It's getting to be that time of year again. I am going to buy a
generator this year in case we get hit again by a hurricane. Can any one
advise me on what to look for in features or size? My neighbor had a
small Honda last year but said it was too small.
I will need to run a refrigerator, small TV, some lights. a fan or two.
Of course not all at the same time.
Any help is appreciated. Chuck B.
First you need to calculate watts needed for run and surge load for all
motor equiped apliances, surrge load can be 9x run load but is usualy
4-6 times. The Honda site and more have guidline sheets , but you realy
need a clamp on amp meter. A new frige can pull only 100 running 450
surge an old unit can pull 1400 surge 600 running, a TV 200-350w. A
Honda or Yamaha inverter type are the safest in power quality, maintaing
120 v 60hz, quietness- you can hardly hear them run and last the longest
at 50 % load, up to 14000 hrs. A cheap B&S or Techumpsee motor can fail
at 250-350 hrs and put out 140-90v on load-no load with swinging HZ, it
can ruin a TV or any sensitive electronics if it doesnt have voltage
regulation. The Honda-Yamaha inverter line is expensive but you get what
you pay for. They are available to 3000w and similar non inverter models
to 10000w. Most other units are extremely noisy. I suggest get a
transfer panel and a vented dry location as rain will blow out a
generator. You get what you pay for, Generac are cheap for what you
get , the OHV with oil filter can last 3000 hrs and the XL and EXL line
have voltage regulation, vs cheap ones that go 350hrs. But Honda ,
Yamaha with load dependant Rpm last the longest 4x longer at 50% load.
If power outages last a week and you want to keep it Honda-Yamaha is
best Generac second and lawnmower grade engines last.
It is a confusing market shopping for watts produced but to compare
a 450$ 5000 watt generator to a 3000 $ 3000 watt Honda is no
comparison, the Honda can last 14000 hrs vs 350 hrs and give true 120v
60 Hz, vs 140-90 v 55-65 hz junk, again you get what you pay for.
Yamaha's EF1000i and EF3000is look interesting. A Honda dealer told me one
of his 2500 W NON-inverter generators lasted 12K hours at full-power with
no oil changes. The contractor just kept adding oil until the crankcase was
full of something like asphalt :-) Would Yamaha last as long?
An EF1000i and a 4 kW inverter with 2 batteries might be nice cogeneration.
The $669 27 lb EF1000i burns 0.66 g of gas in 6 hours at 1/2 power at 47-57 dB.
That's about 0.66x122K/3h = 27K Btu/h, enough to heat an A ft^2 R1 plastic
film room in the basement from 80-100 F, where A = 27K/20 = 1342. Too big...
We might stack some 4 gallon 9"x9"x13" Ropak water tubs in an 8'x8' room.
If it loses 6h(100-80)5x64/R1 = 38400 Btu over 6 hours and the tubs store
42.1K Btu with a 7.8 hour time constant and cool to 70 F by morning, T(6)
= 100-(70-100)e^-6/7.8 = 86.2 F, so we need 42.1K/(86.2-70)/32 = 81 tubs,
eg a 4x5x4 36"x45"x36" tall stack, or fewer tubs and a fan to lower their
charging time constant. The exhaust would go outdoors, depressurizing the
room, with a CO detector upstairs.
My neighbor is a Honda employee and he says the urban myth of not doing
maintenance is often overstated. The generators with bad oil and
plugged filters don't meet output specs and burn excessive fuel. How
hard is it to change a beer glass full of oil now and then?
But maybe they do run 12K hours, even at full rpm, without inverters. I got
to know my local Honda dealer, who's been around for a long time, and he
seems honest to me. Unlike m, I don't believe "all salesmen lie." The local
Yamaha dealer says their small engines have equal lifetimes... m says Yamaha's
parts are cheaper and they are less monolithic to deal with, which seems nice,
even though m can't spell and seems to possess more anger than subtlety and
didn't answer my question about Yamaha engine lifetime and wonders if 1 kWh
is equivalent to 450 Btu :-)
I dont know about Yamaha gens but they make great motors, neither of
which go 12000 hrs, full load @3600 rpm, that is sales talk on smaller
fixed rpm air cooled units. Inverter units at 50% load apx 2000 rpm
will, but not without clean oil .
Is spelling - presentation that important to you, or correct info. Your
salesman has one objective, getting your money.
I dought a Honda would last 4- 500 hours without an oil change before it
started to smoke that 12000 hr story is pure BS , from a salesman of
course. Nobody is going to buy the most expensive unit and trash it
that way. 12000 hrs at full load and rpm is way optimistic anyway, more
like 3000 - 5000. Most Hondas don`t have oil filters, at 500 hrs the oil
would be real thick ruining it. At 750- 1500 hours it would not flow it
would be mud, and your motor would never make it to even 1000 hrs. Oils
become innefective around 150 hrs and full of junk that will grind a
No Nick Im not wrong try running a small motor like that for only 100
hrs and check the oil , 500 hrs is the life cycle of most small motors
with regular changes at 25 hrs, but you didn't know that did you. Many
small motors go at 350 hrs with maintenance. These are non oil filter
engines, you have allot to learn Nick, but then again if you are stupid
enough to believe a motor can go 12000 hrs on original oil you know
nothing about motors or oil. On a car going 60 mph you would travel
720000 miles in 12000 hrs, do you now see how totaly absurd that
statement is that some salesman knows a guy that ran his unit 12000 hrs
on original oil. I guess that you must believe Honda cars can do the
same! Figure it is also running a constant 3600 rpm at full power. Did
you know the EPA has class ratings on engines and the Honda is a 1500 hr
rating till it fails EPA, till it pollutes, is wearing out. 12000 hrs
on an inverter gen running at 1200-1800 rpm or less yes will go 12000
hrs but not a Honda at 3600 rpm, Never, and not one on orginal oil to
boot. Go learn a bit more and come back, naw, anybody that believes
12000 hrs at 3600 rpm on original oil don`t come back, your info is
totaly BS , missleading, junk.
How old is your frige, what does the panel rate its consumption, your
neighbors small honda may do it for you and it could give him the
opertunity to get a bigger unit, and you a good price, what size is your
unit. Nobody can say you need 5000 or 2000 watts, you may only need
1000. I replaced my frige with a 19.5 cu ft that runs at 90 watt and my
furnace pulls 375, I could run easily with 1000 watts but I learned to
late, after I purchased a Generac 7500-13500w unit. If I knew what I
know now I would have gotten a 2000 watt Honda or Yamaha. Plus Inverter
generators are 35% lighter, the generatior is not a separate unit but
part of the motor, weight is very important.
This is Turtle.
Boudreaux & Thibodeaux has solved the Hurricane problem in Florida and is
working on it now and should be complete before the summer. They are building a
hurricane fence all around Florida and then you can sell your generators and
power outage supplys.
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