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eHam Forums => Emergency Communications => Topic started by: KA3VEZ on June 19, 2013, 01:23:03 PM



Title: Selecting a generator
Post by: KA3VEZ on June 19, 2013, 01:23:03 PM
Here is a dumb question.  Determining how many watts a generator should be? I know you do volts * amps but do you do it for the power supply(115 * 20) or for the rig itself(13.8 * 20 in my case) Sorry if this seems like a simple thing but just want to make sure. Thanks for any input.

~Kirk, KA3VEZ


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: AA4PB on June 19, 2013, 02:11:27 PM
First, the power supply doesn't draw 20A at 120V. It supplies up to 20A at 13.8VDC. That is 276 watts out of the supply, maximum. Assuming the supply is 80% efficiency, that's 331 watts going into the supply on the 120VAC side. 331W div by 120V = 2.76A being drawn at 120VAC.

Be sure to add in wattage for all the other accessory equipment plus plenty of extra capacity in determining the generator capacity.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K1CJS on June 19, 2013, 03:03:04 PM
It might also be a good idea to think about whether or not you want to use that generator for other uses.  If all you want is to use a generator for field day, depending on your field day setup, all you may need is a Harbor Freight special, priced sometimes at $80 to $100.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on June 19, 2013, 09:21:44 PM
It might also be a good idea to think about whether or not you want to use that generator for other uses.  If all you want is to use a generator for field day, depending on your field day setup, all you may need is a Harbor Freight special, priced sometimes at $80 to $100.

It is easy to up-size and buy more than you need. I would get something in 1000 to 1500 watt range. Easy to carry and easy on fuel too. Bigger units can get thirsty for fuel even on light loads.  


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KB2FCV on June 20, 2013, 10:20:33 AM
It all depends on what you're using it for. What needs to run on it? What are the possible uses?

Something to consider.. if you are looking at a generator for home backup you'll want to look at fuel consumption. I saw this first hand here in NJ. During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy many gas stations were without power for well over a week and also many weren't getting fuel deliveries. I think I only had to wait in line one day to get gas for my generator. The other folks? They had to stand in long lines every day for hours and their biggest complaint was fuel consumption. Many of the bigger generators will drink 5 gallons in 8 hours. I picked up a little honda that will sip 1 gallon in 8-10 hours.. big difference. With maybe 15-20 gallons I can go a week.. and more if I can ration.

Be sure to calculate what you need to run. If using as a backup for the house... really take a look at what is critical. My needs are: sump pump - heat - refridgeration (in that order). Anything else is a non-essential luxury... even light (although I do run a CF bulb here and there.. you can get away with LED battery powered stuff) The Honda I picked is just enough to run the essentials and it works great. I took the time to calculate starting current of the items I need to run.

Just some food for thought based on my experience..


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on June 20, 2013, 11:15:24 AM
I have used several generator sizes over the years and a 3 k model I have is most useful by far. It is a Honda clone from china and 6 years old now and very reliable and easy on fuel. (on light loads about a quart of fuel a hour). Its only drawback is size/weight.  It weighs about 100 lbs plus 25 lbs more when full of fuel and not easy to carry. When you look at 1200 to 1500 watt units, they weight 50 to 70 lbs and are far easier to move and some will run 8+ hrs on a gallon of fuel too. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K9YLI on June 22, 2013, 08:17:03 AM
The people  of N J  on tv were  nutso..
you only need to run a freezer  every  3 days if you dont open it..
run fridge every  4 or 5 hours  during normal use, with careful  planning before you open it.
if you need to run a sump pump  that changes a bit.
5 gallons of fuel should  easily last over a week..
You  cant  watch  Tv or  be on the computer.. its an emergency  situation.
you get to use  candles or  coleman lantern,  for light.
go to bed when it gets dark.,charge  cell phone when  re cooling   fridge.
battery  radio.....
If you expect to run your house  just like normal with a back up  generator,
you need a 30 KW with  100 gallon  tank..

back up  means  keep your food cold and  your  basement  pumped out.
 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on June 22, 2013, 12:09:12 PM
The people  of N J  on tv were  nutso..
you only need to run a freezer  every  3 days if you dont open it..
run fridge every  4 or 5 hours  during normal use, with careful  planning before you open it.
if you need to run a sump pump  that changes a bit.
5 gallons of fuel should  easily last over a week..
You  cant  watch  Tv or  be on the computer.. its an emergency  situation.
you get to use  candles or  coleman lantern,  for light.
go to bed when it gets dark.,charge  cell phone when  re cooling   fridge.
battery  radio.....
If you expect to run your house  just like normal with a back up  generator,
you need a 30 KW with  100 gallon  tank..

back up  means  keep your food cold and  your  basement  pumped out.
 

I think somewhere in middle is solution. When we had long term power failure I would run a 3k generator about 14 to 16 hours a day. Used 3 to 4 gallons a day and kept food cold in a few fridges and an some lights as needed and powered TV and such. I would shut down at nite and go to emergency lights. No need to camp out in your house for days.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KD0REQ on June 23, 2013, 10:54:53 AM
our power was out for 15 hours this weekend.  when we woke up, I finally dragged out the generator to run the fridge, found a 4-cell Mag was corroded up, and replaced it with an LED 180 lumen flashlight from Rayovac.  refilled the gas cans 8 miles away, and just then power came back on.

