portable generator question

Hello
seeking recommendations for what brand and size generator to get.
Would be used for a running a light or two, maybe a PC, TV etc if power goes out, as well as misc workshop tools when working in the yard.
Seems like if not used a lot, when needed it would not start (Murphy's law) I suppose adding gasoline stabilizer to the fuel and starting it every month or two is critical. Still, some engine brands seem to start more easily than others, handle old gas better than others, etc.
I hesitate to just go and buy whatever home depot or sears has for sale without some 'user feedback"
thanks
paul oman
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I prefer to go with a car battery or two and an inverter. This way, if worse came to worse, I could charge the batteries or run the invert off the car.
In my opinion, a couple batteries are much more reliable than a small engine. They're also quieter, can be used (though not charged) inside if need be, and are cheaper.
You may not want to try running a fridge or heater with one, but I did manage to run my 52" TV off one with a 300 watt inverter.
Pagan
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Yes, in my opinion, the inverter is probably more reliable. And, as you stated, you can run the car to charge .... but the average car alternator probably can't keep up with real heavy usage. I designed and us a mobile TV studio. We originally put in a 7KW Onan genset. It was VERY unreliable, noisy and smelly. We finally had to put a large UPS on the video equipment to cover for when the Onan decided to go nuts. After about 5 years of very poor service, we replaced the Onan with an 5KW AuraGen, which is belted off the truck engine and uses an inverter. This thing is unbelievably stable. You can run all the video gear and lights simultaneously, and then start the roof mounted AC ..... hardly any glitch in the power. Two slight problems; it does use more gas than the Onan and while the truck engine is quieter, and cleaner, it does vibrate a bit "differently" to the point that a camera on top the truck, does "see" the vibration.
Pagan wrote:

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No, and I wouldn't recommend running an inverter off the alternator for any significant length of time, unless a high output alternator is installed on a diesel engine, and the vehicle is secured against joyriders.

Sounds like a very good setup. New motor mounts might reduce some of the vibration, and outriggers can reduce it even more.
What do news crews use to solve the vibration problem? My guess is very expensive cameras that can compensate, although I think I've seen one or two news vans with outriggers.
Pagan
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You aren't very demanding. How about your refrigerator? Furnace? Those are my first priorities.
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Hi Paul,
I just bought a Generac 5550 "Wheelhouse" portable generator from HD. I did a bunch of research before deciding on this one and the three factors that contributed the most (after wattage) were that the ancestor of this generator was Consumer Report's Top Pick in 2003, availability, and noise level.
Noise was a BIG factor for me, and I'd heard that the Generac ran at a confortable 60-70 dB; low enough to hold a normal conversation within a few feet of the running unit.
In fact, the noise level is closer to 80-90 dB, meaning you have to yell rather loudly to be heard over the noise of the running unit. It isn't pleasant, and you wouldn't want to use a generator like this on a camping trip.
But I bought mine for use during catastrophic emergencies only, not camping, and not even during short brownouts (which are becoming more common). In my area of California, that means a 7.5 earthquake or fire, which may never happen in my lifetime. So I plan to keep the unit. It does everything else as advertised.
$.02 deposited.
-Frank
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fwarner1-at-franksknives-dot-com
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Don't forget your refrigerator, DSL or Cable router, etc. No recomendations except to maybe run the unit dry and have fresh gas on hand to fill if you expect you may need it. Each manufacturer will have recomendations for how to store it. Don't buy Craftsman.
Here are some brands that I remember seeing used sucessfully in LA and MS last week.
Porter Cable Dewalt Coleman Devilbis Generac Honda Winco
The Winco I saw was a tri fuel - I don't know much about it except it can run on LP, natural or regular gasoline!! That is pretty cool if you ask me.

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I have a Honda 2000. Really quiet (55 db) and reliable, puts out a very clean sine wave without spikes for running a pc. They are expensive however, about $900.00.
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This is Turtle.
Well I have a Generac brand 5.5KW and does a good job running a bunch of the home appliances in a power outages. i have had it 3 years and 3 few day useages and cranks like a charm. I thibk it was around $400.00 3 years ago but if i had to do it again , i would sure look at the Honda generators for i have been told by a bunch of people who work on small engines that Honda made very good even running Generator & engine. So here is all i Know.
TURTLE
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I have an old Honda 2200 that has given good service for 15+ years. It's been over in Collins MS nearly 3 weeks now doing a good job. If it does not come back, I will probably replace it with a Yamaha EF2800i inverter unit. Weighs 64 pounds (the Honda is 104 pounds) and idles back under reduced load rather than 3600 rpm all the time. Running the refrigerator is the primary task in summer when the power is out.
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Reguardless of brands (yes honda make EXCELLENT engines) make sure to look for brushless generators. They are MUCH more reliable over the long haul. Cheaper units use brushes that wear out when you need them most.
Tom
P.S. I have a honda Dayton generator... uses a honda gx160 and a brushless generator.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hi, Up here in cold winter, Honda always starts. Most favored brand. Tony Calgary, Alberta
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