Small generators

Other provisions not covered above that may make survival easier if your life is tossed out of the norm. This section is for discussing everything from arc welders to underwear.

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Re: Small generators

Post by NT2C » Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:05 pm

raptor2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:47 pm
The type of device mentioned above (& there are several brands) do work very well when properly installed.
They are a useful resource for anyone using a generator to run a large AC motor.

https://www.amazon.com/Hutch-Mountain-M ... 637&sr=8-2
Some generators even have them I believe.

One other thing that needs mentioning and which no one seems to have brought up is what the generator output waveform looks like and how that may not play well with all your electric devices. Commercial AC power has a sine curve type of waveform. Inverters and inverter generators most often use a "modified sine wave" which is really a modified square wave. Let me illustrate:

Image

Square wave power can run most motors just fine, but appliances and electronics can have issues with it. This is why the "modified sine wave" inverters exist, to make that square wave output more palatable to those devices. Pure sine wave inverters do exist, I use one in my trailer, but they're expensive and difficult to find.

More reading material:
https://www.genusinnovation.com/blogs/s ... quare-wave
http://www.pssdistributors.com.au/what- ... ppliances.
https://solarclap.com/how-sine-wave-is- ... uare-wave/

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Re: Small generators

Post by ZMace » Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:25 pm

I got to go through this myself when Iowa was hit with a derecho (inland hurricane) this summer and I actually settled on a large inverter vs a generator. I ran it from my truck, but I have a diesel with dual battery setup. It is large enough for a NG furnace, but it kept my freezers, fans and electronics charged for the week we were without power.

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Re: Small generators

Post by boskone » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:27 pm

NT2C wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:05 pm
raptor2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:47 pm
The type of device mentioned above (& there are several brands) do work very well when properly installed.
They are a useful resource for anyone using a generator to run a large AC motor.

https://www.amazon.com/Hutch-Mountain-M ... 637&sr=8-2
Some generators even have them I believe.

One other thing that needs mentioning and which no one seems to have brought up is what the generator output waveform looks like and how that may not play well with all your electric devices. Commercial AC power has a sine curve type of waveform. Inverters and inverter generators most often use a "modified sine wave" which is really a modified square wave. Let me illustrate:

Image

Square wave power can run most motors just fine, but appliances and electronics can have issues with it. This is why the "modified sine wave" inverters exist, to make that square wave output more palatable to those devices. Pure sine wave inverters do exist, I use one in my trailer, but they're expensive and difficult to find.

More reading material:
https://www.genusinnovation.com/blogs/s ... quare-wave
http://www.pssdistributors.com.au/what- ... ppliances.
https://solarclap.com/how-sine-wave-is- ... uare-wave/

It's within about a percent of true sinusoidal. Technically it's not a true sine wave, but at that level it's easily close enough.

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Re: Small generators

Post by ssdtopgun » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:32 am

raptor2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:47 pm
The type of device mentioned above (& there are several brands) do work very well when properly installed.
They are a useful resource for anyone using a generator to run a large AC motor.

https://www.amazon.com/Hutch-Mountain-M ... 637&sr=8-2
Just for clarity and educational purposes these slow start devices are not installed on the generator. These are wired into the device you want to slow start. In most common cases this is an RV air conditioner. What it does is prevents the massive Amp surge that an air conditioner requires to start the compressor motor. This reduces the wattage required from the generator.

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Re: Small generators

Post by CrossCut » Fri Feb 19, 2021 6:11 am

ssdtopgun wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:00 pm
Depending on the RV you are looking at and the number of air conditioner (AC) units it will have and you plan to operate you will need to plan accordingly for the total output of your generator. However, if the RV does not already have it you will want to look into a softstart type device to add to the AC unit(s). With the softstart device I am able to run my entire toy hauler trailer on a single Honda 2200 watt generator. Without the softstart it requires two of the Honda 2200 generators to be run in parallel. The AC unit alone pulls over 3200 watts to start it up. After its running its draw drops considerably.

