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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/8/20 12:51 p.m.

I've got a yamaha 4000 W Tri-fuel portable since we live in hurricane country. I've only got about 22 hours on it, but it's sure been useful when the power goes out. It's normally at least a few days to get power back if the storm's a bad one. 

My main purpose is to keep the two refrigerators and one freezer running. I have a gas stove, but it would be nice to be able to run the microwave.

Add one or two lights, a small radio, and we're set. I can charge my phones off of a deep cycle battery that would last for weeks. 

Since I added the freezer a few months ago, I'm worried that I'm now under gunned for startup load requirements. The charts that I've found for refrigerator load calculation are 800 watts, freezer at between 500 and 800. Using the higher number, and following the recommendation for doubling the running load to calculate startup load, I would need 4800 watts, assuming each appliance hits the startup cycle at the same time. 

Does that mean I must replace the current machine, or could I get by if I hooked up each one a few minutes apart? That seems very unlikely, and probably a bad idea, so I'm looking at larger generators.

I assume that once I get priced out on the Honda and Yamahas, there's probably  only a few manufacturers, and lots of rebranding. I'd like a 10-12 Kw unit with electric start and tri-fuel capability (although I've never run my Yamaha on anything but gasoline). 

Any recommendations or personal experience between the Harbor freight stuff and the high dollar name brands? 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/20 1:04 p.m.

I have run 2 fridges and 2 freezers off a 2000 watt Honda inverter. You just have to not start all of them at the same time when first cranking up the generator. I would say you should be fine. If you need the microwave, just unplug some stuff. 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
4/8/20 1:21 p.m.

Freezers stay cold by themselves for quite a while too, if you just rotate things through a little, I agree that it should be fine.   

TJL
TJL HalfDork
4/8/20 1:39 p.m.

On the generators, watch for the running vs peak wattage. If i recall the math right, i could dang near run my whole house on a 12k watt. I wouldn't want to try though. I like overkill. 
 

the inverter gensets usually advertise their PEAK wattage, not the running wattage, which i think is a pile of misleading BS.  Typically the regular non inverter gensets advertise their running wattage. i still use my 5600 watt "y2k" generator for my 220 volt well, 2 window ac units, the fridge, fans, tv, whatever else is needed. I use a 100' 10 gauge cord, its a big sucker, but it brings the power in quite nicely. Ive seen the same size genset barely run anything because the owner was using these garbage 100' 18 gauge extention cords. 
 

i do have a used 5600 watt coleman i need to tighten up and get rid off. Having 4 generators is a bit silly. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/20 2:24 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I've got a yamaha 4000 W Tri-fuel portable since we live in hurricane country. I've only got about 22 hours on it, but it's sure been useful when the power goes out. It's normally at least a few days to get power back if the storm's a bad one. 

My main purpose is to keep the two refrigerators and one freezer running. I have a gas stove, but it would be nice to be able to run the microwave.

Add one or two lights, a small radio, and we're set. I can charge my phones off of a deep cycle battery that would last for weeks. 

Since I added the freezer a few months ago, I'm worried that I'm now under gunned for startup load requirements. The charts that I've found for refrigerator load calculation are 800 watts, freezer at between 500 and 800. Using the higher number, and following the recommendation for doubling the running load to calculate startup load, I would need 4800 watts, assuming each appliance hits the startup cycle at the same time. 

Does that mean I must replace the current machine, or could I get by if I hooked up each one a few minutes apart? That seems very unlikely, and probably a bad idea, so I'm looking at larger generators.

I assume that once I get priced out on the Honda and Yamahas, there's probably  only a few manufacturers, and lots of rebranding. I'd like a 10-12 Kw unit with electric start and tri-fuel capability (although I've never run my Yamaha on anything but gasoline). 

Any recommendations or personal experience between the Harbor freight stuff and the high dollar name brands? 

I would (personally) take the cheap route and just manually tell the appliances when to come on.  It's highly unlikely that they wil all come on at the same time, but if they do you'll just throw a breaker on the genny.

I would try it as-is.  If you find that it overloads because they're all turning on at once (unlikely) then consider turning off the breaker for the freezer and only running it for a couple hours in the AM and PM to keep things frozen.  Run the fridge the rest of the time.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/20 2:25 p.m.

In reply to TJL :

I have a 10kw diesel generator that will run the entire house. I never use it anymore because the power never stays off long enough to bother with it.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/8/20 2:32 p.m.
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to TJL :

I have a 10kw diesel generator that will run the entire house. I never use it anymore because the power never stays off long enough to bother with it.

