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View Full Version : Time to get a generator.


Radio
12-29-2014, 04:31 PM
I think I'm going to go down to the closest Tractor Supply Co. and pick me up one of these. Rumor has it, best emergency generator out there at this price point. Not inverting, and I understand kinda noisy. But that's what you get for $300.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/champion-power-equipmenttrade%3B-3500w-4000w-portable-generator.

It has an RV ready outlet, but I'm not really planning on using it for the RV, except maybe on field day. But I could if I needed to.

The political landscape looks sort of scary, both foreign and at home. And the winter weather outlook is just plain abysmal. So I think it's about time.

Topping off the pantry. Keeping 1/2 tank of gas in the cars. Just sayin'...

N3LYT
12-29-2014, 07:08 PM
Don't know how they sell them that cheap but Champion seems to be a pretty good unit. Yes it will be noisy all open frame generators are. I have a Honda open frame and it's not what I would call quiet but it does power the house. Even generators in a box are kind of noisy but to make 60HZ they have to turn 3600 RPM. unless you pay the big bucks for an inverter unit.

NN5I
12-30-2014, 12:52 AM
Well, to make 60 Hz the engine has to turn 3600 RPM if the generator is a two-pole generator. If it is a four-pole, which many are, 1800 RPM. If six-pole, 1200 RPM. I have owned several two-pole generators and a few four-pole, but never seen a six-pole.

Several years ago I bought (via Internet) a reasonably quiet Chinese copy of a Honda GX620 -- two-pole, 3600 RPM, 3500 watts. It had a Honda-style muffler and was actually fairly quiet. It had electric start, too -- a nice unit. I modified it for remote start and it served me well. I paid less than $400, brand new.

Of the generators I have owned, my favorite was an Onan JC 12.5KW unit with a four-cylinder propane-fueled engine and a four-pole generator, 1800 RPM. I put a car muffler on it, and it was quiet enough to hold quiet conversations while standing a foot away. These are easy to find on eBay, and virtually indestructible. They're big and weigh about 700 pounds. There are diesel-fueled JCs [called DJC], gasoline-fueled JCs, and propane-fueled JCs (which can also burn natural gas). Some JCs have two-way carburetors and can run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. Some JCs are 12.5KW and others are 15KW. At various times I owned one propane 12.5KW JC and two gasoline 12.5KW JCs. All were rock solid.

wa8yxm
12-30-2014, 05:13 AM
Looks LOUD

N3LYT
12-30-2014, 05:08 PM
Well, to make 60 Hz the engine has to turn 3600 RPM if the generator is a two-pole generator. If it is a four-pole, which many are, 1800 RPM. If six-pole, 1200 RPM. I have owned several two-pole generators and a few four-pole, but never seen a six-pole.

Several years ago I bought (via Internet) a reasonably quiet Chinese copy of a Honda GX620 -- two-pole, 3600 RPM, 3500 watts. It had a Honda-style muffler and was actually fairly quiet. It had electric start, too -- a nice unit. I modified it for remote start and it served me well. I paid less than $400, brand new.

Of the generators I have owned, my favorite was an Onan JC 12.5KW unit with a four-cylinder propane-fueled engine and a four-pole generator, 1800 RPM. I put a car muffler on it, and it was quiet enough to hold quiet conversations while standing a foot away. These are easy to find on eBay, and virtually indestructible. They're big and weigh about 700 pounds. There are diesel-fueled JCs [called DJC], gasoline-fueled JCs, and propane-fueled JCs (which can also burn natural gas). Some JCs have two-way carburetors and can run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. Some JCs are 12.5KW and others are 15KW. At various times I owned one propane 12.5KW JC and two gasoline 12.5KW JCs. All were rock solid.

True but it's cheaper to build a 3600 RPM engine then it is to load 4 poles with copper! My old Onan 1800 RPM 5K was a lot quieter than my Honda but it also was in a box. Actually the Onan is now on wheels and it's our ARC field day/emergency power plant!

electricflyer
12-30-2014, 11:40 PM
Just got a Camping World ad today and they have the same Champion for the same price as Tractor Supply.

wa8yxm
12-31-2014, 02:36 AM
Ham radio club I used to belong to.. Their Field Day Generator is an old government surplus trailer mounted job.. It is a six pole 1200 RPM, not very annoying.