Here is a link to the type of device that I am mentioning.

https://rvlife.com/softstartrv-air-conditioner/

Hope this helps, enjoy your RV adventures.
raptor2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:47 pm
The type of device mentioned above (& there are several brands) do work very well when properly installed.
They are a useful resource for anyone using a generator to run a large AC motor.

https://www.amazon.com/Hutch-Mountain-M ... 637&sr=8-2
If I'm not mistaken those soft start kits are really Mechanical Potential relay hard start kits and can be obtained much less expensively, although without the weatherproof enclosure.
https://www.amazon.com/Rectorseal-96503 ... B008A3UJ82

An even cheaper option being a PTC or Electronic Potential hard start kit like this:
www.amazon.com/Supco-SPP6-Hard-Start-Kit/dp/B00DZUAPQG

Description of the differences between the two types:
https://www.airzero.com/blog/p.18020600 ... start-kit/

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Re: Small generators

Post by raptor2 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:19 pm

CrossCut wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 6:11 am

If I'm not mistaken those soft start kits are really Mechanical Potential relay hard start kits and can be obtained much less expensively, although without the weatherproof enclosure.
https://www.amazon.com/Rectorseal-96503 ... B008A3UJ82

An even cheaper option being a PTC or Electronic Potential hard start kit like this:
www.amazon.com/Supco-SPP6-Hard-Start-Kit/dp/B00DZUAPQG

Description of the differences between the two types:
https://www.airzero.com/blog/p.18020600 ... start-kit/
That is exactly what the soft start kits are. I use this type of devices on large air handlers and other AC induction motors. They will to some extent extend the life of the AC motor by "smoothing out" (<--- my imprecise term sorry Elect Eng.) the current spike during start up.
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Re: Small generators

Post by dallas » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:00 pm

NT2C wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:28 pm
raptor2 wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:56 pm
Propane powered portable generators do seem to run longer between R&M issues. However unless you have a large bulk tank the smaller 35 lb tanks do not last long for the 5Kw units I have used.
There is a local ham by me that has a "whole house" installation, probably in the 15KW range. When this area had extensive power outages after a tornado he ran his generator off his in-ground propane tank, supposedly a 2,000lb setup. The generator was so fuel inefficient that it emptied the tank in two days.

That's hearsay though, even though it was told to me by a trusted mutual friend who holds two electronics doctorates. I would be very, very cautious about LP/LNG gensets and fuel consumption.

My personal experience has been with portable gasoline units in the 5KW-10KW range. My preference would be for Briggs&Stratton first, Honda second, and third would be Rigid (now a Home Depot brand and made by...?)

My Rigid unit replaced a B&S 7,400W unit that I found I couldn't pull start anymore with my nerve damage. I gifted it to a neighbor and bought the Rigid 6.8KW that's electric start. So far that one has a few hundred hours on it, spends long amounts of time stored and unused, and has never failed to start and run when needed. It's a big, heavy beast though, with its steel roll cage that works as a hand truck in moving it around. 10 gallon fuel tank so it has good run time at 50% load (ideal spot you want to run at for best fuel economy) (B&S I had was a 14 gallon tank). Neither unit was particularly loud, but you did know they were running from 25' away.

Edit: Found a video of my Rigid

I have a 6800kw running Yamaha powered generator just like that and have used it for weeks straight during several hurricanes and during the 5 days without power last week. Love the Yamaha.

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Re: Small generators

Post by Albert » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:53 pm

I've had a bit of experience with generators, such as living off of a 1350 Watt surge/1200 Watt continue generator during the Great Ice Storm of 2003 in central Kentucky (4.5 days with no commercial electricity).

One lesson learned is check the size of the fuel tank very carefully. That generator I was using had a half-gallon fuel tank. That was enough to run the generator for about 90 minutes, under full load, before the tank was emptied and it quit. It's not very much fun at all, refueling a generator, multiple times during the night, in sub-freezing weather, while holding a flashlight in your mouth. Oh, and don't even think about "hot fueling" a generator. That's an excellent way to turn yourself into a "crispy critter".