Seems about right. I owned this one for nine years before it had gas in the tank for the first time. Fifteen years on it has slightly under 22 hours, so just broken in. I've only needed it for two power-out occurrences. It's never had ethanol in it, and gets run about every six months. I'd hate to replace it, and I'm not getting any recommendations to do so here. 

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
4/8/20 2:47 p.m.

I expect Honda & Yamaha to make good stuff, my FIL has a Polaris Inverter that's been pretty good too.  On the other end of the spectrum, though, we've got a 4K Predator from everyone's favorite hammer store at work.  I do field research, often way away from electricity, and got tired of sucking 18V Dewalt batteries dry every 10 minutes with the circular saw.

When I bought it they didn't have a model between the 4K and 6.5K unit, they've got a 4375 now, I opted for the 4K unit because I needed to be able to get it in and out of the bed of the truck, the 4K is right at 100 lbs dry, and all I want to lift by myself.  The 6.5K is 62 lbs heavier.

The generator hasn't received much mechanical sympathy, in fact I just gave it, its first oil change today, it has been running  on "break-in oil" for 3 years. surprise  This pandemic has given me some time to catch up on all of those little, "I need to get to thats" that I've been putting off for higher priority stuff.  It's been loaded in and out of the truck or trailer, at least 100 times, bounced all over rough places on a little trailer, ran in the dustiest conditions, ran in blazing hot triple digit heat.  The little thing just keeps going, I've never had to tug it more than 3 times to start it, unless I forgot to choke it on a cold first start.  If it's cold it'll usually at least sputter on the first pull if it doesn't start, and fire up on the second pull.  If it's warm, it's a one tug starter.

I'm seriously considering getting the 6.5K with wheel kit for my own personal use.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/20 2:51 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

I built mine after a week without power after Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago. We haven't had a major storm since. I run it every 3-4 years. I know if I get rid of it we will get decimated by another storm. Call it hurricane repellant.

I should probably replace the belts on it and change the oil this year. Looks like it was last fired 3 years ago.

A sort of build thread. home-built-diesel-generator

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/20 3:33 p.m.

I have a Champion 3500/4000 peak generator that has to represent the lower end of the spectrum. It is LOUD, but it starts right up after sitting for months and months every time. I topped up the oil before starting it for today's outage, but other than that, it has not gotten much love. It sits outside, under a porch, so it sees little weather but is exposed to heat and cold cycles. It has been very reliable over the past 10 years. If the bargain-brand can do that, then I would say get whatever fits your needs in your budget.
 

Our club uses a little Honda job to power the autocross gear and you could sit on it and not know it is running. Man id like that! But if I ever upgrade, it will be a Generac natural-gas fueled whole-house unit. 

New York Nick
New York Nick Reader
2/12/21 8:11 a.m.

I have the same Champion one that Pinchvalve has. I bought it because I have a years worth of insulin in the fridge and I have to make sure that it is safe if anything happens. In the 5 years since I bought the generator the power has gone off 0 times. Yep, 0. But I am ready if it does. 

I agree with Curtis and others about managing equipment on and off and using what you have. The failure mode is low risk. You reset and try again. As long as you are home during the outage it should be no issue.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/12/21 9:02 a.m.

Honestly, you might be alright if you didn't have everything start at the same time.  It would be interesting to put a voltmeter on the circuit and see how much the voltage sags when a fridge or freezer starts.

I went big and cheap when I bought mine, and it turns out to have been a good strategy.  It's been big enough (Coleman 6800 watt), and as rarely as it gets used, it's not a big investment sitting idle.

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/12/21 9:39 a.m.

I bought the biggest Predator generator and it died very quickly. Because I had bought it months before and didn't use it , it was out of warranty.

I do not recommend it

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UberDork
2/12/21 10:10 a.m.

I thought this thread looked familiar.  The 4K HF Predator I mentioned above is still working great.  I used the heck out of it all last summer for several projects.

While I did intend to get the 6.5K Predator for myself like mentioned above, last spring/summer was difficult to get a generator, the staff at HF couldn't tell you what or when they were getting restocked on anything and they were always sold out.  There's 4 Harbor Freights within a 50 mile radius of me, and none had generators when I was shopping.  May be better now.  They all blamed COVID.  I don't know why folks were buying up generators for a virus?