I bought mine for winter heat, which requires 1800-2200 watts to run the fan and oil burner.  you can crank the heat until it shuts off, switch the cords and run the freezers and fridge for an hour, cycle back, then shut the genset down for a couple hours.  that'll stretch a 4 gallon tank well past a day.  LED lanterns and headlamps will go 2-3 days on one set of batteries or more, depending on whether you read in the dark.  cook on the Coleman, and this will last you a week.

and run whatever you want up to a full gallon on field day if you have thoriated filaments in the amp.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KC9PWT on June 24, 2013, 09:35:37 AM
i have run generators over the years from 400 watt to 25 kw, it is improtant as has been stated that you size your generator properly, best to have an 85% power utilization from the generator that will give you best fuel economy and make no mistake these are thirsty beasts.  he honda 2000 is very fuel efficient and will run individual appliances as needed, one at a time.  other option is to go with a loarger whole house unit that runs from nat gas or propane, if you dont need it portable.

if you go with gasoline then you need to figure fuel storage and also how you will connnect to your house add this to the cost.

alex


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K7LA on June 25, 2013, 09:28:40 PM
I would add one more item to the gasoline generator tips:
Use a fuel stabilizer additive like Sta-Bil if you are planning
on keeping the fuel in the genny for several months to a year.

The ethanol blends in use today break down the gasoline
components more rapidly than refinery blends used in the past.
Use of a stabilizer will ensure your genny fires when you need it most.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on June 26, 2013, 05:49:22 AM
I would add one more item to the gasoline generator tips:
Use a fuel stabilizer additive like Sta-Bil if you are planning
on keeping the fuel in the genny for several months to a year.

The ethanol blends in use today break down the gasoline
components more rapidly than refinery blends used in the past.
Use of a stabilizer will ensure your genny fires when you need it most.


Generally if you shut off fuel and run crab dry before storage you will be fine.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: AA4PB on June 26, 2013, 06:07:42 AM
I'd recommend fuel stabilizer in the gas AND run the carb dry when you shut it down for storage. The stabilizer will help the gas that remains in the tank.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KE4DRN on July 02, 2013, 07:07:44 PM
hi,

I would recommend you have at least one Carbon Monoxide detector
in your home if you are running any type of generator.

Few  years ago, an older couple had one running, it was too close to
the house and when the furnace cycled on the exhaust gases from the
genset were pulled into the home from an open window.

The OM died from CO poisoning and the only thing that saved his wife
was that she was on oxygen supply.

73 james


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on July 02, 2013, 08:30:30 PM
I'd recommend fuel stabilizer in the gas AND run the carb dry when you shut it down for storage. The stabilizer will help the gas that remains in the tank.


I do not think this is as much a problem today as far as needing fuel stabilizers.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: N3HFS on July 02, 2013, 08:35:53 PM
I do not think this is as much a problem today as far as needing fuel stabilizers.

In fact, there's lots more nasty additives nowadays than there used to be.  All sorts of stuff to keep fuel from evaporating or generating certain exhaust gases, and who knows what other federal/regional regulations.  Add to that the high percentage of added ethanol.  Blechh! 

If anything, it's probably tough for the fuel stabilizer manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve and keep reformulating to continue doing the job!


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on July 02, 2013, 08:39:30 PM
I do not think this is as much a problem today as far as needing fuel stabilizers.

In fact, there's lots more nasty additives nowadays than there used to be.  All sorts of stuff to keep fuel from evaporating or generating certain exhaust gases, and who knows what other federal/regional regulations.  Add to that the high percentage of added ethanol.  Blechh! 

If anything, it's probably tough for the fuel stabilizer manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve and keep reformulating to continue doing the job!

Not really fuel is cleaner and standards require better seals on gas caps which limits evaporation. I have started generators with 2 year old gas in tank. As long as you run carb dry your good to go.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K1DA on July 09, 2013, 02:01:22 PM
5 KW runs everything I need includung  well pump  and leaves  some left over for the computer or a 100 watt radio.  To be sure the pump will start I do a little load shedding.  Oil fired hot water heat  doesn't take a lot of juce to run a burner and a circulator pump.  Gas would be even better.  We have an extra 15 gallons of gas  at hand in two motorcycles, aside from the gas cans and about 25 or so in two cars.  You can jumper the fuel pump relay and have the car fill your gas can for you. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K6AER on July 09, 2013, 03:34:37 PM
I have a 55 kW Genrac that runs on propane. Also I have a 7.5 KW gas, 3 KW gas and a 1000 watt harbor fright 2 cycle. I use the Harbor Freight the most for portable use. It will run an HF radio and ALS-500 with no problem for eight hours on a gallon of gas.

The home with propane heating and an 800 foot water pump doesn't use much over 8KW with everything on. The key to long term home power is propane. I have 1000 gallon tank. Propane never goes bad. Starts right away and the engine always has clean oil. With all home self start generator start the battery is the biggest factor.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on July 17, 2013, 06:41:12 PM
...... The key to long term home power is propane. I have 1000 gallon tank. Propane never goes bad. Starts right away and the engine always has clean oil. With all home self start generator start the battery is the biggest factor.

If you live in CA, best have an underground propane tank with flexible tubing feed.  Earthquakes tend to roll big propane tanks....  In fact, any big above ground tanks separate from a machine.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on July 17, 2013, 06:49:22 PM
Fuel conservation and machine noise when operating are two areas of concern to many.  Both are address with the Honda "E" series machines that use DC generators to supply electronic inverters.

