Wurkkos

Portable Electric Generators-suggestions?

Double_A

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I'm looking for a Generator in the 2-5Kw range. I would like it to have a gas tank that will allow 8 or more hours of runtime.

I see all kinds of makers out there, Generac, Honda, Yamaha, Coleman.

Anybody with first hand experience? I hear Honda makes the best, but they are triple the price of others.

I have my eye on a Generac 4000EXL, 4Kw, 7.8 hp electric start engine with a 4.5 gal tank for a 14hour runtime. I hear they are popular but have a low oil sensor that is prone to fits (but easily fixed). Price is around $750 Comments?


Thanks in advance,
GregR
 

LitFuse

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I have a Honda EU1000 and I love it! They now also make a 2000/1600W unit. You can hardly hear them run they're so quiet. Not exactly cheap though. Also have a 'Northern Tool" branded 5Kw unit powered bt a 9HP OHV Honda motor. Pretty nice genset, reasonably quiet, I got it on eBay for $750, you can get them for $850-900 on sale if you have a Northern in your area.

I've been spoiled by the Honda stuff, and can't go back. I used to have a cheapie 5Kw Coleman, but it was a loud POS.

Peter
 

Brock

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Make sure is has pressureised oil, that is a big one. A bunch of the new Hondas are actually inverter/generators. So as you add more load the engine speed up to make more power. The catch is the power is mod sine wave, good for about 99% of things made. They also consume a LOT less power overall.
 

smokinbasser

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I worked in a tool rental store for awhile and they sold every thing after a set period of time and bought new ones to replace the timed out tools, check a tool rental store out to see what brand they carry and when they might be selling the older units, most have easy lives and at least at our store every returned tool went through a complete checkout before being set out for rental again. I would buy anything I needed with confidence from that store chain, and save a bunch of cash and still have what I needed.
 

bucken

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I've never heard anything but good about the Honda's. They are, however, very expensive. We've had a Generac 5500EXL for several years now, and have used it several times. It's always started right up, and has always worked very well. The only improvement I might consider would be a quieter muffler.
 

Bill.H

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As part of my job I've met lately with both reps and techs from several different companies that sell/service very large (125-300KW) gensets and transfer switches. It just so happens I'm in the market for a 7-10KW stationary propane unit for my house. The people I'm dealing with do not deal in small units like that, so they had no financial reason to mislead me when I asked three of them, at separate times and places, what they recommend I get for myself. The answers surprised me. Two said Generac, the other said "those ones at Home Depot are a hell of a deal". The one he was referring to (he couldn't remember the brand name until I mentioned it) - Generac.

I'm now looking at Generac /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

cy

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I purchased a 5KW generator at Sams for $460. The first unit had a Tecumseh motor and was so loud it was unusable (for me). I took it back and traded for a Briggs equipped unit. It was much quieter, but still very loud. Both units work excellently for output.

Currently I've got an 11hp Honda powered 5.7KW NAC construction Generator. The unit runs at idle, until a load is sensed. Then the unit kicks in and starts to run at full power. This unit is very quiet, considering the size.

I agree with Bill H about the aprox. $650 Generac unit found at Home depot. This Generac unit delivers 5KW+ with an overhead valve motor. Overhead type motors deliver higher efficiency and are quieter overall. They also usually cost way more.

Seems to me Home depot did this before with an overhead valve 10hp Subaru power washer for $500. The closest competition was a Honda powered unit for $2000+. Since I already had an 11hp Honda unit, I didn't need another one.
 

Double_A

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Thank you all for your comments. _Mike_ that was a a very informative link, I bookmarked it.

I stopped by the dealer to look at Honda's saturday. I like the Honda EU2000i it's a nice size portable (46lbs). Very clean power for running electronics, computers. However it's $1000 and at 1.6kw continous and 2kw peak is just a little underpowered. It won't power a fridge that needs about 3kw on startup. The Generac 4000EXL, 4Kw is cheaper by far. Like anything else you get what you pay for the cheaper units are very noisy the power (wouldn't want to take it camping) is dirty (some electronics don't like it) and are not the workhorses the Honda's are.

I guess I need to decide check all my anticipated needs and buy appropriate.

Thanks again,
GregR
 

LitFuse

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[ QUOTE ]
Double_A said:

I stopped by the dealer to look at Honda's saturday. I like the Honda EU2000i it's a nice size portable (46lbs). Very clean power for running electronics, computers. However it's $1000 and at 1.6kw continous and 2kw peak is just a little underpowered. It won't power a fridge that needs about 3kw on startup. GregR

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmmm... That's interesting. My little EU1000 starts and runs my full size fridge/freezer fine. After it starts, I can actually run some other low draw items at the same time.