While checking FB Market Place I found a like-new, Briggs & Stratton Storm Responder 8250 for less than I could get the HF 6.5K for.  It's more generator than I wanted, but was basically new, it had been on one camping trip with the previous owner's camper before I got it, it already had wheels and handles, and was cheaper than what I was planning on buying.  Down side, it's heavy, I can't manhandle it into the bed of a truck like I can the little 4K Predator.  I've been loading it in and out with my cherry picker when needed.

So far it's only been used on our remote property for tools, it's way overkill for that, but as I type this we're between ice storms, just had one yesterday and there's another expected tomorrow.  I've got 10 gallons of ethanol free with Sta-Bil and the generator at the ready.

 

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/12/21 11:30 a.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82 :

The Briggs is a far far better generator, you did good.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
2/12/21 12:30 p.m.
bigdaddylee82 said:

While I did intend to get the 6.5K Predator for myself like mentioned above, last spring/summer was difficult to get a generator, the staff at HF couldn't tell you what or when they were getting restocked on anything and they were always sold out.  There's 4 Harbor Freights within a 50 mile radius of me, and none had generators when I was shopping.  May be better now.  They all blamed COVID.  I don't know why folks were buying up generators for a virus?

I've lost power more this year than the last 10 combined (or whenever Sandy was - we were out for 2+ weeks).  I've also been working from home.  I've been wondering if I simply missed all the outages in the past because I was at work.  You come home, the microwave is blinking, and you shrug.  Maybe it was a blip, maybe it was three hours. Purely by chance, I got the small Predator inverter-generator two days before a storm this spring that knocked us out for a couple days.  The first multi-day outage since Sandy.  I've used it 3 or 4 times since though.  It's a 15 minute setup vs. a huge hassle to set up my 5500w generac and I can run it on the deck.

Alternately, could be a COVID-related supply issue.

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
2/12/21 4:46 p.m.

The best generators I was able to get when I was in the equipment rental business were sold by Multiquip.  They have equipment made to their specs for a few different industries.  They aren't cheap but they last forever.  If you find one the size you want and can't justify the cost, use their machine to compare to what you can afford. Look for what ever engine they are using etc.  We had a salesman show us they could handle double the rated continuous power output as their peak but they couldn't advertise that fact. I was just to show how over built they are. 

Saron81
Saron81 HalfDork
2/13/21 6:48 p.m.


 

Gold anno wheels! 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/13/21 7:00 p.m.

Just try it. 
 

The odds of both units coming on at the same time and trying to draw peak load together are probably about 1 in 10,000. I would bet after 5 years of use you would never have a problem. 
 

If you do, just kill the breaker like Curtis said. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/13/21 8:26 p.m.

Old post, revived by a canoe. Not a bad thing, since I never did update.

I ended up getting a couple of days of run time when a tornado came through the neighborhood back in august. I just plugged the three units in about a minute apart. No problem.

I do need to get a heavier extension cord or carry through with my belated plan to build a shed right behind the house.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
2/14/21 9:21 a.m.

For anyone thinking about a generator, allow yourself some lead time.

After eight days without power last summer (95 degrees, 95% humidity, Berkeley You N'Eversource), I decided to upgrade and ordered a new Generac in September.

It was just shipped last week.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
2/14/21 9:52 a.m.

The generator talk got me thinking about the one we have at the office.  It's like this one: https://www.cat.com/en_US/products/new/power-systems/electric-power/diesel-generator-sets/1000033111.html.  Ours has 4 turbos on it, which I don't see on the genset I linked.  It's pretty insane.  I have no idea why our random commercial property has such a serious generator.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/14/21 12:21 p.m.

We just got power back maybe 30 minutes ago.  I was very glad to have the old Coleman generator.  Power was out a couple times yesterday, then for nearly 12 hours from early this am.

Ran it a couple of hours late morning to run the fridges and fill some water jugs.

It took a healthy splash of gas down the carb to wake it up, but she ran just fine the two hours I had her running.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
2/14/21 1:30 p.m.

Every time I'm ready to put my generator away for a while, I turn off the fuel supply and run it until the carb is dry and it stalls. I also park it with the choke closed, just in case mice try to get up in there. It never fails to start on the second pull.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
2/14/21 1:35 p.m.
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

Every time I'm ready to put my generator away for a while, I turn off the fuel supply and run it until the carb is dry and it stalls. I also park it with the choke closed, just in case mice try to get up in there. It never fails to start on the second pull.

I find my 5500W Generac usually has a little left to drain out of the float bowl.  I also mix in a little Stabil and run it for a bit before the final shutdown.  Same result: it can sit for years, then start right back up.

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