Requiring a 2 or 4 cycle internal combustion engine to maintain synchronous speed of 3600 RPM when driving a 2-pole 60Hz AC generator is a tad noisy.  And, inefficient at lighter loads.

The E series just idle along at low throttle levels at light loads and quickly accelerate as the inverter load and DC input demand picks up.  Very quiet operation and very efficient.

Only drawback is their price.  About 2X a conventional generator set of the same wattage.

I don't know if they have propane carbureator options or not.  Probably do on some of the larger ones.

 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on July 25, 2013, 03:41:43 PM
Fuel conservation and machine noise when operating are two areas of concern to many.  Both are address with the Honda "E" series machines that use DC generators to supply electronic inverters.

Requiring a 2 or 4 cycle internal combustion engine to maintain synchronous speed of 3600 RPM when driving a 2-pole 60Hz AC generator is a tad noisy.  And, inefficient at lighter loads.

The E series just idle along at low throttle levels at light loads and quickly accelerate as the inverter load and DC input demand picks up.  Very quiet operation and very efficient.

Only drawback is their price.  About 2X a conventional generator set of the same wattage.

I don't know if they have propane carbureator options or not.  Probably do on some of the larger ones.

 

The Honda's are closer to 4x more watt for watt. Problem with idle down one though is they can sag noticeably under a sudden heavy load.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: N3HFS on July 26, 2013, 02:21:20 PM
The Honda's are closer to 4x more watt for watt. Problem with idle down one though is they can sag noticeably under a sudden heavy load.

The Honda e-series has an "eco-boost" switch that allows you to turn the auto-adjusting engine speed off. 

If I'm powering heavy appliances with high startup-current requirements, I'll leave eco-boost turned off.  If I'm running a lighter (or at least steadier) load, I'll leave it on.  When off, the engine stays at near full throttle the whole time.  When on, the engine purrs super-quietly unless/until more power is demanded of it.  This makes these generators extremely fuel-frugal, a quality that I consider well worth the cost (even before considering quiet operation!) because the unit is meant for emergencies - and emergencies can easily lead to shortages of gasoline.

Any generator is worthless without fuel.  My neighbor's huge, loud $400 generator (which requires two people to unload from a truck) takes about 10 gallons or so each day to power a window A/C and a fridge!  I'll run my fridge and freezer units in alternating 8-hour cycles, while running fans, computer/TV/satellite systems, ham radios (of course!), and compact fluorescent lights with extension cords throughout the house using about 2 to 2.5 gallons of gasoline per 24 hours.  I figure I can get by comfortably on about 15 or so gallons per week!


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on July 29, 2013, 07:40:17 PM
I average a 2500 watt load 12 to 14 hours a day during power failure. I switch to battery based inverter power after that at night before I go to bed. On next cycle I recharge and start over. If load is light, generator is shut down. Burn about 3 gallons a day on that cycle with a cheap Chinese clone generator.  


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KF7VXA on August 17, 2013, 07:42:03 AM
I think the gas is far worse today, so I do use fuel stabilizers, much better safe than sorry. I store 40 gallons in my toy hauler and there is always stabilizer in it. There is always 40 gallons in my 1 ton truck that gets little use also. My Blazer has one of the big 37 gallon tanks and I try to keep it 3/4 full at the least, gas is not a major problem for me.
I use it all up at least every 6 months. I usually have an extra 10 gallons of premium as that is what my small generator calls for. The 4000 watt generator in the toy hauler runs on regular.
Having two sizes of generators is a good idea, never use  a much bigger generator than necessary and you will save a lot of fuel.
I also have 500+ watts worth of solar panels so I don't have to run the generators as often. Some deep cycle batteries and AGM batteries make up the rest of the system as well as a Battery Minder trickle charger which helps remove and keep the sulphate off of the battery plates so they last at least twice as long or more.

John


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K1CJS on August 18, 2013, 05:37:59 AM
The real problem with gas these days is the mandated inclusion of up to ten percent alcohol in the mix.  The formulation was changed to allow for the effects of the alcohol, and with storage of the fuel, the problem is the evaporation of the alcohol from it--changing the mix.  Fuel stabilizer was still needed back before the inclusion of alcohol, but gasoline didn't break down as fast back then as it does now. 

Yes, we need to get away from fossil fuels, but thanks to Al Gore and the rest of the reactionary environmentalists, we're stuck with what we have--and we've got to live with it.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on August 21, 2013, 08:58:30 AM
The real problem with gas these days is the mandated inclusion of up to ten percent alcohol in the mix.  The formulation was changed to allow for the effects of the alcohol, and with storage of the fuel, the problem is the evaporation of the alcohol from it--changing the mix.  Fuel stabilizer was still needed back before the inclusion of alcohol, but gasoline didn't break down as fast back then as it does now. 

Yes, we need to get away from fossil fuels, but thanks to Al Gore and the rest of the reactionary environmentalists, we're stuck with what we have--and we've got to live with it.

