cheapest generator to keep the home fires burning...

...or at least the central heating and fridge running?
Obviously I realise that a "rock bottom bargain basement" generator could turn out to be a false economy but I also don't want to spend too much on an insurance product I may never need.
Suggestions?
Tim
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On Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:18:03 +0000, Tim+ wrote:

One of the "little stinky" two stroke jobbies will do that, though may cough and struggle a bit if one is already on and the other starts. They are a little noisey though, in fact all open frame sets are noisy, some more than others. Our 2 kVA diesel is very noisy (PARDON!! CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE GENERATOR...).
If I had the money I'd get a Honda 2 kVA invertor type, they really are very quiet and you can link two together to get more power. The power is also nice and clean and a decent waveform, so electronics don't object. The Kipor chineses clones seem to get decent reports.
Only the fridge, no freezer? Or is it a single fridge/freezer unit (one or two compressors?). Currently keeping the fridge going isn't required, it's colder outside than it is in the fridge. It's not (yet) colder than the inside of the freezer...
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On Monday, March 25, 2013 9:18:03 PM UTC, Tim+ wrote:

Put a tetrapak or 2 in the fridge's icebox if it has one. Solved. Use the gas hob/oven if you have one. Solved. Gaslight beats batteries.
All far easier, cheaper & more reliable than a genny
NT
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On Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:56:19 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

For a day maybe, depending on how often you open the door. How many days have several thousand customers on Arran and Kintyre been off supply now?
TBH even in the summer I'd not be to fussed about the fridge, make up an evaporative cooler of some kind and stick it outside in the shade and breeze. The freezer on the other hand...

Don't have, well not mains gas. The backup for the lecky cooking is a gas camping hob & grill.

Agreed.

Genny keeps the freezers and CH running. When it's -4 C outside and blowing F5 this place loses heat very rapidly. It was 19.5 at 2200 last night, 6hrs later it's down to a decidedly chilly, 15 C and the heating is about to kick in...
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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:46:02 +0000, Dave Liquorice wrote:

True. But I would have thought keeping things frozen isn't an issue for them ;)

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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 09:57:23 GMT, Jethro_uk wrote:

It's not freezer cold (below -15 C) up there! Not sure I'd be happy about stuff that had been allowed to warm up to -3 or -4 C for several days...
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On 26/03/2013 03:46, Dave Liquorice wrote:

I have a couple of unglazed terracotta coolers, each with its own glazed dish to hold water. One is designed to go over a milk bottle and the other is a butter dish. Relics of camping in the 1950s.
Colin Bignell
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I suspect that refrigeration is the least of their worries.
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On 28/03/13 11:14, Huge wrote:

Not long enough to stop them voting for Salmond and his whirligigs I suspect.

See above.
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My parents bought me those when I went to university in 1980.
A few months later, I bought a peltier-effect cooler box instead, in part because I was studying physics and it was the first time I'd seen a peltier-effect device in a real application, and it was in a sale at John Lewis.
I still have the cooler box, which did 3 years continuous use at university, and then another 10 years use in various offices I've been in since. It's on its 3rd peltier element, 4th fan, and 2nd power supply, and has a home-made aluminium catch after the original plastic snapped. I added proper thermostatic control using one of the Maplin digital thermostat modules, after the original control board stopped working.
It's not in regular use since use since 2000, but has been dug out for use over Christmas when lots of family are visiting, and long car journeys.
Actually, I bought another one at one point when it was on long-term loan to another student and I needed one, and that one is still fine too, but it never had thermostatic control.
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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:46:02 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

What's the grill like? I was thinking of buying one of these as a back-up for when the electricity fails (we have no mains gas) but I was talked out of it by reading all the reviews, which said the grill was useless. TIA
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On Sun, 31 Mar 2013 09:22:38 +0100, Fred wrote:

Small, you can get two slices of bread on the pan but it does the job. I wouldn't be surprised if people are disappointed by the grill as they expect it to be the full width of the stove and it isn't, it's only about half the width.
Ours is looks to be discontinued now but is similar to the current Camping Chef model. Except ours has solid hinged sides and gas entry is at the rear left corner pointing to the left. I prefer it to a single burner above a bottle type stove as it's far more stable when actually cooking something rather than just boiling a kettle. Also being much lower it's easier to use when on a worktop.
We run it from a standard 7kg butane bottle (blue) you will probably have to buy a regulator/bottle connector, possibly a length of low pressure hose and a couple fo jubille clips. I know the regulator and clips weren't supplied not sure about the hose.
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On Sun, 31 Mar 2013 13:06:56 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

Thanks. I wouldn't mind if it was only half the width, as long as it works.

