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Basic Preparations #4 - Generators

Kurt

Well-Known Member
Messages
926
Location
Austin, TX
Regarding Sandy,

My folks just left the area, they were in NJ and Delaware during the storm and rode it out at a HOJO just outside the disaster area.

One problem is many folks ran out and picked up the cheap import gas powered noise makers, I mean... generators..

Like these ones were common out there:

http://www.amazon.com/Generac-5939-Portable-Powered-Generator/dp/B0045DK79W

The fuel consumption is worse that stated, with many models blowing through 1-1.5 gallons per hour. Yeesh. You'll be standing in line for gas longer than what you get for generator time.

I'm planning to get a fuel sipping Honda or Yamaha..
 

3Hummers

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,183
Location
Central Texas
My Honda generator is a dream. Doesn't drink much and is quiet. My
6500 watt generator will last about 18 -20 hours on a tank depending on the load but is louder than the Honda.
 

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
This is the biggest in the Honda inverter series that I have and I usually have it on the boat. It runs my 11,000 btu air/heat unit and is very quite compared to most other generators in this output size. It is unusual for a gen this size to have 30 amp connection which suits my marine power connections.
http://www.wisesales.com/eu3000is-honda-generator.html#.UJVoucXAeSo
I have always liked Honda 4 stroke engines, very dependable.
Several friends in Ocean Springs MS, had me bring them down some after Katrina and for occasional use they can power the fridge and several rooms lights and computer. It could handle more but would consume more gas, but will run several hours on a tank.
They were pleased it can handle the surge to run the fridge, they all like a mild anesthesia from the fridge during stressful times!
It also saves all the redfish fillets.
 
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LagunaH1

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,631
Location
Lake Forest, CA
What does everyone think about using an inverter in our trucks for emergency power? I know the H1's can idle for days on end and use very very little diesel. I suppose it would come down to how many watts I can reliably pull from the trucks alternator for extended periods of time.

Who has inverters in their trucks? Which brand / models?
 

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
To again use the marine industry as an example since they are designed for damp environments and more rugged than some;
It is fairly common to use large inverters on a regular basis on boats for AC supply. The bigger the yacht the more or larger they are. This allows the main engine to supply the power when motoring rather that adding hours to a generator. My video van, when I worked, was equipped with one that was recommended by a local ambulance service that uses them for most everything. Consider their concern of using a generator even properly installed being a hazard when idling for long periods of time and carbon monoxide.
The ones we used were by Tripp Lite and there are others by Guest. Check the marine sources for large ones and control panels.
The only thing I would think may be needed would be additional air circulation like placing a good fan in front of the vehicle.
I have one set up that I run off my Dodge Cummins Diesel and it comes in handy without having to load up a generator.
Some have built in battery chargers so you could have a bank of extra batteries for it to charge so you could intermittently let the engine rest.
Don't expect perpetual power replenishment though!! Like running an inverter off of batteries and then charging them with the same inverter will not equal continous supply. It may sort of depending on the load but all results I have seen don't count on it. lol
 
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Paladine71

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
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1,483
Location
Tallmansville, WV
you hav to rely on big brother to have a gas supply and storage for the abondate gas. i wanted to be self reliant and the sound of some gas generator can be heard quite some distance away. If stuff hits the fan, a working generator with supplies means unwanted guest.

Amen, you "get" it, bro!
 

Paladine71

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1,483
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Tallmansville, WV
Very interesting. Living in Southern California, using the sun as an energy source seems a pretty viable option. If I understand correctly, the "battery" is the Duracell unit from the Youtube piece? If that's the case, presumably I could keep the battery plugged in to a regular AC outlet to keep it permanently charged, and then simply hook up the solar panel if the situation calls for it?

Yes, I do this. Haven't noticed any problems yet.
 

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
Just remember often times when you need back up power because of weather conditions, there may be no sun for a few days.
Like most things redundancy is the best plan. Have options.
One source for limited backup is your UPS power supply for your computer. Consider buying one larger than you would normally and you will have a good regulated backup to charge cell phones or even run a desk top or laptop for short periods of time if the infrastructure for that is up and running and you need to shoot out that you are ok, or not!
Consider recharging that when you run your generator or inverter or even solar if you can.
 
