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Author Topic: Inverter generator - keep up with instant surge demand of SSB?  (Read 9397 times)
W5SU
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Posts: 22




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« on: May 01, 2012, 06:51:45 AM »

I'm contemplating replacement of my heavy noisy conventional generator with a smaller quieter inverter generator for portable HF use. 

I understand that one of the differences is that a conventional generator runs at a constant 3600 rpm, but an inverter generator runs slower, then increases rpm to catch up with higher current draw on demand.  How would that play with an HF SSB station using a small amplifier to about 300W, when the current demand can jump next to nothing on receive, to surges of several hundred watts in fractions of a second?

Thanks and '73!

Carl - W5SU
Dallas TX
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G4AON
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Posts: 515




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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 11:15:58 AM »

SSB is not a problem for an inverter generator, or at least not with mine. 400W CW (the UK limit) makes it cough a bit when it's running on economy mode but not when the eco is turned off. I've tested it to 1KW of RF from an Acom 1000 amplifer and it worked fine at that power level.

The generator is a Yamaha EF2800i, UK 230 Volt version. It is as quiet as a mouse RF wise (HF and 6m), although not the quietest on the ears. Weight is 29 Kg without fuel and just about OK to carry by one person.

73 Dave
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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 01:52:23 PM »

The bigger the Inverter generator, the less of a problem it can become. I would suggest at least 2500 watt or better is you plan to use a amp. A bigger unit will given more stable voltage under varying loads as it also has more momentum in armature to feed sudden short peaks before governor can kick in.
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W5LZ
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 06:48:18 AM »

Very 'simply', if the draw makes a generator/inverter 'sag', then it isn't large enough to handle the applied load.  Or, that generator/inverter has a 'problem' of it's own of some sort.
 - Paul
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 07:02:21 AM »

I'm not sure about 300 watts but my Honda eu2000i will run a 100 watt hf transceiver all day without ever having the throttle kick up on the eco mode.
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 06:06:11 AM »

I am not really sold on using a generator in the econo idle mode. When a air cooled engine is run and loaded at a lower RPM, cooling is compromised due to reduced air flow. I would rather see a air cooled unit run full speed and ready to take full load without delay or waiting for unit to speed up.   
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 06:39:06 AM »

I am not really sold on using a generator in the econo idle mode.

The trade-off is less noise and using less gas. For field day when you are likely to be doing a lot of transmitting and you can plan to bring plenty of gas then you may very well be better off to turn the econo mode off. For a private camping trip where you are doing mostly receive and maybe using a small light, the econo mode could be very effective. In a real emergency where you have limited gas and don't know if you are going to be able to get any more then econo mode could be helpful. The neat thing is that you get to decide by flipping a switch.


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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 07:02:29 AM »

I am not really sold on using a generator in the econo idle mode.

The trade-off is less noise and using less gas. For field day when you are likely to be doing a lot of transmitting and you can plan to bring plenty of gas then you may very well be better off to turn the econo mode off. For a private camping trip where you are doing mostly receive and maybe using a small light, the econo mode could be very effective. In a real emergency where you have limited gas and don't know if you are going to be able to get any more then econo mode could be helpful. The neat thing is that you get to decide by flipping a switch.


This has some merit but I know I can run 12 to 14+ hours on 4 gallons on my 3K generic depending on load and never run around clock unless it is like a field day event. When I need less power I use a smaller generator which is easier to tote too. When I want quiet I use a few batteries and a inverter and generator can charge batteries quickly when needed. I guess I also like unit to run at a constant speed to so I can listen to how it is running and loaded in background without actually checking it. 
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 03:37:14 PM »

hi,

we have used the Honda inverter gensets for field day
no problem.  Most of us use full synthetic oil in these
air cooled engines.

73 james
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W8JX
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 04:05:33 PM »

  Most of us use full synthetic oil in these
air cooled engines.

You have to be very careful with this. It seems not all air cooled motors are SYN friendly. The problem is with splash lube vs engines with pressure lube. SYN oil splashes differently and engines made for it have a different dipper design and baffling. It is not a problem with pressure lubes air cooled motors. I know a guy that burn out two air cooled motors using SYN oil in it and switched to conventional with 3rd and had no more problems. Moral is do not assume it is safe to use SYN in a splash lubed air cooled motor unless manufacture recommends it. Check your manual. All Briggs Vanguard motors are designed to use SYN oil and it is also recommended.
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2012, 06:17:24 AM »

June QST has a review of 4 models that discuss your concerns.
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K3AN
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 07:10:09 AM »

Instead of using the generator's AC to drive a regular power supply, consider using it to drive a charger/deep cycle battery combination. The battery can supply whatever peak amount of current your radio needs, allowing you to use a smaller, less expensive generator. Such an arrangement also provides two other benefits: The battery acts like a huge capacitor that absorbs any brief surges or sags in the AC, and you can keep operating while the generator is shut down for refueling.
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2012, 11:06:25 AM »

Instead of using the generator's AC to drive a regular power supply, consider using it to drive a charger/deep cycle battery combination. The battery can supply whatever peak amount of current your radio needs, allowing you to use a smaller, less expensive generator. Such an arrangement also provides two other benefits: The battery acts like a huge capacitor that absorbs any brief surges or sags in the AC, and you can keep operating while the generator is shut down for refueling.


Why lug a 40+lb battery, a charger and a generator???  If you are concerned about surge draw on SSB simply do two things. One use a switching power supply as they are more efficient and weigh far less than a linear one and two use a large car stereo type electrolytic capacitor in parallel with power supply output. Generator will see no surges on SSB modulation but rather a steady load. 

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WX7G
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 11:18:24 AM »

I understand the Honda and Yamaha generators have a feature that bypasses the fuel saving mode. They run at full RPM all the time.
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W7HBP
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2012, 11:34:26 AM »

I'm not sure about 300 watts but my Honda eu2000i will run a 100 watt hf transceiver all day without ever having the throttle kick up on the eco mode.

Agreed, I have that same generator (Honda EU2000i), I used it to build a cabin in a rmeoter area. Ran my compressor for air nailers, table saw, skil saw, shop vac and did this all in "eco-mode". But for serious back up, I also have the Honda EU6500is.

I seen in the last issue of QST magazine, there was an add for that Honda EU2000i generator for $899, this was for ARRL members. That is a great price. Retail is $1099 and on sale, nevedr see it under $999. So the $899 is good. You may be able to do a smidge better, wisesales.com would sell them for $850.
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