The reviews seems to suggest that corners have been cut and the newer camping chef ones are made of thinner metal.

I think that was another reason I never got around to it: having to buy the gas bottle and pay the deposit made the gas more expensive than the stove!
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On Mon, 01 Apr 2013 19:49:26 +0100, Fred wrote:

It works, two slices at a time, I think it's reasonably even as well.

Well that wouldn't surpise me this one is quite solid but is 10 years or more old. Can only suggest you try and find one to look at in the flesh. I must admit the wire supports don't look very sturdy/stable to me.

Try freecycle/freegle for a gas bottle. Got a 1/2 full 15 kg one that way... B-) If/when it's empty you'll still have to buy the gas but at least you have avoided the deposit. I have heard that HWRC's sometimes have cylinders but getting one from there may or may not be easy depending on the staff. A stove/grill will use very little gas, so a small cylinder will last a very long time.
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I have a Kipor IG2000. It will happily run c/h, fridge, freezer, lights, TV and computers. We get a lot of power cuts.
You will also need a transfer switch - about 60 on ebay.
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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 05:42:53 -0000, Vic wrote:

And a proper installed earth spike, discconect the suppliers earth, make the correct bondings to the genset and still treat it as TT.
Simpler to leave the phases from the generator floating and run extensio n leads to the appliances you want to maintain.
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On Tuesday 26 March 2013 09:06 Dave Liquorice wrote in uk.d-i-y:

Or install a generator fed radial to sockets next to each appliance (3 perhaps, CH feed, internet stuff, gas cooker, maybe a coupel more sockets for lights). Arrnage the CH to be plugged in rather than hard wired, so the plug can be removed and reinserted into the genny circuit.
However, the point of having a TT spike still stands - you cannot rely on the supplier's earth during failures. The slightly trickier problem is that your TT earth needs to be main bonded to water pipes etc while the generator is running - but I *really* cannot answer if it is permissible to bond a local TT rod to the supplier earth. Perhaps one of our more knowledgeable folk could comment?
Obviously the circuit should be RCD protected as well.
But this is a fairly simple arrangement. The RCD and earthing problems remain even if using extension leads, if you are trying to do it properly and safely.
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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 09:46:02 +0000, Tim Watts wrote:

Not quite as either phase from the genset is floating so, in theory, doesn't pose quite the same shock hazard as the live does in a conventional system.
It does get complicated if you try an emulate the conventional mains supply system from a genset. You need a local earth spike, that needs to be bonded to one of the gensets two phases and to the genset frame. As you say you can't rely on the suppliers earth being earth during supply fault conditions so you need to isolate that and of course the live and neutral of the supply. Putting an isolation switch into the supliers earth connection to the local distribution opens up a "fail safe" can of worms... And it's still a TT system so really does need a 30mA RCD.
It's far simpler to have the phases from the genset floating and run extension leads, or completely independant, genset only, distribution wiring. A RCD at the genset would be additional protection but not quite as important as a system with one phase bonded to the local earth spike.
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On Tuesday 26 March 2013 10:21 Dave Liquorice wrote in uk.d-i-y:

Whilst that is true, it is not in the ELV band that a centre earthed 110V site transformer would be.
I'm also not sure I'd be prepared to consider it fully floating either - it depends if the generator has its neutral tied to the frame or not[1] and if that frame is earthed, even superficially by sitting on wet ground.
[1] Not seen many generators close up - but I wouldn't want to make any assumptions.

At least with an RCD (and this must be a 30mA 40mS type, not a time delayed type), the risk is much mitigated...
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On Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:41:15 +0000, Tim Watts wrote:

True enough but still floating and thus any connection to either phase (one at a time...) will drag that phase down close to earth.

The alternators that I've looked at produce two phase wires with the voltage 180 degrees apart. There is no "neutral", that is created (if you want to) by connecting one of these phases to earth and the gensets frame.

Agreed but not essential on a floating system like it is with a one phase bonded to earth system. Swapping the two pole isolator switch on my genset to an RCD is on the tuit list but as I run floating and with known "fault free" appliances and extension cables not a particulary high priority.
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