Consider very carefully where you will place the generator. Generators produce Carbon Monoxide, which is poisonous, and will kill you, in a most subtle way. Make sure the generator is far enough away from your vehicle/residence/RV/etc., such that the exhaust will not be blowing Carbon Monoxide into your living space. Know the signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning (That cherry red glow on your cheeks may be signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning!), and have a working Carbon Monoxide detector.

Consider your fuel source, and how to safely store/obtain adequate fuel for extended operation of your generator. Note that, during a long-term power outage, gasoline stations won't be able to dispense gasoline. Additionally, a running generator acts as a beacon for all of the fuel thieves within earshot to steal your gasoline. For that matter, there are idiots who will also steal your generator. Make sure you can chain it down, with a heavy log-chain and a secure padlock, to something immovable.

Diesel powered generators may produce more life out of the engine than gasoline generators, given that Diesel engines tend to be built heavier and operate at a slower speed. Finding a Diesel powered generator is difficult to impossible, though. Four pole generators (alternators) require slower rotational speed than two pole generators, but are even harder to find, until you get into the large industrial/military sizes.

Having two generators may be useful, if one is a tiny one and the other is a large one. The small one will, almost certainly, use less fuel than the large one. And, while the small one won't run as many items, the fuel economy may be useful. The larger one, of course, will operate everything all at once, or will operate the heaviest loads.

Induction motors are bad about requiring a high starting surge. Unfortunately, most rotating devices are powered by induction motors (e.g., refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, blowers, mixers, washing machines, dryers, etc.). Pay attention to the starting surge demands for these devices.

Don't forget that many RVs/Travel Trailers are equipped with refrigerators which will operate either from 117 Volt power, 12 Volt power, or Propane.

Also, don't forget to plan for upgrades. Most smaller/older RVs/Travel Trailers have a 30 Amp/117 Volt connector, while the larger/newer ones have a 50 Amp/234 Volt connector. If you ever plan to upgrade, it may be worth getting a generator which will operate the larger/newer RV/Travel Trailer.

Don't forget to keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Pay attention to electrical grounds. Some generators play fast and loose with grounding. You do not want to turn into a cripsy critter due to grounding issues.

Look into getting a Kill-a-Watt meter, for measuring the actual power consumption of a device. Also, note that some devices are rated in Watts, while others are rated in Volt-Amperes. If the load presents a unity Power Factor (PF), then Watts=Volts x Amperes. However, some devices, such as induction motors, run at a non-unity power factor. Thus, while the number of Watts may be fairly low, the number of Volts x Amperes will be quite a bit higher. Take the worst case, and use that value for sizing the generator.

There's probably a bunch of things I've forgotten about generators, but that should get y'all started.

Albert

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Re: Small generators

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am

Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)

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Re: Small generators

Post by NT2C » Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:22 am

boskone wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am
Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)
Two things...

About 3 years ago my wife decided we should clean the garage. We bought new shelving, several tables to sort stuff on, and started cleaning. Three years later the tables are still full of stuff, we can barely reach the shelves, I can't find half my tools, and if we move some things we can sometimes pull the Jeep in.

Black vehicles in Texas are a safety hazard. I know three people who have gotten second-degree burns from them and one who got a third-degree burn trying to lower her tailgate. She left a chunk of skin attached to the top. The last time my wife was in Texas for work she had a silver pickup and still got a first-degree burn from the steering wheel. Go as light as you can, use a windshield sunscreen, consider a pair of those solar fans that go on the windows (wife swears by 'em down there).
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Small generators

Post by MPMalloy » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:21 am

boskone wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am
Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)
I did that in Ha'waii. Never again :(

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Re: Small generators

Post by MacWa77ace » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:50 am

NT2C wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:22 am
boskone wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am
Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)
Two things...

About 3 years ago my wife decided we should clean the garage. We bought new shelving, several tables to sort stuff on, and started cleaning. Three years later the tables are still full of stuff, we can barely reach the shelves, I can't find half my tools, and if we move some things we can sometimes pull the Jeep in.

