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Thread: Lets Talk Generators

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Lets Talk Generators

    So I have a another side Hobby, I like to tinker with generators. I like the challenge of trying fix one when its not working right. I use the activity to learn more about them.My son and I built a really cool generator shed that will one day house a backup generator for the house.

    Just curious as to what make and models you guys have and use for your fish rooms and/ or work. I know everyone has their favorites and ones they hate.. What fuels do yours run on, what kind of issues have you had.

    I thought it would also be good to bring this up as there issues for novices to generators to consider like grounding, fuel storage issues, best oils to use. etc.

    Hope you won't mind sharing a bit about your generators here. Coiuld be very helpful to others.

    Thanks,
    al
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    Registered Member ericNH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    I need a generator. Winter power outages are a fact of life up here. I for one look forward to seeing what I can learn from this thread...

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Tomorrow I am going check out my next potential project. I've wanted a diesel generator for a while now and I found one that needs some TLC and maintenance. If I get it, maybe I'll document the whole clean up process here.

    -al
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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    At our company we actually use (and break) quite a few of these

    Best all around generator IME - Honda

    Best bang for your buck generator-Harbor freight

    http://www.harborfreight.com/engines...enerators.html

    Though not a huge fan of most tools purchased at Harbor Freight, their generators aren't bad at all. It's what I have at the house in case of power failure for the fish room.

    Weakest link on most generators? The cheap rope pull mechanism they use. If looking at any generator, make sure the mechanism isn't put on with cheap pop-rivets.

    -Rick
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

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    Registered Member discofan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    This are generators keep with me!

    Ridgit with yamaha motor 6800 watts electric crank!
    image.jpg

    Honda ue2000i very handy, easy to take, en most quiet.
    image.jpg
    Last edited by discofan; 08-31-2014 at 10:48 AM.
    Jorge Giron

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    Registered Member RichT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    I use a 8500w Honda gas model. Keeps everything running smooth. Fish tanks, heaters,fridge, wife's office and most everything up and running. Only draw back is finding fuel during a major storm (Sandy) nobody had electric to pump gas from the tanks. The few places that did have power ran out of gas in a couple of hours. You had to wait on line at 3am and hope they would get a delivery. Now I keep a 20 gal supply and switch it out every few months.

    My dream machine would be a natural gas whole house generator. Wouldn't have to worry about a thing!!!!
    Rich

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    Silver Member DonMD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    I've had this generator [http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect....or/p4760.html] for a few years now. I've only got about 250 hours on it, and it runs fine. It's noisy, but it runs more than half the circuits in the house, heating, etc., but not the electric range and not the A/C. One word of advice: buy a transfer switch like this one [http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect....AK/p1130.html]. I had mine wired by a professional electrician, direct to the house panel, so there are no cords running on floors in the house when I'm on generator. Also, it keeps you from energizing downed power lines, and could keep someone from getting seriously hurt of killed.

    I agree with Rick that Honda probably makes the best generators, but cost is not an insignificant factor, especially when you may only use it very occasionally.

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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Power outages here in south wisconsin don't usually last too long. Only a couple hours normally. A couple times however destructive storms have knocked down enough power lines that the outages last for 4 or more days. I had to send my entire discus stock to a lfs back one winter in the 70s when at day four the water temp was in the low 70s. I basically said if he could save them they were his. Decisions on fuel type and output size depend on these questions: How much power will you need for how long. Be aware that most generator fuel use ratings are given at much less than 100% demand. Also understand that as nice as they are a natural gas generator requires different supply equipment than your furnace and normally means unless you are experienced you will need professional installation which really drives the intitial cost way up. The problem with other fuel generators (gasoline, diesel or propane) is fuel storage if you expect to use more than a single tank.
    If you haven't used your generator in a while and it uses gasoline you should add a fuel saver like seafoam or some such product. Best to have an out building away from your house to store your fuel. I use my generator for more than just my fish so is sized at twice the expected load use. This allows for longer use time before refueling and also gives a cushion should things change in the future. Recomendations are difficult when there are so many variables about cost, ease of use and how they are connected to the load they service. Grounding will get a little technical depending on if the generator windings are connected to a grounded conductor. This is the case in household type (120v - 240v) systems but not so with three phase units that are not 4 wire. You should not have to worry about this in units that have normal 120volt outlets on them.
    Last edited by discussmith; 09-02-2014 at 12:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Honda's do make a good generator line, BUT TOO Pricy IMO...unless, you are running sensitive electronics or have a need for more quiet ones ( some campgrounds have an acceptible list) and are talking about their Invert Generators . Personally I think the Ryobi Generator 2,200-Watt Green Gasoline Powered Digital Inverter Generator RYI2200 is a good substitute for the honda inverter generator for most peoples needs. I have it and love it. I can run any of my sensitive electronics on it, its quiet and gets good gas run times. The down side to the invert generators are they usually cap out at around 2000 watts. The good side is you can double that with two generators and a parallel cord.

