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Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: DP
Date: October 27, 2012 08:49AM
Even here in the Detroit area, I saw a graphic that showed the possibility of 2-3" of rain here on top of the wind we'll get, too! We have Winter coming also and I have been thinking of getting one anyway. I know the Honda's are considered the best and my Dad bought one (he said I could borrow it but he may need it..)
So I know some of you East coasters have or are looking to buy one right now so what's the consensus? What's a good alternative if I don't want to spend the dough on a Honda?
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 27, 2012 09:09AM
if you can park your car close enough to the house, and if you don't need a lot of power, maybe only a few hundred watts to keep a fridge running and some emergency lights, the car could serve as an emergency generator with one of those 12 V DC to 120 AC inverters, like this one.

from the comments on Amazon

Quote

BACKGROUND STORY:
Living in the NJ/NY area, we don't see a lot of hurricanes or even tropical storms. Once in a while, Mother Nature decides to give us a taste of what one can do. Originally being from MA and also living several years in eastern NC, I've seen what damage they can do. I knew some type of backup power may be necessary. Without operation sump pumps in my basement, it would certainly flood. As Hurricane Irene came bearing down on NY/NJ expecting to arrive on Saturday night, early Thursday I frantically looked for a generator. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears were already sold out across the northeastern seaboard. As you can imagine, they don't stock a lot here. Then I had an idea. A POWER INVERTER! I quickly logged on to Amazon and looked for a 3000W that could handle my two sump pumps. I paid the extra shipping fee to guarantee arrival by Saturday morning. Sure enough it arrived when promised. THANKS, AMAZON!

Well, needless to say Irene hit my area with a massive amount of rain. Eventually our local substation flooded and I had no power. The sump pump wells started to fill quickly. Thanks to my power inverter, I was able to react! I hooked it up and got those pumps running saving my basement. I saved my neighbors basement too!

So what does this inverter do? Basically it inverts power from DC (i.e. a car battery, marine battery or deep cycle battery) to AC (110V) which your appliances need to run. In the case of the car battery hook up, your car acts as a generator (recharging batter via alternator when your car is running).
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: decay
Date: October 27, 2012 09:14AM
most hardware stores are sold out in this part of PA



---
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: Surfrider
Date: October 27, 2012 09:37AM
Probably not a bad idea...too late for me.

Still wouldn't have internet, at least here. The Cow Cable (Mediacom) from lower Delaware goes out as soon as the wind blows hard.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: October 27, 2012 09:38AM
I don't think you can find a generator anywhere on the East Coast right now. A friend bought a Honda generator before Hurricane Isabel and never had to use it--it worked well at a neighbor's house though. N.B. They are heavier than hell, and you probably don't want to have a huge thing that is difficult to move and filled with gasoline around the house all the time. So you need to figure out a place to keep it.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: dad@home
Date: October 27, 2012 10:38AM
Quote
space-time
if you can park your car close enough to the house, and if you don't need a lot of power, maybe only a few hundred watts to keep a fridge running and some emergency lights, the car could serve as an emergency generator with one of those 12 V DC to 120 AC inverters, like this one.

from the comments on Amazon

Quote

BACKGROUND STORY:
Living in the NJ/NY area, we don't see a lot of hurricanes or even tropical storms. Once in a while, Mother Nature decides to give us a taste of what one can do. Originally being from MA and also living several years in eastern NC, I've seen what damage they can do. I knew some type of backup power may be necessary. Without operation sump pumps in my basement, it would certainly flood. As Hurricane Irene came bearing down on NY/NJ expecting to arrive on Saturday night, early Thursday I frantically looked for a generator. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears were already sold out across the northeastern seaboard. As you can imagine, they don't stock a lot here. Then I had an idea. A POWER INVERTER! I quickly logged on to Amazon and looked for a 3000W that could handle my two sump pumps. I paid the extra shipping fee to guarantee arrival by Saturday morning. Sure enough it arrived when promised. THANKS, AMAZON!

Well, needless to say Irene hit my area with a massive amount of rain. Eventually our local substation flooded and I had no power. The sump pump wells started to fill quickly. Thanks to my power inverter, I was able to react! I hooked it up and got those pumps running saving my basement. I saved my neighbors basement too!