I don't know the hard facts about these inverter equipped generators, but like most inverters, they seem to have a substantial momentary "boost" available for starting motors and like like. This is not the same as their "peak" operating wattage for long duration operation, but just a couple of seconds where they seem to be able to supply some extra "oomph". I know that the Yamaha inverter gensets are marketed using this angle. You may want to try (if possible) the unit on the actual load, you might be pleasantly suprised, I know I have been. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Peter
 

PlayboyJoeShmoe

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As a general rule, and we all know about generalities!

The overhead valve engines from Honda and Briggs are exceptionally nice engines! Many of the gas pressure washers run Honda (in the cold water models) and Briggs (in the diesel fired hot waters) for years of service.

We have a Coleman 5KW with a Briggs OHV engine. Always starts on one or two pulls MAX. Runs my Miller 130XP Welder for field repair, or will pull a couple grinders, fans, or even keep the food cold in a power out.

It could be a little quieter... but at a racetrack there are usually some MUCH louder gensets running!

Also at the races we sometimes use a little Honda 1KW to run tire warmers. That puppy is QUIET!!!!
 

Double_A

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Litfuse-

That would be super if it could run my fridge. I just assumed the chart in the Honda literature was correct when it spec'd a "Refigerator or Freezer" needing 700 watts while running and an additional 2200 watts required for starting.

Maybe I should rent one for $40 and take it home to try it out. The shop offered to let me bring in power tools to fire them up and see how it goes.

So far my 14' chainsaw and my Sawzall both draw 10amps and are well within the output of the Honda EU2000.

GregR
 

LitFuse

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GregR- I'd be very suprised if the EU2000 wasn't able to start/run your fridge. If you can rent one for $40 to try out, I would recommend you do so.

I can't say enough about this little Honda EU1000, I love it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif It's perfect for me during power outages to run the TV/Sat system, make some coffee, run couple of lights, etc. For longer outages I will use it to run the fridge every other couple of hours. I only wish the EU2000 were available when I bought mine. The 2000 watt unit seems ideal to me, having a little more capacity. I think for most people the 5kW units are overkill for occasional outages. They still can't run central AC etc., but are way "overqualified" for the small stuff. And man are they noisy! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif Do yourself (and your neighbors) a favor, and get the Honda. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif


Peter
 

HarryN

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I did some calculations prior to the Y2K (non) event, and found that if you actually use a generator much, the fuel costs will quickly dominate the overall costs of the arrangement. If you plan to use the generator more than 100 hrs / year, you might consider a diesel powered unit.

There is also always the "ultimate generator". Some vehicles have after market generators / alternators which can be driven right off of the engine. That 200 hp auto engine under your hood will idle at 20+ hp all day with a 15 gallon tank. That is around 10 KW.
 

PlayboyJoeShmoe

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If the little Honda genset we used at the races could be had in a 2Kw size, and if it will do what you need...

If you got the money honey, GET ONE!!!

That little tyke sips fuel, and is awful quiet!

I could rig my truck to do it. But that diesel clattering all night would preclude sleep! If push came to shove, the Coleman would be rigged with a better muffler and would do what I require of it.
 

Tombeis

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I have a 3400 Watt Generac that I have owned for about twelve years. OHV engine, easy starting even when stored for the winter in an unheated shed. Runs about 8 hours on a tank (about 5 gallons of fuel.

It will run a refrigerator, the TV and a few lights without a problem. It will also operate the furnace in the winter with power left to light the TV.

If I were going to buy another generator I would get at least a 5500 watt so I could power the air conditioner during summer power failures.

Don't buy a generator with a small fuel tank. It is a pain to be running out to refuel every hour or so.

Generac is a good brand. Northern Equipment has a good selection of their own brand. Northern stands behind what they sell.
 

LitFuse

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Whatever generator you buy, don't forget to use a fuel stabilizer for any gasoline left in the generator or any gas stored in cans. STA-BIL (or an equivalent) is a necessity for gasoline that's gonna "sit" for any amount of time.

Peter
 

turbodog

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Take a realistic look at how much you will actually use this thing. Even a cheap model's engine is spec'd for probably 500+ hours before it dies.

Fuel costs/weight/noise are something to consider.

Oil filter is nice, but oil alert/shutoff is a must.

My honda eu1000 is about 3 years old with about 400 hours on it. No problems at all. (hey litfuse/PBJS... wanna buy it and then you can join them for 2000 watts!)

12v dc battery charging ability is nice also.

For the record, yamaha now makes a unit very similar to a honda inverter series.
 

PlayboyJoeShmoe

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Turbodog,

You know I would LOVE to buy it. I've used one! (That I don't own!)

But alas... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/broke.gif

And I don't absolutely need it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/poke2.gif
 

Brock

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I think both Yamaha and Honda make 3kw units. I think Yamaha has one that has a larger battery to help boost the larger starting loads, neat idea since it's electric start anyway. I wonder if that means it's a 12v inverter...
 
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