    Ricks comment about the harbor freight generators Is same as mine... good bang for your dollar, the predator line they sell has gotten good reviews consistently and is dirt cheap. Just stay away from their 900 watt "storm cats". These are either you like them and they work great or your hate the piece of junk.They are small and not great for many applications, they are also loud for their size. (think chain saw loud) They go for about $129.00 sometimes less. The problem is usually the carburator gums up. I picked up 2 on craigs list recently to play around with for peanuts ($45 each). that were pretty much brand new.. owner said he ran one tank of gas and could not start them again. His loss my gain. The carbs on them are really easy to take apart and put back together after a good cleaning they work just fine...Theres also kits available on them for $16-25 dollars. They are real sensitive to the gas mix...50:1 ratio and fresh is best! I honestly would not recommend them to anyone unless you like to take things apart.

    The main problem with alot of gas generators is the gas these days has alcohol in it..and in long term storage that leads to gunked up carburators. Some generator manufacturers say to drain the tank all the way and the carburator when you store it, others say to store with gas, but if you do, be sure to use a stabilizer for the gas, I run mine every month for a bit. You really want to change that oil often as well.Its amazing how crudy it gets fast. Be sure to read the MFG specs on the oil...many generators without an oil filter recommend a non-detergent oil. I was puzzled on this so called and asked....reason The detergents in modern oils are meant to keep the dirt and debris suspended so the filter can remove them. In a generator without an oil filter, you don't want that....better the grime settles out and you change the oil..or so I was told.

    BTW, I did get my diesel generator, its a used 5500 watt titan commercial unit. Probably one of the smallest diesels you can get. They go for about $900-1200 used and in good working order. I got mine for $240. Its got a slightly quirky starter and needs a new battery for the electric start, but had no problem firing it. Should be a relative easy clean up on it. I've wanted a diesel for a while...geek that I am, I want to try making bio diesel for it. Gas generators are always availible used...people buy one for an emergency and then sell it...but Diesels are hard to find and when you do they are often real expensive or real big.
    I've no experience working on diesels so this is my learning project.

    My new titan old diesel..


    -al
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    Last edited by brewmaster15; 09-03-2014 at 12:25 PM.
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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Its got a slightly quirky starter and needs a new battery for the electric start, but had no problem firing it.
    We have given up and batteries in electric start portable generators at work. I strongly suggest, rather than getting the actual battery that goes to the generator, get one of the portable "jump packs" that are rechargeable and you can actually jump start your car with them (and of course start your generator). Not much more $ than the battery for the generator either......

    -Rick
    Last edited by nc0gnet0; 09-03-2014 at 01:05 PM.
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Quote Originally Posted by nc0gnet0 View Post
    We have given up and batteries in electric start portable generators at work. I strongly suggest, rather than getting the actual battery that goes to the generator, get one of the portable portable "jump packs" that are rechargeable and you can actually jump start your car with them (and of course start your generator). Not much more $ than the battery for the generator either......

    -Rick
    Thanks Rick... good suggestion, was the reason because they go dead fast? Since this is going in my generator shed,I was planning on using a solar panel system similar tothe one I put in my kids tree house to keep the battery at peak.

    -al
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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    Thanks Rick... good suggestion, was the reason because they go dead fast? Since this is going in my generator shed,I was planning on using a solar panel system similar tothe one I put in my kids tree house to keep the battery at peak.

    -al
    They (generator batteries) never seem to have a charge when you need it most, and the jump packs have more uses, can jump start your car, has a trouble light (real handy when the generator runs out of gas...oops), and a cigarette lighter plug. Just plug the pac into a wall socket when not in use. And in most cases they will cost the same as the dam generator battery, lol. Just attach the jumper cables on the pac to the battery cables of the generator and fire it up.

    -Rick
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    I see..sounds like I will be good then with the solar system I will have there as well... It will act as a backup solar generator...another one of Those Projects

    -al
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    Silver Member DonMD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    The generator I use has a trickle charger for the battery, and it's always been at peak power when I've used it.

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    Default Re: Lets Talk Generators

    Don, it sounds like you have a well thought out system there. I'll eventually have this generator shed wired thru a transfer switch to the house as well.


    -al
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