If and when alcohol in fuel evaporates it is not detrimental. Only possible side effect is a slight decrease in octane but not volatility. I find gas today far cleaner and more stable than 20 years ago. If gas is stored in a sealed container or sealed fuel tank it can be usable for a few years. One thing about gas that many are not aware of is that gas has seasonal blends. It is a higher volatility/vapor pressure blend in winter and lower in summer. If you use a store summer blend gas in winter with a carb fed engine you can have hard starting and thinks is bad fuel when it is merely because it is a summer blend fuel. Winter blend fuel in summer can vapor lock/boil in fuel lines on a hot engine particularly when it is stopped and started often hot.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W5GNB on November 02, 2013, 07:35:47 AM
I would recommend a 3 to 5kw generator for the average user in Ham Radio.... I would recommend most any brand EXCEPT for GEN-RAC......
I have had Nothing but trouble with that brand and the factory parts supply and service is far Superior in the WORST way !!!!


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 03, 2013, 06:40:03 AM
I would recommend a 3 to 5kw generator for the average user in Ham Radio.... I would recommend most any brand EXCEPT for GEN-RAC......
I have had Nothing but trouble with that brand and the factory parts supply and service is far Superior in the WORST way !!!!

Strange I have heard they are very reliable units and some vendors carry them because of low return rate.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 06, 2013, 08:26:21 AM
If and when alcohol in fuel evaporates it is not detrimental. Only possible side effect is a slight decrease in octane but not volatility. .....

Alcohol has a lower BTU per unit volume than does gasoline.  If you have a Flex-fuel vehicle, you've already learned why E85 costs less than unleaded regular at the pump.  Takes a lot more of it than gasoline per mile for that reason.

Other problem, and why I drain my old Powermate generator, is that rubber hoses, gaskets, etc., do not like alcohol.  It causes rubber to swell, etc., and breakdown over time.  Sure don't want a leaky hose or carbuerator.

On the other hand, a small amount of it in gasoline tends to blend any moisture in the tank so as not to collect and cause the problems it used to.  If you look at the various gas additives at auto parts houses, one of the main ingredients used to be methyl or ethyl alcohol.  "Gets the water out."  Yep.  Just like our blended gas does now.....


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 06, 2013, 08:33:32 AM
........ The key to long term home power is propane. I have 1000 gallon tank. Propane never goes bad. Starts right away and the engine always has clean oil. With all home self start generator start the battery is the biggest factor.
  Hmmmm.  I didn't check, but if you live in CA earthquake country, I sure hope your 1000 gallon propane tank is underground.  And, that you've provided some flexibility in your piping from it.  In my days in CA, saw plenty of tanks take off during seismic events.

Some thought it smart to install "seismic valves" on tanks to auto-shut-off the gas when quakes happen.  Then, have them bypassed after things like garbage and dump trucks rumbling along falsed shut offs.

I now live in AL, where earthquakes aren't a problem.......At least, so far.  My propane tank is underground and there's flexibility in the connections.

Another problem that is actually worse than battery failure is auto transfer switch failure.  Most folks don't exercise the entire package, and when the time comes for the auto transfer to do it's thing......it doesn't.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 06, 2013, 09:19:37 AM
Propane is nice for sure but there is still much to be said for a self contained portable gas unit that can be move as needed and interfaced with house. Mobile unit tend to be far more survivable in disasters. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KE4DRN on November 06, 2013, 04:59:14 PM
hi

Marathon stations sell gasoline without any alcohol added at one  pump.

73 james


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 06, 2013, 05:39:32 PM
hi

Marathon stations sell gasoline without any alcohol added at one  pump.

73 james
Thanks, James.  Good to know.  I'll go there for my small HP engine fuel. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 07, 2013, 05:30:13 AM
hi

Marathon stations sell gasoline without any alcohol added at one  pump.

73 james
Thanks, James.  Good to know.  I'll go there for my small HP engine fuel. 

If you buy plus, like I always do, it rarely has alcohol added to it. I do not use 87 in anything especially cars because it is a throw back from 70's and 8 to 1 compression. You will find that generators with modern high compression OHV engines run smoother to the feel under load, especially on a hot day, with 89 vs 87.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: AF6AU on November 07, 2013, 02:34:13 PM
As others have mentioned, depends..... There is more to consider than watts. Ignition noise (RF noise). Audio noise. Fuel type. Used for emergency too? Maintenance? Do you even need a generator, or perhaps a 150-300 watt solar panel and a deep cycle battery would be better? A solar panel, regulator, and a Deep Cycle battery would make zero noise audio or RF wise. Maybe both a small generator and a solar panel? Use a deep cycle with solar unless it's cloudy, then charge with the generator. Either way you don't have to hear that engine all the time. Watch Craig's list, you find solar panels for a bargain if you keep an eye out.

The little harbor freight 900 watt generator is a 2 stroke, and you need to keep blended fuel handy, and a spare spark plug. Unless you are familiar with 2 strokes, go for a smaller 4 stroke (keep reading..). They are inherently quieter, and will take on extra muffler quieting more readily. Typically they last longer as well. And for fuel, without the need to blend for a 4 stroke, any decent gas will do, but as others have mentioned, use a good mid-grade or premium gas, they run better with the extra octane, as air cooled engines under moderate load have hot cylinder head temperatures, and are more octane sensitive to pre-ignition than a liquid cooled engine. Advice, you are better buying a 10-15 year old used-in-good-condition Honda generator from a RV'er that's up scaling, than a new generator from Harbor Freight. Hondas are easy to fire up, reliable, serviceable, quiet, make clean power, last a long time, and have high resale value. Always test them first! Having several hair driers make perfect generator dummy loads as a single hair drier can pull 800 to 1200 watts.