So what does this inverter do? Basically it inverts power from DC (i.e. a car battery, marine battery or deep cycle battery) to AC (110V) which your appliances need to run. In the case of the car battery hook up, your car acts as a generator (recharging batter via alternator when your car is running).

This is a great idea but will work best if you have a Prius!

The car (if left on) will automatically start up the gas engine in order to keep the battery charged. The more power you draw from the battery the more the generator will run. I'm not sure how long a tank of gas will last but it may get you through a day or two powering your refer or freezer.

Edit: If you have a Harbor freight (or even a well equipped truck stop) you can get a large capacity inverter for not too much money.

John



For some must watch, while some must sleep
So runs the world away



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/27/2012 10:39AM by dad@home.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: lazydays
Date: October 27, 2012 11:49AM
A friend of mine recommended a generator that runs on propane. He said the fuel is much easier to store and never goes bad. I have no idea if a standard generator can be converted or if you have to buy one specifically to run on propane. Maybe someone here knows.

I did use the inverter idea recently when I lost power during a rebuild of my Drobo raid. I didn't know how long my ups would hold out, or how long the power outage would last, so I used the inverter and it worked great. It does require fairly close proximity and a long extension cord to whatever you want to power though and of course it is the most inefficient way conceivable to create power.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: DP
Date: October 27, 2012 12:52PM
Those of you that have them, what brand do you own?
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: rz
Date: October 27, 2012 12:57PM
Quote
Gutenberg
I don't think you can find a generator anywhere on the East Coast right now. A friend bought a Honda generator before Hurricane Isabel and never had to use it--it worked well at a neighbor's house though. N.B. They are heavier than hell, and you probably don't want to have a huge thing that is difficult to move and filled with gasoline around the house all the time. So you need to figure out a place to keep it.

I hope you're not thinking of running the generator INSIDE the house! You run it outside and run extension cords through the house to where you need power. You don't need to move the generator.

We got a generator after Hurricane Charlie in '04. Came in handy when Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit in the next couple of months. Have only used it a couple of times since then. We have a fridge and a deep freeze. Since they don't need to be "running" continuously, we would alternate which one was plugged in every couple of hours. Otherwise, we had it hooked to some fans, some lights and a small TV.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: btfc
Date: October 27, 2012 01:11PM
Wait until next week, then pick up a slightly used one cheap!
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: fauch
Date: October 27, 2012 01:28PM
For all these people who own generators, how much GAS do you stock???
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: lazydays
Date: October 27, 2012 02:51PM
According to the specs a Honda 2000 watt generator will eat a gallon of fuel every four hours which is it's fuel capacity. Going 24 hours without power isn't a big deal so any estimations would probably be for a greater length of time. Maybe 3-5 days? So six gallons a day for three days would be a minimum of 18 gallons.

That is a lot of fuel to keep on hand which is one reason I'm more interested in running on propane which is more stable and easier to store.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: GGD
Date: October 27, 2012 08:45PM
Quote
btfc
Wait until next week, then pick up a slightly used one cheap!

Or open box returns.

Quote
lazydays
According to the specs a Honda 2000 watt generator will eat a gallon of fuel every four hours which is it's fuel capacity. Going 24 hours without power isn't a big deal so any estimations would probably be for a greater length of time. Maybe 3-5 days? So six gallons a day for three days would be a minimum of 18 gallons.

That is a lot of fuel to keep on hand which is one reason I'm more interested in running on propane which is more stable and easier to store.

A siphon hose might simplify the problem. You might already have that much in your cars.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: October 27, 2012 09:12PM
But you don't run a portable generator 24/7.

Best reason is that someone will steal it if you leave it outside overnight.

On propane a grill bottle won't cut it - you'll need those 100lb tanks at a minimum.

Quote
lazydays
According to the specs a Honda 2000 watt generator will eat a gallon of fuel every four hours which is it's fuel capacity. Going 24 hours without power isn't a big deal so any estimations would probably be for a greater length of time. Maybe 3-5 days? So six gallons a day for three days would be a minimum of 18 gallons.

