I used to wonder why the hell I would need this. Anyway, today I am going to have to run my business desktop PC for a while. Would I be better off hooking the car battery to the generator 12V to keep it charged, then also hooking up the inverter and running the PC off of it? I realize that I have a cheap inverter but would the power out of it be less likely to feed a spike or low voltage to my PC than this tired old generator? Or maybe just charge the battery for a few hours and then just use the battery and the inverter and do my work quickly?
This is the best photo I've found so far of the generator and the guy has the engine partially disassembled:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2012/2347257539_e6d87203ec.jpg?v=0
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I would check voltage and cycle output on the gen, 3600 rpm is 120v - 60hz, go lower in V and cycles go lower, go higher than 120v and cycles go higher. Adjust rpm with load used
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ransley wrote:

Are the local big-boxes open? If so, go buy a cheap UPS unit, and put that between your PC and your power, to clean it up at least a little. This isn't a table saw- you are not only putting the PC at risk if a power glitch happens, you are putting your data at risk, like if you happen to be in the middle of a disk write when it all goes dark or spikes. Laptops are better this way- they have some power filtering built in. If the big-boxes are closed, inverter from battery, with no running engine involved, is the safest. When picture starts flickering, save your work and shut down. My agency has lost a lot of PCs and other computer equipment, over in the sandbox, due to running them off dirty generator power.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

If you're running on dirty generator power and you want to have a UPS, you should go for either low-end or high-end. Don't get anything in the middle. The low-end UPS won't be very picky. It will let anything through. It could be rough on your electronic equipment, but that's another issue. The high-end UPS might have the ability to clean up the power, but you should read the accompanying literature first to make sure it's recommended for use with a generator. The middle-range UPS will go into a frenzy, switching back and forth between battery and mains every few seconds - or it might just get so horrified by what it sees that it turns itself off altogether.
Hint - you can stabilize the generator output a little bit by putting a steady inductive load on it - assuming it has enough capacity to carry that load, along with its other loads. I always run a dehumidifier at the maximum setting when I'm on generator power. It's not a perfect solution, but it does help - and the basement smells so clean and dry and fresh afterward.
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aemeijers wrote:

A cheap bigbox class UPS is next to worthless for such duty. A decent UPS that will work well really isn't much more.

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I've been watching the deal sites for a good price on a quality UPS for a while now. Eventually I will have one.
The battery from the Explorer with the 1200/3600 watt inverter got me through my critical processes. But I may be teetering on the brink of insanity here on day 8. I skip right over ads that have models in skimpy outfits and drool over the Honda EU2000 pictures.............
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Take two thousand watts, and call me in the morning.
Please write some more, of how you coped with various things. We can learn from your experience.
--
Dr. Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

While you didn't ask me, I'll be glad to share some lessons learned.
I had a generator and five gallons of stabilized gas. That should, I thought, get me through the onset of any disaster.
Then came Ike.
NO ELECTRICITY to over 2.1 million customers, including EVERY FRICKIN' GAS STATION for sixty miles in any direction. The stations HAD gas, but no way to get it to your tank! Even today, ten days after the hurricane, 34% of customers in the Houston area (767,000 users, about 2.4 million people) are without power.
Next hurricane, I'm gonna hoard gas, just like beer and strawberry pop-tarts!
Strangely, our legislature passed a law mandating gas stations on evacuation routes stock up to 85% capacity in advance of an impending emergency, but the law says nothing about emergency power generation for these stations.
-------
There was at least one report of fatalities due to running the generator in an attached garage. Paramedics found a family of four dead and a generator with an empty gas tank in the garage. That's four people dead out of tens of thousands who used generators. Expect legislation mandating CO detectors to be sold with every generator (like trigger-locks on pistols).
I had mine running outside, in the rain and wind. Inclement weather didn't bother it a bit. Remember, these things are DESIGNED to be used in hostile environments - a little moisture or leaves or wind shouldn't bother the sucker.
A side benefit of the generator being louder than the Hinges on the gates of Hell is that the noise encourages the user to keep the door and windows in its vicinity closed.
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Frosted Cherry Pop-Tarts are by far superior.

Figures. Most politicians are much too short sighted to think of generators.
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Josh wrote: ...

I'd say it's the station operators who were even more short-sighted...
--
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I remember once, the owner of a hardware store commenting on all the people coming to his store during a week of heavy snowfall looking for snow shovels. He said they should have thought ahead and bought one before they needed it. I gently pointed out to him, that if he had so much better foresight, he should have stocked enough snowshovels for the anticipated rush.
Meanwhile, I'll bet part of the reason they want those gas station tanks full is so that FEMA and other emergency vehicles can pump it directly out of the underground tanks using a portable pump.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote: ...

Can't do that cost effectively...by the time it's certain there actually will be an unusual event it's too late to get additional stock in. And, if over stock, that's simply unsold inventory eating up operating capital. I'm w/ the owner...stock based on long term history.

Possibly, but I think they tend to bring their own fuel reserves rather than relying on local supplies except for very unusual circumstances, at least in the very short term.
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I obviously think you are wrong on both of these points.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote: ...

Well, I'm certain I'm not on the first as a general premise of operating a retail operation cost-effectively and pretty sure on the second (by watching FEMA and National Guard in particular in action locally).
What evidence have you to the contrary?
--


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Really? It's cost effective to be out of something that everyone is clamoring to buy?
I thought the reason to have a store is to sell what people want to buy. Otherwise, you call it a museum.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote: ...

...
It's cost effective to purchase and store stuff far beyond what is normally sold, taking warehouse and shelf space away from other merchandise that could be sold instead?
The problem is as previously noted -- by the time one finds out there's going to be more than a normal demand, it is almost certainly too late to receive more before the rush short-term demand is over.
If, otoh, you're so prescient as to be able to do things like that, you'd be far better off spending your time at the race track or similar venues.
--
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Didn't say that.

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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote: ...

That's the effect of what you _did_ say, however...
--
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No, that was your mis-interpretation, colored by what you "wanted" to hear me say.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Nope...
--


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