Personally, I have a group 27 deep cycle (Wal Mart), a 280 watt solar panel (18 volts, 15.5 amps), 20 amp charge regulator, a 25 amp battery charger, and an old 1000 watt Honda generator. During field day, the solar panel and battery keep full charge all day, and running a IC-735 and a 12 volt camp fluorescent, it will easily go all night (but I can't). I have yet to need the Honda to charge the deep cycle.

If you are a handy person, and a pack rat like me, you can take a old 4-5Hp engine, a belt and sheaves, and spin a car alternator, and build a 14 volt charge generator.

Visit the camping and RV websites, and if you adventurous, the doomsday prepper type sites, they have lots of info on generators and solar stuff. If you live in a windy area, consider wind power as well.  Either way enjoy going operating off the grid.
73's AF6AU


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 07, 2013, 05:22:02 PM
The little harbor freight 900 watt generator is a 2 stroke, and you need to keep blended fuel handy, and a spare spark plug.

I have been using 2 stroke snow blowers for over 10 years and never had fouled plug issues. On Harbor Freight unit, it is important to shut fuel off when done and run carb dry. I use Amsoil 100 to 1 in mine at a 85 to 1 mix and it is smokeless.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 07, 2013, 06:39:26 PM
Propane is nice for sure but there is still much to be said for a self contained portable gas unit that can be move as needed and interfaced with house. Mobile unit tend to be far more survivable in disasters.  
Maybe the unit would be, but hardly a storm season goes by that doesn't have another sad story of folks running small portable generators in improper places like garages (to keep them dry) and ending up as fatalities from CO ingestion.

A properly designed and installed outdoor machine and transfer switch unit is much more dependable and safe when the time comes for it to be used during power outages.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 08, 2013, 03:56:52 AM
Propane is nice for sure but there is still much to be said for a self contained portable gas unit that can be move as needed and interfaced with house. Mobile unit tend to be far more survivable in disasters.  
Maybe the unit would be, but hardly a storm season goes by that doesn't have another sad story of folks running small portable generators in improper places like garages (to keep them dry) and ending up as fatalities from CO ingestion.

A properly designed and installed outdoor machine and transfer switch unit is much more dependable and safe when the time comes for it to be used during power outages.

I ran mine in garage one year with door fully open when it was raining. Bad thing about a outside unit it is exposed to elements and temperature swings more so it needs to be run often and need more maintainance. A portable can sit for a year or more with ease and still run on demand if you run carb out of fuel when you put it up. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 09, 2013, 09:03:16 PM
The fact that you lived to tell us about your garage operation is pure luck.  Had there been air flow from your garage into your home, such as could easily occur with a door left ajar to run an extension cord inside, could have cost you your life.

Outdoor units are designed to be operated outdoors.  Not talking about a Coleman Powermate or Honda portable either.  Something like what Kohler or Generac offers that are designed to operate outdoors.  More maintenance?  Don't think so.  Draining the gas tank wouldn't be necessary if natural gas or propane fuelled.  No sprained backs from trying to lug heavy machines from the garage outdoors, erect a tent to park it under, or worry about disturbing the neighbors with inadequate mufflers.  And, no hazards associated with refueling a running gasoline-powered generator.  Of course you could grab an umbrella and a flashlight, kill the engine and shut off the power, then try to fill'er-up without an explosive ignition or fire.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 10, 2013, 04:10:27 AM
The fact that you lived to tell us about your garage operation is pure luck.  Had there been air flow from your garage into your home, such as could easily occur with a door left ajar to run an extension cord inside, could have cost you your life.

Outdoor units are designed to be operated outdoors.  Not talking about a Coleman Powermate or Honda portable either.  Something like what Kohler or Generac offers that are designed to operate outdoors.  More maintenance?  Don't think so.  Draining the gas tank wouldn't be necessary if natural gas or propane fuelled.  No sprained backs from trying to lug heavy machines from the garage outdoors, erect a tent to park it under, or worry about disturbing the neighbors with inadequate mufflers.  And, no hazards associated with refueling a running gasoline-powered generator.  Of course you could grab an umbrella and a flashlight, kill the engine and shut off the power, then try to fill'er-up without an explosive ignition or fire.

