Can we talk about generators?

Shadowrider

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You say that now but go without for 30 days. Our neighborhood has underground electrical service. We should not have had a power outage. It seems during the first storm before Halloween it took out some of the power station components. Our neighborhood, Bluff Creek, was without power over 3 weeks and I was without over 30 days. We kept wondering when our Generac would fail but in never faltered. During this we were warm, had hot showers, cold food from the fridge and hot meals from the electric stove and oven. We didn't have internet for a week because the power to their box was down. Tehy set up a generator to their box and we had internet until the power came back up. They took the generator and the power went off again for another week to their box again no internet. Permanent power back right after Halloween and all was back to normal except for the massive tree cleanup.
I just want to echo this. Most won't go near 30 days and at my house, IIRC it about 6-7 days. I was only running my 55kw Coleman and Honda 1000i only at night. The little Honda a bit more since I had it hooked up to the gas central heating unit. Going to refill two gas cans daily got really old. The portables suck the gas even if not loaded heavily. I was going through about 6 gallons daily just running at night to keep the fridge and deep freeze in the garage cold. 8 hours runtime is about max on the Coleman. The Honda sips gas and it holds about 1 litre is all. They are great for small stuff but having cords all over the place and constant gas runs gets old really quick. Stockpiling gas isn't fun either.
 

tyromeo55

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The above information about changes in current is good to consider, and I’d ask Ty for more on that, sounds like he knows a good deal more than me about electricity (I only have a rudimentary working knowledge). I believe the understanding I had was to idle the tractor up to compensate for any extra pull it might get during usage, but that may not even be the correct way to do it. I just always liked that you could get so much more KW output for the money because you’re using a power plant you have to have anyway.

I had a most excellent post years back about generators that was lost during a server failure. a crap-load of posts and feedback were also lost ={ .




For anyone who wants a little lesson. There is a lot more to it and I might be skewing the facts a little for the benefit if clarity but never the less here is my dime store lesson..... Inverter based generators are a lesson for another day.


As long as you can spin the thing within a range a generators AVR will regulate its voltage pretty well. The more load you put on it the more resistance it will exert against whatever is driving it. More force is required to overcome this. (bonus fact the avr can control the voltage by increasing current to the field / exciter windings)

voltage and current aside... AC power pushes and pulls or "cycles". In the US our rate is 60 times per second also explained as 60Hz. This is a physical relation to where the power is generated. Because of this a motor must turn at a fixed RPM for happy power. What is good for an ideal engine output may not be the proper RPM for the head which is a multiple of 1800 rpm.
Generators have governor that regulate this. As you load the engine they essentially step on the gas pedal to compensate for load. This is like trying to go a fixed speed in a car. As you go up hills or thru snow you must vary the gas pedal to maintain a constant speed.


Types of generators.
i know we are all really proud of what we spent our hard earned money on but keep in mind. Different types and sizes of generators have their own benefits and detriments. A person is smart to do their own research and get the one that suits their needs the best. Some things to consider right off the top of my head.... larger NG generators eat a lot of fuel. lots more then the smaller meters ONG generally installs. make sure you can feed what you buy in addition to your other appliances. If you choose a generator that is tied to a utility be aware that it could be interrupted. supply right now is/was subject to possible blackout. Also, if a tornado wipes out part of your neighborhood leaving your home standing. The utility may need to cut the whole neighborhood until they can cap ruptures.

Fuel
Propane and NG

burn clean,hot and ya dont have to fill every so many hours. Propane stores likely forever. They need to turn quickly to make power so 3600RPM is what ya get which might be loud. These units generally need to be de-rated if you use NG. Not a ton of rotating mass so if your wanting to start compressors or large motors you need a good sized unit.
Gasoline.
These units are typically the cheapest option. Also probably the most portable. Fuel is generally easy to get and store but is more dangerous. Fuel goes bad relatively quickly. Most require using pure gas only. They need to turn quickly to make power so 3600RPM is what ya get which might be loud. The least amount of rotating mass so if your wanting to start compressors or large motors you need a very good sized unit which may eat you out of house and home.
Diesel
Properly stored and treated it will last theoretically forever. I know a hospital that is still using decades old fuel. I have a couple 55 gallon drums that is somewhere north of 25 years old. burns no problem. just ate one on an emergency situation to run an MRI for 2 days and overnight. Water and microbes are your enemy. Also, make sure you get winter blend fuel if you don't want it to gel when it gets really cold. Diesel makes more power for less gallons. More rotating mass means you can start bigger motors with a smaller unit. Diesels make their power turning slower so 1800RPM is where they are typically set which relates to generally quieter unit. Diesel is considered safer to store then gasoline. Huge downside... Cost. cheapest versions are still in the thousands

If you made it to the bottom and are still reading. Don't judge me on spelling or grammar. Ive had to stop too many times and im not proof reading this
 

GeneW

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Whatever you do, get a quiet one. Those screaming loud pieces of **** are ridiculous.

A quiet one will help prevent theft. IF they can't hear it, they can't find it.
 

BReeves

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Would love to have a welder/generator but they are more than double the cost of a generator even used. When I need a welder where I don't have 220 I plug my wire welder into my generator.

What I don't like about using a portable generator has already been said. It's ok when the weather is half way good, but dealing with it with 6 inches of snow on the ground is just more than this old man can handle.
 

Revolvers4Life

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After the ice storm and now this round of snow storms and rolling blackouts I am considering getting a portable generator too. We aren't planning to stay in our current home forever so don't want to put in a whole home. My main concern is just where to put it because it would have to sit out in front of our house. I could chain it up and hopefully no one would mess with it, but would much prefer if I could have it in my backyard
 

Dumpstick

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Another thought on portable gennies:

When you use it, it will likely be bad weather. Possibly precipitation is falling.

How will you keep it at least somewhat protected from the rain getting into the control panel ?

If you run it under a porch roof, the sound is multiplied, and something that was once merely obnoxiously loud becomes a real problem.

Can't run it in the garage, even with the door partially open. Fumes are too dangerous, and again the noise problem.

Just something to ponder.
 

Perplexed

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Another thought on portable gennies:

When you use it, it will likely be bad weather. Possibly precipitation is falling.

How will you keep it at least somewhat protected from the rain getting into the control panel ?

If you run it under a porch roof, the sound is multiplied, and something that was once merely obnoxiously loud becomes a real problem.

Can't run it in the garage, even with the door partially open. Fumes are too dangerous, and again the noise problem.

Just something to ponder.

Set it just past the porch roof on the downwind side, or at the edge with the exhaust pointing away. Works for me.
 

SMS

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Another thought on portable gennies:

When you use it, it will likely be bad weather. Possibly precipitation is falling.

How will you keep it at least somewhat protected from the rain getting into the control panel ?

If you run it under a porch roof, the sound is multiplied, and something that was once merely obnoxiously loud becomes a real problem.

Can't run it in the garage, even with the door partially open. Fumes are too dangerous, and again the noise problem.

Just something to ponder.

I safety wired a piece of plywood over the top of mine, with an overhang on the control panel/receptacle side. Easy day.

I don't care about the noise...I'm inside and it's outside lol.
 

dennishoddy

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We use generators from Northern Tool in our RV.
2300 Watts each. 30 amp and 110v outlets.
When we parallel them, it’s enough power to run an AC or MW as well as all the lights in the rig. (LED)
They weigh 55 lbs each and hold .9 gallons of gasoline. Run time on a tank of fuel is 8-9 hours.
Very quiet when running. We can set them right outside and barely hear them run.

IMG_2274.jpg
 
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