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Recommendations for a reliable easy to maintain portable generator?

brainhulk

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2007
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My electricity was out the whole day yesterday due to emergency repairs by Edison. It got me thinking about buying a portable gas generator for emergencies and maybe camping.

I saw this one had a 17hr run time, but don't really know what's good.

Or this one

 
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lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
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First you need to figure out how much power you need. The second link generates twice as much power as the first. How reliable does it have to be? Like Red said, I don't know that amazon is the best place to find a really good unit. I don't know much about them, but the amazon prices seem low to me. Maybe it's good enough for intended use, and tolerance for failure?
 

brainhulk

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2007
9,401
438
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First you need to figure out how much power you need. The second link generates twice as much power as the first. How reliable does it have to be? Like Red said, I don't know that amazon is the best place to find a really good unit. I don't know much about them, but the amazon prices seem low to me. Maybe it's good enough for intended use, and tolerance for failure?
I need it to be able to run a refrigerator and a portable ac unit at least.

Also home network stuff. Pfsense box, fios router, network switch, and mesh base + satellite.
 
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lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
53,943
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2kw would be satisfactorily overprovisioned for me. For those two items, it's about 1.2kw guessing upward for a safety factor. If you wanted to run a sump pump(does your basement flood?), I'd want twice that to allow for surge.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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www.uovalor.com
AC units have very high surge, so you will want to oversize enough. If you're going to buy Champion buy from the hardware store though as they typically carry those, at least then you get a warranty and such.
 

thestrangebrew1

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Not sure how much power you actually need, but I bought a Champion brand generator a few years ago and it's been pretty solid. Granted I bought an inverter generator, 3200 watts gas & propane fuel type for use with my trailer so it's different, but as far as the brand, it's decent. Hondas are also great generators and most likely more quiet, but you're paying more obviously.
 

highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
40,280
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I have a 4500w Generac,5+ years. Cranks 1st pull every time. I do run the fuel out if I use it and use ethanol free gas. Loud and not real portable. Takes 2 peeps if you need to lift it into a vehicle. Also got a line conditioner because the power is supposedly dirty and protecting the electronics in the fridge/tv/etc is a must. The Honda may put out cleaner power.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
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I probably would not buy something like that through Amazon but that's just me. Look into a Honda they are pretty solid units and pretty quiet.
I wouldn't buy from Amazon for the simple reason that if I had to return it I'd potentially be taking a huge bath on shipping. Sure, sometimes they pay for return shipping but I'm not going to chance it on something like that. At least with walmart I could haul it down to the local one in a pinch.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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Honda, Honda, Honda.

There are other generators that will work and are half the price of a Honda, but The Hondas are the most reliable and quiet generators available.

You couldn't give me a Honda car, (unless I was allowed to trade it in immediately) but their small engine division is unrivaled.


 
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brainhulk

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2007
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Honda, Honda, Honda.

There are other generators that will work and are half the price of a Honda, but The Hondas are the most reliable and quiet generators available.

You couldn't give me a Honda car, (unless I was allowed to trade it in immediately) but their small engine division is unrivaled.


Cool. Yeah their units look pricey.

Have you guys heard of using a transfer switch? Looks like it can be hooked up to the breaker and you plug the generator to the transfer switch. Then you don't have to run extension cords inside the house. Do you need a certain type of generator to be able to use a transfer switch?
 

highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
40,280
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Transfer smansfer, just plug it into your dryer outlet like the rednecks around here. :D


For the record, very bad idea.
 

brainhulk

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2007
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Transfer smansfer, just plug it into your dryer outlet like the rednecks around here. :D


For the record, very bad idea.
Yeah, in the article I just read, doing that is very dangerous and may electrocute workers that may be working on the outside transformers...
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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www.uovalor.com
Cool. Yeah their units look pricey.

Have you guys heard of using a transfer switch? Looks like it can be hooked up to the breaker and you plug the generator to the transfer switch. Then you don't have to run extension cords inside the house. Do you need a certain type of generator to be able to use a transfer switch?

Any generator will work but try to get one that is split phase 120/240v that way your 240v stuff will work too. For transfer switch setup, if I was to do it I would put an inlet on the outside of the house, biggest amperage plug that is reasonable (something like a 40 amp split phase twist lock is probably good) then do a transfer switch for the whole house. So basically the transfer switch let's you pick between two sources, the inlet on the side of the house where the generator plugs into, or the regular hydro service. Then the switch feeds the main panel. You can think of the transfer switch as a big A/B switch. If power goes out, you go hook up the generator, power it on, then go inside and turn off your main breaker, switch the transfer switch to the generator, then turn your breaker back on. (transfer switches are normally not raided to switch under load).

Of course, if the generator can't power the whole house you can turn off breakers to mostly everything and only turn on the ones you want. For things like fridges etc you can always go and turn those on and turn off other ones to basically power everything you need as required, just not at same time.

There's different ways to do it, you can also have a separate generator panel for only the critical circuits. But I think those are basically the same as a transfer switch, it's just the switch is built in.


*IF* you're going to do a suicide cord, be EXTRA sure you turn off the main breaker before you do it. But I really don't recommend doing it at all.
 
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nutxo

Diamond Member
May 20, 2001
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I had a honda and it was pretty great. Storing it was easy. You could dump the oil adn drain the gas in 2 minutes and when ya need it refill the thing. Would always start in 2 or 3 tries after sitting a year.
 

Spacehead

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2002
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Have you guys heard of using a transfer switch? Looks like it can be hooked up to the breaker and you plug the generator to the transfer switch. Then you don't have to run extension cords inside the house. Do you need a certain type of generator to be able to use a transfer switch?
FYI... here, if you want one our electric co-op will install it for you at a cost of about $800. Check your electric co. webpage to see if there are any rules about this.
They use ones made by GenerLink.

From our electric co-op webpage:
Generlink devices are currently unavailable due to manufacturing/supply issues. As of July 27, 2020, the company indicated it would be 2 to 3 months before production restarts and even then, they are back-logged.
 

Dr. Detroit

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2004
7,472
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Honda 3000 is what you need. Don't buy a "Construction" generator.

The high end Harbor Freight Gen Predator 3500 Gen Set gets solid reviews!
 

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