That is a lot of fuel to keep on hand which is one reason I'm more interested in running on propane which is more stable and easier to store.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/27/2012 09:12PM by Bill in NC.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: October 28, 2012 06:16AM
Quote
rz
Quote
Gutenberg
I don't think you can find a generator anywhere on the East Coast right now. A friend bought a Honda generator before Hurricane Isabel and never had to use it--it worked well at a neighbor's house though. N.B. They are heavier than hell, and you probably don't want to have a huge thing that is difficult to move and filled with gasoline around the house all the time. So you need to figure out a place to keep it.

I hope you're not thinking of running the generator INSIDE the house! You run it outside and run extension cords through the house to where you need power. You don't need to move the generator.

We got a generator after Hurricane Charlie in '04. Came in handy when Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit in the next couple of months. Have only used it a couple of times since then. We have a fridge and a deep freeze. Since they don't need to be "running" continuously, we would alternate which one was plugged in every couple of hours. Otherwise, we had it hooked to some fans, some lights and a small TV.

Yes, I know that , thank you. I said around the huuse, that is, in the near vicinity of the house. I do not like the idea of an awkward and heavy machine filled with gasoline in the near vicinity of the house.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: tenders
Date: October 28, 2012 08:24AM
I have a post-Irene Harbor Freight inverter setup ready to go and mounted on a carrying board with its own set of battery cables. It can supply 3000 watts, though not for long, with a car battery and alternator. I also have a small one-cylinder, gas-powered 2-stroke generator which can supply 1400 watts for as long as I can feed it fuel. That gadget is very simple, but wow, is it LOUD!

These are designed to run a 500-watt dewatering pump, if necessary, and the refrigerator and freezer periodically, as necessary, and maybe some lights. We also have a natural gas grill.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 28, 2012 10:34AM
how "clean" is the power from these inverters or generators? I don't mean "green", I mean clean in terms of voltage and frequency. Do you get more or less 60 HX or it can vary? how much? do you get 120V AC or you can have spikes? I want to know if there is any risk of damaging equipment. I am not worried about lightbulbs, but think like furnace, fridge, or other appliances expensive to repair.
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: btfc
Date: October 28, 2012 11:44AM
"Square wave
The square wave output has a high harmonic content, not suitable for certain AC loads such as motors or transformers. Square wave units were the pioneers of inverter development.

Modified sine wave
The output of a modified square wave, quasi square, or modified sine wave inverter is similar to a square wave output except that the output goes to zero volts for a time before switching positive or negative. It is simple and low cost (~$0.10USD/Watt) and is compatible with most electronic devices, except for sensitive or specialized equipment, for example certain laser printers, fluorescent lighting, audio equipment.
Most AC motors will run off this power source albeit at a reduction in efficiency of approximately 20%[2]

Pure sine wave
A pure sine wave inverter produces a nearly perfect sine wave output (less than 3% total harmonic distortion) that is essentially the same as utility-supplied grid power. Thus it is compatible with all AC electronic devices. This is the type used in grid-tie inverters. Its design is more complex, and costs more per unit power."


[en.wikipedia.org]
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: onthedownlow
Date: October 28, 2012 12:28PM
I have this one: [www.amazon.com]

Picture shows a different model. It works great and has a remote control start/stop which is so convenient.

You can sometimes get these for around $360 though - when I bought mine it was around $415.



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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: onthedownlow
Date: October 28, 2012 12:40PM
Here is a great deal on a generator (one that I almost bought a couple years ago): [www.cabelas.com]

$319.99 w/free shipping



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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 28, 2012 01:34PM
well.


generally speaking.



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: AllGold
Date: October 28, 2012 01:52PM
Quote
onthedownlow
Here is a great deal on a generator (one that I almost bought a couple years ago): [www.cabelas.com]

$319.99 w/free shipping

That is a good deal.

But like all cheap generators it will be very loud. It says something like "it's quiet, only 68dBA which is only 8dBA above conversation" but that is NOT quiet. 10dBA is 10 times louder. So if you wanted to converse anywhere near the generator you would be yelling your head off.

The Honda EU1000 and EU2000 are 53-59dBA and the EU3000 is 49-58dBA.



