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1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltimaDork
9/11/18 10:40 a.m.

Due to the nature of these things--specifically, don't need it very often, but good to have when you do--H-F is probably a good option.  No sense tying up a lot of cash in something you hope you'll never need, and in fact, will use only rarely.  Longevity probably isn't going to be an issue.

 

Edit:  ECM brings up a very good point:  Why not just improve the muffler on the noisy, cheap (value priced?) generator? 

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
9/11/18 12:10 p.m.
poopshovel again said:

Predators from HF get rave reviews...if you can still find one, which I kinda doubt is the case. As someone else mentioned, you’ll have to shell out cash for quiet. Our “entry-level” generac is as loud as the predator.

I have one of the 4000W Predator ones from HF. It's been flawless over the last year and 5 or so multi day outages one lasting in excess of a week. Even Consumer Reports recommends them (2 issues ago?)

It consumes about 3 gallons of gas if run continuously every 12 hours. Powering a chest freezer, fridge and a few lights. 

I need a transfer switch to hook it up to well pump but it does have 220 out of the box.

It'll hold me over until I get the cash together to roll my own powerwall and install solar panels.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/11/18 12:41 p.m.
The0retical said:
poopshovel again said:

Predators from HF get rave reviews...if you can still find one, which I kinda doubt is the case. As someone else mentioned, you’ll have to shell out cash for quiet. Our “entry-level” generac is as loud as the predator.

I have one of the 4000W Predator ones from HF. It's been flawless over the last year and 5 or so multi day outages one lasting in excess of a week. Even Consumer Reports recommends them (2 issues ago?)

It consumes about 3 gallons of gas if run continuously every 12 hours. Powering a chest freezer, fridge and a few lights. 

I need a transfer switch to hook it up to well pump but it does have 220 out of the box.

It'll hold me over until I get the cash together to roll my own powerwall and install solar panels.

Serious question: Why the powerwall? Seems one is about the cost of big boy generator hooked up to the natural gas line?

And when I did the math, I'd want to be able to power EVERYTHING in the house (being mindful still) for two weeks. Which means two of them, which means north of $12k installed. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/11/18 12:47 p.m.

Wow, nevermind, even more expensive than that if this link is to be believed.

https://www.energysage.com/solar/solar-energy-storage/tesla-powerwall-home-battery/

RevRico
RevRico UberDork
9/11/18 12:47 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Not everybody has natural gas, and gas can go out as well in rather extreme circumstances. 

As I sit here staring angrily at the gas line that stops 1/4 mile from my house wondering why neither the township or gas company are willing to extend it to people who would be happy to pay for it. 

 

On topic, I have an 8000 watt Briggs generator. We bought it when my dad was doing overnight dialysis, so it had to run that, the pellet stove, and the fridge. Haven't even run it in probably 5 years, but since we bought it the power hasn't been out more than 3 hours in a row. 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/11/18 1:48 p.m.

If you have natural gas at your property (or propane) I strongly suggest going that route.  As we all know, gasoline gets stale and it will require yearly maintenance.  Aside from infrequent oil changes, an LP or NG generator won't need that upkeep.

Mom and dad have a portable.  Pretty sure its a 5000w or so.  They don't have natural gas at the property so he opted for a gasoline model and hasn't had any trouble.  He just doesn't keep it full of gas so he always has fresh, stabilized gas to put in it if he needs it.  He put in one of those linked switches that kills one (so it doesn't backfeed the grid) and activates the other.  Then that subpanel only feeds necessary circuits; fridge, freezer, furnace, water heater, TV, a few lights and outlets, etc.  They also rigged up a circuit in the meter with an LED light so he can look out the window to see if the utility is back on.  Overkill, but a nice touch.

I'm strongly considering a propane model even though I have NG service at the house.  My thought is that an NG generator will only work hooked up to the house, but a propane model is still portable for camping.

The primary difference between a generator and an inverter is how they make juice.  A generator is an engine and an alternator.  It makes dirty power.  An inverter generator makes the same dirty power, but converts it to DC, then uses a higher quality inverter to turn it back into clean AC.  The inverter part "scrubs" it.  If you are just trying to power your freezer and lights, generator is fine.  If you're doing a TV, computer, router, or other sensitive stuff, an inverter is the better choice.

The other difference is that a generator has to make power at 3600 rpms to get the 60Hz it is trying to produce.  An inverter can just make bulk power and let the inverter determine load/demand.  For this reason, inverter generators tend to consume less fuel.

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
9/11/18 1:56 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Part of my issue is that I'm out in rural PA. We don't have gas service to the house so I'd be faced with putting in a tank just for that purpose. It's not a deal breaker, as we were thinking of getting rid of the horrible electric oven and putting in a gas range, but it's not ideal.