You can see one like it in some episodes of M*A*S*H

The clubs unit though has improved voltage regulation and speed regulation thanks to some of the club engineers.

electricflyer
01-01-2015, 05:35 PM
My father-in-law used to keep an old trailer mounted WWII generator in a barn on his farm and then just before field day he would get it out, change the oil, check the water in the radiator and tune it up for the big event. It had a 4 cyl engine, I think it was a Continental. I was back in Iowa several years back during field day weekend and the local club had use of a generator that the county had just purchased for emergency power. It could light up a city, a big CAT 3406 diesel generator on a semi trailer. The county had their own people operate it but they didn't know how. They had quite a time keeping the voltage regulated. It was the first time they had cranked it up so they were still in a learning curve.

N3LYT
01-01-2015, 05:59 PM
The last generator I was responsible for before I retired was a 16 cylinder Cat 2,200 HP 480 volt 3 phase @ 2,000 amps burned 60 GPH at full load. did not take an oil change lightly it took 150 gallons!

electricflyer
01-01-2015, 07:45 PM
The biggest generator I have ever been around was a Cooper-Bessemer diesel generator(s) at the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant near Brownsville, NE. They had two of them for emergency generation during a SCRAM (plant shutdown). They were V-16's that turned 240rpm at full power and generated 4MW each which was enough to power to run cooling pumps until the switch gear could bring power (about 16MW's) into the plant instead of out. They came to full power almost instantly and only ran a couple minutes.

I was working for a company that was doing instrument calibrations/checkout for start-up of the plant, this was in 1972. I remember one time we had just came to work and when we pulled into the parking lot the circuit breakers were blowing in the switch yard. We went right up to the control room to see what was going on. The plant just had a SCRAM (not at full power). There was a guy standing back in the room and was shaking like a leaf. I asked him what had him so shook up, he said he was in the generator room wiping oil under the diesel engines when they lit off. They had compressed air starters so you can imagine the noise they made when they started. Scared the bejesus out of him, as it would anyone to have a engine 20' long start up right on top of them. You occasionally hear a semi have an air starter and some locomotives have air starters.

Radio
01-24-2015, 07:08 PM
Behold the ubiquitous Champion $299 generator.

My odds of survival have just increased a bit, be it zombies, rioters, snowstorm or nuclear war.

My odds of having a good time with the camper have more than doubled!

NN5I
01-24-2015, 07:36 PM
I think you're going to find it's an excellent product. Probably heterochthonous; most of them come from China and are copies of various Hondas -- and every bit as good.

Radio
01-24-2015, 08:40 PM
If I find it get a lot of use then a wheel kit is in order. That thing is heavy!!

NN5I
01-24-2015, 09:37 PM
Well, you could spend time daily at Anytime Fitness. Then the generator won't be so heavy.

electricflyer
01-24-2015, 10:57 PM
Are you going to mount it on a trailer behind the 5er?

NN5I
01-24-2015, 11:25 PM
Are you going to mount it on a trailer behind the 5er?

I mounted a generator, very similar to that one, on a Class B by (1) welding an additional receiver tube at the left end of the existing hitch receiver, and (2) welding up a platform that mounted into that receiver. It worked extremely well. The platform had built-in provision for locking the generator down to prevent theft. You can see it, sort of, in the pic.

wa8yxm
01-25-2015, 02:41 PM
Took a look at the link, Open frame means it will likely be loud, OK for emergency power at home but I do not want to listen to one in an RV park. Yes, it does sport a TT-30 outlet "RV READY" clearly labeled 125 volt by the way.

I would rather see a fully enclosed uint, much quieter . or better yet an inverter model.

ONE WORD of caution on these open frame jobs.... Electrical SPIKES.

A few years back the ARRL (American Radio Relay League Inc) which is highly involved with thigns like EMERGENCY communications did a comparison of several generators, both Inverter types and open frame "Contractor" models...

All the inverter jobs they tried were clean and quiet

Some of the contractor's models were clean (none were quiet)

Some had spikes several hundred of volts high,, Kind of scary.

NN5I
01-25-2015, 06:24 PM
... I do not want to listen to one in an RV park.

Me neither. That's why you oughta carry a cable. See, RV parks actually have outlets you can plug into to get electricity, so you don't have to run a generator. You use the cable to connect the RV to the outlet. The way it works is ...

Radio
01-25-2015, 08:24 PM
Can't imagine using it in an RV park. Unless the power went away, in that case people would want me to crank it up and share with them.

And also, in that case, the generator would more than likely be at home.

