Which emergency generator?

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Interesting assortment of answers...
First determine the absolutely smallest amount of amperage you can live with; remembering that motors take a lot to start up. If you don't have an ampmeter, you will need some help with this. It is important because gas can be hard to find in an outage. I only needed 16a, but many people with sump or well pumps need much more.
Second, determine your budget. The more expensive ones are quieter, use less gas, and are more dependable. They are also less likely to damage your furnace.
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First Gary learn what you are talking about before giving crap information ,
Anyone following your lead will have screwed up equipment costing more to fix then the gen itself.
First no gen can be converted for 100- 150. an exageration.
Second alot of cheap gens damage equipment because of over and undervoltage. Even read Colemans Maintenance manual the one you read AFTER you buy the machine and need it . It says if you bought a Coleman Unregulated and want to power a TV ,Computer, or any thing with sensitive electronics GO BY a Voltage Stabiliser. Now those usualy cost more than 3x an upgrade price. Even Refrigerators and most new Furnaces have such electronics. Learn about generators before you post more Shit. Gary.
www.nooutage.com Lotta Generator info
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Blow me, Ransley. Here are propane conversion kits starting at $83. http://www.propane-generators.com/economy_kits.htm

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Yea uninstaled
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(Curmudgeon) says...

Pretty good advice, and a generator doesn't have to run everything at once. Refrigerators will hold for hours with no power, and chest type freezers will hold for a day or more. I bought a B&S powered 4400/5000 watt no-name generator that will just run my water heater if everything else is turned off. After heating a tank of water, we can turn off the water heater and kick on the well pump to take a shower. The rest of the time, the generator loafs along running a refrigerator, freezer, a few lights, the satellite dish and computer. At the most, it runs for about 4 hours in the evening and an hour in the morning. We have wood heat available, and an Aladdin lamp for reading.
I bought it in 1998, and we have had one extended power outage since then. When not in use, I run the gas tank empty, fog the cylinder, fill it with clean oil, bag the exhaust and intake so the bugs don't get in, and store it in its original shipping container in a dry location. So far, it has about 35 hours on it. At this rate, it should last another 50 years. It really is an emergency generator. When the power goes out, I don't bother to uncrate it until the outage extends into the next day.
Oh yeah, I paid $279 for it, back before the Y2K panic and all that inflation that never happened.
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The quiet Honda sounds like a good idea, in that you could use it during the summer to run a light, stereo, cooler at a party, the beach, or something like that.
This would go a long way towards the problem of it not being ready due to inactivity.
You could also use it to power electrical lawn appliances, like weed wacker, chain saw, etc. Then you have only one engine to keep running, and can use shorter cords.
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John Hines wrote:

Up here in North(arctic, subarctic area), Honda is most favoured. For one thing it starts well in dead cold. There is other reasons as well. Tony
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Honda or "Honda powered"[+] generators are heavily prefered by contractors and other people who use portable units on jobsites etc. just about everywhere. Things like Colemans are light duty and not really suitable for long-term use.
Hondas are commercial-duty.
Kohler-powered and commercial-rated Onans are also highly thought of by professionals.
[+] Powered with Honda motors, but the generator/whole unit is manufactured/assembled by someone else. Northern may still assemble their own "line" of generators, for example, using Honda motors.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Chris Lewis wrote:

