Author Topic: Gas Generators  (Read 6753 times)

Offline GlenM

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Gas Generators
« on: September 21, 2008, 03:25:04 PM »
I need some advice about buying a generator.  I have recently convinced my wife that a gas generator is a good idea especially after seeing our neighbor's basement flooded out after a bad storm.  Even though we didn't lose power, I convinced her with a "what if" senario.  What if we lose power during a storm and the basement sump is quickly filling up?  I really don't want to spend over $300 on a generator. It would also be needed to run the refrig and possibly the heating controls.  We're on gas.

Offline stevebluff

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 02:33:59 AM »
Hi there, do you gas as in gasoline/petrol or gas as in LPG/bottled gas?  Steve from UK

Offline GlenM

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 12:39:30 PM »
Sorry I meant gasoline or petrol for my brothers across the sea.

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 02:31:32 PM »
The only problem with the lower cost gens is they are very noisy! You need to determine how much wattage you want to support (research your fridge and blower motor for amperage) then look at the different models. To run the heat will require you hire an electrician to add a panel to bypass the main. The lower priced gensets will drink gas also. I wouldnt be surprised if you use 3-5 gallons a day (Running around 12 hours like this model http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92456. So gas usage and storage will be a large issue.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 02:37:40 PM »
When I was in the Army and we had to run small generators what we did was as follows

Step One - Dig a whole that will let the generator sit about 1/3d under ground

Step Two - Stack sand bags around the hole higher then the top of the generator leaving the open side pointing in the direction you are least concerned with for noise

That was about it.  It did not result in "silent running" but it was a huge improvement especially at bed time.

tash

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2008, 08:43:53 AM »
I ended up picking up a small digital inverter based generator from amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Tools-Equipment-IN800I-Gas-Powered/dp/B0016KXTW4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1222180600&sr=8-3

aka - a cheap honda eu1000i knockoff

1. pure sine wave (ok for computers, comm equipment, etc)
2. portable
3. relatively quiet
4. eco-throttle for fuel efficiency

I usually take reviews on amazon with a grain of salt but I have found it to be a good and decent little portable genny. It can run whatever I throw at it (tools, fans, deep freezer, etc...). It's not the perfect solution but it has a low initial investment and you can sometimes get it free shipping if you watch out.

Note: make sure you RTFM and there shouldn't be any problems

-Tash


Offline stevebluff

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 08:54:06 AM »
Sorry I meant gasoline or petrol for my brothers across the sea.

Hi Glen,
Honda whisper gen sets are very quiet, but pricey.  I bought a cheap (£75) 2 stroke (so you also need 2 stoker oil) generator, and when I went away in my caravan put it 50 yards away and put some bails of hay around it. Hey presto, silent.

LPG powered generators are useful, fuel less volatile, but the conversion really is a one way process.  Can run for longer if you use a large capacity bottle (the same can be said for petroleum but most people run these off the internal tank or have a jerry can adapter).

Diesel gen sets are very efficient, and the best choice for larger units.  They used to be considerably heavier, but are now roughly on par with petrol. New units less noisy as well.

Most inverters (built into gen sets or bought separately) now a days are pretty much pure sign wave, although you could be unlucky.

Will you be charging batteries, if so deep cycle gel type are best, followed by mid cycle leisure batteries, then standard car/truck types.


All the best,  Steve

SwampMonster

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2008, 09:19:57 AM »
Living on the coast a Generator is almost a necessity. I have a 5500-8500 peak Gas unit from Grainger. Its loud but, that can be fixed with the addition of a car muffler to it. Do a search on the ZS website to see how its done. It has a 6gal tank and can run all night 10-12 hours on a full tank.  I have a transfer panel installed in the house that allows me to send the power through the household wiring.  We can run everything - the 220 appliances.  I find it to be very relaxing to be able to have a fan and a small AC running at night to keep the 90+ heat outside.

A few things to keep in mind:

Fuel: mine is gas because it is much easier to find and the unit itself is cheaper. Because of my job acquiring gas is not a problem.  Many people lave the LP units hooked into a gas line, they are very nice however you will be shocked when you see you bill. After Katrina a good friend of mines bill was just shy of $2500. I spent 200 on gas.  I try to keep 30gal of gas on hand at all times. it is used on the mower and the cars and then the tank is refilled.

Security: they will get stolen, keep it hidden the best you can. Mine stays under my deck behind two locked gates.

O&M: You just cant let it sit and expect it to work. Each year I replace the spark plug, air filter and chance the oil. I try to run it under a full load once to twice a month for a few hours. The gas must have a stabilizer in it and after each run dint just turn the switch off. Cut off the fuel flow and let it bun everything from the carb.

Electronics: most all of the generators on the lower cost spectrum will harm electronics, TVs, computers, etc.  To over come this  I installed a Power back up system like what many companies have on there computers. You can get them at most office supply stores or even Wallyworld.  They work nicely in keeping the wave steady during power surges.

Cost:  How often will it be used.  Mine might be used twice a year for a few days each time. Thus the reason i decided not to spend 5K on a top of the line power system. I have had mine for 4 years now and it has 200 hours on it. If i had to depend on one more I would spend more. Portability was not a concern to me, the heavier the better, Harder to steal.

dreadstalker

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Re: Gas Generators
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2008, 07:24:58 AM »
Having owned and used several gas generators I must let you know that most are not rated as a prime power source.

In other words they will work well for an emergency but the life expectancy on them is low.
The last one I bought is a standby diesel unit and I fully expect that one to last for a LOT longer. I opted for a liquid cooled engine to improve the life expectancy and availibity of motor parts.