Dang.

NN5I
01-27-2015, 10:24 PM
Is this the same one, for less?

eBay listing (http://deals.ebay.com/5001833205_DuroStar_DS4000S_Gas_Powered_4000_Watt_ Portable_Generator?_trksid=p2050601.m1256&_trkparms=algo%3DDailyDeals%26clkid%3D366844906812 8054519)

N3LYT
01-28-2015, 10:22 AM
I lost track of who is making what I have a Buffalo Tools 2KW generator that's maybe 10 years old and the Champion one looks exactly like it today. So who really does make them? The Champion ones seem to get good reviews guess that's saying some thing.

wa8yxm
01-29-2015, 07:37 AM
Oh I recall those compressed air starters... Short version.. I was standing by a Semi Tractor that had one when the owner cranked it up.

I can guess,, that poor guy had to go back for his shoes and socks he jumped so fast/high.

Radio
01-29-2015, 04:57 PM
Is this the same one, for less?

eBay listing (http://deals.ebay.com/5001833205_DuroStar_DS4000S_Gas_Powered_4000_Watt_ Portable_Generator?_trksid=p2050601.m1256&_trkparms=algo%3DDailyDeals%26clkid%3D366844906812 8054519)

May be the same "guts" but some features are different.

1. No RV outlet on this one.
2. No 240/120 selector switch
3. It does have duplex outlet for regular 120, instead of just one 20A rated outlet.
4. The frame seems taller on the Champion so that the fuel tank is better protected, for what that's worth.

N3LYT
01-29-2015, 06:36 PM
Champion seems to lean towards the RV crowd and provides a 30 amp RV outlet on the generators that will power it.

NN5I
01-29-2015, 11:30 PM
May be the same "guts" but some features are different.

Yah, having the 30A outlet is worth some bucks. The outlet itself is rather costly if you buy it at Home Depot or Lowe's.

All of those that look like this are made in China nowadays, I think. They're all copies of a Honda -- or at least the engine is, including the air cleaner and muffler. You can even install Honda parts on the copy, or Chinese parts on the Honda. If I remember, the Honda prototype is Model GX630 and is available with or without electric start. In my experience the Chinese engine is every bit as good, every bit as reliable, and about one-sixth the price. I've owned two of these Chinese copies (with different brand names but clearly identical), one without and one with electric start. Each always started instantly. The non-electric-start one was stolen, and probably is still serving the thief. The other one went with that Class B when I sold it, lives in Texas now, and has never once failed to start instantly, in any weather including butt-freezing cold.

N3LYT
01-30-2015, 09:52 AM
There is a MH that comes to the big hamfest in NH he has a small 2K knock off Honda mounted on the back bumper there has been no provision of any sort to protect it from the weather it is rusty nasty and beat up but he gets her started on the second pull and the lights come on!

Radio
02-15-2015, 07:02 PM
Went out and got the generator wheel kit and some extension cords. Mapped out a plan to provide power to the fridge and a few things downstairs. So now as far as backup power is concerned, we are ready.

Even got 20 gallons of gas at $1.99. :D

The guy at Tractor Supply said "you know if you prepare well enough, it will never come."

Suits me.

Radio
02-24-2015, 08:41 PM
There's a bit of winter weather headed here, finally, or again depending on how you look at it. So I figured I'd take the generator out of the box and put the wheels on it. Now the basement/man cave/radio room smells like a Tractor Supply Co. store. It sort of gives that little testosterone rush when you go down there. Hmm, that and a little snow... :kiss:

The kit goes on in about 20 minutes. Way better to install it BEFORE adding oil and gas to the generator as it needs to be tipped over on it's end to install the wheels.

The kit comes with a 12/14 mm wrench. You'll also need pliers. 12 mm socket/ratchet is even better. The instructions are reasonably clear but omit the fact there are little rubber feet on the generator that must be removed and there will be some hardware left over.

The helpful young man at TSC will tell you there is no oil in the new generator (correct) but the generator comes with oil in the crate. (wrong) You'll need some 10W30 engine oil.

Now that I'm prepped, it ain't gonna snow.

NN5I
02-24-2015, 09:42 PM
Now that I'm prepped, it ain't gonna snow.

Don't bet on it. Anyway, you could go to Texas for a while. Talking to old friend WI5G I learned that it's 26 degrees at his house, and he can't get into his pickup 'cuz there's an inch of ice on it. That'll test your prep.