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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 28, 2012 01:59PM
I managed to grab one of the last 4 generators that could be delivered in time for the storm from amazon but I can't say I'm pleased with the purchase. I got a Duracell DS30R1i 3,000 Watt 6 HP 168cc Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator but had to pay $798 which is nuts for a 3000 watt generator, especially one made in China. I have no idea why this thing is twice the price of a typical 3000 watt unit but since we are below the water line here and need to keep the sump pump running I couldn't take a chance of being without one.


Here's what I got: [www.amazon.com]

I hope the thing starts and keeps running if I need it. If anybody know anything about this generator I'd be eagerntonhear about it.



JoeM
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: rgG
Date: October 28, 2012 04:27PM
Can't you set up a sump pump to run off a marine battery as a back up when the power fails? I think I remember someone here talking about doing something like that.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: M>B>
Date: October 28, 2012 04:54PM
Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: onthedownlow
Date: October 28, 2012 05:50PM
Quote
AllGold
Quote
onthedownlow
Here is a great deal on a generator (one that I almost bought a couple years ago): [www.cabelas.com]

$319.99 w/free shipping

That is a good deal.

But like all cheap generators it will be very loud. It says something like "it's quiet, only 68dBA which is only 8dBA above conversation" but that is NOT quiet. 10dBA is 10 times louder. So if you wanted to converse anywhere near the generator you would be yelling your head off.

The Honda EU1000 and EU2000 are 53-59dBA and the EU3000 is 49-58dBA.

Some people care about that stuff, some don't...and most don't - or at least their pocketbooks do care to not spend the higher premium for several decibels of lower sound. It all depends on the environment it will be placed/used in.

I can tell you that the Champion models are pretty darn quiet, especially when they are 15-20ft away from your location. Most people do not stand by their generators, especially in the scenario the OP presented the discussion. Plenty of YouTube videos/reviews to back up that claim on these series of generators.

Also to add, those Honda models don't even give out close to the AC output this Champion would, yet you are paying $700-$2,000 more. I can think of many things extra to use with that money, including a generator shed/cover that can safely, and quietly house a generator outside.



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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: onthedownlow
Date: October 28, 2012 06:12PM
Quote
JoeM
I managed to grab one of the last 4 generators that could be delivered in time for the storm from amazon but I can't say I'm pleased with the purchase. I got a Duracell DS30R1i 3,000 Watt 6 HP 168cc Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator but had to pay $798 which is nuts for a 3000 watt generator, especially one made in China. I have no idea why this thing is twice the price of a typical 3000 watt unit but since we are below the water line here and need to keep the sump pump running I couldn't take a chance of being without one.


Here's what I got: [www.amazon.com]

I hope the thing starts and keeps running if I need it. If anybody know anything about this generator I'd be eagerntonhear about it.

Because it is Duracell. Much like Honda is a premium (in quality/features, too) in this game.

At first I thought you said DuroStar, and I also couldn't believe the price - as they make 'cheap', but good generators.



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Re: Sandy coming... Let's talk generators
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 28, 2012 07:41PM
Quote
onthedownlow
Quote
JoeM
I managed to grab one of the last 4 generators that could be delivered in time for the storm from amazon but I can't say I'm pleased with the purchase. I got a Duracell DS30R1i 3,000 Watt 6 HP 168cc Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator but had to pay $798 which is nuts for a 3000 watt generator, especially one made in China. I have no idea why this thing is twice the price of a typical 3000 watt unit but since we are below the water line here and need to keep the sump pump running I couldn't take a chance of being without one.


Here's what I got: [www.amazon.com]

I hope the thing starts and keeps running if I need it. If anybody know anything about this generator I'd be eagerntonhear about it.

Because it is Duracell. Much like Honda is a premium (in quality/features, too) in this game.

At first I thought you said DuroStar, and I also couldn't believe the price - as they make 'cheap', but good generators.

While I know Honda is a premium maker I had never heard of Duracell generators before I saw this one and apparently it is a new model as their website doesn't have much info about it there. I guessed I was paying for the name and I didn't have a choice of anything else. I don't have much faith in much of what's made in China ( but I am typing this on a iPad smiling smiley )

I hope their quality control is close to Apples. Actually I hope I don't have to use it.



JoeM
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