Black vehicles in Texas are a safety hazard. I know three people who have gotten second-degree burns from them and one who got a third-degree burn trying to lower her tailgate. She left a chunk of skin attached to the top. The last time my wife was in Texas for work she had a silver pickup and still got a first-degree burn from the steering wheel. Go as light as you can, use a windshield sunscreen, consider a pair of those solar fans that go on the windows (wife swears by 'em down there).
Florida sun will prematurely age dashboards, upholstery and rear window decks in addition to heating up the steering wheel to dangerous levels. I always get a white car or very light color, and nothing darker than tan on the interior.

These are the best design windshield screens I've ever used. they go up and come down in a couple seconds once you get good at them. anything that is hard to manage or doesn't fold up small I ended up not using much. Like accordion folds or fan folds.

I'm on my second set now after having the first set wore out after 15 years. And using those steering wheel covers also [somehow] reduces the max surface temp that can be attained on a steering wheel giving you time to get your hands off before getting burned. But if you use those windshield screens its not a worry at all really.

Image

https://www.amazon.com/Shinematix-2-Pie ... 689&sr=8-4

I've also recently started using something like this on my rear window but the suction cups just gave up the ghost after a couple of years. So now I have to get a new one.

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Re: Small generators

Post by MPMalloy » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:08 pm

This is what I can afford at the moment

bos: did your get the WEN 56203i?

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Re: Small generators

Post by NT2C » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:18 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:08 pm
This is what I can afford at the moment

bos: did your get the WEN 56203i?
I'd strongly advise against that one. Save your money and buy a decent 4 stroke.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Small generators

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:16 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:08 pm
This is what I can afford at the moment
I'd look around Craigslist in the RV area for a used inverter generator. From my research on my own Honda's the gold-standard but Wen, Champion, and Predator are well-regarded. Generac seems a bit iffier, but mostly due to noise.
bos: did your get the WEN 56203i?
Yup. It's sitting in the box, in my dining room. Weekend permitting, I may try to fire it up for some run time and testing.

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Re: Small generators

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:29 pm

NT2C wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:22 am
boskone wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am
Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)
Two things...

About 3 years ago my wife decided we should clean the garage. We bought new shelving, several tables to sort stuff on, and started cleaning. Three years later the tables are still full of stuff, we can barely reach the shelves, I can't find half my tools, and if we move some things we can sometimes pull the Jeep in.

Black vehicles in Texas are a safety hazard. I know three people who have gotten second-degree burns from them and one who got a third-degree burn trying to lower her tailgate. She left a chunk of skin attached to the top. The last time my wife was in Texas for work she had a silver pickup and still got a first-degree burn from the steering wheel. Go as light as you can, use a windshield sunscreen, consider a pair of those solar fans that go on the windows (wife swears by 'em down there).
MPMalloy wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:21 am
boskone wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:55 am
Well, the Wen generator came in Saturday. It's still sitting in the box because my half-day task to clean up my office turned into a day-and-a-half task just to get it usable. :roll:

Maybe next weekend, depending on some truck purchasing activity; I found a couple...er, decent options. They're almost perfect except for being black. (Black trucks in Texas...I'm definitely wondering how much I should weight the heat.)
I did that in Ha'waii. Never again :(
I am kinda leaning against, because I used to have a dark blue truck and don't remember it fondly.

But they do tick off every other box. It's surprisingly hard to find even standard-bed pickups; these are long-bed with heavy-duty payload package.

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Re: Small generators

Post by NT2C » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:21 pm

Factor in a supply of burn gel and bandages then. Or maybe a paint job. :mrgreen:
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Small generators

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:41 pm

NT2C wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:21 pm
Factor in a supply of burn gel and bandages then. Or maybe a paint job. :mrgreen:
Have been considering the cost of a paintjob or wrap. :p

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Re: Small generators

Post by tony d tiger » Sat Mar 06, 2021 12:55 am

MacWa77ace wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:50 am

I've also recently started using something like this on my rear window but the suction cups just gave up the ghost after a couple of years. So now I have to get a new one.

Image
I have found a good use for old windshield wipers is holding the sunscreen in place on the rear window. They're really"bendy" and have good spring tension. One end on the back deck, wedged against the rear seat, other end at a point against the windshield with the arc coming up and into the passenger space. No suction cup required. :words: :mrgreen:
Tony D Tiger

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