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LagunaH1

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,631
Location
Lake Forest, CA
Given everything, I think I'm going to go with a combination of the Duracell backup power source (or something similar) and a good inverter that can be hooked up to any of our cars. Redundancy is a great point, and I also want to try and keep things as flexible as possible to afford myself as many options as possible.
 

Kurt

Well-Known Member
Messages
926
Location
Austin, TX
What does everyone think about using an inverter in our trucks for emergency power? I know the H1's can idle for days on end and use very very little diesel. I suppose it would come down to how many watts I can reliably pull from the trucks alternator for extended periods of time.

Who has inverters in their trucks? Which brand / models?

It may work ok.. I think low idling H1 is about... .33 to .5 gallons per hour... not sure what the generator outputs at 600-700 rpm... I think the OEM is around 50-120amps DC power curve.. for 600-3000 rpm. Not sure on the proper math for load and wattage at 120V minus the electrical needed to keep the ECU and truck systems drawing from the system.

I guess you could in theory get 80 hours of electrical out of an H1?
 

Expendable

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,025
Location
Burbank, CA
I have heard that 'wet stacking' may be an issue for extended idle times in Diesel H1s. That would be something to look into.
 

3Hummers

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,183
Location
Central Texas
I have let my H1's idle sometimes for up to a couple of hours without issue. Without something to place a minimum load on the truck it would seem that wet stacking could occur.
 

LagunaH1

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,631
Location
Lake Forest, CA
I'm looking at what a 2 kilowatt generator might cost and am finding that there's other options than Honda. For example, Amazon.com has the Honeywell HW2000i for just about half the price of the Honda. There are other (most non-CARB compliant) options like Briggs & Stratton and Generac, all for half the price of the Honda EU2000.

The obvious question is: Is the Honda that much better?
 

abearden

Well-Known Member
Messages
609
Location
N. Idaho
I'm looking at what a 2 kilowatt generator might cost and am finding that there's other options than Honda. For example, Amazon.com has the Honeywell HW2000i for just about half the price of the Honda. There are other (most non-CARB compliant) options like Briggs & Stratton and Generac, all for half the price of the Honda EU2000.

The obvious question is: Is the Honda that much better?
The Hondas are insanely quiet for a generator and sip gasoline. I've heard Yamahas are similar. You can go down to AutoZone and get a 4000W generator for less than a Honda but it'll be loud, inefficient, and not necessarily reliable. I'm sure there are other good generators, but definitely do some comparison research.
 

Bigunit

Hammer Down!
Staff member
Messages
6,557
Location
Arizona
It's time to go out & get a back-up generator - this one is mobile and you can tow it behind your rig - or better yet, drive it to wherever you need it if you need to leave your house or need power somewhere else. :wink:

[video=youtube;s6pl9d-5AXo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6pl9d-5AXo&feature=player_embedded#![/video]
 

Ron46

Capt.
Messages
807
Location
NJ
I have a 5.5kw diesel generator, and a 7.5kw gas generator. The diesel has a 2gallon tank and during hurricane sandy it ran for 15hrs on its 2 gallon tank with almost a full load. The diesel is loud, but extremely efficient and has a lot more torque then the gas. It has a rating of 5.5kw running but it definitely can handle more since its a diesel with its torque. The gas generator is a powerstroke 8kw, and that has a 6 1/2 gallon tank and it lasted about 10-13 hrs depending on the load, we got 16hrs out of it once, but it didn't have that much load.
 

jakesz28

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,022
Location
Cabool MO
If you can afford it the Honda's are quiet. I bought a cheap one and it works. But don't plan on having a conversation by it. Its a Briggs and will go 10slow or 12the hours on a 6.5 gallon tank. Looking at some diesel ones now. If you plan to use it in bitter cold weather an electric start is a nice option.
 

