Small (cheap) generators

Does anyone have experience, or opions of these things?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item%0156143280
I only want something inexpensive for the occasional, but too often, times the mains goes off, to power a light or similar.
Thanks,
Neil
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If all you need is lighting surely a calor gas light would be better?
I'd also be concerned about the noise if you have neighbours. They carefully don't quote it.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Tue, 21 Aug 2007 14:15:02 +0100, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Complain to your REC, power shouldn't be going off more than once a year and then for no more than a few seconds. High up exposed and all the lines overhead that is all we get and then mostly in the early summer when the trees grow and short the line out.

For lighting yes far better than having trailing leads about the place in the relative dark for a generator positioned *outside*... Get a camping gas light with piezo ignition and you can light it in the dark without having to hunt matches etc. Run times are excellent on a single cartridge costing a couple of quid. Sod all maintenance as well.

I'd do a google on the model number. I'm surpised to see they say it's a 4 stroke rather than a 2 stroke that these small generators normally are but then they are also normally a direct drive alternator rather than invertor design. It could be fairly quiet but I'd expect them to crow about it if it was. B-)
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I got a chainsaw off Ebay with this name - the part number tracked back to a Chinese company. The saw has been excellent - don't know how long it will last mind you !. Not much use concerning a generator I know but at least I can say something positive about the name.
Rob
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Really? Any kind of reference or pointer to regulations for this? I ask because ours goes off much more often than this, we've had dirty great big container sized generators parked outside our local substation several times this year after outages that have lasted for hours rather than seconds. I have a Camping Gaz lantern which has been pressed into use on these occasions
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Clint Sharp

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On Tue, 21 Aug 2007 20:14:21 +0100, Clint Sharp wrote:

I doubt you can find anything referring to repeated outages, particularly short ones. Trouble is most of the system is not monitored, I doubt that the trips caused by tree growth of the auto recloser on our 11kV line is noticed by the network. Until there are more than 3 in 1 minute (or is it 3 mins) which will cause it to lock out, requiring a man to come in a reset it. Minimum of 6 hours outage then.
Good customer service should mean that complaints about repeated outages are treated seriously but actually getting customer services to log each complaint in a manner that'll reach someone who can do something about it is another matter. Probably better to report each one but also keep your own log of dates/times/durations then send that to the MD of the REC. Note REC, this may not be who you buy your power from, you want the company responsible for the local lines/distribution.

That sounds more like they are aware of a problem and are doing something about it. Next time you see the gensets and people there have a *polite* word.
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I'm not bothered by short outages, it's the ones that last hours I'm bothered by, three or four times this year outages of over 20 minutes (shortest) to almost 14 hours which affected over a hundred homes and businesses, it's not a rural area either.

You may be surprised what level of detail the network control centre can see, I know I was impressed when I got the tour.

Do you have to ring them or do they turn up?

At the level I'm seeing problems and the fact that a generator has to be shipped out, I suspect that the fault has been noticed by someone who can do something about it, the generators aren't the sort of thing they carry in the back of the van and I suspect authorisation from a much higher level than helpdesk is required to deploy one.

Oh they're definitely aware of the problem but the generators only turn up after the power has gone off, they're not a permanent fixture.

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Clint Sharp

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On Wed, 22 Aug 2007 08:07:16 +0100, Clint Sharp wrote:

This recloser is up a pole in the middle of a field, I guess they could use power line signaling but that hardly seems worth it or monitor the load on the line at the 33kV substation 1/2 a mile up stream.

I normally ring 'em once I've sorted things this end. Shutting down PC's to conserve the UPS battery for the PABX etc. More often than not they are already aware (other callers) but don't know what the problem is and want to know where I am.

Cheaper to bring in one of their gensets than pay the statutary compensation? It doesn't take many customers to make that economic. Sounds as if the development of the area has outstripped the orginal power provision. The roughest power, in terms of reliabilty and voltage fluctuations, always seems to be in urban areas.
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I've got one of the (similar sized) two-stroke ones with conventional alternator. I have used it mainly for running power tools (when the battery stuff doesn't have the umph) when down the fields etc.
It's great for that, or running lights, telly and radio etc but will not make microwaves work and also hasn't enough guts to start up a fridge or freezer compressor.
Your link points to a 4-stroke example with inverter technology, in theory it should be better than mine and if drawing only a fraction of its rated output the engine should be almost at idle - so very quite.
Julian.
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Sorry, answering my own posts!
Just checked the postage, suspect you'd find a similar deal from Screwfix, Wolf-online or Machine Mart.
Julian.
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Julian wrote:

Agreed about the power tools - the "800W" two-strokes can easily handle a mains drill or an angle grinder.
On a limited sampling of a medium-sized fridge, a small freezer and large fridge-freezer, the Wolf 800 (earlier model with no meter, no 12V) has enough guts to start any one of them. The large fridge-freezer makes it grunt for a moment, but the generator wins. It will also power the OFCH, allowing us to have heating and hot water.
Running the generator periodically to 'recharge' the fridge, freezer and radiators, and with camping gas and a small stove for hot drinks and cooking, we can manage for several days in some comfort. From that point of view, the generator was money well spent.
Switch-mode PSUs don't seem to like the output waveform unless the generator is heavily loaded with some other resistive load. However, that isn't a major problem, for when we do have an extended power cut, we tend to go into slow, low-tech mode and abandon the computers and TV.
--
Ian White

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That's interesting, mine is one of those generic ones off e-bay with the CE marking but no hint of manufacturer, it has the DC output. I wonder if that's why yours is better at starting fridge compressors. When I try with mine it just makes the engine labour, but the compressor won't go over top dead centre and start up.

For the cash you just can't go wrong. The wife also uses it to run the toaster and hairdryer when she's away with the nags.
I now purchase special petrol for it, (and my chainsaw) It's designed to remain fresh for years and not go stale in weeks like modern petrol - this overcomes starting difficulties that one often encounters with small petrol engines that are little used.
http://www.chainsawspecialists.co.uk/aspen.htm
Julian.
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Hmmmm. Sounds very dubious to me.
I run the garden machinery on super unleaded these days, partly because I keep quantities of it "in stock" for my race car and partly because I've found it makes everything easier to start, presumably because of the higher proportion of low boiling point constituents. I've never noticed any deterioration in properly stored petrol.
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Huge wrote:

Mmm. When I rebuilt my house, the poor ole ride on mower hadn't been touched for two years. The battery was dead, and the thing even with a new one, wouldn't start.
It had about 1/0th tank of petrol..I filled it up with fresh, and after a bit of cranking on full choke, plus pauses between to to remove and dry the , the fresh petrol found its way through and with a huge bellow of blue smoke, it rumbled into life.
It got stolen shortly afterwards. ;-)
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