You have not seen my garage, the size and volume of it and prevailing winds. It is a none issue. As far as run time, I do not run 24/7 and shut down at nite but it will go 14+ hours between refills. As far as the hazard of refueling, if proper sized containers are used it is not a problem. If someone has trouble safely handling gas then they should not be using one. As far as maintenance, a external does require more because it sees wide daily temp swings and should be run weekly logging total run time for servicing. A properly stored portable unit can sit idle for a few years and still run on demand.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8GP on November 10, 2013, 08:22:00 AM
I consider fuel stabilizers and carb draining an un-necessary hassle, the best thing to do is to run it for an hour every 6 months or so.That way you can identify a problem with the unit before you really need it. Even that is probably overkill since fuel is usually good for at least 2 years.But to each their own.
                   I recommend the Honda EU series, especially if you're going to actually USE it. Higher initial cost, but well worth it.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KE4DRN on November 10, 2013, 05:27:40 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 10, 2013, 08:01:05 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: LA9XSA on November 11, 2013, 03:02:39 AM
Do you even need a generator, or perhaps a 150-300 watt solar panel and a deep cycle battery would be better? A solar panel, regulator, and a Deep Cycle battery would make zero noise audio or RF wise.
Depends on the charge regulator and/or inverter. Some of those MPPT grid-tie inverters are supposed to be pretty RF-noisy, while the simplest non-switching lead acid charge regulators tend to be less RF-noisy. Switching regulators are a bit of a gamble - perhaps their noise is outside the bands you're going to use, or perhaps you can filter them.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KU7PDX on November 11, 2013, 01:18:54 PM
Do you even need a generator, or perhaps a 150-300 watt solar panel and a deep cycle battery would be better? A solar panel, regulator, and a Deep Cycle battery would make zero noise audio or RF wise.
Depends on the charge regulator and/or inverter. Some of those MPPT grid-tie inverters are supposed to be pretty RF-noisy, while the simplest non-switching lead acid charge regulators tend to be less RF-noisy. Switching regulators are a bit of a gamble - perhaps their noise is outside the bands you're going to use, or perhaps you can filter them.
The CirKits SCC3 is a great example of a low-noise solar charge controller. It's not MPPT, but for 200 watts or so it works like a champ!

http://www.cirkits.com/scc3/


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K1CJS on November 11, 2013, 06:24:59 PM
Anyone who has a spread where they have lawn/garden tools usually have a shed outside to store them in.  It's a simple matter to modify the shed to hold the generator with an extended exhaust pipe through the wall and a aluminum dryer vent hood to provide incoming air.

I had such a setup at my dad's house years ago with a permanent 8-3 cable to the house--about 25 feet away.  It came in handy more than once and never caused a problem with fumes or noise.  BTW, it was an older 7500 watt farm unit.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 12, 2013, 03:21:25 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 12, 2013, 04:03:02 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.
What you don't seem to realize is that this forum is primarily for offering advice to others.  Your example situation may not be what most people would have.  While you may be lucky, someone else might not be. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 12, 2013, 04:06:56 PM
Anyone who has a spread where they have lawn/garden tools usually have a shed outside to store them in.  It's a simple matter to modify the shed to hold the generator with an extended exhaust pipe through the wall and a aluminum dryer vent hood to provide incoming air.

I had such a setup at my dad's house years ago with a permanent 8-3 cable to the house--about 25 feet away.  It came in handy more than once and never caused a problem with fumes or noise.  BTW, it was an older 7500 watt farm unit.
A great approach.  That is, as long as you don't put one of those aluminum hood covers on the ouside wall with a flapper valve (that only opens with positive pressure behind it).  :-)


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 13, 2013, 03:37:59 AM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.
What you don't seem to realize is that this forum is primarily for offering advice to others.  Your example situation may not be what most people would have.  While you may be lucky, someone else might not be. 

I do indeed realize it. The problem is a lot of people lack the common sense to use some power equipment. Just because you can buy it, does not mean you know how to use it safely.
 Same with radios and guns too.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 19, 2013, 07:20:25 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.
What you don't seem to realize is that this forum is primarily for offering advice to others.  Your example situation may not be what most people would have.  While you may be lucky, someone else might not be. 

I do indeed realize it. The problem is a lot of people lack the common sense to use some power equipment. Just because you can buy it, does not mean you know how to use it safely.
 Same with radios and guns too.
And, that goes for running it in a garage.  Winds can come up, shifting air flow and setting up situations where CO could find its way into a residence.  Best common sense says, risk losing power, not your life.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 20, 2013, 03:33:28 AM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.
What you don't seem to realize is that this forum is primarily for offering advice to others.  Your example situation may not be what most people would have.  While you may be lucky, someone else might not be. 

I do indeed realize it. The problem is a lot of people lack the common sense to use some power equipment. Just because you can buy it, does not mean you know how to use it safely.
 Same with radios and guns too.
And, that goes for running it in a garage.  Winds can come up, shifting air flow and setting up situations where CO could find its way into a residence.  Best common sense says, risk losing power, not your life.

With a partially open garage door maybe but then you have you have a very leaky garage to house door too. Also compared to a car warming up in garage a generator is a very small CO source.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KB2FCV on November 20, 2013, 01:27:02 PM
W8JX, do you allow your genset to cool down before refueling?

Running any type of engine inside a garage, open or closed is not a good idea.

But what you do is your business.

We had an older couple running a genset outdoors, problem was they had a window open,
when the furnace was running it pulled in air from the window and the man died from
CO poisoning, the only thing that saved his wife life was she had an oxygen generator in use.

Recommend a good carbon monoxide detector on each floor of any home.

73 james
Thanks, James, for sharing this.  As this tragic example points out, it is very easy to get enough negative pressure differential to draw exhaust gas inside occupied living areas in ways you wouldn't expect.

Again you do not know my garage design and prevailing winds and fact that it has a 36 inch side access door to outside too. No way negative pressure is going yo back it up in house ever. As far as refueling, usually I fill at start off run and it lasts the run but sometimes a refuel while running but before you freak out know that when I do it is with a special jug that cannot over fill by design and it also holds less than tank can handle at time of hot fueling. If you cannot walk and chew bubble gum and use common sense at same time you should not try this though.
What you don't seem to realize is that this forum is primarily for offering advice to others.  Your example situation may not be what most people would have.  While you may be lucky, someone else might not be. 

