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Portable Generator Question

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posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:34 AM
a reply to: Bedlam

Thank you very much. I will look into this.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:35 AM
If you have important stuff that needs to be kept on such as medical stuff i'd look at a seperate UPS as well as generation as it can take a few moments for even a decent generator to kick in and you don't want stuff going up and down, it doesn't have to be large capacity just be able to provide the juice for as long as needed have a look at APC as they used to lave a form you could fill in on their website and you could work out the sort of size you'd need

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:37 AM
a reply to: pheonix358

Very interesting response. I'm going to look into this too. I might turn out to be the person in the house with the battery in my room. Thanks.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:40 AM
a reply to: Maxatoria

Thanks. We are not there yet but never say never. I know someone who has a son on a ventilator who nearly lost him in one situation and has now gone off the grid completely with solar panels.

Incidentally, thanks to everyone for responses. I'm reading them all, even when they don't get an individual reply.

edit on 9-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:57 AM
a reply to: ipsedixit

Do you own a car? If you do, your car is a backup generator and a spare battery.


posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:57 AM
If the option is available to you, the natural gas is a better idea in the long run. Replace your electric stove and Install a gas cooking stove instead. Cooking is much easier and faster as well. Have you considered it or are you set on the generator idea? You can also get small led lights that are solar powered which will give you lights in an emergency. Since you were close to an electric source a short distance away, you could charge your phone and even your laptop if necessary.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 07:17 AM
a reply to: pheonix358

No car. I'm definitely curious about propane and batteries though.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 07:20 AM
a reply to: StoutBroux

Converting our situation to natural gas is something I would have to take up with others (who run the place), but it does seem to be the answer to aspects (heat and cooking) of the problem.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 07:27 AM
link d=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=03568126&rid=20 This may work for you and your price range. But gas storage is still a issue. Solar is starting to look like a good alternative for you.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 09:06 AM
From my experience, petrol generators cost twice as much to run as the diesels.
I am talking 5KVA and over, they may only cost 75% or there abouts, but its easy to use a Gerry can of juice or there about's in 9 to 10 hours.

For reliability I buy Honda generators, I have a 5KVA with a G400 driving it, it is about 20 years old and still goes great, yes it is smoky and needs new rings but starts first time.

I have 6 Chinese Generators ranging from 2KVA to 6KVA they are all stuffed, some lasting 60 hours, basically they are not well built, if you go Chinese make sure you can return it locally once it breaks.

I have a Honda GX340 running a 5KVA generator head, its well used and a few years old runs great.
My GX140 Generators are 1900KVA and 2KVA respectively they are about 10 years old and run great.

My Chinese Diesel generators are nothing but problems, try to stay away from 3600RPM diesels, I have nothing but issues with these. I have mates that have Lister's, they are either 1500 or 1800 RPM and both are over 25 years old and running strong.

I also have a Honda from the 60s that runs great.

Good luck, make sure you run your back up genies from time to time while checking the power output.

Some weeks I run a generator for 50 or 60 hours.

a reply to: ipsedixit

edit on 9-10-2014 by marsend because: typo

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 11:16 AM
a reply to: marsend

Thanks for the info. I have seen some Honda or Honda powered units online that burn natural gas. That sort of solution sounds pretty good, but pricey.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

So, some things to consider:

- consider a dual-powered generator - that is, gas/propane - propane is safer to store, but should you run out, gas will be easier to obtain (in a widespread power outage, many stores will be closed, and many people will buy up propane for cooking.)

- Watch the power outlets - my generator has 2x NEMA 5-15 120v plugs - fair enough - they're fused at 1500 watts each - so, if I only use the 120v AC outlets, I can only draw 3000 watts max. It also has a L5-30A 120v outlet, with a 7500 watt fuse. If I want to draw more than 3000 watts, I need to use this outlet - there are "splitter" cords for the 30A, which provide multiple fused outlets - so read the owner's manual, and be sure you can draw the requisite power.

- They're heavier than they look - make sure you get a wheeled version

- Don't forget about your refrigerator/freezer - they run about 500-700w - but they also have a pretty significant / high startup cost - like 2000 watts to start the compressor. You'll want to run this intermittently - you'll need food.

- You'll also want some kind of communications - you'll laugh, but during a prolonged power outage here, I ran my internet router/modem and laptop, and for awhile, my satellite receiver and television so I could watch a World Cup game. But minimally, a weather and news radio. If you're going to run any sensitive electronics, run them off a smallish UPS with surge/noise suppression *and* an in-line surge suppressor - generator power is pretty noisy.

- Read the owners manual - you'll likely have to change the oil quite a bit, so make sure you have oil on-hand.

- Since your budget doesn't allow for a bypass panel, you're gonna have to use extension cords. First, make sure they'll reach from your generator to where you wish to power it. Second, have a place to run them into the house - little good having to leave a window open when it's below zero to run your extension cords.

- If you can't get natural gas, I'd also recommend a propane stove (even a grill with side burner) for emergencies - both the generator and stove used well-outside of course. Kettles draw a lot of power, and aren't useful for cooking very much.

- You have a multi-room house - being in Toronto, I'd plan for "two" space heaters - a 1500 watt space heater will, at best, heat one small room. So, 2x1500w, 4x 60w lights, a 25w radio, cell phone charger - probably looking at about 4,000+ watts.

