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Author Topic: Is this cheapo Coleman 1850 generator any good?  (Read 3727 times)
KF6IIU
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Posts: 293




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« on: September 02, 2005, 11:36:16 AM »

Walmart has the Coleman 1850 generator for about $400. Is this generator a piece of junk? They keep coming out with different colored models - this year's seems to be blue - and online reviews of previous year's models (black and red ones) seem to indicate it's a pretty crappy device, noisy, and prone to breakage.

I'm not wanting to put long hours on it, it's for Field Day and other emergency uses. We don't need to power the whole house.

With Honda generators starting at about $1000, and the little 1000W Yamaha at about $650, it's cheap, but it looks like you get what you pay for.
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N3BIF
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2005, 11:59:48 AM »

http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/74
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2005, 03:36:11 PM »

The 1000W Honda generator (and the similar Yamaha) is expensive because it is an inverter type of generator. The generator supplies a DC voltage to an inverter which in turn generates the 120VAC 60Hz. One benefit is that the AC voltage is very stable in both frequency and voltage. It's ideal for running any type of electronics like ham radio and computers. An added benefit is that it can be put in an automatic mode where the speed of the engine is regulated to supply just the power needed. That makes it very efficient (using less gas) and lowers the noise level.
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KF6IIU
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2005, 11:48:45 AM »

Thanks for the reply - in my research I was made aware that the Yamahas and Hondas were inverter-type. I suspect the 1850s are too since they have both 12 and 120V output.

Looks like the old saying is always true - "you get what you pay for". I was wondering more about noise, vibration and the engine. Inverters and alternators are cheap but controlling the engine speed and minimizing the noise and vibration are not, and that's what seems to set the Hondas and Yamahas apart.

If the 1850 runs full blast all the time, it would be as noisy as a gas powered lawnmower, which would be unacceptable. It's hard to test since the Colemans are sold by the big box stores and it's impossible to get a demo.
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2005, 10:10:35 PM »

hi,

The inexpensive generators will use the
standard flattop engines, common to lawnmowers and other consumer power equipment.  
They are reliable and less expensive to make.  Vertical shaft output is common.

As you move up to larger models, the engine will be an overhead valve or overhead cam with horizontal shaft output.  These engines are more efficient and produce less noise compared to larger flattop engines.

I have a older Liebert brand UPS that is full sine wave, purchased surplus from a supermarket.  This unit ran our field day station while we let the genset cool before refueling.

73 james


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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2005, 07:06:52 AM »

I suspect the 1850s are too since they have both 12 and 120V output.
---------------------------------------------------
I seriously doubt it since they don't advertise it as such and the cost is so low. Many generators have an extra 12V winding on the generator so that it can be used to charge batteries, etc.

The Coleman 1850 doesn't look like a bad generator at all. It just won't have the frequency and voltage stability of an inverter type. It'll probably work just fine for a transceiver running off a linear or switching power supply.

The Honda and Yamaha cost more because of the inverter and engine control system.
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W7KKK
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2005, 04:16:17 PM »

That Coleman is not an inverter type.
I have the Honda EU2000, which is. It also runs power and has an ecothrottle to run cheaper. It will supply minimum AC at idle for 14 hours for 1 gallon of fuel. It will supply nearly 14 amps of power for over 4 hours on that gallon
I paid less than $800 shipped for the Honda at www.alamia.com
The problem with that cheap coleman is it's a fuel hog, the motor is cheap and you will spend the difference on extension cords trying to get it far enough away from your station so that you can hear. HI HI
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W8WZ
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2005, 11:11:23 AM »

Define "any good".
The generator will work.
Colemans are a little louder than other makes
nick named "Quiet Coleman".
Also, the one I used (about 8 years ago - so it might be better now) was a little noisy on RF. Ground the heck out of it if you use it to power radios.

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KA3RFE
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2005, 01:23:25 PM »

I have one of those generators. It is extremely loud and and won't be of much help if you want "quiet".

I have had no problems with it but it eats gas like crazy when run wide-open. If I had to get another, just to run the radio equipment, I'd get a Honda.

73
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K9KJM
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2005, 09:34:14 PM »

I have one of those little Coleman 1850 generators. For limited use it is fine. It is noisy compared to the Honda. For radio use you will want to have it located some distance from your radios.....  For stability, it needs to have a light load applied or it will run all over in frequency. For around 400 bucks a fair deal. If you live in the city and dont need 240 volts to run a well pump, It is a decent choice for limited use.
For out in the country to run a well pump, Coleman also has a 4,000 watt model that is on sale frequently for under 400 bucks also.....  Lots more power for the same money. BUT the 4KW model is much bigger and heavier and harder to move around.
If money were no object, The Honda is much nicer....
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AI4KK
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2005, 06:50:57 AM »

If you're just charging batteries for your station, check out http://www.gilesskywarn.org/pup%20generator.pdf . It's a 12V generator powered by a 3.5HP lawnmower engine, much more fuel-efficient than most 110V generators with their larger engines and you skip the multiple voltage conversions that kill your efficiency. Mount this on a cart with a deep-cycle battery and you won't even have to run it that often. I plan to build mine into a foam and fiberglass box with the air intake and exhaust vents facing away, using an automotive radiator fan as a minimum electrical load and to ensure a constant flow of cooling air. The motor and alternator alone are light enough to lift with one hand, and if you set it up with the open side facing away from you, it shouldn't be terribly loud, especially if you add on an aftermarket muffler.

We don't even bother messing with a 110V generator, we just eat all our food out of the freezer as hurricane season approaches and don't put more than a 3-day supply in there if a storm is in the Gulf. Our cooking is done with gas on a campstove, lighting is by 12v lights and LED headlamps, and we charge our boat batteries (we have 3 sailboats and keep the batteries at home for charging and emergency power) with this lil puppy or by dropping them into the battery box in the rear of my Suburban and plugging in their powerpoles. We do have a couple of 110V inverters for stuff that needs it like a TV/VCR or the laptop.

Besides, who wants to subsidize Wal-mart taking folks houses? They've been doing that "eminent domain" crap in order to build new stores for a long time before it hit the news after being fought up to the Supreme Court. Just google Wal-mart eminent domain and you'll see why they don't get a penny of my money.
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