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Friday, August 2, 2013

Any Generator People Here?

Finally I get to following up on this. The manual transfer switch is installed! 

So although I can do the math and install the thing, I leave it to my friends with decades of experience. I could do it, but they make it look good! I'm not an electrician, nor did I stay at a Holiday Express the previous night. The first thing to go was a load management thing. I never agreed to it and it was here when I got here. Gone. I prefer my electrons to NOT be interrupted thanks! 

So it goes:

Wish I could show you the sweep on this PVC. They did it by sight on an electric heater. No joints or glue on this! 

On the other side of the file cabinet here is the exit to the rear of the house. Looks like this on the exterior:

The game plan is to pull a portable genset to this socket and power essential stuff if needed. Pay no attention to the train wreck to the right! 

So, does anyone have any opinions on a portable 7KW generator? Generac, B&S, etc? I would appreciate any advice.  


  1. Honda, if you can get one large enough.

  2. For gas, go Honda. Best thre is, but expensive.

    But Gas doesn't store well. You'll have to rotate it every 6 months, Stabil helps, but still, rotate.

    If you can, go diesel. Diesel store nearly forever, so fuel is less of an issue, and you get more KWH pr gallon. If you have the money, look at this one:
    ($5500 but will last forever with care)

    Ya gets what ya pays for. Do you want a cheap genset when you really need it?

  3. What from said. Hondas run forever.

  4. At 7kW you are close to where a diesel / LP generator starts to make sense.
    As for brands, it all depends on your usage.
    If it is only a couple of hours a year then cheap could work.
    Run time of days or weeks, then look at commercial units.
    If you decide that you are going to have a better unit then some of the things to look for are, lower rpm, ease of changing oil and filters, local support for parts, lower dBA are some of the many choices.
    Generators are (mostly) a you get what you pay for thing.
    You can get a throw away unit for about $500 that is good for a couple of uses or a top of the line commercial for $10,000 that will run nearly forever.

  5. Kubota diesel genset if you can get one. Fuels lasts longer in storage and has more KWH per gallon.

    If you go gas, use stabil and rotate your fuel every 6 months or so.

    Honda is the best, if you can afford 'em. There are cheaper units out there, but you get what you pay for.

  6. I work construction and we run our generators up to 70 hrs a week stay away form generac get a northstar 8000 watt with a honda they run forever with standard maint well worth the extra cash

  7. A friend notes, "7kw is moving out of hand portable into trailer portable. Japanese mfg last the longest. Actual motorcycle engines, made for long runs."

  8. i can't recommend Champion enough. not as quiet as a Honda but plenty quiet. Cabela's sells them, as does Costco online.

  9. Just some thoughts regarding using generators. My experience is limited to power outages caused by hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

    Whether you choose diesel of gasoline you need to be able to store and rotate. Conditioning the fuel will make it useful for up to a year or so. If you have high quality, metal jerry cans that may extend to as much as, perhaps, 18 months. Diesel can be problematic if you don't own anything else that runs on diesel. You'll want to rotate your fuel store into your vehicles or other engines to consume it and then replace it.

    It can be VERY difficult to keep a powerful generator fueled. As we learned with Sandy when the local gas stations can't pump refilling your fuel tanks is difficutl and time consuming. You may or may not be able to siphon fuel from your vehicles - modern fill pipes are designed to not spill in a rollover and, I've been told, to be very difficult to siphon from. I suggest trying it some day when you have a few minutes. I have been unable to siphon from my auto. Haven't yet tried My Better-Two-Thirds new vehicle.

    Which is all to say, there are advantages to smaller engines that consume less fuel. You might also want to consider multi-fuel generators. A sites for some interesting generators:

    My personal opinion is that it is only necessary to run essentials such as a furnace and your refrigeration and a circuit or two for charging batteries and a light or two. Depending on location and season you may need some small air-conditioning in order to sleep well. But we generally don't need to run generators 24x7. 3 or 4 hours a day is probably enough to keep your refrigeration. 6 tops.

    Last but not least for this diatribe is noise. Loud generators are just flat out annoying. I live in a subdivision and after a week of no power following Sandy I was beginning to consider sabotaging some neighbors. It is NOT necessary to run a generator all day and night.