I do indeed realize it. The problem is a lot of people lack the common sense to use some power equipment. Just because you can buy it, does not mean you know how to use it safely.
 Same with radios and guns too.
And, that goes for running it in a garage.  Winds can come up, shifting air flow and setting up situations where CO could find its way into a residence.  Best common sense says, risk losing power, not your life.

With a partially open garage door maybe but then you have you have a very leaky garage to house door too. Also compared to a car warming up in garage a generator is a very small CO source.
It's a small CO source, but easily enough to kill. Any time there is a widespread power outage there is always a news story of someone who had one improperly located and kills someone or several people. You need to be careful. Mine is kept pretty far from the house out in open air (ok, it sits under my aluminum rowboat & trailer to keep it out of the rain but far away from the house)


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K1CJS on November 20, 2013, 01:48:31 PM
Anyone who has a spread where they have lawn/garden tools usually have a shed outside to store them in.  It's a simple matter to modify the shed to hold the generator with an extended exhaust pipe through the wall and a aluminum dryer vent hood to provide incoming air.

I had such a setup at my dad's house years ago with a permanent 8-3 cable to the house--about 25 feet away.  It came in handy more than once and never caused a problem with fumes or noise.  BTW, it was an older 7500 watt farm unit.
A great approach.  That is, as long as you don't put one of those aluminum hood covers on the ouside wall with a flapper valve (that only opens with positive pressure behind it).  :-)

Right!  The one I used was one that had a mesh screen over the end--no valve, but I think that most sheds don't even need that.  If the shed is one that is well built however, then you should use some sort of vent.  Don't forget to put the exhaust outlet up a ways from the exit hole in the shed too--unless you want a faceful of exhaust gasses when you open the door while the thing is running.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 21, 2013, 04:29:10 AM
When it was nice out I would place generator in front of house and I made a 2.25 inch hole in wood by entry way to pass cables through when needed and have cover plates for it same color as wood when hole is not in use. I have a automatic change over switch and socket I have not installed yet. I am going to feed it into a sub panel and provide partial power to house circuits of choice so load is also balanced. Many do not realize that a 5kw generator only is rated at 2500 watts per 120v leg for 5k total so load must be balanced.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W6EM on November 26, 2013, 06:48:13 AM
When it was nice out I would place generator in front of house and I made a 2.25 inch hole in wood by entry way to pass cables through when needed and have cover plates for it same color as wood when hole is not in use. I have a automatic change over switch and socket I have not installed yet. I am going to feed it into a sub panel and provide partial power to house circuits of choice so load is also balanced. Many do not realize that a 5kw generator only is rated at 2500 watts per 120v leg for 5k total so load must be balanced.
I needed a way in and out for occasional use while living in FL in a concrete block home.  I put in a short PVC pipe through the wall with threaded ends on both ends.  I then put threaded pipe caps on both ends.  Kept the vermin out of the house.  Boring a big hole, even with cables, or leaving it open tends to invite unwelcome visitors.  I stuffed the pipe with a rag when cables installed through the pipe.

As for an ATS, unless you also have the gen set permanently installed, an ATS is a waste of money.  Manual transfer switches are usually a lot less.  Make sure that when you do the sub panel install that you have enough extra NM cable on the branch circuits you want to move to it.  That can be a five letter word...... if you don't.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on November 27, 2013, 12:04:48 PM
When it was nice out I would place generator in front of house and I made a 2.25 inch hole in wood by entry way to pass cables through when needed and have cover plates for it same color as wood when hole is not in use. I have a automatic change over switch and socket I have not installed yet. I am going to feed it into a sub panel and provide partial power to house circuits of choice so load is also balanced. Many do not realize that a 5kw generator only is rated at 2500 watts per 120v leg for 5k total so load must be balanced.
I needed a way in and out for occasional use while living in FL in a concrete block home.  I put in a short PVC pipe through the wall with threaded ends on both ends.  I then put threaded pipe caps on both ends.  Kept the vermin out of the house.  Boring a big hole, even with cables, or leaving it open tends to invite unwelcome visitors.  I stuffed the pipe with a rag when cables installed through the pipe.

As for an ATS, unless you also have the gen set permanently installed, an ATS is a waste of money.  Manual transfer switches are usually a lot less.  Make sure that when you do the sub panel install that you have enough extra NM cable on the branch circuits you want to move to it.  That can be a five letter word...... if you don't.

My ATS waits for one minute after sensing voltage before it transfers to let generator stabilize.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: KF7VXA on December 10, 2013, 02:28:22 PM
Refers and freezers tend to work better with an inverter type generator. I've been told, but have no proof that regular generators are harder on the compressors in the freezers.
I do add stabilizer to my fuel and usually add 1/4 premium fuel to 3/4 regular in my stored gas to combat any loss of octaine. Not sure if it helps, but cannot hurt.
The low price HF 2 cycle generators are supposed to run on premium and I use 45 to 1 oil instead of 50 to 1 oil mix. Be sure to keep some extra spark plugs for any 2 stroke gen set.

John


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on December 10, 2013, 03:49:16 PM
Refers and freezers tend to work better with an inverter type generator. I've been told, but have no proof that regular generators are harder on the compressors in the freezers.

Quite the opposite, Inverter generators do not handle surges well.