Here are some candidates (note you'll probably do better at a local home center or auto parts store - these are beastly heavy, so mail-order will probably be more expensive): z0v0r0

(note the difference between how it's advertised - 4000w and running wattage - 3250 - so, for this, you'd probably want to only run your refrigerator/ 1 space heater alternately.)

And one final thing - no matter how quiet your generator, when the power's out, everyone around will know you have it. Having some spare capacity in your gennie to run your neighbor's fridge and lights is nice - and, uh, hate to say it, but you'll also want a way to chain the beastie up - during Sandy, some people had their generators stolen.

If this was a "freak" occurrence, and probably won't happen again, these portables are enough. But if this an annual event, and your whole house heating is "gas" and you just need to run the furnace fan, I'd consider a lower-end whole-house unit - could probably do a low-end unit for around $2000 + an electrician to install.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 04:41 PM
Anyone have a blueprint on how to create a wood burning generator? Hell... I would even enjoy a bicycle pedal powered device. How long so solar panels last? The price has been dropping to about 80 cents a watt. Wind is hit and miss. Batteries only last so long before they cannot be recharged. I guess when that happens, you can at least have power during the day.

I'm open to suggestions.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:07 PM

originally posted by: pheonix358
I would think about a Smaller generator charging a car battery. You only need it on for a few times a day.

Get a 12v kettle and a couple of car electric blankets. You will be good to go.

LED lighting is an easy one.

12V converter for your laptop is also cool and you can charge your cell phone as well.

that is if the cell towers are working.


Funny you mentioned car batteries.
Last weekend I bought a device at a garage sale that converts 12v dc to 120v ac. It almost looks military. The old guy that owned it hooked it up to his lawn mower and plugged in a light.

Not sure how much it can run or for how long as it is still in the back of my truck but for 3 bucks I figured it might come in handy someday.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 07:02 PM
a reply to: squittles

Thanks for the detailed response. It dovetails with things I have been picking up elsewhere. When we lost power last winter we didn't even have batteries for a radio and knew nothing about what was happening with Toronto Hydro. News is important, even if it is bad news.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 07:47 PM
A few people have talked about fuel choice issues. Propane is very expensive and hard to store if you don't already have a very large in ground tank. Both propane and gasoline generators need a horrific amount of fuel to last a week. Gasoline is also very dangerous to store in big quantities and goes bad quickly. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, is very safe to store and lasts for many years with the correct additive. Just drain any water from the bottom annually, and use an inline 20um under cabinet type water filter when drawing diesel that is over 3 years old. There are some decent 7KW diesel generators available for under $1500. 1800RPM diesels will have less service problems. A Lister CS is the best "off grid" generator. They are not portable at all, but also very difficult to steal. If you can find a 6/1 or a 12/2, they will run reliably for many years continuously and are extremely efficient. I have a 25/2 (25HP, 2 Cylinder) with a 25KW "ST Head Quadpole" 1800RPM alternator, and two 10-year rebuild kits, so I can run the A/C for weeks after a hurricane.
The big electrical loads are heaters. Consider cook with propane mini grill and heat with propane, woodstove or oil furnace. When/where I lived in Northern Wisconsin, having a wood burning water boiler shed outside and radiators in the house was very popular.
Also, I have several sets of trolling motor batteries and DC Inverters. One bank of three batteries + inverter + step-up transformer will run my deep well pump for 2 days on a charge. Another set of three batteries are connected up to run my oil furnace blower. Three sets pairs of single battery + inverter run the lights and electronics in the bedrooms, computer room and kitchen-livingroom. That way, I only have to run the generator for four hours a day to charge batteries, heat the electric water heater (Yeah, I want to replace that with an oil burner!), run the A/C or do laundry. The furnace and well have 30-Amp GoPower automatic transfer switches, and all batteries have desulfating charger/maintainers that can recharge the batteries in four hours.
As you may have guessed, I loose power for more than a week several times a year, both winter and summer. Ahem.
You might also want to peruse generatorsales dotcom to see what is available. I have never bought anything from them, but they have a nice inventory in Maine.
Good luck. Off-grid prep is a big project.
edit on 9-10-2014 by Oleman because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 10:48 AM

I would love to be able to afford a whole house solution, probably powered by propane. GE and others do make them but we are getting into heavey expenses, probably in excess of $5000 including installation, interface with the existing panel, etc

More in almost every case.

For a whole home solution, can't beat a generator powered by natural gas or propane, and interfaced into your existing panel. I researched alternate solutions for a long time, and this is by far the best option. Which one (gas or propane), will depend on availability in your area. If going the propane route, leasing the tank is typically the most cost effective option.

Solar is still just too pricey for it to be a viable alternative for a full house solution (at least for my energy needs). However, if you are in an area that offers solar leasing, this may be a good option to look into. (basically, you pay a monthly rental fee, but they supply and install all the equipment). Just be sure you are saving more a month than you pay. Thing is though, in storms, would you get enough solar input to work?

We have an elderly person living with us in the winter who needs to be able to get hot water. I vowed that we would never have to go through that situation of no electrical power again.

What do they need it for? Depending on amount....even an electric burner plugged into a genny may fit the bill here.
edit on 10-10-2014 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)

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