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Author Topic: Selecting a generator  (Read 39405 times)
N3HFS
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« Reply #15 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!
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W8JX
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« Reply #16 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.
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K1DA
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« Reply #17 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. 
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K6AER
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« Reply #18 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.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 03:38:57 PM by K6AER » Logged
W6EM
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« Reply #19 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.
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W6EM
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« Reply #20 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.

 
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W8JX
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« Reply #21 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.
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N3HFS
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« Reply #22 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!
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W8JX
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« Reply #23 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.  
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KF7VXA
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« Reply #24 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
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K1CJS
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« Reply #25 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.
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W8JX
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« Reply #26 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.
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W5GNB
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« Reply #27 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 !!!!
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W8JX
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« Reply #28 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.
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W6EM
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« Reply #29 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.....
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