No one has even mentioned Generac. I know very little about the subject, but have been told they're excellent.
I'll vouch for the Onan units. My old emergency services unit had a "portable" one in a truck and a big diesel unit in the station. If there's oil in the crankcase (and of course fuel), it works perfectly.
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There are Generacs and then there are Generacs. Their commercial and industrial gear is likely just as good as eany, but their retail stuff is on the low end.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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First you have to decide 'what' protection during a power outage you need and also how long you expect the outage to be.
1) At one extreme you may have a situation where power is out for a couple of hours during cold or hot weather and provided you don't open the door of the freezer and minimize how often you open the fridge etc. it probably requires no generator at all. Unless of course you have medical equipment that must be kept going? Except in the most extreme climates, such as Northern Canada you can usually bundle up in extra clothing, crawl into a sleeping bag with a bottle of hot water heated on your emergency camp stove/heater and wait for the power to come back.
2) At another extreme you may have an elderly relative who requires essential equipment for life support. And/or several freezers of food that must not spoil etc.
Type 1 can probably be handled by a fairly cheap AC generator into which the freezer can temporarily be plugged via an extension cord if the outage persist for any length of time, to avoid food spoilage.Total cost probably well under $1000. Such a generator will be fairly lightweight and can be also be used for camping or with an RV etc. It won't have much spare capacity to operate much else other than the starting/stopping of the freezer. Sometimes noisy. For example; we have a well used 2000 watt unit, that a 70 year old male can just manhandle, but rarely use it because outages are rare and of short duration. One daughter has a small 'Honda type' generator which can, if necessary, just barely manage to operate her freezer. Normally stored with their camping equipment it is light enough for her to handle. hook up an extension cord and start if absolutely necessary to avoid food spoilage; by alternating plugging in her freezer and fridge she was able to prevent food spoilage during one fairly long 18 hour outage. But if the weather is cold you can put some refrigerated items outside in the cold anyway! Type 2. This requirement can range all the way up to a permanent diesel electric automatic start installation costing many thousands of dollars. Probably $20,000 to $100,000 for a permanently housed unit with the correct fuel storage and fire protection equipment? This is the kind of system that might be required to keep medical freezers, laboratory equipment etc. operating. Also might be installed in extremely luxurious homes where the local commercial supply is unreliable and the wealthy owners/occupants/renters want to keep everything operating including the swimming pool and all kitchen equipment, regardless! Some of the more expensive RVs and boats have such electric generators. My sail boat doesn't!
If, for example it is matter of having enough energy to heat some baby food during an emergency, a small camp stove or even the use of a barbecue (outside of course) will suffice.
So it's all a matter of what you consider you need a 'good' generator to protect?
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The engine is more important than the make of the generator. Neither of these are quiet.
Personally I would not own either. Gas engines tend to be more of a problem than a diesel. Gas and diesel both go bad over time. Try this link for some other choices. http://www.northerntool.com/?storeIdi70&langId=%2D1 Check out the propane powered generator on the first page, small in output but pretty good idea.
The quietest generators on the market are Honda, and Yamaha. IMO You do not just add a larger muffler to the small engines, it will hurt the performance.
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Minnie Bannister wrote:

Build your own. You will need:
1. Lawnmower 2. Auto alternator 3. Pully and belt. 4. Wire and connectors. 5. Battery 6. Inverter
Here's some ideas: http://www.webpal.org/webpal/b_recovery/3_alternate_energy/electricity/lawnmower/generator/generator.htm
http://theepicenter.com/tow082099.html
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Build your own ! Add up the parts new , you will get a better beal buying a used gen not a lawnmower mulcher milk shaker ice cream maker
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Minnie Bannister wrote:

This has been a great discussion thread. It got me planning ahead for my next house (the local utility here is so reliable I don't think I need a generator now.) With proper planning when you lay out your breaker box, you could put all the lighting circuits, the furnace (assuming it's gas or oil,) one kitchen circuit, the freezer, and a few convienience outlets scattered throughout the house could all be on the same leg, and you could run all this stuff with a little 120V generator backfed into the main panel. Or put all of these circuits in a transfer panel or a subpanel wired for 120V right next to the main breaker box.
Honda makes a cute little 2kW generator with a built-in inverter to provide regulated output. Costs about $800, and small enough to actually carry it around with you and use it occasionally. 2kW is enough to make a big difference in an emergency, although you probably would not want to permanently disconnect from the power grid with a light-duty generator that small.
Bob
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On 07/01/04 11:21 pm zxcvbob put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

I saw this "cute little 2kW generator" by Honda today, but it was almost $1100 at the local authorized Honda dealer. Where do you buy it for only "about $800"?
MB
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That Cute little red 2k watt generator is the toughest, most clean power [ 1.2v] variance , Quitest , you cant hear it ar 25ft , Reliabe , Portable , Lightweight , little unit made. U haul rents them we abuse them. A great machine and all you need if you plan your house and have all modern low consumption apliances.
It weighs 46.3 lbs and is rated at 59 db, Normal speach is 60 db , thats quiet. the EU 3000 is rated at 58 db, inside of a car at 50 mph is rated apx 80 db . Its Sine wave is equal to or better than utility power, its also extremely efficient with a patented variable throttle- rpm. based on power need. It costs alot more than a junk coleman but will run and run and wont blow a Computer, Tv , Microwave , Furnace with a circuit board or any sensitive circuited apliance as an unregulated unit will. The 3000 is also great and more home apropriate with its added power.
The 2000 can run up to 15 hrs on 1.1 Gallon of gas. The Eu 3000 can run up to 20 hrs on 3.4 gallons gas.
Soon there will be a Eu 5000 out, But their other units still beat most of the competition as well. The junk non OHV coleman may last 250- 350 hrs, the Hondas will go 3000 hrs. You get what you pay for and Honda has a real Home Owner winner.
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Output of this generator is 2000 watts max. with 1600 watts continuous. Something to note about this generator is that it requires 93 octane fuel.
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Sorry Newby, ran mine on regular, No Problems, 93 may be better but 89 is fine.
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Regards, Newby
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