There's actually a pretty big DIY community out there for building li-ion "Powerwalls" from scratch. If you watch or get in on a group buy you can pickup 18650 cells for about a buck a piece which would put someone at ~$140/KW to build. When you build them they're constructed roughly the same way as the Tesla ones, where each bank is fused so the fire risk likely a bit overblown. You still have to add in the cost of a charge controller and the panels so it's by no means cheap but I don't have to worry about the sun running out of gas in the event of another Sandy type event in the northeast.

The other factor is the modified sine wave that the HF generator puts out as Curtis stated. The inverter for renewable type systems can also generate a pure sine wave (if you buy a good one) so I can back feed into the grid when not in use.

The actual Tesla Powerwalls are expensive as hell but incorporate the charge controller and are packaged really nicely. I'm holding out for 2020ish to see where the solid state li-Ion production is as they don't generate dendrites which is the main cause of degradation of the cells.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/11/18 2:30 p.m.
The0retical said:

In reply to z31maniac :

Part of my issue is that I'm out in rural PA. We don't have gas service to the house so I'd be faced with putting in a tank just for that purpose. It's not a deal breaker, as we were thinking of getting rid of the horrible electric oven and putting in a gas range, but it's not ideal.

There's actually a pretty big DIY community out there for building li-ion "Powerwalls" from scratch. If you watch or get in on a group buy you can pickup 18650 cells for about a buck a piece which would put someone at ~$140/KW to build. When you build them they're constructed roughly the same way as the Tesla ones, where each bank is fused so the fire risk likely a bit overblown. You still have to add in the cost of a charge controller and the panels so it's by no means cheap but I don't have to worry about the sun running out of gas in the event of another Sandy type event in the northeast.

The other factor is the modified sine wave that the HF generator puts out as Curtis stated. The inverter for renewable type systems can also generate a pure sine wave (if you buy a good one) so I can back feed into the grid when not in use.

The actual Tesla Powerwalls are expensive as hell but incorporate the charge controller and are packaged really nicely. I'm holding out for 2020ish to see where the solid state li-Ion production is as they don't generate dendrites which is the main cause of degradation of the cells.

Cool thanks for the info! I've never lived truly out in the country. Because of OKs oil/gas industry, natural gas is readily available. I'd love to do solar at some point as since I have a large 45° roof that 2/3rds of faces almost directly south.

However, with the wind/hail we get in Oklahoma, I'm suspect about their long-term durability, ie, payback on investment.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/11/18 3:07 p.m.

I have a 9500 watt one.  It will power everything in my house.  I have gas heat, hot water, stove, oven and a gas dryer so the only big items are the washing machine, microwave and the AC and I have had them running and never had an issue.  We tend to loose power at least one time a year that I need to set it up.  I have it plugged into a weather proof external 220 outlet that is wired in to the breaker panel that has a lock out for the main breaker so I can either have the generator powering the house or the main on but not both.  Just a simple lever thing that mounts between the breakers mounted to the panel.  It is an great feeling when you are the only one with lights on. 

I have found that if the power is off for more than 6 hours you get to know your neighbors. First there kids come over to play games or watch TV or just to get warm and then they are followed by the parents to "check up on them" .  One year with the power off for 3-4 days we had 20-30 people in and out of my place.  People were bringing things from there fridge's and freezers so everyone was eating really well.  I can not say no but dam it got a bit crazy.  Fun but crazy.  The only down side is that my unit is big and heavy and it is loud.  But quiet costs $$$$.  I have been thinking of putting another muffler on it.  I was going to see if honda made a generator of similar size and see if I could purchase the muffler for that unit and see if I could adapt it to mine.  However that is only part of the noise.  the actual generator is also a big contributor to the amount of sound.  Surprisingly it is not bad on gas.  I get about 12 hours on 5 gallons of gas but I am sure that is because my house really does not use much electricity. It will for the most part just be idling.  Only the microwave and or the AC or the washing machine will cause it to ramp up.  I am glad I went big.  It just takes all the guess work out of things when we need it.  I fire it up spring and fall.  Every fall I change the oil and drain the gas (put it in my truck) put a full tank of 93 in it.  I run 93 with stabil gas stabilizer in all my small engins.  I have never had a gas related no start since I started doing this.  That way I know it is ready to go as we go in to the winter season.  The truth is I could get by with a much small unit but going big just takes the worry out of things.

EDIT I just looked up the muffler for the Honda EB10000 and it costs $366  No wonder they are so quiet!!!  The thing looks like the muffler of a 70's honda accord.   

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/11/18 3:40 p.m.

In reply to The0retical :

Great... now I just spent the last hour watching videos down that DIY wormhole.  That is a must-do project.  I can't do solar where I am, but I could charge at night and use during the day.

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
9/11/18 3:44 p.m.

In reply to Curtis :

I probably shouldn't show you this by this guy then.

He's actually a bit of a gearhead too from what I can tell. Electrified VW Bus, features an a E46 BMW with a Tesla drivetrain, and other electrified DIY cars.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/11/18 3:55 p.m.

In reply to The0retical :

That's the guy I was watching on youtube.

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