Ron46

Capt.
Messages
807
Location
NJ
If I was getting another generator, I would spend the extra money and go with another diesel, they are loud, but extremely efficient, and very reliable, and when their is a gas shortage like hurricane sandy, you could get diesel everywhere :wink:
 

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
I have been real world testing since Christmas day. We got freezing rain here in Arkansas and then a blanket of snow. So ice build up on the lines and lots of wind knocked out the power.
I have run the 7000 surge to 12500 off and on for several days and at night until about midnight. I had some issues with it split 240 to the breaker box because of some wiring the builders did.
My fridge and central heat blower are on the same spilt or half of the main breaker box along with the microwave which is a 1250 watt.
I keep tripping that half of the circuit on the generator if things cycle at the same time.
I'm going to do some swapping at the box for an easy fix.
I was feeding several neighbors tonight and fired up the 15000 surge to 22250. Man what a difference. Ran everything on that side and lots of lighting. I cooked a big batch of spaghetti so I was boiling a cauldron of water and sauce on another burner and thought what the heck, fired up the oven also.
I know from a test this summer that will also kick the central air compressor.
So just for some info, for whole house function, more amps!! This seems to be plenty.
More winter mix in the tonight and in the morning.
They claim to have 4000 out of state people doing line work so maybe they will get things going. Tonight was the first time cable and internet are holding on.
I have been too busy to get to play in the snow, dang it!
 
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Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
Let there be light. Got it back on at around 7pm today.
I burned thru 20 gallons in 4 days between the two gennys, but we are spoiled and ran everything we wanted.
I guess it's time for oil changes on both now and get ready for next time.

I'm working on updating and adding info back up on my lengthy post number 15 after refreshing my memory the last four days of using the whole house system.

I am a hands on type of guy and chose not to use any automatic system to switch over. I want to be here to do it anyway and nurse my generators closely.
I might also add have several fire extinguishers nearby but not too close.
One co2 would be nice to knock out a fire and maybe get things going again. Dry chemical will really be a mess but works well and requires extensive clean up.
Dry chemical ingested into the engine or electrical components could be fatal to their functioning again.

Today I have been asked about generators around here, it's obvious when your house is the only on with light, your up to something, but of course there are not any in stock now.
What I had researched prior to this if you want to go the more "deluxe" route with what is currently available in the market is a Generac which uses an engine designed for this application. In fact I may sell my mid size and upsize to this for my in-shop generator.
I'm not endorsing getting it from Amazon but that is one of many good sources and descriptions of it.
10,000 is going to allow you lots of flexibility and be less of a strain for moderate loads. Yhere appears to be smaller size available as well. Gempler's just sent me a catalog that shows the whole line.
http://www.gemplers.com/product/WEB198513/Generac-XG-Series-Portable-Generators (backordered)
http://www.amazon.com/Generac-5802-XG10000E-Portable-Generator/dp/B001UNK6GY (update not in stock)
They seem to be available thru here with free shipping but a long wait drop shipped from the factory. hot item
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200434678_200434678
You can see the higher quality units are hard to keep in stock. I'm sure the recent storms in the North and our ice down here has depleted the inventory.
You Ca guy they have CARB compliant models.
It depends on how portable you want for other uses and price. However if you look it is a reasonable amount more for what you get and longer lasting investment.
If you have elderly family or health issues or small children it starts to change how you look at these and how much backup you want.
Security is another issue. It was really damn dark outside with no street lights or outdoor house lights.
We had neighbors with a new born and they warmed up here but are on the list to get involved in our "power the neighborhood" ha ha
Looks like now we are going to do another refresh since some people have moved away since we did this but will probably do a local group buy and with the help of the electrician set up several people with a safe option.
I'm going to check to see if I can get a quantity deal.
More later.................
 
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Paladine71

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1,483
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Tallmansville, WV

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
I would rather have the stationary bicycle attached and have my son-in-law peddle! lol
 
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mikes210

Probationary Member
Messages
1
Location
city zoo
I'm looking at what a 2 kilowatt generator might cost and am finding that there's other options than Honda. For example, Amazon.com has the Honeywell HW2000i for just about half the price of the Honda. There are other (most non-CARB compliant) options like Briggs & Stratton and Generac, all for half the price of the Honda EU2000.

The obvious question is: Is the Honda that much better?


I know this is a "late reply".... but I've got a Honeywell HW2000i.

while it's a fine generator.... it's an attempt to clone-engineer the Honda. and it's "Not" a Honda. But it does a have a couple things that are better.