I do add stabilizer to my fuel and usually add 1/4 premium fuel to 3/4 regular in my stored gas to combat any loss of octaine. Not sure if it helps, but cannot hurt.

I just use 89 octane all the time and no stabilizer.

The low price HF 2 cycle generators are supposed to run on premium and I use 45 to 1 oil instead of 50 to 1 oil mix. Be sure to keep some extra spark plugs for any 2 stroke gen set.

You can use 89, I do. Oil decreases octane and nothing is really gained running it oil rich. I use AmsOil 100 to 1 two stroke oil at a 80 to 1 ratio. Been using it that way in 2 stroke snow blowers, leaf blowers and 2 stroke generators for 3 years now. Wish I had switched years ago. No fouled plugs, no smoke and smoother idling and running.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: K3WEC on December 14, 2013, 12:06:29 PM
I noticed that the little HF 800-watt 2 cycle generator is again on sale for $90 with coupon.    This is very handy one for smaller requirements, in my experience.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on December 15, 2013, 05:35:12 AM
I noticed that the little HF 800-watt 2 cycle generator is again on sale for $90 with coupon.    This is very handy one for smaller requirements, in my experience.

Menards has a 1200 watt 4 stroke on sale for 189 that is nearly as quiet as a Honda that cost 3 to 4x more. A friend of mine has one and it is very quiet and easy to carry and sips fuel too.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W7HBP on December 17, 2013, 06:38:50 PM
The Honda's are closer to 4x more watt for watt. Problem with idle down one though is they can sag noticeably under a sudden heavy load.

I have the Honda EU2000i and I also have the Honda EU6500is, they do not sag hardly at all and if they do and voltage varies by too much, the power shuts off to protect the electronics from low voltage or low cycles. And to reset it, you just shut the generator off and restart it. Both Hondas I have are rated for the exact same noise level, super quiet. Great field day generator is the EU2000i.

All Hondas have a carb bowl drain, so after stopping them, long term storage, you can open the bowl drain, this gets almost all the fuel out of the carb. Running it till it dies will leave the carb half full of fuel still. 


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on December 18, 2013, 04:37:56 AM
The Honda's are closer to 4x more watt for watt. Problem with idle down one though is they can sag noticeably under a sudden heavy load.

I have the Honda EU2000i and I also have the Honda EU6500is, they do not sag hardly at all and if they do and voltage varies by too much, the power shuts off to protect the electronics from low voltage or low cycles. And to reset it, you just shut the generator off and restart it. Both Hondas I have are rated for the exact same noise level, super quiet. Great field day generator is the EU2000i.

All Hondas have a carb bowl drain, so after stopping them, long term storage, you can open the bowl drain, this gets almost all the fuel out of the carb. Running it till it dies will leave the carb half full of fuel still. 

I was using my 5500 watt Porter Cable that is rated 9000 watts surge the other day to run a wire welder drawing about 3000 watts. A idle down would have choked on that but it did not even phase my generator and voltage and frequency regulation is excellent. It also uses a Briggs Vangard commercial engine which is built by a division of Toyota in Japan and has a excellent reputation and is considered the engine to have in commercial mowing world. When you have a very high surge rating that means you have a over sized alternator which also adds mass and momentum to take you through sudden loads smoothly as engine adjust to load. Inverter generator do not have that ability and are best with fairly constant loads. I also do not see them shutting down when voltage drops too much as a asset. It shows poor surge capacity.   

As far as a fuel bowl drain I am not sure it is a asset because then you have fuel to catch or drain out. When I put it is storage I shut fuel off and run it dry and I also choke it as it runs out to suck out all the fuel. Been doing it this way for years with no problems.

If you want to pay far more for Honda name you can but you can spend far less and get a quality unit. Even my 6+ year old $200 3k Chonda is still going strong too and always starts on first pull even after sitting for some time.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: WB4M on December 20, 2013, 08:11:02 AM
You add up the total wattage everything you will be running and go from there.  Of course you will want headroom.  You didn't mention portability,,  but those generators are quite heavy, even with the wheel assemblies difficult to move.   Someone mentioned those cheap ones from Harbor Freight.. they are 800-900 watts and are 2-stroke engines.  I've seen them as low as $90.00    Some of the "portable" gens in the 5000-7500 watt range are expensive (and loud as hell), and you can buy a generator from Northern Tools that includes a transfer switch that will power your entire house for just a little more.  I would suggest a 1000-2000K such as the small Honda's that sip gas.


Title: RE: Selecting a generator
Post by: W8JX on December 20, 2013, 09:41:15 AM
You add up the total wattage everything you will be running and go from there.  Of course you will want headroom.  You didn't mention portability,,  but those generators are quite heavy, even with the wheel assemblies difficult to move.   Someone mentioned those cheap ones from Harbor Freight.. they are 800-900 watts and are 2-stroke engines.  I've seen them as low as $90.00    Some of the "portable" gens in the 5000-7500 watt range are expensive (and loud as hell), and you can buy a generator from Northern Tools that includes a transfer switch that will power your entire house for just a little more.  I would suggest a 1000-2000K such as the small Honda's that sip gas.

When you want to power a whole house via a transfer switch you want more that a 5k unit. You want 8 or 10k minimum.  The "problem" is that load in house may not be balanced and a 5k unit is rated at 2500 watts each 120 volt leg for 5000 total. With a 8 k or bigger unit you have 4k or more to play with on each leg so balancing is not as critical.