FIrst off, the Honeywell is 2000 watts and 2200 watt surge. The Honda EU2000is is 1600 watts and 2000 watts surge. Sounds like the Honeywell might be the better one? well not really.

let's look at "surge percentage". The Honeywell has a "10% surge" at 2000 watts and 2200watt surge. . That's not that much. The Honda at 1600 watts has a 25% surge (to 2000 watts). 25% surge for a small generator running any type of motor is a HUGE difference.

just using two household refrigerators is a perfect test/example. This was my setup during our last power outage (power out for onc week during 2011 tornado damage).

This is what I had on my generator.
2 fridges (regular Kenmore 22cf average)
2 13 watt florescent lights
1 TV (100 watts or so). (plugged into 500watt UPS for power backup and protection).

so when I had one fridge compressor kick in... I had no issues......
but when the second compressor kicked in (while the first was running), the startup surge of the motor was a bit much for the Honeywell. It didn't kick off, but my TV UPS kicked into "low voltage" for about 2 seconds. Then resumed normal operation.

so the "lack of decent surge capability" is lacking on the Honeywell Generator.


It also couldn't handle the surge of the washing machine going into "spin cycle" (the surge of the motor spinning the tub to drain it and the water pump startup).

Other tests have showed it won't start a "skill saw" either. Just too much surge for it to handle.

It also won't start my 8,000 BTU window unit. and Honda's will.


Now compared to the Honda, other people have reported running two fridges with no problem and no "drops" in their TV power. The Honda just handles the surge better.

The Honda is also about 10 decibels quieter. The Honeywell was 70db running in normal (non economy) mode. You couldn't run it in economy mode because the compressor surge was too much on it and it would kick off.


The Honeywell would run about 5 hours on a tank of gas. (about 1.5 gal). with gas being $3.50/gallon, that came out to be about $1/hour to run.

I also found that I didn't need to run the generator 24 hours a day, or even 12-16 hours a day.
I got up in the morning and powered it up and made a pot of coffee, then plugged the fridges in for an hour or two. watched the mornin TV news to see what the latest was on the storm damage and power restoration predictions. Then turned it off.

Ran it again around lunchtime to run the fridge an hour or two and to check out the news, make lunch ,etc.
Nightime came with filling to a full tank and typically ran for about 5 hours (5pm-11pm, etc) , make supper run lights and TV and fridge.

The fridges stayed plenty cold overnight. (as long as you didn't go opening them. ).


So what did this teach me?
1.) I want a quieter generator. The Honeywell is MUCH quieter than the neighbors Briggs/Stratton, but not near as quiet as the Honda.
2.) Slightly more power. This will allow me to run fridges and window unit AC, or the gas heater fan. My plan is to buy a Honda EU2000 and then "parallel" it with another unit for when I need more power. This will also give me great portability and split redundancy.
3.) External Fuel tank. 5 hours just isn't enough to run at night sometimes. I'd like a few more hours. You can get aftermarket fuel systems for the EU2000 that you unscrew the fuel top and put one on with a hose and it pulls gas (from internal pump) out of a regular marine/boat tank. most of those hold 6 gallons, which is enough to run a few days w/o refueling.
4.) wire in breaker panel to switch over dedicated circuits. extension cords running all over the house wasn't great
5.) invest in QUALITY heavy gauge extension cords. wimpy 16 gauge ones don't cut it. You want 12 gauge or 10 gauge is better. If you wait for the storms to hit, you will find empty shelves like I did. and I mean EMPTY
6.) luckily I had gas, with stabilizer in it. but when the power goes out, so do the gas stations. so keep gas. You can use it in your lawn mower over the summer or just dump it in your car after 6-12 months and refill them.
7.) buy some florescent battery powered lights. That way you don't have to run the generator to go back to the bedroom/bathroom. You can buy them $10-$12 at Walmart in the camping section. Don't wait till the sh** hits the fan. I bought some family members these in the year before and they never used them, but really thanked me when we lost power for a week.
8.) you don't need a 10,000 watt generator that costs $10k to power the whole house. You'd be suprrised how well just having 2000 watts did. (but 3500 would have been much more optimal).
9.) buy a big cable/lock for your generator. Generator thefts have been reported in about every natural disaster area/storm.


I know that's prob long winded.... but hope it helps some.

Mike
 
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